Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My toddler drives me crazy (and I can't get enough)

So I might have hinted in the past that Benjamin runs me completely ragged and exhausts me in every possible way.

But there's something else I should maybe tell you.

I absolutely love it.

No really.  I do.  Benjamin, for me, is a practice in contradictions, and my feelings towards him go something like this.

I literally feel as if I spend full days following him around the house, pulling cords from his hand as he attempts to fit them in electrical outlets, soaking my socks as I snatch the toilet brush, sending him running from the bathroom in a fit of giggles, sweeping up pretzels and raisins as he dumps them all over the floor.

But I love his curiosity.  I adore his fearlessness, and his willingness to try anything.  I treasure the panic on his face when you catch him in the act, and his wild laughter as he flees the scene.

I long for him to sleep, like normal less-than-two-year-olds.  But he's just not all that interested.  He rarely naps, as he's discovered that life goes on without him when he does.  And, from time to time, he remains the last one awake at night, pushing through the exhaustion while his family slumbers peacefully beside him.

But I love his energy.  I love that he doesn't want to miss a thing.  I love when he does nap and I know if I don't wake him he'll never go to sleep that night.  So I run up the stairs and kiss his fat, little lips, just like Sleeping Beauty, because he's still just a baby and too soon all of that precious baby-ness will be gone.

I nearly lose it when I'm trying to cook dinner and I hear him drag the chair across our tile floor.  I want to shout when he climbs up beside me and sticks his hands right in all of our food, and opens the salt just to watch the small grains sprinkle the counter and floor, as if he hasn't seen it a million times before, and when he climbs on the counter only to slide the large chef's knife from its holder and provide me with a near heart attack.

But I love his audacity.  I love how he simply assumes he's a big boy.  That he's just like his brothers.  That he's actually helping me in the kitchen, and not driving me off-the-wall crazy.

Sometimes I just want to sit down.  For a minute.  But Benjamin pulls on my hand and says, "'Mon, Mama!"and what am I supposed to say to that?  No?

So I chase him around the couch chanting, "Mama's gonna get you!"  And he screams with joy as his feet patter across the floor.

And every time I pass the couch I think, Oh how I long to sit on you.  But then I look at him looking at me, with delight in his eyes, and I realize this, to him, is perfect.

I love how he loves to be with me.  I'm also suffocated by it, and, at times, feel literally chained to him.  But in a few years he'll want to know who can we invite over and when will I see my friends, and a few after that we'll be forcing him to stay home.

But right now, today, this is right where he wants to be.  And even on the days I just want to get away, I really, truly, wouldn't be anywhere else.

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