Although my little guy is turning two years old next month (April), for some reason I still tell people that I have a new baby at home. I’m not in denial, I just keep forgetting that two years have gone by. It’s because time has turned into water that I can’t hold in my hands. One of the most popular phrases that I heard as soon as Ford was born was, “He’s gonna be in college before you know it.” It was a cruel way to suggest that time will fly...and it has.
The funny thing is that time doesn’t fly when my wife is out of the house for the afternoon and I’m trying to figure out whether to walk around the house for the third time and let Ford touch all the leaves he can reach, stack up his blocks again, or line up his favorite cars and roll them down the hallway… again. For some reason that can make you feel like time is just a small bird, or as Ford would say, “boad,” that kind of hops slowly across the road. This lag in time makes you want to say, “Just fly…. you have wings!”
But, the other funny thing is, as soon as those longer moments pass, I immediately miss him. Sometimes when Ford has been asleep in his crib for a couple hours, Katie and I will look at each other after we have cleaned up the kitchen, and gotten bored from a new Netflix show that doesn’t keep our attention like “Stranger Things,” and we will say, “you wanna get him up?” Usually there is a hint of baby-talk in the phrase because for some reason when I refer to him, I revert to this vulnerable child-like adult who instead of teaching his son how to speak correctly, wants to be taught by his two-year-old. I have been trying to figure that out for a while. We have a friend who decided to speak to her daughter as an adult. It seemed kind of cool at times. Maybe we could bypass all of the baby talk and just teach Ford how to communicate with respect and poise, and perhaps avoid the whining. However, for me, I can’t connect with him that way. I connect with him when I am trying to speak his language. When I can’t say my “r’s” or when I repeat the same phrase over and over, or when I say, “I wove you.” These are the moments when I feel like I can hold time in my hands like a puddle of water, and squeeze so tightly that the water only barely passes through my fingers. It’s almost as if I can stop time when I speak to him this way.
My favorite is when he says, “Babe.” The other day I was complaining about the pain in my left heel that’s been bothering me for the last 8 months. Welcome to age 33. I also have a torn rotator cuff, but luckily, the basketball league is over for now. Katie has said from the beginning of the injury to go to the doctor, but I have relied on my friends and co-workers to coach me through this one. She said, “I am not going to listen to you complain one more time until you go to the doctor.” But, before she said that she said, “Babe.” But it was more like, “Baaaeeb,” with the inflection swooping up and then down and back to normal. Ford immediately imitated this sound, and it was the exact replication of what she said, “Baaaeeb.” It was the funniest, cutest, most endearing sound he had ever made. One of the reasons it was so special is that he was like a mirror. It reminded me of how much he is listening, how much he is learning and how much we are modeling the behavior we want to see. He was able to capture the exact tone, the slight frustration, the endearment of Katie’s name calling. He was able to share with us what we sound like, what sentiments we share with each other. We have played this sound over and over on our phones. Everyone says it sounds just like Katie. It’s like a party-trick now, and when we ask him, “What does mommy tell daddy?” Ford quickly responds, “Baaaeeb.” These are moments of time I will continue to hold on to like a puddle of water in my hands. And, maybe I will drink some of this water in hopes that the moments are preserved forever.
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