"Big Handsome" came into this world at 4500 grams - one ounce shy of ten pounds. He looked like an eight week-old baby on his second day. He even smiled. A lot.
In the beginning, he seemed to double in size every month. I would rock him to sleep, and the next morning, I could swear he looked like a different baby. These bathtime photos were taken in the first twelve weeks.
This morning, I read Annie Renau's post on the subject of kids who don't look their age and I immediately identified. The author has a child who is quite small for her age, and she lists one compelling advantage to having a child look younger than they are - their abilities appear far more impressive.
The opposite can be true for children on the other end of the spectrum - the big-for-your-age kiddos. With Will, I sense a general failure-to-impress, until someone asks his age. Divulging his age is undoubtedly met with wide eyes and a resounding, "Oh. Wow. He's huge!"
Will is a big guy, but he's perfectly proportional and has crazy muscle tone and stealthy coordination and he just seems older.
Until he opens his mouth.
He has been speaking in full sentences and comprehending complexities since I can remember. But, he spoke his own language for some time. Mairin and Leighton frequently jump in to translate.
Nursing my little boy on an airplane or at Ravinia routinely drew double-takes. Even if people passed no judgment, I was conjuring images of Jamie Lynn Grumet on the cover of Time magazine.
People would occasionally look at Will and say things like, "Wow. He doesn't talk much, does he? It's okay. Boys are slower." I would then have to say that he was only 11 months, or 14 months at that particular time. No need to make excuses for my babbling baby.
Even now, two months away from turning two and a half, using big words and full sentences, he sounds like a toddler. But, at 3'4" and 39 lbs, he looks like he's at least four years old.
I definitely got looks yesterday when he perpetually ascended the picnic table at the Renaissance Faire. "He's got a LOT of energy," said our picnic tablemates. The family seated next to us had a boy who looked to be about 5 and the same size as Lord William.
The Kindergartener peered at Will as if to say, "Why do you get to climb on the table?" Still, that boy sat and ate quietly while Will waited impatiently in the heat for his food, and I tried desperately to keep his butt on the bench.
I may sound hyper-sensitive, but I anticipate the world's high expectations for Will. He is my constant reminder to appreciate every kid I encounter. Children grow and change and learn at their own pace and no two are alike -even within a family. DNA does not replicate the same way every time and the differences bring welcome texture to the family dynamic.
I resist the urge to compare and contrast members of my own brood. It's fun to recount who did what when, and how tall they were and when they were potty trained or knew the ABCs or could sing or read. They are only little for so long and the first firsts are the most fun.
If I'm being honest, my singular expectation for my three wonderful children, is that they seek out and do things that fulfill them. I don't really care what those are. I simply want to give them the tools to create rich and happy lives for themselves and the ability to sustain satisfaction.
That just might be the highest expectation of all.