Emotions can be a minefield for anyone. But for Mr. Pants they are still pretty confusing. I don't talk about his sensory processing or development here on the blog much anymore. Not because his struggles are gone, but because they are just normal for us now. If you are new to reading this blog you may not know that hisexperience of his senses
is different from yours and mine. His processing and integration of them is different. Unique. Designed for him, by him. And I gotta say, he's kind of nailed it. He is mostly a very comfortable kid.
Recently, though, he has become increasingly stressed by new, loud or busy situations. The upside to his discomfort is that he is finding ways to deal with it. It's an upside because life is big and noisy and change-y. So he needs to discover for himself how best to cope with it. And as his parents we need to allow for him to explore the possibilities without pushing too hard. Instead we gently nudge him out of the comfort zone so that he can do the work he needs to do. We don't force him into uncomfortable situations that don't matter in the long run. Ya know, like a monster truck show. I'm not gonna take him to one of those. Because there are plenty of uncomfortable situations that he does have to figure out. Like gym class. Or coffee hour between church services (see below).
At his I.E.P. meeting
last week they once again told us that he is a solitary little guy and won't initiate play with the kids at school. And I know why. It all comes down to those pesky emotions. It's because he likes the predictability of playing alone. Playing alone allows for him to control the environment and for him to feel safe. Playing alone is not confusing. See he needs to be able to predict as much as possible especially if he is away from his comfort zone (our home). He is still trying to read our emotions and fully understand them so it's too much for him to try and read the kids at school all at once, too. Heck, he's still figuring out his own
emotional responses to life. He needs alone time and he takes it whenever he needs it. He's amazingly self aware for an almost 4 year-old.
But don't get me wrong, he is not disconnected at all. In fact he is all kinds of attached to his family. He expresses his emotions beautifully to us and others he is close with. I just think that he is not ready to share that part of himself with too many other people (and he may never be).
So emotion is still confusing for him. But he's on the case. He attempts to discover how our feelings are working several times a day. "Mama, you happy?"
he will say when he sees that I might not be. "Mama is frustrated right now, bud. But it's ok." "Mama, you be happy soon? You be happy tomorrow? You be fusstated now? You feel hot?"
If I'm reading something and I laugh out loud. "Why you be funny, Mama? You get tickle? You happy? Why, you be funny? Why?"
If he does something funny and I laugh. "No be funny at me, mama. You be happy. No funny!"
If I stub my toe and cry out he will come running (as long as it's not actual crying. That makes him run and hide. Hands over ears). "What happen? You get so mad?" "No bud, I hurt my toe. But I'm OK." "So you get happy now, mama? Oh, you sad? You not happy. You scared, mama?" He's not upset when he asks these questions
. He's even keel. He's almost clinical. Investigating. Like he is socking away reasons, gathering information on how long it takes to be happy again. Then he will go on his way, returning in a few minutes to see how I'm feeling and ask more questions. Often he even stays to quietly observe the change in emotion if it's a new emotion he has yet to get a handle on. It's kind of amazing to watch, really. I call him the research scientist. He is always thinking. Taking notes. Comparing outcomes.
This kid. I used to be afraid for him but I'm not anymore. He shows me every single day that he can figure this life out as it unfolds. It may take him longer. His methods may be unconventional. But hey, if coffee hour between church services is too loud and crowded, who am I to force him out from under that chair? He knows what he is doing.
Coffee hour is too busy and loud for this dude.
"Go away, mama, pweeeeese! No grabby me, Mama. No grabby me." ~Mr. Pants (today)
I wasn't trying to grab him. I was trying to hug him. To help him off the floor where he lay after falling. I wanted to hold him in my arms and kiss his boo-boo. But that's not what he needed. So I walked away but not until I told him I'd be in the next room if he wanted my help. Walking away is mega-tron hard for me. It almost feels like I'm trying to walk through a protection spell on Buffy. Every cell in my body is screaming at me to go scoop that baby off the floor and smother him with my love. But my brain pushes me forward reminding me that it isn't what that baby wants or needs. "There is no blood. There is no broken bone. He asked you to leave him be. Stop being an exposed nerve of weepy feelings and do what your kid needs you to do. Get gone, mama."
The trainer becomes the trainee...
Before I was a mom, I worked with moms and their kids. I also trained staff on how to interact with children. So, if I had a dollar for every time I said the words "Every kid is different", I'd be living in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. It's so very true and logical and obvious and all that. But you know what? I could kick myself in the shins for not developing that idea further. But that knowledge would have come from experience. An experience I was yet to have. Until now.
My kids couldn't be more different. Plum, a social butterfly. Pants, a solitary man. This in and of itself is no trouble at all. I want my kids to be who they are. I respect them for who they are and I actually love that they are so very different yet care so much for each other. So what's the problem? Well, it's me.
