You’re not a papoose anymore. Imagining you swaddled to my chest, tiny and helpless, seems a distant memory. You’re two. Two years old. You’re capable of all sorts of two-year-old things that I could never have fathomed that first day we brought you home. You jump and somersault off coffee tables and chairs. You sing with enthusiasm and play air guitar just like Murray Wiggle. You climb onto the table and help yourself to seven apples, rather one bite out of seven individual apples. You prettify all glass surfaces in the house with your artistic interpretations of circles and lines. You sing “Lellow Lellow Lellow!” as you tightly grip that yellow crayon, big brown eyes persistently searching for a pristine surface on which to decorate. You unhelp me fold baskets of laundry. When one of us calls your name or asks you a question, you almost always answer “what?!”, as if to say “what could you people possibly need from me now?”, or “can you not see that I am very busy removing these dust jackets and tearing them into teensy shreds?” When asked to please not do something, you tenderly answer “oh-tay” and usually flash the dimples for the bonus cuteness factor. You love to be naked. Nothing in this world – save m&m’s – gives you more bliss than parading around the house with your tiny hand firmly gripping your naked bits and bobs. (using bits and bobs instead of the p-word to help deter perverted googlers) You love your body, like to roll naked on my bed or the couch, enjoy farting, then turning around to see exactly where the heck the sound came from, and then pinching your nose saying “tinky tinky.” And you really REALLY take pleasure in peeing on the carpet. You, little one, have no idea how much your Daddy and I spend at the local Rug Doctor rental store. In fact, the management took pity on us and started a donation jar at the front desk to help fund our rental costs. Okay, I made that up but I totally think it would be a good idea.
I can’t wrap my simple mind around your age. I still so feverishly want you to be my new baby, still small enough to fit comfortably between the crook of my elbow and the softness of my breast. I miss the limpness of your body in the shape of a ball. I miss the fuzzy brown hair on your earlobes. I lament the passing of your infancy with such bittersweet melancholy, such a longing ache to keep you forever a baby, yet I revel in the miraculous little boy you are becoming. Your feet stink like old mozzarella and your fingernails are always dirty with the spoils of your daily adventures. Your hair is long and tousled because you absolutely refuse to let me cut it without shrieking and trembling from terror. I can’t always get all the toothpaste out of your hair or the red marker off your neck, but I like to think of that as part of your endearing charm. You point and talk with every tractor you see. If it’s green, has wheels and looks like a John Deere, then it is your friend and you love it. I still haven’t had much success on the whole vegetable issue, but I haven’t given up. You will occasionally suck on a carrot or eat a cucumber. You’re mostly a fruit, bread, chicken and breast milk kind of boy, and that’s just fine with me.
I swell with laughter and pride when you tackle your 80 pound brother to the ground and sit on his head, maniacally laughing and gouging his eyeballs out like a starving vulture. I cup my hand to my mouth and muffle my giggling fits as you yank your sister’s hair out in triumphant clumps. You’re the only person on this entire planet she’ll let get away with such ruthless behavior towards her. And two seconds after rubbing the sore spot on her head, she leans in to kiss you only to have her hair pulled again.
You love to hug, kiss, play chase, climb up and down and up and down stairs, throw wet socks into the dryer, pumice your heels just like Mama does in the shower, brush your teeth and then use that same toothbrush to scratch your balls, feed the crows your half-eaten pb&j sandwich, and crack eggs. You love to crack eggs more than anything else in this world. I literally buy an extra 18 pack of eggs for the sole reason of letting you crack and stir. Sometimes we scramble them, but usually there are just too many bits of shells floating around.
And then there are mornings when the light hasn’t yet filled the bedroom and I can only see the shape of your dark head against my breast. I listen to your grunting and swallowing noises as your sleepy fingers knead and massage my arm. I smell sweet cedar wood baby lotion in your hair and feel your tiny toes randomly wiggling against my thigh. I turn into you and bury my face in your head…and you are still my baby.
Happy 2nd birthday my little son. I hope you wake up each morning knowing there are four other people in the house who can’t wait to see you.
I’m currently snuggled deeply beneath my king-sized down comforter, the familiar warmth from my laptop keeping my upper thighs and hips cozy, the remote control firmly planted within arm’s reach, my freshly-washed hair comfortably nestled atop my two oversized pillows, a half-eaten container of Yoplait chocolate-raspberry whipped yogurt idly placed on the floor….and a Breath-Right Mentholated Nasal Strip firmly affixed to my overly swollen nose. Of all the things I mentioned above, which one seems most conspicuous? Just like the song from that old Sesame Street bit: “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong, can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?” I totally kicked ass at that game by the way. I was always the first kid in the room to establish that the red ball totally did NOT belong with the other three blue items. That’s neither here not there and it’s evident that my overdose of Afrin has indeed, much to my husband’s apprehension, affected the area of my brain that manages coherence. On any given normal evening, this would be a comfortable end to another busy day. I would typically be drifting peacefully to sleep with the somewhat soothing sounds of Star Trek Enterprise and/or my husband channel surfing for the geekiest documentary ever aired on the History Channel. Oh my stars I’m really having difficulty getting to my actual point tonight. I’m sick. And not in your typical Quentin Tarantino flick kind of sick. I’m sick in the exploding sinuses, blindingly severe facial pain, monster trucks revving their engines in my head, just kill me now and use my body for science kind of sick. Oh Jesus Joseph and Mary just take a drill to my facial bones and drain the mother-effers already. I hate being sick for several reasons, the most significant one being Everybody In This House Forgets How To Function Normally When Mama Needs To Feel Better. "No, I can’t drag my congested ass from the couch to get you a third glass of milk because I taught you how to use a stool five years ago." (actually it’s my nose, not my ass that’s congested because that would just be gross) "And no, you can’t use your baby brother as a goal post or a punching bag. Yes, I realize he’s laughing, but that’s because you keep jabbing him in the ribs with a plastic light saber and he can’t catch his breath long enough to scream at you to KNOCK IT OFF. Sit on my head one more time child and I swear to the God of Happy Meals and More Plastic Crap Toys That We Don’t Need, I’ll sell you in my next garage sale. Laugh it up fuzz ball, but five bucks is five bucks."
I kid. Or do I?
After a riveting trip to the science center tomorrow, I’m high-tailing it to my doctor’s office. She’d better have an antibiotic IV drip in the waiting room for me because Mama ain’t playin’ around.