Friday, April 29, 2011

Transitions/Birthday Partys

Still working on our new normals here.

Husband is still working out the commute and working in Boston (its been a while). He got to hear and see the Boston marathon go past his building; he has gone down 9 flights of stairs for a fire alarm. The subway can be relaxing, but also crowded. The job itself is so far a good fit for him; but the bureaucracy in getting him set up with health care/pay has been annoying.

We are still dealing with our routines around his schedule, and then we had a visitor last week...Grandma came for a week. Which was nice for the kids, but still disruptive to our schedules that are already kind of in disarray.

Michael had been sick the week before (another disruption) and last week was school vacation week. He had fun hanging out with Grandma most of the week and I took off last Friday so that we could all enjoy a movie (Rio--which was good) and visit my nieces (5 months old tomorrow!).

Willow is still transitioning to preschool. This morning was the first morning that she was not protesting to go to preschool. And she ran off saying "bye" to dad instead of lingering with him.

She is also transitioning to underwear, and started the final stages of daytime potty training. She is definitely learning and enjoying preschool once she is there.

Of course, last week was her birthday party. I now have an official three year old....

The party was fun and everyone had a good time. Willow had some friends over (her first b-day party that I included children outside the family) and they enjoyed playing with Gooey Gesyer Goo, running around and playing with toys and beating on the Dora pinata.

The Dora cake came out wonderful! I am so grateful to my friend Ana for making it. Willow loved it!

Licking off the frosting on Dora.

Loot from the pinata.

The next day, her actual birthday, we went to the zoo. She dressed herself in a costume she had gotten as a present for her birthday.

Playing at the playground at the zoo.

This past Wednesday I took them to the doctor for their annual checkup.

Stats: Michael is 4' 9 1/2" tall; 75 lbs
Willow is 3' 1" tall; 32 lbs

Tomorrow is her first visit to the dentist.

And then...oh, I hope we can start working on the establishing our "normal" routine a bit more...cuz so far, its been an exhausting three weeks!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

And now I have another cliche down!

I have some excuses. I was tired. It was the end of a long weekend. The children were almost on the verge of the bedtime routine. My mother was visiting and this was her last night before leaving so I was trying to be a good host to her. Husband was working on his laptop with his headphones on; children were in the other room.

And I mistakenly thought my normally responsible twelve year old would know better than to put homemade Gooey Geyser Goo * on top of his head…as his sister (who is a total mimic) watches…

Ah…yes…the screaming of a toddler when you try to wash glue out of her hair!! Priceless…I am glad I have lots of pictures of her third birthday party—cuz I had to chop a few chunks of hair out last night….

I blame Dora…

*See, I was so proud that I had made this stuff for her party--karma had to just show me who was the boss...

(the boy fared much better...just a few bits in his hair...and NOW he knows that glue and gum do not belong in hair!)

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE

Moment #1: He is up; I can hear him moving. It is Friday of school vacation and I am taking the day off to be with him and his sister (and visiting grandma). I lay in bed, trying to grab a few more moments of sleep before the fun/exhausting day will begin. I drift…and then General Grievous is over me with a light saber! (Oh, wait; it’s just my son waking me up in his unique way)

Moment #2: I wrote her birthday post a few days ago, scheduled it to post at 7 a.m. on her birthday. It is the day after her party, it is her official birthday. And she has come into our bed early this morning and is snuggling up, sleeping next to me. But I know it is after seven and I want to make sure her birthday post posted. I grab my tablet and silently check while she sleeps. (Dad has went downstairs with the boy, I hear them making noise—hopefully not breakfast) Looking at her sleeping, looking at the post…I cannot help it…I start to read it to her (remembrances of reading Hanukkah stories to the chinchillas). I read it to her, knowing she is not listening, cannot understand. And she stirs. As I finish she wakes up and I hug and kiss her and whisper “Happy Birthday!”


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Third Birthday

Three years ago I met you.

You, my medical miracle, my daughter, my last child. You completed our family. I am unsure what my life would be without you in it, but I know it would be diminished.

I am proud of you in so many ways. I am proud of the journey that we took to conceive you. I am proud of how you sing songs to stuffed elephants.

You have grown so much, my little pumpkin. Your vocabulary is ever expanding, you are holding conversations with those around you, often making sure your opinion is heard above all others. You have a crush on the boy next door. You love and admire your big brother. Your expressive face gives me a peek into your thoughts--but just as I think I understand you, I find myself at the other end of a melt down.

