Ok so most toddlers get a reputation for being a little crazy. The “terrible twos” and “threenagers” are terms used to describe what is widely common toddler behavior. Here’s the thing… I don’t have a terrible two year old. He almost never melts down and is fairly easy to please. He doesn’t have to have things his way or a certain way. He’s pretty agreeable and fun to be around. The truth is, he is absolutely crazy. Let me explain.
I have one of those kids that make my friends ask me how I do it all day. He doesn’t stop dancing, jumping, skipping and most notably falling all day long. I barely react anymore to his falls because I’m just so used to it and he will usually stand right up, put his arm in the air and declare, “I’m ok!” If there is a stump, a crack in the concrete, a small dip in the grass… Leo is going to fall. Hell, if the pavement is smooth and there is nothing to fall on, he will fall. I have seriously considered requiring elbow and knee pads on him any time we go outside. I’ve brought it up to his pediatrician. I’ve googled it. I’ve tried all different kinds of shoes upon my Mother’s urging. Unfortunately, it’s not the shoes.
I once watched him fall down our entire flight of stairs sideways, bouncing off each step on the way down. He was reaching for the railing when he turned his head around to say, “C’mon Mommy!” and ultimately missed the railing. He cried for about 14 seconds until he realized he was downstairs, which is his favorite place to be because it’s his playroom. Off he went as I still sat there mouth agape that my kid just fell down 12 stairs. I read somewhere that the human body has something like 100 billion nerve cells. I lost at least half of them that day.
When we get to a music class or storytime, most other kids take a seat on their parent’s laps where Leo is doing laps around the outside of the circle. There is no sitting down for him. Like, ever. I watch in awe at the parents who ask their kids to sit in the circle or on the carpet square and then they do! They sit and listen to an entire story without once standing up to walk up to the reader and try to turn the page. Amazing. If storytime is at a library, at least 19 books will be pulled off the shelves during the reading. The energy this kid has just cannot be contained to a 2’x2’ carpet square.
Napping for him is simply optional. He pretty much never took two naps a day as a baby and taking one is a crap shoot every day. Earlier this year he went on an eight week nap strike where he would just bellow, “Mommmmy where arrrrrre youuuuuuuu?” over and over from his crib until I went in and got him. Also, in related news I have a one year old baby who also has only ever taken one nap a day and considers it optional or 60 minutes in length at best. I’m not looking for sympathy; I just want to paint an accurate picture here of how we don’t stop moving all day long. These kids ain’t got time for sleep.
OK so I mentioned he falls a lot. He also has a history of the most random, insane accidents in the world. You know those plastic lawn mowers that blow bubbles? Every kid has one. I see them on Facebook all the time with captions like, “Just helping Daddy mow the lawn” or “My little landscaper.” Oh. Well my kid managed to shred off five finger nails with that bubble mower. Yes, they were shredded backwards after walking with the bubble mower in the driveway. I don’t even know exactly how it happened but there was blood. Lots of blood. A friend was with me and found a random chocolate bar to give to him while I tried to stop the bleeding so it was more like… chocolatey blood everywhere. Ok freak accident, right? HE DID IT AGAIN TWO MONTHS LATER. I blame myself for this one because I should have done what I ultimately did which was throw that piece of plastic in the garbage and get it out of sight.
Speaking of nails, he once pulled his blankie off the back of one of our dining room chairs, which knocked the chair over and RIPPED HIS BIG TOENAIL OFF. I’m not kidding. This happened.
On Halloween last year, he took that blankie and put it over his face to play peek-a-boo. Next thing I knew, he walked (slowly, I might add) into the kitchen table which instantly created a golf ball size welt on his forehead and ended in a trip to the ER. Two popsicles and an invoice later, we made it home in time for trick or treating.
Before you call CPS on me, you have to know that these accidents are simply a result of probabilities. I think I’m a good Mom. I try my best to anticipate the needs and shortcomings of my kids, but if you woke up at 6:30 am every morning and literally did not stop moving until 7:30 pm, it is likely that you would hurt yourself here and there. I’d like to think that I’ve become really good at reminding him to watch where he’s going and to make sure he sees that there is a bush 20’ away so that he doesn’t fall into it (this is a realistic outcome of walking past such an “obstruction” that is 20’ away). I think nowadays they call kids like this “spirited.” I prefer crazy. It paints the picture a little more accurately. Lots of days I feel tested and tried but to be honest, it’s all I’ve ever known and while my nerves are shot, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. His energy is contagious and he keeps a smile on his face throughout most of the trips and bumps and falls. I secretly love how crazy he is. All of his energy makes for one of the most social, personable and charming children I’ve ever met. He loves meeting new people and wants to know everyone’s name. I’m pretty sure he has a successful career in politics if he wants it. His smile and energy light up a room and he makes the most grand entrances- even if they are reminiscent of Kramer. He is excited to say his please, thank you’s and excuse me’s to complete strangers and will never miss an opportunity to let a server know what he would like for lunch. (It’s endearing to watch a two year old order for himself at a restaurant). So while I’m jealous of the Moms who have kids that sit on their laps nicely during programmed events, I feel privileged to have a child who is charismatic and joyful even if he is absolutely, undeniably crazy.