I can’t tell you how many times a day I stare at Jack and ask, ‘What does the cow say’? He stares back at me intently, but doesn’t say a word. This is right around the time I go ahead and answer my own question: The cow goes Moo! No matter what high pitched, animated, smiley as sunshine voice I say it in, he never repeats me. Actually, most of the time I think he secretly knows the joke’s on me, as he laughs and heads back to climb the stairs for the 1000th time.
This whole cow business started when a friend of mine who has older children, told me that at the 18 month public health check-up, the nurse is going to ask Jack what sounds certain animals make, including the glorious cow. For once, I want the public health check-up to be a positive one. At his twelve month appointment, he wasn’t walking (strike one), took a long time to put a blue block in a cup (strike two) and gained more weight than than the nurse’s chart would have liked (strike three). So, I’ve been planning to have Jack show some stroke of genius at 18 months.
Silly momma, tricks are for kids, and they don’t do them when it’s actually showtime. If Jack could recite sonnets all day long at home, I am willing to bet if the public health nurse asked to hear one, Jack would pull out the old, look into my adorable blueberry eyes, as I smile in silence, routine.
This past weekend, my husband and I took Jack to Lester’s Farm to see the animals and try our hand at the corn maze. We saw a pig sleeping off what I can only assume was a severe slop hangover, baby goats following us along the gate and two horses, which honestly, are the most magnificent creatures I have ever seen. Then, I saw them; the cows.
As we walked up to them, I sprang into mommy teaching mode, trying to get Jack to look at me, as I explained to him that these are the cows I’m always going on about. He just wanted to get down and get closer to them. He stood and stared into the enclosure where two baby cows were slowly sauntering around. As I opened my mouth to ask, ‘what does the cow say’, I was immediately cut off by the older cow, looking directly at me, Mooing. Jack was excited, bouncing, nearly knocking himself over, and I looked back at the cow. It’s like he was saying, ‘cool it lady. I’m a cow. I moo from time to time. Mooove on.’
It’s these kind of mornings, that bring things back into focus for me. You don’t have to be a parent for very long before realizing that it’s the most fun and most nerve wracking job you will ever have. There’s a balance to be struck between having the time of your life, but remembering that you are your child’s first teacher and mentor; the things you do and say, will shape them and hopefully prepare them for the days when you won’t be holding their hand.
The responsibility side weighs heavy on a parent’s brain, and at times, certainly in my case, can override the moments that are fun, for fun sake. It’s easy enough to do, in the information age that we’re living in. We are saturated with tips, guidelines and standards to raise the perfect child that doesn’t exist.
All Jack wanted to do was get down and look at the cows and laugh when they made their funny sound. He didn’t need a language lesson from me at that moment.
So my sweet boy, the cow does go moo, someday you’ll know that, but right now, as far as your concerned, mommy goes moo, too.