When I was little, according to grandma (although I do have vague recollections of a scary clown and a terrifying man dressed up like a gorilla), I was scared of pretty much everything. These things included, but were not limited to: black cats, men with beards, lawn mowers, the beeping sound forklifts or tractors made, clowns, and the Fonz (who took on the the antagonist role in my nightmares). So, it should come as no surprise to me that you, my son, who shares my genetic make-up, would also be a little high strung (I'm being very generous with the word "little"). You would also think that I would be sensitive to your plight, as it is something I've experienced; but, I find myself getting frustrated that we can't play outside without you needing a Xanax at the sight of a squirrel or that the sight of our church sends you into a catatonic state or that the waiters bursting out in a happy birthday song at Applebee's necessitates us to take you out of the restaurant until the absurdity is over. I'm convinced that you still have nightmares about trick-or-treating from this year. Just so I can remember this, Halloween was spent with you holed up in your sister's room shouting "NO MORE TRICK OR TREATERS!!" every now and then, me answering the door while trying to breast feed your sister and sweating like a large, hairy man in June. I'm sorry. I guess I'm frustrated that you don't feel safe and there's little to nothing I can do to help you. I feel powerless against your fears. I don't think that you being afraid is silly -- it's a very real emotion for you, and I understand that. I just wish I understood how to make you feel safe and why these things scare you.
This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout these past months: uncertainty. You, my friend, like to test your boundaries. And I, like the new guy on border patrol, am uncertain what's okay to let pass and what needs a blow dart to stop it in its tracks (I, of course, speak metaphorically...I have not used a blow dart on you) (also, isn't that a horrible analogy? I mean I'm averaging 5 hours of sleep a night, so...just...okay?). Right now, when you tell us "no" or hit or scream or throw your toys or object to watching Jeopardy, sending you to your room seems to do the trick. You haven't seemed to realize that your toys are in there, just that we're not and you hate it.
But there have been many blood-pressure raising moments in stores, restaurants, parks, basically out and about. I can't send you to your room. And I know people have told me, "Just leave the store." But when I have a cart full of food or Target goodies, I am not going to do that, so leave me alone perfect parents. I will endure the 20 something female giving me a dirty look as you scream in the shopping cart. (You're welcome, 20 something, for your birth control for the day). You've almost become this equation I need to solve. How can I get X (my son) to travel through/endure Y (the store, the restaurant, my dr.'s appt) without wanting to Z (scream into a pillow)? I've discovered that time and food play a major part in the equation, as does my stress level. But there are so many unknown factors, like wind speed, air pressure, whether or not that stranger looked at you funny, were there squirrels in your general vicinity? You know...things beyond my control.
So, I'm sorry if you feel frustrated with my frustration/uncertainty. It's been a rough year for you, and you've had to accept a lot of changes. However, you can't use that excuse every day...you've reached your quota, my friend. Please know that when that little vein in my forehead becomes glaringly apparent or I raise my voice or I insult Bob the Builder, it doesn't mean I don't think you're still incredible. I will always think you're a wonderful little boy who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, not even Coldplay tickets. And I hope you never doubt I love you and think that you are smart and talented and overall amazing.
Moving on to something not so uncertain; let's talk about you talking. I, admittedly, was a little worried about your speech development. I felt you should be saying more and talking more. People assured me you were fine, but I worried. Should I get you into speech therapy? I didn't want you to feel like I dropped the ball in this area. But as soon as we adiosed that pacifier, the words, they don't stop. The other day you walked into the living room after a particularly messy toy day and said, "Mama mia, look at this mess." Your dad just looked at me as if to say, "Where has he heard that?" You love to sing, you love to talk ALL THE TIME. A car ride does not go by without you narrating everything that passes by or comes into your brain. I'll never miss a red light because you let me know when they're occurring. I love hearing you talk. You have so many wonderful (and some not-so wonderful...ahem...let's say bye-bye to the word "no") things to say, and I'm glad you are so excited to share your thoughts, observations, whims. You're amazing to me.
Favorite things you say right now (this is for me for when my memory is shot due to all the Twilight I watch): when we don't quite understand something you're asking for and then we finally get it, you'll say "oh, that's what I'm talking about"; when you think something is great, "oh, mama, that is just beautiful"; "mama mia"; "oh, it's perfect" when we do something for which you're pleased. You're it, kid.
you and your cousins
Finally, we welcomed "baby sister" a month a go. It's heartwarming to see you with her. You are quite the protective older brother. If someone other than me or your dad is holding her, you become very concerned and make your discomfort known. The other night, your dad took down her pack and play b/c we bought something else for her to sleep in during her wee months, and you broke down. "No, daddy...NOOO!! I want to keep her...I love her!" You thought we were 86ing your sister. Break.my.heart.
It has been a challenge to keep both of you happy, and I'm sorry if you have felt neglected, because, my precious boy, for you to feel anything other than completely wanted and loved makes my heart hurt. You are beyond the most wonderful creation. I cherish everything about you, even when you throw my phone across the room. Now go to your room.