charlie took this the other day and i was struck by how well it captured my idea of motherhood before i went and actually had a kid. i ignored my co-worker becky as she lambasted my latest mommy blog find (one lady had actually archived photos of every bento box lunch she had prepared for her children, to which becky cried something to the effect of “this is unreal!!!!”) i would join her in her laughter at this ridiculous prospect and then go back to picturing days filled with chalk drawings and cute baby bloomers and bedtime stories and picnics and paper lanterns…

and it’s all true! just kidding. last week i remember a specific point where i looked in the mirror and thought “having kids means never being clean again” … that’s also not really true. i run a pretty orderly house, staying at home with jameson gives me the luxury to do so. wait, is “luxury” the right word for cleaning up after a 23-pound crazy person with a death wish all day? a more-active-than-usual toddler who acts as if each escapade is going to be her last so she’d better make it good. these pictures are all from the span of about three days. and if you’re asking herself, is she wearing a dog dish on her head while playing with an electrical socket? why yes, yes she is. also yes to the question, did the mom stop and take a picture before preventing the child from electrocuting herself?

photoi didn’t have room to include the picture of her trying to eat a river rock. i take these pictures if only to prove to myself (or my husband) that these things actually happened, or when i find myself exhausted and ready for bed at 8 p.m., i only need to look at my phone and realize that it’s completely acceptable because i’ve been through a lot. but these pictures serve another purpose, she looks so ridiculously cute sometimes it’s hard to stay mad that she can’t communicate yet. when we were at the river yesterday, after she stopped trying to eat the rocks, i asked her if she could hand me buddy’s fetch toy. she’s obsessed with it and every time i use it to throw buddy’s ball (it basically allows you to launch the ball a lot further than you could with your arm) after each launch for buddy, jameson immediately grabs it for her own purposes, usually digging in the sand. she usually gets mad when i take it back but on this particular day, i asked for it and pointed, and she handed it over. it was our first legitimate communication, where she understood me.

i felt like Jane freaking Goodall.

i’ll go back to one of my early turning points as a mother. jameson was a couple weeks old and it was just hard. each time charlie would leave the house for work i think he saw the terror in my eyes as i realized it was just her and me for the next several hours. one day he looked particularly worried (because i was particularly without sleep) and as he left he said “enjoy her.” i wanted to rip his head off. people had been saying this to us since she was a newborn and it just made me want to scream. it was right up there with “it goes so fast” and “before you know it you’ll be sending her off to college.” well after weeks of sleeping in two or three hour chunks, dropping her off at the nearest college campus didn’t sound like a bad thing.

but, and this is where i tell you that both me and my child made it through that first part, i did try harder to enjoy her that day, and i did. i still have to remind myself now to worry less about the mess and focus more on how great it is to spend all these early moments with her, to not get so hurt and take it personal when i’ve done everything “perfectly,” i fed her, allowed her to tire herself out playing, and she should be taking a nap this morning like she does every other morning, but instead i can hear her playing with her thomas the tank engine book (which means she has, yet again, dismantled the shelf above her crib to reach said thomas book) i have to let things go.

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