I'm an extrovert. I'm huggy and touchy and feely. I talk a lot. Even to people I don't know. I'm a hasher-outer when things get tricky. I wanna discuss and get to the bottom and take care of things. And if my words can't help crate a solution, well, then my loving arms will start a-hugging and I will kiss it all away. Closeness and soft whispers of my love for you will help us both feel better. Right? Right???
For Plum, the answer is an easy and comfortable "Yes! Hug me! Love me with closeness! I feel better!!" But for Pants? Oh hell no. Hell to the OH. HELL. NO. And it makes me nervous and weird and uncomfortable. It goes against my skill set. It makes me have to think of how to parent him all the time. I am always thinking. Always considering tone and eye contact when he gets hurt or in trouble or fights with his sister, over stimulated or is hungry etc etc etc.
Shit, it gets harder...
As a baby this came fairly easy. He was our first and we knew no different so we were able to roll with the punches because we didn't know that it wasn't this hard for everyone. We thought we were just earning our parenting street cred and that eventually we would "get it" and it would all fall into place and we'd hit a stride that made sense. But the more he grows and the more independent he becomes, the more I am challenged to change me. Not him. It should have tipped us off that he was at his most comfortable floating in a bathtub with our hand placed just under his head and no other contact.
He is who he is. And he is just fine being who he is. It's how we parent him that needs adjusting. I need to keep in check my extrovert Loud-y McLoud shorts while trying to parent this amazing and foreign (to me), introverted personality that needs space. He needs room to feel. To be alone. To process the shifts and changes that hit him harder than the rest of us. To relax, center and regulate without my grabby-grabby "come to mama" arms trying to kidnap him. So I have been doing just that. pulling myself back from the instinct to run to him and help. It's face-numbing at times that my version of helping doesn't help him. My way, is not his way. So I am learning. Day to day. I am adjusting and trying new things that feel weird to me but seem to be working for him.
It's a waiting game...
I hate waiting. But this kid makes me wait. Of course he does, right? But if I wait, if I let him process his stress the way he chooses to, he will eventually come to me for that hug. But only if I wait. Only if I respect his needs first. It's funny because I have always believed in listening to and watching your baby for cues. That babies know what they need and that they communicate those needs to you. It is then up to you to pay attention. It is how I mothered both of these babies when they where without words. When I didn't know what they were communicating, I remember thinking that I wished they could just give me a few words to tell me where it hurt or to tell me why they were sad. Well, they have them now. And they tell me all the time. It is still my job to listen. Even when the words are not the ones I want to hear. It's not easy being told to "pweese leave me alone". It smacks me in the heart sometimes. But he's telling me and I wouldn't be doing my job letting him be his own person if I didn't respect that. I might have to glue myself to the chair, but I am learning to wait it out.
In conclusion, I have no idea....
So these days of almost four years old and all the independence it brings are filled with fine lines and constant reminders that even though I grew these two in the same body and they live in the same house with the same parents, it isn't fair to them if we streamline our parenting and force them both to be parented the same. Sure, the basics are the same. The rules are the rules, man. But it's important that we remember that their needs are not same. And shouldn't be treated as such. Now if I could just learn how to predict the future, I could tell you how this all turns out. But alas, that the fun of parenting right? It keeps you on your toes.
To be continued...
image source-linked: digitalmomblog.com
image source-linked: digitalmomblog.com
Are your kids introverts? Extroverts? Both?
Last night I dreamed that I was in an all adult version of the stage play Annie. In my triumphant return to the theater I played an adult version of the littlest orphan Molly. The one who Annie mothers and sings to. That was me. When I woke at midnight to find that I was in bed and that I still felt like left-over poop pie, I fell back asleep and dreamed I was making sausages and other delicious meats with a few pals from high school. Then we all went to Burger King for some of their new cheddar jalapeno potato bites. They were excellent. While at BK, I argued with the staff over the size of my giant coke. Apparently it wasn't big enough? Anyway, when I woke at 1:30 am I was starving. Finally, 7 hours later I felt better.
I'll back up.
Yesterday morning was wonderful. I cleaned up the house and had a Cinderella moment with a pregnant robin outside our window. I could feel spring a coming. I am so very excited for this. Because this winter has kind of been terrible. Someone is always sick or crying it seems. While I always try very hard to NOT wish the days away, this winter made that goal a bit tough. Because it suuuuucked.
So our morning was fun. The house got cleaned. We played a bit outside, where I had a hilarious conversation with Mr. Pants about his parrot that had become frozen in a block of ice. "Whoa mama. Look at this! Da macaw is frozen in a Popsicle! He dead, mama?" He wasn't upset, just asking. I told him he wasn't dead, just in carbonite
. And he said " oh ok" and ran off. With that, Mr Pants received his first lesson in Star Wars lore.
It was a good day. Until it wasn't anymore.
