Growing Pains

Today my son is 3 1/2. Or if I really wanted to irritate people I would say “My son? Oh he’s 42 months old!” But I won’t say that because that is just silly and I hope to God that no one does that.

What’s not silly is the fact that he is growing up. I know, I know. Parents say that all the time about their kids every few months. Mostly when they’re spending their evenings half-listening to HGTV in the background while they scroll through TimeHop willingly having their hearts ripped out with pictures of baby years past.

This was three years ago. Where did my nugget go??

Lately, it’s been hitting me a little harder that he’s growing and growing fast. It’s due partly to these small, imperceptible changes. Changes that to a mother seem huge but when I present them to my husband are greeted with an obligatory “huh, is that right?” Things like suddenly holding a marker like a normal person with an expert pincer grasp and trying his darndest to make letters and color within the lines. Requesting his privacy during #2. Putting on his own shoes and clothes. An ever expanding vocabulary and understanding of the world around him that makes it feel as if I’m occasionally having a conversation with an adult. An adult that says “why” a lot, but an adult nonetheless. He’s getting so big. Literally, getting so tall. All new clothes in sizes I never thought he would see. The other day a woman guessed his age at 4 or 5 and I gasped. His rounded, cherub-like face is melting way to cheekbones and big boy features that are a slap in the face to me.

Ok, he’s still got some cheeks on him.

Then there’s the other part that has me lamenting his sudden growth spurt: his increasing closeness with his dad. To put it bluntly, my husband is trying to take my sweet boy away from me. A boy that I grew for 10 months, spent 2.5 agonizing but so worth it hours pushing out, 12 months breastfeeding, and the past 3.5 years keeping alive. It started off sweetly enough with my husband brainwashing AJR into asking to check the score of the Yankees game every morning. Now it’s morphed into them watching MLB Network’s Quick Pitch and reviewing all of the scores while they laugh and giggle and have the best time. It’s adorable, but I literally said to my husband the other day “stop trying to take my son away from me” in a menacing tone that best resembled a Real Housewife of (insert city) during a reunion show.

New morning routine: bacon and baseball. What more could a 3 1/2 year old need?

Last night at dinner he whined and cried that he wanted Daddy to sit with him. I can’t lie. It stung a little bit. Daddy has been requested quite a lot recently for things that were normally Mommy only tasks. Which was basically everything. People always said you’ll miss it when they’re not so clingy and I scoffed at them. SCOFFED right into my wine. Curse you people! Curse you for being right!

My husband is always sure to say reassuring things to me like “I don’t even remember hanging out with my mom as a kid. It was usually me and my dad.” Sure, twist the knife a little deeper. Here’s a box of Morton’s Salt, throw that on my gaping wound while you’re at it.

There truly is something special about the mother-son relationship, which is not to take anything away from the mother-daughter relationship because I love that too. And it’s not a favoritism thing at all. I swear. Honestly, my favorite kid fluctuates each day and usually depends on who slept the best. Some days, there are no favorites. Everyone is loathed equally.

It’s just that this closeness with AJR feels more fleeting and I think that’s what makes it much more sacred. Most daughters remain close to their mothers…some even become best friends. I hope that Olivia and I fall into that boat despite what are probably some inevitably volatile teenage years. Sons…well, it’s not exactly cool to say that your mom is your best friend and kiss her in front of people. And I don’t ever want to be the reason he and a girlfriend breaks up because she screams “Your mom is obsessed with you!” And he yells back “Don’t you dare say anything about my mother! My mother is a saint! A saint! I wish you were more like her” I will be obsessed with him, obviously, but I’ll just be sure to close the door to his shrine whenever a significant other comes to visit.

Based on the stories I’ve heard my mother-in-law tell, I can only imagine that she loved her little boy (my husband) much in the same way I love mine. They have a great relationship now don’t get me wrong, but when he mentions his childhood its always these memories of playing basketball, baseball, pool, etc. with his dad. Of learning all of these things from/with his dad. It sort of breaks my heart because there’s a slight chance that I might be the only one that remembers the way we were when he was this little and mom was the center of his universe. He is my little boy. He will forever be my little boy. The same little boy that gives me ten kisses on my leg for no reason. The little boy that when he starts to color in yet another page from his Paw Patrol coloring book looks at me and says “This one is for you, mommy.”  Again, the non-crazy, somewhat rational part of me realizes that it would be fantastically creepy if things never evolved from this point and he was doing this at 16 years old. Especially the Paw Patrol part. But it doesn’t make me any less sad that this wonderful, full-throttle unabashed mother-son love will never be like it is right now. It’s pure, it’s innocent, and it’s so sweet that I want to savor it as long as I possibly can.
Rationally, I realize I have quite some time before Dad becomes his go-to and being so openly attached to your mom is considered loser-like behavior. He’s only 3 1/2. He still has to ask me if he’s putting the shoe on the correct foot, wants me to sit with him while he colors, and screams for me to come wipe his butt once he’s finished pinching one off behind closed doors. He’s becoming more independent in small ways, but he still needs me, and more importantly wants me for most everything, which is very reassuring for this mom.
And before you change too much more, buddy boy, here are some of my favorite things about you at 3.5 (which despite your many threenager-worthy moments, many of which you had today in fact, makes for a list so long that I had to cut it down for the blog post):
  • Your ability to GET jokes, but your inability to actually tell one. I laugh maniacally at your lackluster punchlines regardless
  • Your excitement over which “job” you have at school that day. Calendar Person has been your favorite so far
  • The way you randomly say “Mommy, I love you” while in the midst of some activity and totally catch me off guard
  • How warm your little big body is right when you wake up in the morning and I scope you out of your bed. I hold you in my arms and you lean into me, tucking your arms underneath yourself and resting your head on my shoulder as you say “Good Morning, Mommy”
  • The newfound patience and love you have for your sister. Most of the time. My heart melted when totally unprompted, you shared your nap bribe (Swedish Fish) with your sister because she was screaming and pointing at it. You simply handed her your last two remaining fish and said “Here you go baby.” then turned to me “I stopped the baby from crying!” Hey, at least someone in this house can do that from time to time.
  •  I love to watch you get lost in playing with cars and trains – not because it means I don’t have to bring myself to play with you (thought its partly that at times), but because it’s fascinating to see your imagination in action, even if it’s you mostly quoting Pixar’s Cars. 
  • Your voice. I am biased, but it is the cutest thing ever. With certain words you seem to have a Southern drawl and it’s hilarious.
  • You heart. It is so big and so open. You kiss, you hug, you share (again, most of the time), and you are picking up on emotions and realizing that you have the power to make people happy. I hope you are always this kind.
  • The way you ask to “lay in my mommy cave” which is your way of asking to spoon with me while we talk about the day and sing songs before I shut the door and kiss you goodnight. I get that “mommy cave” sounds a bit, well, strange, frankly. But it’s an endearing little quirk of yours that I will always remember.
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2 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. Pingback: School’s Out For Summer | The Almost Real Housewife

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