Thursday, 18 April 2013

You know you have a two-year-old son when…

As a kid, I was a girly-girl. I loved Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and My Little Ponies. I did not like sports. Or any physical activity, really. I would play in my pink bedroom and pretend to be a mother, or draw pictures of princesses or imagine myself in a glamorous career, like becoming a fashion designer.

I’m still a bit of a girly-girl to this day, although I have since dropped the Barbies and I never really pursued my dream of being a fashion designer. And despite loving dressing in my mother’s high heels as a kid, I have a secret hatred of heels now (but it doesn’t stop me from wearing them).

So needless to say, when I found out that I was pregnant with a boy, I was a little concerned about raising a son and all the “boy stuff” that comes with it. I couldn’t help but think, ugh, this means a lifetime of hockey and Transformers, and playing with trucks and dirt and other yucky stuff. I was a bit disappointed that shopping for clothes would be more boring and that I would be missing out on the fun of having a little girly-girl of my own.

I got over those initial, admittedly shallow, thoughts pretty quickly. Everyone reassured me that boys are wonderful because they love their mommies and that while boys can be a handful as children they are way easier as teenagers. Yes, yes, I know they just were trying to make me feel better, but it worked.

Lately I came to realize, all that “boy stuff” is starting to grow on me… Here are a few signs that you know you have a two-year-old son:

- You get excited when you see a school bus or any kind of truck on the road…the holy grail of these sightings is the elusive fire truck, which does not make an appearance that often. Bonus points if its sirens are wailing. Double bonus points (for mommy) if the firemen are cute. Deduct points if you’re driving and you see a school bus and want to point it out to someone…but you’re alone in the car.

- When you get into your car and start the engine, the radio is usually blaring the Raffi CD your son insisted on making you play (that’s code for whined until you gave in).

- You eagerly plan a weekend getaway 3 months from now to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere 4 hours away because you know that Thomas the Tank Engine will be making an appearance there. Okay, maybe because there are outlet malls nearby as well.

- The theme song to Handy Manny plays in your head, night and day.

- You have matchbox cars in the bottom of your purse at any given time.

- You consider the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to be the greatest invention of all time.

- You have perfected the art of imitating all animals that roar, like lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) Also in my son’s case, sharks. Because he thinks they roar.

- You chuckle along with your son’s burgeoning sense of toilet humour when he laughs after letting out a burp and announcing it to you.

- You no longer sigh longingly at all the adorable dresses and cute girl clothes in kids’ stores. Okay, maybe just for a second. Fortunately I have several nieces to buy presents for.

Yeah, maybe having a boy is not such a gross, snot-filled adventure after all…. And my son has let me release my inner tomboy in ways I never knew existed. Wouldn’t you know, I kinda like that inner tomboy!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Separation Anxiety

As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room in one of the most beautiful and scenic places I’ve ever been, Lake Louise in Alberta. Surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains, fresh clean air and yes, I’m gloriously alone. You would think that this mother of a vivacious two-year-old boy would welcome the time away from home, the opportunity to sleep through the night uninterrupted and to have some precious alone time in a beautiful location (albeit while travelling for business). But all I feel is a little pang of sadness in my chest. I miss my son.
I’m not worried about him and I’m not stressed about how my husband is managing at home.  Of course all that is totally fine. When my husband has travelled on business, I was just fine too. Considering that I don’t get a moment alone at home, that I can’t even go to the bathroom without an audience, you would think that I would relish this time away.
But I miss my son’s laugh, his hugs and kisses, his funny little sayings and actions. I am seeing other toddlers with their parents and the things they are saying and doing remind me of my little guy. Although I have loved my son since the day he was born, I sometimes feel like I love him a little more every day. Except during those moments where he makes me want to scream and put him into a straight-jacket or cover his mouth with duct tape. Which happens pretty often. But the rest of the time, as he grows from the baby that he was into a little person, he makes me laugh and it fills my chest with sparkling champagne bubbles of joy.  
My husband and I decided to organize a last-minute weekend getaway to New York City next weekend and some people have asked us if we are leaving our son at home (not alone, obviously!) But we are not ready to go away without him. Yes, he drives us crazy sometimes, and let’s face it, a six-hour car ride with a two-year old does not promise to be much fun. But we don’t want a getaway from him; we want a getaway with him.  We spend enough time apart during the week when we are a
t work and he’s at daycare.
The hardest part of this week’s travel away from home was being on a four and a half hour flight and not being able to communicate with my husband or talk to my son. As the plane landed, I was like a junkie who needed a fix as I dialled home. Just in time, too, as my little guy was just about to go to bed.
While I’ve left him overnight, I don’t think I’ve ever been further away alone than a two-hour drive from home since he was born, so I guess this is a milestone I have to get through. But when I get home Sunday morning, you can bet that I will be happy to see that little guy again!