Life … it is always in transition. We all start out kinda like little Simba in “The Lion King.” We move through that great circle of life as a wee baby and then graduate to a wobbly toddler. Pretty soon the tots are turning 2 years old and the world really explodes like someone who accidentally stepped on a big duck.
Take our active grandson, Jacob, for example. He likes to build tall towers of cubed watermelon on his dinner plate. He can also expertly crack an egg in the bottom of a bowl to help his mom make muffins. It is why most Saturday mornings, Jake likes to refer to himself as “The Muffin Man,” the one and only who lives in the nursery rhyme. He is also extremely fond of popsicles. But not the juice or flavored-water variety. Jacob is actually referring to popsicles made out of chocolate fudge. It is his new favorite food group and we have a box in our freezer just for Jacob. His least favorite food is probably dog food. At least that is what his mother says. Jake might need a little convincing.
“When I saw Jacob’s cheeks all puffed out, I couldn’t believe it when I dug dog food chunks from both cheeks,” Katie said, with one of those grossed-out shivers.
Oh, and then there is my personal favorite. Ask Jacob, “Who likes tacos?” He will quickly point to his chest with his left index finger, and respond with only the passion a 2-year-old can muster. “This guy,” Jacob will respond every time. My son-in-law taught him that! I hope I never forget what it was like when Jacob was 2 years old.
Did I mention Jacob learned to climb out of his crib a couple of months ago? Katie announced the event on Facebook with a photo of Jake in his crib with one leg over the rail. Someone posted a comment with a photo of Mel Gibson in William Wallace’s Braveheart garb yelling, “Freedom!” Most appropriate. This getting out of bed at night is a transition every parent fears. I know I did.
When our Ricky was Jacob’s age, about 28 years ago, we put up one of those kiddie gates at his room’s doorway. It took about five seconds before Ricky was scaling the gate like a professional mountain climber. For weeks, I’d catch him walking about the house all hours of the night. For a time, we failed miserably at all of our attempts to keep Ricky caged.
Our oldest, who just happens to be Jacob’s mommy, even got into the act trying to get her little brother to settle down at night. Katie made a video cassette tape of the dinosaur cartoon movie “The Land before Time.” She didn’t just record the movie voices and soundtrack. When there wasn’t any dialogue, she inserted her own narration of what was going on in the story while the dinosaurs weren’t conversing. Katie thought surely listening to the tape would keep her little brother in his bed long enough to doze off sometime before the dinosaurs found their happy place at the end. I can’t remember what came first … Ricky’s self-control … or wearing out the dinosaur cassette tape.
Fast-forward to now and Ricky’s nephew, Jacob, is gloriously repeating history. According to most of the “mommy blogs,” the trend when your child keeps getting out of bed is to take your tyke by the hand and march him back to bed. Very important … don’t make eye contact. Just march him back to bed and turn around and leave the room.
“The first night Chad and I musta counted 100 times marching Jacob back to bed,” a weary Katie said.
After lots of hard work, Jake is finally learning to stay in his bed and just in time. Transition will nod its head in a few months … when Jake’s little brother enters the great circle of life and we get to enjoy all those wonderful transitions all over again.