Le Petit turned three today.
Three years ago, at approximately this time of night, I was worrying what the next hour would bring and what the next twenty years would bring, and I was pushing hard, apparently without making anything move forward into the future.
Today we took out the baby book, and I showed le Petit a picture of me with a round belly.
"See, that's Mommy, when you were in my tummy. You were itty-bitty then."
I turned the page.
"And then, three years ago today, you came out of my tummy. See, here we are at the hospital." That babyhood seems long, long behind us now.
Le Petit has grown into a little boy overnight, or perhaps over the last few weeks. I don't notice the changes until they're here. Maybe the transformation happened during my trip to Seattle. Maybe its still happening now, restricted exclusively to the days when I'm at work. Or maybe he's doing all his growing up at night, tucked into his new "big boy bed," curled up and dreaming against a wall of pillows. Wherever or however it is happening, he's growing by centimeters and by complex sentences behind my back. The pediatrician informed us that, according to the French growth charts, he has the height and weight of a four-year-old. His verbal expression is more sophisticated every day. And my husband noticed yesterday that we've hit the "whys."
Except that why, in our household, is still exclusively "pourquoi."
I may change my mind in six months, but right now I'm thrilled to have reached the whys. Bring on the endless interrogations, the chains of questioned cause and effect that will lead me to drag what little I remember of history and physics from the depths of my brain! Bring on the "Mommy, I've been wondering..."! I've been looking forward to this for three years.
This morning, for the benefit of my husband (translated into English, for 90% of le Petit's remarks are still in French):
"Why are there thunderstorms?"
My husband: "Because a mass of warm air meets of a mass of cold air."
Le Petit: "And why does a mass of warm air meet a mass of cold air?"
And for me, this evening:
"Why is the frog fountain [at Versailles, one of his current obsessions] turned off?"
Me [forgetting that the frog fountain still works, as in Louis XIV's time, without electricity]: "Because the frog fountain takes electricity and water, and we turn it off at night to save both."
Le Petit [remembering that electricity is generated by wind turbines, another one of his current obsessions, and gesturing to an imaginary mountain]: "Why are there wind turbines up there, la haut?"
Me: "We build wind turbines to make energy for lights, and music on the radio, and fountains, and other things."
It went on, the conversation circled around wind turbines and fountains and monuments, then settled into a bedtime story, and finished in a monologue that we listened to over the baby monitor as le Petit drifted off into sleep.
I know every age has its challenges, but I have a feeling that I'm going to dig three years old.