Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails.

Annabella was with us when we found out that baby #2 was going to be a boy. She was hoping for a baby sister – a fragile, petite, precious muffin that she could mold into the perfect playmate. When the doctor said, “It’s definitely a boy!” Annabella burst out with, “AWW NUTS!” Naturally my response was, “literally!” Of course the joke went over her head, but eventually she warmed up to the idea of a baby brother. She was not quite 4-years-old – what did she know about boys? Now, at age 6, she knows a little more. Mostly that boys are gross and annoying. (Yes, my sweet daughter. That doesn’t change – write that down.)

But me? I heeded the warnings. I read the “10 Things No One Tells You About Having a Boy” articles strewn across the internet. I’ve see the pictures of toddlers climbing bookshelves and pre-teens hanging from bannisters. I am fully aware that at some point, my son will start taking longer showers and subsequently doing his own laundry. (And he will wash his own clothes because ain’t no mom has time for that.) I know he’ll eat me out of house and home and probably smell really, really bad.

What all the “Top 10” articles about boys DID fail to mention are the falls from the bookshelves, the injuries from the climbs, the random bumps and bruises that boys – my boy – is notorious for. No one mentioned the pit that would form in my stomach as I’d watch him run head first into e v e r y t h i n g. The pain I’d feel when that head-on collision with the ground would result in skinned knees and lots and lots of tears. But that’s par for the course, I’ve come to find.

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                          Skinned-knee G

Anyway, I was prepared, right? For the messiness, the rowdiness, the blatant disregard for cleanliness, the “run, don’t walk” force of nature that he is. I was prepared for the “ick” factor, the sweat, the “how on Earth did you get ketchup between your toes? You’re wearing socks!” I was ready for the head-butts and the headaches.

But boy, was I so completely unprepared for the feelings. How I’d feel when I’d look up at him sitting atop his dad’s shoulders, squealing with delight at all the things he could see. I was unprepared for the massive amount of worry about his development, or the tears that would well up in my eyes when he finally put two words together. I was not ready for the way he’d put his sister up on a pedestal and always offer her his last bits of Pirate’s Booty even though she had already grabbed some from his bowl when he wasn’t looking. I was definitely not prepared for the way he’d look at me, like I am his anchor.

Please don’t misconstrue my feelings for my daughter – she is the apple of my eye, the mini to my me, my boundless ball of empathy and emotion. When she hurts, I hurt. When she laughs, I laugh.  And I don’t know – maybe it’s not a mother/son thing. Maybe it’s a different kind of special because he is probably my last baby. Perhaps it’s unfamiliar because the post-partum depression that I experienced for so long after I had Annabella was almost non-existent this time around. But regardless of the reasons, this little boy? He has completely stolen my heart.

I recall a moment right after Griffin was born when I was telling my mother-in-law that Annabella wanted nothing to do with me – she quickly turned into a daddy’s girl shortly after she was no longer the one and only – and she never turned back. My MIL said something that I’ll never forget. She said, “That’s why we have boys, Tamara.”

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                  Thief