I don't remember being this bruised and battered from the first time round. I remember reading about it, I remember scoffing at Man Tamtam's co-worker who called in sick with a broken jaw due to her bouncy six-year-old. I remember a bite here and there, a bit of hair-pulling and some limbs flailing in anger.
(Actually, now that I think of it, I remember big clumps of brown hair in Blondie's tight fist. So maybe this is one of those memory tricks, where you only remember stuff after you've already had another child.)
Big Boy, he is big, and beautiful. And strong. If I lift him above my head, he will straighten himself into plank position. He is so cool. He can climb on top of anything, he can lift my loads of laundry, he can throw stuff further across the room than his sister can. He runs everywhere, he is happy and helpful and kind and he adores hugs, especially of the flying tackle kind, head first at crotch height, arms wide open to squash us to his sturdy little boy-body.
But sometimes, I happen to be in the way of the blocks or the cars or the tennis ball being thrown. And that hurts. Man Tamtam flinches when he sees a flying tackle coming his way. When I'm holding Big Boy and he throws his head back to look at the birds in the sky or the leaves on the trees or the gecko on the wall, it leaves bruises on my face. (No, I did not walk into a door, I got hit by my child's head. Yes, again.)
I was so relieved when I read Moxie's post parenting hurts (physically). It was a timely reminder that all of this is part of it, that all parents go through this. That each child brings with it challenges and lessons to be learned, and that Big Boy is teaching me to be patient, and to let go. To look at his infectious joy, at his bright smile, at his sparkling eyes, and to let that soothe the bruises and the battered body.
I love his strength, I love his sportiness, and his sense of adventure. I love his hugs and kisses. He will learn to be more careful, but I remind myself that I also love his enthusiasm and his zest for life.
Big Boy, you are beautiful.