The whole tiny people thing has it's moments of deeply painful sweetness, of course.
(Notice I used the word painful about the sweetness.)
Their need for me as "The Mom" can bring me to tears with joy, love, and exhaustion.
There are a lot of different tears during the under three life.
People will constantly tell me I'm going to miss their baby years. I need to savor each sweet smell of their baby hair nestled against my chest. I should take a deep breath and just enjoy their dependency and forget myself.
Sometimes I do. It's very difficult to do that all the time though.
It's also not realistic.
It is tough to argue that this is anything other than perfection.
I mean...he is a joy.
(This is how Aiden dresses every day. He's the coolest kid in the fourth grade. He smokes pot and plays the guitar. It's really fun to hang out with him.)
(I'm kidding about the guitar playing.)
(Fine, I'm kidding about all of that. Except, that is Aiden. Dressed for a school performance.)
To me, this parenting thing just keeps getting better and better.
Why must I constantly be told to savor only the very little?
I'm here to tell you parents of the babies and toddlers, it's worth doing the hard now, because they become people that you are crazy about and bring you even more joy and delight.
AND they can make their own sandwiches and let you sleep, basically whenever you want to sleep.
IT GETS BETTER THAN GOOD SMELLING HAIR ON A SMALL, FAT, SLEEPING PERSON.
I am bananas for all my children, but Aiden has me right now.
He is so interested in everything. He's asking so many questions. Not the constant string of "why" that showed up as a toddler. He's asking the BIG questions and he's caring about the answers.
Sure, he is a total punk sometimes. He's too aggressive with his middle siblings and teases his sister and almost never remembers to hang up his towel after his shower, and brings home things like science fair which are annoying, but he has so much good going on right now that I can overlook those things.
Not too long ago he came and sat on the couch while I was playing with Max and asked if I could answer some social questions for him.
He comes to me for social questions because he knows how cool I am.
Or because I'm here.
He apparently has a few boys that hang close to him that are a little "different," and Aiden is kind to them even though they are a little "different." He feels badly about it though because sometimes his other friends think he's weird for being nice to them.
If you could have seen his eyes, his poor little heart so stressed and confused about how this works.
How does he keep his friends and be kind to the kids that think they are really good friends with him, but are a little "off?"
I, of course, said all the perfect things.
Or fumbled through a kindness no matter what, but you don't have to be everyone's best friend type discussion and then showed him my new sweatshirt, which solidified our entire conversation.
(Cutest tees and sweatshirts for parents and kids....Mama Said Tees. Go buy one or seven NOW!)
He has the best heart.
He has even better hair.
He works hard for that hair.
He worries about doing the right thing.
Perhaps too much.
My father took him to Subway on a sick day recently and he wouldn't get out of the car until he felt he had something appropriate to explain to people about why he was there during a school day.
Because you know the people at Subway are worried about truancy.
He worries about people at school's science fair project having been done by their parents...because he wants them to learn themselves. There isn't any concern about their project being better because it was done by an adult, just worry that there is no way those kids will be able to function in high school or college.
Perhaps he has been listening the last few years?
He reads to Max, gets him out of his crib when he's crying, feeds him a bottle, plays with him, and genuinely wants him to walk and talk. He helps and he cares about helping.
He asks about tampons and listens seriously to the explanation...and then feels empathy about how annoying that must be.
Amen Aiden, amen!
He is baffled by some of his friend's new interest in girls. He has had many discussions with me about that, mostly that he isn't ever going to do that.
Fine by me, just get your own place and then come hang out with ME!
He sits in the front seat next to me when we go places and just talks and it's glorious.
He tells me about the books he is reading, books that I like to read too! He has thoughts and opinions about the stories! He's a bonafide reader. This makes my heart sing.
He actually CHOSE to go on a walk with Max and me recently rather than go to a friend's house.
Then wanted to take a selfie with us, because that's just the type of example I am setting of proper behavior.
(Max is not normally this suspicious of Aiden, I think he is jealous of Aiden's hair though and it was just right in front of him in this picture. It's tough sometimes.)
Aiden wants to know why people think Tractor, Uncle Kyle and I are funny.
I had to explain that Tractor and Uncle Kyle are strange, which is funny sometimes, and I'm just confused and lucky that what comes out of my mouth makes sense.
He wants to be funny. He wants to make people laugh. He does.
He still gets in trouble and throws little fits about consequences....but then he does the most amazing thing. He talks and understands and reflects and sucks it up and deals with it.
I can not tell you how totally gratifying it is to see your kids suck it up and accept that they screwed up and earned the consequence they got.
I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, I feel like my posts about Aiden are numbered. His stories are increasingly less and less mine to share.
The fact that he talks so frankly and openly with me is so fiercely treasured by me that I couldn't even describe most of the details of our discussions lately that leave me beaming with pride and gratitude for the gift of being his Mom.
I can't betray him.
Unless we are having a cocktail in person and then I'll spill because I'm mostly horrible at keeping secrets that I find joyful and worth sharing.
I just won't write them on my public blog.
I have standards.
(I also feel it's important for me to note quickly that Cole is moving right along too, but just isn't quite to Aiden's level of maturity about so many things.
For example...I still have to carry a wooden spoon in my purse and recently had to literally chase Cole down the street while holding my wooden spoon out the window and threatening him to get in the minivan and come to piano lessons while he sobbed.
There were neighbors watching.
It wasn't our best moment.
We did make it to piano.
TEN people....it's getting better and better.