Much like most teachers (or pastors, or cars salesmen), Aiden has discovered the effectiveness of repetition. No matter what is fact and what is absurd, he has uncovered the power of persuasion through repetition and shows no signs of giving it up any time soon. Here is the slightly shortened version of our most recent conversation.
Aiden: Mommy, Oliver come to my house at six o'cwock. Yeah?
Me: Well, no he's coming in just a few minutes.
Aiden: Mommy, it's six o'cwock now?
Me: No it's almost twelve.
Aiden: It's six, Mommy.
Me: I'm pretty sure it's closer to twelve, Aiden.
Aiden: It's SIX o'cwock, and it's six o'cwock, Mommy!
Me: You really want it to be six don't you... (basically talking to myself)
Aiden: It's six o'cwock. (very matter of factly)
Me: Yep, it's six. (not even thinking about what I am saying)
He gets me every time.
Sometimes I find myself sneaking in Aiden's room during naps or after bedtime just to watch him sleep. Catching a glimpse of him in his most peaceful state really helps me make it through the rest of the day. Folded over his knees or sprawled out on his back, the way his face rests so calmly reminds me of when he was just a baby. At peace with the world, happy just to stare at my face and coo. Before the back-talking, before the tantrums, before the eating of boogers. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I would wish him back. I would never give up this age. I love watching his imagination grow (using the cord to my breast pump as a "rocket ship") and I love that he can communicate so well now ("Mommy when Gabriel get bigger we gon' FIGHT!"). It's just that some days my head hurts so bad, my body feels so tired, and my eye lids so heavy that it's hard to keep up with him. It's hard to stay enthusiastic about playing with play-dough for the gazillionth time (and cleaning it out of the carpet as it somehow always makes its way there no matter my efforts to contain it elsewhere). It's hard to stay calm when he's screaming about nothing for the fifth time in a day (or hour). And it's hard to wipe butts all day without occasionally thinking back to the days when the only butt I had to wipe was my own, while also looking forward to the day when it's once again the only one I have to worry about. (Yes, I actually do fantasize about that day. It may even be a little disturbing when I think about how very, very happy it makes me.)
Alas, this is life with a toddler. The ups, the downs, the occasional in-betweens. And so I sneak into his room and watch him sleep. In those moments I am the ever loving, ever patient mother. He is the ever sweet, ever obedient son. Those moments give me strength to handle the moments when reality sets in and I fight the urge to pull my hair out. The urge to scream and lock myself in my room. The moments I must instead choose to keep my cool (externally anyway) and address whatever the situation may be. Those are the moments that make us, right? Well, either that or break us. Sometimes it feels the same.