|Books are not for reading.|
They are for destroying.
Alex is testing me in new and novel ways. He has learned to climb over the gate at the bottom of the stairs and can get up the stairs, but has zero idea how to get down. You can almost hear him thinking, "Time to get down.... I'll just ahead and tumble forward and trust that someone's going to be there." So now I have an ineffective gate, a clueless child, and the new shiny promise of severe head trauma. Alex's other trick is to squeeze himself out from under his high chair tray, stand up, and literally dangle one foot off the edge while I rush over yelling, "No! No! NO!" Again, you can hear his thoughts: "I'm done eating this slop. Just going to stand up, step right out, and assume that something's going to break my fall. Oh, and I'd like a cookie."
Alex's interest in being told no has dropped to new lows as well. If I tell him no, he bares his teeth and goes in for the bite. And if I chastise him for biting, he bites harder. And if I try to give him a time out, he simply get up, climbs up on top of the sofa, and attempts to yank down my collage of family photos. Which is anchored to the wall with literally a single thumbtack, so it's another head trauma just waiting to happen.
Alex turns the TV off while Andy is watching it. Alex has figured out how to climb onto the toilet in my bathroom and launch himself up on top of the vanity and into the sink, where he will immediately turn the water on himself. Alex gets into the pantry and shoves raw farfalle noodles into his mouth. Alex jumps on the bed. He fights me when I change his diaper or try to put him in his car seat, and his moves are vicious and unpredictable. Sometimes, he will, with shocking precision, grab my nipple through my shirt and bra and twist it. I wish I were exaggerating or joking.
And the worst part. He won't sit still for bed time stories anymore.
I could take everything else if he would just give me those peaceful few minutes at the end of the night. But he no longer wants to be read to, and he has, as of late, refused to go to bed before Andy. If I stick him in his crib before Andy gets into bed, Alex screams as if he's being held hostage by the Iranians or whoever it is holding us hostage these days. It's unbearable, and I can't just leave him in there. So, now he runs around like a lunatic in the loft while I attempt to read Andy his stories, and the disruption he provides is unreal. I have to stop every other page to pull him off of my desk or fetch him from behind the television set or stop him while he throws various pieces of small furniture and picture frames at the wall or down the stairs. What we have here is just bad news all around. No stories for the baby because he won't sit still for them and a half-assed, anger-filled story session for the three year old who actually really LOVES his stories because his shitty little brother won't sit still for three goddamn minutes.
Alex, I'm sorry I called you shitty. But story time is Mommy's favorite part of the day, and you're killing it for me.
Now, Andy at eighteen months loved to read, as documented in this blog entry here: Hooray for Fish! So while I hope that Alex's lack of interest in books is temporary, I also fear that they are indeed two different kids who will have two different levels of enjoyment when it comes to books. This is not okay. We are a family of readers. I check out forty books a week at the library. As an adult, I finish one to two novels every week. Chris does not read as much as he used to, but he was a big old bookworm back in the day and recently finished some epic novel that sounds so terrible and overly verbose that only a true reader could really get into it. Andy could happily sit through a dozen picture books. But Alex takes one look at his board books and squirms so hard to get out of my lap that it's impossible to keep him contained, much less continue reading. And, yes, sometimes he'll reach back and nipple pinch me for good measure.
I know the "obnoxious one" phase is fleeting, like everything else with these little guys. So I will try to be patient as I guard the gate at the bottom of the stairs and stoically chase after him in public. But I swear, if we don't get through this nighttime reading debacle... Mommy's really going to break down and cry a little. But just a little, because I'm all cried out from being bitten in the shoulder and having a choo choo train thrown at my face.