Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Resistance Training

Brandon has just left to go running. Outside it's the greenish purple of evening in the late spring. Everything is so lush right now. When you go running on the trail behind our house, you smell honeysuckle and see cardinals and lizards flying and darting around. The kids are in their beds. All three are still awake, having their conversations. It's precious to listen to them. Or, it would be precious if, say, I were a stranger just hearing them for the first time. I'm not a stranger, though. I'm the opposite of a stranger to them. I am the person they know so well and are so close to, that they can barely untangle their own identities from mine. And I'm pretty much the same way with them. So, I don't find them so precious at the moment. They sound like birds tweeting or the white noise of crickets that you don't really notice until someone says, "listen to those crickets."

I am tired from doing resistance training all day. I'm not referring to some new workout regime. Well, it is sort of a workout. I'm talking about toddler resistance training. The muscles in my arms are aching from keeping Teddy out of harm's way--from falling down the stairs, falling out of the computer chair and onto the sharp-edge of the desk drawer that holds the keyboard. I have imagined him hitting his head just so and piercing his eye with the edge of the drawer. It's my weird way of steeling myself for the worst-case scenario. I think it helps me to feel better about the rest of my day.

Teddy is almost 19 months-old now, and he is in full-blown toddler mode. It's like he watched some documentary about how to be a toddler and is now practicing his new skills. I don't think I have sat down all day. If he is awake, he is testing the limits of everything. If I try to send an email, he is hitting the shift key over and over again, so that my computer has to be rebooted in order to work properly. At lunch he hurls his food over the banister into the sunken living room, where it lands on the white couch. At the library he pulls the books off the shelf, runs with abandon through the fiction section. He is happiest at the playground. But any second he could step off the ten-foot drop-off next to the slide. Why do they put these drop-offs on playgrounds??? Can we just have one place where we mothers of toddlers can rest for a second? I follow him around the play scape, hitting my head on the entryway to the slide.

I know this part of childhood is relatively short-lived. In just six months from now, he'll be less of a handful. In a year, he'll be scaling the climbing structures at the playground while I stifle a yawn, seated at a nearby bench. I'm in the thick of this toddler thing and I know that this too shall pass. But it's still exhausting.

I'm looking forward to the kids finally getting quiet upstairs, to Brandon coming home from his run in the almost-dark. I want to sit and read a book in peace for as long as I can. Until I can't possibly hold my eyes open another second.