Who doesn’t love a baby or a toddler? Few, I imagine. Even though they’re MESSY and NOISY and DEMANDING and EXHAUSTING!!! we love them. And we shower them with love. But as we grow up, it stops. No one showers love on adults. And I think the older we get, the more love we need.
When the boys were little, they were messy! Double the trouble, no doubt. Once, when they were about 15 months, I’d gone all Martha Stewart and baked dozens of cookie pops (cookies on sticks!) for a children’s church activity. It had taken all day and now said treat was cooling in the fridge, and the boys were bathed and dressed, ready to go, but I still needed a shower. Normally, their little watchdog sister would keep an eye on them while I got ready, but she was at a friend’s. So I did what all desperate mothers do….propped them in front of the tv, left the bathroom door (which was about 20 feet away) open, and showered.
It’s pretty astonishing what a pair of toddlers can accomplish in 12 and a half minutes.
When I walked out of the bathroom, I could see the boys in the kitchen …. the house was a total of 900 square feet so if you stood in the hall and turned in a circle you could see all five rooms!….They sat in a puddle of orange juice that had been blocking the cooling cookies so it had to be removed…knocked over… first. But the cookies…my precious cookies!!! They lay in a heap with ONE BITE FROM EVERY SINGLE ONE!!! Why, in the name of sweet Jesus, couldn’t they have eaten 10 FULL cookies?!?! I may have been able to still save the day! But they didn’t stop there. Now that their tummies were full, Matt had a carton of eggs, squeezing his fingers around each egg till the shell cracked and yellow oozed through his fingers making Drew laugh hysterically. The more Drew laughed, the braver Matt got….cracking them over both of their heads, over Tommy the cat’s head who was busy licking the chocolate off the half-eaten discarded cookies and would probably die of chocolate overdose by tomorrow morning…..
My first instinctual reaction?!
LITTLE ASSHOLE BRATS!!! They’ve ruined my cookies, my rug (who puts a rug under the kitchen table?!?!) probably killed the cat, and definitely made me late!!! I should put them in their cribs for the rest of the night and let them learn their lesson…LITTLE ASSHOLESSSSSSS!!!!!!
But then Drew saw me, and a huge smiled broke out on his face as his chubby little hand held up a bitten cookie pop offering me a bite.
I took a deep breath. “Thanks Buddy.” I took a bite … it was so good, dear god why????… cleaned up the babies, threw out the rug (it was destroyed, I’m serious!), towelled the egg yolk even deeper into Tommy the cat’s coat, and showed up for the church activity half an hour late with a plastic container full of powdered mini donuts from Metro (which I actually worship to this dayyyy!!!)
Then they grow up. We all do. And we stop showing one another mercy and compassion and understanding and cite maturity as the reason.
Babies need love because they’re too immature to understand when they’ve done something wrong, but adults, they’re mature so they should know better!
What would happen if we adults started showing one another love as if we were all 2 year olds?! I practised on Mr P as we cleaned out the garage this past Saturday. We’d just finished moving all the car tires to the back of the garage. “Wow, you’re strong, especially for an old guy!” He smiled. Then he squished his thumb under a heavy shelf, just an average squish-no big deal! “Whoa! You ok?! Wanna’ take a break?!” Mr P laughed and said he was fine. The big test came when he knocked over a container of oil. IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE, NOT SURE HOW HE MISSED THAT???? Instead...”Shit! Watch you don’t ruin your shoes, I’ll grab some paper towels!” Now M was feeling the love. And the love came back, three-fold, for the rest of the day! Let’s just say love is an investment of sorts!
We try and understand our children and the reasons they’re miserable. “He’s hungry, he didn’t sleep well last night, she’s teething……”
Adults get hungry too. They don’t sleep well. They go through job changes, menopause, health issues…..they also feel lonely and scared and overwhelmed unlike most little 2-year olds.
This morning an angry driver screamed at me when he almost hit me as I crossed the street WITH A WALKING SIGNAL!!! I thought of a two-year old having a tantrum….what would I do?! Ignore him. And that’s what I did. no fingers. no shouting. no asshole mutters under my breath. nothing. Maybe he noticed and maybe he didn’t. Pretty sure he was reacting because he was scared that he nearly hit someone. Hopefully he gets some food. or sleep. but mostly love. lots of love.
Ps. Tommy the Cat lived for another 9 years.