You exhaust me, frustrate me, compel me to be better. You run and jump and sing and have long conversations with toys in the bathtub. Your imagination is blossoming as you are taking in all around you. You like dolls and babies, but have expanded your horizons to dinosaurs, animals big and small and Star Wars. Your juice box obsession (little do you know it is flavored water) is only matched by your sweet tooth. You hate most vegetables, but will grudgingly eat them for a Popsicle.

From the time you get up in the morning until you struggle to keep awake at night, you are a flurry of activity and curiosity.

I look forward with some trepidation on year three, but I know that while I may complain about your "three-ness", I am enjoying getting to know you and cannot wait to see where the world will take you.

I love you with all my heart.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE

Moment #1: She loves wearing it. I could not take it off of her. A friend's daughter gave it to us and now the sparkling annoying thing is on her. And she is bouncing on my bed, looking at it in the mirror. I find it irritating and too white and sparkly and definitely not warm enough for the cool spring air. I also see how she loves it. And she stops bouncing and moves her arm gracefully in a perfect ballet move that I have no idea where she has gotten it from. The costume stays on her throughout the night. She sleeps in it. In the morning, I take it off of her, I wash it (hand wash only) and carefully air dry it. The next day it is on her again. And while I make sure she puts clothes over it when we go out on yet another cool spring day...I have to say...the costume suits her fine.

Looking at bunnies at the petstore...

Moment #2: Last night he fell asleep on the couch (he was able to stay up because its school vacation week; I was upstairs trying to put a stubborn toddler down to bed). Dad took him up. Surprised that he was asleep already, a few minutes later I took a break from convincing her to sleep so that I could say good night to him. He was so asleep that he was completely oblivious to me. And I felt hurt that I could not say good night to him. So this morning, when I felt his long, lanky body up against my back, I turned around and hugged the snot out of him. Snuggling my little (not so little) guy was the perfect way to start the morning!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Down Time

Michael was sick this week. And since Hubs just started a new job, I had to take the hit. Several of them. Combined with the snow days that I had to take, various time off I have had to take...well, my days off are pretty damned limited now. And I am not too happy about that. (Especially since I am going to ask for next Friday off because of my mom visiting and me wanting to actually have a vacation day to spend with her and my kids...)

I was so not happy with it that I tried the old working parent deception. You know, the one that meant that on Wednesday I sent my kid into school armed with Ibuprofen in his system, hoping he could at least eek out 1/2 a day so that I could get to work? You know, that one. That failed miserably, within a half hour of him entering the school. Luckily, Hubs took that hit for that day. Which means I then had to take the hit the next day, because the school nurse said Michael had to be 24 hours without a fever (and they had just checked him at school so they KNEW). Oh, and according to the school nurse, Michael was such an honest and polite boy, as he told them that we knew he had temp and sent him on his way...yep, honest...not like his PARENTS (not a proud moment here...).

So. Yesterday. Michael was not sick the whole day. Normal temperature, with each periodic check. And most of the morning I spent whining (mostly to myself) about the fact that this was one more day I had to take off. One more day I would not have for future issues, sick days, vacations this year.

And then I stopped. Mainly because Michael came downstairs (from doing some homework...he at least got some of his work for the week on Wednesday). He came downstairs in near tears telling me how he felt this was all his fault because he was honest with them at school. And how he should have been able to stay in school, etc. Feeling like a heal I told him the truth. That he did the right thing, we did the wrong thing. That, in the end, who cares about the time off? I can't get fired over it (and if I do, well, good riddens! They have known from the start that I put my family as #1). And, if I have to, at the end of the year, I could ask to take UnPaid time I told him all this.

And then I put my worries aside. And we played chess. (Kif played too!)

He beat me twice (I am not a very good chess player...and he is improving a lot!). We watched a MST3K and laughed like crazy. We went out and bought birthday party supplies for Willow. (Including this Dora Pinata--oh yeah, I will enjoying hitting that!)

And we enjoyed our day together!

In the evening, as I tucked him into bed, I made sure to tell him how much I enjoyed getting this extra time with him. And I did. I don't regret a moment of it.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE

Moment #1: We are at a restaurant on a whim, waiting for dad to finish an errand. She sits next to me and there is music playing. I start to sway back and forth to the music and she and I are synchronized and bop back and forth in the booth. I get a glimpse of mother/daughter times to come and I am excited and thrilled to be making this connection to her.

