Max was on spring break last week, and one day he invited me and Ben to his favorite diner for lunch. (On me.)
Max ordered mac 'n cheese, fries and chocolate milk. I watched him wolf down the pasta as Ben slept (yes, the baby actually napped). I cut the fries into small pieces and helped Max shake on a massive amount of ketchup. I smiled as he carefully picked up the cup of chocolate milk with both hands and drank it.
I never take for granted the accomplishments that Max has worked hard to achieve, or that have naturally evolved, but there are times when I get these major surges of gratitude for them. This has been happening more frequently lately when I'm caring for Ben and often have no extra helping hands.
As Max chowed, I felt seriously glad that he can feed himself. Holding a cup on his own is a relatively recent feat, and it was awesome to see him controlling the influx of liquid without dribbling much out.
I've also felt that flash of gratitude when I'm holding Ben and Max is walking down the stairs in front of us, on his own. And when I'm feeding Ben and Max needs to use the restroom and he just goes off and does. And when he turns knob on our back door to let me into the house when I'm carrying Ben in the car seat. And when I need a burp cloth for Ben and Max gets one. And when Max is looking out for Ben. As we were doing a stir-fry in the kitchen the other day and it got smoky, Max asked if it was OK for Ben to be around that.
I'm not only seeing Max in action. I'm also seeing the boy who used to not be able to do whatever it is, and the boy who had to practice and practice , and the boy who may have resisted doing it because he got used to Dave and me enabling him (as is especially the case with feeding). I'm seeing the whole of Max's accomplishments and his development, and I am seriously grateful.