There’s that wonderful exchange in the movie Parenthood when the little boy has a bucket on his head and he’s ramming his head into a cupboard when his mother, played by Mary Steenburgen, sheepishly explains, “He likes to butt things with his head.” The uncle, Rick Moranis, snarks, “You must be so proud.” That scene has cracked me up ever since I first saw it as a child myself at the drive-in theater. Now, I’m nearing forty, and I have a nine month old son who collides his head into things. The scene is still funny but now it just makes me groan.

Every time I prepare to leave the house with Owen I debate whether or not to cover the bruises. I’m paranoid that people are going to think we allow our children to injure themselves

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but I’m pretty sure the Lego brand pattern on his forehead gives one an inkling as to the cause of his injuries. He decided to try and climb off our bed sideways and gave himself a fat lip, bounced his face off a crib rail for giggles, and scaled a baby safety gate and then let go like a methed out Spiderman impression. Keep in mind all of that was within one week, with one or more of us trying to stop him, and a follow up doctor appointment afterwards. This kid has no fear, no depth perception, and big lungs. I don’t know if I should pad him or invest in a distillery. At this point, I’m hedging my bets.

For all of his antics there is a heart of gold. He idolizes Nora and desperately tries to join her in play. She was nursing her baby doll with a bottle and singing to her. Owen carefully watched her rock and coo to her baby. He crawled over to retrieve his ragdoll and stood next to Nora with his doll and gleefully chewed on its face while growling and jabbering.  We all laughed until he got excited and tried to do the same to Nora’s doll, and Nora, then all hell broke loose. But she doesn’t stay mad at him for long and keeps a close eye on him even when he’s annoying her…especially when he’s annoying her.

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He isn’t allowed in her room unless we’re holding him for everyone’s safety. I explained that she would have to share her room with him some day and that she needed to share with him. That apparently doesn’t apply to me so every day there’s the potential for screaming in stereo as they fight for my attention. Nap time is the worst. They can’t sleep in the same bed for now. It’s like two drugged puppies rough housing. Lots of drooling, biting, crying, fur pulling, and fun – but no sleep. Mama put her foot down. Separate beds for nap.

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It took a very long week to get Nora to nap in her own bed with a lot of resistance. I would nurse Owen to sleep and try to get her down for her nap before he woke up. She would stall, make noise, and scream if I had to cut short my time with her to console him because she had woken him. It was madness. Now that we have a routine down for her and she naps with little protest her brother has decided he doesn’t want to nap at the same time.

I explained that she needed to share me and that I would be bringing him in for storytime. This elicited a temper tantrum. I reminded her of how much fun she has cuddling with him and that someday they would be sharing their naps again. She relented on protesting his presence as long as he stayed on my lap. He was allowed to hold her least favorite doll and hear me read but he couldn’t turn the pages because, “It’s for big kids, Owen, and you’re a baby.”

She’s grown used to his presence for storytime in her room and “helps him clean up” by jerking his toys away when she’s getting ready for her nap and says, “C’mon, Owen, clean up time.” He sqwuacks a bit but then happily lumbers after her into her room. It’s like we have a bulldog puppy.
Nora pretends to be a baby occasionally and asks to sleep in the crib. She came in our room the other morning and asked to climb in with Owen. It lasted a couple minutes and she called out with panic, “I’m done!” Jamie and I laughed and she giggled with relief as he lifted her out. Owen called out after her, “Na-naah!” Our puppy is learning to speak.

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