After the birth of Mason, all Kristen wanted was a big juicy cheeseburger from Five Guys. Lyra had no interest in her minutes old cousin, she was all about the cheeseburger. She tracked it with her eyes as Kris lifted it to her mouth. All meals are torturous for Lyra. She is sure that all table food was meant for her. I've had 3, count them, 3 accidents at restaurants due to a quick hand and a tired mother. Two drinks and an entire cup of soup in my lap.
While my other kids took forever to have any interest in food, I guessed it would be different with the foodie girl. I decided to start with the ever loving rice cereal about 2 weeks ago. Her whole body shook with excitement. She downed it in about 5 minutes flat, soon we were on to bananas, pears, apples and sweet potatoes. I know I introduced way too many things too soon but this kid is out of her mind in love with food. Really, who can blame her?
Although I've resisted giving her a cheeseburger yet, the picture above was snapped after Jorge offered her a saltine, pure bliss.
Did you have any baby foodies at your house? Were they eating cheeseburgers by 8 months?
He's wringing his hands over a little egg case of praying mantis eggs sent over from Meryl.
At first, it's the most exciting thing ever! 50 to 400 eggs! Praying mantis bugs everywhere. Can you even imagine?
We sit on the couch and marvel. This is fantastic. And then. The wheels start to turn. And turn. And turn and turn and turn.
What if I'm not here when they hatch?
What if no one is here when they hatch?
What if no one sees them when they're born?
Can we go to the doctor and get an x-ray everyday so we'll know when they're coming?
Can we put them somewhere really warm will they hatch faster? On time? Right now? Like popcorn?
I HAVE TO BE THERE WHEN THEY'RE BORN.
I WANT MY WHOLE FAMILY TO BE THERE.
When Carter is in grief, it's the most heart-wrenching thing in the world. None of us can take it. It's the saddest, sweetest grief you've ever seen. You don't know whether to laugh or cry or, in our case, say all the wrong things to make it better. And not just us, but four next door neighbors, two from each side. Not a single one of us had something good to offer that could help Carter stop crying as his emotions traveled through all of life's most primal moments--birth, home (can we make 400 individual shelters for each of them), loss (what if they fly away? what if they're not with me anymore and I needed them?), death (what if they die???).
An hour and a half into the meltdown, I had only two thoughts in my head:
1. This is clearly not about the eggs.
2. There is a whole lot of love for one little boy in this room.
Tell me, please oh please, how do you deal with meltdowns--the kind that aren't about bad behavior or not enough to eat or not enough sleep--but those tears that are telling you that something is truly not all right. I'd love to know.
It was late and they were fighting again. Jack knows just how to push Lucy's buttons to get that shriek out of her. I try to ignore it most of the time because that little girl can sure hold her own. This time however, she cried, it was the hurt feeling cry. It seemed the usual little sister and big brother bother had a little mean thrown into the mix. It was a sign something needed to be said.
"Jack, buddy, I think you've reached your limit my friend. I gotta take some Wii time away tomorrow." I said.
There was a look of instant panic. It's kind of rare at our house to have an actual punishment, lots of logical consequences but this, the Wii, it was a biggie. He started crying and it soon escalated into a full out tantrum. A tantrum at the age of six. I was kind of stunned. I started questioning my decision a little since the response was so strong and so rare for this kid. I guess maybe it had been building for awhile and a release was in order. There were so many big feelings and that can be tricky sometimes. I wasn't sure what to do but then instinct took over.
"Jack, do you know what can happen sometimes when you are getting into trouble a lot?" I said.
"No, what?" He said while trying to catch his breath in between the sobs.
"You can forget that you are loved. And the truth is, when lots of trouble is around it's a time when you need love the most. Do you think that could be happening to you right now?" I said.
His little face kind of changed. His eyes crinkled and his own hurt feeling cry started.
"Yeah! I need more love mom, I need more love." He threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest and sobbed big, heavy sobs.
"I know Jackie, I can tell. And I know you are a kind boy with a good heart, I know this about you, it's okay. And papa is away and he is the one who snuggles you so much, I think you are missing that too." He nodded and we sat together in the moment.
We climbed in bed, all four kids. My arms too full with babies to even hold him but he snuggled up against me. He fell asleep with a red and puffy face and a quiet sigh, the drama behind us. I closed my own eyes knowing we would all wake up to less Wii, but maybe a little more love.
Any tricks for the big feelings in your house? Do share in the comments.
All because your mother had to go and have that silly baby, who might not be so bad after all.