Things began descending into hell around 11 am. Mr. Pants decided to once again b
e a turd-face for his Head Start worker (Sorry Miss. J!). And for an hour I ran interference as he tried to steal everything from her bag and hide it in the house somewhere. He participated in almost nothing she tried to do with him but you know who did? Plum. She was all
in. Miss J's grasshopper. She waited patiently and happily completed all of her "work" while Pants ran through the house screaming or trying to run everyone over with dump trucks.
We were managing though until Plum got stuck behind the recliner when she tried to retrieve the marker that Pants had swiped from her and thrown back there. I lifted her out and felt my back shift and pop. When you have blown discs in your back, that is no good, man. It will send the icy wave of fear through you. It will stop you in your tracks and make you sweat.
Miss J left and I got Plum down for her nap while Pants began taking pictures and cork boards down off the wall and eating paper. He TP-ed the living room and drew on himself with a successfully stolen Head Start marker. I found him in a pile of clothes he had removed from his dresser. You know that scene in Clue when yet another person (this time it's Yvette
) is killed and the cast finds them? Instead of freaking out, they all just sigh and walk away? Yeah, that was me. I walked away defeated. My back hurt. I made myself some lunch a midst strewn toilet paper and half eaten art projects. I was hungry, man. And did I mention that my back hurt? So I ate. My feelings and my pain. I ate them.
Moments later I felt that dread that comes when you know you are about to toss your cookies. Yep. All that lunch? It didn't stay down. I had somehow managed to hurt my back and get ridiculously sick all in the same afternoon. There is nothing that can be done at this point but laugh and text your husband, dudes. And shed a few tears of self-pity. And explain to your kid that mommy is going to be OK (Your kid who has been a little punk all day long is suddenly concerned about you). I am reminded while barfing my face off that this lil dude is a good person despite his three year-old impulses.
"You spit out your food, mama?"
"Yeah, bud. Mama doesn't feel good. I'm OK, though. Go watch some tv and I'll be out in a minute"
"You no feel good, mama?"
"Right, bud. Mama's tummy hurts. It's OK, go watch some TV"
"You need a hug, mama?"
"Not just yet, dude"
"I call Fireman Sam. He know what to do!"
"Sounds good, bud."
"Mama? Is Daddy coming home?"
"I hope so duder."
He waits til I'm done. He has decided against a hug in favor of a few apprehensive love pats to my leg. "OK, mama?" "Yeah bud."
Daddy arrived home a few hours later and I went to bed at six. I woke at 8 to the smell of bacon. It turned my stomach. "Why for the love of baby puppies are you making bacon?", I moan. "I'm not. Come here. A little girl we all know had discovered the irresistible bowl of bacon grease and wore it as a hat"
I mean, that's what you are supposed to do with a bowl a bacon grease, no? Thankfully, I married a dude that can roll with the punches. And you know what I found when I rounded the corner to the kitchen? This...a good old-fashioned sink bath for bacon grease head.
I dragged my sad butt back to bed smiling a little. Bacon grease head. These kids.
Needless to say, I was no fan of yesterday. But I will say that Plum's curls are looking extremely luminous this morning. So today is looking up already. My final dream of the night was of playing baseball with my brothers in the backyard we grew up in. Under the willow tree we played in (and swung from it's branches) that has since been half taken down. Our dog Misty was running the bases with us. She was a good dog. I haven't seen her in 20 years. I woke with a smile on my face and feeling pretty good.
So good riddance, Yesterday. Hello today. You are bound to be a better day...right?
Last week the kids and Daddy created Mr. Bagel-Eyes. He was a cool character and as pointed out by a friend on our Facebook page, sure, he looked a bit like he had been smoking the reefer. I mean, the Fruit Loop smile gave him away. That and the bulging bagel eyes. He was a fantastic snowman. Just outstanding. A stellar creation.
We positioned him in perfect view of the living room window so that we could enjoy him. And every day Mr. Pants would sit and spend some time chatting with him. I imagine they talked about their days, favorite foods and Buzz Lightyear.
When Mr. Bagel-Eyes lost his nose on day three, Mr. Pants came to me with urgency. I was to call Dr. Sarah (our family doctor) to help him. Mr. Bagel-Eye's nose was broken. So I did what any mama worth her salt would do. I called the doctor on our Elmo phone. I received my instructions and quickly ran out into the cold to replace and set his nose. Crisis averted.
But there was another crisis coming and it was one that mama would not be unable to fix. There would be no rescue from Dr. Sarah. Even Daddy, who can fix anything, would not be able to save him. No one could. Because no one can stop the sun and the rain.
I held my crying child yesterday as he sobbed in my arms. "Mama, make a rain go away! Get Daddy, Mama! Daddy fix him! Call Dr. Sarah, Mama! He hurt! Mama, PWEEESE!" I was taken aback at first. His tears falling so fast and hot onto his cheeks. His words were fast, loud and desperate. His feelings were intense. And so very real. He was deeply sad and suddenly angry. The two emotions mixing together and creating a powder keg of terrible. And then I saw what he saw. The rain had moved in and Mr. Bagel-Eyes was melting. His friend was melting.
