Breath held, eyes closed

When I ask you to do something and you’re willing, you sing back to me, “Oak-kay, Mommy Day!” A nicer song was never sung.

When I ask you to do something and you’re unwilling, you brace yourself, and enunciate each word, “Mommy, I heer jew. One meedee.” And usually, after that minute you comply.

You think it’s funny to say that your stuffed alligator says, “Meow.” And that your stuffed elephant says, “Meow.” And that your baby doll says, “Meow.” But you named them all “Poe.” I don’t understand you, kiddo. And I dig that about you.

When you want something right now, you tell me, “Mommy. Look me eye, Mommy.” It’s nice of you to tolerate me and to use such compelling ways to get my attention.

You spend a week or so screaming in desperate frustration any time your hands didn’t do what you wanted them to. I taught you to ask for help instead of screaming, and now you cheerfully bellow, “HELP, EVEEBODY!” when your train won’t work. Luckily for you, everybody hears you and everybody helps. Nice world, eh, buddy?

You ruin even the best jokes, friend, with your own favorite punchline. “Knock knock,” your brother and I begin. “Who’s there?” someone replies. “POOP!” you shout. Very funny. Very, very funny.

When your brother is mean you pull his hair. When he ignores you, you hit. When he yells at you, you bite. These are not okay, things, Butterbean. Angry is okay, hurting is not okay. That nonsense has to stop.

Thank you for saying “soddy.” It feels nice to hear a sorry.

It’s very nice of you to thank me for the things I do. It’s wonderful of you to use words and ask gently to have a turn. And yes, it’s kind of funny that you insist on locking me out of the car every chance you get.

I don’t know how I’m going to leave you at school tomorrow, sweet cream Butterbug. I know you’ll have fun and you’ll learn new things about how people are different but all like gentleness and kindness. I know you’ll be happy to see me when I come after lunch.

I just don’t know how I’ll do. Aside from the whole “allowing a thought to proceed to completion” thing I vaguely remember from before you and your brother were born.

I think I’ll be pretty much demolished without you. I’ve wanted some space from you since those days at three months that you just screamed yourself purple. But I’ve never followed through with it for more than an hour every six months because I just can’t take it. You’re too little, too sweet, too attached, too new.

You’re my guy. I love love love you. And I’ll come get you after lunch.

Okay, Butter Day?

11 thoughts on “Breath held, eyes closed

  1. Oh my goodness. I do love this so much. I’m sure it was hard to leave him, but you will adjust to your time nicely, I believe. But if you are really missing your toddler and can’t pull him out of school, I would be happy to send you one of mine. Just for a few hours. Please?

    And the hitting and biting. What the heck? My 20 month old does it too! The three year old has three teeth marks on him from this morning?! Do let me in on your solution to make it stop. My son has been through enough!

    Enjoy your uninterrupted thoughts…after the tears stop.

    • Oh, biting. There are some good books, and the Dr. Sears web site has good advice. Sources of problem: lack of language, frustration, inability to control emotion, lack of alternative, tiredness, hunger, and scientific desire to do things and see how people react.
      Don’t bother with timeouts or biting her back. Teach her what to do instead.
      Stick to her closely for a few months, and intervene before it happens or just after. Comfort victim first, instruct biter second. “You’re angry. It’s okay to be angry. We DO NOT bite. Bites hurt. If you’re angry, tell him, ‘No’ or ‘Stop.’ Can you see how sad he is? Let’s see if he wants a cuddle.”
      Don’t force apologies (they’re almost never sorry, so why teach them to lie?)
      They grow out of it if taught other behaviors.
      I hear paying someone else to take care of her will help, too.

      • well, crap. We are already doing two things wrong. We are putting her in time-out and telling her to apologize. she has the language, but has learned to bite when her brother is taking something away from her or pulling on her in spite of her yelling. I get that. But,it clearly has become a knee jerk reaction to whatever it is she doesn’t like.

        • Separating them is perfect. Timeout can be seen as a reward or a confusion, but won’t stop the biting. If she gets lots of attention it’ll continue. Fawn and fawn over the poor bitten guy. Ignore her, then tell her what might work better, then fawn over him again. She’ll get pissed she’s not getting attention.
          (Note I can’t put here: it’s hard when the older one totally deserves it. But biting can’t get her what she wants.)
          That said, mine has been biting for more than a year. Don’t listen to a word I’ve read from the experts. Their advice might not be working. ;-)

  2. Butter Nut, I promise if you share the bag of popcorn, you will make tons of friends! :) You are gonna LOOOOOVE school. Draw me some ducks and trees when you have art time. Thank your teacher for showing you how to color and write and sing. You can teach your brother what you learn.

    Mama Nut, you get a gold star, a herky, and a big hug.

  3. Today will be hard. Tomorrow will be less hard. Next Wednesday, those three hours will be glorious.

    He will come home with so many very cute, new sayings and quirks. Things he learned in the world without any help. Some of them will be horrendous, but they will be his. That little guy’s personality is JUST GETTING STARTED!

    Good luck today! You will do great:)

    • What a lovely way of looking at it.
      I didn’t leave today, but I will tomorrow for an hour. And next week for two hours, then three. He will be grand. Thanks for the reminder that I will, eventually.

  4. I remember dropping my youngest off at preschool for the first time just knowing it was the last time I would ever take a child to preschool for the first time. He was my baby and I was leaving him in the care of someone other than his nana. We got to school and he ran into the room without looking back. No wave, no kiss goodbye. In my mind I knew that he had become the independent child I hoped for. But my heart was broken that he didn’t need his mommy anymore. But then he did and it was beautiful. My best to you and Butter. Hope your first day was everything it needed to be for both of you!

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