Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My son, the boy

In the last week, Peregrine has:

-Dismantled the baby food grinder

-Dismantled the bicycle pump

-Dismantled his (second) spray bottle

-Eaten an entire bag of craisins in one sitting

-Learned to pee standing up (entirely on his own, and with no motivation other than seeing his cousin do it).

-Torn the bathroom door off its hinges

-Carefully and deliberately unscrewed the apparatus that makes the front screen door prop open

-De-cushioned most of the chairs in the house and on the deck, multiple times.

-Eaten bites of anything he can get his hands on, and then left the evidence (okay, nothing new, he just has longer arms, plus he's discovered that with a step stool, the world is his oyster).

This kid is a force of nature right now. A fierce little whirlwind of doing and undoing. He's kind of turning into a boy.

I'm a good candidate for a mom of a boy, I think. I have a high tolerance for most chaos and mess. Germs, dirt, and snakes don't really scare me (tarantulas are another story, but fortunately, those are hard to come by hereabouts). Andrew grew up on a mountain, hacking out his own trails and sleeping in the woods alone with a knife, even as a pretty young kid. I want that for Peregrine. I want him fierce and wild and free. I want him to own the land, to have it in his heart the way Andrew does. I want him to know and be comfortable with the dirt, the sea, the rocks, the sky. I want him to grow up into the kind of man his father is, the kind of man I married, the kind of man who captured my heart and soul with his craziness, his spirit, his just-barely-tamed love of getting dirty and living life outside.

But it can be draining on the day to day. The trail of destruction he leaves. The hose that's constantly on, and spraying everywhere. The piles of wet, muddy clothes, and wetter, muddier socks (my goodness the socks! He's obsessed with socks--obsessed, he won't go to bed without them--and he puts on and sheds several pairs a day. They are everywhere.) The elbows digging into my belly when he hugs me, the feet that are constantly stepping on mine, the fact that he never, never, never slows down. And the fact that he freaking undoes everything I do. I give him leftovers to put in the fridge, and in the ten feet there, he manages to take off the lid, eat some of the food, and then forget how to put the lid back on. I put on one shoe while he throws the other downstairs.

Andrew's nickname as a kid was Dr. Destruction. Peregrine is not terribly destructive, per se, although he does a fair bit of it. He's more just Dr. Entropy. Order tending to disorder. I don't think he's even aware of it, half the time. He walks through a room, and will just randomly sweep pillows off chairs, covers off beds, towels off racks. He turns on lights, fans, and faucets. It's so maddening. Making him pick it all up is torture, and so much more work than doing it myself.

But, I know Dr. Entropy will grow up. I know he'll get big enough that it won't be unreasonable to ask him to pick up a whole room. And honestly, work though it is, I'm looking forward to the years ahead, tainted and colored and made both frustrating and exciting by the presence of boy in them. He'll probably break everything I own and eat the rest. But I hope he'll always stay free and wild and strong. I hope my home is a safe haven for him to come to after he's been tramping in the woods all day. I hope I'll still know how to nurture his soul, and his friends' souls, and that they can come in, and talk, and eat things, and grow into good men.

Tiny boy, I love you more than you'll ever know. I hope you learn to break less, or at least to fix what you break. I hope you learn the art of sitting still, at least for a little bit. But I hope you never lose the crazy beauty in your soul. It's my honor to have the keeping of it, and I hope I keep it well.

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