April 11, 2013: The Days of Toddler Goo

"Look, Mom, water!!!"
I have often said that Ben could clearly be my only blog subject and I would never lack for material. Right now, my soon-to-be seventeen year old is jumping on the trampoline by himself; anxiously awaiting the arrival home of his younger brother. It doesn't matter that his younger sibling lags by four years. They are playmates.

Ben has had a perma-grin since the minute he learned he had a smile at six weeks of age. Even in moments of hating me (often) for my injustices in parenting him, he still smiles. For the record, he has a laundry list of mothers who are better than me. Those who buy all things within the sited needs of their teenager and who have no care for school grades or curfews. Within my peer group, I am clearly the loser.

Although I remind Ben that I am not concerned with the rules and rights of his friends, that my only concern is Ben Lane, he still doesn't like me most of the time. And no matter how many times I remind him of my rubbing his back as a sick toddler or buying him suckers at the circus, I still don't pass muster in the category of "mother of the year".

I just smile and remind myself that adolescence is really temporary insanity. A wise child psychologist once told me this. Don't try to rationalize or over-analyze the behavior of a teenager. Just ride the storm.

So as I love up my Baby Buddha and hope he comes out of his teenage years with some form of sanity, I do look back with hope. Past pictures and events remind me of the great spirit and kind heart that lives in my teenager.

The picture above always gives me a smile. After picking up the boys (only two at the time) from daycare, Ben greeted me with a big warm hug. I was wearing a navy floral dress with a beige jacket; a new purchase from Spiegel catalog. The result of the hug was two Cheetos impressed hand prints on my back.

I took off my jacket for the dry cleaner without a word of disapproval to my toddler. He just wanted to give his mama a hug. Nothing the cleaner couldn't handle. Filled with stains himself, I took off his Husker shirt and put on his little Gap jean jacket to cover his chubby belly.

Arriving home on that cold day, I started a bath for my dirty son. As I attended to his older brother with only seconds elapsing, the above photo is what greeted me in our small bathroom on 2111 S. 164th Ave.

Ben, fully clothed with shoes and all, stood in the filling bath tub grinning at me. "I take a bath, Mommy!" I snapped the pix and this moment now lives in history. A soiled designer jacket, soaking shoes, and an adorable tot. Thanks for the memories, Ben. And how much longer until we're through the teenage years??

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