Introducing…. Mr. Adventure!

Introducing…. Mr. Adventure!

As every parent will tell you, each child is about as different from the next as possible. So after a couple of years with Mr. Excitement in our lives (see previous post), we wondered what baby boy number two would be like. While still pregnant, as soon as I started feeling the baby move, I knew there was someone radically different in there this time. I would classify my first pregnancy’s baby movement as normal, lots of slow rolling and turning with occasional bouts of intense activity, but generally fairly calm. Not this time! Suddenly it felt like I was growing a three-ring circus with a couple of high-wire acts and a whole troupe of clowns in there. The rolling, kicking, and jumping jacks were quite the sight for passers-by. And the biggest of all rolls came right before he was born—my abdomen had the normal straight-forward watermelon shape at 39 weeks when all of a sudden a massive full-body roll happened and suddenly my straight-forward watermelon became a side-to-side watermelon. At 39 weeks and over 8 pounds, there just isn’t the room in there to make a full turn, but full turn he did. When the doctor came in, I mentioned what had just happened. You could plainly see that my tummy now went side to side. The doctor said, “well, I don’t know how he did that, but thankfully we were already going to do a c-section!” Mr. Adventure, as we now call him, had somehow wedged himself sideways inside of me. A normal c-section involves opening you up and popping the baby out—NOT this time. He was completely stuck. Finally the anesthesiologist offered to help by pushing from the top side while the doctor pulled from below. This wasn’t the first of his life of crazy adventures.

Are you familiar with the infant car seats with the handle so you can carry it to and from the car, snapping it into a base that stays in the car? These things have a base with a tiny bit of a curve to it, so you can rock it an inch forward and backward when it is not in its base. Some babies use these kinds of car seats almost until they’re a year old. Most three-month olds couldn’t get it rocking—Mr. Adventure not only got it rocking, but launched himself right out of the seat. At only a few months old! Then there was his first words—uttered when we turned our backs for just a second and he climbed to the top of the jungle-gym’s ladder and said, “I can’t get down.” At two, he and big brother were playing in the bed of the pickup truck with several adults around. When it was time to put them back on the ground we put the tail-gate down, grabbed big brother and set him on the ground. Before anyone could stop him, Mr. Adventure took a flying leap off the tailgate screaming, “Airborne!” He was shorter than the height of the tailgate. He has uttered the words, “this is dangerous” with great glee. And to this day, there is not a chair he can’t fall off of. It is a regular dinnertime occurrence that Mr. Adventure will be in his chair sitting next to me munching away and the next moment he’s inexplicably down on the floor. We call that “reckless sitting” and it happens all the time.

He chipped one of his front teeth walking across the room at his grandparents’ house, but other than that we’ve come away with surprisingly few injured doctor visits, but I’m sure that is coming. He’s not yet five! We go through a lot of Band-Aids. Once, he came home from his grandparents’ house with his entire head wrapped in gauze. The second I saw him, Grandma said, “it isn’t nearly as bad as it looks.” In fact, it was just a garden variety bump on the head, but have you ever tried to put an adhesive band-aid in someone’s hair—she did the right thing for the child that loves earning his band-aids—she wrapped is whole head in gauze. In preparation of the future, we’ve taken out a separate accident insurance plan.

When you deal with that much adventure every day, you really learn not to sweat the small stuff. It isn’t that I don’t pay attention to him when he falls off a chair or tumbles out of a wagon, I just don’t fuss over it. But sometimes that gets me into trouble with the other mommies out there—especially those with just little girls. We were once at one of those water fountains where the water randomly shoots up from the sidewalk. Both boys were busy playing and I was watching from about 20 feet away. A new mother was very nearby the boys with her little girl who was a new walker and was eager to try taking on a curb—what excitement. All the little girl wanted to do was go up and down, down and up, over and over again. The mother kept hovering, making sure all was well when Mr. Adventure came running across the wet sidewalk, slipped on his heels, and completely wiped out. It was spectacular—a good slide, complete spread eagle airtime, and splat on his back, with a good conk on his head for good measure. Suddenly everyone froze to see what would happen. My mother was sitting with me and she jumped up to run to him, I grabbed her arm and said, “wait to see how he reacts.” Even cautious big brother stood still, stunned at the spectacular fall. What did Mr. Adventure do? He sat up, rubbed his head, said, “ouch” to his brother and took off again. There’s a mommy-lesson I learned early on—once they start moving, there is no way you could ever catch every tumble, nor should you. And the last thing you should do is to fuss over something that a kid doesn’t fuss over. Perhaps I should call it Mommy-Duck Parenting; let Mr. Adventure do his thing and act completely calm on the surface, but underneath be frantically paddling wondering if now is the time for the next trip to the ER.

But what’s really interesting is that while big brother’s Mr. Excitement traits are paired with his cautious nature, Mr. Adventure’s devil-may-care approach to the world is paired with stubborn streak the likes of which can’t even be matched by me or my husband, though both of us are often said to be as stubborn as mules. Right now this means that we can’t leave the house unless he has the correct socks on, or the rest of his dinner can’t be eaten unless his vegetables are put in the exact right spot on his plate, or he couldn’t possibly go to sleep unless his pillow is set just so.

My solace comes from knowing that as an adult, he’ll be perfect at packing his own parachute, each and every time.

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