I saw an idea on the internet today that suggested new parents take a photo of themselves lifting their baby out of a small rocket in the woods, then leaving a copy in the attic for the child to find when they are about ten. I love this idea.
I could actually do a whole scrapbook of the six month old right now, following that principle. Looking around the living room now, as he naps in the nursery, I take in the carnage. In just a few short hours the load of folded laundry that was stacked anally on the coffee table has been converted into some sort of force-field that skirts the entire room. The wicker handles on my evil-plotting magazine basket have been ripped from the base. The entire section of poisonous-concoctions-to-make-for-dinner has been extricated from my Reader's Digest, and most of the rest left in a wet pulpy puddle on the floor. Yes, this is the work of Super Baby.
I thought I had secured the area so that I could use the bathroom this morning. Not shower. Not comb, brush, make-up or dress. Just PEE. We padded the hardwoods last week with foam rubber tiles. Long ago we sanded down the corners and edges of the coffee table. The cords are hidden, or duct taped to the ceiling or sheltered by what seems bazaarly placed furniture. He has been crawling for several weeks now. He has not started flying...yet. I figured I was good to "go".
Pulling up pj's with one hand, I fly out of the bathroom. There, sitting RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR, is Super Baby. I fall into the wall and jam my thumb to keep from stumbling on him. It seems the baby gates that guarded the doors to the living room were no match for "The Great Bambino". As a matter-of-fact, he looked rather amused with the one that he had knocked down as he lifted it with both hands and repeatedly smashed it against the hard floor in the hallway. BAM! BAM! He gets a good whack at my toe before I manage to disarm him.
As I pick him up to carry him to the nursery for a change a venue, he grabs a handful of my hair and pulls as hard as he can (a favorite game). I let out a yelped "Ouch!" and he lets out a little giggle. That's how the game is played. I hope he's learning cause and effect relationships, and I hope the loose hair I wrench from his fat little fingers is mostly just the greys. And yes, it hurts a little bit, but I'm his mom. I love him.
Part of being a good parent is loving your children even when they hurt you - right from the start when giving birth to learning about the world and growing up in it. I know this is nothing compared to the pain that defiant older children can cause, or even adult children who become too self-absorbed to maintain close relationships. I can lose some hair and toenails and dignity and sleep. I can lose out on some career opportunities. There is so much about being a good parent that involves sacrifices, but I'm really gaining so much more in the long run.
"It's all worth it," I say out loud to myself as look down at his chubby little face and big smile. "I'll miss this someday." I say as I study his new shiny, razor-sharp, bottom two teeth.