My son, Zachary, is three years old. He’s actually three years, one month and one day old. He’s the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen. Not just because of his adorable smile or his beautiful complexion, both of which he got from his mother. But because of his vivacious personality, his sweet, high pitch voice and the incredibly delightful things he says. Like “renember.”
If you haven’t guessed, this is my son’s version of “remember.” For some reason he’s decided that it has one ‘n’ and one ‘m’ rather than two ‘m’s. Believe it or not, this is a symbol of my parenting dilemma. Most parents’, I imagine, if you’ll follow me.
Should I correct him, explaining about the second ‘m’? Or should I simply enjoy this marvelously quirky thing about his childhood, hoping that it will get corrected eventually (perhaps at the expense of an ‘A’ on his report card, though)? This is no easy decision for me. I take very seriously raising him to be a well-educated, successful person. On the other hand, I think it’s important for him to have his full childhood; I’ve seen too many kids who have been robbed of their childhoods by premature responsibilities for chores, siblings and even parents. How fast should I push him? How much should I simply step back and let him be his own self, and go at his own pace? And what of other sillyisms that come from my son’s mouth? For “renember” is not the only one.
We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Hawaii. We stayed at a hotel that had a large series of water slides – perfect for my son, I hoped.
We arrived too late the first day to go in the pool and on the slides, so we waited until the next day. We woke up, had breakfast and headed out to the pool. A two-hour wait later – the slides didn’t open until 10:00 and we were still functioning on Pacific Time Zone time – we finally got a chance to go on the slides. Zach absolutely adored them. We went on the small slides, the bigger slides, the straight slides, the curvy slides, and the “really biiiiig one” (my son’s description) that was wide and ran the fastest of all of the slides.
All week long, I was hoping to get Zachary to go down the slides by himself, thinking it would help his sense of independence. Mean that he’d be CEO of his own company some day, you know, that kind of thing.
But except for some random phenomenon on the first two small slides that first day when Zachary went by himself, Zachary apparently believed I was his Siamese twin. He insisted that we go ‘todeger’. Translating for those of you without kids, or those of you lucky (unlucky?) enough with kids who speak correctly, “todeger” is my son’s version of “together”. So, todeger we went. On the slides, through the river carved out of rock between the slides, near the waterfalls, under the bridges.
Each evening, before bed, Zachary would recap the day for me. “Renember, we went on the slides? Renember?” He would beam. “Renember, we went in the river, and it was soooo scaaaary. And we went to waterfalls? Renember? And we went under the bridge, renember? I like the bridge. Renember? Renember?”
Like I said, I’m torn about whether to correct him. I can’t begin to describe the warm tingling sensation I get when I hear this kind of stuff from his mouth. My arms get goose bumps. My blood pressure drops ten points. Tears well up in my eyes.
Now, I can’t stand William Shattner, the overacting ham, but I did like his character on Star Trek. He always thought out of the box and found a solution. What would he do in this situation? Hmm. I know. I live in an age of video cameras. Yes, that’s it. I’m going to videotape my son saying these wonderfully cute things, preserving the memory forever (or at least for as long as magnetic tape will last) and then break the bad news to him. “Son,” I’ll say, “We have to talk. Renember that time we went on the slides todeger…”