Open heart, locked toilet

When Z was a baby and toddler, I distinctly remember looking at baby-gear catalogs and wondering Who could possibly need all these baby-proofing things? Door knob covers? Toilet locks?

I mean, I am a bit of a Nervous Nelly but aren't toilet locks a little... paranoid? Are these parents hanging out in their bathrooms, dropping their kids' favorite toys into the toilet or something?

I had read the experts and formed opinions based on what they said and on what my somewhat sensitive but physically mellow baby did. By the end of her first year, a potent mixture of cluelessness and fear and ego prevailed: I was pretty sure I had it all figured out and I tried really hard not to judge other moms too much when I saw them wrangle kids with very different behaviors.

One of the best parts about having two kids is how much it has opened me up, in my heart, in my head. For me, having one kid closed me, more than a little bit. With just Z tucked under my arm, I was MORE clingy and MORE clutch-y to my ideas, my information, my opinions. In a small, judge-y recess of my brain, I thought surely, if they had just applied my tested and expert-approved methods, their kid would act like my kid, right?

I needed my opinions to be TRUE.

I knew every child was different, on an intellectual level. But when faced with a kid behaving in a completely new way, I sometimes had to remind myself of it.

Now, I GET it. I really, really get it.

E is so different from Z. SO. DIFFERENT. CG and I know a few things this time around that we learned with Z and applied to E. But mostly, we're swimming in new waters UPSTREAM every day. And it never fails to shock me, how our DNA could combine twice and make such different little people.

Z was delayed in her gross motor skills and didn't really ever crawl, while E has been crawling up a storm since she was 6 months old. How much of this difference is because Z was my first baby and I spent endless hours sitting by her, reading to her, playing with her and with E, I took the advice of everyone who said "Ignore the baby, pay attention to the toddler because the baby won't know the difference"? Was Z born more sedentary or was her inactivity due to the fact that she didn't need to go very far for entertainment and attention as it (ME) always came to her (and rarely left)? E may be more adventurous, more stimulation-seeking by nature but, as I realized after her little adventure last week, she may also go in search of attention and entertainment because it so infrequently comes to her. When Z was an only child, my world revolved around her. With E, I'm always trying to stash her somewhere so that I can get things done.

It suddenly hit me this weekend, as CG took Z to visit her aunt and uncle for two days. Several times over the last two days, I spent whole hours sitting on the floor with E, just sitting there, reading books, rolling balls, stacking blocks.

I couldn't remember if I'd ever done that with E. EVER.

And then, I watched E crawl away from me, toward the pointy corners and electric cords, with her pterodactyl screech and a gleeful grin over her shoulder: you watchin' me, Mom? She is thrilled when I come running to take something out of her mouth, move her away from an edge. It isn't so much that she wants to get away from me.

She wants me to run toward her.

She wants my attention.


To get back to my earlier question: were these other parents hanging out in bathrooms dropping their kid's favorite toys into the toilet?

No. They are busy, plopping their babies on the bathroom floor while they peed and washed their hands, turning their backs for ONE SECOND to find that their beloved child, the one who is surrounded by beautiful toys made from virgin, organic, free-range alpaca wool, the one who is ready for adventure by nature, has silently crawled 10 feet and opened the toilet lid to plunge her fingers into the swirling water while gumming the toilet seat.

(Oh, E, she loves those toilet seats.)

If Z made me into a self-proclaimed, in-my-own-head-only expert on child rearing, E has made me into a true beginner. That zen 'beginners mind' stuff? RIGHT HERE, BABY.

So, who could possibly need toilet locks?

Us, that's who.


Sarah said...

This is EXACTLY what makes me nervous about having a second child. Little Man is *very* similar to Z and I'm terrified of what might come next.

Hillary said...

As usual, you speak the truth. The very first thing my husband ever said about The Lad, when he was less than a minute old, was, "Wow. He's completely different from The Boy." You know your kids are going to be different, but then they arrive and they are just SOOOOOOOO different. I realize everyday that part of me was expecting just a little clone of The Boy. I'm very glad that's not the case, though it is a challenge.

Fran said...

When you have two and they are so different you just KNOW that your third will be more like one than the other. SURELY you can't have your DNA combine in drastically different ways three times! But alas, it does. Each of ours are SO different in everything but appearance that you would question them being siblings if not for the looks department. Only our first needed the toilet lock, and only our third needs the door knob cover, but only on the DVD closet.

Kader said...

I have the bad feeling I'll be getting my comeuppance for all of my past judginess. My baby isn't crawling yet, but he's already SO BUSY and MOBILE.

Also, E looks so much like you, especially in that first photo! She's certainly having a good time on all of her adventures. She looks like she's very happy with her life.

Swistle said...

Our firstborn was such a little, um, WEIRDO, our secondborn was a huge relief to us. The first one was shrieking at anything that rhymed, anything that was SUNG; he hated all kid songs and any music with WORDS. He hated the mommy-and-me class and was the only kid screaming all the way through it. He was low-tone and delayed-motor and delayed-articulation and he had all these WEIRDNESSES (things had to be done a certain way, in a certain order, etc.). Then our second was born and he was a TOTALLY TYPICAL CHILD. I mean, I know weird/typical are not Pleasing Words, but there are certain things I think of as being typical of children: liking kid songs and liking rhyming books and liking silliness and roughhousing, and our first HATED it and our second LOVED it.

miyoko said...

she looks so much like you. how wonderful!!! such adorable photos.

yes having one seemed impossibly treacherous at the time, remember? (now it was a piece of cake in retrospect and what was I freaking out about?!?!). As you know well, P was quite the investigator/cabinet raider/shelf climber. having two, well... yes they are quite different girls, let's just say, our second one makes the first one's babyhood look MELLOW, LAZY AND QUIET. Combine them together and i'm on police patrol 24-7, something I NEVER imagined.
how do people manage more than two kids?

Gina said...

Us too on the toilet locks. And I am now also trying to find oven locks and knob covers that will work on a vintage 1948 oven/stove.

And I hear you on never sitting down and spending hours with the baby. My in-laws are going to take Thomas for one day a week this summer and I am so looking forward to extended one-on-one time with the baby. I think that I crave the alone time with him as much as he craves the attention from me.

Blog Designed by: NW Designs