My 3 year old son is my shadow these days. Whether I am just making coffee, grocery shopping, folding the laundry, he wants to be a part of whatever I am doing. He knows that he needs to put water in the coffee maker, place the coffee filter inside, and then put the ground coffee last. He knows which buttons to push to start to the coffee maker.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking him to do our weekly grocery shop. He sits attentively in the cart. While shopping for produce, I ask him if he knows what we are getting. Nectarines, oranges, bananas, apples, pineapples – one by one he tells me what we are getting. He’s begun to recognize boxes of mac and cheese, apple sauce and cereals. He always wants to the jug of milk to be beside him. When it’s time to check out, he asks to get out of the cart to help me put items on the conveyor belt.
While I was folding the laundry this afternoon, he picked up an already folded kitchen towel. He asked me, “Daddy, can you show me how to fold the towel?” After showing him, he picked up another piece of folded clothing and asked me, “Daddy, can I put this in the basket?” Every piece I finished folding, he picked it up and gently placed it in the basket. I ended up with a mashup of folded laundry in the basket.
I’ve recently taken up road biking as a hobby. He always asks if he could come. But it’s one instance that I can’t bring him along. One day, I came down dressed in my cycling jersey and shorts about to leave for a ride. My son saw me and told me, “No daddy, you can’t go biking. Daddy, you stay home!” He knew he was going to get left behind. From then, every time I go for a ride, I always tell him that I will do something with him after.
He won’t always want to do what I’m doing. I will embrace it for as long as it lasts. I love my shadow.