The school year is now over. The last final exams have been graded, course grades have been turned in, and I can now stay at home most days with Sharayah and Lucas. There is still some work to be done during the summer, but most of it can be done from home. I'm really excited to have more time at home this summer. I have a ton of projects around the house that I've been wanting to tackle pretty much since we moved in. I also have a lot of books I've been meaning to read. Mostly, I have a Boy to watch learn and grow. I've talked about my nice schedule before; I already get more time at home than most full-time jobs would normally allow. Still, during the summer I'll be home almost always. Sharayah has had a monopoly on Lucas time that I plan to take over for the next few months.
It's about time, anyway. He is really digging her lately, and I want a piece of that pie. Lucas, as we have mentioned, is developing all kinds of preferences, and they are only getting more frequent and well-defined as time goes by. Currently, he's firmly in the middle of that phase where he consistently wants a particular parent to do (or help him do) each particular thing throughout the day. For most things, that's Sharayah.
She's mentioned that during breakfast, I am not allowed to identify the things in his book as he frantically points at them. If I do, or if I look like I'm going to, he will wave his arm at me as if to shove me away (even though I'm clearly too far away to be shoved). We have a post-meal routine for getting him out of his highchair and cleaned up which used to involve her taking his tray and me unstrapping him and carrying him to the sink, where I hold him while Sharayah washes his hands and face. No longer. If I start making my way behind him or reach to unstrap him or pick him up, cue the grunting and attempted shoving. Sharayah has to do the whole thing on her own, now (don't worry, she's quite good at it from doing it alone while I'm at work, anyway). Sometimes, Lucas won't even let me take off his shirt at bedtime. I say something like, "Ok, Lucas, let's take off your shirt," and he grabs it with a death-grip and runs to Sharayah, saying "Momom! Momooomom!" Of course, you know what he does if I reach for his shirt anyway. Shove. There are many other examples. It's fun to sit and think about them. He's such a funny kid.
I take all these things in stride. All the wobsites say it's normal for toddlers to strongly prefer one parent or the other for various tasks, and it's best not to try to force them to do otherwise. It's a passing phase. Besides, there are also things he prefers me to do. At bedtime I sit in the rocking chair in his room and read books with him. He wants me to read the books to him. At various times, he chooses me to carry him when we're going somewhere (this one's kind of a toss-up - we never really know who he will want to carry him). Sometimes he wants me to push the shopping cart. If that's his choice, what happens when Sharayah tries to push? Yeah. Shove. Getcho hands offa my cart, Momom. I want Daaa. Ah, it's nice to sit and think about the things he wants me to do for him, too.
I don't know how he chooses. Some of the things are obvious: habit, or routine. He wants whoever he is accustomed to for a particular task to be the one who does that task. For some things, though, he has recently made us switch (ok, usually when we have to switch from a set-in routine, it's because he's choosing Sharayah). Interestingly (but possibly coincidentally), he shifted several tasks to Sharayah around the time I went back to work after spring break. My theory is that he got used to me being home all day, and then he was mad at me for leaving everyday again when break ended. Or, you know, that just happened to be when he entered this phase. For still other things, he might choose either one of us for the same task at different times, depending on who knows what. Once he does, though, there is usually no convincing him otherwise. Although, now that I think of it, sometimes Sharayah can get him to let me do stuff by giving me "permission" to do it: "Lucas, you can let Dada put your socks on. Then we'll go outside and play." It doesn't always work, but sometimes.
At the end of the day, he is just a really funny little guy. He's so often a little ball of energy and sweetness packed into a package small enough you wouldn't think it would all fit. I can't wait to spend all summer with him. Maybe by the end he will let me look at him during breakfast.
Disclaimer: Lest anyone think otherwise, Lucas is still ridiculously sweet. It's just funny to talk about the silliness above. As earlier chronicled, he loves to obey us. He's super affectionate with Sharayah, and very huggy with both of us. Sometimes he'll run up to one of us, shout his name for us, grab our hand, and lead us away somewhere (or no where in particular, just walk around holding our hand). Yesterday while we were all playing, he suddenly stopped, ran over to me, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Then he ran over to kiss Sharayah. Then he just picked up playing where he left off. Gah.