At this time of year, it seems like it's the middle of the night practically 70% of the day. I wake up in the morning and it is pitch black out. Five o'clock? Pitch black.
So the other morning part of me cringed when I laid in bed. I was sure it was 3 a.m. when I heard the pitter patter of little feet moving across the bedroom floor. Wordlessly his father pulled Nate into bed and plopped him down in the middle of us. I remained silent and didn't move a muscle. Sometimes playing possum can buy you a few more minutes sleep.
He began to chat with great animation in his garbled baby talk that is slowly growing into big boy conversation. His father grunted responses but I remained silent. After about five minutes, he realized I was in bed too.
K: Good morning, Nathan. Go back to sleep. It's night time.
He flipped over to face his father and said "MOMMY."
Derek: That's right. Mom's in bed with us. Go back to sleep.
Nathan: (sighing happily) Mommy.
With that he began to awkwardly pat my back.
Nathan: 'ove you.
Kristen: I love you too, Nae.
Nathan: 'ove you.
Kristen: I love you too, Buddy.
I flashed to the moment Lindsay from Graco told the world on Twitter that her two-year-old had told her that she loved her (unsolicited) for the first time. I remembered not being able to remember when Ethan had done that and feeling a little sad. Now here I was in bed in the middle of the night (it was actually 6:28 a.m.) and I was having this incredibly sweet moment that I would remember forever because there were no other distractions from life to draw me away.
Moments later his brother joined us in bed and it just got crazy as they started a tickle war. As tired as I was, I laid there for just a few minutes more, basking in the delight that is my life. These funny, spirited, wonderful kids and their amazing father: it's what I am most thankful for this year.
The woman walked by with her two-year-old in a stroller. People stared in disbelief as the little girl scrolled her way through her mother's playlist on her I-Pod, looking for her favorite songs.
"I know, I know," she said, mistaking the look on my face. "I am indulging her but she's tired of being at this craft show. If I wanted to make my way through the whole thing, I had to buy her time by letting her use it."
I clarified that that look on my face was one of empathy (I have one of those kids) and the overwhelming sense that if these kids are making their way through our technology at two, what's going to happen when they are 12?
Derek showed Ethan how to access a game on his phone. He really couldn't explain the game to him because the game was complicated (and he probably couldn't figure it out himself). Now we find Ethan hiding in hallways, playing the game over and over, reaching new levels every day. Today my phone was missing. This photo shows you where my phone was hiding. I just didn't expect them to both be playing the game. These kids (and technology) are going to be the death of me.
I took the kids to the park yesterday. Sure it was only 27 degrees but I have had enough of the noise in my house. Unless I invest in ear plugs (and I think it might be a safety issue in my house if my children can run rampant without my hearing them), I've decided that a nervous breakdown is next on the to-do list. Or I can poke my ears out with a fondue fork but that seems so permanent.
It was too cold at the park. Maybe if the kids were wearing gloves, but how exactly do you get a toddler to wear gloves? I'm open to any and all suggestions. Instead, Nathan stood in the middle of the playground holding his hands up in the air and screaming. I tried to get him to let me warm up his hands but he was having no part of it.
His brother? Laid down in the parking lot and refused to get up. This was one of his finer moments, I think. He said he was too cold to play so he laid down on the cold asphalt. There I was, 6 months pregnant, trying to stop a toddler from screaming and trying to get a preschooler off the pavement. I looked in the side mirror of the car to look at my sad self and I realized that head-butting incident the day before had resulted in quite a shiner. I wondered what would happen if I was the one who laid down on the asphalt and refused to get up.
Note to self: I may want to consider indoor options as locales for poor behavior. Lying on the asphalt beside your three-year-old in 27 degree weather is for the dogs. And it doesn't look like his behavior is getting better any time soon.
We bought this doll for Ethan the Christmas before his brother was born. His father was slightly against it, but I thought it was a great idea to prepare Ethan for having a new baby in the house. We also bought him a stroller for his baby. It was hot pink and I think his father had a nervous breakdown when I bought it. Hey, it was $10 cheaper than the manly blue one.
You know exactly how this went. He was completely disinterested in the doll and played with the stroller until one of the wheels broke off. OK, then he pushed the 3 wheeled stroller around (and still does to this day).
The Baby got put in a crate in the toy room and forgotten. It was only when she reappeared about three weeks ago that I remembered we even had her. When she resurfaced, she was wedged between Nathan's arm and his body.
Nathan: Baby, Mommy.
Kristen: That's right, Nae. That's a baby.
Nathan: MY baby, Mommy.
He takes that baby with him everywhere. He had to take her little onesie off though because her jammies had footies and Nathan cannot tolerate footie pajamas. Other than that, The Baby has been a sure fire way to bring a smile to MY baby's face. He takes her to bed with him every night and gives her kisses. It was the exact reaction I was looking for when I gave the baby to his brother. Better late than never.
Have you seen this? The target audience is above the crowd at my house but what a great way to encourage your kids to be involved in the democratic process! From the PBS Kids Speakout website:
SPEAK OUT is a youth collaborative project to create a digital open letter to our presidential administration.
SPEAK OUT encourages civic engagement among 6 to 12 year olds by prompting them to submit ideas to address prominent citizens' issues as they most relate to kids' lives. Community discussion and the democratic process are modeled by allowing kids to choose which ideas they like best. The ideas with the most votes are featured on pbskids.org/speakout in the form of a message to our President. This active, digital message will reflect the youth's changing concerns and proposed solutions over time.
