Although I miss R's baby days, I'm starting to realize that having a five-year-old is pretty darn good. It's incredible how much has changed, even in just the last few weeks.
Take today, for example. It was supposed to be rainy and cool, so we were planning our usual grocery shopping and other errands. But it turned out to be warm and sunny, so we changed plans and headed outside to work on the yard. For hours, A and I mowed, raked, pruned, swept, and watered. Meanwhile, R ran around, played in the yard by himself, and helped us with raking and by watering our seedlings. This is lightyears from where we were even last year. A and I have never been able to spend time working in the yard for more than 20 minutes without having to split up so that one of us could keep an eye on/entertain R. Later, I took a nap(!!) while R played in the house and A tooled around on the computer. R being able to entertain himself safely for longer periods of time than ever before is such an amazing, freeing thing.
In that same vein of freedom, R now takes showers (all I have to do is squeeze shampoo into his hands) and attends to his own bathroom activities. Bathtime hasn't been a fun time for us in quite a while, so removing that stress has been wonderful. And, I can't remember the last time I had to wipe a teeny butt! ('Cause mine sure ain't teeny. LOL.)
R is so helpful and considerate. He seems to actually enjoy helping me around the house now and is very proud of himself when he does. He says incredibly sweet and sensitive things. In the morning, he asks me, "Did you sleep well, Mommy?"
Going anywhere just isn't as complicated as it used to be. We don't have to remember to pack snacks, water, a change of clothes, toys, etc. when leaving the house. We can hop in the car without too much thought. R even puts his own shoes on (most of the time). And, he'll check the weather outside and decide for himself if he needs a jacket or other warm clothes.
I think some of my favorite things about this age, though, are R's interests and curiosity. I love finding him sitting on his bedroom floor, poring over a Donald Duck or Calvin & Hobbes comic book. Or, doing experiments. The other day he pulled out our two kitchen thermometers and went around taking the temperature of different things. I helped him pour a glass of water from the pitcher in the fridge, and when he read the temp. on the water, he asked me to put in some ice cubes so he could see what happened. Then, he experimented with adding more water and pouring water out. He keeps making off with our tape measure to measure everything he sees - the counters, his toys, the walls, the tv remote, my butt (I swear this post will not mention my butt in every paragraph).
He's fascinated with nature and physics and how everything works, and he has tons of questions. Last night, we had a special family tv night where we ate dinner in the living room and watched the two-hour National Geographic special, "Waking the Baby Mammoth." We figured R would tire of it after a little while. Ha! He was glued to the tv the entire time; meanwhile, A and I both fell asleep (because we were tired, not because it was boring). :-) R has been talking about the baby mammoth - and the scientists who studied her - non-stop since last night. He wants to watch it again - AND the "Disappearance of the Megabeasts" special that was advertised during the special. He insists that he's going to be a scientist when he grows up. (Just like his Aunt Ericka!)
At R's annual doctor's visit this week, we didn't even need to be there. He answered all of the doctor's questions himself and he was so brave during his four shots. A and I just sat there feeling useless - and proud.
I think I'm finally starting to come to terms with the fact that I will probably never be mom to another infant or toddler. But life is so nice right now, and R is so much fun to be with, and it's so amazing to watch him grow and learn, that that's okay.
This year with R is going to be full of new things and new adventures. And, I can't wait!
Now, I must put me and my ever-expanding butt to bed. These new adventures usually require a lot of energy. :-)