A five chocolate chip kind of day

April 19 - no leaves on the trees yet. A much more fun day than today also.

Growth spurts are hell. Infant growth spurts are the 9th degree of hell. Toddler growth spurts are the 8th. Sleep patterns are infantile. Listening skills are poor. Moods are volatile. At least, you can talk about it with your child:

My son tosses rocks around the driveway. His favorite puddles (potholes) were filled with rock and gravel and then packed with mud about a month ago. He's still raw over it. "Are you sad that your puddles are filled up?" "Mmm hmm," my son replies. Toss. Toss. Stomp.

"Nummies,"he requests.

"There's nowhere to sit here. Let's find a rock, and then we'll nurse."

We pass roses, barberry, and poison ivy. We find our rock and sit. My son is about to become distracted, but I offer to nurse anyway. I hardly have any milk because he's been nursing frequently the past few days, or perhaps you can think of it like this - I have a ton of milk, but he's drinking it all - fast.    He's growing, he's cranky, and nursing makes him feel better.

I look down at him. "So, you're sad today. A little mad. And grumpy, too. Somedays are not bad, they're just not quite right." My son nods. "Maybe it hurts a little here. Or here." I rub his chest and then his belly. "Not because you're sick, but because things are just not quite right." He nods again.

This was probably one of my best moments today. I did ok today, but not quite right. Not quite Super Mom, not quite mothering.com. But, I was pretty damn good, considering how my limits were tested. I feel fragile, vulnerable, teary. Any little thing throws me off.

We continue our walk. He climbs fallen trees like a daredevil, ignoring my guidance, kicking when I pulled him from the giant oak resting six feet off the ground. "If you can't listen, then I will take you down."

He snaps some twigs that block his hardwood balance beam. "Beesh." [beech]. "That's birch. You can chew on the twigs. Beech, you can eat the nuts. Birch twigs. Beech nuts." We both took long branch and chew. "Chew, don't eat," I advise.

We amble back home, and my son is still agitated. He's inclined to wander off. "Want some chocolate?" I ask. He snaps to attention. "Yes." "OK, let's go inside then." I hand out my bribe, my sweet, chocolately wheel-greaser. "One chip for each hand."

I take a few drops of Rescue Remedy and then a dropperful of a nervine tonic I made up. We prepare dinner. My son climbs the back of the chair and puts a foot on the counter. "Children may not climb chairs. Ladders are for climbing. Climbing is for outside." He climbs again.

He grabs the potato peeler and imitates my gestures except his motions are a little jerky and he pushes the peeler towards his fingers. "Pull the peeler, like this." It is easier to describe the correct way to do the task than to take the peeler away.

The preheating oven has not preheated. It is broken. "The oven is broken, Beren." "Fox," he says. "Yes, we need Fixit Fox to come with his tools." We flip the circuit breaker in the basement. Didn't help.

Our two trays of oiled potatoes sit on the counter. I boil the white potatoes. The sweets sat, and still do, on the counter. I draw a bath for Beren, and I shower above him. As I dry myself off, my husband arrives. "How about a shower?" I ask him. "I'll get dinner on the table."

At dinner, Beren blindly jams chunks of venison into his mouth. He delicately gnaws on broccoli, typically a favored food. "No. Not," he says and puts the broccoli down. He reaches for Jared's venison. I serve myself another heap of mashed potatoes and gobble them.

After dinner, I slip out of the house and up to the garden. I weed the strawberries, for my son, of course. He loves them. I leave my husband to read bedtimes stories and put pajamas on him.

Cars drive down the lane as I pull clumps of grass. I hope no one would stop to wave hello. I duck behind some shrubs. I just want to yank weeds and harvest lettuce. I don't want to smile or chat. I find two plants that made me very pleased - my wild lupine and rattlesnake master. Rulers of savannah and prairie.

Now my son has been asleep for a couple hours. My head feels a little achy, so does my heart. I call my Mom, cry a little on the phone. "You wonder some days, 'Do I like this little person?' You love them," she says, "But sometimes you don't like they way they act." "Yeah, we had that conversation today," I say. "It won't be the last," she says with a gentle laugh.