Sometimes it takes a rough day (or week/month/year) to help me appreciate the little things. There is just something about going through hard times that makes me more sensitive to the beauty in the world. The tight squeeze my son greets me with when I wake him in the morning. The stars still visible opposite the sunrise. A smile and “good morning” from a stranger.

I had no idea that I would come to treasure the memories of my children’s various shenanigans. Those of you who have miniature clones of yourselves know (or will soon find out) that children should come equipped with DEFCON warning systems. None of my children are “bad” per se, but they have made life more interesting – some more than others. I mean, Ricochet scaled the big kid rock wall like a ninja at the park when he wasn’t even two years old. When I sat down to make a list, The Genius and The Monster had the longest toddler rap sheets in our household.

wp-1491026013919.jpgThe Genius had a huge afro by the time he was three months old. He was notorious for using his hair as a napkin. I had to shampoo spaghetti, petroleum jelly, and deodorant out of his hair. When The Genius was a bit more than eighteen months old, I was pregnant with Ricochet. The morning sickness was terrible. Because our eldest son’s room was right next to the bathroom, I would block his doorway with a safety gate and lie across his bed all day while The Genius played with toys and watched DVDs. One day, I went to the kitchen to get The Genius some lunch. Upon my return, a distinct odor assaulted me before I even rounded the corner. This toddler had distributed his diaper contents throughout the room. It was in the carpet, on the bunk beds, on the wall, and (of course!) all up in his hair. Usually, a boy gets his first haircut at two years old. Well, my husband decided that eighteen months was good enough.

The Monster is certainly the busiest child we have had. This boy is fearless. He was trying to climb stairs before he could even walk. He regularly climbed onto our bistro dining table. The other children would often scream, “He’s on the table AGAIN!”. I once discovered him squatting on the kitchen counter, playing in the oil in the deep fryer as if it were water. I had to bathe him with dishwashing liquid to degrease him. Now that he has grown a bit, he drops his shoulder and tackles his brothers like a professional linebacker. He is also our resident demolitions expert. He cannot stand to see a tidy room. You know where he has been because you can follow his trail. The Monster packs a lot of shenanigans into a day.wp-1491026036072.jpg

I have been having a trying month, but I have become aware of how blessed I am to have happy, healthy, curious children to love and clean up after. Plus, I have loads of blackmail material.

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