That familiar feeling: things are starting all over again. The wife and oldest son going off to school. Me, I’m not going anywhere, neither is 2yo G. We are going to play, read, eat snack, I’ll do a little housework, at some point go upstairs and get dressed, but then get trapped building train tracks. Finally, we’ll make it to the car and drive around until G falls asleep.
That’s how it went today and will go by and large until mid-June when the old lady’s school year ends. It’s an amazing gig–my job is to literally keep my toddler entertained all day and sometimes it’s really enjoyable. There are sweet moments like when G sits in my lap and we read his little books.
There are of course frustrating moments, like every time he throws a fit. Also frustrating is the lack of activity coupled with the knowledge that the rest of the world is busy out there, commerce is going on, holes are being dug and filled, buildings erected, lives saved and lost, books written, stocks traded, etc. I am part of none of it, barricaded in this little box with my tiny son.
These are the thoughts that run through my head, even while we play, but then G–with his blond bangs and blue eyes–will smile at me or give me and hug and the doubts and uncertainty temporarily vanish. I chose to do this largely because I couldn’t stand the idea of having a stranger raise my kid, at least not just yet. Soon enough, we’ll both be on our own, out in the world, trying not to be devoured.
On Sunday afternoon, I made a rare foray into the outside world, leaving Mama home with the two boys. Shortly after I left, she placed the baby on his play mat and our three-year-old began playing with him. Mama momentarily exited the room but then heard shrieking and ran back into the living room. Toddler B had bitten baby G, forcefully enough that it drew blood. It was a truly WTF moment. B has never been a biter, and we’d had an extremely peaceful day up until that point, hanging out at a pumpkin patch for a few hours.
Mama then grabbed B and took him upstairs, banishing him for the moment. He lost it of course, much wailing and gnashing of teeth. By the time I got home, everything had settled down. Honestly, I was glad to have missed all that, but what I took away from the whole thing was a tidbit from Mama. After G was bit and she settled him down, she said she walked in the next room where B was and when G saw him he flashed a big smile at his tormentor.
Even though he’s only five months old, G already clearly loves his older brother. He watches him very closely and cracks up when he sees B jump or dance or run around. And no matter how much abuse B doles out G will always love and look up to him, at least until somewhere in his teens. As these thoughts raced through my mind, I looked down at the little baby who sat on his mama’s lap, and addressed him. “Welcome to the next fifteen years of your life, buddy.”
On Wednesday, I stepped outside on to the back deck for probably 30 seconds and when I came back in and checked on the sleeping baby I noticed that the door to the “TV room” was closed. I walked up and turned the knob which was locked. I knocked on it a couple of times and told B to open it but there was no answer so I grabbed a small screwdriver and inserted it in the knob, springing it open, and looked in to see my three-year-old sitting on the couch with a Tootsie Roll pop in his mouth.
“No, he didn’t,” I thought to myself and almost smiled, appreciating his little act of deviance.While I was outside he had run into the kitchen, grabbed the lollipop and gone back into the TV room and locked the door so I wouldn’t find out.
At the same time, it was a boldface flouting of my authority, so I had to say something to him. “You shouldn’t sneak around and hide things from me,” I said (or something like that), grabbing him by his arm to get his attention. He looked me in the eye and said, “I have to.”
At that point, I faced a dilemma. It was really the first time he’s outright deceived me, or tried to, so I could take a stand and take the pop from him, unleashing a tirade of tears and yelling, possibly waking baby G or I could just walk away and choose to tackle his newfound lying another day. I chose the latter.