For Wyatt, this second year of life has not been about acting out but asserting independence.
One of his most common phrases these days is “No, Mommy. Noah do it.” (He always uses his actual first name when speaking in third person.)
He hardly ever rides in the buggy at the store anymore; he prefers to walk.
He’ll hold my hand like I tell him to while we’re in the parking lot and then snatch it away as soon as we make it safely inside the door.
He likes to brush his own teeth, can now feed himself without making too much of a mess and can swap out one of my DVDs for a Disney one in the player before I can blink an eye.
Wyatt isn’t supposed to depend on me for everything anymore. I get that. It doesn’t mean that I’m comfortable with the idea, though.
It was me, not him, who experienced some major separation anxiety a few weeks ago when we visited a local church for the first time.
Ever since he has been born, we have generally skipped Sunday School and kept him in the pew with us during services. At this church, he was going to be in his own Sunday School class and then go to the nursery afterward.
I made sure to linger when we dropped him off in case he was scared in a new environment with new people.
What I didn’t count on was that most of those new people were little girls. He took his spot at the table with them and gave no further thought to me.
After several minutes of me waiting for him to come running back into my arms, Zac tugged on my elbow and said, “Jenn, we can go to our class now. He’s fine.”
When Sunday School was over, we walked to the nursery to check on him. I asked Zac to peek in, still believing that if Wyatt saw me he might realize how much he missed me and refuse to stay.
Nope. He was doing great and has continued to do so every week since.
In his most amazing feat of independence yet, Wyatt potty trained himself during the week that Zac and I were home with him in September.
We bought the potty several months ago. Wyatt has used it a few times but not consistently.
We have never made a serious push toward that goal until Zac exchanged Wyatt’s training pants for big boy underwear on vacation.
After Wyatt’s first accident, Zac took him to the potty and let him finish his business. Then Zac gave him a marshmallow and told him he would get another one each time he used the potty.
About 20 minutes later, Wyatt suddenly announced his need to go to the bathroom, did what he needed to in the potty and immediately asked for a marshmallow.
That was the last time he took us up on our bribe. He is so proud of himself for his newfound skill that he has continued to use the potty every time that he has needed to since that day.
Sometimes when I look closely at his cute little face, I can almost see the young man that he will eventually become.
Maybe that’s why I love nighttime the best, especially the moment when he pulls me over to the couch and says, “Lay down with Noah, Mommy.”
I don’t know how much longer my baby will want a snuggle buddy, but he’ll never have to look far to find one.