Before I dive in to the next segment of our trip, I must take a quick break to discuss a little boy who goes by the name of Henry.
Henry is an extremely cute little guy. With a mind all his own.
When things go Henry's way, Henry is happy.
When Henry is happy, Henry is a pure delight to be around.
Henry is two.
And two-year-olds are amazing.
They possess many baby features, like super soft skin and chubby legs. But they have TREMENDOUS stores of ENERGY and are very ACTIVE and busy, busy, BUSY.
They are usually small and compact. As such, they are not yet too heavy to pick up and hold above your head for short stints. Although they might be speaking an assortment of words - they still don't have a full grasp on the language and so they babble a lot. They still have pudgy baby feet and on their hands, they have adorable knuckle dimples.
Two-year-olds have absolutely no modesty. If given the choice, I would be willing to bet that 99.9% of all two-year-olds would prefer to run around without a single stitch of clothing.
As the dresser of a two-year-old, you might need to tap in to your stores of ingenuity. For instance, you might opt to put swim suits on backwards so that chubby little hands cannot undo zippers, which would inevitably result in a toddler streaking along a public beach.
Sometimes the continued insistence that a two-year-old keep their clothing ON can be quite a challenge and cause much frustration for the two-year-old involved and the dresser of said child.
And sometimes, you might decide that you just don't feel like fighting and so you throw in the towel and let your two-year-old have their way. Because at two-years-old, they are still a baby and there isn't a lot of reasoning with a baby.
With a two-year-old, you need to carefully chose your battles. Of course you cannot condone bad behavior. So if your two-year-old is throwing food or hitting their sibling or having a tantrum over something that might hurt them (or others), it is best to remove them from the situation.
But two-year-olds, although they are still bordering on babyhood, they are smart as a whip and you might discover that if you give them a little room to explore, they will surprise you with what they are capable of accomplishing.
Although some might think that if they give an inch, their two-year-old will take a mile and grow in to an obnoxious brat, I disagree.
They are only this little for such a small period of time.
They still need for you to hold them and cuddle them and they still curl up and fall asleep on your lap. And sometimes, they still suck pacifiers. Which you know they won't have forever, but if it keeps them happy and QUIET, well, then, everyone is better off.
Likewise, when you are at a dinner party and your two-year-old climbs in to your lap, sans clothing, and eats chocolate cake without using their hands, you have a choice to make.
If this is keeping the two-year-old happy and QUIET, is it really so wrong?
Of course you could say NO. And put them in their clothing, assuming you ever let them out of their clothing in the first place. And you could feed them cake with a fork.
But then they wouldn't be nearly as happy. And their clothes would be covered in cake which would transfer all over their carseat on the drive home.
So you let them eat their cake in their birthday suit. And then you give them a bath. And then, you can see that they are tired and offschedule and they are beginning to exert characteristics that lead you to believe they might soon be bouncing off the walls and causing a ruckus. You know that if you nurse them, they will quickly settle down.
So you nurse them. And this keeps them contained, safe and happy. And most importantly, it keeps them QUIET.
Although, it probably makes all the people surrounding you wonder what the heck is up and when did Jenny turn in to such a hippie?
And Jenny doesn't know. Because Jenny never nursed her other children until they were two-years-old. And Jenny never imagined nursing this child until he was two-years-old.
But she is. And she does.
And although it certainly can be convenient at times ... like when you're flying on an airplane, or when your baby falls head first down a flight of 16 stairs and nothing will calm them down, or when it's very early in the morning and the whole house is sleeping and you want just a few more minutes of rest ... sometimes, nursing a two-year-old can be quite draining.
Then again: the very act of raising a two-year-old can be quite draining.
But as a mother of this particular two-year-old, you wonder if you are raising your child correctly. Or, if you need to crack down and stop treating them like such a baby and put the kibosh on allowing them to strip off their clothes and run around the countryside naked. Even if it means that by keeping them in their clothing you will severely curtail their potty training progress.
Overall, you are continually amazed at how different raising one two-year-old is from raising three two-year-olds. And well, sometimes you can't help but wonder if people are judging your totally relaxed parenting style.
Not that anyone would ever judge me...