Archive for October, 2011

October 28, 2011

Ol’ McElmo Had a Farm E-I-E-I-O…

Can you guess who is (nearly) two??

[click photo to enlarge]

October 14, 2011

In Honor Of: International Babywearing Week

Babywearing Week

There are so many things I enjoy about wearing my babies: the ease and convenience, the closeness, the ability kiss and sniff their little heads as many times as I please, seeing them enjoy it just as much as I do, the effectiveness (when Rosebud was little, we called the ergo our ‘instant sleep machine’). 

But there is something else I love about it too.  As a woman who tried but did not achieve a pregnancy, there is something so healing about having my baby wrapped tightly to my belly.  To have her be so relaxed right up against me.  Feeling her every hiccup and tiny movement.  To have her so close that I forget where her skin ends and mine begins.  I wasn’t able to be the one to carry her for those first 9 months, but I can now.

There is this quote that used to break my heart a little any time I came across it:

“Nobody will ever know the strength of my love for you, after all you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside”

Well, it doesn’t carry the same sting for me any more.  I’m pretty sure my angel is very familiar with the sound of my heart…

as she should be, since it beats her name.

October 12, 2011

Just when I thought things were getting easier…

Tonight I marched Sprout out of the house – barefoot, pitch black, chill in the air, well past bed time, and plunked him in the car where he screamed and raged like a possessed demon.  All because his bath wasn’t deep enough for his liking.

Okay, not really, let me back up…

So today is Wednesday, and if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you now know that’s visit day.  Which has been no big deal for the past long while. Little things here and there, but nothing mentionable – fine, really.  But of course it’s always fine, until it’s not.  Which is what brought us to tonight.  Its been going well for so long that I think Sprout almost forgot what it used to be like.  And he’s been talking about this visit all week since mom promised him a new toy.  I tried to warn him.  I tried to gently put those buffers in place.  But it didn’t help – nothing does, really, when you are 5 and have been looking forward to seeing your mom all week and getting an exciting new toy from her…and then she doesn’t show. 

There’s nothing like that familiar disappointment to bring the crazy right back up to the surface.

At first he was just plain sad. bummed. disappointed. All the things he had every right to be. We talked about it, validated those feelings, and he went on about his afternoon…seemingly unphased.  But the cracks always show themselves at night when its dark, he’s tired, and is faced with the inevitableness of being left alone with his big feelings in his big bed.

So this time, instead of asking for more cluddles, to be rocked to sleep, or an extra book at bed time, he flipped the F out. 

And you know what I realized – literally just now as I’m typing this (welcome to my stream of consciousness) – I realized that its okay.  We are going to have these days and its okay.  I’m strong enough, he’s strong enough; crazy, bring it on.

October 12, 2011

(kinda) Wordless Wednesday

And now for a post that will definitely not make you cry.

Though it does make me cry, because I’m a sappy mommy whose kids are growing way too fast.

Remember the disaster apple picking attempt this weekend? Well, we had a do-over and it was lovely 🙂

Sprout Apple Picking 2010:

Sprout Apple Picking 2011:

RB Apple Picking 2010:

RB Apple Picking 2011:

Daisy Apple Picking 2010:

just kidding! we had no idea she even existed!

Daisy Apple Picking 2011:

It kinda makes me wonder…what’s apple picking 2012 going to look like?

And one last shot, just because it makes my heart sing:

October 11, 2011

Heartbreaking

As you know, we recently observed Yom Kippur which is a Jewish holiday that asks us to repent for the sins of the previous year and ask for atonement, or forgiveness, for those sins.  We explained this process to Sprout, in a much watered down and kid-friendly way, and I could tell he got it this year and was thinking it over.  Apologize for poor choices, be forgiven, and move on with a clean slate – hmm, that seemed like something he could get behind.

Later in the day he told me he had been thinking about the “forgive stuff”.  He said, “When I was four years old and three years old, I was a bad boy.  That’s why other people didn’t want me.  But you did and now I’m a good boy.”

It knocked the wind right out of me. 

A knowledge and understanding I never knew he had.  This burden he must bear.  Oh no Sprout.  My sweetest boy.  No, no, no, no, no.

Of course I put that notion right to bed.  I scooped him up and told him he could never ever be a bad boy – there is no such thing.  There are only poor choices and regardless of those, he is wonderful – has been wonderful – every day of his life.  He is sunshine and always has been.  His time was short with other caretakers simply because he had a different place to be. 

But did he believe me?

Were my words enough to heal the hurt and convince him that it is true?

What other painful thoughts are living in that head of his? 

 I guess only time will tell.

October 10, 2011

Key to Happiness: Roll with the Punches

I celebrated my birthday this weekend.  It marks the last year my wife can claim to be married to a hot young 20-somethin’ 😉

Here’s how I wanted to celebrate my birthday:

– Sleep in.  Wake up to 3 washed, fed, and dressed children who greet me in polite and angelic ways such as: “Good morning mother, don’t you look lovely this morning.  How was your sleep? May I fix you some coffee?”

– Head off to the spa and spend a few hours getting pampered, reading a book, and enjoying guilt-free silence.  And it would be guilt-free because someone else came and cleaned my house top to bottom, did the dishes, and put away the 6 baskets of clean but not folded laundry that perpetually line my hallways.  And they would also weed the gardens while they were at it.

