He’s been screaming at me for days now. He screams when I walk near him and when I walk away. He screams when I bring him his lunch and when I take it back. He screams when I pick him up and when I put him down. I fear that this ringing in my right ear may be permanent.
He’s not really screaming at me. I know that. He’s got this tooth that has turned his sweet little mouth into a bloody battlefield. It’s tooth vs. our collective sanity. It refuses to do it’s thing and just break through already. Instead it sits there, just below the surface, almost all the way out but not quite. And the pain, he just can’t bear it. Teething, that little babies must feel each tooth break through perfect little gums, is one of life’s greatest evils. And that, as parents, we must attempt the impossible, bring comfort where it isn’t welcome, well sometimes I wonder how the human race continues.
“Mama!” he calls for me. All the time. All day long. I pick him up, even though I shouldn’t, because he is two now and a big kid. But he wraps his arms tightly around my neck and reinforces my bad behavior. He’s getting to be so heavy. So big. His feet nearly reach my knees as he sits on my hip and I know, we’re getting there. We may even be there. That point in time when the lifting has to end. My hip no longer his mode of transportation. But I ignore it all. I’ll carry him anywhere, as long as he wraps those arms around my neck. These hugs won’t last forever, you know.
He doesn’t scream words yet. I don’t live in a series of “NO!!!!” yet. But I see it coming. “NO!!!” is headed down the road, straight for us and it’s picking up steam. For now, he just screams. When I help him down the steps and he wanted to do it himself. When he wants to get in the swing but I’m demanding a sound or a speech attempt first. When I’m driving and he’s caught on that something else has my full attention. I tell him the noise hurts my ears. I ask him to use his nice sounds. Use his words. Most of the time, he does.
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We wander into the kitchen and I mumble something, mostly to myself, about baking something. Instead, I begin to load the dishwasher, clear the breakfast dishes. But he doesn’t miss a thing. He pushes his stool to the spot where we bake and he rushes to the bookshelf. He knows my favorite cookbook and he grabs it and hands it to me. His deep brown eyes as wide as they can get, looking up at me with the innocence of a little boy who loves swirling a wooden spoon inside a mixing bowl almost as much as he loves his mama.
His hair isn’t so much hair as it is a mess of curls. Mess, a total mess. But those curls? Oh those curls. They start conversations everywhere we go. He doesn’t love when you touch them. He gets furious at the wind when it whistles down to tousle them. He’d probably be thrilled if I went and had them all chopped off. But I just can’t. I hear rumors that when I do finally sit him down for that first haircut, the curls will disappear forever. And I’m not ready to let them go yet.
They call two terrible and I’m not naive. I know exactly why. There are moments so terrible that I can’t see us surviving long enough to break through to better days. But there are other moments too. Moments that are so pure and lovely. And I know, now, that those moments don’t last forever. There is something so sweet about two that doesn’t live on. It fades away with the terrible. In the emotional balance that our littles find as they reach three and then four and then beyond, there are definitely fewer tantrums and explosions. But there are fewer fierce and spontaneous hugs. Fewer delights over the smallest things. Less excitement as the world becomes known. I didn’t realize it the first time around. It never occurred to me that the good and the bad are tightly intertwined. Everything changing together. But that’s how it goes. Each age has it’s sweet and sour.
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