Friday, March 9, 2007

The Chief

My son thinks he’s a dictator these days. Since birth, he’s had such a sweet, gentle disposition, and suddenly, he’s a little tyrant. I guess I should rephrase that; he isn’t really mean, but it’s very clear to all of us that he definitely thinks he is the captain of this ship.

I’ve already raised one kid through the toddler years, so my experiences with my son shouldn’t be surprising. After all, it isn’t rocket science; everyone knows that toddlers like to feel in charge and be independent. Yet, every now and then, I’m still shocked when he stares me down, smiles, and defies me.

This morning, we were reading his favorite truck book for the millionth time. It was a wonderful moment. We were covered up with a blanket, and he was snuggled up beside me while listening intently. I was right in the middle of, “a grapple truck has a claw that can pick up strangely shaped loads” when I was interrupted by a rattling sound.

“Look, Mommy,” he said, smiling and shaking his Diego Rescue Pack stethoscope. “It’s a shaker.”

“Yep. It’s a shaker.” I smiled and continued, “The grapple truck can carry anything from—”

“Mommy!” he said, elbowing me. “LOOK at the shaker.”

“Yes, honey, I see. It’s a shaker. Now, do you want me to read the truck book?” He nodded. “Okay. The grapple truck can carry a load of bricks—”

And now I’m interrupted again, except this time he’s singing Jingle Bells. I stopped reading and sat the book on my lap, thinking I would watch him sing the song while he shook the “shaker.” Once he finished, I assumed we would go back to discussing the fine points of a grapple truck.

I was wrong.

“Mommy!” the dictator said. “READ!” I frowned. He should know me better than that. The dictator frowned back. “Mommy. Read. Please.”

I picked up the book and continued while he began singing Jingle Bells again. He sang the chorus seven times while I read about a gantry crane, forklift, and a platform loader. My daughter walked past and muttered, “You guys are weird.”

My thoughts exactly.

Later, while I was applying mascara, my benevolent little despot appeared by my side. He said nothing, but I could feel him hitting me on the rear with something I could only assume was Bo, his stuffed bear and best friend.

“Mommy. Say hi to Bo.”

“Hello, Bo!” I said in a cheery voice. “How are you today?”

“Mommy. Say hi to Bo.”

I sighed. “Hello, Bo.”

“Mommy! LOOK at Bo when he’s talking to you! Please!

Ah. Of course. How could I have forgotten that it’s rude not to look at someone when they are speaking to you?

Since my daughter’s 6-years-old now, I know we will survive these challenging toddler times, and I also know, that someday I will miss them. Often, I see him running behind our couch or on the other side of the kitchen counter. Except for the top of his head, he’s hidden, and I always smile at the little tuft of hair that appears to be dancing along. At that moment, I also get sad, realizing that someday there won’t be anyone that small running around our house. Mothers of toddlers often wonder how many times we can hear the phrase, “No! I do!” Or, “I do it myself!” But we have to sit back and enjoy it. Someday they’ll be teenagers, and we’ll be hearing the same kinds of words, except they’ll likely be accompanied with some profanity. I guess these days aren’t so hard after all.

Other thoughts: I’m very angry at the friend who suggested giving up chocolate for Lent. And I’m really angry at the friend who brought five boxes of Girl Scout cookies over to my house the other day. I’m surviving, but this is definitely going to be a long, long 40 days.

What I’m reading: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

Miles to Run today: Zero!


debyz said...

What a little chief!!! So glad he no longer wishes to try washing the car with his tongue.

Seymore Butts said...

Chief = 1
You = 0

Hee hee hee hee