Baby Boy No More
My boy turned seven years old back in August, started first grade this year, and has a new fact learned daily from either school or from simply being curious and observant. He’s begun rushing upstairs as soon as we get home from school to dive into a project with his Legos, something artsy while hovering over his desk, or a game on his Sega. He’s getting to the point where I can trust him to eat breakfast unsupervised while I try to make myself look somewhat decent for work and getting much more vocal about his morning preferences. He’s funny, opinionated, clever, and growing up fast.
It seems so recent that he had a binky in his mouth and was afraid of just about everything, reluctant to try new things or venture off on his own. On the 12 hour drive when we moved, he screamed so loud during the last stretch that I half expected my husband to leave us by the side of the road and run for his life. A gate was installed by the stairs so he wouldn’t tumble down as he ran around the house like a crazy person. He pooped in the bathtub. He was a handful and needed constant supervision. Now, I can mostly trust him to take care of himself so long as I’m nearby. His birthday was the first time I allowed him to roam free (for the most part) in Chuck E Cheese as opposed to shadowing him nonstop. It’s an odd adjustment.
I’m excited that he’s growing up and I’m thrilled to have him acting more independently and discovering the things he loves to do, but it’s strange to me to not be needed as much as I once was. I don’t have to dress him, to sit in the bathroom while he plays in the tub, to panic about his safety when he’s on the playground, or brush his teeth for him because he has yet to figure it out. I barely even have to fight him to go to bed now; when he is ready to go, he tells me it’s time. The mommy jobs I’ve gotten used to are no longer necessary.
I think this is the time I’m meant to go baby crazy and beg my husband to get me pregnant so I can have another little tiny helpless being to care for. However, with as much as my sister-in-law overloads me with baby information, I don’t have baby fever. I don’t want to pop out a kid because I miss my son being little, I just want to know that I still matter now and will continue to matter when he’s a teenager and hates me for being lame and annoying. I want that little dude to love me now and in the future as much as he loved me when he couldn’t speak.
I worry because of how well he picks up on things now. When I’m tired and fed up with work, he’ll ask for something by first saying, “Mommy, I know I’m annoying, but….” I don’t want him to think I’m annoyed at HIM. Though I sometimes am, I hate the fact that he’s picking up on my stress and assuming it’s because of him. I don’t want him to think I don’t love him and only think of him as a chore that is never complete. I want him to know how much he has made my life better; compared to the way I was living prior to him, I have found incredible success. While he’s too young to fully understand everything now, I hope that a part of him knows what a positive effect he had on my life by being born.
Part of me doesn’t believe he’s been with me for seven years now. That I (with the help of my husband and momma-in-law) managed to raise an intelligent, loving, sensitive, and hilarious little boy who is somehow not screwed up like his crazy mom and his off the wall dad. For all his mistakes, he is incredibly well-behaved; I see kids in public acting like animals and am so grateful that I don’t have a feral child who is out of my control. I’ve learned from the mistakes of my parents and have refrained from trying to buy his love or be hateful like my mother with horrible words and cruel punishments (not that it crosses my mind to treat him that way) or to push him into activities he wants no part of. I’m nowhere near being a perfect parent, but I’ve managed to make it for the last seven years. I just hope he knows how much I adore him and that even when mommy is mean, it’s out of love and a desire to make him into a great man one day. But not too soon.