Tomorrow Zane turns 16 month and Cade is chugging on closer to three years than two. It is cliche, but it really does go by so fast. Some of that quickness is what makes it so frustrating. You struggle to engage, find the positive, enjoy their quirky littleness because you KNOW it goes by so fast and at the same time you’re struggling to set a routine, consistently guide and discipline, and get the laundry done. My boys are so big, and so different then when I first held them frog snuggled on my chest, tiny (and not so tiny) snores and curled fists and fuzzy heads. Now they chase each other around, hit each other with toys, hide in the cabinets, and snuggle in the same bed with giggles and shrieks.
It’s like as soon as I figure out ONE thing that works, oh hey, they don’t do that anymore. I was laughing with my mom about how as soon as you figure out what signals a kid gives for teething (Cade just wanted to eat everything until you gave him actual food, Zane hits himself in the ears, face, head repeatedly) they are pretty much almost done teething. Parenting is almost entirely hindsight these first few years. So you try to be proactive, and you try to stay on top of the latest research, and you try to trust your instincts, and your try for the love of all that is good in the world DO NOT HIT YOUR BROTHER WITH YOUR EXCAVATOR to keep hold of your temper.
And I find myself saying completely weird things, “No, guys, we’re all done with the dishes. ALL done! All done!” as I wade out of my kitchen-turned-pond. And completely normal things, “Please take your shoes off inside. Don’t touch the stove-hot! Can you find a toy for Cade, Zane?” And my day is an endless cycle of imaginative play and practical refereeing. I told Brian I had become “THAT mom” when Zane faceplanted on the sidewalk for the umpteenth time and busted his lip for the umpteenth time and was bleeding down his front for the umpteenth time, and as I carried him to the house (for the umpteenth time) I was very carefully angling his bloody face away from my jacket and telling him I knew it hurt let me just get a wet cloth. All of my clothing is accumulating bloodstains, mostly on my shoulders, for where little boys who face plant like to lay their bloody faces. I’m so used to the blood-but I’m tired of the bloodstains. And both boys are typically more irritated at the interruption of whatever activity they are pursuing then the actual physical discomfort. I moped Zane up, he kept crying, I took him back outside and put him down and he stopped immediately to go in search of his toys. Boys.
Two nights ago Cade decided that there was a bear at the end of the hallway. So I sat in the living room and told him to go see the bear and say, “Hello, bear, how are you?” And if the bear was friendly he’d answer him, but if the bear was grumpy he’d growl. He’d get to the edge of the hallway and turn around and run back going, “I’m scared, mommy!” with a big excited grin on his face, his little body tense. I told him it as ok to be scared, that having courage and being brave meant finding the bear anyway even if he was scared. So he ran halfway down the hall and then tiptoed to the end and I heard a giggly little voice go, “Hello, Mr Bear.” to the closet door. I pitched my voice from where I was sitting and said, “Why hello, Cade, how are you?” And with giggles and an earsplitting grin he came racing back down the hallway saying, “It’s a friendly bear! A friendly bear! Make it a grumpy bear, mommy.” And we repeated the whole thing, this time with a growly snarl at the end and shrieks of laughter as he and Zane pelted back up the hallway. Zane followed Cade around through all of it, the running, the tiptoe-ing, the laughter. We repeated it up until bedtime.
Little crazy people. Cade has become such a little person in his own right. He gets anxious about going to church because there are, “too many people.” Brian puts Cade in with the twos and I put Zane down across the hallway. They have one way glass on the big windows so we can look in without the kids noticing, and Brian shook his head and said, “He is so my kid. Look, he grabbed a chair and took it to the exact same spot at the end of the table I put him last week (regardless of all the empty chairs this week). I had told him he could, “Just sit here at the head of the table, you don’t have to play.”” And there he sat. He was still there when we came back, although we did see him get up and play for a few seconds before returning to his chair. He likes things just so. He carries his snugglies around and feeds them and puts them in his chair and covers them with blankets. He likes to talk about his day at dinner and he takes FOREVER to finish eating. “What did YOU do today, daddy?” “You like your food hot! Mommy likes her food hot. I don’t like MY food hot.” “Zanebug is making a mess!” (true story). Dinner is a long, drawn out affair.
He’s been asking a lot about Vera-one of the twins we played with daily at Ft Rucker-and will even reserve toys for her and tell me she needs them, “This is for Vera, mommy. Vera needs this. You need to give this to Vera.” It breaks my heart, we miss them so much, and he still remembers them enough to ask. He told me today, “Mommy, I miss Vera, and I miss August, and I miss Mom Mom. I don’t want to be in El Paso.” And then a switch flipped and he wanted to “mountain climb” Zane’s crib so he ran down the hall. Meanwhile, I’m an emotional puddle on the floor.
Zane, on the other hand, oh man my Zanebug. He is fully at that “separation anxiety” thing that is typical at this age, but even without that he is SO much more physical than Cade! Don’t get me wrong, Cade likes to hug and snuggle and kisses-but Zane likes all that PLUS more. He is constantly tackling my knees when I’m walking or standing. He doesn’t want up, necessarily, he just wants to be in contact with me. He LOOOOOVVVEESSS to wrestle. He wants to be flipped, upsidedown, spun around, and generally mauled-by me specifically. I can tell when I haven’t been physical enough with Zane because he starts acting out. Zane relates to EVERYTHING physically. If I get two or three good wrestle sessions in a day with Zane he is pretty content to go about his business-but if I don’t then he is a clingy, whining, wailing, temperamental MESS.
I talk to Zane-and Cade does the same (mimicking me), we have little “noise” conversations, and he is attempting to mimic sounds more and more. Just ask him what an owl says, or a cow. SO funny! He doesn’t like the outdoors quite as much as his brother. Don’t get me wrong, he still likes to go outside, but he’s done and ready to come in much quicker than Cade. In fact, I don’t think Cade ever really wanted to come inside at this age, we typically had to force the issue or bribe him. Could have something to do with how bitterly cold and biting the wind gets here, or the fact that some of the gusts have knocked Zane flat on his butt-we’ll see if anything changes in the spring. He is still my picky reader- certain books are great, all the rest are ignored. And he approaches play differently then Cade. Cade enjoys the social aspect along with the “doing” of a thing. He’ll play ball with mommy to play with mommy PLUS throw a ball. Zane is just content to play by himself with a ball until the ball doesn’t do what he needs it to, THEN he needs mommy to get involved. And then usually he stops playing and simply tackles mommy.
The yo-yo-ing of independence and desperate need for attention can get a little trying for me, since one moment it is all the warm fuzzies as they giggle at each other and then the next they are both wailing around my knees or hitting each other. I need so much patience to get through the day, I am in a constant state of prayer. And yet I LOVE their antics. They make me laugh at least 5 times a day with their silly, endearing, adorable behavior. Time marches on, they’ll be different and the same tomorrow. For now I need to get myself to bed. 🙂