Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tommy-boy and lessons on humility

I have to admit that when Bil and I decided that we would have a third child, I was filled with much trepidation. I worried whether I would be able to handle it all; feeding and caring for three kids, while also continuing to do all of Danny's therapy was an extremely daunting prospect to me. I worried that I was already neglecting Danny and Charlotte, did I really have the right to add another kid to the mix?

While it has been extremely difficult, the adjustment to having three kids was actually much easier than I had anticipated. We were fortunate in that Tommy was a very easygoing baby. He didn't cry an awful lot and when he did, it was relatively easy to ascertain why. While he didn't sleep through the night until almost a year, that was mainly due to my own inability to keep a schedule--we had many disruptions in those months including a trip to Nevada which messed him up. Once we finally stuck with it, the kid was sleeping soundly by the end of a couple of nights.

Weaning Tommy was a piece of cake, and even teething, though very painful because Tommy always seems to cut at least 3-5 teeth at a time, was manageable.

He was one of those mythological babies that I swore were an urban legend just to make new mothers everywhere feel even more inadequate than they already did.

Tommy was, dare I say it, an Easy Baby.

So, after 14 months, I think I was getting a bit complacent. Over confident. Maybe even a bit cocky. I started thinking that perhaps I had finally--after three kids--gotten a handle on this whole mothering thing. I had, at long last, figured it out. It wasn't so hard, after all. What was the big deal?

I had arrived.

And all that confidence and cockiness has come crashing down on me the last couple of months. I so should have known I wouldn't get off that easy.

That quote "pride goeth before the fall" comes to mind.

Lately, my sweet baby boy has been giving me a run for my money. First off, he has taken to protesting when I do something he doesn't like. Boy, that kid can get really infuriated when I take away a choking hazard, like nuts and bolts. That has gotten a bit annoying, though not at all unexpected. I mean, he is supposed to protest when he doesn't like something. It even says so in What to Expect the Toddler Years. It's a milestone, a developmental marker, proof that my kid is progressing on schedule, right?

Yeah, that's not really making all the squawking and flailing and gnashing of teeth any less painful to my eardrums.

And it doesn't help that it appears that Tommy, my normally bubbly, sweet, friendly, happy little boy, morphs into a cantankerous, dour, and sulky old man in the mornings.

My mother must really have had those super powers she claimed as her own when I was a kid. All those times she proclaimed this curse, "I hope you have a kid just like YOU!" have finally borne fruit. I now have my ill-temper made incarnate in my little boy. Every. Single. Morning.

Let's just say I am not a morning person, and it would appear that neither is Tommy.

As I have said before, Tommy is a super sweet baby. He smiles a lot and giggles and squeals multiple times throughout the day. He's chubby and soft and wonderful.

Still, a couple of weeks ago, he inspired terror in me that far surpasses my fear of roller coasters or Norman Bates. How could a cute little toddler possibly scare a grown up that much?

Well, he ran out into the middle of the street when I looked down for approximately a millionth of a second. I have no idea how he got that far that fast, but my heart was arresting as I raced to pick him up.

A few days later, he did it again. But this time? Yeah, this time, he looked at me the entire time. He was watching to see what my reaction would be, and when I started towards him and told him "NO!" do you know what that little demon child did?

He looked me straight in the eye and smiled the biggest sly, knowing grin I have ever seen.

Yesterday really sealed the deal for me, though. What I witnessed yesterday left no doubt in my mind that the easy life was over for me.

I walked into the kitchen and beheld Tommy on top of the kitchen table. He had finally--after weeks of attempting--figured out how to climb up on the kitchen chair. Then, it was a small hop over to the table and he was in baby Paradise. On that table was everything that had been verboten. All the newspaper I didn't want him to tear up, the Legos Danny didn't want him to swallow, all the drinks I would have preferred he not spill, all up on the table.

After all, until that moment, I had assumed the table was the safety zone. I stashed anything of importance on the table confident that it would be safe from Tommy's sticky clutches.

No more. Now, I will have to find much better hiding spots.

The problem is, Tommy is evolving. And he's smart. It won't be long until he realizes the potential of extrapolating this newfound skill. Soon, he will realize that if he can use the kitchen chair to climb up on the table, the same can be said for the kitchen counters, the stove and any other previously off-limits area.

I was not ready for this. I thought I had more time. Danny and Charlotte were much older when they acquired these skills. Which says to me that I am so, so screwed.

Of course, it is all my mother's fault. All of it!


queensister said...

Patty, tie a rope around the chairs as they are pushed under the table. It is a little inconvenient if you want to sit down, but it keeps babies off tables! My visiting teacher made this suggestion after my baby fell off a chair 10 times during her visit. Saved my sanity!

Alysia said...

I am SO with you. My 19 month old morphed into a monkey combined with Houdini about two months ago, from a very happy/complacent/sit in his high chair for 30 mins third baby. Climbing window sills, couches, chairs, out of the pack n play...I can no longer shower without fear of him injuring himself! All this much earlier and with much more defiance than my other two. Although this time I know he understands "no" and chooses to ignore me.
I feel your pain Patty!!

Mrsbear said...

I love the babies, but I've always found that age to be sooo stressful. They don't like to be penned in, the get in to everything, they don't listen, and the potential for injury is so much higher.

He's going to keep you on your toes. Just think, you'll be a pro by the time you embark on baby four...

Elizabeth Channel said...

You will be a pro by the time four comes along. And just think how easy five will be? And by the time six pops in, your older two can take care of him! Then you can start homeschooling and canning and baking your own bread and making attractive shifts.

I've got your life planned out for you!

P.S. I can make fun of all this because I have done it all minus the six children and shift-making, although I have made costumes out of old pillow cases so that might count.