There are these moments with Emerson:
One moment I feel Progress sprinting by - lean, agile, unstoppable. The next moment, Progress is face-planting into the pavement.
One day he's smiling and saying "Hellooo!" to strangers. The next day I ask him to say hi to his teacher and he screams, "NOOOO!" and attempts to slap me. One day his training pants are dry all day, the next day he won't come within five feet of his potty chair.
Yesterday was a perfect example. After arriving at preschool, I was clumsily unbuckling his car seat as usual, and as usual he was complaining. "Buddy, we need to go into school so you can have fun with your friends and learn new things," I pleaded. He stopped and smiled. "Yeah! 'chool!"
This was the first time I heard him say school, so my heart leapt. He was so pleased with his new skill, he repeated it all the way to class and I couldn't stop beaming.
Later that night, I was trying to simultaneously bounce Fionn on my hip, cook dinner and help Emerson paint at the table. I would paint various colors on his hand and then he would create bright handprints over and over again on the paper. When we entered his "purple phase," he surprised me by looking at his hand and saying softly, "Puple." Two new words in one day is huge compared to his rate of progress a year ago, so I couldn't be happier.
After I put him to bed, Robbie and I sat down to watch The Daily Show. Robbie's celebrity girlfriend, Maggie Gyllenhaal, was a guest and it didn't take long before she started telling stories about her three-year-old daughter. At one point, she was discussing how hard it was when they watched movies like "Snow White" together because her daughter had so many questions about the death and violence in it.
I grimaced, pained by the idea that a typical three-year-old could not only sit through an entire movie, but could formulate questions about the meaning of death. I know Emerson is advancing exponentially and I should be focusing on that, but every once in a while these reality checks knock the wind out of me.
I guess the first step toward my Pollyanna reincarnation, then, is remembering to keep my eyes on the path right in front of us and not how far we have to travel. I've told myself this about 100 times already, but maybe 101 will do the trick. I'm optimistic.