Saturday, June 14, 2008

The last time

As the weeks, then months, and now years tick by and Joshua grows, I often realize he's no longer doing this or that cute thing anymore, yet I have no idea when the last time was that he did it. I so wish there was some way to be alerted that this is the last showing of one of the endearing mannerisms, traits, or habits he displays and then so quickly discontinues. 

When Josh was a newborn, I loved the way he would stretch backward with his hands over his head when he was full and ready for a snooze. And as he got a little older, I would always crack up when he sucked his lips in and puffed his cheeks out, making the perfect round baby face. When he finally learned the sign for "more," he banged his fists together with gusto. I always assumed that sign would disappear the minute he could say the word "more." But it didn't. Josh hung on to that sign for more than a year after he was speaking, and he used it judiciously, especially when his mouth was full yet he still wanted more food. But that too is now gone.

One of his first words was "Melmo," his custom moniker for the lovable red Sesame Street character. And when we took him to Hawaii at 2 and he had trouble pronouncing words with the "l" sound, he ran around Kauai saying, "A-yo-ha!" and "Ma-ha-yo!" Alas, when we returned to the islands last month, the cute "ys" had been replaced with the proper "ls", and if we pronounce those words the old way, Josh simply gives us a puzzled look.

As a compulsive journaler, I have recorded so many firsts over the years, from the major milestones like rice cereal, crawling, and walking to more minor feats such as first signs, first laugh, and even first Sharks game, but I have been unable to capture the last occurrences of so many things he has simply grown out of. I don't know when he last nursed or sucked his pacifier or spit up or fell asleep in my arms as I rocked him. When did he stop referring to himself in the third person ("Josh do it") or reaching his arms up to me without words when he wanted to be held? When did he stop asking me what everyone we saw was doing or where every other car on the freeway was going? And when did he lose those chubby cheeks and legs?  

Some progress I can almost piece together with pictures, lining them up chronologically and straining to see the evolution. But other advances are a complete mystery. And often I don't know he's lost a special word or gesture or quirk until long after it's gone, leading me to miss it all the more.

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