Holy Cow – I missed a month! That’s ok, you were equally troublesome in both months. I’m just going to go ahead and label this time period “The Dark Era.” I remember at your last doctor’s appointment the doctor asking me how everything was going and I smiled and said things couldn’t be better – that you’re such a well behaved child. She gave me a haunting look like she knew a secret that was going to rip my world open. I remember the evil smirk clear as day and now I know the reason for the grin. Maybe a day or two after your appointment, it was as if a new child awoke and she was angry! There is a constant monotone whine followed by pointing that is playing all day long. Your doctor warned me that times may begin to get difficult and often frustrating if your vocabulary wasn’t developed enough. She couldn’t be any more correct. We repeat every word a million times because we just can’t take any more of the whining. I was so tired that I bought “Your Baby Can Read” because I’m determined for you to learn one word that doesn’t sound like “ehhhhhhhh.” With some hard work, you are now responding to questions with “I do” and when you want more crackers, you hold up your cup and say “more.” I don’t know if these are the best words out of the entire english vocabulary but I’ll take it.
You started swim lessons this month which couldn’t make me prouder. I find myself having to pull back a bit – I daydream about you becoming a stellar swimmer at the tender age of 18 months, being the youngest swimmer on a swim team – breaking records, joining the US Olympic swim team by the age of 10 and then I wake up and think whoa, I’m turning into one of those crazy obsessive sport moms who wear track suits with their child’s name on the back and wear matching buttons with their child’s face on them. The obsessive parents who are louder than the coaches at practicea and who get into fights with referees. No no, I refuse to be that person. Muzzle me if it gets to that point and just straight take me out back ol’ yeller style if it’s beyond the point of no return. I am very proud of what you accomplished so far in swimming and I will just keep it at that and I may have shown your first swimming ribbon to every stranger within a 50 mile radius but that’s it!
Outings with you have definitely become more of a deal. I used to take you out all the time because you were always calm and relaxed. I could always count on you to take a small nap in the car so you would be well rested in the afternoon. It was purely delightful. Now, you hold on to clothes as we stroll by and next thing I know, a full on rack is rolling behind us in a store. You have to have some kind of cracker at your finger tips at any time or hell will be unleashed. I have books, figurines, kleenex, water, snacks, wipes, stuffed animals, packed in the car at any given moment to appease your every whim. And frankly, all you want to do is run around so I just take you to the park and let you go a-wall there. The sad thing about taking you to parks though are the other kids. Despite my negative connotations about your behavior, you do have a sweet side. You’re in a bit of a hugging stage where you say hi to everyone and then ask for a hug. You also do this when you see kids at the park. 98% of the kids get a little freaked out when you come to them with open arms or call a girl an age or two older that you, Momma. They typically run away leaving you with a very sad questionable look on your face. The mother in me wants to run to that no good other kid and shake them and say, “what’s wrong with you? Take your hug and enjoy it damnit!” It’s the saddest thing to see your defeated face but I hug you and say it’s ok – they weren’t worthy of an O-hug anyway.
It’s these moments that give me anxiety for when you start school. For the most part, the kids I have seen whether at the park or Gymboree or any other public place for that matter, are just plain mean. I worry that your very innocent loving nature will be shattered by other kids who obviously aren’t hugged enough at home. Suddenly I worry about bullies and broken hearts and I think there is no way I’m strong enough to see you go through life’s hardships. I guess I have some toughening up to do. Lucky enough for me, the neighborhood kids love you and think your the best toy out there. The other night, you rode around in a power wheel for an hour by a very lovely 4-year old who just so happens to like to play “mom.”
You’re growing exponentially each day and it’s difficult to remember the days you could only crawl. I’m sure in 6 months time, I will be finding these moments nothing but a distant past. There are many days that I want to scream into a towel and lock myself in the hall closet but I also know that these days won’t last forever. I know one day when you’re a defiant teenager, I will look back and think how easy I had it when you were 18 months. I remember this and try to take each day at a time. Things will be changing my love and I will do my best to soak up every minute, even when the minutes seem unbearably long and painful.