There are these little things that let you know your child are growing up. For me it is often not the obvious things--like Umberto needing deodorant this summer (no joke). It's the smaller things, the gazes, the hand gestures, the consciousness of things.
Last year, I bought all the kids Santa hats in some kind of cheesy attempt to get decent xmas pictures. I never did get the pictures because it's nearly impossible to pose my kids. But the kids loved the hats. Last year, Umberto wore his everywhere--to the park, the store, the library. He was made fun of a few times but it didn't bother him. Last night, the kids wanted me to buy them Santa hats, and I remembered that I had these ones packed away. I pulled them out, and they all wore them with glee. Umberto had his on this morning as he played Gamecube. We were going to the park to meet some friends, and right before we leave, he pulls off the hat saying "Oh man, I almost forgot I had this on." He grabbed his Yankee hat and left the Santa hat home. It made me a bit sad that he's gotten to that point of feeling self conscious about what he wears.
Then at the park today, he was with his two friends, the Hs and a girl they sometimes hang out with, C. We, the mommies, were watching them, and wondering what they talked about. We were laughing about they never tell us. Today as we drove home, Umberto told me. C had heard a ghost in the woods, Umberto told me. It said "Get out now before something bad happens." C ran from the words, the boys following her because they hadn't heard the ghost. Umberto said when they went back in he saw a shadow of a person who wasn't there, and then heard someone say "ouch."
I remember as a child being fascinated with ghosts, and seeing, hearing them in the woods. But it does seem to happen at a certain older age. And Umberto is reaching that age in some many ways. It feels a bit like mourning but with a twinge of excitement about what comes next.