My life with a toddler is like walking along a beach. Every day I find gorgeous bits of sea glass buried in the sand. I try to savor each one, holding it tightly and putting it in my pocket for later. Sometimes I step on a jagged shell or stumble over a rock, painfully stubbing my toe. Other days the sun isn’t out, the wind is chilly, and I wonder why I even came out here at all. But no matter what else is going on, the ground before me is still littered with treasure.
So, in an attempt to remember what about this time in our lives is great, here’s some recent gems from my life as Reason’s mom.
While Reason is mostly a non-verbal child (much of his communication is a series of grunts) he does use a few words and phrases that are particularly charming. When stirring eggs, or really any liquid at all, he chants “mic-a-mic-a.”. When he’s happy or excited he loudly declares “yee-haw!” If someone is in his face he holds out a hand and says, “‘Way!” He also says “fuck” with perfect diction. How the universe conspired to make it so my son is unable to say “please” and be understood but says “fuck” with unmistakable clarity I cannot fathom. But it’s my own fault, really, as I’m the one who taught him the word.
Though it seems unlikely that this trend will extend into adulthood, domestic chores are Reason’s favorite. He begs and pleads to be allowed to clean the bathroom mirror, or sweep up the kitchen floor. There is no love for the vacuum cleaner, though, presumably because it is loud and Mom does not pay total attention to him while using the device. He wants to be a part of everything we do all day - whether it’s folding laundry, cooking breakfast, or scrubbing pee out of the couch cushions for the third time this week.
He is an utterly joyful child, playful, engaging, and full of boundless enthusiasm. But heaven help you if you break the rules. “Control-freak” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Things have gotten to the point where he feels the need to dictate which clothes I wear each day, the wrist I wear my watch on, whether I eat my yogurt with a fork or a spoon, along with an endless list of other arcane requirements. I can only hope that the intensity of these demands will trail off and leave me with a child who is willful and likes to have his own way, but does not care whether or not my shirtsleeves are rolled up.
He is also very sweet. Whenever a baby or a cat or a dog comes across our path he cooes at it in the cutest little voice you’ve ever heard. “Aww, baby!” he says to me, usually three-hundred times in a row. “Aww, meow!” (There is no cat, only meow). “MOM! DOG!” he screams in my face when a dog walks across the street two blocks from where we are standing. “MINE! DOG MINE!” And if the dog should come closer, say within hugging distance, it’s gonna get a snuggle whether the animal likes it or not. Stuffed dogs and cats receive similar treatment, though for longer and with more kisses. Mom, Dad, Raven and Duncan are the recipients of much cuddling too (and we are all delighted).
Every day is a new adventure, a chance to watch him grow and discover, explore and change. I try to capture everything I can until my pockets are bursting with gems every night and I have to carefully select which ones to keep. I fear that so many precious moments will be forever lost to my imperfect memory. And yet, the ones I retain will likely stay with me forever, sparkling reminders of beautiful days that I am blessed to be living.