Let me start this monthly banter with a story. The other day while Olivia was at preschool, I took you to the mall to run a few errands. It was your typical mall excursion except for the fact that it’s a little bit busier with the impending holidays. On a side note, you have been battling this horrible cough for weeks that sounds like you been sucking down cartons of cigarettes the last twelve months. Constant sickness appears to be an unfortunate side effect of Olivia going to school. I made the wonderful discovery that nothing clears a crowd quite like the cough of a toddler. It really was like the seas parting in front of me. You coughed and people freaked out. Are we a paranoid society? Yes and apparently you are carrying the next SARS that will destroy all mankind. One woman was so startled, she actually jumped and yelped out loud when she heard you cough. No joke, this actually happened. I’m loving this because I got people jumping, moving left and right to get out of my way. It was smooth sailing through the mall and then I had a glorious epiphany – holiday shopping is coming up and stores are pure hell filled with loads of confused angry individuals wandering aimlessly from store to store. If you keep up this brauny cough of yours, holiday shopping will be cake. Not to mention it will be hilarious watching all the people frantically search their bags for their hand sanitizer as we pass them. In a sense, I don’t blame these poor individuals. I too am sick on a regular basis because my home is now a breeding ground for this season’s hot new viruses. I’m sure the CDC would love to do a little research here at the O’Donnell home but that is neither here nor there. The point of the matter is, I have two toddlers and my chances of staying healthy are screwed. Why not mess with the general public while running mundane errands?
I feel like I say this every month but I really feel like I’m getting a small glimpse in to your personality. I’m starting to notice very distinct differences in yours and Olivia’s personalities. Olivia was always very cautious and observed everything around her very carefully before she ever jumped in to anything and this was true around other kids as well. She never went right up to a child and started playing with them. I enrolled her in to Gymboree thinking that if she saw other kids playing and having fun, that she too would join in. No, she was an observer and to a degree, she is still like that today. You are very much the opposite. I have a strong suspicion that you are going to be the “one” that everyone is friends with or wants to be friends with. You will be popular and Olivia will be dressed in black, sitting in the corner cursing your name at your effortless ability to make friends. You walk up to everyone – young, old, male or female and instantly begin flirting with them. When I dropped off Olivia at preschool today, I set you down in the classroom so I can sign Liv in. The last few times you entered Liv’s class, I noticed you getting a little adventurous, venturing a little closer to the toys each time. The kids see you and they all come running to see the “cute little baby.” Today, you saw two little boys sitting at the table playing with dinosaurs and you beelined for them. They loved it and quickly starting playing with you and the next thing I know, two little girls are playing with your hair and you’re smiling and batting your little eyelashes. Olivia quickly pulls my arm and says with a very serious face, “Momma, take Miles – take him now. Get him out!” It took Olivia two months to make a friend whom she is already on the outs with and here you come waltzing in with your cute little swagger making friends like it’s a bodily function.
Now, you know from every written word I have said about you that you have been far from an easy child. You had sleep issues, dairy intolerance, acid reflux, Mommy issues and all the while I stared at you and wondered if the day would come that you would overcome all this baby drama. I am here to report that that day has not yet come however I am still on pins and needles waiting for it to happen. I think most of us who encounter you on a regular basis are impatiently waiting for that day to come. However, I can say that you are more affectionate towards your Dad – more so than Liv ever was at this age. You are a total snuggle bug and this especially rings true after a big meal. You find absolute comfort nuzzling in to our laps and kicking your feet up as you engage in a little light evening television viewing. You have quite the split personality though because when you’re mad, you can throw down a tantrum that rivals Olivia’s. Typically when you’re throwing a tantrum, you run away from me crying and you run towards something you can throw on the ground. When you’re home and throwing a tantrum, you run for the wine shelf and throw down a bottle of wine. Yes, you know where to hit us where it hurts most. On the rare occasion that you’re out of your stroller in a store, you will attempt to throw down a piece of merchandise. Case in point, I took you out of the stroller to have you try on a jacket. You were mad that I removed the jacket from you so you started your running off and crying bit and I’m struggling trying to get this damn jacket back on a hanger and stop you because I see you barreling towards a table covered in neatly stacked piles of clothing. Much to my dismay I was seconds too late because you grabbed a pile, turned to look at me and in one swift motion, brought it to the ground. It just so happened to be my luck that an employee turned the corner to witness my parenting in all its glory. He assured me it wasn’t a big deal but I could sense what he was thinking because it was the same thing I was thinking. Take your damn kid and move along. Of course it wouldn’t be a complete outing without your sister contributing her two cents from the stroller – “Hey Mom – I don’t want to go poo poo. Can we visit Santa?”
I should be concerned that you walk around the house grasping a plastic golf club – prepared to strike at a moment’s notice, or the fact you feed Madeline every morsel of food you don’t want to eat or your fondness for playing in the toilet. Show some mercy – I am only one person fighting a war between two bored children and occasionally I have to let my guard down and use the bathroom. So what that I use your cuteness to make horrible public situations better. You really think you need that fairisle sweater and bootcut jeans? No, this is my attempt at making you look cute so that when you destroy a store with your Viking-like actions, the employee might take pity on me because you’re just so darn cute. The truth of the matter is, parents of toddlers are in pure survival mode – you do whatever it takes to get you through that specific moment. What was once frowned upon is fair game in my opinion. Bribery, mockery, waterboarding – all helpful tactics in the fight against children. Yes Miles, I will remain victorious.