– Return home just as all three children awake, bright-eyed and joyful, from a 3 hour nap.

– Pack up the crew and head to an apple orchard.  Enjoy a wonderful afternoon romping in the orchards and getting adorable keepsake pictures that I will cherish forever.

– Easily transfer 3 peacefully sleeping children from their car seats into their beds, then spend the rest of the evening cuddled up on the couch with my wife watching copious amounts of Toddlers & Tiaras (sidenote: if ever I’m feeling down about my parenting, I turn on that show and viola!,  I feel like parent of the year. best show ever.).

Ahhh, it’s so nice to dream…

Here’s what really happened:

– 5:30am RB starts shouting from her room.  We throw the pillows over our head and try to ignore it.  But by 6am, Sprout is also screaming because he bumped his head on his headboard and needs his sponge.bob icepack.

– 6:05am the children are settled but now the dog is whining.  A lets the dog out.  Dog gets sprayed by skunk – and I mean direct hit.  All hell breaks loose.

– I spend my morning scrubbing down the dog with a mixture of baking soda, dawn, and hydrogen peroxide.  Nose stinging from the smell and tears streaming down my cheeks from the dog shaking the mixture into my eyes.  Glamorous.

– RB decides that it’s a good day to be a complete wild woman.  Mommy picks out the wrong pants = tantrum.  No eggs left for breakfast = tantrum.  Her baby sister dare breathe in her direction = tantrum. 

– Now that the dog is clean, its time to run errands. With 3 children in tow.  Which is typically enough to make me want to shove pencils in my eyes, but on top of that I havent had any coffee and now I’m searching strangers reactions to see if we reek of skunk since the smell has permeated the house by this point.

– Naps? ha! yeah right!  Eventually each child did end up sleeping for about 20 minutes.  So that’s something.

– We forge on, battle the kids into cute clean outfits, and head to the orchard for a photo shoot.  It.is.mobbed.  People everywhere and the trees are nearly picked clean of apples! The kids get way overstimulated and I get about 100 shots of the baby crawling away, RB screaming, or Sprout with the wild eyes and tongue sticking out.  Not to mention the lighting is horrible and the (apple-less) trees were casting shadows galore.

– And for the bonus, this year my birthday fell on the darkest most depressing day of the Jewish calendar.  Yom Kippur.  The day of atonement, repentance, and fasting.  So after the wholesome fall pictures gone way wrong, we join the family for prayers and atoning and repenting.  Also a lot of: “Rosebud, don’t touch that!”  “Sprout, couches are for sitting not standing.” and “Does anyone know where the baby is?!” 

::sigh::

I could stop there.  I could be all “woe-is-me-and-my-catastrophe-birthday”.  But here is what also happened:

– That 2 hours I spent cleaning the dog is the most dedicated time I’ve had with her in 2 years.  She’s a really sweet girl.  Eager to please.  Patient.  A perfect family dog.  Her tail did not stop wagging as I was scrubbing and talking to her.  All the lack of attention, the times I’ve yelled at her for waking the baby or being underfoot – forgiven and forgotten.  Nothing but love in those brown eyes.  Such a pure and admirable characteristic of a good dog.  

– In between the screaming, crying, throw-myself-on-the-ground, just because i’m nearly 2 craziness,  RB was delighted that it was my birthday.  She would randomly break out in off-pitch full-volume song, her rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ which was along the lines of:  “Happy to you, my mommy! Happy to you, my mommy!”  It would end with a flourish, a big smile, and a full body toddler hug.  Happy to me.

– The children were not the least bit interested in napping.  So we set Sprout up for quiet time in his room, A tackled RB, and I attempted to lull Daisy to sleep.  We walked, bounced, patted, shushed, rocked, and sang many songs – all to no avail.  Eventually I gave up (I was getting sleepy!) and we laid in the bed together.  I looked into her sweet little face and her chubby hand patted my cheek as she babbled “ma ma ma ma ma”.  My miracle baby.  Growing so quickly.  Every moment I have to soak her up is a gift.

– While the trip to the apple orchard was, generally, a disaster.  Sprout was a trooper.  As he often does, he made my project his own.  Coaching the girls to sit nicely in their spots and look at the camera.  Standing behind me and the camera making cooky faces and jumping up and down – doing anything he could do to make the baby smile.  He was all in, for no other reason than knowing how happy it would make me to get a few nice pictures.  And as we walked out, reading the disappointment on my face, he held my hand and said, “Don’t worry mommy, we’ll try again.”

– After arriving at A’s grandmother’s house in the evening, we realized that we forgot the bottles (of course).  So I ran home to get them.  On my way back, as I pulled onto her street, I saw a family taking advantage of the gorgeous evening for a walk.  Holding hands, talking, smiling and enjoying each other.  Picture perfect.  And you know what? It was my family.  My wife, my children, aunts and uncles and cousins.  They jumped up and down and waved to me as I passed.  Regardless of what was captured on film that day, that happy image is the one that I will cherish for a long time to come.

So clearly my birthday wasn’t perfect, but when I look at it this way, I’d say it was one of my best yet.

October 5, 2011

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