We've come to the end of an historic week. We witnessed the inauguration of our country's first African-American president, a significant event at some level for all of us. But there were also moments of impact less noteworthy to the country at-large. For example, Elliott arrived home from daycare each day this week without a new illness or any of its symptoms in tow. A week free of doctor visits. And, as nice as it is to be on a first name basis with the local pharmacist, I've not missed the embarrassment of hearing him ask in front of a lengthy and impatient line of customers "will you be having the usual Mr. Cartwright?"
Elliott's enriched health stimulated an appetite that, for him, has to feel like finding a new best friend. Until now, with some coercion, Elliott has nibbled his way through just enough food to satisfy basic toddler nutrition standards. For Elliott, eating a meal was like finishing another dose of Amoxycilin, unpleasant but necessary. The only delight came with the relief of another completed chore. But this week, a switch came on that opened his mouth wide and turned on the lights of his stomach, exposing the joy that is possible with a good meal. Once discovered, it is a joy Elliott has continued to act on without pause.
Wednesday evening Elliott's dinner consisted of the following: Two chicken McNuggets, half of a large apple, a hand-full of grapes, two slices of cheese, and three pieces of cinnamon toast. It is not an exaggeration to say he has, on many occasions, gone an entire week without eating as much. As taken back as I was when Elliott suddenly changed his perspective on quantities, it was downright entertaining to see his change in spirit towards the process. A piece of cinnamon toast, previously cut in to tiny, perfect squares and placed on a small plate, was now racing a second piece to reach Elliott's stomach first, whole! Apple bits sprayed out of his mouth in the excitement of his request for "another piece of apple please." No longer a chore, Elliott cheers for dinner time.
I haven't dismissed the theory that Elliott's eating habits are fear-driven. Ian continues to grow at an alarming rate, at least in the context of future grocery bills and the incremental cost of each X on clothing tags. Elliott looks more confused each day when we refer to him as the big brother. Expressions of "Are you sure about that" have turned into "you must be blind". As much joy as eating brings Elliott now, at least one smiling eye has Ian in sight at all times.
Ian has been chattering more lately. You can see him fighting with his tongue, intently searching for the right formation to speak his mind. I do wonder what his sounds would say if he could successfully organize them. I don't imagine it would be much more than "I'm hungry", but his constant smile leaves me curious. But then again, Elliott talks up a storm these days, and I'm often left more confused than ever about his thoughts, and once in while, recalling with some fondness the days he wrestled to form his own words.