“WOWERS!”

It was one of his first words. He’s long since had a deep, passionate love for flowers. He played with them for hours at my mom’s house, amongst the cows and the horses. He climbed over me at each wedding we went to this month to get to the centerpieces for a long, dramatic sniff, which caused him to crinkle his nose, squint his eyes, and pucker his little mouth.

Last month he noticed a little girl at the mall play area. She was not much older than a year and still finding her feet. Upon her head, a headband with a flower the size of Texas perched on one side. As she toddled along, concentrating on every step, Kendall barrelled toward her yelling, “WOWER!! WOWWWWWERRRR!” I chased after him and, in slow motion, her mother scooped down to pick her up just moments before Kendall made what was sure to be an NFL-worthy tackle.

Today he spent nearly 45 minutes running up and down the sidewalk along our street, an eagle eye scanning both sides for dandelions. I always knew he found one before he even reached down to pick it because he “roared”, you know, like a lion.  Poor thing. Flowers are so hard to come by right now. He kept running up to the neighbor’s flower beds, then turned away disappointed.

“You know what? Let’s go to the store and get you some flowers,” I said when he got up from his nap. We needed something to kill time before dinner, and I wanted to get the stuff to put together this sensory tub project from NoTimeForFlashcards.com anyway. When we got to Walmart I headed toward the gardening area, thinking maybe I’d find a little pot of flowers that might live long enough for us to plant outside in a month or two.

I asked the guy near the lawnmowers where I might find plants with flowers on them. He looked at me like I had three heads. “Well, hon. It’s a bit too early for any a dem, but I gots some nice cauliflower plants o’er dere,” he said in his TX accent. “Oh well. No, that’s okay…. I’m not a big plant person, but my son is obsessed with flowers so…yeah… thought I’d try to get him some,” I said, realizing that my black thumb was probably magnified x 10 at that point.

After gathering everything we needed, I swung by the flower arrangement area. Kendall began shouting, “Wowers!”  There were a couple decent looking, multi colored bouquets that consisted of roses and lilies and big daisies, but they were $10. Then I saw a few sad bunches of tiny, partly-wilted pink…weeds?? I held them up to check out the price, and Kendall reached for them like they were a puppy. I read $5 on the tag just as he snatched them from my grasp, “WOWERS!! Mah wowers!” It looked like we were taking the weeds home with us.

I had to take them away from him to scan them, which, of course, led to a mini meltdown that involved lots of frantic breathing and repeated, “wowers, MAH wowers, wowers, no, no, NO, mah wowers”. When they were at last reunited Kendall hugged the bunch like he’d just won Miss America.

I wound up letting him hold them  the whole way home and was treated to a toddler monologue that sounded something like this:

“Mah bah mah wowers. No, mah WOWERS! La blah wowers la. WOWERS, MAMA! WOWERS!!”

He punctuated that last part by holding the flowers over his head and the top of the car seat, in an effort to show them off to me.

When we got home we dug out a plastic yogurt container from his special cabinet of things I wish he’d play with instead of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I filled it halfway with water and the little packet of flower food they came with. Then we sat at the table as I cut the stems and haphazardly arranged them.

“What are we going to do with them?  Would you like to put them in your bedroom?” I asked in that sing-song voice that all parents of toddlers would recognize.

His eyes lit up and he very confidently replied, “YEAH!” He climbed off his chair and quickly ran to his room where he helped me place them on top of his book shelf.

We had to hold the flowers as we read bedtime stories tonight. And as I laid him in his crib, covered him, and pat his back, he kept looking over his bumper and through the slats of his crib. “Wowers,” he repeatedly whispered with a big smile. I’m fairly confident the first thing I’ll hear over the baby monitor tomorrow morning is, “WOWERS!”

Kendall is nearly 21 months old, and if he wants “wowers” around here, he better pray he didn’t inherit my knack for unintentionally killing all plants.

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