Rocket Push!

My ten month old is a little rocket. A few weeks ago he took his first steps and now he is scooting about the house with his wheelbarrow walker and woe if you get in his way. It is amazing to see how he is exponentially developing these days. He loves to play with cars and imitates their sounds and is engrossed in puzzles. He also loves to make sounds with his finger by flapping his lower lip. His drive is in part forced by the enigmatic personality of his elder brother and M's competition to slice some of this attention unto himself.

His elder brother meanwhile, has discovered the joys of toilet humour and laughs about poop with his best bud, who is also potty trained and two and a half, for a solid part of the day. The consequence of this newfound humour has been an inordinate amount of toy defecation and I've had numerous stuffed animals and toy cars poop over me to their unbridled amusement.

For me, however, poop is no laughing matter. Particularly since I usually have to deal with a deluge of defecation from one of my sons before I've even had my morning coffee. The other day I changed infant M on our living room carpet after a poop and possibly offended by this slight he decided to show our carpet some untoward affection and I was anxiously googling "cleaning poop from carpet" in the next moment.

Do rockets poop out fire? Hmmmm....

The other day, I was pushing L on the swing and he asked for his usual "rocket push" where I launch him to the moon (he is either not desirous of going farther or believes the moon is farther than any other celestial object as my calls to launch him to other planets and even galaxies have been met with a disparaging eyebrow raise and a virulent shake of the head) and he cried out in glee, "I have fire out my butt!" which attracted the attention of our fellow play-grounders.

Oh, the things children say. The other day, as I was about to sip my afternoon iced coffee during a day trip out of the city on a pit stop in our car, I looked back and saw one weary toddler who had refused his nap staring dejectedly at the wheel of our car as his little brother snored away. "You look tired, L" I commented, to which he responded, "I am mama, I need a coffee."

I of course must say that same phrase pretty much every day after lunch and he's obviously parroting it. I've really had to clean up my potty mouth since having kids. I'm also a much better speller since my husband and I, not being proficient in a language together that our kids don't speak, have resorted to this thus far foolproof conversationalist code. You can't control what your child will pick up from what you say or do, but you can control what you say or do around them (you may be engrossed in the new Twin Peaks, but you're not going to watch it with or even around your kids).

L's parroting nearly got me in trouble earlier. When L was younger and couldn't even string sentences together but would love to babble out words in succession "money, doggies and cars" being one baller phrase he would repeat as we would stroll up and our city's unforgiving hills to the arched eyebrows of flummoxed passersby. I was relieved at that time that he would still say most things in Serbian, so that when he repeated his drink mantra of "kafa, vino" which in Serbian means "coffee, wine" when we would line up for my morning latte at cafes, I didn't have calls for Child Services directed at my parenting skills. Children are astute and know your habits well - L knew his parents have coffee with breakfast and wine with dinner and he was proud of knowing that fact.

If you want the truth, go ask a child or go to a bar and pick an evidently inebriated soul who is still decipherable. Children have no filter and no tact and sometimes, they keep their parents in line. If I forget part our routine, my toddler reminds me with an admonishing aspect. Thus, while he complains about his routine, he nevertheless subscribes to it and woe to the parent who shirks it. If you want to know how you look, go ask your children. There have been a number of times when my husband and I have received critical looks from L and a request for a wardrobe change. He apparently likes to travel in style and he's not about to have his courtiers cramp that.

L loves to sing The Wheels on the Bus on the bus at deafening decibels. The usual reception to his surprising serenade has been quiet bemusement, but I've had a few stern looks shot at me by people who are frustrated by the incursion of L's decibels into their commute. My reaction is to simply smile back with a vengeance and sometimes expose my daggers to boot. I have no intention of telling my son to stop singing and crush his usually infectious vivacity. If I'm ever upset about this silent altercation, I remember to have compassion for people that are upset by a child happily singing for they must be having a really difficult day.

 The adults that appreciate a kid happily singing would probably cringe at an adult doing it for some things are only socially acceptable for children to do. While I would agree with much of the regular custom, the need to compress our feelings in public and not, for instance, sing out our souls when we feel like it, may be at a great common loss. Maybe we would all be happier if on the bus, we eroded our day's stresses by singing about being on the bus.

As we age, some of us lose the ability to be present , we are never in the now, our thoughts marauding between yesterday's misses and tomorrow's tasks and that is extremely unfortunate because all we ever have is the present moment, a moment so precious that the moment you're present in it, it's gone. While on the one hand children's lives are constructed by their parents, and in particular toddlers, are directed where to go, what to wear and what to do, they seem to have more of a control of their own existence than most adults and be more in touch with their environs. Our children learn from us every day, they adjust to cultural norms and clip their childhood contours to more sqaure shapes, but this may not necessarily be a good thing in every instance. If only adults regained their childish imagination, presence and vivacity! As parents teach children, children can teach parents and remind them at times of what they've lost. For some, this may result in parents reigniting some of their childhood abilities and in nurturing these in their children so that they do not lose these invaluable skills and their mindful mindset as they grow.


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