My Littlest Love,
One evening I was sitting on the porch swing with Daddy when the kitchen door opened, just a crack, and then slammed shut again. Next there was a little face at the window: a mischievous smile, two rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes. You were supposed to be in bed, but there was no resisting that face.
"You can come outside and sit with us," I said. The beaming face disappeared and the kitchen door opened yet again. You were smiling, holding a bag of raisins as you climbed up on the swing next to me and snuggled in close. Daddy left us to be alone. I already had some potato chips, so we shared snacks and visited. You remarked on the beautiful sunset. I told you about the movie we had watched. You told me a about a time you had woken yourself up with a burp. We laughed and laughed. We sat on the porch swing and rocked until the sun had disappeared completely below the rooftops of our neighborhood. Then I took you by the hand, walked you downstairs, and tucked you in bed. "I love you, my little boyfriend." "I wuv you too, Mommy."
When you laugh--when you REALLY laugh--I can't help but laugh with you. Your laughter comes from deep inside and it rolls out in peals of unrestrained, infectious energy. One night we had Uncle Seth and Auntie Karen and Sylvie and Gavin over for dinner. Sweet, pretty Sylvie passed some rather noisy gas--a thing that touched your funny bone. (You are in that inevitable growing-up phase of boyhood when the best joke goes like this: "Poop comes after poop! Hahahahahah!") But anyway, you laughed, your unrestrained howl of delight, and I joined in. We laughed and laughed, despite Daddy's disapproving glower.
One day you told me a story about a boy who had a flower face, an applesauce nose, paper hands, paper eyes, a candy jar butt (which one could, of course, fill with candy), and candy jar ears (one large, one small). We never did get past the description of the main character and into the plot. Maybe in a past life you were a 19th century author?
Sometimes at night I am awakened by two animated eyes peering over the top of my mattress. "Can I sleep with you?" you will ask . . . "I brought you Sally." You will hold out the stuffed blue car and show me that you had brought her counterpart, Lightning McQueen, for you to cuddle. You are irresistible, with your nighttime offerings and gleaming smile, and I let you climb into bed with me.
You know some stories by heart, my favorite of which is The Little Red Hen. I love to turn the pages of the book and hear you tell the story in your own sweet raspy voice. You will do this with Sandra Boynton's book "Green Hat, Blue Hat" and ask, each time we see the mis-dressed turkey, "Why that chicken get it wrong again?"
It's interesting to me to watch your language development. You are very good at categorizing things, but struggle with discerning between items within a category. For example, all meat is chicken. All plush toys are stuffed animals. All human settlements--cities, towns--are "earths." "He" and "she" are interchangeable. One day while we were watching your baby cousin Rebecca, I remarked that she was so cute I wanted to eat her. "Mommy," you said very seriously. "He is not really chicken. Do not eat him."
You continue to have a knack for making friends at every turn. You enjoy running around with the neighborhood children. One day you disappeared for several hours. I thought Daddy was watching you. Daddy thought Asa was watching you. Asa figured you were someone else's responsibility. By the time we realized you were missing, it had been a long time since anyone had seen you. We frantically knocked on neighbor's doors, knowing you could very well have made yourself at home anywhere. Pretty soon the neighbors were helping us find you. We finally located you at "the yellow house," the home of your friend Miles.
This reminds me of another occasion. I was shopping at the scouting store for a few items. You were upset because I wouldn't let you go down the stairs. You slunk off to feel sorry for yourself, and I had the cashier ring up my items. When I turneda round, you were missing. Sure you had gone downstairs, I traversed thebasement hallways, but you were nowhere to be seen. I had the front desk page you. No answer. Finally someone suggested I look outside. I thought it was highly unlikely that you would leave the building without me, but desperate, I checked. And there you were. Across the street. Buckled in your seat. Pouting. With all the energies of a concerned parent, I told you never to do that again. That I had been worried. That you could have been squished by a car. You burst into tears. "I sorry, Mommy! I sorry! I never do it again!" Not three hours later, you disappeared in the grocery store. I immediately ran out to check the car. Not there. A friendly shopper found you in the produce department. "Good hiding, right Mommy?" you asked. Sigh. So much for never doing that again.
One day I was sitting with you in Primary, where you sometimes struggle to sit in one spot. Randomly during Sharing Time you raised your hand. The primary president called on you. "Um, excuse me?" you said. "My brain just broke."
Periodically you will burst out with the following, each successive "I" growing louder and shriller.
"Mommy, I need to tell you something: I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . LOVE YOU!!"
Briar told me that one day you caught a ladybug. It escaped from the jar, but you recaptured it. Then she caught you tearing off its wings. "Why are you doing that?" she asked. "So it not fly away again," you explained matter-of-factly.
This summer you played soccer for the first time. You are a fast runner, but it was hard for you to keep up with all the other kids, and even harder to shove your way into the fray to get at the ball. As a result, you mostly just ran energetically up and down the field. But everyone once in a while you'd get in a kick. And when you did . . . OH BABY. You'd run over to me with the thrill of success written all over your glowing face. You'd give me high ten, low ten, wiggly ten. You'd let me give you a kiss. And then I'd send you back out to see if you could get your foot on the ball again. At the end of the season, every kid on the team got a medal. You kissed yours and quietly whispered to it, "I love you!"
Sometimes you and I will slow dance in the kitchen. You'll put one hand on my waist and hold the other one. Then we "spin" each other a lot.
Often when you get a favorable answer to a question, you will respond with a half-whispered, "Yes! I knew it!" I always laugh, which motivates you to immediately begin talking about how funny it was when you said, "Yes! I know it!"
You are my song-singing buddy. I'll make up the words to a song, then you'll sing a phrase or two, then I'll take over, then you'll go. For example, our family hiked up the Menan Butte earlier this summer, and we sang about how fast and strong we were.
You are enthusiasm and joy. You are friendship and laughter. You are (as you would insist) Liam. Liam Skousen James. My little boy. My sweet precious.
I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . LOVE YOU! So much.
Pictures taken during a Mommy/Liam walk around the greenbelt in Idaho Falls:
Shots from your T-ball experience, which was last summer, actually, but I finally found the pictures just recently. Pictures from this year's soccer season will come . . . later.
Triumphant after a home run.
About to whack that ball out of the park.
Dawn Lloyd carrying you over a potential out and onto home base.
Posing in a Lightning McQueen chair at Furniture Row. DREAM CHAIR!
Sledding in Pillsbury park. You loved to go backwards.
Smiling during a lunch date with some friends.
Posing with a self-decorated Valentine's cookie.
A poster we made for your preschool spotlight.