True colors

Bubby was an absolute angel over the weekend while I babysat him. He played alone fantastically, and just as cheerfully brought toys and books to me so we could play and read together.

He jumped at the opportunity to take baths and brush his teeth, with nary a grumble.

He even happily trotted to his changing table when it was time to change his diaper and gladly nestled into my arms when I told him it was bedtime.

Like I said, he was an absolute angel.


Well, there were a few times when little Booger Bubby showed his face:


But such times generally related to frustration with a puzzle piece not fitting in place or a toy working against him in one way or another. Frustration, not brattiness.

Then Mommy and Daddy got home.

And the brattiness arrived along with them.

As soon as Megan and Preston got home, Bubby alternated between the little angel I'd seen for three full days and the little monster Mommy had been afraid might scare Grandma. He whined, cried, gave dirty looks and refused to eat all of his meals.

I've been in the "Mommy" position, with friends, family, school teachers and others telling me how absolutely angelic my girls are, that they're model students and kind little team players who kiss the teacher's butt cheefully help without prompting.

Then we'd get home. And they'd be monsters -- whining, crying, giving dirty looks and refusing to eat their dinner.

And these were the teen years!

Okay, not really. (The teen years were far, far worse ... but those are stories for other days.)

When the girls were young, they were polite, well-behaved and did the right thing around others. It was only with me and Jim that they felt comfortable enough to voice their true opinions, true feelings, true frustrations and upsets. They knew our love was completely unconditional, that they could be as horrible as they wanted to be, and we would still love them. Completely, totally, unconditionally.

That's what Bubby was doing with Megan and Preston. With me, he was an angel; with them, he could be as upset as he wanted to be. (And very likely the upset stemmed from it being the first time they left him for more than a day. He felt the need to punish them just a smidgen for having the audacity to enjoy a little grownup time, I believe.)

I love that Bubby was so sweet and kind, wonderful and well-behaved during my time with him.

But I hope that one day, Bubby will be comfortable enough with me to show his true colors any time they want to bleed through. That he will know that no matter how boogerish he gets with me, I'll still love him -- completely, totally, unconditionally.

Today's question:

If you could call any living person to ask for advice, who would you call?

I would call the very smartest, most qualified doctor at Mayo Clinic -- to get some answers for my hubby.