Thornado is a beast in every sense. He can walk into a freshly cleaned room and within a nano second he has destroyed it. I'm not talking about a pillow out of place, I'm talking, pillowS off the couches, the couch cushions are on the floor, every blanket is taken out and thrown across the room, toys and balls and crumbs and whatever else you can think of, he's done in that small amount of time. Thornado is the opposite of his brother in every way. As a 19 month old, Hank-o-Saurus was calm, studied everything, and reserved, cautious if you will. Thornado is the exact opposite. He's an aggressive (not in a bad way all the time) physical, tactile learner who has to be knee deep in something to learn it. He's in the 99th percentile for height and in the 90th percentile for weight and he's learned that there is only a three pound difference between him and his brother and thus has discovered the arm bar, the choke hold and how to tackle and check. I swear we are NOT watching WWE over here.
Thornado is not reserved, or cautions, he jumps...no... he leaps from the highest thing he can find, he hits and kicks, he throws balls, and can be bleeding but won't flinch or even cry- he walks on these stupid little rocks we have in our yard, barefoot and doesn't even notice when his foot is bleeding, but refuses to wear shoes. Get the picture yet? He screeches at the top of his lungs to just make noise, he yells, "DON'T TALK ABOUT DAT" if you make him upset, he throws a fit better than, well, anyone who has ever been famous for throwing tantrums, and he defies pretty much every instruction/direction we give him. He takes toys from his brother because he likes to see Henrik freak out. He throws food at the table because he can. He laughs when you put him in time out and doesn't seem to react to a spanking (though he's only gotten two-I'm not a fan). Do you see it now?
BUT, just as I was about to throw in the towel, get a full time job, and send him off to daycare because I couldn't handle it any more, Henrik started pre-school and I got three hours alone with Theodor two times a week and OH MY GOD, I have a different child. I always knew that Theo was friendly and outgoing. I see that adorable smile and sweet, nurturing side as he plays with other kids, and I hear that infectious laugh he has, but the majority of the time, he's a full time job. However, now, as we spend our afternoons together, I'm seeing this kid, this really nice, very smart, incredibly outgoing child who isn't any of those things that Thornado is. I'm discovering how talented in his own way he is. He's 19 months old and can shoot a hockey puck, bounce a basketball, throw and hit a baseball, ride a bike and ride a scooter. He can draw, talk in 7+ word sentences, make jokes, tell stories, sing songs, cuddle, and be genuinely nice. I absolutely love having this time with him. I adore him and have fallen in love with him in a whole new way when he's this little person. It's as if the Thornado persona is an act, well, at least a cry for some independence and attention.
Now, we have time to play, do chores together (he absolutely LOVES "doing" laundry with me, he says, "Thank you" as I hand him the wet clothes and he places them in the dryer), we love going on walks, playing house and getting the mail. We love "doing school" and doing projects. We have conversations and can talk about anything. He's got an impeccable memory and loves using words, he can tell stories, or just recap things that have happened. When we're together while Henrik is away, it's fun, relaxing and dare I say it? Easy?
When Theo was about three months old I knew he was different than Hank in the way he learned. I spent the money to adapt to him by buying toys that would accommodate his tactile learning style. I bought books that were "touch and feel," and sensory blocks and puzzles, and things that would stimulate his active personality. When you have two kids, two kids that require your attention in multiple ways, you don't always get the luxury to give them exactly what they need. But Henrik got that alone time with me because he was a first child. Theo needed it, and now, he's got it, for six hours a week and it is making a huge difference, for both of us. I'm learning more about who he is and what he likes. I'm learning how to make him happy and how to finally relate to him. I'm getting him to focus on things instead of being wrapped up in whatever Hanky has. And he's starting to understand boundaries and rules, though he doesn't really like it, he's "starting" to respect the firm attitude I have to have with him.
A few posts ago I talked about how I was worried about having a second child because I wasn't sure I could love it. Well, I quickly learned that love was never the problem- you just get more love as your heart instantly grows. But, what I should have been afraid of, was how to be a mom to two. I feel like I'm doing a good job, but there's always this constant battle on how much time you invest in each thing for each kid. With Henrik, he got whatever he wanted, he always had my attention, and when he started to talk and interact (even when Theodor was just a baby) I started to give Henrik more attention because he intellectually demanded it. Theo, while I try to invest just as much time as I did Hank, hasn't ever, EVER had one-on-one time with either of his parents. Now, when he gets to be the center of attention, he shines. He's able to prove to me that he's not a baby and can do tasks that I ask him to do. He's able to show me that he's just as smart as his brother, just not as capable as expressing it. He's able to get me to do whatever he wants, when he wants it because I'm the only one there. He loves it. I do too. It's actually fun and not work at all.
I think I'm always going to butt heads with this kid. I think he's always going to test and test and push and poke at us just because he can. But I'm finally able to give him the time with me that he's needed and I've always wanted, and I think that it will help me better understand why he tests and pushes and pokes. I think that I'll start to gain a different respect with Theodor than I have with Henrik. I think our relationships while both wonderful and beyond fulfilling, will be different and rightfully so, they are different humans. They have different needs and wants, and now, I'm able to understand that on a more intimate level.
While I miss Henrik when he's at school, I'm beyond excited to have him go, just so I get time with Theodor. Even though Theo is a lot of work for all but six hours a week, I feel like this little break from his brother and this time with me will do all of us a lot of good. It's a breath of fresh air, a wake up call if you will and it encourages me to be a better mom, to Theo and Hank, independently and together. And so far, how could I not love this little face as we laugh and play house all afternoon?