Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mothering a Maniac

When my daughter was a toddler, she would sit and play quietly with toys. We would color peacefully, build with blocks, take walks holding hands and I could trust her with things like soap and finger paints.

Then Finnegan came along. Finn was a well behaved toddler too, except that he ate everything. Everything like grubs, dirt, grass, basically anything not found at the kitchen table. Well, unless it was food that never got taken to the sink or finger paint that was left out.

Now that Oren is toddler, I realize how good I had it with the other two. I have to watch him constantly, but there are times when I must do things like cook dinner or turn around. In less than 30 minutes, Oren can climb on the dining room table without my knowledge, fall off the table, chuck his glass cup full of chocolate milk across the kitchen, pee on the floor and slip on it, pull all of the seedlings off the counter for the fiftieth time, jump off the couch, plug the bathroom sink with goldfish crackers, eat crayons and then end up naked on the dining room table coloring his penis with a pink marker.

Oren rarely plays with toys. He does like tactile things like rice and play dough, but there are no clean, simple objects that grab his attention. And sitting on the floor quietly? Never, unless it's in my closet and he's pooping on the floor.

Oren bounces off of concrete, falls down the stairs (only once and he was out of my sight for less than a minute) and trips over dog bowls because he's in too much of a hurry to watch where he's going. He just plows over it and hopes for the best.

The funny thing is that if you don't know Oren well, he looks like a very timid, stoic little boy who loves his mama. Oren is incredibly affectionate,  however he's always plotting how to create the most havoc in the shortest amount of time.

My husband and I were talking about our sweet, ornery Oren and how, unless you have one, you can never really understand what it is to have a kid like this. A good day for Oren is the equivalent to a horrible day for a toddler like my daughter. And it's not for the lack of discipline. Oren is wired differently. He must be on the go at all times because he is intensely curious and fearless.

I am thankful to have a kid like Oren because I have stopped judging people who tell me that their kid fell off the kitchen counter. Pre-Oren I would have thought "why in the world wasn't she watching her kid?" Now I think "where should I hide the stools?". Life is all about perspective.

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