No longer a baby. Not really. Once you can get up on your two sturdy legs and go places under your own steam, it’s a new phase. (Sniffle.) There’s empowerment happening in other arenas, too. Your sister hogs the train set and grudgingly gives you a single measly boxcar to play with? Bop her over the head with the railroad bridge! She pushes you off the cushion (or “squooshion,” in her charming parlance) she wants to lie on? Pull her hair! Because you are done being a passive infant. You are a boy with ideas of his own now. You are a playmate, not a plaything. Notice has been served.
This is new, too, this fierce face with manly shouting. I was struck by a sudden vision of Jolyon as a soccer captain commanding his defenders into position for a corner kick. I don’t mean to thrust either of my children into the realm of sport, believe me—I’ll be pleased as punch if my boy would rather be a musician or a thespian or a scientist and never feels a whiff of desire to pound a rival into the mud of the pitch—it’s just that I’ve played competitively myself and the likeness was unmistakable. But oh, he is still sweet and small, too. (And funny. Hello, tongue!)
The other night he reached for Ada’s hair, paused, fixed me with his roundest and most serious eyes, and deliberately shook his head no. He reached out again and gently stroked her curls. We praised his decision most enthusiastically, and Ada announced, “Jolly IS a good boy! That’s why we chose him.”
Thanks for choosing us, Pippin. I’ll walk anywhere with you. Although I’m going to miss this view enormously: