Looking around, I spy crackers crunched up and slipped under the rug, along with a trail of toy-town destruction. Toys that, mind you, I couldn’t even find before playtime. It seems as my son’s energy force grows, mine weakens. Some days I just want to rip my hair out. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Watching the personality blossom in my Baby Man starts establishing a feeling of uselessness. He’s become so independent so quickly. By five months, he slept through the night on his own; he doesn’t even have to be lulled. I almost forget how fragile and tiny he was an extremely short year ago. The first two months of nothing but tears (mostly my own). Waiting to see what color his eyes and hair were going to turn. My delicate little being that fit so perfectly into my arms is already about half my height and all of his daddy’s attitude.

Even now, Baby Man is staring at me with a toothy, chubby-cheeked grin. Calling me “Dada” because, of course, everyone is Dada. When we try to get him to say “Mama,” he corrects us.

“Will you say ‘Mama?'”

“Dada.”

“Mama mama.”

“Dada dada.”

“MAAA-MAAA.”

“DAAA-DAAA.”

He doesn’t understand what’s so funny, but he laughs with us regardless.

He makes my heart swell every time I look at him. And every time he looks back at me, I fall in love all over again. He makes every heartache, every tear, and every sore muscle worth the struggle.

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