Wednesday, May 29, 2013

every party has a pooper

At 6:40 this morning a little voice called down the hallway, "Hey, Mom. I have to poop. ... Is it my birthday? ... Where's my cake?"

If you haven't experienced an entire day with a four year old on his birthday (or the month leading up to it), then you haven't really lived.  The joy and excitement about it being his day was contagious.  When someone would wish him a happy birthday, he would respond, "Happy birthday!" He tried to get a sneak peak of his present when I was cleaning up Cheerios, and my thwarting of that plan upset little brother more than the birthday boy.

We had coffee and muffins at the place I frequented in college, and then as newlyweds, and then with our baby carrier.  These days our orders are usually "to go." Today, however, we stayed, and Bubby sat like a the big boy that he is and ate the entire death-by-chocolate-muffin by himself. At his ENT appointment today, they let him look in the expensive microscope because my inquisitive child asked so many questions. I silently prayed, "Please God, don't let him break it because that is not in our health plan," and had simultaneous thoughts of him growing to be a doctor someday.

There were presents, phone calls, and FaceTime appointments. After dinner, we stopped in for a fancy-schmancy cupcake because this child hadn't consumed enough chocolate for the day.  Once again there was not a Pinterest-worthy party, but I'm finding that as much as I love that website, most of my life is not Pinterest-worthy. And that is perfectly fine with me.

At 9:00 the boys are finally in bed, late, and the day ended similarly to how it began, "Mommy, I have to go poop again." 

Happy birthday, little boy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

tonight at bedtime

We read of Babel and a little bit about Abraham tonight from the Beginners Bible, the four of us cozy on the couch. Twenty little toes stuck out from pajamas featuring green and yellow monsters. Bubby picks the order in which we pray at night, and he chose to go last. He also requested I pray that Jesus help him to eat his vegetables.

When it was his turn to pray, he said, "Dear Jesus, Please help Bugaboo's therapy. Help him to not drool. Help him to walk and get new braces. Amen." 

An hour later little brother's voice sang out the hundredth verse of Wheels on the Bus. The tune is very clear even if the words are barely recognizable.  Then finally there was the sweet sound of two brothers sleeping. Another night of falling to sleep without endless crying.  So I whisper, "Thank You. Amen."

Friday, May 24, 2013

five minute friday - "view"

Lisa-Jo's community writes without editing on a given topic for five minutes each Friday.  Join us. This week's topic is "view."


They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and I've spent more days looking across that figurative fence than being grateful for my own backyard. I wanted to be married, to get a better job, to have a baby, to have more babies, to have a better house. Some of these things have happened, and some have not, and though the desire for these things are not bad, it is when they cloud my view of what I already have been given it becomes a problem. Like groundhogs destroying the grass and the garden, my lack of contentment has at time wreaked havoc on every area of my life.

But the view around here these days is changing for me. The sun shines in our backyard with the hand-me-down slide and the red wagon. I blow bubbles for what seems like hours, and I yell out the words, "Run to the fence! Run to the bike!" as I play with my boys. Spring is here, and I wonder why I hid in the gray cold days for so long.


Friday, May 17, 2013

training wheels

You turn four in a couple of weeks. Several people have commented that you are taller than you were just a few days ago. Your daddy noticed the step stool is no longer needed for hand-washing and teeth brushing. I can hardly breathe when I think about it too long.

A birthday card and check came early. Those skinny legs are too long for the tricycle that was never quite mastered due to lack of a sidewalk by our house. So we went ahead and purchased a big boy bike. I silently promised to take trips to the park more frequently this summer now that both you and Bugaboo are mobile, and there is a summer break for our family from nursing classes.

At the store today, you of course picked the bike with the name "rattlesnake" in the title. All I can think about each day is how I don't want to open the wagon lid ever again and find your beloved backyard snake, and you picked a bike that reminds me of such a nasty creature.Thankfully the sweetness of your Buzz Lightyear helmet balances out the big boy aspects of the snake-bike.

You were so excited to open the box and help Daddy put your bike together.  I tried to take lots of pictures, but you shooed me away because you had work to do. I hope someday you realize what a gift it is that you had a daddy who patiently let you "help," never getting frustrated or angry at the bike, the directions or you. That is a rare thing, and I hope you inherit that kindness from him.

I sat on the couch while your little brother fell asleep much too late in the day.  I eavesdropped on the kitchen conversation.
"This is gonna be the best bike in the whole world." 
"Why is that?" 
"Because it is."

I remember four years ago we put your crib together - so how is it possible we are assembling your first bike? (And of course by "we" I actually mean your daddy.)  I stressed out back then that nothing matched, and that your nursery would be one of the few that was undecorated. I still stress out about such things, and I know I need to let. it. go. A bedroom theme won't make you a better boy. Or a better man.  I stressed out today that you weren't strong enough or coordinated enough to pedal. I worried that somehow I have failed you.

I shouldn't.

We grabbed pizza after the park, and you drove us almost crazy with your non-stop (and I mean NON-STOP) chatter in the backseat. You inherited that from me, sweet boy.  Your brother joined you in the constant "Daddy. Daddy? Daddy! Daddy," and how could we not laugh along with you both? A perfect day.

