When Zac was first born, on June 10th, 2010, I was truly awed by him. How tiny and delicate he was. How beautiful his miniature features were. How I could see bits and pieces of Newman and me in those miniature features. How utterly dependent on me he was… and the overwhelming responsibility of it all. There were moments I am pretty sure that the awe I was feeling was actually fear dressed up in pretty clothes. Because, let me be honest, I was scared to death of my baby. Nothing I had ever done before motherhood came with such dire consequences should I fail. Someone’s life was literally in my hands. Whoa.
I would watch him nap contentedly, snugged in a square blanket that wouldn’t wrap around him once now, in his little blue elephant seat, his tiny breaths heaving in and out. I would study his itty bitty, pink lips, trace along his chin with my fingers, and touch the little fuzz upon his perfect crown. I think maybe I was making sure he was real. I am not sure when along the past 19 months my awe/fear turned into complete and total envy… but the more I watch Zac while he’s busy being Zac, the more I realize this kid has got. it. made.
Aside from being unquestionably adorable (MOMMY BIAS ALERT!) and being able to nap a lot, there are some key benefits to being a toddler that I never considered before being a mother to one.
Toddlers have the privilege of dealing with adversity however they see fit at that very moment, and without regard to the opinion or reaction of others. Don’t care for your supper? Blithely toss it over your shoulder onto the floor… or slingshot it to the dog. Don’t feel like being told what to do? Stomp your feet, cross your arms, shake your head violently, shouting “UH UHHH! UH UHHH!” Can you imagine how well this would go over at work? “Mrs. Perry, can you please e-mail me that report I asked for by the end of the day? <Above described temper tantrum ensues.> This would not bode well for my quarterly evaluation. Pants too hot or uncomfortable? Take em’ off! You’ve got adorable thighs! This would also not bode well for my quarterly evaluation; I’m nearly certain. So you see, the ability to escape your situation and throw what you don’t like on the floor would come in really handy in the classroom. And so I’m envious.
How about hair? The worse the hair day, the cuter a toddler is. Are little cherubic cheeks any better framed than when their hair is all about, every which direction? I think not. I find Zac most endearing (read: delicious) when he has just awakened and his hair tells the story of his slumber. Sometimes I send him off to his babysitter with his hair still a mess.
She’s a mom too, so she gets it. Can you imagine the reaction if an adult went about their day with bed head? Oh how the heads would turn and the tongues would wag in my school! “Did you see Mrs. Perry? Can you say hot mess?!” Sometimes it would be nice to just roll out of bed and have people find me delightful and charming as is. Zac’s just lucky that way.
The terminology with which we describe the exact same behaviors also falls more favorably on toddlers. If Zac pitches a fit about not getting his way, he’s just being a baby. If I pitch a fit, I’m being a bitch. If Zac’s in a terrible mood and being difficult in every way, he’s just tired and cranky. If I’m equally irritable, I’m just being a bitch. If Zac takes a toy from another child, he’s just expressing dominance of a play scenario. If I take something that belongs to someone else without considering their feelings, I’m a bitch. Uh ohh, pattern forming…
So a day in the life of Zac Perry is pretty sweet. His needs are met, his boo boos are kissed, and his worries are few. And he is utterly adored by pretty much everyone who meets him, with little or no effort forthcoming. Lucky duck! As for me, I continue to be in awe of his growing creativity and originality. What a cool soul he has! I’m raising a boy I admire… and he can’t even speak yet.