I hope you have a child just like you.
These are words I have heard from my mother more times than I can count. If I was struggling to admit that I understood her instructions, if I was insisting on things my own way, or if I was just being difficult as children often are, this would be my mom’s wish to me.
I knew it was always meant to be a curse, a form of payback, but young Beka took it like a compliment. I believed that if my mother got her wish, I would have a beautiful, fiery, independent thinker who was not afraid to speak up. My child-just-like-me would have all the good qualities I was sure I possessed, and I would be so proud!
I was not wrong. My child is indeed just like me.
He looks like me. He has my blue eyes, and my mucky blonde hair. The hair I used to hate on myself, and highlight regularly as it darkened with my age, on my son, I see it as a soft brown with undertones of gold. Like warm, milky coffee. Like autumn. Like sunshine on fresh earth. In case you were wondering, I stopped dying my hair. How can I love it on him yet hate it on myself?
He is fiery, with feelings bigger than his own body. A simple “no” from mom or dad turns into an all-out melt-down complete with throwing his body parts around in a flailing fit of rage. According to my sister, this is a family trait.
He is an independent thinker, which is a nice way of saying he does not think the rules apply to him.
He has an answer for everything and will argue with you about anything – even though he only knows twenty-some words. Once, he brought me a book from the shelves he is not supposed to touch, and when I told him he was not supposed to touch, he shook his tiny finger at me as if to lecture me on the benefits of touching such a shelf. I must have been in need of some light reading. He had me thoroughly convinced.
He runs best on a routine. He knows that after we come home from school, we take a walk to the mail box. We did it one time, and that means it is now a thing we do. Every time. If for some reason we can not take this trip, his body parts are thrown around again.
He takes everything that is said like a promise, and you better stick to it. When Cillian asks (in his own toddler way) to go outside, and I suggest we clean up and then go outside, he will clean his room in record time, find shoes I did not even know were lost, and be by the back door waiting for me. I promised. And if I tell him we cannot go, you guessed it, those body parts start being thrown once more.
What’s yours is his. He might say he does not want to eat any dinner, but as soon as you take your first bite, he changes his mind! He might have his own cup of water, but it is not YOUR cup of water and therefore, does not taste nearly as good. The best way to get him to eat something: tell him it is yours, and he can not have any. Now it is his.
He is an outside child. He runs on fresh air and sunshine. His new favorite thing is asking for the blinds in the living room window to be pulled up so that he can play on the windowsill and gaze longingly at the outside. Oh, he also loves to people watch! But when he needs some outside time, he needs some outside time. He goes a little stir crazy when he has been cooped up inside for too long.
He loves to sing and dance. He talks to himself all the time. There is no such thing as going to far. He knows no strangers. He is very opinionated about the clothes he wears.
God, in his infinite sense of humor, even gave this child my oversized feet complete with a syndactyly, or webbed toes, that is the mirror image to mine!
This tiny Beka-clone is not even two years old yet and still has personality bigger than himself.
I am incredibly thankful that my husband, who has been putting up with, and figuring out my quirks for the past eight years, is here to help me deal with this miniature version of myself. Anytime I am shocked or appalled by Cillian’s behaviors, Jon is quick to reply, “And I wonder where he got that from?” And we both know very well where he got it from.
So really, thanks Mom!