Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Willem turned four almost two weeks ago. Where do I start with this kid? How about with the salute he gave me after we sang to him and I placed his birthday cake in front of him:

And that's Willem for you. Even when he's not talking, his life is one long running commentary; a salute, a thumbs-up, a high five.

Willem wants to be the boss of the world. And he's starting at home. He always has to have the last word, and his habitual attempts at a power grab have led to some truly ridiculous exchanges:

"Good night, Willem. I love you. Have a good sleep. See you in the morning." I pull the door almost shut.

"Mom! Say 'I love you.''"

"I DID say I love you."

"Say 'I love you!'"

"I already did, and you know I love you. No more talking."

"Say it, mom! Say 'I love you!'"

"Say 'I LOVE YOU!'"



Willem loves to pretend. In one morning at home he was:

a robot
a chef
a pirate
a kitty
a dog
and an old guy.

In that order.

Willem puts on "naughty" in much the same way that he puts on any of his other personas. He throws strangely dispassionate tantrums; in pursuit, I think, of having the upper hand. The other day he was rolling around on the rug, screeching in fits and starts.

"Have you EVER gotten what you wanted by throwing a fit?" I asked him. He stopped and rolled over to look at me.


"Then why do you keep doing it?"

He just looked at me blankly, gave a half-hearted shriek or two, and got up to do something else. Alas, the conversation had no lasting impact. He perseveres. And just when I'm about to tear my hair out, we have a conversation like this:

"Do you want me to drop you off here with the teacher, or do you want me to park and walk you in to school?"

"I want you to take me in. Because I love you and your hair is so soft."

Willem tells me thank you, unprompted, all the time. Thank you for the dinner, Mommy. Thank you for cleaning the house, Mommy. Thank you for my shirt, Mommy. He's full of compliments, sometimes even when he's not about to ask me for something.

Willem watches the scary parts of Iron Giant while Nels covers his eyes and then tells his brother when it's safe to look.

Willem makes you shake your head and say, "that kid." His body language is idiosyncratic and completely charming. He captures the attention of almost everyone we meet. I feel like I have some sort of insight into Nels's personality, because it's similar in many ways to mine. But Willem's (perhaps also because of his younger age) is more of a mystery. I can't wait to see how it shakes out.


Danica said...

What a charming little character he is! He's such a good foil for Nels' personality. Delightful!

Amy said...

I loved this post for so many reasons. First, you demonstrated so well the borderline psychotic love that all good mothers have for their children - that "I am almost going to lose it, yet melting with the simplest sweet things your kids do thing". Second, the way you record Willem's day and his idiosyncrasies are charming and endearing. Third, that boy is just so darn cute.