Last week we took a family outing to a place we’ve never been before. We didn’t even really know what it was or what would be there… family days with a baby have been a little hard to figure out. We’ve been to the zoo and out to lunch… but Bryan hasn’t really cared about those things much. Usually we just play around the house.
But yesterday we went somewhere new. It is hard to describe but it’s basically a huge model train display with lots of extra things for kids. I wore Bryan in the Ergo and he liked looking at all the buildings and mountains and the trains moving towards us and hearing the sounds.
At the first alcove there was a “kids” station. There were smaller train displays, a life-sized Thomas train with activities and a huge indoor playground thing. We walked in and I said “Wow Bryan will love this when he’s older!” I then looked to my right and saw a “toddler area.” We walked in and my husband and I both wondered aloud if Bryan would want to play.
I got Bryan out of the Ergo and put him down at a train table, wondering how he would react or if he would care. My husband played trains with him as he stood there reaching out for the toys. He as quite still at first (which is very unlike him.)
But only a few minutes later, he saw a large mirror and quickly crawled towards it. He stood up and played, then another toy caught his eye. Soon enough, he was enthralled with everything there. He was so excited to see new toys and was playing so well with them.
Before we knew it he was crawling out of the toddler area. I followed closely behind wondering what he would check out. He went to the train table where we showed him how to press the buttons. He thought it was SO neat and pressed them himself!
He crawled into the Thomas train, played with the shovels and coal they have in there (cute) and even crawled through a little opening they have between trains! Bryan took him up in the big kid play yard and he was crawling up the stairs and around the corners so quickly it was hard for my husband to keep up with him!
It was quite incredible. Just a few months ago, this little guy was barely mobile – rolling over and trying his best to scoot. He didn’t care much about things around him and really only wanted to chew on toys. NOW here’s this big boy, playing in big kid areas, getting himself around almost anywhere he wants and manipulating toys in different ways, finding what he wants to play with. For some reason I thought he wouldn’t enjoy this type of play until he was walking or even older.
But my baby is a big kid explorer now. I definitely cried a few mama-heart-bursting tears. It was like I was seeing him grow up before my very eyes… exploring new things for the first time… playing in different ways than he ever had outside of our home. It truly was incredible.
And then after all that fun and excitement, back close to mama he went. We explored the rest of the place with him tucked in my chest. Hands out of course so he could press all the buttons :)
I love this age. (And every age my son has gone through.) It’s mind blowing for me to see him learn new things and figure the world out. He is moving though it in an entirely different way now and I know it will only get more fun and exciting.
And at the same time, I love that he loves being held close. Being worn, snuggling before naps… it’s such sweet balm to both of our hearts.
When I used to teach parenting education, I talked about attachment a lot. One aspect I would always address is how one of the goals of attachment is your child feeling so close to you, that they know they’re secure and can branch out and learn on their own. I felt that today. Bryan knows we love him so much and he’s safe – so he can explore the world. And when he’s done… he can come back close to us. It’s sweet affirmation of little parenting things gone right and also a crazy answer to a fear I had before adoption of him struggling with attachment (that fear was gone about 2 days after we met him.)
In parenting, little things are often big things. It’s moments like these that make me stop, press them into my memory and let them wash over my soul. I’m so thankful for these little things.