In the middle of the night, when I’m sitting in the dark living room, holding sweet Clifford, through my exhaustion, all I can think of is how truly grateful I am.
Cliff is a climber. At bedtime, he pretends he’s asleep so I’ll leave the room. And before the door handle latches closed, I hear him climb out of his crib. Then a little celebratory giggle. The key is to stand crib-side long enough so that he actually falls asleep as he’s pretending to sleep waiting for me to leave. And sometimes that takes a long time. If he raises his head, I cluck once or twice so he knows I’m there. And he quickly resumes the fake-out position.
I don’t think he’s ready for a big bed because he’ll never stay put. Except, I’m pretty sure with the way he hops the side of the crib, there’s not much of a difference. Perhaps I’m not ready for the big bed.
He’s almost two. He quit nursing early. After suffering through biting at every sitting for four-months, at 10 months, I finally got the hint. He wanted to see what was going on. I gave him his first bottle then, which he happily quit in one day just a few months later. And he’s never looked back. Although he doesn’t say much, he plays and responds like a big boy. We had to stop strapping him in his seat at table because he complained the whole time. And not just once–I’m no push-over. But for months. As soon as we’d take him out of his booster seat, he’d scoot his plate to another chair, kneel up and eat. So, it only made sense. In his own non-verbal way, he’s very determined in asserting his independence. At lunch time, when he’s finished, he brings his plate to me at the kitchen sink without prompting. It’s one small thing. But it gives me hope. And I know a least a little more civility will (eventually) follow.
So when it’s dark and I’m alone with him because he’s climbed out of his crib (again) at 2 a.m., I can only count my blessings. Next year at this time, he’ll be rounding the corner to three, most-likely potty trained and needing two-piece jammies instead of one-piece fuzzy footies. He’ll be too long to hold the same way with his head on my shoulder and knees folded fitting perfectly the length of my torso. Who knows, he may actually be able to tell me a thing or two. I’m sure by then he’ll most likely have suffered through many more wounds from his wildness. More split lips and skinned knees are sure to follow him. He’ll so quickly go from toddler to preschooler in the same blink of an eye that brought him here from swaddled bundle.
I’m not really sentimental about it, but I sure am appreciative. I still pinch myself in disbelief that we even have been granted the gift of this little guy. He’s certainly turbo-charged the chaos-o-meter in this household.
So, this morning, as I again moved all the dining room chairs to living room (to stop him from pushing them to climb on the kitchen counter), all I had to do is take one look at at that beautiful, wound-up brown-eyed boy–who was trying with all his might to move the piano bench into the kitchen–to be reminded again exactly how grateful I am. And I am easily pulled to my knees in thanksgiving.