In the early weeks of being home with a small infant, I remember looking into Luke’s brown eyes and wondering what of his traits were already the traits I’d see his entire life, and what traits were the passing phases of childhood.
It’s probably one of the best parts of parenthood; watching your child grow and understanding what those traits are. In the last several months, I feel like we are just coming to understand what makes Luke unique.
He loves music, something I suspected when he was still in utero. He’s an adventurous eater…which I suspected early on as well. And we’ve come to notice that he has the heart of a helper. One of my favorite stories the day care has passed on is the way he approaches free play. Most of the day each day is scheduled for the kids. They eat, do craft projects, have puppet shows, music time, do art projects and spend time outside. Coupled with a long nap time, their days are pretty structured. But twice a day they have a half hour of free play during which, we’ve come to learn, Luke will walk around the room watching the other kids play and, upon noticing something they need or someone one without a toy, delivers things around the room as appropriate.
Lately, he wants to help with all of the household chores. And, this can be adorable and simultaneously annoying. It can take twice as long and sometimes generate more of a mess bringing him in the loop. But, for the most part, I do what I can to make him part of the action. We wash dishes together and he helps us load and unload the dishwasher. For months he has “helped” deliver the laundry from the washer and dryer to its appropriate place in the apartment. But usually, the laundry needs refolded after this endeavor. We sweep, throw things away, and pick up toys at the end of the night. He cleans up his own spills with napkins and paper towels. When we get our monthly shipment of diapers, he can barely contain his excitement in helping us unpack things.
He’s most proud of his latest chore, feeding the cat. Without prompting, Luke’s taken it upon himself to check Foxy’s food dishes to see if they’re full. And he knows where we keep her food and points there yelling “Kitty! Food!” until I help him open the containers. It’s doubly sweet to see him so eager to help and take care of a being he loves so much.
I take very little credit for Luke’s interest in all of these activities. I think it’s a fortuitous combination of his personality and some exceptional coaching by the day care teachers. I hope it’s something we can encourage in the years to come. In the meantime, I can’t wait to learn more about what makes this little man tick and watch him put it to work taking on this life of his.