Can we talk about this kid for a minute?
This wild and wonderful, sweet and stubborn, loud, creative, expressive, exasperating, bony, tornado of a kid.
When I held the tiny space monkey this little human used to be in my arms, I never in a million years could have imagined him as the boy he has become.
We speculated a lot (there wasn’t much else to do as he slept 22 hours of the day away)…but we were mostly wrong.
Oh, so very wrong.
He is so many good things.
I have filled these pages and hopefully his head with all of the good things I know he is.
Tender-hearted. Resourceful. Friendly. Brilliant. Affectionate. Enthusiastic. Capable. Optimistic. Energetic. Gifted. Logical. Generous. Hopeful. Entertaining. Dedicated. Weird.
And so much more.
I love him so much that sometimes when I look at him my chest literally aches.
I can also find him….overwhelming.
Is it okay to admit this? Does it make me a terrible person to admit that sometimes I find it really hard to be around my kid? How much am I looking at in therapy bills for posting this online?
But it is true.
Four years ago, I cried at the thought of spending a single day separated from my boy…and now I sometimes find the tears falling when I am not sure I can handle another day not separated from him.
He is impossibly adorable. He is so adorable that, even at 5 years old when most children have outgrown their universally cute stage, he is stopped regularly just to be told how adorable he is…or to be randomly asked to model for a magazine. He entertains everyone, everywhere, all the time. “I want to take him home with me!” I am told almost daily.
And I totally get why…but there are days where I bite my lip in fear that I might ask for an address.
His requirement for input is insatiable. I throw every resource I can spare into filling his need for constant contact but it is never enough and some times, by the end of the day, my introverted spirit is so drained that I simply cannot imagine getting up and doing it all again tomorrow.
…but 6:30 a.m. comes whether I am ready or not. As soon as the sun rises, so does this boy of mine. His loft bed creaks as he climbs down the stairs, always waking his brother in the process. He run-skips into the room, rubbing sleep from his eyes, and throws himself- elbows first- into our bed. He slings his long legs over ours, scratching his sides (which perpetually itch for unknown reasons) and declares:
“Good morning, Mama! I’m hungry. Is it screen time yet?”
It does not matter that 99.9% of the time, we respond the exact same way. His brain remembers that one time when exhaustion outweighed common sense and we allowed him to start his morning with shows and cereal to catch just a few extra minutes of sleep. And so, we have to remind him that breakfast is eaten at the table before screen time; a rule that had to be put into place when our 30 lb child was skipping meals in favor of electronic entertainment.
And so the first battle of the day begins.
Most of the time, his intention is never to cause harm. He just had his own ideas about how the day was going to go….which usually includes doing something fun while wearing a costume and eating junk food. I mean, it sounds pretty good to me too so I can’t really blame him, but if maybe you need to run errands or do the dishes instead of the fun thing he had dreamed up, or if his costume is dirty or not weather appropriate, or if you perhaps insist he eats something other than ice cream, you have ruined his expectations of the day and things are going to get really hard, really fast. Sometimes, I just lose my sense of humor about all the fighting.
He also has some personal space issues… as in the concept of personal space does not exist for him. I love him so much that I want to kiss his face off, but sometimes I think if he touches me again (and by “touches me” I mean climbs LITERALLY on my head, uses my arm as a chin up bar, sits on my face, jumps onto my shoulders, or hangs on my pockets) I might possibly duct tape him to a wall.
Note: I would never actually duct tape my child to a wall. It would never hold him anyway. He is crafty like a fox.
He has an extremely short attention span and an extremely short list of activities he feels are worth his time. This makes keeping him entertained throughout the day difficult…and while I would love to allow him the privilege of a boredom to get his creative juices flowing, a bored Liam is a destructive Liam and sometimes it is just less expensive to try and keep him occupied every minute of the day.
Handling my 2 children under the age of 2 sometimes feels like a vacation in comparison to my beloved eldest child. I never notice how much time I spend managing his impusivity, protecting the house and his brothers from his destructive behaviors, and trying to keep him occupied, until he isn’t there and I manage to do so very much and everyone seems so peaceful.
But the thing is….he is worth it.
Every single day I have with Liam is a day I was never promised and I never, ever forget that. When he is making me crazy… I always have a moment when it occurs to me that my life could look very different right now had his time in the NICU ended like many other babies do…and that any one of those mothers would welcome this hyper-active little spider monkey with open arms if their child had the chance to become one. I do not take this miracle of mine for granted.
That little miracle is just providing some unique challenges for me right now. I don’t really know if it is a fleeting phase or the beginning of a rocky road ahead, but I am doing my best to take it one day at a time, navigate these choppy waters, and stay connected to my boy.
It means things look a bit different than I expected. He watches a little more television than he used to. I try to find ways to give us both the space we need, which may seem to some like I am pushing him away. I have had to set some firm boundaries about about how he can touch others, and when it is appropriate to ask for attention, among other things.
I sometimes feel like a horrible pwrson but I am not doing it to be mean. I am not even doing it because I want to. I am doing it because it is necessary. I am doing it because I have 2 other children who deserve some mama-time too. I am doing it for my own sanity. I am doing it because I am the one who has to watch, with my heart in pieces at my feet, as my son is alienated on the playground because the other kids don’t want to play with a child who doesn’t understand normal social boundaries.
I am doing it because I love him.
He is nothing like I thought he would be.
I am nothing like I thought I would be .
And I love him more than I ever thought I could.