Category Archives: Motherhood

They Look So Real

Now that the baby is mobile, she’s really enjoying playing with her toys. She loves things with knobs and buttons and she likes to drum on flat objects with anything slightly resembling a stick.  She has also tasted all of the tools in 3yo’s tool bench.  Interestingly, she has two favorite toys: a green plastic car that she drives everywhere and an army of giant plastic insects that originally belonged to her brother.

The car thing is cute.  She pushes it along the floor, the fireplace mantel, and the coffee table.  The bugs are not cute.  In fact, they’re kind of terrifying.Spiders2

I like to think of myself as a pretty brave person. I’m not cancer-fighting brave, or join-the-armed-forces brave, but when it comes to common fears (the dark, heights, snakes) I don’t have many. Insects, however, are my one unreasonable fear. Our house has often echoed with the sounds of my shrieks, brought on by giant hairy spiders or miles-long house centipedes that don’t understand they are not allowed inside. I’ll admit that they often don’t survive our encounters. Yes, I know that they’re more scared of me, they eat other bugs, blah, blah, blah. In the moment, as they crawl out from under the wet towel I just picked up off the laundry room floor, all I can see is a descendant of Shelob ready to wrap me in its web and drain me of my blood. If Jim sees a plastic cup upside down on the floor, he knows there’s a good chance I left a spider under there for him to handle.  Spiders1

So what does the baby do? She leaves these giant, plastic, very realistic-looking bugs ALL OVER my house.  I turn the corner, and there’s the spider of my nightmares.  I bend down to pick up another toy, and beneath it is a scorpion, ready to attack.  More than I’d like to admit, I have screamed in surprise at these small plastic objects.  I’ve freaked out after stepping on them in a sleepy daze as I wander to the end of the house for a midnight nursing session. Today, there was one in the refrigerator.Spiders3

I kind of love that her favorite toys are so gross and not traditionally “girly.” I just wish they didn’t look like my worst nightmares.

(9yo suggested I title this post “Bug Baby.”)

This is my heaven.

Life is short. What happens after you die? I wouldn’t know. Whatever it is it probably isn’t this, and I love this.

I love the sound of my baby’s breath as she sleeps.  I love the strength in my husband’s rough hand as he grabs mine. I love the giggles that echo down the hallway. I love the taste of a ripe peach, the smell of an approaching storm, and the way it feels to drift off to sleep. I love the beauty of music. I love the company of good friends.  I love the feel of sand between my toes, a cool breeze on my neck, and the soft skin of my son’s cheek on mine as we snuggle.

What comes after this is unknown to me. Maybe it is better. Maybe it is not. But it is not this, and I love this.

This is my heaven. 

heaven

 

Surprise!

Since almost anyone who reads this knows me personally, I probably do not have to announce that THIS post was a bit premature.

When I first began acknowledging the possibility that I might be pregnant, I decided I was probably overreacting.  I’m getting older and my body isn’t going to work like clockwork anymore.  As the days passed, it became harder to deny.  When I finally took the test and was faced with the reality that we were bringing another child into the world, I realized just how much I’d been in denial. Baby

Once the initial shock and panic wore off, there were many things to consider.  Where will this new child sleep? Will our family fit in our car? How will we pay for two in day-care?

Surprisingly, I also felt irresponsible.  I am a highly-educated woman with a full understanding of how reproduction works.  How could this have happened? I mean, I know how it happened, but still…..  I’m such a control freak about everything – how could I have let this happen?

Once we reached the point when we were ready to tell people, I was shocked at how many of my friends – very intelligent, well-spoken women – confided in me that they too had been surprised by their third child.  There is a whole community of unexpected third babies out there I never knew about.

Jim expressed concerns about our third child one day knowing she (yes, it’s a girl) was not planned.  I completely understand why he feels this way.  No one wants to be an “oops” or considered a mistake, but I don’t see it that way.  She is not a mistake, she’s a surprise.  I suspect, although we had never envisioned our lives with her, once she’s here I imagine we will not be able to imagine our lives without her.

Talkin’ Toddler

ToddlerToddler-speak is one of my favorite things to observe.  Listening to them explore language is so fascinating. 2-yo is right in the thick of this developmental stage and he is not afraid to try new phases and words.  Some of my favorites include:

“What da Heck?!”

