My Maverick.

Yesterday, this boy walked up to me and said “Mommy, I have a staple stuck in my teeth.” 


And he really did. I had to yank pretty hard to get it out. I had so many questions, but I didn’t have time in the moment to ask them. Now I kind of regret not getting to the bottom of that situation, because I’m pretty sure whatever he had to say about it would have been comical.

My first born has been pushed to the side in recent weeks and I feel bad about that. He’s independent enough to take care of himself so most of my attention tends to fall on the little kids. So, today I want to talk about Maverick. He is the reason I started this blog, and one day I will write a book filled with words inspired by him. He is the child who challenges me the most, who has forced me to grow whether I wanted to or not — my feet dragging in the dirt as he catapulted me from my comfort zone over and over and over again.

Maverick: Mommy, you said when I grow up I can be anything I want to be, right?

Me: That’s right.

Maverick: What if I want to be three things?

Me: Then you totally can.

Maverick: I want to be a fireman, a policeman, and a KING

Me: Excellent.

Maverick: But what if I am supposed to be at the fire station on the same day that I’m supposed to be at the police station?? Oh, wait, never mind. That’s why I’m KING. 

If anyone could pull off being those three things, it’s my son. Husband and I later helped him figure out that he could be a policeman on Fridays, a fireman on Saturdays, and a king Monday thru Thursday. Scheduling crisis averted.

As infuriating and challenging as he can be, Maverick charms me every day. I see myself in him — the stubborn tenacity, the pluckiness, the love of life. And I see Husband’s cleverness, charisma, and humor, which always wins people over because it’s coupled with that dang persistence.

One day Maverick will be old enough to understand what I mean when I tell him that he truly can do anything he wants to do. Anything. I just have to brace myself for whatever that might be. 

Bite Marks & Widening Girths.

Today ONE got a yellow slip at school, which means he had a warning. Green slips mean he had a good day and red slips mean he was sent to the office. When he gets green slips all week, we go for ice cream on Friday afternoons. And I have to say, I probably enjoy that more than the kids do. 

When I arrived to pick him up today, he looked downcast and said in a low, whispery voice, “Mommy, I got a yellow today.” We gathered his things and I guided him down a crowded hallway. 

” … Mommy? Are you mad at me?”

“No! I’m a little disappointed, but I’m not MAD at you! Now tell me about your day.”

One of the teachers was listening to our conversation and whispered to me as we passed, “Now THAT’S a good mom.”   

I often talk about everything I do wrong here. I relay my failures and my messes and my children’s messes and the hormonal wreckage I leave behind me at every turn. In sum, I don’t give myself enough credit. Because I am a good mom, and a good wife, and a good person. My children are a lot to handle, but I can take them anywhere because they know how to act in public. They both say “excuse me” and “thank you,” and “yes ma’am,” and “please.Even my little 19-month-old.  

And while I am cutting myself some slack, I think it’s fine that I have gained 40 pounds in 30.5 weeks of pregnancy, because my job right now is to survive … and sometimes survival is just ugly.

So back to the yellow slip. This was the explanation written on the back:

I find this comical for several different reasons. I mean, have they met my son?! Of course he was trying to be the teacher. He probably thinks he could do a much better job of it. He tries to be the parent at home all the time, and the driver of our car, and the police, and the family doctor, and the freaking President of the United States. That’s how he rolls. Clearly, he needs to learn that he’s not in charge. He’s four. This is a work in progress, and I’ll do what I can, but I can’t guarantee he will ever grow out of the belief that Maverick Knows Best.

ANYWAY … when I asked him about it later, he said that he told Andrew “You can do it yourself!” when Andrew asked the teacher for help with his finger puppet craft. And then Andrew proceeded to bite ONE on the stomach.

Preschool sounds super-dramatic to me, and I’m kind of glad I don’t have to go there anymore. I have grown up troubles, but no one bit me on the stomach today. In fact, I treated myself to an iced coffee and some chocolate cinnamon bread from Starbucks, and the person in line ahead of me paid for it. And so we soldier on bite marks and widening girths and all.

Dr. Hobbs.

Maverick (otherwise known as “ONE”) has been full of interesting thoughts this week.

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ONE: “You know, Mommy … penises are a lot like volcanoes. Except pee comes out of them instead of hot lava.”

Me: “Excellent analogy.”

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The next day …

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ONE: “You know, Mommy … lips and mouths are a lot like bathtub plugs. They hold the water in our mouths. They also hold bad words in.”

Me:  “They sure do.”

ONE: “I know that because I’m four years old and I have a lot of thoughts in my face.” 

In December 2011, right after he received his first “doctor’s kit.”

My mother predicts that ONE will become a doctor one day because of his extreme interest in the human body. I neither encourage or discourage his fascination. I try to remain matter-of-fact in my reactions and my answers to the never-ending stream of questions

The thing is …  pretty much every day he mashes on my boobs and demands to know if I have milk in them yet. That’s a little much. No, a lot much. So, I decided that while I cannot control what he might think of or ask me, I can help him improve his bedside manner.

 

March 2, 2013.

Dear ONE,

When you were four-and-a-half years old, you informed me that you intend to marry Katherine, the little girl in your class who wears Batman t-shirts and tutus and has a cubby next to yours. Also, you stated that you are ready to attend college

You’re in a really big hurry to learn everything there is to know. You want to learn how to read, like now. I know once you start reading and writing, you‘re going to be unstoppable and that kind of freaks me out. I see in you a persistence and a drive that will become something great, and I don’t know where your big ideas might take you. I know your dreams will not always make sense to me, but there will come a point where I’m supposed to step aside and just let you do your thing.

I hope I can do that.

I hope you pick a nice girl.

I hope you are very old before you read this blog … old enough to understand the concept of creative outlets. 

Somehow I bet you’ll understand creative outlets before I’m ready for you to.

Love,
Mommy    

 

A Letter.

Dear ONE,

Today when I dropped you off at school, it was hard. Almost as hard as the first time I dropped you off anywhere. You don’t know why I hugged you so tight. You just smiled up at me and said “Bye, Mommy!” And when I lingered in the hall, you peeked out of the classroom and stared with big round eyes. You’re used to me just walking away and not looking back, but today I stood there for a moment not wanting to leave.  

It shook me down, this unspeakable thing. I can’t stop thinking about it. I wake up in the night and tiptoe into your room and then your brother‘s room and watch each of you sleep and think about how blessed we are. So far, true evil hasn’t touched us. One day, it might. All we can do is keep moving forward. 

So I did. I walked out of your school building and held TWO’s hand all the way to the car. And then we drove away. 

You don’t know about the evil of the world yet; you’re still trying to figure out why you aren’t allowed to say the word “idiot.” You don’t know what happened in Connecticut on December 14th. One day you might hear about it, but right now is not the time.

Sometimes unspeakable things happen. By the time you are old enough to read this letter, who knows what kinds of horrible things we will have seen and heard. But the world has a lot of good in it, ONE. A lot of love. Our house is full of love. Our friends and family’s homes are full of love. It’s our job to love people and spread the good. Butthere is also evil out there. It’s always been, and it always will be. I can’t shield you from it entirely, but I can sure as hell try.

What I want for you and your brother and your little unborn sibling more than anything is for you to show each other love. And go out there into the world with its good and its evil and love other people. I don’t expect you to change the world, but by loving yourself and loving others, YOU WILL CHANGE IT.