Today I was “accidentally” slapped in the face, kicked in the stomach, licked on the chin with morning mouth and sneezed on. And that was all before 7am. The last straw was being poked in the breast a dozen times while my four year old yelled “boobies, boobies, boobies!” At that point I was over the edge and snapped. I yelled like a mama bear and he got quiet. I instantly felt awful. Why did I let it get to me? He was just being a four year old boy with a tank full of energy so early in the morning. So quickly I extinguished the sparkle in his eye because I didn’t share the same enthusiasm for wrestling on the bed before a morning cup of coffee. It was a lousy way to start the day and afterward I knew I had been the wrong one here. He is only four and I am somewhat older that four.
Even though I had apologized to him before dropping him at camp, I was still feeling down about the whole thing. While having some lunch I turned on a taped Oprah (I have a backlog of the countdown shows that I still haven’t seen) and picked one at random (Oh how nothing is random.) It was the show about divorce and the two children who’s mother abandoned them and they are still ripped apart from it six years later. I immediately burst into tears. Then I sobbed, and sobbed some more. I felt so bad for these children who only wanted their mother back, more than anything in the whole world. This mother who walked out on them six years ago, never to be heard from again, they want back. Two thoughts came to mind. One, that after everything she put them through, they would want her to come home is an amazing testament to the love and forgiveness of a child. And two, I just wanted to hug my son so tight and give him all of the love I feel for him every second of every day, but that gets slapped or kicked or poked into oblivion, and becomes a lost opportunity to express.
I see this mini life lesson as a wake up call to not be so uptight when it comes to my boy. He is, in fact, a boy. I am still learning what a boy is. I don’t know from boys. Up until age four, I had a sweet, sweet mush of baby that loved love. Once four hit, my sweet mush now rations his hugs, wipes off all my kisses and has the ability to be mean just for the fun of it. A stalemate often ensues over who will pick up the trail of whatever is all over the floor. “No, You” is his standard answer. Lately, he has started using fake tears like emotional terrorism. If I give in just once, it sets a precedent for all future negotiations. Daily requests include “smell my feet, pick this up, get me this” and the aforementioned “hold my penis while I pee.” I take great comfort on a regular basis knowing I am not alone. As I write this, millions of mothers of little (and not so little) boys are having this same experience.
I can lament about why things are so different since J turned four, or I can Accept What Is. The latter is better. And I try to do it with a laugh and an acknowledgement that this too shall pass. Someday his favorite word won’t be “poop.” Someday, in the far distant future, he won’t try to burb in public because it’s funny (maybe.)
For now, I can relish the fact that I am still his favorite person. I don’t know when that will change. Please don’t tell me. I want to enjoy our date this afternoon to play mini-golf in the rain. Our conversation after the morning meltdown went something like this:
J: “I want to go play miniature golf today, Mama.”
Me: “that’s something we should save for when Daddy is home, or the kids. Or do you want to go with just me?”
J: “Just you, Mama.”
Ahh, how sweet four is.