Penguin has displayed the endearing habit of late of helping his little brother with the more subtle of life’s frustrations. Wait – first – let me comment: when did Penguin get SO big? Really. He had a massive growth spurt some time in the last month or so and he is now about 45 pounds and I’d peg him at maybe 40-43 inches in height. It’s staggering.

Anyways, he’s been trying to lend a small hand now and then when Owl shouts out in frustrated anguish. Just this morning, Owl was trying to figure out how to turn on his tunes so that he may dance and just could not figure out the buttons. He let out a shriek and threw the toy down (and why is this the behavior that has been consistently and effectively passed thorough our genes and into the children?) and started crying. Penguin, who had been lounging by me in a wonderful morning cuddle (which he still asks for every morning <heart melts>), suddenly sat up, saying “Ok, Ok. Don’t worry about this,” and then proceeded to turn on the music for Owl so that he could practice his moves.

I had an instantaneous flash forward to Penguin at age 8, Penguin at age 15, Penguin at age 20, always doing a little something to lend a hand to his brother. Help with a toy in their childhood. Dating advice in their late teens.  In these moments, I forget the full-on body blocks that can make up so much the day. Clearly Owl does as well, as he has been giving what I term “head hugs” as of late to his brother. If Penguin is laying down on the ground or some other place that Owl can reach, he lays his head down on top of Penguin’s and keeps it there for a moment or two. The first time it happened, Penguin didn’t know what was going on and pushed him away, thinking Owl was on the make for his toy. When I explained that I thought Owl was giving him a form of a hug that was only for him, he’s lay there patiently until Owl is finished ever since.

In the earliest year or two of Penguin’s life, I remember thinking that I would be so glad to be done with infancy. Everyone warned me to watch what I wished for because time has a way of getting away with you. On the one hand, I still believe now what I believed then. Of course I adored Penguin as an infant.  But I just love childhood. I’ll love adolescence and his movement towards adulthood. I’ll love knowing him as a man. He’s so interesting and funny and charming and delightful and silly and perplexing and difficult and stubborn and wonderful. Really, really wonderful. I saw the hints of that in infancy, but like a delicious sweet that has moved from ingredients to batter to cake, I’m starting to really get to enjoy all the flavors that makes him, well, him. That said, there was a moment this morning, when I said to no one in particular, “stop, please.” Not stop growing or maturing, as I want to know that Penguin of the next year and the next year and the next so badly. No,  stop the fact that there will be a day when he won’t be interested in the morning cuddle. Maybe stop the day from coming when a hug from Mama does not, cannot, cure all. Or don’t stop it, really. Just don’t let it come too soon.