I held him. I tried to explain that Mr. Bagel-Eyes comes back when it snows. That he wasn't hurting, only melting into water to help the grass grow. Anger washed over him, "I don WAN GRASS!!!!!" I was talking too much. So I closed my explain-y mouth and opened my soothing one. And I just kept holding him. I just let him cry and be sad. And when Daddy woke up, he did the same.
Throughout the day he went back and forth to the window. He went from quiet and sad to explosive and angry. He went from crying to talking about his friend. He wasn't sure what to do with himself. He would hold things that he loved closely. His favorite books. His Buzz Lightyear pajamas. He would hold them and watch out the window. He wanted us to hold him and then he didn't. He was hungry and then he wasn't.
Isn't that how we all grieve?
Daddy and I went back on forth on how to proceed. Our desire to demolish Mr. Bagel-Eyes' final remains to get it all over with was weighed against the very real probability that it would look as though his parents, in whom he placed his trust, were, in fact, murdering his friend. So, yeah, we didn't do that. Instead we talked about his snowman friend with him every time he brought it up. We sat with him in the window and let him ask questions about the rain and snow. And slowly, so so slowly, he was able to start living his life again. He would play and be his regular self. Every so often returning to the window to check back in with his friend. His words became more hopeful. He talked about it snowing again. And as the day pressed on, we realized he was working through it. He had gone through the hardest part.
This morning, Daddy and I cringed as we looked out to see that Mr. Bagel-Eyes was further melted. We both knew that Mr. Pants was going to have to walk past him to go to school. I'd be lying if I said that didn't stress us out. What would he do when he saw him? What if he had a melt down before school? How would we deal with trying to get him to school if he was a hot mess?
When the time came we took a deep breath and walked out the door. He stopped. My heart sank. He walked over to what was left of Mr. Bagel-Eyes. He was quiet. Then he said to me in a quiet voice, "Mama, he broken. He sad." "He melted, buddy. Do you want to tell him goodbye?" and then my sweet boy placed his hand on his friend and what he said next squeezed my heart and made me have to fight back the mama tears. He said "I wuv you, buddy. A rain no hurt you no more, ok? Ah bye-bye." Then he turned to me and said, "Mama, a go to school."
And with that, we left.
We talked about his friend on the way to school and how we can make another snowman when it snows. How snowmen love the snow because that's their habitat. And he listened to me. He was ready to talk about it. He was through his stages of grief. And I was moved by my three year-old's ability to process his first real loss. It might seem silly but Mr. Bagel-Eyes wasn't just a snowman to Mr. Pants. He was his friend.
And Mr. Pants wasn't the only one that learned a lesson here. Daddy and I did, too. We were reminded that the feelings our children feel are so very real. No matter the reason. No matter how childish the situtation may seem to an adult. They are real and should be treated with respect and compassion. They should be honored. Always.
Oh and what else did we learn?
Do. not. ever. build a snowman that can be seen from the front window of the house. Because, mother hell, it's hard to watch a friend melt away.
Linking up with the amazing Greta and Sarah for #iPPP
We never know when they are going to strike. There was a time I tried to figure it out but then he'd go months without going through it and I thought he had it beat. When I thought it was food related, I found no common denominators. Then I thought it might be the result of a bad parenting day on our part. Nope. So it became one of those things I chalked up to his sensory issues messing with him all at once and there was nothing I could do about it. So I read and read and read. Sure kids with sensory integration difficulty are more likely to experience them but they are far from exclusive to sensy kids.
The facts are that night terrors strike all kids. Also a fact? They suuuuuck. They are awful. They make you feel powerless and rip your heart out and crush it. Because there is nothing you can do. We aren't talking about a nightmare. We aren't talking about a bad dream. Night Terrors are in a league of their very own. They are debilitating and well, terrifying.
From Ask Dr. Sears
Characteristics of night terrors:
*Your child seems frightened, but cannot be awakened or consoled.
- *Your child may sit up in bed, or walk around the room, screaming or talking senselessly.*Your child doesn't acknowledge you, his eyes may be open but he seems to stare right through you.
*Objects or persons in the room might be mistaken for dangers.
- *Episodes usually last between 10 and 30 minutes.*Usually occur in children 1 to 8 years old.
*Your child cannot remember the episode in the morning.
*Usually happens within 2 hours of falling asleep
So as Daddy and I stood in the hallway trying not to cry and listening to our baby scream and try to force his body into the walls with a force that rattled them, we felt so helpless. We had been in there. We turned on the light like they say to do. We kept calm voices and repeated the same things like they say to do. "Mama's here. Daddy's here. You are safe. You are at home." We made the space safe and cleared the toys from around him, like they say to do. I tried to touch him. He flew in the opposite direction and screamed "Nooo! Nooo!!! NOOOOOOOO!". He was terrified of me.
