Friday, May 25, 2007


WE'VE been to the West Coast and back right in the middle of May. We’ve dipped a foot into each ocean. We came back from an overcast and coolish San Diego to summer in NYC—the parks department flipped on the water fountains in the parks around our apartment, and Q and The Boy make any space you share with them smell like sunscreen and kidsweat. Sand has again become ubiquitous in our house.

Like any parent, I dreaded the six hours on the plane coming and going, and my wife and I fortified ourselves as best we could against all the problems we could imagine. We packed the laptop computer and The Boy’s favorite movies, drawing pads, pens, and pencils, books currently in the heavy rotation. My wife compiled an enviable snack bag, full of hummus sandwiches, bagels, raisins, cheese sticks, gummies in both bear and worm shapes, and several cups of dried noodle soups that only require hot water to bloom into a reasonable meal. We also brought Q’s two blankets—one big and one little (“for her eyes”). We tried, in other words, to bring as much of our house with us as we could to soften the flight as well as the landing.

Funny thing was, though, that The Boy didn’t want to bring his blankets. Until recently, he depended upon two blankets—one yellow, one sky blue with white clouds—to sleep and to assuage in general. We even used them to teach him colors in Vietnamese. Now he says they make him itch.

Whatever difficulty trying has presented him, he's always been this way. At three months (or one month, in preemie terms), he left our room for his own and slept soundly with little trouble. Around his first birthday, he decided to trade the bottle for the straw cup. He worked his way into his Big-Boy Bed before age two, after only a few nights. He never really did take to a pacifier. He eats all his meals off adult plates and tableware, and has for some time. Tectonic transitions, then, have been pretty easy for him—and for us.

And they've been a little easier for Q, too. She's watched him be big, so she knows how. Her first real night in a twin bed, on a visit to grandma and grandpa in Kansas, she slept reasonably well and came out by herself in the morning. After bringing her new Big-Girl mattress home in a borrowed car this past week, she took to it right away. (She did get up three or four times for the first few nights, to which the boy added, "I told you it wasn't a good idea.")

The Boy will be four soon, and the next year will be a big one for his brain. When he comes out of four into five, psychology tells us that he'll have a better idea of how minds work, including his own. I'm sure it won't be that big of a deal for him.

But like all his transitions, it will be a big deal for me.

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