It's becoming more and more evident that you are more of a mini Cooper than I ever knew. You see, almost 27 years ago, I was given the GIFT of a sister. At the time, I did not know she was a gift. Even though my memories of being newly three years old are pretty fuzzy, I vaguely recall feeling slighted and pretty pissed off in general. And if I ever need a reminder of these feelings, there is always the lovely home-movies shot during that time, forever recording my ear-piercing screams for attention - directly into my newborn sister's ears. In those movies, I now focus on my mother. She was solid. Patient. Absolutely ignoring my bad behavior and not rewarding it with positive attention. I don't know how she did this, because CHILD. You are that kid now. You are pulling out some stops for attention. And you are actively choosing to not listen - to the most mundane of requests. Mealtimes have a rough start and a rocky finish. You are still eating (knock on wood!) but most times you take an act of congress to get you TO the table, and by mealtime's end, you have either intentionally dropped things on the floor or wiped your sticky paws over the table or done some other thing to up the misbehavior ante.
I know, this is not THAT bad. Firstborns usually regress in some way. They typically cry out for attention in new fun ways. It's just that, well, I had some pretty rose-colored-glasses unrealistic expectations of you. You have (aside from those not-fun months of 18 to 22...) always been just so SWEET. So goooood. So weirdly untypically behaved. You never really questioned our authority or thought that doing the exact opposite of what we said was ever even an option. You made us very comfortable, son. TOO COMFORTABLE.
It's rough some days, with a newborn and you, and a husband who has been working very abnormally late hours. You don't seem to want to cut me any slack. Your love for me is quite conditional. If I manage to put your sister down for a nap, and instead of, you know, peeing or some other selfish activity, I sit down with you and read books.. well, you love me. If I choose to let you watch 2 episodes of Curious George instead of 14, you very much dislike me.
Last night, something happened that I really was not prepared for (and you know I pride myself on being prepared for as much as possible). While your father and I were in the midst of a newborn screamfest, filing your sister's jagged nails, I came into the bathroom to get her bath ready. Lately, you have been LOVING the responsibility of washing your hands, all by yourself. I was ok with this, because you've never even TOUCHED the hot-water handle (and if you ever happened to, you'd surely call me to come deal with it once you realized it was even slightly warm) and because come on, it frees up SO much of my time! For a kid who loves to have clean hands, there's a lot of hand-washing goin' on, and if you can just do it yourself- by all means! ANYWAYS, so last night, I come into the bathroom and there's.. puddling. Everywhere. You have a very pleased happy face, as the faucet is running and you are using your cupped hands to transfer water from the sink to the toilet.. the tub.. the floor. Initially, I thought 'how freaking cute is this??!' because of how I never got to really experience walking in on a mess with you. You know how most moms turn their back and their baby/toddler is armpit-deep in the flour jar, or cereal box? Never experienced that. You simply never got into things. So, seeing this was sort of.. weirdly heartwarming? That feeling lasted a short span of a few seconds, and then I was just annoyed and irritated. I disciplined you (your sister's bath got scrapped, by the way) and you went off to your room, crying. Your father talked to you, you stopped crying, and you were no worse for the wear. Neither was the bathroom, as your father reminded my frustrated self that 'it's just water!' All that long story to say that I need to be better. Better at not expecting things to remain the same - that you'll stay out of the proverbial flour-jar forever. Or that you'll listen to us 100% of the time and obey us without question. Or that I'll get your love and cuddles whenever I ask for them. I know this new life of ours is going to be about getting through each day, for a while. Adjusting as necessary and the ebb and flow and all that.
But seriously, if you ever get in the flour-jar, your Curious George dvds are going to go mysteriously missing, so help me God!