We were making it worse.
Let me tell you about how hard it is to leave the room and leave your terrified baby alone. How hard it is that you cannot hold him and kiss him and rock him so that he feels better. How hard it is knowing that if you try again to do those things, you actually make things scarier for him. He will believe I am attacking him. Because he does not realize that you are actually you. Instead, you are in his dream somewhere. You are the scary monster. You are the bad guy. And to help him, you have to go away.
It's the fucking worst.
It took Pants 45 minutes to come out of it. We stopped going in and instead would go to the door and repeat our calm phrases. I've learned that asking him questions helps him to start coming out of it. "Lights on or lights off, baby? Milk or juice, baby? Pillow or no pillow, baby" etc. With every answer he comes to a little bit more. But it's a process. You can't rush it or you go back to square one. My theory is that somewhere in his brain he knows he is being given a little bit of control with each choice he gets to make. I'm no doctor but it's what makes sense to me. And it is the only thing that seems help.
He comes out little by little. Sunday night about 40 minutes in, he took his first quiet break in the screaming. Daddy and I maybe let a tear fall for that. There's a mountain of relief that comes knowing he is starting to come back. This is when I start to ask more direct questions instead of choice questions. "Do you want your wubby, baby? "Can mama come in and sit with you, baby?" He tells me no on both fronts but he tells
me no. He doesn't scream
no, despite his tears still falling.
Progress. We are getting there. "Mama and Daddy are right here in the hallway. You can tell us when you want us to help you, ok?"
Eventually...."Mama. I thirsty". And he's back. I bring him a juice. Daddy and I sit on the bed. He is shaking. His little face is swollen from nearly an hour of screaming and crying hard. "Wanna be in the shirt, baby?" and he crawls over and slides into the Mama Squish Box
. Daddy and I resist the urge to go overboard like we want to. We want to kiss him all over his face and squeeze him and hug him and never let him go. But we are careful to go slow. Let him lead.
And eventually he comes all the way back to us. And I begin reminding myself that most experts agree that he doesn't remember it. I put my hopes in that and when he is ready I hug him tighter and Daddy sets up camp in the recliner waiting for his boy to join him for a bit of Curious George and a snack.
It's finally over. Exhale.
The next morning, I do the only thing I know to do. I pull out the super-secret lollipop stash and remind myself that he's ok.
Just breathe, Mama. Just breathe.
I didn't have a chance to write a post about our year. We were in the thick of germ warfare in this house as the ball dropped in Times Square. But I can't not recap. This blog is nothing if not a chronicle of our life together. Had I not been washing puke towels and bleaching my house, my year end post would have gone something like this...
My Dearest Husband, Pants and Plum,
2012. Oh, it was a year. It was all at once brutal, beautiful, hard and amazing. It taught us that we can weather anything. But we already knew that, didn't we? As I went through the pictures of what 2012 brought us, I sat and stared and cried. In awe of us. Remembering. Photographs can do that. They take us right back to a feeling. A thought. A memory.
We've made so many memories.
Relaxing on Thanksgiving morning. Bellies so very full. Or the day that the two of you brought your mama comfort because I was so so sad. Sad that my friend had died.
There was the day that we played in the mud and the day that Plum turned One. The day that broke our hearts when Pants had his tonsils out and the day that we rode on a real train for the first time.
So many days. So many moments. But if I had to choose just one, it would be that this was the year you two became inseparable. This was the year you found each other.
I remember every single moment in each of these pictures. The second it occurred to me, Mr. Pants, that you would be ok because you spoke a sentence to me for the first time in your life.
Plum, you started walking and talking this year, baby girl. And you were such a champ when we went camping. I can't believe that you know all of your alphabet and shapes and numbers. You are so crazy (and almost scary) smart.
Pants, you started pre-school and you are r.u.l.i.n.g. it. And Mama cried when I gave you your first short haircut. You loved it but I hope you will choose to grow it out again. You always tell me, "I got you, Mama" as you hug me tight. It melts me.
Daddy, remember when we sat in the driveway and watched our babies play? Do you remember that moment we realized that we were becoming parents to bigger kids?
We've played in the hay, sandboxes and on swing-sets. We snuggled so close every single night. We played dress-up, got fat lips, shared all of our viruses and jumped on beds. We turned 36, 37, 3 and 1.
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Life moved forward. Life happened. Life was so beautiful.
And it still is, my loves. I cannot wait to spend 2013 (and all the years to come) loving you. You have made my life full. You bring me a joy that I had no idea existed. You are my heart. All three of you.
You mean everything.
Here's what The Family Pants was up to last year...
And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you. If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. Then don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Every time I try to sing this song to them, I have to stop. I can't get more than a few lines in before the lump forms in my throat, I feel the salt water hot in my eyes and my voice begins to shake.
