“Mama! Up! Eat!”

Those are the words that have propelled me out of bed in the mornings lately. He repeats himself, a little louder each time, and isn’t above yanking the covers off my previously sleeping body. Some mornings, he even finds my glasses and thrusts them into my hands.

“Mama! This! On!” he commands.

Though I often wish he would let me be and find his own breakfast, I have to remind myself how precious are these moments – how fleeting is this stage of his. I drag my tired body out of bed and follow him out of my bedroom, pausing only long enough for him to turn off the television.

“S’dark!” he announces as he makes his way to the kitchen. “Mama! S’dark!”

“Yes, Baby,” I reply, reaching for the light switch. “And do you know why it’s dark? It’s dark because the rest of the world is still sleeping.”

He scowls at me, then walks in his special Toddler Waddle/Walk to his table. “Poon!” he shouts. I help him climb into the chair, then quickly fetch his spoon. His eyes light up, and he licks his lips eagerly with anticipation. I get something from the refrigerator and bring it to him. “Go-yer!” he exclaims happily, almost shrieking. I barely have a chance to remove the lid before he thrusts his spoon into the yogurt.

It really is a joy to watch him eat. He grips the spoon forcefully in his right hand, carefully cradling the yogurt cup with his left. He inserts the spoon, pulls it out, puts it into his mouth, and continues to eat. Sometimes it drips on him (“Uh-oh! Mama! Uh-oh!”), which requires my immediate attention, and he has difficulty scraping out the last bits of yogurt. But, inevitably, he will point to the empty cup and ask, quite pointedly, “More?”

He knows there is more. He knows where to find more. Sometimes he’s content with my explanation that he is only allowed to eat one yogurt for breakfast. Other times, he jumps down from his chair and runs to the refrigerator himself, struggling in vain to open the heavy doors.

When he wants to eat cereal, he’ll bring you the box, but beware: you can’t provide him with enough. When he wants to eat fruit, he’ll tell you (“Each!” “Ban!” “Pum!” “Air!”), and a meltdown may ensue because the fruit isn’t large enough to appease his appetite.

And yet, I can’t imagine another way to start my day. With a few simple commands, he’s able to get me (or my husband) up and moving about – and any thoughts of returning to my warm bed after breakfast are immediately banished, no matter the time.

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