My two-year-old has been bouncing off the walls lately. At the rate he dismantles any attempts at cleaning, I feel like I’m living in a perpetual minor earthquake. And he is very demanding and impatient and exuberant, and when he’s yelling and the baby is crying and the cat is meowing and the rooster is crowing, I feel like I’m in way over my head.
It’s been stressing me out more than I should let it. But in addition to being rambunctious and headstrong, he’s been hilarious lately. Here are two examples from today, before I forget them.
Scene: Prepping for lunch, with The Baby in the wrap on my chest. The Toddler is wearing just a shirt and underpants because we went out to stomp in puddles and he couldn’t sit still long enough to put dry pants on.
Me: [Toddler], do you want edamame or peas with your macaroni and cheese?
Toddler [clearly distracted and not fully listening]: Penis.
Me [thinking I must have heard him wrong]: [Toddler]? Do you want edamame or peas with lunch?
Toddler [doubling down]: Penis.
Soon after, I was lying on the floor next to The Baby, shaking a lion rattle at him while The Toddler played nearby. I started singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight in my best attempt at falsetto. The Toddler quit playing, and I looked up at my tenderhearted little guy, and his lip was trembling and his eyes were welling up.
“What’s wrong?!” I exclaimed.
“Sing song, Mommy,” he wept. (Or maybe he said “Don’t sing song” I thought?)
“Is it making you sad? I will stop!”
“No, sing song!” he cried.
And then he kept making me sing it, so he could cry along to it. It was like looking at a two-year-old version of my melodromatic 10th grade self listening to Nothing Compares 2 U after I got dumped at prom. He couldn’t get enough of that feeling, and it was being elicited by his mom singing “a-wimoweh, a wimoweh.”
This carried on for a half hour. He gathered up a few of his trucks and tucked them into his shirt, explaining they were scared of “The Lion Sleeps Song,” and then squatting and shushing them like I do with The Baby.
“I can stop singing if they’re scared,” I pleaded, because he was still crying on and off and I felt really bad (even worse because I kept having to turn away from him so I could laugh.)
“SING THE SONG!” he insisted.
I mentioned that I sometimes like to listen to music that makes me sad. He asked me to find a sad song, so I pulled up this one (that I hormonally sobbed to the week after his brother was born in the wee hours of the night).
It made me cry right there, a little bit, and I could see the concern growing on The Toddler’s face. “It reminds me that I love you very much, and I’m so glad you’re here,” I explained. “It makes me feel happy and sad.”
He wrapped his arms around me and said, “I love you very much.”
I hugged him back deeply, and when he pulled away, he looked me in the eye and said very seriously, “Sing the lion song.”
And I did. And he cried a little more.
Finally, a bonus, because that got a little weird:
He found the bag full of plastic bags The Husband left in the pantry to take to recycle somewhere and pulled them all apart, piled them in front of our back door, and jumped around in them like they were a pile of dry leaves.
He’s making me absolutely crazy, but I freaking love that kid.