Gabriel is a really great baby. He is incredibly sweet and generous with hugs and kisses. He plays by himself without a problem for short periods of time during the day and doesn't throw many tantrums. He sits in his high chair for up to an hour at dinnertime, happily eating all different types of foods, including meat, vegetables, pasta, fish, fruit, plain yogurt, jars of leftover baby food, chicken, cereal, and whatever random food I put in front of him. He sleeps 13-14 hours a night and takes a 2 and a half to 3 hour nap in the afternoons. He is easygoing and curious and kind to other children. He is gorgeous and wonderful and I love him to death. He's really amazing- I am very lucky.
But oh my GOD, he is so crazy, ridiculously, absurdly, busy. He never ever ever NEVER stops. I know lots of parents say their children are full of energy, but I swear to you, you've probably never experienced a child like Gabe. I go to the bathroom and in the 30 seconds I'm gone, he's dragged the potted plant down off of the ledge and stomped through the dirt. He's scattered the dog food around the kitchen and splashed around in the water bowl. He's dragged a chair away from the table and climbed onto the dining room table and thrown everything off of it. He pulls his play table across the room, climbs onto the table to reach the high shelves, and flings books off the bookshelf gleefully. He opens dresser drawers and pulls all the clothes out. He empties the pantry of all its food in no time at all. He's learned to open doors. He's working on outsmarting the child locks. He can destroy a room in 27.6 seconds.
At play dates, he refuses to be confined by the toys in a playroom. Instead, he'll sneak into the hallway to open all your desk drawers, or take everything out of your kitchen cabinets. He'll find all of your non-toy implements and endeavor to discover totally inappropriate ways to use them. At the playground, he puts other children to shame in the number of times he can go down a slide, run around the play structure and climb back up, all while other kids are still climbing up the stairs. While other children sit quietly in music class, he climbs under the tables and behind the barricades to reach the shelves where he can climb. He spends half the class trying to climb over the baby gate. If he can get into the bathroom, he'll open the toilet and throw things inside of it and flush it faster than you can run across the room. At the park, he will determinedly run away from me and never look back. I have watched him get a full football field's length away without ever checking to see if I am coming. He is daring and brave and very independent. It also doesn't help that at almost 17 months, Gabe is impressively coordinated (although clearly not from my side of the family). He kicks balls, throws over and underhanded, climbs up everything skillfully and easily, runs up and down hills without stumbling. His pediatrician said that at 15 months, he probably had the gross motor skills of a 2 year old. What that really means for me, though, is that he has the ability to get in even more trouble, even faster.
He is exhausting. My in-laws, who would never utter a negative word against any of their grandchildren describe him as relentless. My father in law thinks that Gabe is Josh's revenge for how bad Josh was in his childhood. My parents cautioned me never to take my eyes off of him, because he can accomplish a great deal in a second. My friends admit that he is nonstop action, although they're quick to follow up with other kind words about him. I think he must sleep so well at night and during naps because he wears himself out the rest of the time.
I wouldn't trade him for the world, but there are days when I wish he would sit quietly for 5 minutes. There are days when I wish he was just a little less curious, maybe a little less active. At the same time, though, he is outrageously cute. I've never laughed more in a day than I do now, as I watch him flit from activity to activity, putting buckets on his head, and daddy's shoes on his feet, and chasing the dogs to feed them his play kitchen food. Life is very fun these days. Busy, but very fun.
Really, though, I think I can only handle one Gabe. My one wish (besides being healthy) is that his sibling has other gifts besides having the energy of a jackrabbit. I'm buoyed by hearing people's stories about how different their children are, and I hope this next one is equally amazing, just a tiny bit less crazy. I can hope, right? Please tell me there's hope. My sanity needs it.
Ignore her... Is this the face of a troublemaker?