This video came right at the perfect moment this week. It's the perfect pick-me-up is you want a little credit for sticking it out in the everyday moments. And if your family (like ours) is weak in the hair brushing department, you'll love how rumpled everyone looks.
And while you're at it, why not check out how one woman is making lots of kids in Tanzania extremely lucky this St. Patrick's Day. You'll feel lucky, too, when you see how little it takes to make a big difference.
Looking for something to do with your favorite girl and her cadre of friends? Learn how to teach a mermaid warrior course where little girls in your neighborhood can make art journals and feel the full weight of their princess-y power.
Our conversation over the pictures of Kristen's new baby, Mason Gray:
Lucy- Who is that?
Me- It's Baby Mason, Cook's (Kristen's aunt name) baby and your new cousin!
Lucy- That's Hook's baby?! Oh, that's wonderful! Can we go to Hook's house and see Mason? Can we, can we? You have to be very gentle with the baby mom. No pinching, just petting, okay?
Me- Oh, okay. I'll be very gentle, no pinching.
Is it totally obvious we had a baby and got a dog in the last six months? Do you have any good baby and sibling first meeting stories? Tell "Hook" in the comments.
Born yesterday morning
Mason Gray, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, 22 inches long, and yes, boys and girls, his mama pushed that big ole boy out in under 20 minutes flat!
Kris is at home and doing well. More pictures to follow...
1. You are powerful.
2. You can say no when you need to.
3. You know the right thing to do, and you can do it.
4. You are beautiful.
5. You can be strong and need tenderness at the same time.
6. Your big strong emotions are safe with me.
7. I will honor your strength.
8. I will respect you and your wishes.
9. I will teach you how to be brave and kind.
10. I will love you no matter what.
At least, that's what the princesses in my life are telling me they'd like to hear, in hushed whispers at the dinner table, when their mothers are ready to strangle them for being such divas or devils, you decide.
What do you think, supersisters? Will we turn them into monsters if we give them more rein (or maybe that should be reign!) I'd love to hear your honest opinion in the comments below. Is it possible to give little girls too much power?
How worried should I be about the effect of the Disney Princess Industrial Complex on my daughter and the impact of gun/war play on my son? Do I enforce my values (because I hate the idea of play centered around these gender stereotypes), or do I chill the heck out and realize they'll get over their fascination sooner or later?
Lucy has a special eye for all things princess. She can spot any such paraphernalia a mile a way. She loves shoes, dresses, dancing and singing in a warbled voice a la Snow White. This same girl isn't afraid to get dirty and can completely hold her own in a wrestling match with her brothers. She hates to have her hair brushed but can spend hours in the bath dumping water all over the place.
Yet I still worry from time to time. I wonder if she will think being a size 2 is the only beautiful shape, or if a handsome man saving you is the only way out of your troubles, if happily ever after includes a castle. While the gender stereotypes push every button in my grown up body, I think we end up (once again) in a parenting balancing act. While I don't think I'll rushing out to buy any Barbies anytime soon, I don't think I'll exactly forbid them either. Anytime we attempt to squash a desire or interest, we might be setting ourselves up for it to pop up in a different way later. Maybe good, maybe bad, I'm not sure yet.
What do you think? Is the nature vs. nurture argument still going in your head as a parent? Are you lost in the princess world at your house or have you forbidden all violent/weapon play? Do share; this is a biggie for a lot of parents. Sarah and I could use your collective wisdom.
When my birthday comes and goes, I really don't notice much of a change. I look in the mirror perhaps a little longer in the morning and identify the increase in wrinkles on my face but I don't seem to notice any major changes.
When my children have birthdays, the exact opposite happens. In fact, it seems as if everything changes on a birthday. For instance, this child right here. He turned two a couple of weeks ago and it is as if a major transformation has occurred. When he speaks, we can now generally understand what he is saying (for the most part) and he is starting to get a grasp on the lost art of communication known as whining.
Oh, does he know how to whine and it is as if it happened overnight. All of my friends with two-year-olds swear this is just the age, but I swear I am going to die if I have to listen to it for hours on end. The funny thing is, he'll get that milk he wants if he just asks for it nicely. Why he has chosen to hit that exact tone that makes you want to poke your ears out with a stick, I'll never know. My new tactic is refusing all requests until the whine disappears. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I realize he comes by his tenacity honestly. There we sit at a deadlock, over milk. It doesn't make me feel exactly mature sometimes but it does keep me from reinforcing the behavior that drives me insane.
It's just a stage, right? I'm sure I'm not STILL whiny at my old age. Oh, dear. Maybe I need to get some earplugs.