This week Small Boy taught me many things and I taught him a few things. I taught him how to point to the picture of a cat in his “Baby’s First 110 Words” picture book. He taught me how to quickly finger sweep a toddlers mouth and remove the fistful of playground sand that he shoved inside just seconds earlier.
I taught him how to squat down and pick up an object without falling over. He taught me that stepping on a piece of cold, cooked zucchini that had been surreptitiously deposited on the kitchen floor feels remarkably similar to stepping on a garden slug.
He also taught me that when I don’t allow him to chew on the hair brush or pull beer bottles out of the recycle bin and smash them against the tile floor I will be punished with screams of fury, beating the floor with his fists, and generalized tantrum throwing.
This week I also learned that Daddy is now his favorite person, followed up by his two sets of grandparents and his Uncle Jabba. On the favorite person scale I fall somewhere just above the pediatrician wielding his tongue depressor and vaccine syringes, and the man who drives the loud scary motorcycle past our house.
With his newly discovered ability to walk (he started walking last weekend) has come a toddler sense of entitlement and independence. He no longer has any interest in going down the stairs on his hands and knees facing backwards (the safe way). He must go down the stairs like a drunk adult – putting one foot out, misjudging the distance, and falling down the remaining steps. He no longer wants to take baths to throw water all over the floor, he must take showers so he can stand up while he throws water all over the floor. Since he figured out how to remove his shoes on his own he suddenly finds them unacceptable.
“This is the beginning of the end,” my neighbor told me, and she is correct. This last week of living with a walking child has left me more exhausted then when I was a sleep-deprived new mom of a 1-month old. Now is when things will really start to get interesting…