The first words are a marvelous milestone, especially to first-time parents. Of which I am one.
Sure it’s usually something of the “mama” or “dada” variety. And if we’re being honest, let’s cop to the fact that sometimes that first word isn’t really a word. It’s something the kid utters that MIGHT be a word. Maybe is a word. Or at the very least, could be a word. So we count it. Because despite how each of tries to play it cool, we’re all rushing toward that particular milestone so we can call our parents, tweet about it and put it on Facebook.
When Will started talking it was a very proud day for me. But it’s nothing compared to the last month.
Will isn’t talking anymore. He’s communicating. He’s stringing together longer (and grammatically correct no less) sentences. He’s reading facial expressions and deciphering tone of voice. And frighteningly enough, he’s even harnessing a little bit of dad’s sarcasm and purposefully joking around.
And I cannot get enough of it.
When I pick him up from daycare I always ask him how his day was. And he proceeds to tell me about every little bit of it. How Jacob pushed him after he growled at him. How Miss Marcie scolded him, but he knew he deserved it because he didn’t want to pick up his toys. And he even asked me to give another one of the boys in his class a hug one day, because Will was sure the boy was sad for some reason.
And that’s all good. Really, really good. Unfortunately, with the good comes the…other stuff.
We do not let Will shoot guns, even with his fingers. He knows that is strictly forbidden and ends with a toy being taken away. But one day about two weeks ago he was watching Spiderman and had an epiphany. When I came around the corner it appeared—to the untrained eye—he was shooting guns again.
“Will!” I said with exasperation. “How many times do I have to tell you NO GUNS!”
“Dada, calm down. It’s not guns. I’m shooting spiderwebs. And spiderwebs are OK because they no hurt people.”
First of all the little shit told me to calm down. Second, he had me. I told him it was OK to watch Spiderman because Spiderman was a superhero who helps people. And if Spiderman uses his webs in non-violent ways, how can I in good conscience tell Will he can’t emulate Spiderman? So now he walks around shooting spiderwebs everywhere he goes, all the while proudly citing his newfound loophole. He better not turn into a lawyer.
Then we were watching one of my favorite family-friendly movies, The Sandlot. When it got to the part where Squints starts “perving a dish,” Wendy Peffercorn pops up on screen in all her lifeguard glory. This movie first came out when I was a freshman in high school, and I spent many a lonely night thinking of Wendy. So I guess I probably shouldn’t have been TOO surprised at what came out of my son’s mouth next.
“Wow dada. She is SMOKIN’ hot!”
He said it just like that. With the emphasis and all. He also said it again when MJ tried on her dress she wore to Nate’s wedding, but I’d have to agree with him there. It’s nice to know we share the same taste in women. I should’ve named him Oedipus.
But by far the coolest—and most shocking—thing Will has said lately came just before we left for Delaware.
We weren’t doing anything noteworthy at the time, just hanging out. But all of a sudden Will turned to me and looked me dead in the eye, with a very purposeful and determined expression on his face. And then he told me something I’m always going to treasure.
“Dad, I love you. You’re my best friend.”
Then, a few seconds later, he asked me if I had something in my eye because they were red and I couldn’t stop rubbing them. Yeah buddy, dad definitely has something in his eye.