Asher is doing fabulously in primary. As the youngest child in his class by four months, and the youngest boy by nine months, I was very concerned about his maturity. I fretted that he would cry to go back to nursery, that his spirit would be crushed by being made to sit and be quiet in the more structured confines of primary. I worried needlessly.
Today the primary president approached me in the parking lot. "I just wanted to tell you that Asher is doing great! The bishop came in to primary today, and Asher immediately yelled, 'We're in primary!'"
Further emphasizing his enthusiasm, Asher peered up at her with his clear blue eyes and declared charmingly, "Give me a hug!" He proceeded to give her a hug, and once she bent over, "Give me a kiss!" And so she did. And then he told her good-bye about 20 times.
Whenever I pick Asher up after class, he yells, "Momma!", runs, flings his arms around me, shares whatever treasure he's been given, and immediately tells me how much fun he had with all of his "friends." It's seriously like something out of a movie. On the drive home I told him how pleased I was to hear that he's so well-behaved, and he just looked out the window with a half-concealed grin.
Asher is genuinely just a sweet, indomitably happy kid. I used to think I was a very patient person, but he has since proved me otherwise. Regardless, it's nearly impossible to rain on his parade. Sometimes I think he's a steep learning curve for a first child, but I also appreciate his hardy feelings that so effortlessly withstand my frequent frustration with him. I don't know if I deserve it, but this week he has told me, "You important," "You face wook cute. You hair wook cute," (it didn't) and "You great!" He lavishes his "Thank yous," and "Good jobs!" I have been congratulated on successfully backing out of the driveway through a snow drift, and been compelled to give him two high fives for a superior diaper change. Today he picked a random person at church and repeatedly told him, "Good job! Gimme five!" I only witnessed it as we were leaving, but the man informed me that Asher had done it several times throughout the meetings.
One of my favorite Asher stories ever took place a few weeks ago when our little family attended a 60th birthday party for Dave's coworker, Mike. We were at Mike's house, and though Asher wasn't familiar with anyone there, he immediately made himself at home. At one point, Asher was playing with a helium balloon, which got away from him. Asher asked Mike to get the balloon for him, and then gestured that he should bend over. As a token of his gratitude, Asher gave Mike a big kiss on the forehead!
These are the things I must remember, when Asher is being the very essence of a three-year-old. This week he had a grand mal meltdown over his inability to whistle. He laid on the floor, straining, apparently unable to stand(?), making a moaning noise and half-pursing his lips. He would occasionally wail, "Need to help my mouf!" As if I could arrange his mouth properly and he would immediately sound like a meadowlark. The whole thing climaxed with him screaming and throwing his sandwich on the floor, which got him sent to his room.
Lately, he has been fighting naps and I'm afraid he might be phasing them out entirely. (Sob.) I still really need him to take them, and he is atrocious in the evenings without them. I can leave him in his room for a couple hours in the afternoons sometimes, but instead of sleeping he will strip his bed to the mattress, climb on his dresser, unscrew the lightbulb in his lamp and bang it against the wall, unplug the camera monitor...you name it. I adore that child so much it hurts sometimes, but we need our daily break from each other.
Finn is remarkably sweet and easy. His smile makes me feel as gooey as a Cadbury egg inside. Was Asher so easy at this age, and Finn is merely a breeze by comparison to Asher's three-year-old self? I can't say for sure. [Hence we blog for future reference.] All I can say is that Finn is a dream. He is always sweet, nearly always happy, and never throws tantrums. Unlike Asher, he eats practically anything. Asher loves his brother but has the usual dose of stinkery-ness that prompts him to see just how much Finn will put up with before he squawks. It's usually more than I am willing to put up with. Finn rolls with the punches very well. He can be found grinning, tongue protruding over his one tooth, from the bottom of a pile of couch cushions. He utters only the briefest exclamation of indignation when Asher places a similar pile of cushions as a roadblock to him.
Finn is not in any great hurry to walk, but he is progressing. I would pit him against any baby in an all-fours race though. Sometimes, if he sees something truly irresistible, he tucks his chin and hauls diaper at maximum capacity. I really need to get video of it before he's done crawling. Mostly he follows the rest of us around like an adoring puppy, tongue constantly hanging out (trying to sort out that one tooth?), until we stop and he can climb a leg. It's impossible not to scoop him up and award him a halo of kisses.
Finn is more like me in temperament. He is undoubtedly far more sensitive than his brother, both physically and emotionally. He cries when he gets hurt (normal I know, but Asher hardly did at this age), and is very attuned to facial expressions and tone of voice. I have to be far more careful in how I talk to him. Even when I am not angry, an exclamation of surprise or apprehension can make him fall to pieces. I am starting to really understand how parents have to use different tactics to raise different kids.
His speech is coming along very well. It's so foreign to me that he should be starting to talk, or that it should not be so difficult to get him to repeat me! He first said "Mama!" at seven months, and clearly in reference to me. Since he has said, "Da-da!", "Hi!" (to a man at the Republican caucus on Tuesday), and today he said, "Bye-bye." He waves, points, and plays peek-a-boo. He will sign "milk" sometimes, and is picking up "more." I suppose this is all typical behavior for an almost one-year-old, but I am in awe.
Most of all, I am in denial that he will turn one next week. I'm honestly kind of sad about it. That first year with Asher seemed to go a lot slower. With Asher I've been happy every birthday, looking forward to the new horizons that each year holds. It's different with Finn. I still feel like he should be my little newborn that only wants to cuddle and nurse. I suppose this is very typical for younger children, but it makes me a little scared for the future. I want more kids, but is each one going to grow up faster than the last? What happens when my very last baby turns one? I am going to be a wreck. Please stop me before I have ten kids.