When I look back at those pictures, he really was a baby. And even now, in all his long, skinny boy-ness, I can still see his round-cheeked baby-ness in his face when he's sleeping.
But I know he's crossed over into boyhood -- no more baby or toddler anymore. Here are five recent signs that he's really growing up:
- Baby and Blanket: For years, Junius's naptime/bedtime holy trinity has been a cup of milk, Baby and Blanket. "Baby" is a tiny white bear that came attached to a vase of flowers someone sent to me when Juni was born and somehow became his most trusted sidekick. "Blanket" is a soft, pale green blanket with the satin edges and back embroidered with his name and birthdate, a custom gift from a sweet friend. Last week, Baby and Blanket went missing for two days and no one -- not even Junius -- seemed to notice.
- Calendar: Junius generally measures time in awake/sleep increments -- as in, "What we are doing after this nap, Mommy? and the next nap?" Recently, we posted a big desk calendar on the wall and wrote his events on it, letting him cross off each day as they pass. He's finally starting to understand time, at least enough to count down to his birthday.
- Library: He's starting to show his independence by solving problems for himself. For example, at the library last week, he walked up to the counter in the children's section, politely told the librarian he wanted a book about Buzz Lightyear and followed along with her to pick out the book he wanted -- all without any help from me. It's a small thing in some ways, but it seemed so big to watch him do it.
- Mechanical bull: He's also becoming (occasionally) more willing to try new things, like jumping off the diving board or riding the mechanical bull (see photo) at the Hebrew National Better-Than-A-Picnic cookout in Moore Square last month. Junius has never been a risk-taker (another trait he picked up from his mama), but he's starting to venture beyond his comfort zone now and then.
- Quiet Time: For his first two years, Junius napped little, if at all. It was painful (although he was remarkably cheery when I wasn't trying to force him to nap), but he's made up for it by finally learning how to nap and continuing to take a nap late than many other kids. Until recently. For the past few weeks, most afternoons have involved a "quiet time" period of exile in his room with no napping while his sister slept. I suppose it's a good thing, given that he starts kindergarten next month, but I'm still sad to see the nap go away.
That wraps up Day Three of Junius Fest 2010, which included a cookie cake at the pool with his best girls to celebrate his birthday eve. If you missed them, you can read about Day One and Day Two (which included a visit from Nanna and PopPop) in preparation for Day Four (also known this year as his Actual Birthday).