I’m feeding all the gender stereotypes. Forgive me. But you’ve gotta meet this kid. At two years of age, he wears size six-to-twelve-month pants, swan dives off the growth chart, and eats peanut butter crackers before bed to keep his glucose up. Yet my son, Tophs, trots around like he’s got the pecs of Zac Efron and the footwork of Cristiano Ronaldo. If he were White, he’d flip his hair. But his curls kind of bead up in the back, especially after a long ride in the carseat. #BlackKidProblems.
We took him to an appointment at the hospital recently, and this female resident was listening to his chest. The whole time Tophs was giggling, showing off his rib cage and left dimple. As she unfastened his diaper, he really turned it on, and I wanted to run. How has my kid learned to flirt? He’s the one stopping mid-aisle in Target to wave to a woman and holding out his arm to waitresses as they walk by.
Let me be clear: HE IS NOT MIMICKING MY HUSBAND. Paul doesn’t wear his sunglasses upside down.
TOPHS=Tiny One PHull of Swag. See what I did there?
His two-year-old check up is next month, and I know his wonderful pediatrician will ask me all sorts of questions that any good mother could answer: How much milk does he drink? Has he ever pooped acorns? Is that him riding a moped in a full body cast? But every time, she manages to stump me, and I feel negligent. This time, I’m preparing. I’m writing down his words.
I’ve learned not to worry much about milestones. There’s always some showoff in storytime who is crawling at five weeks. Like I care. Do something useful if you’re gonna do it early. Grill bratwurst. Refinance my mortgage. Plus, Eliot and Tophs both walked at seventeen months for about a week before deciding they’d rather be carried.
Anyway, I was writing down Tophs’ words in his baby book, a blue Moleskine journal filled with ridiculous notes like: “His poop is still loud.” Really? What does that mean? And “Tophs has four bottom teeth!” When will this ever. Matter? Ever. Will those be the first permanent teeth to fall out when he’s 80? Will his dentist ask him, “Mr. Harris, do you remember if these four bottom teeth were the first to come in? Because they are certainly the first to rot.”
One of Tophs’ favorite words is “Babe.” And he says it with this deep, stoned voice, like “Baaaaaabe.” He wakes up in the morning and calls from his crib, “Baaaaaaaabe. All done. All done, Babe.” As I logged his words, it hit me: Tophs has learned exactly what he needs to take a girl out on a date. I’ve totally mother-of-the-year’d this thing, imagining his first date, using all his favorite phrases:
**TOPHS ON A DATE**
She gets in the car. “Babe,” he says, checking her out. “Hot.” Then puts his sunglasses on upside down. He holds up the Frozen soundtrack. “Song.” As “Let it Go” plays, he lifts up his free hand, tucking it under his armpit. “Watch this!” he shouts, performing his signature move, the Broken Eagle Wing. “Dance!” he encourages. The last note ends, and he wants more: “Again!”
They pull up to the restaurant, and he opens her door: “Go.” He pulls out her chair at the table: “Sit.” Then he sits down: “I sit.”
Finally, the waiter arrives. “Amen,” says Tophs. Tonight’s special is peanut butter crackers and almond milk: “I want,” Tophs says. The waiter asks if Tophs wants Miralax in his milk. Tophs shakes his head “no” and says, “Yes!”
The date seems to be going well. And then a sound. Tophs raises his church finger and excuses himself from the table. “Uh oh,” he says. “I pooped.” He returns in a few minutes wearing the same blazer but different pants. He smiles. “All done, Babe.”