Oren is absolutely adorable. He is a huggable, ever-smiling, whip-smart, totally silly boy. He is ALSO a boy who loves causing his mother round-the-clock panic attacks by constantly and quickly wandering off in different directions. I have lovingly dubbed him “The Runaway Baby”.
Emmy was the polar opposite when she was a baby. Whenever I left her side or disappeared from her line of vision, she would scream and cry and cry and scream. When I was cooking dinner in the kitchen, she would sit between my legs. When I had to go to the bathroom, she would follow me to the toilet and sit there, watching me pee. Basically, she was a mini-sized stalker. While I loved the fact that she loved me so deeply, I always wished she would be more independent, so I could have a TEENY TINY bit of privacy.
Which goes to show, you need to watch what you wish for. With Oren, I got the independent baby I yearned for Emmy to be, and then some. Oren started climbing stairs at around 8 months. He started walking right around his ten month birthday, and he started “baby running” (waddling at a speed-walkers pace) a few days after that. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he started scaling tall buildings and shooting webs out of the palms of his hands on his first birthday.
Wherever we go, the minute I set Oren down on his two unusually gigantic baby feet, he takes off like he's just heard the starting gun at a marathon race. It's a REALLY FUN game to him. As he runs away from me, he looks over his shoulder with a big grin on his face, as if to say “just you try to get me, mama!”
And of course I DO try to get him. When I succeed at scooping him up, he squirms out of my arms and slides down my body to the ground, where he takes off once again. By the end of each day, with all the “sit down, stand up, run around, sit down, stand up, run around,” my legs are revolting against me, big time.
This “game” has made my life as a stay-at-home-mom quite challenging. At the playground, if I try to help Emmy up the ladder to go down her favorite slide, Oren sees it as an opportunity to skip nonchalantly over to the very crazy, very busy parking lot to try to make friends with the moving cars. At the children's museum, if I try blowing bubbles with Em, Oren will wander off to the magnet exhibit, where he will try stuffing his mouth with as many itty bitty magnets as possible before he is found.
At this point, I figure I have three options:
OPTION A: I could invest in one of those backpack-style child leashes that I SWORE I would never use on my kids. I could tether myself to Oren, or Oren to me, and limit his access to the big wide world he so wishes to explore. In other words, I could make my son miserable because I am too tired to deal.
OPTION B: (I like this plan a lot better) I could win the lottery, travel to a foreign country, find a scientist who is interested in human cloning, and plead my case. Hearing my desperation, the scientist will create two additional versions of me – one to chase after Oren, and one to do our family's laundry.
OPTION C: I could suck it up, admit that running after a small child is just a natural part of motherhood, and go out and buy a pedometer so I can at least keep track of all my miles.