Sipping Tea While the Bombs Fall
I'm definitely raising a boy.
I had a matchbox collection when I was a little girl. I never invited them in for an overnight tho.
In fact, I've been fantasizing about boys, not trucks, since I was 5. That explains my current love life these days. Ah, but I digress. Back to the Peanut.
The Wisconsin snow has melted in our quiet little town. Winter seems to have dissipated, the scent of spring just around the corner. With that comes a tinge of pain. It's coming up on two years friends. Two whole years. Much has changed.
Ah, again, I let my mind travel elsewhere.
The weekend before last it was warm out — so warm in fact that if one were to, say, sit on the back porch wearing long, black, heat-absorbing pants in the sunlight, one might be comfortable enough to
read a book nap whilst 4-yr old plays with trucks in the yard.
When I opened my eyes, my garden had been relocated.
Somewhere, not sure where, Peanut found water too. Water + dirt makes for 4-yr old Happy Days.
Since my son is, and always has been, a big fan of Jackson Pollack, he decided to paint a picture on the sidewalk. Shortly after I found the source of trouble.
I love my son. I love his boyness. I love that he plays with dirt and makes mud. I love that he jumps in puddles in completely inappropriate shoes. I love that he prefers "soft pants" to buttoned up jeans, and that the minute he sees me emerge from his closet with an oxford shirt in hand he runs to another room. I love that his baseball caps fit like a glove on his sweet little head. I love that he swims in the smallest of puddles. I love that he makes it worth my time to do laundry. I love that he splashes, climbs, sneaks chocolate to snack on behind the couch, laughs, jumps, runs, and has a car collection that would put Jay Leno to shame.
I don't mind the dirt. My son instinctively knows to wipe his feet before entering the house. He accepts mid-day baths as an opportunity for more boy trouble.
After I wipe up all the water and dissolve the ring around the tub, I focus on the next task at hand: roping in the naked 4-yr old chasing the cat around the house. Picture: cat running into small, dark crevices, child squealing in delight with spray bottle of bathroom cleaner in hand, frantic mom too big and clumsy to catch up, fearful that the natural cleaner just might blind the cat.
Looking at his face, it's hard to be mad.
His childhood is important to me. He'll end up in therapy regardless of my affectionate parenting skills, because he is his mother's son. Crazy runs in my family. But I love to let him play and be all boy.
It's been nonstop proper-toddler-training around here. As he approaches his 4th birthday (March), he's become increasingly negociastic. My little freedom fighter manifests behavior on the scale of criminal defense lawyer, pleading for his own cause. I can't help but bust out laughing at times, hug him, love up on him and tell him, No Oliver. You cannot have three suckers before breakfast. (Because one is never enough.)
Last night, for instance. Bed by 8. Two books read. Hugs, kisses, and a beverage by his side. He was set. He yawned. "I'm tired," he claimed and turned over to sleep. His room is near the kitchen, and I often leave his door open while I'm cleaning up after dinner so I can keep an eye on him.
Then I hear a clicking noise.
I walk into his room and the 4-yr old has his digger in bed with him. Oliver! I exclaim with surprise. I am amused at my latent understanding of the true nature of boys. Upon removing the offending sleep-destructing vehicle, I discover two more monster trucks buried beneath.
Back to the kitchen. A look back a few moments later and the guilt on his face is unavoidable. Oliver! Three more monster trucks removed from the sleep area. Go. To. Sleep! One more time and I will take all your trucks away.
Fifteen minutes later, he's fast asleep, only 1 hour after his initial trek to slumber. My kitchen is completely cleaned, ready for morning. Sigh. I can finally make my way into my own bed. I'm in the pantry putting one last thing away and then I hear,
No way. Oliver! Get back to bed. He stands with his hand on his hip letting me know that I'm being ridiculously strict. I look at him before the vertically-challenged lawyer begins his defense. Don't ask me any questions, I begin. Go. Back. To bed. Well, I'm hungry, he says with the attitude of a 12-year old girl. Well, I say. You'll have to wait for breakfast. Well, I didn't have my vitamins. Yes you did. I gave them to you this morning, realizing I am defending myself against a 4-yr old. Anyway, get back to bed! Well, Momma. I want two more vitamins, he says matter-of-factly. Oliver. No. You can only have two a day. (Why am I defending myself?) Well, Momma. I need two more, he says with authority ready to back up his statement. My God, child! Go. To. Bed! And I march his little butt back into his room.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Sigh. It's time now, finally, for my own respite. The house was quiet. After brushing my teeth and removing mascara, I slide into bed. Sigh. I love my bed. I have fleece sheets. A soft cozy warm blanket. A light down comforter. Big fluffy pillows. A big bed all to myself. I pull my laptop closer to me. Check my email. Begin to blog.
Oh. My. Goodness. Seriously?
Oliver. Back to bed. You know where it is. Now go!
He wimpers now, shoulders slumped, power lip protruding out. But I love you, says he, mumbling his last defense. Oh God. I suck.
That's why yesterday I took time out of proper-toddler-training to tickle and play with my boy. None of the commands were blurted out of my mouth. Not one Pick up your toys now. Get your jacket on. Let's go. No! Stop! Go! Come here! Put that down. Pick that up! Where are your gloves? Don't touch that! Oliver, do not hit the cat with hammer! Sit down! Stand up! Relax!
Poor boy. Must be tough having to rein in the child in you when you have no other alternative than to be a child. So we played. We laughed. We kissed. We ran. We chased the cats. We squealed. We had fun. It was delightful. As a friend said, "I'm sure Peanut enjoyed being released from his choke chain." I had fun loving my son as the 4-yr old that he is.
God help me.
God help me.