my first halloween - me, age 26 josiah, age 2
This was my very first Halloween, 6 years ago. For whatever reason we didn't celebrate Halloween when I was a kid. When Josiah was two we made this Thomas the Tank Engine costume at the last minute on Halloween day. It was the dreamiest day. He could barely speak but he helped me paint the cardboard on that cool fall afternoon while the leaves floated around us.
This little boy fell asleep while we trick or treated, I don't even think he realized candy was the thing. He was just so happy to have that train, he played with it for years.
We've been under the magic spell of Halloween ever since. You would have thought last night was the night before Christmas. We put the finishing touches on costumes, children were literally bouncing off the walls, no one could sleep.
So Halloween, bring the joy of dress up and candy goodwill, we can't wait.
The Halloween Report:
1 Construction worker from The Village People (the most enthusiastic Halloween member in our family at the age of 34)
1 Storm Trooper
1 Link (a character from a video game)
1 baby (which is a baby in a Halloween onsie)
Okay, your turn in the comments. Who are you taking trick-or-treating tonight?
Don't forget to check out the awesome parent's guide for Halloween happiness here.
The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day...
from Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist
If you gave yourself permission to let go of all tomorrow's worry (will we be able to get her into the right preschool? will they turn out to be criminals if I stop yelling? is it a mistake to have him tested for gifted and talented? if i don't get her out of this bed now, will she sleep with me forever?), what one honest and true thing would you do with your kids today--just today?
Comments are open for your sage wisdom.
Lucy looking resigned to the don't-wake-the-baby rule.
I don't want to forget but life has a way of pushing us forward making it more difficult to hold on to the sweetness of the everyday.
Here are things I want to remember when I am old and gray...about Lyra, about babies, about family:
How she holds on with her tiny hands when she nurses.
How old ladies in the grocery store fuss over her and want to tell their own stories of babies and love.
How my voice can solve near hysteria.
How my babies looked sleeping on their papa's chest.
How Lucy calls her Mamacita in a voice two octaves higher than her usual.
How every infant I had cried in the car and hated the car seat.
How messy the house was because I held a baby all day long.
How we acted like she was the best tv show and watched her for hours with rapt attention.
How excited we were when she finally "woke up" and would simply stare at us trying to focus.
How tired I am, even with resting all day.
How the brothers rubbed her head and whispered in her ear.
How babies nuzzle in your neck.
How we called her the velcro baby.
How we worshiped and adored each one.
How deep and wide your heart can grow.
Question of the day: What do you want to remember about this stage and time you are living with your child right now? What do you want to forget? Tell us here in the comments or direct us to your favorite post in your blog.
Yesterday we went pumpkin picking. OK, so we are a little late but it is still five days until Halloween.
Everyone else in the family got a boring ol' orange pumpkin. I waited patiently while Ethan searched for his perfect pumpkin.
This was his pumpkin.
Another little boy in the patch mocked his choice. He said that everyone KNOWS you are supposed to pick the pumpkin just like all the rest of the pumpkins. Ethan didn't care. At the end of the day, he has his very own all-original pumpkin. For all my tough days with this child of mine, I find it refreshing that he has thoughts of his very own. That he does not fear being different yet. That he can actually think for himself. That he knows what he wants. That he happily carried his weird pumpkin right out of that patch. That I felt pride in my son for making his own choices, not parroting mine. I imagine it's only a short time before he falls victim to feeling the need to be like everyone else and pick the pumpkin that everyone else tells him is the pumpkin he should choose.
I wish I could keep this pumpkin and this boy just like this forever.
Writer, mama and movie critic Sandie Angulo Chen reminded me this week how every young mother is still her own mother's little girl. This tender post about the recent passing of her mother pays tribute to all the ways mothers matter--whether you're thirty-five or fifty-three. If you're dealing with a serious illness or loss of a loved one in your family and are wondering how to talk to your kids, consider this sage advice from our favorite parenting experts.
Is your little guy (or girl) going through a throwing stage? Is it making you want to throw something out the window (child, of course, excluded)? Here's a great story about a mom who found a way through this very normal developmental stage with a bottle of glue and a whole lotta love in her heart.
Looking for some clarity? Here's a nice reflection from a mom who knows how much it matters, especially when you think about the pressure we are under as parents to both participate and interact with our kids but not necessarily overschedule them. You can add your two cents to that timely discussion here.
Our modern American culture tends to separate us out by age and limit our opportunities to mix across generational lines. If you're nostalgic for some other era when you could ask for a seasoned parenting perspective across the backyard fence, check out this inspiring video featuring wisdom on a variety of subjects from icons of our time. My favorite quote is from Andrew Wyeth.
Let us know what parenting subjects you're talking about on your blog in the comments below.
A second reminder was sent home in Lucy's school bag today. The first request was sent weeks ago.
Please be sure to send in a family picture. Thank you for your help.
