It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and we’re having fun, aren’t we?
We’re making red, white and blue cupcakes. We’re going to barbecues and fireworks displays. You’re wearing star-spangled outfits because I just can’t help myself. And we’ve been learning about the significance of the holiday, which is just as important as all of the flashy celebrations.
It’s been going great…sort of.
Because as I was talking about an oppressive government and a tiny little country-that-could the other day, I saw your 4-year-old mind at work. I might be paranoid here, but do you think that I’m the oppressive government in your little world?
Given the amount of times I’ve been saying no and/or redirecting you lately, I’m thinking yes. And your baby sister—good Lord. She hasn’t even turned one yet and she’s already trying to rebel.
So, kids, before you get any ideas, let me just say: This is not your Independence Day.
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s healthy for you to push boundaries (and my buttons) and to be independent and all that. It’s what I’m working toward as a parent, after all. I’m just not loving the entire reality of that.
Let’s deal with you first, my darling, loving, snuggly 4-year-old: What is with all of the OPINIONS lately? I mean, you know that I love opinions. I encourage opinions. Please, tell me why you think Han Solo is cooler than Luke Skywalker and why you’re obsessed with the double bass and which bugs are the most interesting. I want to hear it all.
But maybe you could have fewer opinions about vegetables. Maybe you could consider the possibility that taking a bath is not a fate worse than death. Maybe—just maybe—the last pair of clean socks that we had this morning, the blue socks, aren’t evil and unwearable. Maybe there doesn’t need to be a massive freak-out when I won’t let you have an ice pop before lunch. And maybe you could not do the opposite of what I’m asking you do to just because I’m asking you to do it?
It’s hard. You want to be a big boy, but you also want to be my little boy, and that involves a lot of feelings. All the feelings.
I totally get that you’re spreading those proverbial wings of yours, seeing what you can get away with and learning a ton in the process. And it’s hard. You want to be a big boy, but you also want to be my little boy, and that involves a lot of feelings. All the feelings. You go ahead and have them, cry them out if you need to, and then let’s do what needs doing. Because we’re doing it anyway.
And now, my baby. You are 11 months old today, and I’ve broken into big, fat, ugly sobs more than once this week alone because you seem to be growing up way too quickly. You have definite opinions about what you want to do, when you want to do it—including reading the same Elmo book eight times in a row before bed. This month alone, you figured out how to climb stairs, you started walking, and you boycotted my boobs for two days straight because of all these developmental spurts. And you’re persistent, which is a great quality, except when I tell you not to play in the dog’s water or attempt to scale a floor lamp, and you keep going back to do it again and again and again. I feel like with everything you’re doing to be a big girl and catch up to your brother, you’re trying to move away from me.
I am so proud and so impressed by you, but my heart also hurts. I want these baby snuggles to last forever. I want you to be my baby—not forever, but for a little longer than I know you’ll want.
Here’s the thing, you guys: You’re a part of me. Literally. Your DNA mingled with mine when you were in my belly, and it will be in my body and my brain forever. And figuratively, you are in my heart—you are my heart. And all of this growing up in such a short period of time has not been easy for me.
Mommy knows you’re your own little people, she really does. But right now, you are living in the Benevolent Dictatorship of Mommy, and you will be for a while. It will be awesome, I promise, and I will listen to your concerns and grant all reasonable requests. And don’t worry: This will evolve into a democracy some day…but not today.