Title of my imaginary memoir on motherhood so far: I love you, I'm tired.
Subtitle: What is that in your mouth?
This week, I took Julian to a meetup event with other moms and kiddos at a climbing gym. He was interested in: the off-limits weight lifting area (heavy things!), the construction going on at the back of the gym (power tools!), the bathroom (TOILET!), and a baby sleeping in a car seat (poke poke!). Please note that none of those things include "climbing on the climbing wall." He was NOT interested in the kid zone, period. I spent my time chasing him, while he ran around and screeched, and the other moms socialized—ok, admittedly they were moms of older preschoolers. But they chatted, and I sweated. And when I had to physically remove J from an area—like when he was trying to poke at that dang sleeping baby—he screamed, threw himself down, and banged his head against the floor.
By the time we left, I was exhausted and dejected and so help me god, I did not want to read Twinkle Twinkle Little Star another 48 times. (That night, I read Twinkle Twinkle another 48 times, at least.)
After a good night of sleep, and too many cups of coffee... and a couple glasses of wine... it feels a little less dismal.
First of all, I realize that it's COMPLETE AND TOTAL CRAP to have a "kids zone" that's not enclosed in any way, that is surrounded by off-limits and dangerous things. It's CRAP. Complete crap.
I also remember, with a full heart, a conversation I had at the zoo recently with another mama. We were sitting while our boys played on the zoo playground—which is fenced in; I rest my case. I think she saw that Julian was her 3-year-old's little kindred spirit. Maybe his "wild child" tee shirt helped make the point. She started chatting with me about what it's like to have a spirited kiddo. She said, "I used to think I was a different kind of parent than my friends, less laid back. I couldn't just go anywhere and do things and expect my baby to go with the flow. But now I think it's not that I'm different, it's just that we parent the way our kids need, so I have to do it differently." We went on to agree that our kids may be exhausting, but they're never, ever boring.
I could have hugged her. I wish I had hugged her.
My kiddo is spirited, and high-needs but often fearless, and really so very awesome. I know that every kiddo is challenging in their own way, and I can't really speak to those other kids. But I intimately know the ways in which my own son is challenging to me, and I know I wouldn't change a thing about him. I'm just so damn grateful for every time another mama reaches out to say "I see you. I get it."