Tuesday, May 29, 2012


So there are days when things are great, awesome even, and life is moving along swimmingly.  Mornings at the beach filled with sun breaks and laughter.  But then,  it's time to leave the beach.  And your 3 year old won't get in the car.  And you have to manhandle him because he tries to run away from you in the middle of a parking lot and then he starts screaming.  And then all of the other parents and children look at you.  And then you have to smile like this: "HI!!!  I'm torturing my child for sport!  It's super awesome fun!  Wanna join me?  I have hot pokers in the trunk!!"

Can you picture my maniacal waving and open-mouthed smile?

Why?  Why must the fit follow the awesome?  Why must the perfect morning of fun be ruined by the perfect storm of evil whilst trying to move on to lunch and nap?  Why?

Today, we had our final day of pre-3s preschool.  We met at a beach on the sound and played in the sand and enjoyed some final time together.  The kids played together, ran together, snacked together, sang their final songs of the year, and received handmade "yearbooks" from their teacher.  It was dream day for a 3 year old.  And yet.

As we went to leave, all was well.  He said he did not want to go.  I said that it was time to go because he was shivering ("I'm not cold!!") and the Little One needed a nap.  He sulked briefly, tried again ("Can we go over to the swings?  The other kids got to go!!"), but finally gave in somewhat gracefully.  We gathered our things and walked to the car.  Where he refused to get inside.  And then ran around the car away from me every time I got near.  And then I had to grab him and stuff him inside the car while he hollered.

Me smiling at the staring people: "Hi!!!  Everything's fine here!  Just a happy family preparing to leave!!  No torture taking place whatsoever!  PLEASE IGNORE THE SCREAMING."

And then he continued to cry and scream (and empty his shoes full of sand into his carseat) for the next hour.  Through the garage.  In the elevator.  Through the halls of our building ("Hi Neighbors Who Already Hate Us For Having Children!!!  Does this help?  LIKE US NOW?!?!").  Into the house.  Throughout being stripped of sandy clothes ("AAAHHHH!!!!  TORTURE!!!!  DON'T TAKE MY CLOTHES OFF!!!!  OOOOWWWW!!!!").  Throughout attempts at nose-blowing ("I HAVE BOOOOOGGERSSS!!!").  Throughout attempts at going potty ("I CAN'T PEEEE!!!!  I HAVE BOOOOOGGERSSSS!!!").  And into the beginning of lunch ("BUT I DON'T WANT THAT!!!"  "That's what we're having."  "BUT I DON'T WANT THAT!!!"  "Then I'll give it to your brother."  I WAAANT THAAAAAAT!!!!!").

And then I forgot all about the nice time we had this morning and wished I could get on an airplane and fly to Japan to see cherry blossoms.  That seems quiet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letters to the Boys

Dear Squishies,

Oh, my boys.  As I write this, you are both fighting sleep, exhausted, and filled so completely with the desire to play and learn and absorb that you CAN. NOT. STOP.  My babies, my two little squish-boys, are growing up before me, and I am astounded at how quickly it has happened.

I feel the need to record something.  To try to capture this brief moment in time and tuck it way so my brain won't loose it.  I want you to know that I think of you constantly, and that I see you.  I know you, Squishies.  And I love you so much I can hardly breathe sometimes.  You boys make me happy every day.  You make me smile and laugh in a way I never knew I could.  You make life make sense.  You also make me crazy sometimes, but that's the sign of true love.  

Thank you for completing our family, boys.  Thank you for being such loving, amazing, hilarious little people.  Thank you for allowing us to love you and play with you and laugh with you.

* * *

Dear Big One, 
We measured you the other day, and in just over a month, you had grown a full inch.  You are sprouting right in front of us, and some days when you wake up, I think I can actually tell that you're bigger.  You're changing.  You are 110% 3 year old.  It's your way, or the screaming, yelling highway.  You're pulling away, but still holding on so tight.  

You've had a hard time with my return to work, and I'm so sorry for that.  It was sudden and it was confusing and suddenly the mommy you had had by your side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... was gone.  A lot.  And you were frightened and sad and angry.  So was I.  You have been fighting me and arguing with me and yelling at me.  You've been like a different kid.  And I'm sorry.  I'm sorry you lost your mama for a little while.  I'm sorry you lost your family time.  I'm sorry it didn't make sense to you and I'm sorry we had to put you through all of it.  That first job, "that store," wasn't worth it.  It was not worth the stress I put you through.  But tutoring is different and it's astounding how you seem to understand that it's important to me and important for our family.  You still miss me when I'm gone, but it doesn't seem to break your heart in the same way.  So now, I'm okay with it.  Happy even.  And you seem to be coming around, too.  You hug me and kiss me again, instead of clinging to me with fear in your little eyes.  I'm so happy to see you happy.  

