It’s official. We have no more babies in the house. Ian turned 3 today and all of our terrible twos battles are history. I survived. I'm a decorated veteran. My medals consist of everything from puke and poop and paints and crayons to scars from bites that would make an alligator proud. Granted, survival is relative. That I have sanity left to write a blog post about the experience is survival enough for me.
I’ve written before about the great handoff. Elliott was just a month short of the terrible twos himself when Ian came along. On November 3, 2008, the doctor handed Ian to Katie, Katie handed Elliott to me, and our assignments were in place for the foreseeable future.
There were days I was so busy trying to keep up with Elliott that I was luck to sneak even a peek of mama or Ian. Over time, the peeks got longer, but more and more I was peeking in on a boy trying to become the world’s biggest mama’s boy. On this, his third birthday, I'm as sure as ever - mission accomplished.
There are days I'm jealous of the way Ian clings to his mama. I'm sure Katie feels the same way as she watches Elliott trail close behind my every move. Beyond the jealously, though, I love my unique relationship with Ian. As much as I'm his father, many days I feel like his biggest fan.
The father in me has to cringe at the way Ian approaches life. It is full steam ahead with little regard for safety or right or wrong or, well, for anything really. Ian sees point A and point B. His life is nothing more than a game of connecting those two dots. It doesn’t matter if the line is crooked or colored or if anyone else even sees it. He just wants to connect those dots.
The father in me, and if the truth be known, the Ian in me, knows as the birthdays mount he won't always connect the right dots. He’ll begin to insist that A might need to connect to C or D or God forbid - Z. There are going to be days he’s going to be distracted and tempted by all the other dots in the world before he finally connects the right ones. And knowing Ian, he’ll end up convincing me that A should've been connected to Z all along. Ian’s dad will be shaking his head.
Ian’s dad the fan will want to put a life size poster of him on his office wall.
I watched Ian and Elliott run off ahead of Katie and me last night into the field where all the cars were parked for Elliott’s soccer game. Elliott heard us yell stop and he did. Ian heard us yell stop and I could swear he accelerated. I sure know he didn’t stop. Elliott ran ahead to get in front of him to make sure he didn’t go any further. Ian finally stopped, just long enough to take an angry swipe at Elliott for getting in his way. One of the many subtle warnings Ian likes to give to stay out of his way as he's moving from A to Z.
Maybe you're getting the picture that Ian has a brash personality. In many ways you're right. But I've observed something about Ian that's an even greater part of his personality: Ian spends so much time focused on where he's going in life that he spends none of it judging the people he comes in contact with along the way. To Ian, people, all people, seem to be the coolest part of the line that intersects whichever two points he happens to be connecting at the moment. He likes them all. I suppose that’s why, in spite of my account of him, people frequently comment about what a sweet kid he is.
I suppose he gets that from being a mama's boy