My favorite part of the day is about 10 minutes after Owen wakes up. After we’ve chatted and changed his diaper, I stand him up on his changing table for a big hug. “Where’s my kiss?” I ask him, and he take my face in his hands and lays a big smooch on my lips.

There will be a time when he won’t do this anymore. When the thought of kissing his mother — and kissing his mother on the mouth — will be the last thing he wants to do. So I cherish those kisses now, storing away each one in a little box in my heart.

~

Yesterday, I was one of those mothers with one of those kids in the store. He was just off yesterday. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to go for a walk. He certainly did not want to nap. By 4 o’clock I had an exhausted, screechy, irritable toddler on my hands and I was ready to throw in the towel. It was about that time that I discovered the needle-sharp tip of an incisor trying to push through his inflamed gums. I had suspected another tooth was coming (isn’t another tooth ALWAYS coming?), but hadn’t confirmed it until now.

Then I felt bad. No wonder he was a wreck. I wouldn’t be all that pleasant if a razor was trying to make its way through my mouth. I went in search of some relief for him, only to find we were out of everything from the homeopathic stuff to the big guns. Knowing the clock was rapidly ticking down before he would have a complete and total I-Did-Not-Nap-At-All Meltdown, I threw a coat on him and loaded him — protesting — into the car.

I’d like to know who is the “genius” who placed a giant display of matchbox cars at the end of the child aisle at the drugstore. Are they INSANE? Of course the minute Owen spotted them he was clambering to get out of my arms. I couldn’t let him — we were just running in the store and it would be a disaster if he got to the cars. There were a ton and they would be everywhere in 10 seconds flat.

Oh yeah, you try telling an exhausted, teething toddler that he can’t go play with the fabulous, shiny, vroom-vroom WALL OF AWESOME CARS, MAMA!!! display. Go on, I dare you.

He lost it. LOST. IT. Giant crocodile tears began streaming down his face as he WAILED and hurled himself backwards trying to get out of my arms. This was the first public tantrum I’ve experienced with him and let me tell you, had we not made a special trip to buy just one thing to give pain relief TO HIM (thanks for the appreciation, kid), I would have turned around and walked right out of the store. It was that bad.

Instead, I had to stand in line behind a woman making a boat load of returns while my child did his best Exorcist impression. While others patrons looked at me with…disgust? pity? relief it was me not them?…I did my best to dig my wallet out of my purse, pay for the medicine and leave the store with a little bit of dignity. Even if I did have Owen’s tears and snot on my sleeve.

~

He fell asleep early — just after 5 — lying on my chest as we snuggled on the couch. I let him stay there awhile, making sure he was good and sleeping and also relishing in the sweetness and quietness of the moment. It was hard to believe that this was the same child of just an hour ago.

This morning I awoke to him calling my name. “Mama! Maaaaaama!” I went into his room and began our day. And after we chatted and changed his diaper, I stood him up on his changing table and asked for a kiss.

Today, he gave me three.

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