The past week has been exhausting for many reasons—Ev’s remaining front tooth had to be surgically removed, work has been very busy with everything but the work I need to finish for my job, the kitchen faucet broke, the weeds are knee high in my garden and let’s not even talk about the thick layer of dust covering everything inside the house. On top of all this, Ev has become increasingly more independent.
Yes, I realize independence is a sought after goal for most parents.
Yes, I realize he’s only four.
Yes, I realize that commotion in my life is magnified in Ev’s life.
Any other concerns or explanations?
I have been a mother for over 24 years. I’ve raised three other children to adulthood (or near adulthood in the case of my almost 18 year-old daughter). For decades, I have been creative in coming up with ways to help my children understand the boundaries and expectations of life with this mama. Really. I can count on one hand the pure mischief successfully accomplished by any of the other three.
But Ev. Well. He is his own genre of child. Full of joie de vie.
I can’t say that he is naughty (at least not all the time); he is simply busy and independent. Some days, just living with his busy independence leaves me worn out, but today my day began with worn out.
Ev woke up early—his new habit of late. By the time I turned off my alarm and headed into the bathroom for a shower, he was dressed and playing nicely in his room. With a satisfied smile on my face, I walked into the bathroom thinking that perhaps I was finally getting through to him with the rule that he cannot go downstairs until someone is with him. I think that until I see the towel casually thrown over the little rattan chair my parents bought for Lizi in Hungary. (Question 1: Why is the towel thrown on the chair?) In the bathroom. (Question 2: What’s that chair doing in the bathroom?) Covered with sticky purple something. (Questions 3 and 4: Why does that towel have sticky purple something on it? What IS that purple sticky something?)
I call toward his bedroom going straight to question 4, “Ev! What is this purple sticky stuff all over the towel in bathroom?”
“Well, Mama,” Ev begins in his typical manner, “I was a little hungry after I slept. Actually, my stomach was so hungry, it was just interrupting itself and saying, ‘Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!’ I heard it the first 55 times, and I wanted it to be quiet. I was really really really hungry. So, I went to the fridgerator and got the grape jelly. Then, I ate five bites, and I got full so I decided to play.”
All this is said with hand motions, dynamic inflection and a new lisp thanks to the loss of his two front teeth.
“And where is the grape jelly jar now,” I ask with a bit of fear and trepidation.
“I put the jar in the cupboard where Lizi has all her stuff—with a green spoon and a big silver spoon.”
As I walk over to the cupboard, I see a pair of his shorts with bright purple stains; he used the shorts to try and clean off the carpeting, which bears the same purple stain. I can’t stop the heavy sigh from escaping.
“Mama, my tummy kept speaking to me and interrupting itself. I was just tired of listening to it.” He looks up at me to see if I am buying what he is selling. Apparently, he notices the glazed look in my eyes.
“I was just tired of listening to it, Mama. What could I do? In fact, it’s talking to me right now. I don’t know what to do. I’m so really really hungry.”
“What are you supposed to do when you’re hungry, Ev?”
Ev’s voice is barely above a whisper, “Um…ask someone to help me get some breakfast?”
“Yes, Ev. Ask. You’re supposed to ask. Why can’t you just ask first? We wouldn’t have purple sticky stain everywhere if you would simply ask first.” I cannot hide the exasperation seeping out of me at 7:00 am, pre-shower and more importantly, pre-coffee.
“Oh wait. Wait. Wait, Mom. I know. I know what I need to say. It’s sorry sorry sorry. I wanna say sorry and apologize and tell you I forgive you.” He sings this in a high pitched rock and roll style voice, adding dance movements to the melody. When he gets to the last line, he repeats the words as he sings at the top of his lungs, “I need to tell you I FOR-GI-IVE YOOOOOUUUU!!!”
He heads toward me with his arms outstretch, ear-to-ear smile on his face and plants a big kiss on my lips as he snakes his arms tightly around my neck.
“Don’t worry, Mama’” he whispers loudly in my ear, “I’ll help you clean it up! I love you so much in the whole world.”
Sigh. I’m thinking about giving up my night owl ways and going to bed at 9 so I can be up at 5 and beat him to the jelly jar. After all, what’s little guy to do if his stomach keeps interrupting him 55 times saying, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!”?
The truth is…grape jelly everywhere before 7 am? Ain’t nobody got time for that.