I have heard that if the two’s are terrible, the three’s are trying. We are less than a month away from Nathan’s third birthday and these past few days have been UTTER TRYING DANTE’S INFERNO HELLFIRE.
Nathan was a wonderful, healthy baby. We were spared from common infant ailments like thrush and colic. He has only vomited once to my knowledge, after downing a big Slurpee. As an infant, he would laugh so hard, his face would redden and I didn’t want to continue making the funny faces or animal sounds so the kid would get a chance to breathe. I’m wondering if all that front-end baby magic has worn off and this is where we are now: the kid who lies down in the Target aisles, in front of oncoming carts, while his mother hovers over him, urging him to, “GET UP NATHAN! GET UP! GET UP!”
This weekend, we traveled to Vancouver, WA to visit some family and had dinner at Todai’s in Portland. There was a clown who wandered from table to table, fashioning balloons into animals. The clown asked Nathan if he wanted a balloon, and Nathan, who had taken to sprawling on the restaurant carpet, looked up only to screech back, “NOOOOOO!” As if by accepting a balloon, Nathan would have to enter some David Bowie type of labyrinth, which would actually be kind of cool and I would totally accompany him. That’s parenting.
I can never relax at restaurants with Nathan because I’m so worried about the screaming or the flailing or the lifting the glass off the table AND DROPPING IT. I’m usually the one who picks him up and takes him outside where I explain to him that it’s not appropriate to scream in a restaurant. We stay there until Nathan cools off and says, “Go inside now.” There are two problems in this: since Mike and I both work full-time any weeknight restaurant outing occurs right when Nathan is tired and hungry so this whole cooling off outside happens A LOT and YOU CANNOT REASON WITH A TWO-YEAR-OLD.
This weekend, when Nathan had morphed into Screaming Screamstein from InMyEarDrum Ave SW, I felt like I was in a sea of well-behaved children and their loving mothers, mothers who only have to whisper, “Quiet now, darling,” with their breath that smells like Spanish bread and their children transform into responsible citizens who know when their trash day is and block out time on Sundays to listen to Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. And there I was, frazzled and frizzy, in another city with no place within walking distance where I could give him a time out, holding on to the hood of his coat because leashes never worked on him (HA! Read also: HA! HA!) and I couldn’t just let him run around in a fancy place that had a store full of tutus.
You know the saying, “If I only knew then what I know now”? I think that phrase would best apply to my toddler years. I wish I had my 26-year-old brain when I was two-years-old. Mostly because I would be so charming, no one would believe that I was pickpocketing them. And if I had been found with a fistful of dead presidents, I would just lisp out something cute, like, “Disss moneee? Isss green!” I would also dance on tables because at two years of age that is cute, only I would never grow out if it and at twenty-two, I could drunkenly say, “I’ve been doing this mah whole life! Where’s the Jaggerbombs?! Why is the room spinning!?!?”
I took Monday off because of a major cold I caught on the way back to Seattle. Nathan stayed home with me, and instead of taking off all the cushions and using the couch as a trampoline, he brought me all the important things like the remote control. We spent a few hours napping, his arm draped over me, later he had shuffled and his feet pressed up against my face. After sleeping, we read a few books, watched E! and played the fart application on my iPhone. Maybe that’s what this whole crazy world of motherhood is about, the hellish days stirred in with these sweet ones, leaving me to believe that only thing I can depend on is this the wondrous inconsistency of this little human.