One day, during a pull-up change, I step his feet back into just the shorts.
"You didn't put a pull-up on me."
"You'll get used to it in 45 minutes. When you were first born you weren't used to wearing a shirt, but we put one on and pretty soon you got used to it."
He thinks for a minute.
"I need some underwear."
Oh blessed child logic. He came to the conclusion himself. There is no underwear for little boys in the house, but soon, after school, some appear. The underwear is offered and accepted and put on, followed by the usual shorts. Then he raises his fist in the air and says, "I'm all ready to grow up!"
I give him a huge hug.
"Why are you hugging me," even as he hugs back and grins.
That night I lie in the kids' room after bedtime routine and lights out, staying while they fall asleep.
"Mommy, is there a store where you buy a truck?"
"Yes, they have a store for that."
"I'm going to get my truck there when I grow up."
"I want to get a house. Is there a store for houses?"
"The houses are already in the place where they are. Usually you get a realtor and they drive you around in their car and show you some houses and you try to find the one that is right for you."
"How do you get to their car?"
"They could come to where you live and pick you up."
"That's what I want to do. -pause- When I have my house, D and E [classmates] are going to be my kids. They can go to kindergarten."
"Oh [trying to come to terms with the fact that he plans to grow up and have his classmates stay 5 forever]. Are you still going to have a baby, too?"
"Yes. But where can the baby go?"
"He could go to your preschool. They have a baby room there. Remember when we see the babies when we walk by? Or you could take care of him at home."
"Yes, he'll go to the baby room."
More talking about the future, until finally I think he has fallen asleep. I lie there a little longer.
"How will I get to the truck store?"
He is not asleep. "Maybe I could give you a ride there."
"Okay. I'm going to get a black truck."
The next morning I wake him and we have a few minutes to snuggle. After a minute of conversation he asks, almost sheepishly, "Will it be today? Will today be the day that I grow up?"
In my mind I am thinking: OhmygoodnessIloveyousomuchyou'veonlybeeninunderwearonedayyouaresosweet!
At the same time I am trying to figure out what to do with my mouth. I get it to say, "Ohhhh. Wellll," as softly and lightly as I can, "usually people grow up when they are 18 or maybe 20 or 21. You are 6 and it might be a little longer before you are those numbers. But you are growing a lot and getting bigger every day!"
He is a little disappointed, or maybe bemused. How could it take longer than one whole day to grow up? After all, people's birthdays are only one day long.
We talk about the future a little more. He seems satisfied to keep the truck and house just there, in present talk of the future. And then we turn to really big challenges, bigger today than growing up, like getting dressed and getting out the door on time. Or getting out the door summerly late.