A year or so ago, two of Liam’s buddies came to Pennsylvania for a weekend in the summer to play some golf. Both guys are fathers of young boys, and I can remember their astonishment when—after spending several hours with us at our house—they remarked about our daughters’ dispositions.
“You mean, they just sit here and play like this all the time?”
Yep. (Well, at least mostly.)
“You don’t have to chase them around and keep them from harming themselves?”
Well, ever since we found out we were having a boy, parents of sons everywhere have been warning us to be prepared for the difference. ‘Just you wait and see’ they all said.
Let me just say one word about this: Truth.
Those parents were right.
I spend my days these days either holding onto my son, strapping him into a chair, or trailing about behind him and cleaning up in the wake of his destruction, or else making sure he doesn’t accidentally injure himself doing something foolish.
He’s just recently upped his game too. It’s like he’s grown an inch taller just this past week, and so now—even though he’s not yet walking—he can pull up to standing and knock down child-sized glasses full of water stored on window ledges and small tables, something he never thought to do before. Those surfaces had once been safe. No more.
And everything, EVERYTHING goes in the mouth. I know, that’s how babies explore the things around them. We rarely had problems with the girls putting small pieces in their mouths. I can remember playing with marbles with Nora before she was two. And small beads.
Not this kid. He is especially fond of tasting plant leaves, small wooden dollhouse parts, stickers, dried up food scraps mommy hasn’t cleaned off the floor, paper (paper towels, tissues, receipts, etc.), and dust bunnies. And oh, he’s not above dumping over the trash and trying to sample a dirty diaper or two.
I will give him credit though. When he sees me coming or hears me yell, he will jump a mile—or maybe just an inch—and wildly toss whatever is in his grubby little hand, like he knows he’s been caught, but is trying to get rid of the evidence. It’s hysterical.
The boy is into climbing stairs too, so we have to be vigilant about putting up the gate. A couple of weeks ago we forgot. I thought Liam had been keeping an eye on Rowan, and he thought the same of me. All of a sudden I sensed things were a little too quiet.
“Where’s the baby?” I asked aloud, to no one in particular.
“I thought he was with you,” Liam said.
“No. He’s not with me,” I said, sounding slightly alarmed.
We frantically looked all over the downstairs, including the front hall bathroom where a week prior I had caught him splashing about happily in the toilet water. No baby.
Then it hit me. The stairs! I found him playing merrily on the landing after he had scaled the first eleven steps, resting presumably, until he was ready to tackle the last three. That stealthy ninja! He was so proud of himself, too.
I can’t help but love his squishy round face. He is just delightful. The happiest baby. But when he upends the girls’ set of 48 markers and sends them scattering all over the dining room floor, or rips every last book off the bottom bookshelf when I’m not looking, or keeps going back to the TV and Internet wires and cables behind the chair in the living room over and over and over again, no matter how many times I remove him and firmly say ‘no,’ he has a tendency to make me a little batty, you know?
And let’s not even get started about cleaning up after him at meal times. I think he secretly enjoys flinging grains of rice off the side of his tray, and rubbing yogurt into his hair. It’s like some kind of a challenge for him to out-soil his clothing, his face and hair, and every surface within a three-foot radius with food matter every time we eat. It’s just disgusting.
To all of you moms out there with multiple boys—I tip my hats to you. One is enough for me.