The project originally launched in tandem with the 2008 United States Presidential election.
How votes are counted.
Kid submitted "top ideas" are calculated by dividing the number of times the idea was voted for by the number of times it was part of a pair to vote on. Each voting pair is randomly created, supplying a higher percentage of unique situations to vote on and more chances for each submission to be seen.
To say that this autumn was the most spectacular one I can remember in the last 10 years is an understatement. It started about 5 weeks ago and finally seems to be on its last leg. I remember years past when the start, peak and finished in five days. Multiple years it did that. I have spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to figure out what makes a good autumn. More rain? Less rain? Warm temperatures? Cooler temperatures for longer periods of time? The process whereby leaves turn colors is a scientific one. There IS an answer. I waste no time actually looking up the answer on the internet which would probably pop up with 5 million hits in .2 seconds. That takes the fun out of it. But now I have 3 acres of leaves, one acre of which I should technically find a new home for other than annoying my neighbors.
I would like to mention two things. I lived for many years in a condo for a reason. While I still remember the days awakening on a Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. to the sound of a leaf blower, it wasn't MY leaf blower nor was it me out there. The second thing is that I live in the woods and I thought when you lived in the woods that people didn't expect you to pick up your leaves. Do not be fooled. Even if your grass is in shoddy shape, your neighbors feel entitled to see every bit of that crab grass and may just slow down long enough when they pass your house to make sure you see their disapproval.
There is a silver lining to this blanket of leaves. Today I intend to have my children move the leaves from one side of the yard to the other. In a game that could last for hours, I will find a way to detox my children from the inordinate amount of sugar they consumed at the goodwill and suggestion of my father-in-law this weekend. It's no pile of heavy rocks to wear them out but it will do.
That's what we say here in our house when we start to get a little crowded. Actually I like to say, "WE-LIVE-IN-THIS-BIG-HOUSE-WHY-DO-WE-ALL-HAVE-TO-SIT-ON-TOP-OF-MY-LAP?"
Lately it hasn't worked as well. The talking or asking for space. I have been forced to do what mothers have been doing for years. I have started locking myself in the bathroom. I'm not exactly sure what mothers did before wireless connections and cordless phones though. Maybe they read books? Either way, this has turned into an excellent solution for me.
I go into the bathroom and lock the door behind me. My kids spend the next 15 minutes trying to talk me out of the bathroom. It is not unlike the way you did when you were in junior high and your best friend locked herself in a stall after that "passing gas incident" when she was doing that algebra problem on the chalkboard.
Coaxing, prodding, pleading, promising.
Then they resort to the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This buys me another 5-10 minutes. The funny thing is, as long as they are at the door, I know they are safe (as are the walls, the floors, breakable items and impaling objects).
Total time? 20-25 minutes. Not a bad little timeout, if I do say so myself. If only I had a screen printing press in my bathroom. I could get my work done and have some space. Or maybe I need one of these Washups. I'll have to think about this for the next house.
Where is your favorite place to hide?
So last night we carved pumpkins. What can I say? As long as they keep showing all the Halloween episodes on Word World and Super Why, I can blame PBS. When Dad came home from his very long day, he suggested a little wielding of knives and such. I thought this was a great idea since it had been DAYS since we had been to the emergency room for stitches.
Our pumpkin had ears. Every day that I think that my child is like me, I realize he is so much like his father. When exactly was the last time you saw a carved pumpkin with what appear to be a bear's ears? He's cute, but he has ears. The kids are delirious and now we have a lit pumpkin in the middle of our living room.
Better late than never, right?
Saturday night we had an unexpected trip to the emergency room. Unexpected in that does anyone really expect that a three-year-old running from his father will step on a stainless cookie cutter FACING UP and cut UNDER his middle toe, right to the bone? Maybe I'm just an optimist, but I hadn't seen that cookie cutter since last Christmas. Of course I do have the children that remove all the contents from all the drawers and cabinets when I am at the sink doing the dishes. I wouldn't put it past that little one to find something obscure. Now how it ended up in the running path of an errant child, we'll never know.
His father said he thought it looked like stitches were mandatory. Hmmm. His father has we we consider a "heightened sensitivity" regarding open wounds considering all the ones he had growing up that always seemed to miss the stitches deadline. As such, his scars are stunning. I looked at the toe and instantly thought, "how in the world will they ever stitch in there, up between the pad of his little toe and the pad of his foot?"
It was off to the ER for us but not before we made a quick call to our ever reliable friend who is ALWAYS there in all of our emergencies. We normally like to take our ER visits together as a family but at 9:00 p.m, it is slightly late for The Baby. Our friend dropped everything and came to rescue us. We then fought for 5 minutes about which ER to go to. Do you have any idea how pathetic it is when you can accurately rate multiple emergency rooms in your area?
We got to the ER where there was excessive discussion regarding "to stitch" or "not to stitch." Stitches won.
I'll save you the horror, but it appears someone jumped the gun and started stitching before the numbing medication kicked it. The nurse assured me that he could feel nothing and I felt a rage that only a mama bear can feel. Was she in his body? Did she know? Because I was lying across him to keep him on the table and I could feel his pain. He must have said one hundred times, "Make her go away. Make her go away."
You do the best you can with the information you have. You trust others to make decisions because you know they are more informed than you are. But sometimes you are right and they are wrong. You think your child may never forgive you and then someone shows up with a cherry popsicle and all is right in the world. This being a mom thing stinks sometimes.