Monthly Archives: May 2013

Just like Daddy

My oldest son has become obsessed with the lawn, just like his father. At first, I found it amusing.

His grandmother was at our house one day last week, so he was distracted with helping her get supper started. Completely unaware that his dad was getting the riding lawn mower out of the shed, cleaning it off and gassing it up, he continued with his full concentration on Grandma.

But the devastation was evident in his little mind as soon as he heard that mower rev up. HIS DADDY WAS GOING TO MOW THE YARD WITHOUT HIM!

This kid loves being outside. He doesn’t care if he’s walking around the yard talking to himself. He’d rather be there than ANYWHERE else. And mowing the yard? Well, it’s only one of the most exciting things you could be doing, you know, when you’re 4 and outside.

So when he saw his dad heading down the front yard on the mower, he went into complete meltdown mode. Panic ensued. Distraught, he ran out the door, trying to get his dad’s attention. Screaming “stop” with tears running down his rosy cheeks, he just couldn’t believe what was happening.

Of course, what’s a mom to do when her 4 year old thinks the world is ending? Fix it, of course. Since his attempts to flag down Daddy were unsuccessful, I dropped what I was doing, gave Grandma the baby and got his attention myself.

Matthew suspected what was going on before he even got back up to the house. He knows his son; he’s just like him. I quickly told him what was going on as he heard and saw Nathaniel standing in the garage, with that “How could you, Daddy” look.

So, they took the next logical step and retrieved his battery powered four-wheeler from the garage. Why? Because he doesn’t sit on the mower with Daddy. He “mows” behind him on his four-wheeler. He follows him – up and down the rows, left and right – until that four-wheeler’s battery has run out. We live on an acre of land, with neighboring lawns on three sides and a field behind.

Nathaniel at 17 months, watching Matthew mow.

Nathaniel at 17 months, watching Matthew mow.

Later in the week one of our neighbors was mowing his own lawn. And of course when Nathaniel is not outside and someone else is, he must find out why. It went beyond that, though. And this is where I realized there was no hope. Apparently nothing comes between a Morgan man and his lawn. He wasn’t merely interested in being outside; he was concerned with how the neighbor was mowing his lawn. He wasn’t going straight. He was too close to our trees. He thought he was encroaching on our property, mowing part of our lawn.

The neighbor was, actually, on his own property. But it was confusing, because Matthew – for good measure, and to help assure the neighbors don’t get too crazy with their mowers – mows a few extra strips, into the other yards each time.

By now, it’s easy to see why I’m not allowed to mow the lawn. Matthew is afraid of what I’ll do to it. I don’t understand it. Straight lines, length of trim, who really cares? As long as it gets done, right?

If he wants to mow, then I’ll let him. He will get no arguments from me. But understanding why the lawn is so important to him, along with the extent of care he gives it, is beyond me.

And apparently Nathaniel has inherited the same mindset as his father. For the next hour, he was running from the front door, to the back sliding glass doors, to our bedroom window, keeping a close eye on how the neighbor was mowing his lawn, worried about what effect it would have on our own.
Before realizing what was going on, I looked at Matthew, who of course couldn’t be prouder, for an explanation. When I got one, I just shook my head and smiled.

Whatever makes them happy, right? If they want to worry about straight lines and grass, then I’ll let them. There are worse things to be passionate about.

Helping Matthew mow, at 17 months old.

Helping Matthew mow, at 17 months old.

What lies ahead

There are a million other things I could be doing. Washing dishes, folding clothes, staring at my new bundle of joy — even sleeping. I just returned to work from maternity leave and I know I need to be concentrating on finding our new “normal.” Beginning and committing to a new blog may not seem like a great idea.

But I’m looking at it this way – it’s either now or never. I could always come up with an excuse to put it off. I could tell myself I’ll make it through my first summer with two kids first. Or, I’ll wait to get back into the swing of things at work. Or, I’ll wait until he’s sleeping through the night.

That may take longer than I’m willing to wait. So, I suppose it’s finally time to take a leap of faith in myself and start writing.

I’m still getting up about two times a night to feed the baby. Hayden is his name, and he’s 2 months old (he will be 3 months old June 1). It’s not as often as I expected though, and I’m grateful for that. He eats and falls right back to sleep. It wasn’t exactly that easy with the first.

We went into it thinking it would be 14 months before he would sleep through the night. That’s right. 14 months — the same amount of time it took Nathaniel, our now 4 year old, to sleep 7 to 8 hours regularly. But so far, it’s been a little more smooth sailing for Hayden in the sleep department. He already sleeps for longer stretches than Nathaniel did at this age. And, so far we haven’t had to get up every 3 to 5 minutes to put the paci back in his mouth.

So, expect the worst, hope for the best, right? It worked out that way this time for us — at least with this particular issue.

The effort was exhausting the first time around: pulling yourself from bed, again and again and again, thinking EVERY time, it’s going to work THIS time, but being discouraged over and over again because it doesn’t. He won’t go back to sleep. He’s hungry this time, needs changed the next. Now he won’t stop crying. You think to yourself you will not make it another night. But you do. And it ends — eventually. I can say I know this now, having been through it before. Just as all the other challenges you encounter as parents, this too shall pass.

We were able to sleep again. We’re still working on keeping him out of our bed. We’re getting there. We got past potty training. We got past the meltdowns when dropping him off at preschool. We got past the terrible 2s – and 3s and some 4s.

Now, we get to start over. And I don’t really mind. The lessons they teach you — patience, perseverance, selflessness and unconditional love among them — end up being just as relevant as the lessons you teach them. I like to think these early struggles have already made me a better person, a better mom.

There will be many obstacles ahead with our newest addition. He’s sure to throw us for some loops. But no matter what challenges lie ahead, we’re up to the task, because there’s not much that’s more rewarding than being loved by — and being in love with — your child.