Tuesday, September 1, 2009
One Tough Cookie
Maynard is a climber. Before he turned two, he was climbing up obstacles at the park. He is no stranger to falling, bumping, and tripping. He is also the younger brother, so he gets his fair share of "tough love" from Willard.
Knowing this inherited trait would manifest itself in many ways, when we decided to get "bunk" beds for the boys, we knew that the tall ones just wouldn't work. We opted for the loft-style, where the top bunk is less than 5 feet off the floor.
Willard sleeps on the top bunk. Maynard sleeps on a mattress underneath, since he is always moving-even in his sleep! Many mornings we (I use this term loosely, since, well, I sure like my sleep!) have found him sprawled out in the middle of the floor, snoozing away.
Maynard is also very stubborn. He has to be the one who decides what is going to occur in his little world. Something as simple as, do you want the green bowl or the yellow bowl has turned into a nightmare, so, I just set out a couple and have him pick without saying a word...I've got to pick my battles!
He has been asked not to go on the top bunk, but being the strong-willed boy he is, he is determined to be up there. He manages to bring all sorts of toys, sticks, blankets, up there too. And shoes.
Before he went to bed last night, a crash is heard from the other room. Not just a thud sort of crash, but a ting-tang, walla-walla-bing-bang crash. It sounded as if he bounced back and forth between the wall, the door, the ladder, and the floor.
I rushed to their room, almost before all his limbs were on the floor. He is behind their closed door, so I had to push him over to get in. I hunched down by him and he just laid there screaming. I asked him to lay still and show me where it hurt. He pointed to his forehead, and then crawled into my lap, and slowly, his crying slowed. I sat quietly, and rocked him for a couple minutes. Then he whimpered, "Tan you pwease det me oudda here?"
I picked us up, and went to the living room. I sat on the couch, and he, still in my lap, nestled up to me and peered into my eyes.
All the emotions and memories of him as a young child came flooding back to me-instantly. We had cuddled hundreds of times before last night, but because he is a ball of energy, the cuddles are but moments, wriggly, loud moments.
Still and Quiet, (two words I don't think I have ever used to describe him) he laid there, looking at me.
I asked him if his fall scared him. He nodded, still peering. I said, "You must have been really scared." He nodded again.
He kept looking. Then I realized something.
He trusted me.
This little boy, who earlier in the day, told me he hated me cause I wouldn't make him some toast before dinner, trusted me...The mother who makes him brush his teeth. The mother who isn't a big fan of mud or mud puddles.
I haven't felt that "feeling" in over 2 years. I stopped nursing him almost 2 years ago, and I guess I forgot what that feeling was like--the one where they look to you as their only sense of hope in their lives.
We stared at each other, quiet and still, for a couple more minutes. I kept an eye on his forehead for a mark, and his eyes...were they dilating correctly? Slowly, his gaze shifted from my eyes to my neck. He started asking what "dis" was, as he pulled on my neck, and "what's dis?" as he poked my collar bone. Although, I felt 10 years older, I proceeded to tell him why my neck is the way it is.
Now that he is ready to talk I asked him, "Are you going to be okay?"
He sorta whined and said, "Yeah."
I said, "You know, you are one tough cookie."
He groaned, almost like he was giving in to a repeated demand..."OHHHHHTAAAAAY, I'll haf a tootie." (Said like cookie, but with the "t" sound.)
I chuckled a bit, partially because he thought I actually offered him a cookie. (Which is another reason why he hates me, since I don't feed him a constant supply of tooties, especially right before bed!), but mostly because of the tone of his voice.
I then tried to explain what the phrase "tough cookie" meant. I think he really tried to understand, especially when I likened it to when you drop a cookie and it doesn't break. Fortunately, he wasn't all that bummed about not getting this cookie, probably cause he wasn't in the mood to say, BUT MOooOOOmmMMMM...
And as fast as he fell, he sat up, kissed me on the cheek (complete with smooch sound!), and jumped off my lap and went about his night.
He sure is one tough cookie.