My husband and I call our son Maximus. It struck us one day when he was about 10 months old, slumped in his highchair with a look of disdain on his face as my husband was feeding him paté. Yes, paté. Maximus is quite the carnivore, so much so that we can drive excitement for pretty much any food by calling it “egg-meat” or “cheese-meat” or “pear-meat”. Anyway, since then we have found his imperial view of the world wildly entertaining as well as terribly humbling for us, two well-educated professionals reduced to being the personal valet of a sometimes temperamental toddler. Maximus is 2 now and his basic needs have turned into extremely strong preferences. We are learning the trick of positioning everything as an opportunity for him to exert his preferences and 2 yr old authority:
“Monkey jammies or dino jammies?” (ie no jammies not an option)
“Mommy will carry you or Maximus walks” (ie laying on the ground in the middle of the grocery store not an option”)
Last week we indulged our imperial prince with several extra luxuries because he brought home a painful ear infection from the petri dish (I mean pre-school). It was the first time since we brought him home at 8 months that he’s been so sick. The poor kid’s engine, which normally operates at about 80 mph, was down to about 10. He was so sorrowful – a burning hot lump of coughing, wheezing love in tear-stained monkey jammies. We brought out the big guns – Sesame Street, juice, sleeping with Mommy and Daddy – perks reserved for the most pitiful Maximus. It started off with quite a bang at about 1AM last Sunday morning. I heard him screaming at the top of his lungs, went running in there, and found him standing in his crib with blood all over his hands and face. He had an awful bloody nose that had gotten everywhere – like a small rodent had met its demise in his crib. I cleaned him up and brought him to sleep with my husband and me. I put him on me and propped myself up to help with his congestion and coughing that seemed to burst onto the scene all at once with the nosebleed. It was like I had a burning hot, wheezing Darth Vader on my chest. That was the end of my sleeping until last Thursday night, when Maximus finally made it through the night in his own crib. During the week his fever went up and down multiple times, leaving him lethargic and sorrowful. I’d prop him up in front of Sesame Street with a cup of apple juice and he’d stay there sleeping and watching until I moved him.
I must confess that as sad as he was, I loved the extra cuddling time. When he’s well he’s definitely up for a hug, but I have to be quick or turn it into a game to get him to stick around. He was incredibly snuggly all week when he was sick, and even the nighttime interruptions were worth it to me to get to be so cozy with him.
Every day I wish time would stand still because I know the day will come when I won’t be his rockstar mommy anymore. The ear infection seemed to slow down the time a little, by slowing down and multiplying all the hugs and snuggles that tornado by me when he is well. And of course his bug spent 4 days fortifying itself before it made its way into my husband and me, so now we’re down to 10mph while he’s back to 80. Maximus’ personal valets may not be performing to his exacting standards right now, but when we’re back in action we’ll make sure his paté is just the right temperature, spread with just the right thickness on his whole wheat party crackers.