TWO – My Baby Volcano!!!!!

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My baby boy is explosive emotion, wild energy, and ear piercing noise. Joyful belly laughter that elicits immediate smiles and torturous whining and screams that have your sisters clasping their ears and weeping because you just won’t stop crying. During the past two years, we have suffered hearing loss because you are the loudest baby yet, maybe the loudest baby ever.

I thought third babies were supposed to go with the flow, be easy breezy, but you rocked our boat completely. As I said, you are loud, it is impossible to ignore our baby. You erupt in fury if you don’t like something and your moods derail the most carefully prepared plans.

You make your third time mama feel like a first timer.

Daddy calls you our Sour Patch Kid, sour and then irresistibly sweet. You revolt and then ask for snuggles. When your sisters cry, you earnestly ask them, “Are you okay?” As you pat their backs and stroke their faces. Then the next minute you are throwing matchbox cars at their heads with tremendous force, grabbing their hair, and hitting them with all your might.

My three children are like magnets, you can’t keep your hands off one another, but then the electro magnetism switches and you repel each other with equal ferocity. Then minutes later you are inseparable and stuck together again. Your biggest sister dotes on you constantly, carries you around the house, and usually allows you to join in her play. Middle sister loves you one second and clocks you in the head the next. The intensity of the love/hate relationship between you and your middle sister baffles me. Your shared sibling bonds are stronger than I ever expected.

Currently, Disney Cars is your passion and you talk about it constantly, though you don’t have the patience to sit through the movie. You love Lightning McQueen, cars with smiley faces are the best, and you carry them wherever you go and sleep with them in your crib.

Much to your dad’s delight, starting at 18 months (maybe younger), you enjoyed shooting hoops in the basement. You love basketballs, throwing balls, toys, anything. You have a mini golf club and endlessly hit golf balls around the yard. You do this all left handed, which I’m learning may be the athletic coup de grace. We beam at your hand eye coordination and laugh at ourselves for thinking at two that each of our children were child prodigies. We are as amazed by you as we were by our first two babies, watching a baby grow and acquire new skills never gets olds. You are all unique little people.

Although we may think you are a baby genius, you learned to walk later than your sisters and managed to bump your head into the coffee table several times a day for several months straight. You love play doh and especially love to eat it. You laugh as you stuff it in your mouth because you suckered mom and dad into giving you play doh, yet again.

Getting out of the house has become nearly impossible, for example, one day as I filled water bottles for school, you made a beeline through the dog door and ran straight for the dog poop in the yard (for some reason you love touching dog poop). “Icky, mama,” you shouted and picked it up and smeared it all over your t-shirt, which led to tardy slips for your sisters and me carrying a toddler in a diaper into each of their schools. As I signed tardy slips and politely conversed with acquaintances, I wondered why we still smelled like poop, left the school, and realized you smeared me as well. This is how we roll, and it’s not always pretty.

The girls had bunk beds until you started scrambling up the ladder and leaning over the guardrail in the mornings as I brushed their hair before school. “Mama, watch me,” you shouted with glee as you leaned over the side. Then one day, you jumped off. We detached the beds to make our morning routine safer.

You are fast and give me heart palpitations. One night as I cooked dinner, you dashed out the kitchen, jumped through the dog door, sprinted around the yard, and attempted to climb the fence into our front yard. “I want to see G.G.’s car,” you said, a smile stretched across your face.

Speaking of G.G., another favorite is your grandmas. You love your grandmothers. If they are with us, you want them to constantly carry you. You talk about them and their cars constantly (because grandmas and cars may be the best combination ever). On Thanksgiving, everybody went around the table and said what we were thankful for and when we got to you we didn’t think you understood, but you stated clearly, “I’m thankful for my grandmas.” As a first time mother, I would have been insanely jealous if you preferred someone other than me, but this time around I appreciate their extra arms and your special relationship with them.

“How are you today?” Is your constant refrain when you see someone new and then you introduce yourself by your first and last name and say that you live in Colorado. “I’ll see you next Thursday,” you tell your teachers. You speak in full sentences and articulate thoughts way beyond your two-years (again, our baby genius).

When your sister played Kion, the elephant, in her school performance of the Lion King, you sat in the audience, shouting her name when she came on stage and then screaming Hakuna Matata throughout the other scenes. Almost immediately, Nana escorted you out of the auditorium.

You had the stomach flu the night before your 2nd birthday. You threw up and lay in my arms, tearfully asking me to make you better. Your family party was cancelled, the freezer broke, and your ice cream cake melted. A birthday two days post Christmas confused you, “I want Chanukah to come to my party,” you told me. When we gave you presents, you thought it might still be Christmas and handed them out to your sisters. “It’s not Christmas,” we told you, “It’s your birthday!” My Christmas baby will wait another year to have a birthday party, but your sisters want to make the next one a big birthday party (since you missed this one) and teach you what birthdays are all about. Christmas baby, birthdays are your own special day. You deserve a special day.

You are more than a handful. You are a mini volcano of love, precociousness, sunshine, rage, fire, energy, earsplitting headaches, tears of happiness, tears of frustration, a toddler jokester, a mini athlete, social charisma, mommy’s boy, daddy’s boy, your grandparents’ baby, and your sisters’ favorite/least favorite little person. You make us happy hermits who can’t leave the house for fear of the most intense and persistent little tantrums. At times we brave it and leave our house and then realize you are supremely charming and do better in public than home. After a successful experience we attempt to leave again, only to suffer an explosion and swear we will never ever leave the safety of our home. You have made me seriously consider buying a toddler leash.