I cannot look into their eyes or I don't even get that far. I've come a long way from singing about the paint colors in the house when Mr. Pants was new. But I still can't sing this one.
Sometimes we cannot speak or write words that actually mean what we want them to. Sometimes music can take those words and string them raw and real into the world. Sometimes a song gets inside of you. It's those songs that I cannot sing to my babies just yet. Because those songs lay bare my soul and it would seem I am not yet strong enough for that.
That's usually when I close my eyes and listen. I pull them in. I let the music play. Sometimes I hum and I get the courage to try a few lines. I stop when the tears come and listen. I watch them and dance with them. Hoping that they know how magnificently they are loved.
Music can bring me to my knees. It can make me feel everything at once. It can bring my heart to the outside of my body and move my emotions like waves. It brings me to such an important place when I let it. This place of pure love. A place of freedom. A place of stillness. A place of knowing how fast these days are leaving us. How fleeting these years are while they are young.
And I hold them tighter when I am in this place. I hold them longer. I soak them in. I feel the love I have for them in my bones. And I never want to let them go. It's knowing that I will have to un-knot my fingers from around them someday that brings the swell of my heart and my tears.
I'm sure there will come a day when they think that's weird. But there will also come a day when they understand. When they know this place I am taken to. Because they will be taken there too. And they will know in their bones how fiercely they are loved.
If I had the chance to write a song for my children it would sound an awful lot like this one...
Let the river rock you like a cradle. Climb to the treetops, child, if you're able. Let your hands tie a knot across the table. Come and touch the things you cannot feel. And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you, If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. And don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Is there a song that speaks to your heart? Is there a place that the music takes you?
I don't do New Year's resolutions. Because I never keep them. So why set myself up for failure, right? But it seems I already made two and it's not even 10 am yet. I'm not in trouble though. I'm not wishing for the moon. I just whispered a few small promises into the air this morning. No life altering stuff. Just life stuff.
New Year's Eve didn't start out well. In fact it started out downright sucky sucktastic. Double ear infection was the word on the street and Mr. Pants wasn't feeling a celebration. On the way to the doctor he asked me, "Mama? I go a doctor? I go asleep? I scared, Mama" My heart broke into a million pieces as he began to cry a very throat punching cry. You know the one. Silent. Wide eyes. Fearful. "Mama, I scared." he said again. All my wishing for him to forget his surgery
didn't seem to do the trick. He remembers. And the memory is scary. So as I drove my boy to the doctor on New Year's Eve, I began to quietly cry for him. "No one is going to hurt you today, bud. You don't have to go to sleep at the doctor today, baby. Mama will stay with you and it won't hurt. I promise." "Ok, mama. I go to sleep?" "No bud, no sleep at the doctor today. She is gonna look at your ouchies in your ears so we can get medicine to make them feel better. Just like we looked in Buzz's ears at home, remember?" "Ok, Mama. I scared" as his lip and chin began to quiver again.
Being a mom is just heart ripping sometimes, isn't it?
It didn't go well at the doctor. Mr. Pants began to panic almost immediately. It was brutal and I won't describe it because he and I don't need a play by play. Instead I have made my first New Year's Resolution in years and years. Resolution number one is for you, Mr. Pants. I promise that starting right now, I will work with you in safe and stress-free ways to help you become less afraid of the doctor. I promise. You and me, buddy. Let's do this.
Chocolate milk helps at the end of a stressful doctor visit
So by the time we got home, Mr. Pants was whooped
. I tried to coax some dinner of frozen pizzas and chips into him. I mean it's New Year's Eve! Junk food is the rule for sickies on a holiday, right? But he wasn't into it and was in bed for the night at five. FIVE. You know a 3 year old is sick when he puts himself to bed at five
That left Plum and I to celebrate alone since Daddy was at work making fancy food for the masses. Here at home we had our own fancy feast. Side note: when your allergies
are milk, eggs and peanuts, good desserts can be hard to come by. But I was prepared. There isn't a lot of junk food that passes the "safe for Plum" test but there is one we can always count on. The classic Oreo. Throw in some So Delicious chocolate ice cream and we had a straight up party. Just the two of us.
We played dress-up and danced to our favorite tunes. We ate our junk food and sang some songs. Basically we partied pretty hard by toddler standards. So hard that we needed to make some costume changes half way through. By the time seven-thirty rolled around, Plum was plum tuckered. She told me it was time to go to bed and have some nucks (milks). She was out cold by 7:40 pm on New Year's Eve.Resolution number two is for you, Plum. I promise to play dress-up with you more often than not. We are gonna get super crazy fancy up in this house this year, baby girl. Oh, yes. Yes we are.
