Two year olds are a lethal combination of stubborn determination and ill equipped faculties and my days are mostly spent preventing Jude from carrying out a horrifying variety of ill-conceived ideas and if he was a client or a friend I’d have left him to self-destruct eons ago but it’s so weird, how genetically pre-disposed we are to loving the creatures that come from inside us. Even when they’re totally, unflinchingly crazy.
Jude perplexes me everyday with his frantic, irrefutable Jude-ness and I remember the naive woman who thought that Nolan is sweet-tempered and sensitive because of something measured she did and I want to wipe the smug off her face and tell her the whole truth: you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
Every morning Jude and I go through an overflowing laundry basket of his clean clothes and he decides what he wants to wear. Invariably he tries on three pairs of striped velcro shorts and three shirts that look exactly the same and then takes them off again, getting his nubby legs stuck in one leg hole or his shirt inside out and we do this again and again for half an hour until I am sticky with sweat and heaving with frustration. Finally, he declares, “I like it, pants,” and we are ready to start the day.
It’s been almost a decade since I was last home with small human beings and I’d forgotten about the frazzled, hard-breathing pace of nothingness that infuses the days. There are diaper blow outs in Superstore and heartstopping brand new smiles, there are tiny hands grazing my chest and scrambled egg remnants in the bookcase. There are temper tantrums in the worst possible places, and a strange, inexplicable emotion that hovers around me: gratitude for what I am doing, guilt that I crave a bit more. There are no tangible benefits to this job, just long-term perks that are fleeting and often dampened with all the tired and the crumbs.
I like them, my babies. But I’m grateful for the past experience that allows me to understand the fleetingness of this crazy, frenetic, banal phase I’m in right now.
If I permitted it, he’d scooter down a mountainside and crash into a murder of crows, igniting feathers and cursing us all.
(Corn in the back of a Hot Wheels truck because, Two.)
(We do an awful lot of walking in circles in forests, until Jude’s legs tire and I carry him in one arm and a scooter in another and baby on the front and pray for no tantrums until I can deposit him on the doorstep)
(Thank god for Nolan. Who is sweet and kind and obedient with absolutely nothing to do with me)
It’s worth it.