You've started to work on your relationship with your little brother, and it is amazing to see.  You still have an incomprehensible desire to sit on his head, but you also want to play with him now (instead of on him... yeesh).  You've been voluntarily giving up toys when you see that your brother wants them.  You've been excited to show him things and you protect him fiercely.  And sweet boy, I am so proud of you.  

You have also started drawing like crazy- your daddy's talent is leaking out of your every pore.  You create recognizable people with features now, and I cannot get enough of them.  And you still have a very serious interest in music.  You want to listen to songs over and over- get the words right- so that you can sing them and play along on your instruments.  You assign each family member a job, "Daddy, you play drums.  Mommy, you're piano.  Wren, here's a tambourine," and then you lead our little family band.  You want to listen to music all the time, and you have clear opinions on what is and is not good music.  And frankly, you have awesome taste.

You are all kinds of things, my big boy.  You are headstrong, timid, silly, frightfully observant, beautiful, and kind and loving beyond your capacity.  I have been told that you have an old soul, and I think that's the perfect explanation for the way you approach the world.  It's as if you already know what's coming sometimes.  You are a perceptive little man.  People tell me that you look just like me, and it pleases me to the core.  But I hope you won't be exactly like me.  I hope you will be braver than me, more independent than me.  I hope you will learn from my mistakes and be happier for it.  Most of all, I hope that you will always be proud of the person you are and will always feel how incredibly loved you are. You are my original Squishy.  I love you, Monkey Moo.
All my love,

* * *

Dear Little One,
Holy spitfire, Batman.  You are all black and white, my friend.  No grey area.  You are either jolly, or incensed.  Laughing, or screaming.  Dancing, or throwing yourself on the floor.  You are a balls to the wall, full-throttle, no-holds-bar kind of kid.  And it is both thrilling and terrifying to behold.

Your entry into toddlerhood is everything I expected.  You do everything big.  (Except pooping... you are a silent, ninja pooper.  It's astounding.)  You are a climber, a thrower, a chortler, a kid who is into EVERYTHING.  I literally cannot blink in your presence lest you climb on top of a table or rip something off of one.  

But then, you are a lover.  You adore your lovies with every fiber of your little being.  You hug regularly of your own accord and grip your Daddy and I with such passion that it is hard to let you go.  Despite the fact that he sometimes takes your toys and often sits on your head, you love your big brother so completely, it oozes out of you.  You light up when you hear him wake up and call for me in the morning and you run, RUN, to him as fast as your chubby little legs will take you.  You greet your Daddy and me with such joy, such unbridled happiness, when we return from an absence and it is literally impossible not return the glee that ebbs from your little soul.

You recently started to dance and, MAN do you take that business seriously.  You bob your head and shimmy your little shoulders as though it is necessary- vital!- to get your groove on.  Now.  Shhh... I am jamming.  You feel music down to your little bones and you smile whenever we turn on a song you know, just before the serious face and the bobbing begins.

You are a man of opinions, and usually those opinions are some version of, "NO!!!!"  Whether we're trying to help you eat, or change your diaper, or show you how to use a new toy, if it was not your idea, you are NOT. HAVING. IT.  Fits ensue, screaming starts, and you now bang your head on the nearest hard surface.  Because that will show us.  (By the way?  It doesn't show us.  It just hurts your noggin.)  Luckily, you are also pretty easily distracted and usually can be brought around from enraged to delighted in seconds flat.  Seriously, no grey area.

Little Squish, you are a sweet, goofy, wildly stubborn, daring, fearless and awesome little dude.  You look exactly like your Daddy and you are cute as the dickens.  You have the most hilariously low voice for a baby.  You are walking trouble, but you are absolutely irresistible.  You were the perfect addition to our family- the perfect combination to shake us up in all the right ways- and we cannot imagine life without you.  You, my Squish-face, are a love.  Thank you for the laughter you bring us and the love that emanates from your core.  I hope you will always love with such wild abandon and that it doesn't get you in too much trouble.  I hope you feel the love that is returned to you and I hope you will always know how incredible you are.  I love you, Monkey Two.
All my love,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Attack of the Sappy: More Things to Remember

I am in need of more fodder for smiles.  Below is such fodder.

