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QT with cutie

It's 9:30 pm. Zippy is sitting up in his bed, "reading" loudly to his blankie and assorted Hotwheels cars. He refuses to lie down, and he refuses to be quiet. He's punishing me, you see, because I did not read a book to him tonight; this was his consequence for continually throwing cups of water at me during his bath, despite me telling him to stop. This happens often. At least the me telling him to stop part. And the him just doing whatever it is anyway part. (Usually doing whatever it is at full speed and without a care in the world for his own safety. I mean, he's two, after all. Safety-schmafety.) And the ineffectual consequences happen often, too, mostly, I think, because he's smarter than me.

The kid frustrates me to no end. And he wears me out. But I can't stop giggling at him. In general, even when he's being a super-fresh-freshie, even when he's throwing food at me or climbing the retaining wall and leaping onto his face or chasing the cat under the car in the neighbors' driveway, even at my most exasperated, I just can't help but giggle. Look at this face, the mischief in those eyes: How can I not giggle?

This week I'm home with the Zipster. His daycare is closed, so I took a week's vacation to spend time with him, a rare chance to be one-on-one with my littlest monkey. Most weeks we spend our time schlepping back and forth in the car; most evenings I keep telling him to find a toy so I can make dinner or help Happy with homework or weed the garden or clean up. But not this week. This week we're playing in the yard, taking walks looking for squirrels, exploring fairy gardens at Winterthur, reading lots and lots of books, and eating drippy nectarines and goopy ice cream on the deck. We're riding the escalators and throwing pennies in the fountains at the mall, testing all the display beds and couches in department stores, and laughing our fool heads off at our reflections in the mirrored ceiling.

And every day we're taking naps. Together in the sunlight that pours through the window onto the bed. We read a book, and we stretch out with the cats -- him with his binky, me with my book -- and we rest.

"I run, Mommy, I run!" is his motto.
This child is a bundle of energy -- and because of that, I often feel like I'm a bundle of raw nerve endings. I don't have many photos of him that aren't blurry; he never stops moving long enough for the lens to focus. He's smart as the dickens, recognizing letters and numbers and words on signs already -- and he's fiercely independent. He doesn't like to hold my hand when we walk, but he struts confidently a step ahead of me (when he's not running away from me, that is). He's covered in scrapes and bruises and scars. We joke that we can't call it a day until Zippy falls on his head...but really, it's true, and it terrifies me; he falls on his head or face at least once a day, and I'm constantly reminded how fragile he is, how easily he could be taken from me.

Today I watched him play with his big brother and some friends on our street. I saw the little boy he is becoming, as he chased the older kids fearlessly -- no longer the baby or toddler, but a full-fledged boy's boy, laughing and screeching and rolling in the grass. He is happy-go-lucky like his brother, but edgier, maybe a little old-soul wiser, too.
I love, love, love this boy.

I'm so grateful for this week, this chance to hang out with this little imp, to see the world through his gorgeous blue eyes, to smell his sweaty, puppy-dog, outdoorsy hair while we nap. I'm certainly sleeping well at night, after running after him all day. Which reminds me, I should go to bed now...right after I tell him for the last time to stop chattering and go to sleep!


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