Sometimes I look at Jack and can see our future, see him as a teenager. He is so serious when he says, “Well, mom, when you said that it hurt my feelings,” or “Mom, I didn’t like that. I’m going away from you.” He is trying to be grown up and yet so obviously unprepared to deal with what that means. I know how he feels.
Jack has a close friend at daycare again. He and Sydney are often chasing each other around when I arrive to pick Jack up. On the drive home yesterday, Jack told me, “Sydney is my best friend, mom. She’s a nice girl.” I’m thankful her parents have kept her in the daycare rather than moving her to preschool. I worry about the day the two kids will be split up, though. I wish I could give Jack the kind of childhood where he grows up with the kids down the street. I’m not sure that kind of life exists in the city.
When we get home for the day, Jack usually runs to the front door and announces “I beat you!” This time, he forgot to run and I got there first. He dissolved into tears because he wanted to win. I tried to explain that sometimes other people have to win: “you can’t win all the time but you should always try your best.” He didn’t like that, of course. I took him back outside to redo the “race” and halfway to the door he turned around and hit me to make sure I wouldn’t beat him to the door. That brought on another explanation about how we don’t sabotage others just because we want to win very badly…yes, these are the conversations I have with my not-quite-4 year old child. I’m sure I will repeat them over and over as he grows.
Lately Jack has become attached to a stuffed monster he calls Starbucks. (How’s that for a sign of the times?) He brings that monster to daycare every day. Today he forgot and I was running late so I neglected to remind him prior to leaving the house. We pulled up to G’s house and I unbuckled the carseat. Jack started looking for Starbucks right away and my heart sank. I saw his face when he couldn’t find his monster and when he asked me where it was, I told him the bad news. Cue tears. I felt like crying, too. “I’m sorry we forgot Starbucks, honey. I will bring him to you when I pick you up today. I know you will miss him today.” I considered going back home to get his toy before driving to work… “He’ll recover,” G said. I know she was right but still…I wish I had gone back home.