Letting go a little

Oliver started with a cold this weekend and coupled with the giant boulders he’s cutting, he’s been quite crabby at times. The thing with him, though, is that even though he’s a right stinker when he’s in a pissy mood, he’s so bloody cute that it’s hard not to want to fold him up in your arms and smother him with slobbery kisses, even after he’s walked up to you and spontaneously punched the mug you were cradling, knocking coffee all over you.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a big difference in Oliver, and I think part of it has to do with the fact that I have changed the way I react to him. I’ve tried to stop hovering over him and shadowing his every move in order to prevent him from hurting himself or making a catastrophic mess.

I realized that even though our house is sold and doesn’t need to be sparkling clean at all times, I was still walking around with the don’t-make-a-mess-mentality in full force, which made life pretty miserable for him at times. It hit me that he’s less baby and more boy now and that he deserves a bit of freedom, a bit of trust from me. I realized that, though it wasn’t hard to say I Love You to him, I had to let go a little bit, loosen the reigns, I guess, and give him the benefit of the doubt more…

And while he’s still his rambunctious, mischievous, curious self, there’s been a noticeable change in him. He’s more willing to listen and less likely to fly off the handle when I say no. I find he’s much easier to deal with and it doesn’t feel like he’s stealing off and doing things he knows he shouldn’t be doing just to spite me.

There were times when I really felt like he was out to get me, the stinker, and I don’t see that in him as much anymore. I guess it’s high time for a break, but can I do that without feeling a bit guilty? It’s hard sometimes to look at him and not think of him as my baby, even though there is clearly no baby left in him. It’s bittersweet, this getting older business…

One the one hand, I am so proud of the boy he is becoming. I marvel at his newfound abilities – how he sits down and, with his tongue curled outside of his lip in great concentration, slowly puts his socks on, or the excited way he recognizes shapes and colors. I love and enjoy the boy he is becoming – compassionate, outgoing, confident, strong-willed. I looked at pictures of him this weekend, before he’d had his first haircut and he still had a head of downy newborn hair.

I stared at images of him in tiny sleepers with fisted hands and gummy grins. I was flooded with memories – of holding him, just a tiny bundle, in my arms after I’d delivered him, touching my nose to him, whispering welcomes in his ear. Of watching him pull up on the coffee table and take his first wobbly steps, of his first word, of curling beside him in bed, breathing in his soft, newborn smell. The memories were so real it felt like I was almost there again. Isn’t it all about the Art of Gratitude?

He’s getting bigger. He’s growing up. And I’m letting go a little, but not of my memories. They stay with me. I think I found a way to keep my van from looking like a garbage can on wheels. No, seriously. My latest review of fabulous products designed to help keep your vehicle clean and organized is up, over at Mama Says. Check it out!