This is going to sound ridiculous, but I used to find myself being envious of my cats. I would be leaving for work in the morning after having stayed up too late writing/watching late night TV (I love and miss you, Jimmy Fallon), and there they would be, cuddled on the bed, ready to take a luxurious, uninterrupted, hours-long nap. They have no job to worry about and no bills to pay. They never have to think:
“Hm, what do I want for dinner tonight?”
Yes. Being a well-cared for, domesticated, house cat seemed to have a lot of perks until I realized that much of my life would consist of sleeping and staying in-doors and that I would have to eat the same meal every day for the rest of my life. In fact, all my decisions would be made for me, and I would be vulnerable to my steward’s whim. Then, there’s the whole having to groom oneself and the pooping in a box and the shortened life span.
All of a sudden, it’s not all apple-pie and sunshine in the life of a cat.
Now that I have Jude, I often find myself thinking about how great it is to be a kid. You have no real responsibilities, no job, and no bills. Your whole, big life is ahead of you, and your whole day is centered around playing. You get complimentary chauffeur service everywhere you go. People go out of their way to tell you you’re handsome and smart all the time, and when you get a little cranky, someone comes along and says:
“You really need a nap.”
Then, you are scooped up into loving arms and cuddled until you drift off to sleep with Mickey Mouse under your arm. When you are having a bad day or moment, you can just emote, kicking your legs and acting like a crazed loon, and no one will call the police to have you committed. Instead, they’ll offer you a cookie or try to distract you with something fun.
As far as I can tell, it all seems pretty awesome in the Land of Jude.
Alas, he is not of the same opinion. He is twenty-three months old, and he is under the impression that he is at least ten years older. If he knew the years of toil ahead, he would never want to hurry past these wonder years, but kids never seem to get that concept. So, while I am here pining away for my lost youth, he is calling me to task for all the injustices he suffers at my mighty parental fist.
Jude has quite the list of the activities that he would like to conquer without my help (thankyouverymuch), and it is growing every day. Please note that any impediment to these demands will result in a rage-tantrum lasting anywhere from one to ten minutes. Please also note that 98% of the time, he is a well-behaved, darling little boy with good manners and plenty of kisses for Mom. Please also note that he only has these grievances with Mom and that most other people–including his day-care provider–will say, “Who? Jude? No!” if I even try to broach the subject.
He’s a sly one, my little love.
Here they are, in no particular order, the things that will send Jude into a fury these days:
- Not being able to sit at the table without a high chair or booster seat (keep in mind that we have a pub-style table and that any table is still well over his head when he’s sitting in a “big boy” chair).
- Wearing pants.
- Not being able to take his own shower.
- Leaving any fun situation, including sitting in the rocking chairs outside of Cracker Barrel. Also, every situation outside of the home should be considered “fun”. (Filed under: “No Mommy’s House! No Mommy’s House!”)
- Getting into the bath.
- Getting out of the bath.
- Getting dried off after the bath.
- Not liking his pajamas.
- Not being able to read his own bedtime story. (Also filed under: “Mommy, up!”) NB: I don’t actually mind this demand.
- Being told he we have to move on to something else and that he can no longer play with: the hair dryer, the flat iron (cooled, of course), the vacuum, etc.
- Being told that household cleaning agents aren’t toys.
- Not being asked to help with day-to-day activities like making scrambled eggs, putting cream and sugar in my hot tea, folding the laundry. (Also filed under: “Jude help! Jude help!”)
This is by no means a complete list, but rather, just a taste of the pain and suffering that it is to be a(n) (almost) two year old boy. I wish I could warn him to enjoy this time because it is so fleeting, but he would not understand, and he probably would not take the advice even if he could. So, even though I find myself getting flustered from time to time, I know that I have to hold tight to these moments, too, because they will never pass by here again.
Instead, I choose to admire his independence and his strong-will. It’s a do-it-yourself kind of world, and it cannot hurt to be a little stubborn/focused. And to those terrible-twos that seem racing towards us at full-steam, I take a deep, sturdy breath and say: Bring. It. On.
After all, Jude gets all that fire from his mom.