Things That Make Me Smile:
* The Little One is a head-banger in waiting
* The Big One is a break-dancer in waiting
* Words like: "fpider" (spider), "fponge" (sponge), "fweeper" (sweeper), "balilla" (gorilla), "bazoo" (zoo), and "lip cream" (whipped cream)
* When the Little One grabs any of his lovies or sees a stuffed animal from across the room and comes a-runnin' yelling, "BAAAA-EEEYY!!"  Followed by snuggle and, "Mmmmm" to said baby.
* The Little One's first words upon entering his room in the morning/after nap: "HIIIiiii!!!"  Spoken in exact same ridiculous tone I use.
* The Big One will sit in his crib for a freakishly long time just. reading. books.  And listening to "my symphony" (classical music).
* The Big One's new habit of leaning over and kissing my arm at random moments
* The Little One's new talent of jumping- the cutest part being the prep required and his proud grin after he jumps
* The Big One's booty dance
* Watching the kids gallivant in the sand on the first beautiful sand-worthy day of the year
* The way they both run for me with arms spread wide and giant grins whenever I return from "that store"
* They are finally learning to play together without maniacal screeching.  It is a wonder to behold.

Music That Makes My Kids Boogie:
* Tribe Called Quest (specifically, anything from Midnight Marauders)
* Talking Heads
* Any of Daddy's music
* 70s funk (or nouveau 70s style goodness like Escort)
* Caspar Babypants
* Bob Marley (we sing "Three Little Birds" to them as a lullaby)

The Big One's Ideal Mixed Tape:  (aka: "Mommy!  It's my song!!")
* We Are Young by Fun.
* Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People
* Somebody I Used To Know by Goyte
* The Weight by The Band
* Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas
Cool Like Dat by Digable Planets
* Hey Ho by The Lumineers
* Anything by Daddy
* Anything by Wil "Uncle Woolis" Blades
* "That Monkey Song" (aka: Monkey Gone to Heaven by the Pixies)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Worry Wart

I'm a worrier.  I've always been a worrier.  I vividly remember laying in bed at the age of fifteen worrying about the possibility (not even an actual plan- just the possibility) of having to take driver's ed and thinking that it would probably be easier if I just died in my sleep.  Um.  What the hell is that?  Who in their right mind, given the choice between driver's ed and death, chooses frickin' death?!?  Clearly I was not in my right mind.  I was fifteen.

But I'm still a worrier.  I no longer see dying in my sleep as the preferable alternative to, say, going to the dentist.  But I worry.  A lot.  I fret.  I'm a fretter.  But here's the thing.  90% of the stuff I worry about is STUPID SHIT.  It's probably understandable when I get nervous belly and break out in a cold sweat because my baby has woken up with croup in the middle of the night.  That seems relatively normal.  But having an almost identical reaction to starting a new job?  That seems excessive.  And dumb.  And possibly worthy of medication.

Internet, I am a wreck.  I am a wreck for no reason, whatsoever.  I am a wreck because, essentially, I have a hard time with change.  I struggle with transitions.  It appears that I am no different from my children and am, essentially, a giant toddler.

This realization is unpleasant.

When I think back to all the things I've had idiotic, ill-placed panic attacks about, they all have to do with change.  I suck at it.  And I've sucked at it for as long as I can remember.  I like to be in my comfy place.  I like predictability.  I like familiarity and routines.  I like home and family and stuff that is NOT BRAND NEW AND HARD AND SCARY.  Which is sad, really, because life is hard and brand new and scary the majority of the time.  Especially with kids.

What's extra funny is that I seem to be able to handle some really difficult things relatively well.  I haven't been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but things have been pretty rough around these parts since the Little One was born, and I've handled the majority of it pretty well.  Then we decide that I need to get a part time job- stat!- and I fall apart.  What's that all about?

My parents have always told me that, as a kid, I handled every injury in the exact same way.  According to them, paper cuts and broken bones received the same broo-ha-ha.  A gross overreaction in the case of the paper cut, but a damn brave little gal for the broken bone.  Perhaps my responses to life are measured in much the same way.  When things get really ugly, I seem to be handling it pretty well.  When things are just mediocre, I go off the deep end.  Crap.

All this to say... I'm starting a new job.  Another new job.  For a couple weeks I will have three jobs, (which... AHHHHHH!!!!) but I'm leaving "that store" in three weeks (because I miss my husband and my children and weekends and I cannot take any more "Mommy!  Don't leave me to go to that store!!!) and will then only have two jobs.  One of which will be periodic and at my leisure.  With weekends.  Mostly.

So.  Another new job.  Tutoring.  And I'm crazy nervous and I shouldn't be.  It has everything to do with what I've always done, but instead of 150 kids, I'll have two.  And I will be working with them one at a time.  I can do this.  I know I can do this.  But I'm suddenly terribly frightened that I'm going to fail them, AND I DON'T WANT TO FAIL THE LITTLE CHILDREN.  They're little, you guys.  Just getting started on this crazy business of life and school.  If I mess this up, they may never get to Harvard.  AND IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULT.  Damn it.