One of the greatest hardships I have experienced with having two children is how to give one hundred and ten percent of myself to each of you when you both do not feel well and want nothing more than for me to hold you. It pains me when either one of you are genuinely sick and just want Momma. Unfortunately, siblings tend to get sick around the same time and now that you’re a little more vocal in your demands, it’s blatantly obvious that I’m the only one who can help you feel better. You have had a rough month with illnesses. Earlier this month you had your first vomiting episode since the infamous green vomit extravaganza of 2010 that landed us in Children’s Hospital. After crying for a record 1000 hours straight, you stood up in the bathtub and proceeded to vomit everything you ate that day which for you is a cow and a half. I quickly grabbed you and bundled you up in my arms and I sat there for awhile and watched your helpless little face staring back at me. I’ll never forget your expression – a look of total defeat and calm. At that moment I realized that I take for granted that you’re a tiny little person who depends on me to keep you out of harm’s way. It’s rather easy as a parent to forget how delicate their child is, especially at this age when you’re running around the house screaming, stomping and hollering. You definitely get your fair share of bumps and bruises but you pick yourself up and move on. This expression you gave me while I held you in my arms made me realize that my role as a Mother is so much greater than changing diapers or keeping your hands off of Olivia’s markers. Not that those things aren’t important because believe me, my house would look quite different if I went on a diaper strike while you ran around armed with Crayola’s finest. In that moment, I saw a profound love and trust in your eyes that quite honestly took my breath away. Never in any of the jobs or roles I have held in my life beared so much responsibility and pride than being a parent and sometimes it takes these little moments to remind myself that what I’m doing is profound and permanent.
You’re extremely open to the concept of tantrums and you feel empowered to display your right to protest anywhere at anytime. For some reason, you tend to show your displeasure at Sprouts grocery store and we just so happen to be there when one individual is working in the produce section and he always stares a little too long in my direction. I of course watch this out of the corner of my eye because I don’t have the balls to stare at another adult in the eye when a child of mine is acting like a damn fool in public. I’m dead serious when I say this happens every time we enter this particular store. I’ve been in there half a dozen times and I still don’t really know what that store looks like because I’m frantically looking for items in a store I’m unaccustomed with while keeping my head down to avoid adult eye contact.
Your tantrums have started to evolve and now include heavy grunting, hitting and the infamous scowl. I should take the hitting more seriously because I know it’s just going to escalate further but there is really nothing funnier than watching a fifteen month old give it everything he’s got and direct it towards your leg. The blow of your fist is the equivalent of me gently bumping in to the coffee table – really nothing dramatic but your little face says you’re pissed and you mean business with your fist. When hitting doesn’t get a rise out of me, then you run to my kitchen utensil drawer and start flinging spatulas. This usually gets me on my feet. We really were spot on when we coined you with “Irish Fire.” You have such a hot little temper for such a short-legged thing. It’s miraculous your head hasn’t exploded yet.
As your doctor had mentioned to me, your separation anxiety would peak around this time and continue until around eighteen months. There is no doubt that you have some serious anxiety about me leaving because if I even motion that I’m going to get up, you start to breath heavily and your face does this sour scrunchy thing and the tears begin to well up in your eyes and then the bellowing cries start. You will follow me throughout the house crying hysterically until I either pick you up or allow you to hold my hand. If you can hold my hand while I do things around the house, you’re content. Now, it’s hard to find the latter annoying. I’m not going to lie – it’s nice having a strapping young fellow want to hold my hand all day. You are always at my side whether I’m cooking dinner or scrubbing a toilet. You set up camp at my feet and are content as long as I don’t move beyond my little two foot square radius. Does this make for an exhausting day? Yes and I will terribly miss it one day.
Your vocabulary hasn’t improved all that much but I think we can make out “all done” when you’re finished eating and “where’s sissy?” when you wake up from your nap. You give hugs and attempt to give kisses which ends up being more of a head bow but we understand what you mean. You’re becoming extremely independent and a stroller is starting to look more like a death sentence when I pull it out. I sense you will be a rough and tumble kind of kid and I visualize many trips to the ER in our future. You’re a special kid who has amazing potential that shines through a little bit more each day. I know you will grow up to be a passionate fearless young man who will no doubt be successful in what ever it is you choose to pursue but I will always remember the one evening you were sick and I held you tight in my arms. There was a calm about you that I haven’t experienced with you since the first 24 hours after you were born and you refused to open your eyes. You were at ease while I held you in my arms and we stared at each other for some time and everything in that moment was perfect. Now, pardon me while I wake you up from a dead sleep to get one last squeeze from you tonight.