Thursday, July 21, 2011

occasionally someone is crying. and it's not always me.

I have noticed a change in my parenting style this second time around. Oh, who am I kidding. What I have really noticed is how much calmer I am with this new little guy. Maybe it's because we spent so much time with him in the orphanage. With such a huge glimpse into his daily life I knew exactly what he had been exposed to and what would be brand new to him. Having received my oldest son in a sterile government office in Guangzhou, China, I had only a small idea of what his days in the orphanage were like. When we came home I watched his every move. My fear of the fact that my son had never seen a flushing toilet, stairs, a stove - I was terrified that something horrible would happen. He had a tent on his crib. (which he loved, by the way, and which we still use with our youngest.) The stairs were gated at the top and the bottom. That baby didn't make a move that my watchful eye missed. The first time he rode the RTA with Daddy and attended his first football game I was a nervous wreck. And when he got hit with that softball during his first tee-ball practice, resulting in a bloody nose, I was mortified. My baby!

The joyful arrival of our second child brought back the crib tent. It brought back the gate at the top of the stairs, which, frankly, I'm pretty sure the little guy can already open. The bottom of the stairs remain open, even though my frisky little twenty-six  month old chases the cat up the stairs at least a hundred times a day. But his arrival also brought something I didn't have the first time. Calm. Security. I knew to expect this, I suppose. It's not like I wasn't aware that second children are often allowed more freedom. I just didn't expect to be letting go of that nervousness quite so quickly.

A typical day for Alex includes the following, happening at least four times, in no particular order:

  • climbing out of high chair. even with the harness latched.
  • rolling down the bottom two steps. how he makes it all the way up and then almost all the way down, every time, is beyond me.
  • getting knocked down by his older brother.
  • nearly slipping under the water in the tub while attempting to pull his brother under with him.
  • gently rolling off the sofa, accidentally. then climbing back up and falling off on purpose.
  • walking into the corner of the kitchen table. one day I watched him walk into three of the four corners, one right after the other, as he rounded the table to head outside.
  • getting knocked down by his older brother.
  • falling off the coffee table. don't even ask.
  • running at top speed into the stove, dishwasher, walls.... he is mimicking his older brother, who thinks it funny to run into a wall and then fall down. he is just pretending. Alex, however, is too young to understand this type of humor and so he is literally running into the oven and falling over. repeatedly.
  • oh, and getting knocked down by his older brother.

And I don't even bat an eye. I pick him up, check for broken bones, give him a kiss and set him upright and on his way. I don't blink when I watch him climb down the garage stairs and then stick his thumb in his mouth. I simply wash it off and move on. I watch as he climbs the stairs chasing the cat, knowing all the doors are closed and he can't get anywhere but the hallway. But I don't rush to get him. I let this little guy explore. I let him fall. I let him play rough with his brother. I let him be the boy he is. And in the process, my older son gets to be the boy he is too.

I know that one day my toddler will be riding scooters. I will be pulling candy wrappers, matchbox cars, leaves and dirty rocks from his pockets when doing laundry. And when that day comes I know my older boy will have moved on to big boy bikes and climbing trees. Eventually they will be riding roller coasters, having crushes on girls, driving. (gasp). There will be dirt in my house and on them. There will be loud toys and video games. There will be monster truck shows, demolition derby's, trips to the race track. There will be football and baseball and soccer. (and because they are my boys there will also be music lessons and trips to the library.) My life will be messy, and I won't always be able to control the chaos. So I am glad I have learned this lesson early. My life with these two boys is loud. It's messy. It's often sticky. Someone is usually tackling someone else, and occasionally someone is crying. And it's not always me.

I am the mother of boys, something I never dreamed I would be. And I am just calm enough to tackle each day right along with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment