My mornings generally start like this: I get BabyJaguar out of his crib and put him in my bed where he lazily reclines back on my propped up pillows and drinks his milk while I try to wake up. This lasts about a whole five minutes and then he is off and running. Literally. He hops off the bed and heads full speed for all things 'no'. As in, "No litter box. That's for the kitties." And, "No dirty diaper. Mommy has to take that downstairs with us and throw it out." And, "No billy club. Daddy has to use that if he ever has to beat a burglar." (Am I the only one whose husband is ready to defend the family on a moment's notice? Yeah, it's tucked against the wall behind his side of the bed. Ben has discovered it.)
And so it goes for the rest of the day with the exception of nap time (and people wonder why mommies still nap even as their children get older. It's nap or drink). I gotta tell you...it's completely exhausting. I don't really know how I sustain this pace everyday. Nor do I know how I'm going to manage returning to teaching with my child going at this current pace.
And, in my defense, my house is reasonably baby proofed. I've got locks on several cabinets and enough gates to simulate a lockdown at a state prison. But still, it's not enough.
And when I say 'no' to something, in BabyJaguar's head it means, "GAME ON." And he will proceed to go for the 'no' object seventeen more times in a five minute span. And I read up on parenting. I try the avoid-a-power-struggle-with-your-little-one-language to avoid the big N-O as in, "We can have the Cheerios after we eat lunch," instead of, "No Cheerios." No luck with that in this house. Actually, when I tell the little man he can't have something right when he demands it, he gets this little glint in his eye. His face shows nothing but sheer amusement as he thinks, "This dumb hieney thinks she can take me." (He knows he can't use the word ass. He at least respects the no swearing rule. I guess that's something.)
What does this all mean? Does he have ADHD? Oppositional Defiant Disorder? Is he destined to become a common criminal? A lawyer? Or just a regular ol' fifteen month old with some kind of stubborn streak? I think it's the latter (at least I hope!).
So how am I handling all this? I'm counting (a lot). I'm taking deep breaths. I'm trying to think of the ridiculously adorable things he does during the moments when he is at his most challenging. I'm visiting him often when he is asleep in his crib to cherish a completely still moment with him. Daddy and I are taking turns a lot so the other can take a break when they need it. I'm being consistent, consistent, consistent.
And I'm remembering that I would never give up being BabyJaguar's mommy for even a minute.