Our son Archie throws his paintbrush down in frustration and pouts.
Weston and I exchange worried looks. We both know that we have about five seconds before this turns into a full-blown tantrum.
While Archie had been the most chill baby ever, the Terrible Twos hit with a vengeance over the summer.
Gone is our sweet, happy-go-lucky guy. In his place is a little monster who rivals any of the chills and thrills hiding in the haunted house we’ve set up for the fall festival. Now, our little guy is either busy drawing on walls or wailing about the fact that we wouldn’t let him spoon-feed the dog a bowl of Cheerios.
Oh, the fit he’d thrown when that had happened. You would have thought we’d banished him to timeout forever the way he’d carried on and on after that.
Thanks to the Terrible Twos, I’m also completely sleep-deprived because Archie has started to have nightmares.
Last night, he told me he dreamt of a ghost who lived in the hall between our bedroom and his. We’d assured him it was just a dream before we caved and let him crawl into bed with us.
But then, when I got up to use the restroom later, I’d seen a dark shadow that nearly made me pee my pants.
I’d spent the rest of the night darting nervous glances at the hallway waiting to see if another shadow appeared so I could debunk it as a passing car instead of a paranormal encounter.
Now that Archie is glaring at his partially painted pumpkin like it’s the devil himself, I can only imagine how apocalyptic this upcoming meltdown is going to be. I hope it isn’t too bad. Mama is tired.
My sister-in-law, Olive, assures me it’s just a phase. My parents tell me he’ll outgrow it.
I sure hope so. Because while I love my little boy more than just about anything in the world, sometimes I’m not sure I particularly like him.
I know. I know. I’m the absolute worst.
Thank goodness I have the most patient, loving partner in the world. Otherwise, I’d be bald from pulling out all of my hair.
Before Archie can finish scrunching up his face, Weston kneels in front of our son and gently grips his shoulders.
“What’s going on, kiddo?”
Archie’s face relaxes a fraction. “My pumpkin ugly.”
“I think it looks great.” Then, as if he was discussing “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, Weston points out all the colors and shapes he sees on the pumpkin and how clever he thinks Archie was for each decision.
By the time they get through it all, Archie’s face is no longer red, and he seems to be past the point of boiling over.
“Beautiful pumpkin,” he says.
“Yes,” I agree, because—really—he has done a remarkably good job painting a face for a pumpkin. “It’s the best pumpkin you’ve ever done.”
“I’m the best!”
He reaches for his paintbrush with his chubby fist and gets back to work. Behind him, Weston wipes invisible beads of sweat over his forehead.
We share a grin. I really am lucky to be doing life with this man. I couldn’t have found a better person to start a family with either.
Now that all is relatively quiet, I turn back to my own pumpkin. While I have no hopes of making my design look perfect, I just need it to get the point across.
When I’m finished—or at least done enough—I set down my own brush and turn it to my boys.
“What do you think?” I ask.
Archie strokes his chin thoughtfully, transferring half a dozen colors of paint from his fingers to his face in the process.
“It beautiful, Mommy.” He turns back to his pumpkin.
“It is beautiful, Mommy,” Weston agrees. “Is it a family portrait?”
I frown. “Ours. Can’t you tell from the hair and eye colors?”
“Oh yeah.” His own brows knit together. “Wait. There are four people on that pumpkin.”
“There are.” I fight the urge to grin.
“But there’s only three of us.”
“Right now, there are.”
I can practically see the wheels turning in his head. I’m about to explain it to him when the lightbulb suddenly shines over his head.
“Are you telling me . . .”
I nod. “I just found out this morning.”
“Oh my . . .” He jumps out of his chair and pulls me into his arms. “We’re having a baby.”
Based on the way he’s squeezing me and grinning from ear to ear, I don’t have to ask if he’s happy. I already know.