Today Nate gave me a kiss without being prompted. His version of kissing is just pressing his open mouth against yours, but it was touching anyway.
So it turns out that he's just going through a phase. Healthy as a bloody horse. I've never rooted so hard for an ear infection in my life. Ear infection = fixable. "Going through a phase" = really, really hard. On me, anyway.
The "milk" sign has morphed into a "gimme" sign and it is being applied without restraint. He wants the shaving cream, my phone charger, my checkbook, the refrigerator, and really anything else he lays his greedy little eyes on. When I say "no", he throws himself forward onto my thighs, arms clutching up at my shirt, and weeps. When I don't pick him up immediately, he slides to the floor with tears streaming down his face. When I laugh (as I'm prone to do), it doesn't help matters. It's better than screaming, though, since it appears that he's going to keep growing up no matter what I do.
Stewart and I are in agreement on a new perspective on life. When we used to watch Nanny 911 or Supernanny, we would shake our heads with incredulity. How could these parents not see the mistakes they were making? How could they be so dumb?
Now we totally understand. We totally get it. How your kid screams when you take something away, and it's just better if they're not screaming. How the tears run down their cheeks and you think "Why can't they have the pen? How likely is it really that they're going to hurt themselves?" And you give the pen back! And they smile and go on with their lives and then they're 5 and they're calling you horrible names and refusing to eat anything except saltines and ketchup.
We're still fighting the good fight, but the thing that's really confusing is that when you're right there, in the moment, you can't really see what's happening. It's just another day and you're trying to get through some errands and keep everyone mostly happy at the same time. So you get them a treat at McDonald's to keep them happy today so you can just finish up the holiday shopping, and it's only when you step back that you can see that you're bribing them with food. Which you promised never to do. It's not a slippery slope, it's an invisible one. And you're halfway down before you even notice.