Last week he pooped in the bathtub. Two weeks ago he shattered his bedroom window with his head. That same day he escaped from me five times at the mall; one of those times I found him crawling up the escalator. Three weeks ago, a nurse was stitching up his head in the ER after couch jumping led to a crash landing on the edge of the coffee table.
He does not eat dinner. He is impossible to wake up from a nap; he flings himself about wanting nothing to do with anyone or anything for about an hour after waking. Now that his crib is converted to a toddler bed, he rarely sleeps in his bed anymore. Often we find him asleep on the hardwood floor or in his rocking chair. Two nights ago, we found him sleeping naked in the middle of the room. He doesn't walk down the stairs; he jumps. And he wants assistance with nothing, insisting always, “Nooooo! I dood it myself!”
“How are you, Charlie?” We ask. He answers, “I’m two.” And it’s the truth. He’s two. And me? I’m exhausted. I nap every day. Shamelessly. Well, sometimes I feel guilty, but it doesn't last long because I fall asleep quickly.
He’s trouble…and yet, I can’t get enough. I run my fingers through his curls, I dance with him cheek to cheek, I tickle him into a giggling ball on the couch. And I love how much he loves me.
It’s hard to explain this kind of bliss. He’s a baby becoming a toddler becoming a boy becoming a man. Sometimes I look at David, his twin, and try to imagine my Charlie with big shoulders, harry arms, five o’clock shadow. He’s going to roll his eyes at me some day, I’m sure of it. But right now, he says, “I want hold you, Mommy!” He says, “I’m onna getch you, Mommy!” He says, “I want snuggle with you, Mommy.” He lets me kiss his cheeks, play piggies on his toes, and rub my hand across the top of his forehead, feathering his hair. Right now I get to watch him wear my sunglasses and hat. I get to ride the escalator, the elevator and now, the Wonkavator with him every chance we get. And I get to see the wonder in his eyes as he stands, feet planted on the elevator floor, feeling the subtle movement that tells him, “We’re going up, Mommy!”
Yeah, Charlie, we’re going up, up, up all the time. And some days, I’m tired of scrambling to keep you from falling down, down, down--the stairs, the playground, the bar-stools, the bookshelf you've discovered you can climb on.
But other days…good days…great days, I too can feel the subtle movement of the floor beneath us rising. I feel the shift in my stomach, sense the great anticipation of the ding, and watch eagerly for the door to open to another room, another floor, different from the one we came from. I look with you at the panel of buttons and experience your wonder as you scan it and think--which ones can I press and what do they all do?
Go ahead, Charlie, press the button—the blue one that opens the glass door slowly, the red one that makes the garage door go up and down, and the triangle that lets us decide to go up or down.
I’m coming with you, Charlie, and I’m terrified but thrilled to ride along as we travel up, out, slantways, sideways, longways, backways, frontways, squareways.
There’s no better view than perched right here, with my face pressed against the glass looking out at the great, big, magnificent world through the tiny twinkle in your eye.