I keep this list of things that I want to write about. Right now this list is about three pages long and four years old. Like a good stew, I just keep adding new stuff to the top.
This morning, I was looking at that list and decided to scroll to the very bottom to see what was on my mind four years ago and what I saw was this: “Time Out or Time In?”
If someone were to find this list after my death, it would lead to the only logical conclusion. She was nuts.
I remember the day I typed that sentence. It was at the end of a long day with a very busy and very curious toddler. He was at that stage where he was into everything and trying to dismantle my house and my life bit by bit.
He was not quite two, but on that particular day he was being very two. I had a playpen set up in my breakfast room which functioned mainly as a toy bin or a temporary holding cell for the boy should something arise which desperately needed my attention.
At some point in the day, it all became too much for me and I plopped his little butt down in the playpen. And then I sat at the breakfast table with my head in my hands. I would have probably cried but that would have required more energy than I had.
When I looked up, he was systematically dropping plastic toys over the edge of the playpen onto the tile floor one at a time. And having a fantastic time.
I realized at that moment that he was in Time In. I was in Time Out.
He clutched the sides of the playpen and bounced up and down with glee. He looked at me with that goofy drooly smile and squealed the squeal of pure delight.
“Mahmahmahmahmah” he cooed to me in baby baritone.
He reached for me with his fat little hand. My heart melted.
I leaned towards him with my elbows on my knees and my face in my hands and marveled at this exasperating, perplexing, intoxicating angel/devil child. I breathed long and deep and I smiled back at him and tried not to cry.
And then he threw a block at my head.