We love you and thank you for making our lives colorfully chaotic and never dull.

Sorry for the delayed birthday note, as you know, things have been pretty busy.

We love you. Happy 2nd Birthday Baby!

The Mean Mommy Monster

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This morning the sign on our door should say BEWARE OF THE MONSTER.  The monster in our house is not in the closet or under the beds.  She doesn’t appear in the dark at night, but sometimes it’s sleepless nights of restless dogs and whiney toddlers that lull her from her cave.

The dreaded Mean Mommy Monster, everyone beware when she raises her fearsome head.  Husbands run, toddlers hide; the She Beast is ruthless.

She appears harmless, hair pulled back in an unwashed ponytail, yoga pants, and a t-shirt. You might notice she needs a pedicure, a pluck, and a wash.  Sometimes she can be appeased with successive cups of coffee or a couple extra hours of sleep, but other times there is no escaping her wrath.

The Mean Mommy Monster likes to sleep until seven a.m., but becomes fierce when she starts the day before six a.m.  She often emerges during the morning rush, clothing two toddlers, packing lunches and attempting to leave the house.  She snaps, biting words “Help Me please… We are late again! Listen! Girls!”  She speaks in cutting phrases.  She is short on patience and her temper is even shorter.

Toddlers beware! Disobedient dogs better scramble.

Today she appeared when the dog started having panic attacks at 3am.  He jumped out of bed and the mommy jumped out after him for fear the dog would wake her daughters.  The mommy tiptoed down the hall, silently shutting her three-year-old’s door and snuck back to bed.  Dog returned to bed too. 30 minutes later the dog was up, click clack nails on the hardwood floors. The mommy was up too – the dog lay down.  Hit repeat, the same scenario every 30 minutes until five a.m. when the dog jumped from bed, click clack down the hall, scratch-scratch on the daughter’s door. The mommy held her breath, praying for more sleep and that her daughter didn’t hear him. But then, “MOMMY”, and the Mommy Monster slowly crept out from under her down comforter.

“Our dog needs Xanax,” she muttered to her husband. “We have two kids under three, why is the dog keeping us up all night?”  She glared at the dog, “BAD DOG!”

Husband nodded in agreement, “We can try to keep him downstairs, but he’ll probably whine.” Quick kiss on the monster’s head and the husband escaped to work.

The Mean Mommy Monster was tired, but she wasn’t ghoulish yet.  Coffee could only do so much.  Swim class at 9am, an insulting email and the baby’s new favorite game of stripping nude after Mommy finished dressing her, unleashed the perfect storm.

The play by play, she dressed her girls, swimsuit for the big girl and a clean outfit for the little one.  She slipped out of the room to dress herself. Shrieks erupted from her children.  The baby tore off her pants, shirt and diaper. Big girl squealed, “She’s naked!” The Mean Mommy Monster emerged from her cave, half naked chasing the baby around the room as the baby screamed, “No Mama! No Diaper! No Mama! No Diaper!”

Around the room they ran, the shirtless monster yelled, “Help me pleeeease. We are late.”  They circled the room, shrieks and giggles further enraging the Monster.

Big girl munched pretend food, “I want to play,” she responded.  The Mean Mommy Monster fumed.  The Mommy Monster pulled on big girls’ clothes as big girl sat limp on the floor.

“Help Me, Please,” the monster snapped repeatedly. “Swimming is for you, it’s supposed to be fun.  We don’t have to go.” The baby pulled off her clothes for the third time and big girl laughed hysterically.

Finally downstairs, the Monster began the arduous task of putting little feet in little shoes, the baby screamed again. “I want crocs,” hysterics, “I want crocs,” at the top of her lungs.  These two-year-old tantrums pushed the monster’s limits.

“Stop,” screamed the Mommy Monster, “No Crocs, snow on the ground… No Crocs.”  Baby screamed and hit the floor in a ball of anger.  “Screaming doesn’t get what you want,” the Mommy Monster screamed back, clearly not listening to her own message.

The Mommy Monster snapped.  She tried to control her fury.  Her yelling made her kids feel bad, but she felt worse.  Her short temper ate at her on these days.  She pleaded, “Help, please, help…” but she knew her expectations were unrealistic for her two kids under four-years-old.

She strapped the baby in her seat as the baby yelled repeatedly – “Stuck, stuck, stuck!”

“That’s the point,” the Mean Mommy Monster muttered, “car seats make you stuck.”  Baby screamed and the Mommy Monster drove.

She wanted to turn around.  She wanted to go home, give up on swim class and the outside world, but she pulled into the YMCA.  They sat in the parked car. The Monster took a deep breath.  She felt bad.  She felt sad.  She felt guilty.  It had been a hard couple of weeks.  She apologized to her little girls strapped into their car seats, “I’m so sorry Mommy was so grumpy.  I was too grouchy this morning.”  She meant it.

In class, the Monster and the baby sat together on the bench, watching the big girl swim happily.  Another mother sitting nearby asked about the morning.

“It’s been rough,” the Monster replied.

“I hate those mornings,” the other mom stated.  “The mornings when you snap and the children should just get out of your way.  My acupuncturist told me that we all have these moments. Moments when we don’t like who we are or how we behave.  She said our moms had these moments too and typically we don’t remember them, so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about them either.”

It struck me – this could be my new friend.

Her words, a relief, like ending a yoga class – Namaste – the divine light in me in me honors the divine light in you.

Or in this case, the Mommy Monster in me honors the mommy monster in you.  We are all okay.

 

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