At this point in my life, the bulk of the things I have to talk about come from the kids. This isn’t a desire on my part: I keep attempting to read books, think deep thoughts, and have exciting experiences. But no kidding: it took me 45 minutes of concerted effort to manage to read a four page spread in the Holiday Economist about the last of the WWI vets. I had to insert several chapters of Danny Dragonbreath and about 20 up and down off the couches and at least one bribe to get that far — and that was with TWO other adults in the house.
Anyway, with five straight days at home, most of which were dominated by falling snow, I had ample time to familiarize myself with the two small people who rule our house.
Thane is at a really unpleasant stage. He screams. All the time. And demands to be picked up. He weighs a ton. And wiggles. This morning, for example, I had a few small goals. Namely, to eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, pack my lunch and pour my coffee. None of these things is done easily while holding 30 pounds of squirm. So there he is, weeping bitterly and banging his little hands against my thighs while I attempt to read the Economist article on politeness and eat my Cheerios (he was ignoring my MIL who would be happy to snuggle him). I pick him up, soothe him, and give him his favoritest toy ever: the empty milk jug and lid. He is happy. Then – oh horrors! – I move! To pour my coffee! He trails after me, milk jug in hand, weeping bitterly. I pour my coffee, pick him up, snuggle him, and place him on the floor next to a large pile of fun, plastic devices. He is happy. Then – the humanity! – I move! He tumbles after me, falling down as my legs move instead of staying where they belong (which is to say: with baby arms wrapped around them).
I give up and carry him, attempting feats such as “putting a coat on” and “packing my thermos” which really, really are better done sans baby.
And sometimes nothing I do helps. The other day I was attempting to (get this) put my clothes away!!!. I had Thane in my bedroom. One-handed, I gathered together a variety of toys, including the beloved milk jug. I sat next to him on the floor, touching. Bitter weeping. I picked him up. Bitter weeping. Nothing I did eased the heartache. ALL DAY. For FIVE DAYS.
I don’t know what’s up. Or rather, I don’t know which of the things is up. I called this morning to make an appointment to start the process of obtaining ear tubes. I suspect we might actually GET the ear tubes some time around his 18th birthday. Anyway, I really don’t think he’s feeling well, and I think his ears hurt a lot. But Tylenol + the analgesic drops I begged off the covering pediatrician over Christmas don’t seem to make much difference (although now my lips go numb whenever I kiss his fuzzy little head). I think it’s also a Stage. He wants Mommy. He wants 100% of Mommy, all the time. Daddy and Meme will do if Mommy isn’t in the room. But he just wants to be held. I don’t know if there’s anything else too… separation anxiety or 14monthishness or something, but it was really no fun. I had like 3 nice hours total with him, when he wasn’t horribly upset and was awake and playing quietly. I’ve already taken him to the doctor several times for “irritability”. I’m not sure if this is ear infection, normal stage, or if there’s something else wrong. Also, the kid is eating his body weight daily, and seems happier after he’s eaten more than any of the grownups. This is going on a bit long to be a growth spurt.
In happier news, he’s made a lot of verbal progress. I’m not convinced he’s hearing properly (see also: chronic ear infection), but he’s started pointing enthusiastically at the books he’s being read. He said “blue”, “Thane”, “Amen” and “Cheese” this week. (The cheese is HILARIOUS. The kid won’t say nose, but Mr. Moon sure will say cheese!) It seems like he won’t attempt many words he’s uncertain about, but he’ll use a word once or twice and then refuse to repeat. But I’m pretty sure he is using it once or twice.
Also, no kidding, the rinsed out milk jug is the BEST TOY EVER.
So if Thane has been a source of angst for me, Grey has been absolutely the best kid ever in the whole universe. Although well anesthetized with various screens and treats, Grey has been a delight. He’s been listening, and complying politely with requests. He played for like two hours out in the snow. He’s been super snuggly, requesting hugs and bestowing kisses. (Although usually when he gives me kisses they’re accompanied with instructions that said kisses are to be saved for his cousins Baz and Kay.) He’ll cuddle up while reading, and when I seem tired, he comes up to give me a “massage”. When eating a meal he doesn’t hate, he’ll say something like “Thank you, daddy, for making us this nice meal. It is super tasty.” I kid you not. We’re working on Christmas thank you notes, with me taking dictation, and they’re awesome. “Dear Grandma Jones, Thank you for the blocks. I like them a lot. They are awesome. It was very kind of you to give us such fun blocks. Dear Grey.” (Ok, so he hasn’t quite gotten the “sincerely” bit yet.) He and I had a fantastic time doing his new science experiments. He even helps with his brother — making funny faces to make him stop weeping.
In general, I’m having an AWESOME time being Grey’s mom. I feel like I’m falling down on the job being Thane’s mom — I just haven’t figured out how to help him. I hope I figure it out.