My hand rests on my large round belly. I push my fingers into the flesh to see if I can feel him better but I don't. My best friend is sitting on the couch next me. She's had her hand on my belly off and on for the last few hours hoping to feel a kick but he doesn't move much during the day. He's got the schedule of a rockstar, my fetus, he parties the night away and sleeps while the sun shines.
She doesn't feel a kick that day. But being in the presence of my expanding uterus makes her nostalgic for her own pregnancy. We chat about pregnancy, and babies, and toddlers, and parenthood. Her daughter is 4 and a half and no longer a toddler. She was just at our house for a sleep-over a few weeks before and was entirely delightful the entire time. But my friend warns me that ages 1 to 3 were hard. I don't really believe her. I haven't lived in her home with her child but in the time I've spent with her she's been as sweet as can be. I didn't yet understand that phenomenon where children behave entirely different with and without their parents.
|Cailey, Mac, and me|
I told myself that I would enjoy the toddler years. After all, it had taken no small amount of effort to create this miracle child of mine. How could I ever be anything but drop-to-my-knees-grateful?
Conversation with my nephew circa 2013
Tracy and the boys burst through my door at 10 PM chatting away about everything and anything. My almost 2 year old son is asleep on my fourteen year old nephew's shoulder. His size 13 feet and giraffe-like height are a walking reminder of how fast time moves. I swear he was a tiny kid last week. Now my son looks like a doll in his man-sized arms.
"Auntie Kris," the younger one says to me. "Auntie Tracy said you needed a break from Mac today. How come? He's so cute!"
Mac is one year and eleven months old and those terrible and terrific twos have hit hard. On the one hand, he's often sweet enough to make my teeth ache. When I walk in the door he runs to me, arms outstretched, for a big hug. He says "Hi Ma!" and "Hi Mo!" like nothing in the history of the world has ever been more amazing than our return home. In the mornings, when he's almost, but not quite, awake, he snuggles into our chests and, for a few moments, the world is made entirely of lollipops and rainbows.
But, on the other hand... oh the other hand. A day does not go by without an epic, my life is over, meltdown. One day it occurred to him that he couldn't wear three shoes at once. Oh the injustice! On another day he completely broke down because he couldn't both colour and go for a walk simultaneously. Truthfully, as much as I try, I do not always handle these outbursts with grace.
It was a rough morning. And at one point I was holding Mac's writhing body and trying to calm his frustration when I looked over at my wife and with a few seconds of eye contact she knew that I was done for the day. To her credit, she quickly packed him into the car and headed an hour and a half West to Pembroke to visit her family. And, as an added bonus, she also came home with the best nephews a girl could ask for. So major wife brownie points.
By the next morning all is forgiven between Mac and me. And he is busily following his big boy cousins around. I think that maybe he is starting to understand the concept of gender. Or maybe he just thinks they are really cool. Because, of course, they are.
Balancing the interests of a pre-teen, a teen, and a toddler isn't an easy task but the skate park seems to please everyone. Mac is fascinated with the big boys and for the most part is pretty agree-able. But "pretty agree-able" is a relative term in the world of toddlers.
By the end of the day everyone is tired and hungry so we are happy to oblige when youngest nephew requests sushi for dinner. We give Mac a bite of sushi but he spits it out immediately. That doesn't stop him, however, from asking for more of it during the remainder of dinner.
"Auntie Kris," the younger nephew begins. "I can see why you needed a break now. Mac's cute but he can be pretty annoying sometimes."
He is wise beyond his years this kid.