At 6PM yesterday, I was a bad sitcom. I was wearing an “I’m not leaving the house today and I’m sweaty and 4 weeks from full term” outfit, complete with a streak of honey that I had decided not to wipe off of my shirt’s protruding belly in a moment of I’m-growing-a-human-being allowance. (If you have had a baby, you know what I mean—”I deserve a bi-weekly Shamrock Shake, I’m growing a human being” and “I can take a 2-hour nap” and “I can wear the same comfortable work out pants all day for 8 days in a row and yet never consider actually working out,” etc.)

Anyhow, there I am, wearing my crummy outfit, honey-stain, big belly and all, running. As fast as I can (which is an unimpressive speed). And yelling. Loudly. Through my neighborhood. As all of my neighbors, who have hibernated all winter until that very moment, are peeking out their open windows and working on their screen doors and taking casual strolls to their mailbox.

I am yelling, “Wally!” (huff huff) “Come back right now or you have a time out!” (huff huff huff) “I mean it!”

And Wally Ben is fast. His favorite movie is currently “Incredibles,” and he has started a new thing where “Wally Incredible”, also known as Dash in the movie, runs as fast as he can. So he gets his little legs going, and his arms moving (and he is absolutely impersonating Dash, since his arms stride with his legs at a fast rate and usually on occasion he stops to say something Dash says, or spit bugs out like Dash does when he runs fast in the movie, or gasp like Dash).

He runs away from our door, toward the community sidewalk entrance, and before I know it he is down the stairs. Which lead right out to the busy street below.

My slow girth of a self is chugging along, thinking “Please turn down the sidewalk instead of going in the street, please turn, please turn,” and I catch a lucky break, because he does. Thank God for that gift! I catch up to him a few units later on the sidewalk. And I am mad. Huffing-and-puffing-36-weeks-pregnant mad. I give him a rare smack on the butt, heave him over my shoulder, and continue yelling that he has a time out and never to do that again and to stop running away from me and that he is a little shit. Okay, I don’t say that, but he is. I pause my yelling only to give another neighbor who is walking home from the train a sweet smile and wave behind WV’s back.

Inside, windows open, I continue to yell and lecture while WV wails in his time-out. I try to express to him in 2-year-old speak that if he gets hit by a car he is gone. My lecture includes a few hand claps to scare him and show him how sudden it could be (which I am certain neighbors are mistaking for slapping and child abuse and I am ready for DCFS to ring the doorbell any minute). And then I shut him in his room for a few minutes so he will cry some more to realize how truly dangerous running away from me could be. When our tantrums are over, he apologizes, and practices asking me permission to go somewhere that isn’t where we currently are.

My antics clearly pay off. The rest of the night, although I tell him he doesn’t have to, he asks permission to walk from one side of the room to the other to get a toy. And then he asks permission to come back. And when we ventured outside today, he said, “We go over there now, mommy?” at every piece of playground equipment.

And I realize: this is what our children reduce us to. Running, sweating, huffing, puffing, balls of psycho, because we love them too much to walk and speak softly and keep up appearances sometimes. We are our teenage selves’ worst nightmares. And yet, powered by love, we run, honey stains and all, daring the world to judge. And we would do it again tomorrow.

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