Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Growing Up Too Fast

I love watching Kavi’s expressions. We took the kids to the Museum of Life and Science for a birthday party today. He’s been there plenty of times, mostly with Mala. I’ve been there a few times with him. It’s one of his (and I guess every kid’s) favorite places. Each time we go, it’s a vastly different experience. Everything seems new to him. His eyes light up with wonder and amazement at the exhibits.

We were late for the party, so Mala took Anika ahead of us while Kavi dawdled in the front exhibits. Ahead of us was a large skeleton of a dinosaur’s head. I know that he has seen this before, but, it was as if he’d noticed it for the first time today. And it was scary. Not too scary, mind you. He wasn’t crying or anything. He just was very cautious about getting too close to it. But, there was no way to avoid it, since the party room (with the cake!) was just past the dinosaur. He held my hand tightly and asked what it was. I told him and he repeated it, “Dinosaur?”. His eyes were wide open, but focused on the T-Rex’s head. His right hand clenched my left and when I tried to walk past it, he pulled me back. Still no crying or complaining, just … concern. So I took my time and talked to him about the dinosaur and the other exhibits nearby. Eventually, he mustered up the courage to walk around the back of the dinosaur and towards the party room. Later, after the cake and festivities, we made our way back to the other exhibits. This time, he pointed out the dinosaur, still in a concerned voice, but made no effort to shy away or slow down. Now, he noticed other things that he had missed before – cool astronauts uniforms and a glass elevator slowly ascending. When he saw each of these things, his face turned into the embodiment of wonder. Eyes wide open, jaw slightly ajar. I love seeing him experience life like this, so fully.

I write this because I know that I’m otherwise going to forget them. I had the distinct feeling this afternoon, while watching him, that he was growing up in front of my eyes. That these expressions of wonderment would soon be replaced by the apathy of young adulthood. I know, I know… he’s only 2, but everyone keeps telling me that he will be grown and with kids of his own before I know it! I hope not and if so, I hope not too soon. I want to make sure that I remember these moments, simply for their own sake.