So, remember how last month I wrote about how spring had finally come and winter was over and how happy that made me? And I talked about how being in the garden with you was perfect and lovely and the culmination of so many years of waiting to hang out in the garden with my sweet kiddo? I do. It was just a few weeks ago.
Yeah, well, I lied. First of all it snowed. A lot. For days and day. Snow piled up on top of all of the flowering fruit trees that bravely put out hundreds of flowers. I have no idea if we'll get any fruit this year and I am sad about it because I couldn't wait to walk out to the front yard and pick a perfectly ripe peach for the two of us. The chances that you would take that same peach and hand it back to me with a firm, "No," are actually quite high so there goes another lovely daydream. As I write this, it is thankfully not snowing, but it is pouring rain again and I can honestly say I am elated that you are in day care today because another day cooped up in the house with you would have been the last straw.
Second of all, a few days after I wrote that post you turned back into wild child, prompting your father to quote The Onion headline, "99% of one year olds have ADD," many times a week. One moment you are cuddling with us on the couch and running to us and burying your head in our legs in the sweetest way, the next you are hanging on that same leg wailing over some unknowable frustration. I have the audacity to sing and you tell me, "No No No," unless it is bedtime when you have now started asking for a song repeatedly. We try to read you a book that you find unacceptable and you snatch it and throw it to the floor or, on your better days, put it back in your box of books and then search for exactly the right one. This process can take a long time as you pull books out and examine them as if reading the plot. (Gorilla escapes from cage. Lets other animals out or Snow falls. Child goes out to play. Has fun or Rabbit has difficult time going to sleep because a creepy rabbit in the corner is whispering hush.)
These are actual conversations with you:
Me: Do you want help getting off of the rocking horse?
You: No. Down?
Me: So you want help?
Your Dad: Please put your shoes away in the basket
You: No (with a distinct underlying tone of, "Not in this lifetime sucker. Try and make me.")
Me: So are you done with your food?
You: Done. (Stuffs food in mouth)
Me: Did you poop? (A ridiculous question since it is obvious to anyone in a ten mile range that this has occurred)
You: No (runs away so the diaper changing chase/wrestling match can ensue)
You: Song? Song? Song? Song? while grabbing my face and moving it back and forth
Me: How about you sing me a song?
In the past month you have fallen in love with the power of the no probably because we say it to you so often. We spend all day saying: don't do that, please don't touch, we'll do that later, take that outside, now you are going inside, and NOOOO! The other day I turned my back for one minute while you were watching Sesame Street and in that minute you flipped your chair on its side, climbed it and then climbed onto the television console. When I turned around you were kneeling on top of the table gleefully playing with the remote. Of course I told you to get down immediately but I was kind of proud of your bravery too. I didn't tell you that part.
There have been some great moments tucked in between the tantrums and whining. You are counting everything now, at least up to the number eight. You are recognizing more and more letters and have added so many words to your vocabulary that I cannot remember them all, although I think my favorite is "mulk" for "milk." You will repeat words when asked, the cutest being "I love you," which comes out more like I woh oo. And you are starting to learn the correct words for the situation at hand. Last night you dripped milk on your bare toes and you looked up at us and said, "Ohh no," in this very sad mournful little voice. Your dad and I just lost it laughing it was so damned cute. Then you looked enormously pleased that you had made us laugh.
All of this talking has really stemmed from the fact you got tubes in your ears this month and that has been, on the whole, a very good thing. You started getting ear infections about seven months ago and once you had your first, you just kept on getting them. Every month found us at the doctor's or the urgent care with the doctor trying to look into your ears as you screamed and she would sigh and say, "Yes, those ears looks bad," and we'd start off on another round of antibiotics. Four ear infections in a year period is usually a red flag that something is amiss in a kid's ear, but six in six months put us on the fast track to ear tubes after the specialist took one look at your latest double ear infection and agreed that tubes were a really good idea.
And so the surgery date was set and I didn't give it another thought until the night before when the terror of you having surgery crashed around me. I could not get the image of you going under out of my head. I could only picture you alone and scared. I wished with all my might that you were older so I could at least explain what was going on, but you are so little and even though you can point out elephants and lions and geese and make an awesome honking noise for a goose you were not going to get what was going on. My heart just broke and I could not stop crying thinking about it. And so I got it right then. I got that doing anything for your kid idea. I got that I could lay down my life for you and not give it a second thought. I got that I would move mountains, toss cars aside or wrestle large animals for you just to keep you from getting hurt.
Of course, after all that the surgery was easy as pie. They gave you a tranquilizer and you got really loopy and I wished, like a terrible mother, that I could get a few of those tranquilizers to give to you on days when you will not sit still for one second. Then they put you in a little wagon and took you off to surgery and 25 minutes later you were done and awake and really mad because I couldn't get you your milk fast enough. But what is most amazing is the change in you. You were talking some before but now you repeat words or try new words all the time. You chatter about five times as much as you use to and it's not like you weren't a chatterbox to begin with.
Every night now when I get you out of the bath I wrap you up in a towel and take you downstairs and I ask you what the dragon says and you let our these fabulous roars. It is unlike any of your other animal sounds and it makes me laugh every time. I love that we have funny parts to our routine because the sameness of everyday is sometimes more than I can bear: the monotony of the five bazillionth diaper change, the boredom of making you scrambled eggs again, the endless fights over brushing your teeth, the days of block building and book reading and crayon coloring stretch on and on and I admit to myself that parenting is sometimes incredibly boring. But when you do these unexpected things like running to me when I pick you up from day care yelling, "mama! mama!" or briefly lying down with me on the couch, your little body relaxed for just a few seconds, it makes it all worthwhile. I read the best post on Design Mom about being a mother the other day and the author, Kristen Frantz, managed to describe motherhood so perfectly that I cried. I wanted to write something like that to you this month in honor of Mother's Day (which was awesome because I got a hand colored card from you,) but I couldn't find the right words so I am glad she could say it for me.
"What can I expect from becoming a mother? Disappointment. Frustration. Surprise. Joy. Love. Love. Love. Do I have what it takes? Sometimes yes, so much so that you will astound yourself. And sometimes no, this job will ask for more than you can give. What does it cost? All of you. And you will never regret it."
I never regret you. Even when you make that face.