1. He starts to roll his eyes at you. With good-natured dramatic effect, but still.
2. He listens to you talk in a strange accent and says tentatively, surprised at his own reaction, “That’s actually kind of annoying, Mommy!”
3. Going into a store to buy clothes doesn’t provoke a freak-out. No, in fact, the older child will enjoy choosing his own clothes and be willing to try them on. He will also appreciate the music in the changing room and show off his air guitar skills for the mirror in his Old Navy jeans and t-shirt. He will later express amazement that he “could walk into a store and just buy clothes” – without the help of the Internet and UPS.
4. He cuddles up with you on the big bed and says, “Mommy, I saw that you filled out the Picture Day form already. You checked off a gray background for me. I was thinking I might like to try green…” You try not to look at him as if he’s from another planet and say, “Of course, honey, whatever you want! You’ve never seemed interested in that before, so it didn’t occur to me to ask you.” To which he responds, “I guess I never noticed it.” Umm, yeah. Along with about a million other things that you suddenly care about.
5. He pores over the electoral map with the intensity he has previously reserved for dinosaurs, Charlie Brown fact books, and Pokemon. As if his life depends on it. And then asks 3,254 questions about it, understanding it better than his mother does within about half an hour.
6. He wakes up and asks how the debate went and what they talked about. He loves hearing his parents riff about Joe the Plumber, and then listens with amazement at the dinner table to tales of “Joe” being “Samuel” and not a licensed plumber. From then on, he refers to him as “Samuel” when talking about him, making us laugh uproariously.
7. And, just because it just has to be said again: he loves to iron.