The present days are filled with a frustrating emotional rub. The wee ones often fight about everything from who gets to brush their teeth first to who gets to turn the television off. It's exhausting. Trips to the foodmart with both of them require a bottle of Valium. Dear Son is in this annoying phase of wanting to hit his sister all. the. blessed. time. Dear Daughter has an emotional breakdown every time she misplaces her woobie for three seconds. She cannot handle being apart from me even for just long enough for me to leave the room to gather an armful of laundry. She gets out of bed 15 times each night after I tuck her in, just to tell me one more time how much she loves me. It's not easy to scold her for this. She's figured out how to open the child-proof gate at the top of the basement stairs. This means I can't get the work done that I only have the chance to get done after the kids are in bed. Last night she didn't stay in bed until 11:00 pm.
I try to console myself with reminders such as "It's a phase that will pass" and "s/he'll grow out of it." And there's the rub. Dear Son still loves to cuddle. He will be 29 months old in a few days, but he still loves to curl up in my arms and still wants to be held ALL THE TIME. As difficult as that can make it to get routine household chores done, I am acutely aware that these days are numbered. His body is pushing into size 3T clothing and ranks in the 90-something size percentiles, and as I try to gather him into my arms to hold him as he requests, the length of his legs and the weight of his body serve as painful reminders of how fast he is growing up.
I look at my 4 3/4 year-old daughter and see the babyish-ness escaping her. She is reading and doing simple addition. The chub is disappearing from her body frame and she is becoming long and lean. Her baby-face roundness is diminishing. I can practically see it happening day by day now.
It's a constant emotional battle to be ready for them to be done with some of the exhausting day-to-day battles that at times leave me curled in the corner in a fetal position mumbling unintelligibly, and to simultaneously feel that pain in my chest in the form of the awareness that they are growing up too fast and there is nothing I can to do stop them.