The house was quiet. Too quiet for New Year's Eve. I mean there was a day when this night brought all kinds of mayhem and tomfoolery. Even hijinks. Lots and lots of shenanigans and, well, you get the point. Drunk and stumble-y, I kissed many many strangers and not strangers at midnight, you guys. I wore sparkling sequins and danced for hours in shoes that tortured my feet at parties where the liquor flowed like water. Sparklers and fireworks. Sweaty glittery skin. Foil covered walls. Velvet pants. Wigs and tiaras. People passed out in the yard. All very glamorous, really. And I had so much fun. Too much fun, maybe. But SO much fun. For years.
But it doesn't hold a candle to coconut milk ice cream and old dance costumes. It doesn't touch the awesomeness of digging into a bag of Oreos and watching YouTube videos of Yo Gabba Gabba tunes and miscelleneous other bits of awesome (What what, Whitney Houston! I knew you would blow Plum's mind. OOOOH! I wanna dance with some-bod-ay!!) while your baby dances and sings along. It doesn't compare to getting the medicine your sick kid needs to get better finally and knowing that he is sleeping peacefully in the next room.
Because my dream all along was to have a family. And sometimes that means sick kids and husbands working on a holiday. I'll take it anyway. So this year I rang in the New Year with this. It happens to be Pants and Plum's favorite song right now. And I think it's pretty rad.
And then I rang it in proper with this. Like I always do. And a grin sat knowingly on my face in my quiet quiet house of sleeping kids and I remembered (or had foggy ideas of blurry possabilities of) my younger days. Because they were great, too. They were really freaking great. And I danced by myself. And I laughed. I just cracked up. Remembering. Damn, we had some fun.
Mommy's alright. Daddy's alright. They just seem a little weird.... Surrender...Surrender...
Happy New Year ! Here's to a fan-freaking-tastic year loving your families be they biological or chosen.
Spread the love around and Surrender to 2013!
It's gonna be great.
Today's post is part of the Secret Subject Swap organized by Karen from Baking in a Tornado (LOVE her!). 15 bloggers are participating and 15 subjects have been secretly swapped. All posts are revealed at the same time on the same day. Oooh the creative cat in me was excited and then had anxiety induced writer's block and then got excited again. I received this in my email a few weeks ago:
Your “Secret Subject” is: If your kids had to describe you to a stranger, what would they say?
My subject was submitted by: www.3monkeysandamartini.com. So make sure you check her out. All of the Secret Subject Swap bloggers are listed at the bottom of this post. Have some fun and go read them too! But first, without further ado, I present to you....
Boogers on the Wall (or Why I Love My Mom) by Mr. Pants
She's pretty great, my mom. Seriously. I kind of lucked out with her. I know this because she tells me, "You sure did luck out in the mom department, kid." and since I didn't realize there was a department to buy moms at, I just thank my stars that I didn't get a mom like the one in that movie with the orphans. Because even though she was funny and sang songs in the bathtub, she was totally crazy. I know this
because when my mom sings that song
to me, I get a flutter in my belly and that's my cue to give her some space. I'm really smart.
But my mom is cool. Mostly because she totally doesn't hate me for wiping boogers on the wall. She really doesn't. She was even giggling the other day as she cleaned them off. She said, "Pants you are killing your mother. Killing
her." but she said it in a funny way like they do in the movies. If I'm being honest though, I'm not sure how she knew it was me. I mean, I'm not the only one living here, you know. But like me, she's really smart. Like a detective, you guys. I cannot pull anything over on her. It's frustrating and limits my creative expression. And Daddy is always
informing on me. Yesterday he said to her, "Have you ever just looked hip-high at the walls? That's where you will find them." Then Mama said "That little booger" and I knew he was turning me in. Total betrayal. I'm still hurt. I thought Daddy had my back.
Moving on. <- My mom says that all
Let's see, what else? My mom really appreciates my artistic integrity. I did this drawing on the wall a while back and she tries to polish it all the time to keep it shiny. She says things like, "It just won't ever come off" and "Wow, bud, you really decorate the house, don't you?" I like to contribute. I can tell she loves that about me. That's why she keeps all of my art on the furniture too. This is a special honor because my best artistic mediums are food and Sharpies. I know I know, people tell me all the time it's because she refuses to buy nice things until I can express myself differently. I'm not buying it. She sees the genius in my art and the extension of my soul through gorilla artfare (So, end of discussion, Daddy)
She's really great. And because I love her, I also want her to feel protected. So every day I smash things to display my strengths and hone my skills. I'm integral in our family's survival because I also fight house fires and call in reinforcements when needed. But that's a whole other post. I smash. It's what I do. It's the least I can do but I'm not sure she understands my motivation which is, of course, to save my family from the robot hippos of the planet Applesauce. Duh. But just when I get centered enough to begin my displays of face-melting force, she says, "Here babe, smash this instead, ok?" and then she takes the cantaloupe from me and gives me some play-doh or a bag of rice. I mean, how in the world is smashing play-doh going to save anything? It's insulting. When I try to address this with her she gets this look in her eye like her face is trying not to explode. Daddy calls it her "Happy Place" but I don't know. It looks more like a trance and trances are only broken by smashing. So I do my best to help her return from her trance. She totally appreciates it.
