Kids say the craziest things.
No literally, sometimes the words that come out of my 2-year-old’s mouth have the ability to stun me into complete silence – and if you know me, that’s truly a difficult thing to do. I hardly ever take a breath for fear that it’ll force me to shut up for a few seconds.
He’s witty, without intending to be, hilarious, and he totally knows it, and the sweetest cuddler on the face of the planet (step back ladies, he’s mine until he’s too old to appropriately cuddle with his mother – so like until he’s 50 I’d say?).
I’ve been extremely busy lately, and every time I start getting short, or impatient, my little kid has now taken it upon himself to turn to me and say “Mama, are you happy?”. That shuts me up real fast.
Just like that, he’s become my emotional barometer. I have no idea how this tiny little person, who only has 2 years of life experience, has the capacity to be so attuned to other people’s emotions. Maybe I’m doing something right after all, or maybe he’s just an old soul in a tiny little baby package. Either way, it’s pretty much the equivalent of a little tiny hand slap-in-the-face that snaps me right out of that foul, agitated, and short-tempered mood. It makes me check myself before I wreck myself.
He truly has the capacity to make or break my mood. The only other man that has had the ability to do this is my husband – and frankly he’s just not as effective since my son came along (I’m kidding boo, you totally still rock my world – physically and emotionally, don’t blush, it’s just everyone on the entire internet that now knows).
No one is as infuriating, or as calming as this toddler. Take last night for instance… I was playing the exhausting role of strict mom, I was sticking to my guns during our bed time routine, when I got agitated because my child wouldn’t listen to me, not even the slightest bit. In fact, he was making a point of staring right at me with that sly ne’er-do-well smile of his, and doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I was telling him to do, just to try me. I raised my voice, a lot. He stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me and through his tears said “mama, are you happy?”. I answered “I’m very frustrated Asher”, he immediately lay down and said “I’m sorry mama”. Well shit – I gave up and lay down with him to cuddle until he fell asleep.
His smile of complete, pure, and unfiltered joy, at the fact that I would take the time to cuddle with him, put things into perspective. It’s not a battle of who wins and who loses – it’s just another relationship, one that sometimes requires compromise. Yes, I do realize that my toddler may have fully manipulated me into getting his way – but what did I really lose by having the privilege of cuddling my little baby? Was anyone really losing here? How much longer will he want me around, holding his hand until he drifts off to sleep?
So, no, I didn’t win this round, but I think it’s time I stop thinking about our mother-son relationship in terms of some kind of cosmic tally. Maybe I just need to let him tantrum when he needs to tantrum, express his emotions the way he needs to express his emotions, and remember that even though he’s this smart, witty, and very verbal toddler, he is still very much a toddler – finding his way, and finding himself. Maybe I need to take the time to ask him “Asher, are you happy?” once in a while. Maybe this is his way of showing me how to communicate better, be calmer, have a little bit more patience. And I definitely need to enjoy all the cuddles I can while he still lets me squeeze him tight, hold him close, and kiss him too often – even if he is saying “mama you cuddle me too hard” as he squeezes me right back.