the hardest age


The other day we had an evening hot dog roast up the canyon. We packed up the picnic basket with our hot cocoa, our percolater, our cups and plates and spoons and hot dog condiments. We piled firewood in the car alongside all of our snow gear. We even brought a mini cake and birthday candles so that we could sing to Grandpa C in a late birthday celebration of sorts. The evening started out delightful in all of the ways a campfire in the canyon is.

But, now here it is: Beck is at my hardest age. It was this same way with Jace, and it's turning to be the same way with Beck. One year to three years old. Those are the ages that leave me exhausted and drained at the end of every day. Three hours of sleep at a time every single night with a newborn baby? Sign me up! I can do that all day! Give me a newborn baby! But ages one to three are where it gets super duper tricky for me. This stage of my child's life is an absolute art form and somedays I am Pablo freaking Picasso while other days I am a second grader in a fifth grade art class. You know?

This is the age of them being so very active while also, they will not listen to a word of "stay by mom!" or "don't touch that!". They are just this tiny cute vicious tornado of contradiction. They are filled with new words and snuggles and bobbing blonde hair and rosy cheeks and the sweetest giggles, but they also run wild and throw terrible tantrums and try their very hardest to get into everything that might kill them.

Living an active life as we do, continuously going out and doing things, this age makes everything extra tricky. Every day I am reaching down deep into the farthest stretches of my patience well and trying to catch every last drop.

It is so much work, being a mother! I don't know how anyone decides they want more than two kids. But I digress!

This particular night started its downhill descent when B burned his finger on the lantern after being told not to touch it ten times but deciding he didn't believe us that it was hot. Then he not surprisingly decided to poop beneath all of his snow gear, where I had to strip him practically naked in the freezing cold car and wipe his bum with ice cold wipes. Then I realized I forgot his bottle which, MOM OF THE YEAR HERE, B can't live without that bottle when it's past seven o'clock at night! Palm to forehead! Tantrums were flying, tears were shed, screams were so loud and so long that he became hoarse from it all.

And to stick a cherry on top of our sundae, as we began the drive home Jace called out from the back seat, "EWWW THERE IS POOP ON MY IPAD!" and I replied, "Oh chill out, there is not poop on your ipad, give me that..." to which he handed it to me and sure enough, THERE WAS POOP SMEARED ON HIS IPAD and don't even ask me how it got there because your guess is as good as mine.

As I sat there pinching the ipad in one hand between my first finger and thumb, while using my other hand to wipe the globs of poo using a cold wet wipe, dropping them one by one into a ziplock bag, wondering where else in the car this mysterious poop might be smeared, I thought to myself...isn't life with kids so strange??

And then! Then the gas light came on. PALM TO FOREHEAD AGAIN. So after driving all the way down the canyon with a screaming toddler in our ears the entire ride, we finally pulled into the gas station. While he continued to scream I ran right into the grocery store to buy a brand new bottle and a gallon of milk because sue me, I'm a sucker. I pretended I was back in high school track as I ran through the isles of the grocery store. The milk is all the way in the back! I had to go there twice because I accidentally grabbed the gallon that wasn't on sale! But then I got back there and realized I had the right gallon all along! I even knew exactly where the bottles were because, okay maybe this kind of thing has happened once before. I never stopped running and people were looking at me all sorts of concerned and I thought maybe I should yell "OUT OF MY WAY PEOPLE, COMING THROUGH, IT'S AN EMERGENCCCYYYY!" or something dramatic like that to match the looks of worry on their faces.

I filled the bottle and handed it to my sweet and not so sweet contradiction of a tired toddler, after which the last ten minutes home was pure heavenly quiet bliss. I didn't even allow myself to entertain the thought that was nagging in the back of my mind which was: you crazy lady, we only have three more months until we have to ween him off the bottle for good you know. HEAVEN HELP ME.

I think that in the future when we recall nights like this it will likely involve us saying, "Thank goodness we are past that stage of life!"

Although I am told it will end in us saying, "Awwww man, I really miss those days!"

I don't know you guys. I really just don't know. We will see.

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