I don't know when you will get the hang of pedaling and steering. It really doesn't matter thought, does it? You are doing something new every day,  and you will figure it out soon enough. Too soon most likely.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

on Mother's Day

When I think about my mom, I think about her giving spirit and her hard work ethic. I remember her working two jobs - teaching in rough schools and waiting tables on nights/weekends to provide for my brother and me.

I think about when she let me withdraw from high school, when she dropped me off at college, when she drove with me to my first apartment across the country, when she took the phone call that said, "Hey, I'm going to elope." I remember her helping me stop every thirty minutes while we were on a road trip on which I ended up losing my first baby, and her making phone calls for me and letting me cry and scream and cuss.

I remember she made it from the Quad Cities to Springfield in less than six hours the day Bubby was born ten weeks early.  I remember her frequent trips with me to the NICU. I remember texting her one December at three in the morning as I walked the halls of St. John's six weeks before Bugaboo's due date. "The car is packed. I'll be there soon," she said.

She will laugh if she sees someone trip, not because she is evil but because she can't help herself. She can tie shoelaces together like a pro and pinch you with her toes if she needs to get your attention. She never forced me to eat my vegetables (like I make my own kids now), but she did make me go to bed at 8:00 much longer than any of my friends had to. (Apparently I am cranky when I don't get enough sleep.) We spent every evening of a spring break watching two seasons of Downton Abbey, and we have watched every episode of Gilmore Girls together. She has always been okay with my questions, probably because she is a questioner herself, and despite my best efforts, now as a mother myself I find myself breaking into song at the most random times with my boys.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

what the last day of school showed me

Sometimes I think life is moving too slowly.

When I compare myself to Facebook status updates, blog entries, or advertisements on television I can start to believe I don't have enough. I don't have everything I want. I am missing out on some grand adventure. My dreams are not coming true the way I thought they would.

It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but in the quiet hours of the night, when The Hubs studies and the boys are finally asleep, I worry. I worry that everyone else is getting ahead, and that I am being left behind. I sometimes fear being stuck. here. forever. In my head I must think that God has limits on what He can do or how He can bless me. There are moments that I believe that if it is not happening right now then it will never happen.

And that is a lie.

This morning I spent the last day of (three year old) preschool with my firstborn. We did the parachute with gusto in the gym, and I marveled at how my child with such sensory issues could spend so much time in the sandbox at recess.  (This was the child who screamed as a baby/toddler when we put him in the grass.)  I listened to his teacher brag on how he knows all of the instruments, how he is a "fact guy," how smart and how kind he is. I sat on a plastic chair made for people two feet shorter than I am, and I wondered how my three-pound-preemie got to be such a remarkable almost-four-year-old so quickly?

So these lies that I hear when I think and compare and worry too much? I will not believe them because today I see truth. Life is moving fast enough, a little too fast sometimes. I see that even in my little north-side house, the house I sometimes feel so "stuck" in, I really do have everything I need and most of what I want, too.

joining with emily and imperfect prose

Monday, May 6, 2013

what baby think it over should do

My mom did a good job teaching me about the birds and the bees. For starters, she never called any of our conversations,"talking about the birds and the bees."  But there are a few things I was unprepared for in terms of pregnancy and child-rearing.

For instance - vomit.  

No one told me how much junk would come out a child's mouth over the years.  As a baby it's mostly spit-up. If you have the challenge of having a child (or two) with acid reflux, then spit-up on steroids is more like it.  Through the early years a child will eat the wrong thing, bounce too much on someone's knee, get the flu, or try to wash down six green beans with 1.5 sippy cups of milk. We have been lucky enough that everything in the path  of projectile had been a fairly easy clean-up.

Until tonight. 

Perhaps "Baby Think It Over" should really be a "Preschooler Suddenly Vomiting All Over The Sofa Think It Over" doll.  That would be a much more effective abstinence strategy.

(Also, this blog is on facebook now. Feel free to go like me.  I promise to go back to writing reflective and sentimental things soon.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

when stop means go

Bugaboo is fascinated with stop signs.

"Ohhhhh. Peeee." he has been saying for weeks now, especially at the one right before we turn onto the main road.  And now he is finding O and P in books with some pretty surprising accuracy. Occasionally he calls out an S and a T. Even if he doesn't get the letter right, he is realizing that these symbols have one of the alphabet names. It is the strangest, most wonderful thing.

Every time we drive by the most favorite ice cream place in town, no matter which one it is of the four locations, he yells out, "I-cree!"  He also sees the Starbucks mermaid (is she a mermaid?) and yells, "Foffee!" There are things turning in his brain, but the way things come out sometimes baffle and confuse us. Sometimes they surprise and delight us.  

On the nights where he's not in my arms fighting sleep for an hour or two, he falls asleep in his crib with a book under his arm, just like his big brother. Bug still doesn't understand taking a bite of a chip or a banana or a piece of toast. When you ask him his name, he gives you his brother's instead. We are still dealing with fits where his lack of communication skills leaves us feeling helpless and sad. He doesn't scream out in pain when something has smashed his finger.  Instead I have to notice something is wrong and help him before he gets seriously hurt. His drooling that had disappeared for a couple weeks has been back recently with a vengeance.

But this S.T.O.P. - this is really a sign of hope for us. A sign that maybe we are going somewhere unexpected.