Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Sweetness Of Ry-Guy

I got to spend all day with Ryan. It' pretty rare that I get to spend large chunks of time with just my littlest, without being in a hurry or having to tackle a lengthy to-do list.

When the four of us are home in the evenings, Ryan is typically out-shined by his older, louder, bossier brother. Don't get the wrong idea. Ryan LOVES being second fiddle to Jacob. He copies everything Jacob does and beams from ear to ear merely as a result of being included or acknowledged. Ryan is happy to occupy the same universe as his older brother. This is just part of the sweetness of Ryan. 

Ryan with his prized Elmo backpack clutching "Special Puppy" which had just been abducted from Jacob.

Ryan wants to love everyone. But he's hesitant at first. Shy. He thinks every new person we meet has the intention of snatching him away from his mama. It makes me feel a little bit sad that when we go somewhere, he automatically assumes that I am going to leave him and take off. I guess this is just a product of being a working mom and doing "daycare" drop off five days out of seven. But I also get a perverse joy from it. See, Ryan is a mama's boy. He is my shadow. When we are home, he literally follows me from room to room. He wants to be as close to me as possible at all times. 

When he wants to be held, Ryan expresses this request by demanding, "down!" The most frequently uttered phrase in our house is "mama, down!" I've gotten so used to hearing Ryan using the word "down" for "up" that I've subconsciously started to do the same. In the middle of the grocery store, Ryan tripped and started crying. I asked him, "do you want down?" as I leaned over to pick him up. I'm sure people think I'm a confused, sleep-deprived soul. I simply don't even think twice about it anymore. 

This morning, I took Ryan with me to a dress shop where I had a fitting appointment for the bridesmaids dress I am going to wear to my sister's wedding. Ryan stood at my heels the entire time and as slowly as a cube of ice melts, he started to warm up the seamstress. At the end of our visit, he was telling her about his Elmo blanket and his "two blanket." He told her that his favorite color was green (which was news to me) and offered to share his fruit snacks, (this offer was so very graciously declined). The appointment lasted an hour and Ryan spent the entire time, literally sitting at my feet and waiting patiently. I would look down at him and his quiet blue eyes would look warmly back at me as if to say, "you're mine." Then we both shared a knowing smile. Ryan and I have an unspoken bond. We can say everything to each other without saying anything at all. 

As we left the store, I strapped his backpack to his back, held his warm, chubby hand and we walked out the door. As we exited, a symphony of "awwws" and "he's too precious" and "isn't that so adorable" bid us farewell. Right there, holding his hand, I felt like a princess. What did I do to deserve the company of this precious little prince?

Before heading home we stopped at my sister's house. During our ride we listened to music and as each song ended, Ryan demanded, "more please!" As the next song played, Ryan cheered happily as if I was the generous keeper of the music and it was my very will that allowed the notes of each new song to sprinkle through the air. I started to bob my head back and forth with a song. Ryan laughed and started to do the same. The second I stopped, Ryan yelled from the back, "dance mommy!" I thought the end of the song would bring me solace, but no such luck. "More song pees!" Ryan demanded. The next song started and Ryan commanded "dance!" In the middle of Interstate-5, my sweet little man and I bobbed our heads to a Zac Brown Band tune and shared a laugh. 

Ryan is currently in the stage of toddler hood where he repeats everything. When I tell him something, he repeats the exact same words right back to me as if to affirm what I am telling him. Hearing his mouth play with new words, I am reminded just how much of this world is a constant  learning experience for him. It must be so wonderful to be a child and to encounter something new with every step.

"Mommy, where are we going?"
"We're going to the store."
"Going. To. The. Store?"
"Yes. I need to buy some milk."
"Buy some milk."
"You need milk for your bottle."
"Milk for bottle."
"Mommy, where are we going?"
"I just told you. We're going to the store to buy milk. Maybe bread too."
"Store buy milk. Bread too."
"Yes, Ryan."
"Mommy, where are we going?"
"Ryan, where are we going?"
"To see grandma."
"No, we will see grandma Monday."
"See grandma Monday."
"Mommy, where are we going?"

Without Jacob, I get to know a little bit more about Ryan. He is so much quieter than his older brother and much more low key. When Jacob is here, Ryan is always on his toes. But without Jacob, he is much more relaxed and content to peruse all of the toys slowly, on his own time. He strongly prefers sports to all things. Jacob would sit and do a puzzle and enjoyed anything slightly mechanical. Ryan just wants to kick, throw, and hammer. Occasionally he will turn the pages of a book. 

At home or out on an adventure, Ryan never strays far. He never goes to a room in the house where there is not already a person. He is connected to my hip and will throw a fit if, heaven forbid, I try to shut the bathroom door before he has joined me. He loves being with his daddy just as much as he loves being with me. Although I am usually his default, he is willing to take Daddy as a substitute anytime. 

Lately, Ryan will do something he is proud of (build a tower, etc.) and tell us to "look." In the car today, he had a baby wipe in his hand and meant to toss it up to me. When the baby wipe didn't quite make its target and instead landed on the headrest of the front passenger seat, Ryan howled hysterically and shouted, "mama, LOOK!" He was insanely proud of his accidental joke. He then repeated his demands, waiting until I would comply each time, for the next ten minutes. 

Ryan also likes to "hide" somewhere and yell out, "see me!" This game usually begins at the most inconvenient time. For example, during dinner. Last night, while we were trying to enjoy taco night, Ryan slipped from his chair, ducked under the table and yelled, "see me!" 

Today, Ryan and I ended our afternoon by grocery shopping. Then he played quietly by my feet as I prepared dinner. After dinner, we sat in the living room together watching Elmo and playing with balloons. During bedtime, I snuggled next to him in his bed and sang him songs while holding his sweet little hand up to my cheek. I studied his profile, back lit by the soft glow of a lamp on the dresser at the far end of the room. The gentle curve of his nose was something that I knew well. It was the first distinct feature that I had recognized from his baby ultrasounds. It was the very first thing that was uniquely Ryan. I waited as his breath evened out and sleep claimed him. In that simple moment, I felt like there was no one in the history of the world that had ever loved anyone as much as I loved the sweet little boy clutching my hand. 

1 comment:

  1. I read this, and then snuck in to cuddle with Henry while he napped. :)