Today happens to be Natesy’s half birthday. I forgot it was the first and so I’ve completely failed on the cupcake front… but the child did have donut holes, a hot dog, Doritos, ice cream and two cookies today. That’s what happens when you wake up at your grandparents’ house, climb around old airplanes at a retired base in the Central Valley, and then make potty training history, all in the same day.
So, we’re halfway through the terrible two’s and someone has finally clued in our little Nake. He is a rebel, with a cause. Well, several causes. His version of breaking bad primarily consists of: television, treats, toilet talk and toddling.
Now before I get into the details, we should pause and consider that Jacob went into the terrible two’s at 18 months and really just resurfaced at three-and-a-half. And, Nate is still the most generous person in my entire family. He will give you big hunks of cookie and hand over bites of chocolate without batting an eye. He really has been a good influence on Jacob. And James. And me.
But, now he has opinions on everything. And before when he heard “no” he’d pout for two seconds and then get over it and move on. But now. Now, things are different.
Last Saturday I had to endure at least twenty minutes of crying and imploring to the tune of “Teebee Mommy. Teebee. Teebee Mommy. Teebee. Teebee Mooooommeeeeeee. Teebeeeeeeeeeee.” You’d think he was suffering from tuberculosis or something.
Nathaniel is starving all the time, except at dinner. That’s when he’s most interested in goofing around and using his fork as a blunt object and then waiting for the conversation to die down before declaring, “Cookies?” He’s lost his mind. He thinks eating twenty grapes and not making eye contact with his salad constitutes a meal. When we tell him to eat his food, he consistently tries the ol’ “You eat it. You eat it, Mama.” Completely missing the point.
One night he pulled a full-on premeditated bait and switch on me. I was holding strong in the negotiation. No treat until four bites of lettuce and one bite of pork chop have been eaten. I’m not budging. Nate “mistakenly” loses a blueberry on the floor. I bend down to retrieve it, poke my head back up above the table and the meat is gone. “Great job Nate! You have to eat some dinner if you want to get a treat. We don’t just eat cookies for dinner.”
James passes by the table as he’s cleaning up the dishes, “Hey. Isn’t that the bite he was supposed to be eating?” And there it is. In the split second when I was under the table, Nate’s flung the meat onto someone else’s plate so as to avoid detection. He almost pulled one over on me, big time.
I think I’ve mentioned, Nate is very musical. As Miss Letti would say, “he’s got music in his soul.” And so he likes to make up songs and sing them, especially at the dinner table when he’s pretending to ingest healthy comestibles. His funny bone is unfailingly tickled by potty mouth songs that always go something like, “Peanut butter and jelly. Mama bottom. Mama BOTTOM.” Everything that’s funny ends in “bottom.” Especially if you’re singing it. Plus, my kids aren’t allowed to say “butt.” Look, I’m hoping to stave off the inevitable buttface and worse… for as long as possible. So if I have to be the bottom of his two-year-old jokes, so be it. Honestly, his giggles are so contagious that I have trouble keeping a straight face.
When I tell Natesy how cute he is he tells me, “No, I BIG Boy.” Apparently big boys are not cute. And before when he used to just give me a kiss, turn over and lights out… now, he’s learning the fine art of the sleepy time stall. His big bro is the master. “Where my agua go?” And then I get his agua. “Where my Superman go?” And I get his hard plastic Captain America. “Where my piece?” No, our little Hell’s Angel doesn’t sleep with a gun. Or even a pretend gun. His “piece” is Captain America’s shield. But his latest thing is for me to cuddle with him in his darkened room and then to lay him in his crib and kiss him goodnight.
I bury my face deep in his warm blond curls and feel his breathing on my chest. We hold hands and sit quietly and I would give just about anything to stop time. Forever.
Our little rebel.