“B” Words

I often write about Dylan. He’s older. He’s had more experiences. He speaks! But I think it’s time to give Riley some attention. He’s really coming into his own. He’s becoming opinionated about everything. He loves reading books and watching Chuggington, and he hates having his hair combed after a bath. His personality is getting bigger. He’s as sweet as ever, but he’s also stubborn, funny and has a flair for drama. His new thing is to throw himself on the floor and then look up at us and groan like he’s been hurt, but the whole thing is a show. And this one I write with great relief: He’s talking. Words are flying out of his mouth. Up, down, more, no (his favorite!), hello, waffle, bus, bubble, boat, baby, bath, backpack. Lots of “B” words. Listening to him talk is “B” for beautiful!

Riley and Dylan are so different. I think most parents think they’re responsible their child’s personality and temperament…until they have a second one and realize they had nothing to do with it. I definitely thought I was responsible for Dylan’s timidity. I thought I must have said “be careful” and “that’s yucky” too many times. Then came adventurous Riley and my theory was blown to bits. Where Dylan is timid, Riley is bold. Where Dylan is careful, Riley is fearless. He’s already had two more black eyes than Dylan, and Dylan has had NONE!

I predicted Riley would walk early, write on walls with crayons and throw inappropriate things in toilets. I’ve been accurate on all counts so far, and he’s even surpassed my expectations. A few weeks ago he drew all over Mike’s computer screen with a mechanical pencil! He’d rather climb on the kitchen counter and play with knives and prescription pill bottles than play with toys. He climbs rock walls at playgrounds that Dylan won’t even attempt. When he moves from the crib to a bed, I predict he’ll be the kind of kid who gets up all hours of the night to explore the dark house. Dylan, at four-years-old, still calls out to us when he wakes up in the morning as if his bed were a crib.

This week, I’ve realized more than ever before that despite Dylan and Riley’s vast personality differences, they are both boys in every sense of the word. Before my very eyes, Dylan’s round, soft body has become thin and strong. Even with his careful nature, his instinct to throw, pounce and destroy is strong. I’ve been a broken record all week saying, ”stop,” “that’s enough,” “no“ or “that hurt!”

Riley, though, wins the prize for being the most “B” for boy. Twice in the last two days, he’s opened his soft, small fist in front of me to reveal a large, dead bug. I’ve never seen him so proud of himself. I, on the other hand, had to fight my gag reflex and run for the wipes.

I’m not a girly-girl, but I’m no tomboy, and my babies have turned into boisterous, dead bug loving boys overnight. I don’t miss the sleepless nights, but I do miss the simple, gentle creatures they once were, and I have a feeling I’m on the cusp of a few very dirty and rowdy years. I’ve been told countless times that girls get harder and boys get easier as they get older. I’m hoping there’s some truth to this theory. In the meantime, I’m searching deep within myself to channel my own inner “B” for boy to get through the next few years of budding boyhood without going “B” for bonkers.

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