Up the wall.
To the looney bin.
Through the roof.
I find myself filling in the blanks to the “Driving me” phrase most days. I’m sure moms everywhere can relate. My favorite at the moment is “batty”. Slightly under used and seems old-fashioned.
We are up to our necks in the “threes” and I’ve never joked so much about adoption papers and making sales to the gypsy industry or just a nice Miles-sized donation. People comment “Oh it must be harder now that you have a baby in the house again.” The baby isn’t the challenge. It’s the too-smart-for-his-own-good three year old in the house. Over the last 9 months we’ve felt that push and pull – that “I wanna do it my SELF!” vs. “Mommy! I need your help! I can’t DO ITTTTT! WHAAAAAAAA!” And I can’t keep up with his toddler Jekyll and Hyde moves. Things will be going swimmingly then something triggers a meltdown the size of Texas that my mommy-powers could not predict. I’m getting better at it; honing the mommy-powers, predicting the future choices and moves of the ornery ones. Must have been interference in the mommy-power antenna that day.
Something is clicking inside that little feisty brain of his though. The moments he is actually quiet after some teachable moment (aw that sounds nicer than colossal atomic meltdown) and he says “Mommy, I sorry for frowing that golf club and hitting Cwewmentine.” Warms my heart. In all seriousness it does warm my heart to hear him say things like “Even when I don’t make good choices, Mommy and Daddy still love me.”
I also hear him tell others things I don’t think he ever hears me say. Things about not wasting food or water, things about having patience, trying again, walking slowly, washing hands, cleaning up, sharing- you get the picture. So I know those things have made their way into the corners of his head and his heart. Now it’s up to him to coax them out at the right times. Because if I have to do it for him (which is usually the case) it usually ends in tears and me loading up a box of toys to give away to some kid who will take care of them. Or spankings (gasp!) Or removal from all the “fun” to his room, a chair, whatever is handy. Or threatening not to go over to grandmas even though, let’s face it, I’m never going to follow through on that one. That’s only punishing me.
As he’s nearing four, we talked to him about trying not to suck his fingers anymore. He responded pretty well to it, and just admitted to us that it was hard not to, but he would try to stop. It was very mature! He has kept his word- every time I see him start sucking his middle and ring fingers on his right hand, he stops himself and grunts or squeals. Not so mature, but then he still vents to me that “Mommy it’s hard not to suck on my fingers! I like to when I smell my blankie!” Ah, the confessions of a three year old. We’re not pushing it anymore than just gently reminding him at this point, but he’s really in the throws of withdrawal. He’ll thrash around on the floor and act like he’s hyperventilating- I don’t know where he got his dramatics from.
And little Clemmie just bops along furniture edges, happy as a clam, and every once in a while dares to take her hands off what is supporting her and puts all of her weight on her own two feet even just for a few seconds. She has a little sing-song baby voice and she’s experimenting with it fully. It is such a strange difference having a boy who can’t sit still and seems like he’s the outcome if a tornado and a wrecking ball had a child, to having a girl (that can definitely get into her fair share of trouble) but is delicate like a little flower. She’s a little cuddly thing yet independent enough to crawl into the play tent we have set up across the room and sit there all by herself rocking and playing and sing-songing away. I’ll remember these moments of delicacy when she is 13.
For now, here is photojournalism at its finest: a three-year-old jonesin’ for a comfort habit that will eventually lead to braces and a permanently calloused middle finger.
The thrashing of withdrawal.
The denial and telling yourself “it’s okay”.
Encouragement from family.