Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Man
January 4, 2016
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My son vacillates between two extremes in his disposition; he is both a totally mischievous jerk as well as sweeter than any toddler anyone could possibly conceive.
On the precipice of my third trimester, finding a comfortable sitting position on the sofa is becoming increasingly difficult. It had been a long day of child care with a two week relentlessly annoying cold, but I managed to find my reclined sweet spot, as well as sufficiently cover most of my body with a blanket. My dear little boy stops his content playing on the floor, looks to me, and runs behind the sofa. My immediate thought was this can’t be good, but I was waiting for the distinct smell of smoke or some other indication of catastrophe to motivate me to awkwardly lever myself off the sofa. Within seconds my hero returns with a cardigan I left on the kitchen island and hands it to me. Then he points to the comforter on the floor, trying to pull it up because Mommy should be comfortable. Those moments make my heart melt…until twenty minutes later I’m talking on the phone for five minutes and he is practicing his version of the Rockettes’ Christmas special on our kitchen table. When I try to retrieve him, he is giggling uncontrollably and artfully maneuvering out of my grasp.
My love will want me to hold him and dance to terrible music from his toy piano/automated music apparatus…apparently small children don’t need quality sounds in their toys. All of these happy little noise makers make me want to gouge out my eyes to make the pain this music induces stop. I think this thing was calling the dogs in the neighborhood in the process, but maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about because he rests his head on my shoulder as I awkwardly move to strange and brief tempos of popular children’s tunes I only vaguely recognize. Then he looks up at me and gives me smooches, stroking my hair…then smacks me in the face…really hard, actually, before jamming his finger in my ear (His daddy taught him that gem.). I was especially appreciative that his nails required clipping; I still have the battle scar… Even as I’m yelping from pain and surprise, he is laughing maniacally. I practically drop him to the ground, which prompted a devastated howl and desperate upstretched arms. Maybe he learned his lesson? I pick him up; immediately he resumes his creepy laugh as he jams that same very jagged-nailed finger back in my ear.
I managed to cut my finger this afternoon. It was minor, but bled enough to require a bandage. Little Man was very sweet with his concern, pointing repeatedly at the covered wound with a troubled look on his face as he patted my thigh and hugged my legs. Less than an hour later I’m starting to prepare dinner. My husband’s child asks for his milk and starts furiously banging his cup on our cabinets. In an effort to take it away, I’m chasing him, which he always enjoys. I’m not too proud to say that he can outrun me; I blame the pregnancy. Something new, he runs to the gate blocking him from our dining room, and launches his milk cup as far as he can. Milk splatters all over the floor. Laughing, he stands in the doorway pointing to the mess he created like it’s a quality Basquiat reproduction.
I don’t have a lot familiarity with this age to know if I’m successfully raising a sociopath or if this is nature’s way of preparing me for his teenage years. My one hope is that “jerk” is a phase…