When did I turn into "that mother"? You know the kind, the one...
who missed the parent night
has the most "spirited" child in the class
forgot to send in her cup for snack time
didn't have a permission slip on the field trip day
has yet to potty train her 3 year old
sent her in with a borderline runny nose
was late to pick her up
I am the preschool slacker, the very kind I reserved a tiny bit of judgment in my heart for when I was a teacher. Do you want to know the strangest part? I'm not nearly as horrified as I should be. Maybe it's because I know I'm doing the best I can and it won't be like this forever, or now I know what it's like to be on the other side, or possibly I'm too tired to care at all.
What I know for sure is yesterday I played mama slam for the first time in months, we've been to the park three times in the last week, the kids raved over the chocolate chip pancakes and eggs for dinner and no one cried on the way to school this morning. All in all, I'm calling it a win for mothering. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll even have a family picture to send in after all. Should I send this one?
our attempt at a family photo last tonight (Lyra was under the cut):
Any other supersister slackers out there? Feel free to confess in the comments.
Have you met me or my sisters? I don't think anyone needs to worry about us drinking the Kool-Aid over here and sounding like an infomercial.
Or so I thought.
My life is a PBS commercial and I would love to blame my children but it's my own fault. I opened up my children to Sid the Science Kid. Heaven help me. That show is killing me. KILLING ME.
K: Ethan. Why are all six of these bananas cut into little pieces?
E: Mom.mom.mom.mom. You have to cut the banana in pieces for the ice pops.
K: WHAT??? What ice pops?
E: Mom. You need bananas for the ice pops like the ones Sid made. We just need juice. OK, let me tell you the other ingredients.
K: Ethan. It is 7:00 a.m. We don't have any juice. And now we have 6 cut up bananas. Would you like bananas for breakfast?
First it was applesauce. Now it's ice pops. I'm sure the Sid people would like their show to be watched for the science-type things but it's feeling a little like Food Network for Preschoolers.
The next day I heard my husband in the kitchen grilling Ethan about cut up bananas. Again. He did it again. Let's ignore the fact that that a three-year-old was brandishing a knife. I'm sure he was very careful. But I had some plans for those bananas. Not to be confused with the plans I had for the bananas from two days ago.
Today? Someone found a magnifying glass and a baseball hat with a school bus on it. Ethan and Nathan began "investigating" things. It would have been fine except there was only ONE magnifying glass and what the heck was the purpose of the yellow school bus hat? They investigated (and fought over the hat) for two hours. It was only a matter of time before they remembered the ice pops. Forget that it was 50 degrees outside.
Don't get me wrong. It beats them pretending to chase purple unicorns or "catch stars." It's just that this show appears to require slightly more parental interaction than I intended. Or would that be parental intervention?
"Mom," he tells me, pulling on his jacket, dragging his backpack like a too heavy sack of potatoes out the front door. "I think it's time you and me went on a date." His face brightens on the word "date," highlighting the scandal of such a grownup idea as well as the promise.
I feel myself melting and flash forward to all the lucky girls who will catch his eye years from now. "Absolutely," I tell him, asking where he wants to go.
"The original," he tells me, but I know he means 'the regular'--our favorite pizza place. What can I do but smile?
It wasn't until my chatterbox firstborn was off to pre-school that I realized my darling second born was hardly saying a word. I instituted mother/son dates as a way to coax him out of his shell, to give him a safe space to try out his words, to make the space for conversation that could never happen when our tiny apartment was teaming with neighbors and friends and family, each eager to fill the airwaves with their own commentary.
We started with small talk. What's your favorite color? I'd ask, and before long he reciprocated by asking what was mine. What's your favorite animal? he'd counter while I made up a new answer every time. It was the very beginning of a great conversation.
Now, so many years into our pizza dates, I know that for every secret shared, there will be a fart joke as prelude. And for every point of discussion that interests me deeply, there will be equal time given to talking about the latest intricacies of this or that video game. It's all part of loving a boy in my house, and I'm enjoying the fact that in all our shared silliness, I can see all the ways he's growing up without needing to grow away.
At least not yet, anyway. And that, my friends, is making this mama, very, very happy.
Do you have something special you do with your son? A ritual you both can't bear to miss? Share your point of connection in the comments below.
Josiah (the oldest): Mom, I just can't stop looking at her. (while holding Lyra)
Jack (the older middle): Has Josiah held her? I haven't held her yet!
Lucy (the younger middle): Can I pet your baby?
Lyra (the baby): the look on her face as interpreted by her mother-
"Are they gonna hold me again?"
Birth order is just one of the 57,000 ways I like to analyze my children and my parenting. Scratch that, it's more like one of the theories I like to use as a filter when I'm trying to figure out if I'm screwing them up.
Do you think he feels left out?
Do you think we are expecting too much of him?
Do you think we are spoiling her?
I promptly call one of my sisters who remind me of all the best parts of being the oldest, middle and youngest sibling depending on which child I am obsessing over at the moment.
PBS kids suggests you talk to your older kids about this directly which I thought was a fabulous idea.
Tell me Supersisters, do you think you fit the mold when it came to your place in your family growing up? Do you see certain characteristics unfolding in the birth order of your kids?