I remember the end of the world. Vividly. It was when my mom told me my favorite littlest pony had been sold at the yardsale accidentally. Or was it the time I forgot my homework and I got a zero in 6th grade? No, wait, it was when the Army told me my retinas weren’t fit for duty and my hopes and dreams crashed and burned like the specialty degree I had been painstakingly designing with my academic advisor. Ok, ok, so maybe not the end of THE world, but each was in its own way the end of MY world. What can I say, I’m a sensitive, intense individual….also known as a drama queen.
So when I see Cade throw a tantrum, back arched, feet flying, tears streaming-well, I get it. There is such a mixture of exasperation, irritation, empathy, and amusement that I fear my method for dealing with his meltdowns aren’t all that consistent. For him, me not magically divining that he wanted his noodles on the plate and not his tray, well, that’s the end of his world. Trying to offer cereal when he wants crackers, offering a spoon when he wants a fork, grabbing the wrong toy, stacking the wrong block, putting on his socks, taking off his pants-his world ends twenty times a day.
But you know what else happens twenty times a day? Giggles. Demands to be picked up. Grabbing my hand so he can hold it while he plays. Genuine, ear to ear grins. Silly faces. Silly games. Snuggles.
When he starts wailing because he’s decided he doesn’t like cheese all of a sudden and he won’t eat even though he’s starving and Zane is crying with a soggy diaper and I haven’t peed in 6 hours I remind myself that one day Cade will be big enough to fix his own meals, no one will be in diapers, and I’ll be able to pee in private. But I don’t think about it too long because one day all the good things about 1.5 year old Cade will also go away. Cade won’t always be this age. Cade is no longer the chubby, easy going bundle of baby laughter. He is, quite obviously, not the same child he was a year ago. I won’t ever get “Cade the infant” back. That infant no longer exists as such.
Growing up reminds me of Russian matroshka dolls. They’re usually painted “almost” identically, but each one in a set is just a little unique. When you take the very smallest one and set it next to the largest the differences are pronounced. 5 year old me is not the same as 12 year old me, who is not the same as 19 year old me, who is different yet from 28 year old me. There are traits of me that hold true, the essence of my personality exists-although characteristics fluctuate and some are added or discarded as time marches forward – but who I am as a whole changes even as I hold who I’ve been at my core.
And so, tantruming Cade won’t last for ever. He’ll grow out of these types of tantrums. Hopefully, I can teach him discernment of what truly constitutes an “end of the world” reaction as well as how to deal with those surges of emotion. But in the meantime I’m enjoying all the other great things about this current version of Cade and wondering what the “next size” will be like.
Brian, on the other hand, is ready for Cade to be 18, haha. C’est Brian. 😛