seventeen months going on irrational

Suddenly, Lucas has opinions. What. Kid, you're just barely 17 months old, you still pee your pants, and you find specks of dirt fascinating. You're not old enough to have opinions and preferences and unbelievably specific demands. You're not.

Before becoming a parent, I liked to ruminate about the age at which one goes from "baby" to "real-life tiny person." As we are now finding out, it is so much sooner than I imagined. Seriously. I was under the impression I would have a much longer period of time to impose my desires willy-nilly on this child. Alas. Lucas has other ideas.

Some of Lucas's budding opinions are more obvious, and slightly more understandable, than others. For instance, he has opinions about food and opinions about whether or not he wants to get his diaper changed. Fine, so that food doesn't taste as good as last time - noted. Okay, so you weren't done playing and don't want to lie down for a diaper change - I understand. But then, there are the much more... random preferences. 

Explain to me again why it is imperative for you to hold my left hand? What's wrong with my right hand? And while we're on the subject of hands, do you not realize that it is physically impossible for you to hold both of my hands to dance since I need at least one to hold you up? Also, would you mind enlightening me about how you decide who has to hold out your plate at mealtime? What is so unacceptable about me offering the plate as opposed to your dad? And why does your preference change five times a meal? I understand you like cats, but you can't wear your cat shirt every day. If you remember, it is unwearable because you kept patting it with your food-smeared hands at dinner. Plus, I hate to break this to you, but the cat shirt is really a TIGER, not a cat. So... there. How do you decide who you want to lift you out of your crib? Or whose lap you want to sit in at night? Or which plastic chicken deserves to be in the barn? Or which pot is allowed to have a lid and which is not? Or whether you want your socks on your feet, on your hands, or nowhere within a 10-foot radius of you?

I suppose I can't fault him for his preferences and opinions since, well, one's preferences and opinions, almost by definition, don't necessarily have to conform to any sort of sensible, logical reasoning. But come on, why is it so all out important that the now unrecognizable blob of food go only in my mouth? Why can't it stay on your tray, or be given to dad, or placed in the bowl with the rest of your discarded leftovers? Why do you demand that that piece must be fed to me? Sigh.

Lucas seems to basically understand 85% of what we tell him. It's crazy. His ability to understand longer and longer strings of words is amazing. But, of course, he is still just a little kid. And so when I'm trying to talk him through why I would rather he place the food blob somewhere other than my mouth, he starts getting super frustrated. "Mom! You don't understand! This food has to go in your mouth right now. Can I be any more specific about what I want?!" It's hard being a tiny person who doesn't verbally communicate and who cannot parse his parent's statement of "I don't like to be fed cold squished foods." I can already hear it now: "But why, mom? Why won't you eat it?" Because it's GROSS, kid.

We "read" books all day long. We have about 45 books checked out from the library at any time. It's fantastic. Lucas will run to the door and attempt to leave the house when you say, "Let's go to the library." He will take my hand, walk me over to one of his specific reading spots throughout the house [because, no, he doesn't want to read in the chair in the living room; he wants to read in a particular spot on the floor in the dining room BECAUSE PREFERENCES], position me just so, and back up until he plops down in my lap. And then we read. And identify every animal, goldbug, and familiar picture. Two or three times. Rinse and repeat.

Luckily, I love reading and I especially love reading with this warm, sturdy little body sitting in my lap. It's the best. But, I'll be honest. I'm not a huge fan of reading a book fifteen times and still having no clue what is going on because of page skipping, absolute obsession with only the first three pages, absolute disinterest in the last four pages, or only spending 1.3 seconds on a page. Do the chickies ever go to bed? How does Clifford get home? Why is it important that the bear now has a rabbit friend? I don't understand the knitting penguins AT ALL. Sigh.

Obviously my brain can't handle this many incomplete stories, so sometimes I take matters into my own hands and try to read the book on my own. Sixty seconds, that's all I want. Sixty seconds to quickly read through this undoubtedly predictable children's book so I can have my peace of mind again. Fine, I'll settle for thirty seconds and a general idea of everything that occurs. Is that so much to ask? Yes, yes, it is according to a certain 32-some-odd inch person. As soon as Lucas spots what I'm doing [especially when this is a book that he has deemed not fit to read ("Child, what are you basing this on?!")], he runs over and closes the book. If I try to read it again, he closes the book and takes it away. If I keep doing it, he starts to get frustrated. But, but, why? His consistency in doing this is pretty hilarious, though I really have no idea why he does what he does [this is becoming the case more and more often]. He's a barrel of laughs and perplexity. I love him so incredibly much.

Every so often Jason will ask me, "So, do you like your life? Is it everything you hoped?" My answer is always a soul-resounding yes. Even on the fragile, on-edge days with all of the food thrown on the floor; the Boy in his mismatched, not-so-clean, sock-less attire; and the eighteen perpetually unfinished books strewn about the house and my brain. Even then, or perhaps even especially then, it is absolutely everything I have ever hoped or imagined.