He learned this one from his grandfather.  We scold him every time he uses it, but he seems to enjoy the reaction it gets.  I guess it could be far worse.

“Udder-buddies”

He uses this word in place of “everybody” but I think he’s really saying “other buddies,” as in, “there’s me, then there are the other buddies.”

“What’s your name, dude?”

No idea where this came from.  He just started using it.

 “Pup-take” and “Pan-take”

Sounds that come from the back of the tongue are particularly difficult for 2yo and he’s only mastered saying them at the ends of words, so this is how he pronounces “cupcake” and “pancake.”

 “Ightning A-teen”

I suspect this is also how John Travolta would introduce “Lightning McQueen” at the Oscars.

 “______ening”

Recently, 2yo has started adding “en” before the “ing” in most words.  So, “working” becomes “workening” and “pooping” becomes “poopening.”  As in, “(grunt) no I not poopening in my diaper! (grunt)”

 “Butt”

Our poor friend, Brett.

 

 

Past Bedtime

I’m showered and in my pajamas, reading a book in bed.  The kids have been tucked in for two hours at this point.  Suddenly, I hear a door open.  I’m not sure which child is up until our door is opened without a knock.  In toddles the cutest person in our house, all smiles and giggles.  He rushes to my side of the bed with a big smile and a “hi mommy!”monster

This is a parenting test.  I know what I’m supposed to do.  I’m supposed to get up and walk him back to his room, explaining that it’s bed time and he needs to stay in bed until it’s light outside.  He needs to learn that night time is for sleeping, not for playing.  He needs boundaries.

My mind flashes to the future.  I see the cutest person as a teenage boy.  Perhaps he’s moody and sullen.  Maybe he’s a polite, well-spoken young man.  If he follows in the footsteps of his father (who followed in the footsteps of his own father), he’ll be a smart-ass with a beautiful heart who will do anything for anyone in need.  No matter who he becomes, he’s not going to want to snuggle in bed at night and, quite frankly, neither will his mother.  This moment is a fleeting opportunity.

So I grab my smiling, giggling little boy and lift him into the bed.  He immediately snuggles up to me and I feel the softness of his fleece footie pajamas – the ones covered in “ah-panes!” I kiss his head and we tickle and giggle together.  He sucks his thumb and tucks his head under my chin.  As I hold him close, I’m reminded of how children seem to be shaped to fit the contours of our bodies.  In a few years, he’ll feel boney and angular like his sister, but for now he still feels like a baby with his squishy legs and round belly.

After a few minutes, I pick him up and carry him to bed.  I tuck him in and kiss him, telling him he needs to stay in bed until morning.

And he does.

Test passed.

Birthday Lesson Learned

Recently, 6yo became 7yo.

Because weekdays are bad for everybody, her birthday party was held on a Sunday.  It was a small affair with family and a few close friends.  No theme, just some cute $.97 disposable table cloths, a few balloons, and cake that 7yo specifically designed herself. We barbequed some chicken and ate fresh-picked sweet corn.  Nothing big, nothing expensive. hopebday

Last year, when she turned 6, the birthday production was much bigger.  The Saturday before her birthday, there were two parties.  The first was a kid’s pirate themed party, complete with crafts, a scavenger hunt, a pirate-ship cake, and a giant pile of presents. I had ordered every pirate decoration offered from Oriental Trading.  Kids left with eye-patches, telescopes, plastic gold doubloons, head scarves, candy, and a treasure chest they designed themselves. Once the under-10 crowd dispersed, we were joined by family and a few close friends for a second, more low-key party (and a second cake).  On the actual day of her birthday, Jim and I took her downtown to celebrate with dinner at the restaurant of her choosing and stops in all of her favorite local shops followed by desert in her favorite ice cream parlor.

At the end of 2012, when I was working to organize our photos for the year, it became apparent to me that we may have gone overboard.  So, this year, we decided to scale it down a bit.  As I was putting the tablecloths on the folding tables in our yard, I second-guessed myself for a moment – would it be enough?  Will she be upset that this year’s festivities don’t compare to last year’s?

Of course she wasn’t.

Not once did she say “aren’t more kids coming?” or “why aren’t there games and prizes?”  She thought her birthday party was perfect.

Lesson learned.

