Mornings with Children | Day 19

DAY 19

Little man with my dad in South Dakota.  Love the men that are influencing this little boy’s life.

EVENT 1 – GIRL

My children are very different; black and white, tall and short, boy and girl.  The way they handle and process things is very different and the way they each develop is very different.  For example, as I was looking at their growth charts today, I realized that Quinn, at 18 months, was the same height Rory was at 12 and it’s about a solid 4 inch difference.  Also, when you’re only 36 inches high, those 4 can be the difference between getting the banana off the counter or going hungry.

My son tends to be a little noisier and my daughter tends to be a little more reserved.  This is not to say that one is right and the other wrong, it’s just to say that they’re different and both excel in their own ways, at their own things.  This is also not to say that Quinn doesn’t have her moments of complete and utter, unadulterated chaos.  From time to time she’ll get a bee in her bonnet regarding some small snafu that escalates into a full on seizure consisting of her lying on her back, slamming her head against the floor and screaming at the top of her lungs, tears, saliva and snot dripping down her face.

When you try to comfort her, she screams louder and acts as though you’re sliding bamboo shoots under her fingernails.  Sometimes this happens in private.  Sometimes this happens in public.

Yeah, this is another airport story.  Sorry if they’re getting stale but that trip was so rich in content that I’d hate to forget any of it.  I’m sure someday, as an old man I’ll look back fondly and say, “It wasn’t so bad; kids in planes” and then I’ll read this and remember that having children on a plane / in an airport is like trying to control two untrained doberman’s in a butcher’s shop.  They’re both tugging at you and growling, snarling and trying to steal food from people.

My daughter has gotten into some M&Ms and has begun to suck on handfuls of them, spreading the red and yellow and blue and brown all over her hands and chin and forehead and shirt and pants and back of head.  I grab the candies from her, not because I necessarily want to but because I don’t want her to make an even bigger mess with a plane ride still ahead of us.  I ask for them and, as expected, she says, “NO!” and then begins to run away.

As I chase her down the hall in long strides, two thoughts cross my mind.  1.) It’s incredible that you’re smart enough to answer my question with a declarative statement.  2.) It’s incredible that you don’t understand that my legs are six times longer than yours and it will be years before you beat me in a race.  And with that, YOINK! the M&Ms come out of her hand and into the trash and… there it is… cue The Fit.

My son has pooped his pants, right in the middle of the airport, a concept that escapes me and an activity that only children and crazy people seem to be able to get away with blame free.  My wife grabs a diaper and some wipes and says she’ll be back in a minute before heading off towards the  bathroom.

I kneel down next to my daughter and I put my hand on her stomach and I say, “Quinn.  You need to just relax.  Let’s clean you up,” and I try to lift her up but she throws herself violently back to the ground and I just exhale slowly.  People are staring but I assume that half of them have or have had children and feel nothing but sympathy for me and the other half don’t have kids so whatever they’re thinking is probably stupid anyway.

I think about pulling some airport appropriate / kid friendly snacks out of the diaper bag when she suddenly sits up and mid-scream, looks around and notices my wife is gone.  The scream drops out and everything goes silent.  My daughter looks left and then looks right.  She definitely notices that someone is missing.

And then… and this is one of those moments that come out of nowhere and once it’s done, it’s done, and you know you’re suddenly in a whole new stratosphere.  Quinn looks right at me and she says, “Where Mommy?”

Whoa.  I need to run this past a Junior High grammar teacher to make the official call, but I’m pretty sure that’s a sentence.  That’s TWO SEPARATE WORDS STRUNG TOGETHER TO FORM A NEW THOUGHT!  It’s not “banana” for “banana”.  It’s not “juice” for “juice” or “down” for “put me down”.  “WHERE MOMMY?”  The amazing thing is the word “Where”.  That is such an intangible word.  I can point to fruit and say, “Apple” and they understand that this red circle is an apple.  But how do you teach them what “Where” means?

I’m totally blown away and, even in the chaos of the moment, I have to stop and go, “Did you just ask me a question?”

 

EVENT 2 – BOY

My son is still trying to figure out this toddler bed scenario; the crib with the missing side.  My wife and I think his mattress may actually be slanting towards the floor, not just because he’s fallen out of his bed a couple times now but because… well, it looks like his mattress is slanting towards the floor.

We try to put blankets down underneath him so that in the event that he does fall, there is something there to soften the blow but as of late he’s begun to pick them up and throw them into his sister’s crib.  He’s also begun to get out of bed and open the closet door.  He’s also begun to throw a vast amount of toys, clothes and garbage into Quinn’s crib while she sleeps.  In the morning we’ll find her with 17 diapers, 4 bibs, 18 wooden blocks, 4 belts, 6 shirts, a few pairs of pants, 3 dolls and, not joking, a rocking horse.  She’s sort of Tetris’d herself in amongst the junk like one of those weird reverse Z pieces that no one likes getting.

Two nights ago, we put the kids to bed and, 20 minutes later, THUNK!  AHHH!  Rory has fallen from his crib and it really did sound like it hurt so I go in to check on him and, sure enough, he’s standing in the middle of the room with his hand on his face and I immediately wish there was something I could do to help him.  If we put the blankets down, he moves them.  If we put the side of the crib back up, he crawls over it and falls from even higher.

At a loss, I place him back in his bed and he screams and immediately jumps out of it, apparently feeling like, “That ain’t happening again tonight.  One fall is enough”.  So I pick him up and sit down on this enormous fluffy chair that has these great big arms on it and this foot stool that presses directly against it and is perfectly level with the seat cushion and I wonder, “If only there was some other way…”

…and just like that I have one of those parenting “Eureka!” moments.  I lay my son down in the chair which is just a little more narrow than his bed and I cover him up with his blanket and I say, “Do you want to sleep in the chair tonight?”

Truly, I have no idea if this is a good move or a bad move.  Sure, he may develop some weird chair fetish that ensures that he must sleep in his chair instead of his crib… but so what?  I’m 30 and I do that.  So long as he’s not rolling out of bed and breaking his neck, I’ll happily take the chair / bed, I suppose.  Plus… maybe it’s only for tonight.

The following evening I put him back in his bed and he goes to sleep easy enough.  This morning I enter their room and find him curled up on the chair like a lap dog.  He looks sheepish, like, “You caught me”.

I look into my daughter’s crib and there are 43 items inside of it.

Everyone has had a busy night.

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