And then he was two, too

My Dearest Littler Prince,

How are you two already?  Where has the time gone?  And why is that we constantly find ourselves asking unanswerable questions about the passage of time?  For, surely, while these days have been lived, and lived well, there is no accounting for where they have gone…

You have come into your role as little brother in these past few months.  You know how to get under your brother’s skin and you often do so just to watch his reaction.  You laugh at his antics and egg him on, much as he does to you.  You hold your own, that’s for sure.  You adore him, too, of course.  You immolate the way you see him playing.  You parrot words back to him.  You ask for him first thing in the morning and then follow him around.

There has been a word explosion recently.  Counting.  Colors.  Names.  Your pronunciation of things still has a ways to go but you have no qualms about calling things out and asking for what you want and need, even as the Queen and I struggle to decipher the toddler code.

Oh, toddlerhood.  The triumphant return of the toddlerocracy under the rule of a new tyrannical toddler…  This is also a role you are quickly adapting to.  Demands and tantrums and making sure your whims or at least heard if not always catered to.  You had a good teacher in this, of course.  The Little Prince ruled the toddlerocracy well.  You, having taken over the prime position, will also do well.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking on our part, the Queen and myself, the Jester, to hope that your rule is shorter than your brothers…

I am excited to see you grow.  I am excited to watch you learn.  I am excited to see what the future has in hold for you, you bruiser, you jumper and climber, you explorer of all the things.

We used to say (and still do) that your brother doesn’t have a quiet bone in his body.  So far it seems that you don’t have a gentle bone in yours.  Not that you are mean and certainly not that you intend to be destructive.  You just are.  You are strong and boisterous and have no clear definition of personal space and that leads to bruises, mostly on the people around you.  You don’t need a splash zone so much as a bump zone.

You’ll get there.  You’ll get the hang of this life thing.  I have no doubt about that.  You are thriving and it is a joy to be along for the ride.

Love you,

Matticus, The Jester, Daddy

bag man

They called him the bag man.  He didn’t carry trash bags or push a shopping cart.  He didn’t live on the streets.  Where his next meal was going to come from was never a question.  He dressed nicely, had a roof over his head and people who he loved and who loved him in return.  His work was steady and fulfilling.  Money was not a problem.  They called him the bag man because he always had bags under his eyes.  Sometimes barely visible, sometimes they were deep and dark and hanging so low they seemed capable of falling off his face, but they were always, always, visible.

He knew about his bags, the lines and circles and smudges of color, under his eyes.  When they had first appeared years before he had worn them as badges of honor.  Then he had grown embarrassed of them but had been unable to resolve the underlying issues that created them.  Then he had accepted them as part of who he was, not quite the badge of honor he had once seen them as but more like a sign of who he had become, who he was.

So it was, day after day, he carried his bags with neither pride nor regret.  He went about his life and those around him, behind his back, from the shadows, called him the bag man.

stealth

The kingdom is full of ninjas.  Full.  Of.  Ninjas.

One minute you are alone in the room and then you look over your shoulder and there is someone standing there watching you.  You jump.  Your heart stops for a second.  Time stands still and your life flashes before your eyes for this is the moment of your doom…

What happens next depends on which ninja it is.

If it is one of the cat ninjas, they usually lick a paw and then walk away as quietly as they arrived, content in the knowledge that they could have destroyed you if they didn’t have more pressing matters, like a nap.

If it is a baby ninja, however, all bets are off.  Chaos and adventure will likely ensue.  What else would you expect from a baby ninja?

So quiet.  So stealth.  Appearing as if from thin air.  Yet still capable of absolute devastation…

It is truly remarkable I have lasted this long.

How much longer will my luck hold?

I may need reinforcements…  Any volunteers out there?

boom

They set the charges and light the fuse
And then seem surprised at the explosion that ensues.
Are we failing them or vice versa?
And why must we think of it as winning or losing?
Parenting doesn’t have to add up.
It isn’t a game. There’s no playbook, no ending.
Yet everyone who has ever been one
Thinks their doled expert advice will fix every problem.
The truth surely is far simpler,
Every child is unique and will be raised different.
What worked for the experts
Is a guarantee of nothing but days ill spent.
But this isn’t about that at its core.
It’s about two little hooligans from kingdom lore
Doing everything in their power
To work against the rule of the land, their parents,
And then being reduced to a cower
When facing the consequences their actions rent.

tired

Over time I have come realize that there are different degrees of exhausted from the still functioning, power through, doing okay to the zombie status where it is amazing I can keep my feet.  In between those extremes, the various levels are determined by the number of cups of coffee needed to make me feel functional, by how hungry I am (because my brain constantly confuses hungry and tired), and by how dry I feel from my eyes to my hands.  It is not a fun scale or comparison.

Today I am sinking, struggling to stay afloat just above zombie status.  My mind feels sharp only in short bursts.  My eyes feel like they might crack with each blink and my hands, as they type this out, are paper thin.  I can’t stop eating.  I feel insatiably hungry.  And coffee isn’t doing anything to curb my appetite or lift me up.

So it goes in the Kingdom these days.  Going to bed early doesn’t always mean a good night.  Staying up late doesn’t always mean a bad next day.  It’s the chaos of little children and pets and a castle and all the other little details that all play their role.  I know I’m not alone in this.

I can’t see it in the faces around me, hear it in their words and read it across the blogosphere.  We are all tired.  So, to that end, I say pour another cuppa and hope for better days ahead.