Last week our family landed at our favorite local coffee shop for sandwiches and coffee while we had a house showing. It was dangerously close to nap time so I was extra diligent in helping our kids remember manners in the otherwise quiet shop. A beautiful elderly couple sat in chairs near us, enamored with our kids but mostly with Everett.
The woman told him, "Your smile is bright as sunshine!"
He smiled again to prove it.
The gentleman had a strong Dutch brogue and chuckled at the amount of activity happening at our table.
The kids ate. Everett tried to sneak under the table. The kids talked. Everett tried some tricky stunt on the bench he was supposed to be sitting on. The kids helped clean up. Everett saw something in the display case that he thought needed his grubby hands all over.
S. took care of three kids. It took all of me to keep Everett going in the right direction. He was amiable, funny, and mischievous.
We were packing up to leave and the kind woman watching said with a knowing wink, "I see you have an alpha male there."
I laughed. "Yes. That's one way to put it."
She leaned closer to impart her grandmotherly (great-grandmother, I learned later) wisdom. "Those are the best kind. They may take the most work to raise but it's worth it. It's the 'sheep' I worry about. That one that you have...he's definitely not a sheep."
I laughed again. "True. True."
Then I had to leave abruptly because while the other children were waiting for me, I realized Everett was already exploring the parking lot.
I am learning with Everett that sometimes when I think he must need more intervention, what he really needs is more independence. For example, we have struggled with Everett regressing in potty training. My instinct was to hover, to remind him too often, to decide for him when to go. Then one day I heard the toilet flush, the sink go on and off, and a very satisfied Everett emerged. Apparently he needed to do it all himself.
Everett is quite social like his dad (I have yet to have an introverted child...). Right now he is intent on learning social cues. If he does something funny he will continue to test it until it is no longer funny (and then still try again just to make sure the moment has passed). He also has been observing faces. We were at the Y and Everett was intently studying a woman while she watched her kids swim. I had wondered a couple weeks earlier if this particular woman was tired or had endured a sad season of life.
Apparently Everett was wondering the same thing because he pointed from across the room and said, "Why that lady so sad?" (Fortunately it sounded like "I dat lady do dad?" and she didn't pick up on it.)
Yesterday at the bakery he saw a man walk through and inquired, "Mom? Why that man have a mad face?"
"I don't think he's mad, Everett. He's just in a hurry and doesn't seem to have a very cheerful resting face."
It's very difficult cuddling with Everett...because it takes all the restraint in the world to not bite his little cheeks. Something in the combination of his charisma and impish little grin calls to be munched on. He is affectionate and feisty at the same time, reminding me very much of the Tadema boys on my side of the family. The other night after wrestling him to bed by tickling, tossing, and giggling he insisted on giving me three kisses and an equal amounts of hugs. I knew he was procrastinating, knowing all this would keep me there longer.
Then as I was insisting "Last one," he patted my back and said,
"You a great mom."
"and you are a delightful son."
My prayer for Everett this year is that he would be excited about Jesus. When Everett is excited about something, there is no stopping his zeal. I pray that God would capture all that passion and enthusiasm to use for His glory. I also pray for protection over him physically because he doesn't have a lot of fear and can be impulsive in his bravery. He is a little warrior; dreaming about conquering bad guys and confident he could proficiently shoot squirrels with S.'s air soft gun. I pray that God would even now be preparing him for spiritual battle; equipping him to know the Word and to love prayer.
Today, Everett requested spiderman on his cupcake. Done. In fact, the spiderman figurine we have is able to hold 2 of the candles as fire torches. We'll see how that goes.
Happy third birthday, Everett Clifford!