Before his brother arrives and changes our lives forever, I’ve been trying to soak up the greatness that is mini Gwinn. With a two year old, every day is a new adventure.
He has started singing and I’m calling it “ear chocolate ” because I can’t think of anything that sounds sweeter than his little voice carrying a melody. It’s Heaven in my music major ears. His favorite song right now is “Goldfish” by Laurie Berkner. He’s invented his own motions for the songs and loves to act it out.
His counting has really progressed and it’s super cool to hear him count to eleven on his own. He’s started identifying letters of the alphabet as well. If we ask him where a letter is, he will point to it. He kind of sings the melody of the alphabet song, but doesn’t really grasp the letter order yet.
A few days ago he just started peeing on our toilet. Totally on his own volition, he climbs onto the big people toilet (we have a nifty lid/ seat combo on the one in his bathroom with a fold- down child seat) and cheers for himself when he pees. He is also magically into the “big boy diapers” (aka the training pants) we’ve had in his bathroom for months. I’m equating it to his acute empathy for knowing something is about to change in the house. He has started saying “brother” and has felt the baby move a few times, which makes him erupt into giggles.
Children are much more sensitive to changes than we realize. That being said, after working with hundreds of children his age, I believe that mini Gwinn is one of the most empathetic children I’ve ever seen. While other children his age may be able to prattle off the names of dictators in Europe or obscure Broadway titles, I don’t think it’s fair to measure his intelligence based upon rote memorization or this kind of knowledge. He’s very physical in his learning (he is a kinetic and visual learner), but I think his emotional intelligence is really where he shines. He’s aware of how other children and adults feel around him and works to make them, well, comfortable. He’s such a naturally happy child that it throws him off when he encounters a shy child or a bully (he recovers quickly). I can give his dad credit for this contribution to our little guy’s personality – my husband is more sensitive than I am. That’s not to say I’m not socially aware, I just usually don’t care (unless I’m with people I care about). Anyway. I digress.
He’s transitioned so amazingly from “baby” to “toddler” that I’m excited to see how he adapts to being a big brother. We’ve read books to him nightly about bringing home a new baby and we talk about it regularly, but I don’t expect him to understand. I don’t think Captain Laser Pants and I fully grasp it yet. I’ve read about “sibling gifts” to exchange in the hospital and I’m leaning towards a super hero themed idea. I saw a quote from Marc Brown, a prolific children’s author, that said “Sometimes being a brother is better than being a super hero”. Since the boys have a mama who loves her super heroes, I feel like that’s a positive message to begin their relationship. I’m not fooling myself into thinking they’ll have a flawless friendship from day one, but the relationship brothers have is unmatched (sister relationships are equal but different) when it’s cultivated and encouraged. Maybe I’m being unrealistic, but I want to teach these two boys that they are one another’s support, not rivals.
And when I look at my heart walking around (that’s what I call mini Gwinn), I have a really good feeling that he will understand that he is 2.0’s mentor very early on.