Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shake What Your Momma Gave You

Every visit to see family and friends brings with it questions and comments about who P looks like.  He has Daddy's ears and smile, Mommy's eyes and round face and he somehow looks just like his cousins too.  A visit to my parents recently prompted my father to say, "That kid is all Reiffe" while a barbecue with T's family, prompted his cousin to proclaim that P looks just like me.

I can't even begin to count how many hours of conversation have revolved around what P looks like, but these days I'm more interested in his personality.  Surprisingly to me, at just 13 months old, it's out in full force and I'm discovering that in addition to having Mommy's eyes, he has Mommy's temper.  And in addition to having Daddy's smile, he has Daddy's flair for the dramatic (ok fine, Mommy has that too).

Today was the kind of day where I got to experience and appreciate P for who he is and who he's becoming at the ripe old age of one.  Today was what I call a "house day".  One of those days where the only things on our schedule are naps, housework, errands and meals.   One of those days where I get to learn a lot about my son.  And today I learned this:  My son wakes up in a bad mood.  My son throws a mean tantrum.  My son thinks burps are really funny.  And so do I - to all three.

After two out of three naps today, P woke up in a foul mood.  Crabby, cranky, whatever you want to call it, he's kind of a "bitch" when he wakes up and for some reason, each and every time I'm perplexed.  "What's the matter, Pookie?" I say over and over.  I incessantly sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, play Peek-a-Boo and shove stuffed bears and puppies in his face to try to make him smile because I just can't seem to figure out what could possibly be wrong.  All the while he pounds his fists, whines, cries and remains completely disinterested in any of my efforts to make him laugh, smile or simply be even the slightest bit pleasant.

Perhaps if I took a moment to stop and think, I'd remember that I know someone else who is "kind of a bitch" when she wakes up.  Someone named UnPlain.  I also know someone else who despite waking up next to me for the past seven or so years years continues to be perplexed and can't seem to figure out what's wrong.  Someone named T, who incessantly talks to me, asks questions and tries to hug me during the 20-30 minutes between the moment I wake up and the moment I become a human being.  It doesn't stop there.

P's foul mood combined with my annoying efforts to make him feel otherwise generally seems to send him flailing into a full-fledged temper tantrum.  This is another area where I'm somewhat of an expert.  Amongst other things, a door, a wall and a really expensive pair of eyeglasses have fallen victim to my "Italian Attitude" over the years.  Today, I watched as P chose to take his rage out in a similar manner by body slamming Elmo into the ground, giving my arm an unpleasant nip and giving the dinner I so nicely prepared for him multiple five-finger slaps in between cries.

Maybe years of watching T stay annoyingly calm during my most stressful moments are what now keep me annoyingly calm while P does the only things he knows how to do to express his anger.  Whatever the reason, I manage to calmly eat my dinner while P anything but calmly tries to massacre his.    While I don't particularly enjoy watching my 13 month old act like a "total baby" for a full hour, a small part of me is proud of his persistence and stick-to-itiveness.  A very small part.

After he finally calmed down and happily ate the lovely meal that he'd spent the previous 45 minutes violently smushing, P paid his compliments to the chef with a loud, hearty belch.  Always the mature adult, I did what I do anytime someone I know let's it rip; I laughed.  Immediately, P began laughing along with with me and for a few minutes we acted like a couple of twelve year olds burping the alphabet for the first time and cracking up the whole way.

It was in that moment, in between laughs, it became clear to me that regardless of whose physical features his most resemble, he and I are two peas in a pod. All I can say is good luck T.  You're going to need it.

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