He’s climbing steps.
Not just a few, not just every now and then.
He is climbing up all 14 of our steps to the second level of our house all the time.
Pause button, please!
When we say “Time for Night-Night,” he turns from wherever he is in the house, crawls to the first landing and points up, then begins the slightly awkward shuffle of left foot up, right foot up, balancing butt up off the stairs as his hands keep grasping upwards.
When he sees a dog or a cat go up the stairs, he feels the need to follow, to explore, and then to torture them in rooms previously off limits to his imagination and exploration.
If he hears a noise upstairs or is tired of waiting for Momma or Daddy to come back down, he just finds them in his own way, his own time.
He’s getting bigger and braver and making his Momma bite her lip and hold back her own crazy, selfish fears as she applauds his every courageous moment.
Z-Man’s not just a courageous lil boy, he’s a mischievous little bugger, too. Remember throwing socks down the cat door? Well now, he throws everything down the little hole, peering down to giggle at his nifty trick.
His toys, cat toys, paper towel holders from the recycling pile, empty cereal boxes, toilet paper scraps… you name it, he’s probably thrown it down the basement steps with a maniacal laugh.
And as much as The Dude’s been turning into a clingy Momma’s boy and sharing a kiss or two with my belly lately, he is still so in love with his Daddy, and his Daddy has just blossomed, almost overnight, to the most amazing father I could ever imagine for our children.
It was Scott, excitement in his voice, who told me on my way home from work a few nights ago that Z-Man had a surprise for Momma. And Scott who followed up the stairs behind the Little Man on his first full night of stair-climbing, two Daddy hands just close enough and just far enough behind the little guy to give him room to fall — but just a little — and to succeed — and so, so much.
It is Scott who is teaching himself Sign Language after months of dragging his heels on that area of therapy for Zack.
It is Scott who is patient at mealtime and offers new and exciting things for Z-Man to try.
Scott offers up applause with which I can barely compete. He gives more frequent hugs, he shares more giggles and funny commentary.
I used to think about “Poor Me” a lot when re-living our first few months with Zack and his unexpected diagnosis. But the path Scott had to travel down was sometimes much darker and definitely a longer, windier way, with pain he couldn’t even put into words himself. He suffered… and then he survived. And now, our family is in such a beautiful place.
It’s like Zack senses this healing, too.
Yesterday, he was putting a towel over his head and I called it (and signed) his “hat.” He smiled, crawled up to the chair where Scott’s beloved 13-year-old WVU hat lay, placed it on his head with a huge grin.
“Daddy’s hat,” I said.
And Zack blew kisses to the door, as if in anticipation of Scott’s arrival from work in a short while.
He played with Daddy’s hat for hours and went back for more this morning.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s the way Scott talks about his soon-to-be-arriving Little Miss. How he rubs my belly before he falls asleep.
It’s the way he kisses Zack’s head every now and then.
How he makes Bathtime so fun for the The Dude that I half-want to jump in myself (if it weren’t for fear of not being able to ever get out!).
It’s the breakfast he made for the two of us the other day… spelling my name out in pancakes and singing songs from a CD I got him for Valentines’ Day.
It’s just the crazy, silly, growing love that is taking over our home, our world lately. (And the Snickers ice cream bars Scott went out and bought me at 8:30 last night help, too)
And it’s all because we made it down this long ole road.
And because we’ll make it through anything. Anything at all.
Today would have been my Mommy’s birthday. She was a Leap Year baby — and another blonde baby, too! I miss her as always, but it’s fun to think of her as a grandmother lately, and the damn good one she probably would have been, too. I imagine a fun grandma, full of spunk and energy.
And I’ve talked about her to Zack a lot today, pointing out pictures and sharing big smiles and big, much-needed hugs.
She is missed and she is loved.