My toddler is a monster (said with love and affection, of course!).
He will not sit for more than fifteen minutes. He climbs anything and everything; previous falls are more of a dare-you-to-try-again than a deterrent. Destruction is his game, whether while playing with blocks or entering a room I just cleaned. I cannot leave him unattended for more than a moment; in those cases, quiet is not a good thing. A couple weeks ago, he learned a new expression.
Can you please stop climbing on the counter?
It’s time to take a bath.
Do you love mommy?
Seriously. This is the stuff monsters are made of.
We recently went to a friend’s home for dinner – a friend with a toddler just a couple weeks older than mine. “Bring your son; they can play. It’ll be fun!”
Famous last words.
We arrived and my son explored this new territory. There was quiet play for just a moment, and then we heard it:he sound of toys hitting the kitchen floor. Every single magnet (all 26 letters plus some fun animal shapes) was now strewn on the floor. My monster walked away with a look of success: this area has been conquered. On to the toy basket where his friend was playing, having taken one car out of the basket already. My monster looked at the basket’s contents, dumped those out, and proceeded to walk around the room with the basket over his head, giggling up a storm.
The entire evening went on like that. Oh, who am I kidding? It wasn’t an entire evening because we left within two hours of arriving.
What was I thinking bringing my monster to someone’s house?
It was a night of apologies. “I’m sorry he’s climbing all over the dining room table and pulling on your tablecloth as if he is a magician-in-training. I am sorry he threw the magnets and one of them somehow slid under the fridge so now you will never be able to spell any G words. I am so sorry that we have hardly had a chance to enjoy adult conversation because I am so focused on catch-and-release as my monster seeks complete destruction of your home.”
Any then my friend stopped me and in just a few words, relieves my mama heart:
“Oursboys are just different. Yours is 100% active boy; mine is more passive. Don’t apologize. Yours is showing mine how to imagine and how to play. That basket has never been the hat of someone in a marching parade.”
What? She thinks this creation of big messes is imaginative play?
“Yours is so strong. Mine can’t even get on the table because he can’t pull himself up like yours can.”
What? She’s envious of my kid’s ability to climb?
“Yours might not talk like mine, but – boy oh boy – when he decides to talk, he’s going to have a lot to say. Listen to all his purposeful babble. He’s talking; we’re just not smart enough to understand him.”
Oh, I guess he does babble a lot. I never really thought of it as purposeful.
I spent the evening comparing mine to hers and seeing how mine fell short in comparison. She spent the evening watching mine and seeing the gifts of his actions and the joy of being an explorative toddler.
What I learned that night is that kids can be different, can do things differently, can react differently, can speak differently…and that’s OK. I learned that perspective matters.
My monster is mine and I love him dearly.
Would I trade this personality, adeptness, and energy of his?
In his words, “No way.”
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