My first kid VS. the third: A rumination

I remember when J (now 12) was born, how unsure I was of my skills as a mother. The fear of dropping him as I walked across the grocery store parking lot. Everything about him seemed so vulnerable, despite his 9.2 birth weight.

I grew into it, the mothering gig, but the vigilance never fully abated. I always had one neuron firing for the worst case scenario, the thing that would happen if I turned my back for a second.

There were times he escaped me for a moment- like when he was two, and woke up before me. He came into my bed with a half gallon of ice cream and two spoons. And I sat up and ate it with him. Because, really- if someone goes to the trouble to scale the fridge, it’s only polite.

When E was born, J was seven. Past needing my wary eyes on him all of the time, able to be outside alone and trusted. So all of my vigilance went to her, softened somewhat by the fact that J had been OK for this long, so maybe I could relax a little bit. Having a little girl brought a new set of amazement, and a new set of concerns-she was so much more quizzical, so thoughtful even as a toddler. Now I had to worry not only about physical protection, but about the emotional impact of the world on her.

Then W was born, with E still nursing and in diapers. Suddenly, my watchful eyes had to be in two (or three!) places at once at all times. Of course, impossible. The demands of keeping up with a big kid, a toddler and a newborn were such that I couldn’t always work out the worst case so quickly. As a result, W has far, far more freedom to wreak havoc on our house than the other 2 ever did.

No toilet roll is safe, no lipstick goes un-smeared across a mirror. But the most interesting of his mischievous habits is his campaign against the fish.

To be fair, I don’t think he’s really trying to kill them. In fact, he may be trying to better their existence, by adding variety to their habitat. But when they see his little mug peering in at them, they run for their hidey-barrel. I imagine their conversations:
“It’s him!”
“Oh, no, the giant! Does he have the net?”
“No, but he’s got a…ahhhh, run for your life! Every fish for himself!”

This is what happens when I go to switch the laundry:
Recorder in Fishtank

Nice, right? The recorder does add a certain je ne sais quois- maybe he just wants them to have a song. I do vastly prefer the recorder in there to in my children’s mouths, where it quickly drives me to the brink of insanity.

But I removed it, with a stern lecture on not terrorizing the fish, who still skulked in the barrel.

A few days later, I found this:
All aboot the fish

Note the dolly in the upper right corner. Sigh. He was clapping his hands with glee. The fish maybe did like the boot more than the recorder, as it provided them another place to hide from their tormentor. But we took the boot after a few days. Maybe if I didn’t upload his fish art to Facebook, he’d stop. One of my favorite comments: My friend Josh said, “Why’d he do that- just for the Halibut?” ROTFL.

How about you? Have your standards relaxed or changed as your family grew? Or did you surprise yourself with the level of fear when you became a mom?

Here’s one of my favorite Phish songs (Get it?) Never fails to make me laugh.

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Comments (4)

  1. Susan (Trout Towers) Monday - 29 / 06 / 2009 Reply
    I sometimes wish I had a hidey-barrel of my own. I spent my first 4 years concocting worst case scenarios, including but not restricted to saving my children when the Cape was washed into the ocean. I stopped short of making them sleep in life vests. .-= Susan (Trout Towers)´s last blog ..Will Dailey =-.
  2. Megan Monday - 29 / 06 / 2009 Reply
    I remember rocking little K in his room in the middle of the night. Over a series of nights, I became obsessed with the thought that someone was hiding in our attic (the stair access is in his room). This was right around the time that "The Grudge" came out, BTW. I told big K about my fear, figuring he'd laugh it off and snap me out of it. Me: So then I realized, even if somehow, someone *was* up there, they could never push the stairs down to get out! Big K: Actually, they could. You just have to put some weight on them, and they'd come right down. Me:
  3. rockrollmama Monday - 29 / 06 / 2009 Reply
    Susan: the hidey barrel does look luscious sometimes- I suspect they have a full bar and a masseuse hiding in there. The fish have been bad for productivity- I spend far too much time staring at them and imagining their microcosm. M- That's so funny because: A. I would totally think that too, and I HATE knowing there's an attic with possible grudge people hiding out in it, and B. I can so see K's perfectly logical reasons for stating that, and perfectly logical tone, and why, as moms, we're baffled.:) DUDE. Couldn't you just tell me it's ridiculous? Thanks.:)
  4. Devilish Southern Belle Tuesday - 30 / 06 / 2009 Reply
    I had mine so close together that I never really had much of a chance to concoct much in the way of worst case scenarios from one to the other. They tended to get into things at the same time....sometimes in two different places, sometimes not. I don't know what kind of parent I'd be if I'd had another one after them! .-= Devilish Southern Belle´s last blog ..I’m getting too old for this. =-.

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