Mama explains…the “spirited” child

How my “Covid baby” made me rethink my parenting style…

Tristan. The name brought a sense of adventure to me. And that had nothing (everything!) to do with the fact that one of my favorite movies is Legends of the Fall, starring Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow. In the movie, Tristan was a wild thrill seeker who couldn’t be tamed. He was handsome, brave, and fiercely protective over his loved ones. The name stuck with me and when I found out I was pregnant with my third baby, I told my husband that Tristan would be the baby’s name, regardless of the gender. He agreed, since he loved the name as well, and we were ready and waiting to welcome the wild Tristan to our family.

I mean can I really be surprised that this kid came out ready to take on the world? Tristan, my Tristan. You are beyond your years. I have never met a child so perceptive, so observant, and so, well, sneaky. Polite people call you curious, and while I have to agree, I am your mother, and in the interest of always keeping it real, you’re a handful. You are the sweetest, most lovable, and most delicious handful of course.

While other children your age are sitting on the rug in their bedrooms building blocks, doing puzzles, looking through books and playing contently with their dinosaurs, you my precious boy are smashing blocks, eating puzzles, ripping books, and using your dinosaurs to bite your siblings. Oh, Tristan. When you take your breakfast and dump it on the ground, you never forget to look at me and scream, “Ha, ha, haaaaaa!” When you decide to drink out of the dog’s water bowl because I taught you that sharing is caring, well, how could you be wrong? When your little voice yells out, “Oh man!” every time I tell you that tv time is done, I stand back and look at you. I made you. You are a little version of me and I just have to laugh. I’m usually laughing and crying at the same time.

But my Tristan, you have grown. You have calmed down. You have learned to say sorry when you have done something wrong. You surprise me with sweet kisses when I’m sitting next to you. You tell me you love me and I melt. You help me put away the laundry and it’s your favorite job. You, my wild child, are a good boy.

For all those parents out there who are exhausted, frustrated and feeling defeated, this too shall pass. From about 18 months to just shy of two and a half, Tristan had me frazzled. But I swear, its just a season. About a month ago, Tristan just became easier. I could almost breathe a little easier, too. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he still keeps me on my toes. I can’t take my eyes off him for a second or else he’ll be swimming in a jar of Nutella and painting the walls with it. The boy taught me patience. He taught me to redirect him when he was getting into trouble. It works…most of the time. I would give him jobs. Anytime I wanted to scream, I would have him grab me something I needed or clean with his broom. The boy also loves a good mop. I’m not going to tell you that you will miss this one day. You won’t miss the panic and chaos that comes with a child who you can’t take your eyes off, let’s be real! But you will get through this. You will be able to feel calm again. And guess what, as soon as you feel calm, your baby will be getting ready for kindergarten and you’ll remind him not to eat the glue sticks, just in case.

Here he is!

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