Lying on the boys' floor tonight for our last moments of cuddling before bed, I hold the two of them close on either side of me and half-tease them, begging in an exaggerated manner for them to always be three and six years old. "Please, please," I cajole, "You're so perfectly funny and adorable right now that you really don't need to get any older, do you?"
Baxter, knowing that it's supposed to be funny but taking my words a little too seriously as is his wont, says cautiously, "I really don't think I can stop having birthdays, Mommy..."
"Okay, okay, fine, " I say, realizing that this game is a bit unfair to them, "Listen, the truth is, I have wanted to freeze you at every one of your ages because I loved you so much - but then I learned that you would grow to be even more fun and adorable every year and I loved you even more! So I guess it's okay."
"Even when I'm 7 or 8?" Baxter asks. "Even when I'm a d'Cade?" (This is how he says "decade".)
"Oh, yes," I assure him, talking into his sun-bleached blonde hair, "especially when you're a decade old."
And then, knowing what his real fear of getting older is, I add, "And I will still cuddle with you when you're a decade old, too."
He turned to look at me. "You'd better," he warned, grinning, "or I'm gonna sue!"