This weekend I attended the birthday party of my youngest grandnephew. He is two.
I won’t post a photo, because he’s not my kid, but let me assure you that he is right up there with the most adorable kids in the universe.
And he is SO smart. He knows all his colors (The balloon was very definitely “Lellow”) and all his shapes and can count to TWO. He can find the ON switch on any gadget and he can use the carpet sweeper to help his great-grandma clean up after the party.
I was amazed at the breadth of his vocabulary. He has more words than any two-year old I ever met, and he uses (if not pronounces) them properly.
I mentioned this to his mother Amy, my nephew’s wife. I said, “He looks exactly like his father, but Gabe was nowhere near as mature at that age.” (I may have said “smart” instead of “mature” – and for that I am sorry, because my nephew Gabe was and is plenty smart.)
Amy asked, “What was Gabe like at two?”
And I said, “Really sweet, just like his son. But also, well… goofy.”
But you know, I have thought about that the last few days. I remember Gabe as goofy, but when I try to think of specific examples, I can’t recall any. Just my general impression.
But the Sweet part?
So Amy, here are three examples of what Gabe was like as a little kid:
I think Gabe must have been about four, and he was going to either day care, or nursery school or kindergarten… I can’t quite remember. But my mother and his Aunt Ellen often helped out my sister (his mother) with getting him to and from school. One particular day, his Aunt Ellen brought him to school, and my mother picked him up.
As they were driving home, Gabe started to cry. He said to his Grandma, “I said something really bad today.”
And Mom asked him what was bad.
“When Aunt Ellen brought me to school she told me that my Grandma would pick me up. And I said, ‘Grandma is my favorite.'”
My mother was pleased that he would say such a sweet thing and she asked, “What was bad about saying that?”
Gabe answered,”Because maybe it made Aunt Ellen sad.”
My parents had a dog for a very long time. Sarge was technically my dog, but emotionally it belonged to them. And I very “generously” let the dog live with them after I went to college and then moved out on my own. Gabe was a very little boy when Sarge was already really old. Sarge was a big pest around the kids, but Gabe never seemed to mind.
When the dog died, my mother, in her protective Grandma mode, told the kids that Sarge went to live on a farm where old dogs retire, so he could run around and be happy.
One day, Gabe was at Mom’s and was cheerfully playing with his cars, and suddenly looked up at my mother and said,
“You know that farm where Sarge went? I hope it’s a really nice farm because Sarge is a really nice dog.”
I was babysitting for Gabe. He must have been about three; he was still small enough to sit up in the cart, but old enough that his older brother Zachary and older sister Elisia, were in school. We went to the supermarket. I often got groceries as part of babysitting. It keeps the kid occupied, passes the time, and I get something done at the same time. (When the kid gets a little older, I “let” him help me clean the house.)
But anyway, back at the supermarket, we eventually turned down the aisle that has the toys, and I said to little Gabe, “You can pick out one toy.”
And Gabe replied, “I can’t get one toy.”
I thought perhaps he was being greedy and hoping that his indulgent auntie would spoil him a little, because he added, “I need three toys.”
I asked him why.
Gabe said, “So Zachary and Elisia can have a toy too.”
I let him pick out three toys.
So there you have it, Amy. That is the little boy who grew up to be the man you married.
Happy Anniversary, Gabe & Amy.