 

 

The Witching Hour

My children are generally happy and content kids.  When I’m home with them in the summers we have very nice days.  During the school year, they are both happy where they are.  They are easy to manage and fun to be with.  The older one is very helpful and creative. The younger one is still extremely cute and takes nice long naps in the afternoon.  They make life pretty easy.

But every day has a witching hour. Your family probably has one, too.witching2

For us, it usually falls around 4:00, right as I get home from work.  Suddenly, everyone becomes whiny, bored, and hungry – despite having just had a snack an hour ago.  You don’t want to give them more snacks because dinner (which you’re trying to get started) is just around the corner.  The little one is grabbing at your leg saying “Up! Up!” and you eventually have to put him on the other side of the gate so he doesn’t get burned or trampled. He starts to cry as he attempts to climb the gate, all the while still screaming “Up!UUUUUPPP!” witching1

The older one, having used up all of her allotted TV time earlier in the day or week, is now “sooooo boooorrrredd” and “no” she doesn’t “want to go outside and play.”  Trying to be a hands-on parent, you invite her to come help with dinner.  When she enters the kitchen, the little one screams louder because he’s not also allowed in the kitchen.  Eventually, he starts throwing things over the gate, some of which land in the dog’s water.  In attempting to help pour ingredients, the older one ends up spilling something on the floor.  Even though you maintained your temper, she starts crying inconsolably. You can’t believe there are still four hours until bedtime.witching3

At that moment, your spouse walks in the door from work.  All you want to do is shout “Please take them! It’s been a long day and I’m just trying to make dinner!”  But you can tell from his face that it’s been an exceptionally long and stressful day for him, so you decide to give him a chance to settle himself.  Somehow, after burning a few things (and possibly yourself) you finally get dinner on the table.  You carefully portion out the amounts of vegetables everyone is required to eat before they can leave the table.  You then get up three or four times to get the forgotten spoons, condiments, and napkins.  Finally, you get to sit down to your (now cold) dinner.  Whew.

Jim and I have both played this role.  It’s just part of the parenting journey.   Years from now, when we come home to a quiet house and fix our simple dinner-for-two, we may even miss it.

For now, I’ll just make sure there’s always a cold beer in the fridge to have after dinner

More Signs of Toddlerdom

For three days, there have been six candles from a nearby candle-holder in a bucket in front of the fireplace.  My guess is that, after 1yo put them in there, the bucket was too heavy to carry so he just left it there.  It would take me 30 seconds to put it all away.  Instead, I’m just kind of waiting to see what happens next.bucketocandles

Vacation, in Two Words

After a 10-hour drive that turned into a 13-hour drive home (due to traffic and potty stops), the kids and I are back from vacation.  I won’t spend 1000 words or more recounting every fun thing we did.  Here are some highlights in two words or less:

Wave jumping:DSCN0023

 Sand play:DSCN0100

 Mmm.….seafood:vacafoodMmm…..water ice:DSCN0042

 Big fishies:Aquariumb3

Family Fun:DSCN0104

 

We missed Jim very much, but otherwise it was a wonderful vacation!

 

Take Me Out…..

6yo hates baseball.

Last year, she played Tee-ball and she enjoyed it. Of course, it’s hard to be terrible at Tee-ball and many of her friends from school were on her team, so it was easy to enjoy.

Because she is freakishly tall for her age, this year we figured it was a good idea to move her up to the coach-pitch level of our local Little League organization. Looking back, that was probably a mistake. baseballa1blog

Shortly into this year’s season, she quickly surmised that she was the worst player on the team (which was true). None of her friends from last year were on her team and there was only one other girl. Jim and I didn’t care that she was terrible as long as she tried her best. 6yo, on the other hand quickly decided that she didn’t want to put time into something she wasn’t automatically good at – a character trait I’m not sure how to overcome.baseballa2blog

Needless to say, it was a tortuously, long season. Every few nights, before each game, I would put on my happiest face and remind her that she doesn’t have to be good at baseball, she just has to do her best and have fun. This would be followed by whining on her part, which I would answer by reminding her she’s not allowed to quit until the season is over. When she was particularly reluctant to go, I would have to threaten that she couldn’t have ice cream after the game if she didn’t try her best. Nothing holds sway over 6yo like threatening to take away her ice cream.baseballa3blog

Team sports are a valuable part of growing up. I’m hoping she’ll find another sport in the future more suited to her skills and likes, but until then we’ll just keep taking her to dance classes. There, she shines and sparkles.