This morning I had this brief fantasy I’d be able to keep my clothes clean all day, thereby forgoing a change of dress for our dinner at the Crecca’s this evening. It’s 12:25 PM now and a mocha, two children’s worth of muddy shoes, and some urine later, I’m somewhat resigned to my fate of a pre-dinner change.
Nels is going through “the twos” more than his older sister did. Part of it is temperamental and a large part of it seems to be circumstantial. As a second-time parent I am much more OK with Nels being a rat-bastard now and then. It gives my day some zest. I mean, face it – when Sophie was about his age she was packing diapers for her younger sibling and that’s what I required of her and that’s that. I couldn’t have tolerated much drama from my older child while hauling around a newborn and having My Secret Roving Anxiety Fits About Housework (that was fun!). If she’d been pulling the shit Nels does these days, I probably would have farmed her out regularly, to keep my sanity and ensure her survival.
But even with my more Zen-Mama approach and confidence in the eventual “falling slightly to the left in the Good / Evil spectrum” trajectory of my children’s behavior, I find myself occasionally terrified of The Boy. The simple truth is, Nels has his own agenda which sometimes includes an impressive physical and verbal detonation of sorts. The exciting part is having no idea when the Reign of Terror may erupt. This morning, it turned out to be when I apparently violated him by putting on his socks and shoes. We got through it just fine, but I can still hear the echoes bouncing off my walls. And it makes perfect sense in some twisted way that a few hours later when I took the shoes and socks off (they were soaked from intense puddle-jumping) this should qualify as a similarly offensive violation and the whole screaming / punching match should ensue yet again. He even pulled off a backwards head-butt.
Child #1 is yinning to his yang by being a Very Good Girl. A few minutes ago I put my daughter in my bed with a small selection of her favorite books, including a comic book featuring the X-Men. She points to Wolverine with his skintight blue-and-yellow spandex and extended claws. “Look at all his hair…” she strokes his bulging biceps, pensive. “He’s very bad,” she finally sums up, brow furrowing in consternation. “No,” I say, “He’s not bad…” I trail off. The concept of the anti-hero is a bit much for a 3 1/2 year old. “He’s aggressive,” I finally affirm.
I can literally hear the clicks and whirrs of her little brain filing the word away. I will hear of it again in the next day or so.
It’s like living with a creature that’s half chimp, half computer.