The Sum of All Fears

As you may recall (and I'm too lazy to post a link to the entry), when I found out I was having a boy, I was less than thrilled. But then my little Lawson was born and he was precious and cute and he didn't pee in my face every time I changed his diaper after all. And I figured with parents as cultured and erudite as we are, his masculinity would be tempered by superior genetics.

But there were signs from the beginning that I had in fact birthed a miniature frat boy. The first thing he did upon being delivered was to take a giant crap all over the attending nurses. They said his birth weight would have been at least 2 oz. more if they could have gotten him to the scale first. He showed signs of a temper; if he were able and had the right equipment, I could totally see him taking a baseball bat to my headlights to avenge diaper changes (then again, it would stand to reason that someone who could vandalize a car could also take themselves to the potty). He also vomited with the frequency and ease of keg party attendee. Other than being a talented sleeper and having pretty blue eyes, there was little evidence he was related to Charlotte, who came out of the womb organizing her books by author.

Ten months later, all my fears are coming to fruition right before my eyes. I read somewhere that elephants are the only species who destroy their own habitat. I would add--elephants and little boys (and some big boys) are the only species who destroy their own habitat. Unfortunately, I share Lawson's habitat, so my world is crumbling around me. Lawson now tears through rooms like a Red Bull-addled teenage girl who just caught a glimpse of Justin Bieber near the Food Court. Meal times are particularly harrowing, as he pounds his food to a pulp before smearing it all over his face like it is some kind of moisturizing beauty cream and flinging what's left all over the room. He also seems hell bent on committing suicide before his first birthday. He quickly figured out how to crawl up the two stairs from the living room to the dining room, but he seems to think diving headlong off the top of them is a satisfactory way of getting back down. Yesterday, he took a bite out of a rubber plant, prompting a frantic internet search and a call to poison control (by the way, the internet is wrong--I know, shocking--rubber plants are not in fact poisonous). That is after he ate 3 leaves outside at daycare this week--with the amount I am paying for daycare, you would think they would be wiping his butt with dollar bills, much less be able to prevent leaf-eating--2 of them i pulled from his mouth and one of them I found in his diaper the next day, a lovely surprise. And he continues to have a temper. At music class, Charlotte has always calmly relinquished the instruments, egg shakers, and sticks at the end of songs, even from the youngest age. Lawson becomes more outraged than a French person in the face of a 38 hour work week. He practically starts a baby picket line. And then there are the diaper changes. Oh my dear Lord, lead my back through the valley of the shadow of death. He still screams like a banchee on crack. But now he's got some strength and movement going. Picture Steve Irwin wrestling a croc. Crikey! It's bad.

So life has gotten a bit more complicated. Now when I cook dinner or fold laundry, which make me want to end it all just on their own, I've got to keep an eye on Lawson as he cruises around seeking ways to impale himself. Kevin suggested I just pen him in somewhere, but hell hath no fury than a mobile male baby contained. Pick your poison. On top of that, of course, I am treated to a background chorus from Charlotte of "I'm hungry," "I'm bored," "I have to go potty," "My iPod won't work," "Lawson took my toy." I am not a good multi-tasker, and this pretty much sends me over the edge. I am reminded of that scene in Glory, when the troops finally are issued their guns. They're target practicing, nailing some cantaloupes and feeling pretty good about their skills. Then the commanding officer comes around and starts shooting in the air right next to their heads, ordering them to fire while he does it. They get all frazzled and can't even load bullets anymore. I feel like I am living my entire life now with someone firing a gun over my head. Anytime I actually cook a meal while watching both kids, which happens with decreasing frequency, I believe I deserve a medal (or perhaps a spa gift certificate). Unfortunately, my family doesn't seem to agree. Not only have I yet to get a medal, or a gift certificate, for any meal that I have cooked, pretty much no one will eat it, except for Kevin, after I threaten to join a labor union (which would upset Kevin not because of any collective bargaining I might do--he would just hire scabs--but because he thinks labor unions in 21st century America distort the market). Lawson throws whatever I make back in my face of course, and Charlotte seems to think the purpose of dinner is to negotiate for dessert.

Gender aside, Lawson has proven high maintenance in another way as well. He has gone only about 2 consecutive days without illness since he started daycare 7 weeks ago. Once again, my own experience and observation, which is of course far superior to any scientific study, has shown that breastfeeding is a giant waste of time and effort. Lawson got about 4x the amount of breastmilk than did Charlotte and has been at least 4x sicker than she ever has been. Which by my calculation indicates that breastfeeding is actually bad for your baby's health. Whereas I can count on one hand the number of times Charlotte has vomited or had diarrhea, Lawson is like some kind of double decker volcano. That is on top of the usual coughs, colds, random, unexplained fevers, occasional demon possessions etc. Of course, this has resulted in me missing work, and when I'm only there 3 days a week to begin with, and Lawson (and sometimes Charlotte) picks those days to get sick--well, you can imagine what a success I am these days. Remember the manatee/motor boat analogy (one of my best, if I do say so)? Fortunately, it is harder to fire a federal worker than it is to regain abdominal muscle tone after child birth.

Being the great optimist that I am (not), I know for a fact that worse days are to come. Soon he will be walking, which will bring his reach up by at least a foot, more if he turns out to be a climber, endangering my precious African Crap that transcendently floats above the sea of kid-chaos on shelves, declaring to visitors that, yes, we do have a decor scheme other than Fisher Price going on here, and calmly assuring me there is still beauty and order in the world.

It is my last link to sanity. If it goes, I am finished.


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