Sometimes I wonder if Levi really is our most exasperating child to date, or if it only seems that way because he is the child I deal with daily now? Has time only dimmed the memory of what it was like having not just one, but three little boys underfoot all day? Or, when they weren't underfoot, finding trouble in as many ways as possible?
Already by 10 a.m. this morning, Levi had emptied an almost-full bottle of expensive shower gel into the bath and flipped the main breaker switch for the house once. (Unfortunately, this switch is easily accessible from Jabin's bed, so this has been his new favourite trick. The first time it happened I called Atco to come fix our power because that's usually the problem when our power goes out! Yeah, I can't wait to get the bill for that little act of idiocy. And yes, buying a latch for the breaker box door is on my list for this week.)
It isn't the childish acts themselves that I find so exasperating, because all children at this age are constantly pushing limits and exploring their world. It is the fact that this wasn't the first time either of those particular boundaries had been crossed, and not only that, he was VERY aware of what the consequences for crossing those boundaries again would be.
But this uber-intelligent, hard-headed little boy doesn't seem to care. Well, he cares when he receives the consequences. But not enough to prevent him from misbehaving in the exact same way again.
It is very frustrating.
On the other hand, Levi can also be pretty sweet. He is already learning to use his manners, often asking for things with "peeeese!" and saying "Nang-oo" when given something he wants. Today, he even replied with "weh-come, Mommy!" when I said "thank you" to him.
Of all the boys, his imagination is also the most active at this age. He is constantly coming up with imaginary ideas that really surprise us. Simple rectangular shapes like blocks of wood became phones long ago, as one very mundane example. (I can't think of any really GREAT recent ones at the moment, though I know they exist.)
This morning, it was a Wii controller that was his communication device of choice. In fact, he has phone conversations with family members nearly every day. (Just in case you didn't know, Grandpas and Grandmas and Uncles and Aunties and Jenn! Have your ears been burning?)
This morning, he laid two Nerf dart guns on his ride-on truck and ran up to me, all excited to tell me about it.
"Is that a tank?" I asked.
"Tank!" he exclaimed. But that wasn't the end of it. The dart guns were soon joined by a stack of large plastic Tyrannasaurs (yes, plural), jumbo giant puzzle pieces, toy trucks, cars, cameras, and an assortment of other toys. With each addition, he would run up to me and exclaim about it.
"Mommy! BIG tank!"
Because when you have a tank, it's either Go big or go home, right?
And things are getting better all the time. On Saturday, after a visit from Levi's birth mom Jennifer, for the first time I felt that instead of being the dirty sock he had no use for while she was here, he actually wanted to spend time with both of us. As you may guess, this hasn't really been the case before.
I wondered how long that would take. Only 18 months. That's not bad, I guess. (Does that make us a pair of sock mommies, Jenn? :-D)
This isn't actually the first time we have gone through this whole "stubborn/dramatic child" thing. Jude was equally as stubborn and strong-willed about doing what he wanted instead of what he should, and Noah seemed to have an equally-small association of actions with consequences.
On hard days like today, it is helpful to look at how our other kids are turning out. It encourages me that if I just keep doing what I'm doing, there is hope that he will be as great a kid as his big brothers are turning out to be.
And I try to enjoy the fun parts as much as I can in the meantime.