Ok, I know what you're thinking. It is not lost on me that you asked about my mom and that I mostly told you about me. I'm three, dudes. I'm egocentric and stuff. My mom will tell you that this is normal in the "child debelovmenz", whatever that means. I think it's because she thinks I am her whole world or something. Her words, not mine. I'm not a snob.
So in conclusion, I don't want to brag but my mom is awesome. I have come to this conclusion because everybody says that I am just like her and since I am awesome that would mean that she is too. She's lucky to have a kid like me. Seriously. But I have to go now. Plum just took my Lego truck and I'm about to Hulk out which is perfect because mama just bought a new cantaloupe and if I move fast enough I can smash the ever loving stuffing out of it before she hands me the play-doh.
| || |
About the Author
Mr. Pants is a three year old self-motivated life over-achiever. He spends his days creating an elaborate system designed to keep all the toys away from his baby sister. Often unsuccessful in this endeavor, the remainder of his time is spent hiding the most important toys in his life and then forgetting where he hid them. He enjoys food that is individually packaged and The Incredible Hulk. He would like you to know that it's not his fault that he has more boogers than the average three year old and to please not pass judgment on him for this. In his spare time he enjoys imaginary car maintenance and invading the personal space of stray cats.
My Darling Angel Babies,
So I need to tell you something. I think you are doing a really spectacular job being kids. Really, I do. But there are a few things we need to sort out. And I only bring this up because we are all adults here, right? We can have a constructive conversation about all this. Let's begin.
This last week wasn't our best. Many of my awesome plans for you were not met with the enthusiasm that I expected. In fact, you both took turns rejecting my ideas and excellent parenting skills. I'm not mad so don't worry about that. It's just that I hope to impart a few things to you so that in the future we might see eye to eye. Wouldn't that be nice? I think that would be nice.
About our Christmas pictures. Maybe you didn't realize that Mama really wanted a nice card to send out to our friends and family? Maybe you thought that I wanted to save some money? Were you body-snatched? I'm just wondering because the hell beasts that brought the Portrait Innovations studio employees to their knees on Sunday evening sure did resemble you two. Now I could be wrong. If I am wrong, of course I apologize.
And there was that one time when you both reacted viscerally to my dinner offerings. See, I was under the impression that you both enjoyed spaghetti. I am trying to remain calm because as you both know, your mama isn't the best cook. I've come to rely on your love of spaghetti, you guys. If you both now hate it, we run the risk of eating hot dogs and tater tots twice a week. You need to know this. So let's just all take a minute to re-think the throwing of spaghetti at each other when mama needs to use the bathroom real quick, ok? I want you to fully understand the ramifications of such behavior. Don't get me wrong, food fights are kind of awesome. I get that. But a spaghetti food fight is what some might call "going too far". Can we get on the same page with that?
So now I need you both to really listen up. The gagging game? It's disgusting. I mean for serious, dudes. It is foul. And Mr. Pants I am looking at you and giving you the mom eye for teaching this horrifying "game" to Plum. Let's keep in mind that your sister's gag reflex is quite powerful and so is your mama's. So when we are all hanging out and you guys start gagging yourself and thinking that you are hysterical until one of you (Plum) starts to barf? It makes mama want to die. I get that my less than calm reaction has egged you on. I know full well that getting a rise out of people is super fun. I've been there. But let's find a new way to get mama's blood flowing, ok? Because the gagging game is going down, my friends. If it's the last thing I do and as god is my witness and all that, I will end the gagging game. Mark my words.
Finally, I just want to remind you that I'm not mad about the tree. I mean, I know you are little people. I know it is a lot to ask of you to just leave the tree alone. I mean, it's beautiful and it sparkles and it has toys on it. And little silver strings that are delicious! I know this. But it shocks me a bit that the near-death experience you had with the tree yesterday didn't seem to deter you one bit. Do you even remember the fear in your hearts as you watched the tree come slamming down toward you? Perhaps it was the relief that washed over you as I flew across the room and put myself in between you and the tree that washed away that fear? Well dudes, I cannot promise that I will always be able to save you. So what is gonna happen each time you try and pull the lights off and the garland and the ornaments is that the tree is going to tip over on to you. You will not like this. In fact, you will hate it. And mama will feel like a failure and we will all cry. Let's skip that!
In conclusion, my darlings, don't worry too much. I've already decided on a Christmas card idea that is better than the first. Daddy is still a great cook and will make you dinners several times a week to balance out the tater tot overload and I will try and secure the tree better. But the gagging? I'm gonna need you to help me with that one. Because if I could change that I would. But it seems I don't have that kind of power. If I did, you wouldn't still be pooping in your pants. Which, by the way, I'm not mad about, either. Just to be clear.
I love you crazy people.