More often than not, breakfast at our house involves lying on the floor in front of the television, watching Boog with a poptart in hand. This well-played scenario is not one I'm particularly proud of, but there it is. I'm not a morning person. (Hell. Come to think of it, I'm not an evening person, either.)
Despite my lack of skillz when it comes to proper nutrition, breakfast is a time I enjoy with Eliot. There's not much better than lying there, cozied up next to a warm little boy, trying to capture the few blissful remaining moments of rest before the day begins in earnest.
And I do love the moments when I am able to observe our son without his awareness of my watching. When he's glued to the television screen, attuned only to the movements and words of the cartoon characters, I breathe him in, trying to memorize him as he is now. I know that these lazy days together will be encroached upon all too soon--by the arrival of a new school year, by the shift in routine back to a more frenzied pace.
The years will pass in a blur. Mornings will soon come when HE is also getting ready for school, when his life will begin to dictate its own schedule rather than conforming to mine. (Then, will I even get a kiss on the cheek before he breezes out the door and into his own day?)
And so I watch him, intently, determined to soak in all his precious little boyness while I can.
What amazes me is that he is such a person. A person! Though he is OF me, he is not me. He has his own quirks, mannerisms, small peculiarities. For instance, he always gets poptart goo all over his right wrist, from using that part of his arm to shove bites into his mouth. His gaze never wavers from the screen as he feels the poptart crumbling and reaches up to propel the resulting debris past his lips. Never his fingers, always his wrist goes up to meet the escaping food and thrust it back into that gaping maw. (He has a big mouth, "generous," his grandmother calls it, a mouth shaped curiously more like Uncle Ethan's than Daddy's.) Inevitably, some crumbs fall on the carpet, and I groan. Inevitably, I will forget to clean that part of his arm and only notice it as I'm loading him in the car to go to daycare. A fruity paste with carpet fuzz and random dirt stuck to it.
Some days those grimy bits stuck to his wrist feel like a badge of my failure as a parent, my inattentiveness. And other days I am able to simply smile at them, taking them as a quintessential sign of toddler-dom (which is all-too quickly giving way to little boy-dom).
For Eliot often talks like a child much older than his 2 years. I love how he requests his breakfast, telling me, "Mom, I want a tart." Never "poptart," always only just "tart." Then he will make sure his pillow is propped up behind him before patting the floor beside him and cocking his head to the side. "You wanna watch too, Momma? You wanna watch too? Cover up?" He searches my face for an answer.
Of course I do, Eliot. Of course I wanna watch too.
I hit "play" on the DVD and snuggle in, both of us under my great-grandmother's quilt, where our day begins.