Moment #2: We have finished a movie with the kids and are now at our friends' house and enjoying talking to each other outdoors. The kids run around for a bit. Then he wants to go inside (he is longing to play on the various videogame systems in the house). We are able to convince him to "enjoy" the new Spring weather...although he grumbles in that typical pre-teen/almost teen fashion. I leave his huff to talk to my friend and moments later I see that he has found street chalk and is now taking outlines of all the kids, getting each one, including his sister, to lie down on the driveway. With each one he is kind and brotherly, helping them lie back while he gently traces their form. He then uses their forms to create various Star Wars characters, helpfully telling the little ones what characters they are (his sister is Jar Jar).(And yes, my outline becomes Jabba the Hut..I ain't proud, I am a mother).


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Still with the Anxiety, but there is change...

The first week of the new normal is almost over and while there is still anxiety over the hows and whys of routines, we are working them through.

Husband is looking spiffy with his new teeth and some new clothes. He is still getting used to riding the "T" (the subway for those not from the Boston area). And since he is trying to impress, he is the first one to arrive and the last one to leave...which means that I am pretty much Single Parent most evenings. He is still healing on the teeth part, so soft foods are pretty much the order of the day. He likes his new job so far.

Willow is having some transitional issues before and after Preschool. She often tries to rationalize to us that she is actually "not a big girl" but a little girl (meaning that she is not ready to grow up and go to Preschool). She misses her daycare provider deeply, and trying to comfort her in a way that is positive is often a challenge.

There were many reasons we needed her to move on to Preschool, the least of which is that it is time for her to learn and grow. But there is another part that is purely the working parent logistics part. Where the daycare provider's schedule and vacation times were becoming harder for us to deal with. Being at a daycare center, an individual teacher's schedule does not effect our schedules as much. We cannot explain that (nor would I want to) to Willow. All she knows is that she misses her care taker. This is the hard part, because we know that bond was special and we hated to break it. But on the other hand, we did need to change the situation to suit our needs. So, the promise of visiting the daycare provider and keeping her in our lives seems to be helpful to us all, although it is a very strange limbo to be in.

Once she is at Preschool she is totally fine and has already placed her first Preschool art on our refrigerator (its a Bee).

The reports coming from the teachers at the Preschool are encouraging and she does seem to be enjoying the classroom environment. Today she brought home an animal mask that she made (they were to pick out a favorite animal and make a mask--we only knew by the fact she told us that it was a lion). She also had a worm made of cherrios. There are little things that she has done that have made me feel a little better about the decision. She has sang to me a song about worms going into the dirt. She has explained to me how to brush teeth in a way that I know I have not taught her. So, I hope that her transitioning continues in this positive manner.

The most interesting part of this week has been to see how these changes have affected Michael. I got a report from school on Monday that he was having a more anxiety filled day, with some OCD behaviors and issues. It had not hit me until then that, yes, for him, these changes, even though they do not affect him personally, do affect him. The school counselor said that when she discussed things with him, he expressed his anxiety over how his dad's and sister's day was going. By Tuesday, he was much better, especially after he realized that everyone was doing well in their new positions.

It is really fun to watch Michael come with me to pick up Willow. Some people remember him there, as this is the same daycare center that he eventually went to. Each day, his excitement to remember those days is amazing. The past two days, he has made sure to come up behind Willow and surprise her (of course she does the thing of immediately looking around for ME). Michael has evaluated what things have changed at the center, he has reminisced about his time there. Tonight, he told Willow that this was the most fun place in the world, and told her all sorts of stories about the place. (He is also going through another phase of "oh man, I am not a kid anymore, I am not an adult, what the heck am I").

So, we come to me. The changes for me has been more responsibilities (for a while Husband wants me to pick out his wardrobe the night before--so that means I am trying to pick out my clothes, Willow's clothes and HIS clothes before going to bed) and I have lingering anxieties as certain things have not settled in yet (like, um, a paycheck, health care, etc.). Being single parent means the dinner is not always the best--last night, husband texted me at 5 p.m. that he was going to an impromptu dinner with co-workers and guests of the company...which meant that since I had just gotten the kids, and Willow had pitifully talked yet again about missing her daycare provider and then in the same breath mentioned having went there. (To the one with a play place no less!)

Changes, transitions and anxieties. Still working on it.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday - Snippets

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE

Trying to keep memories, grasp at them while I can...

The softness of the bed, the guest bath towels. The chill of the pool, the light salt taste on my mouth, floating sensation and movement, warm pool tools. Strong shower, hot and pounding, soap molded into a green leaf. Sunset over a city I am familar with, but yet not as much as I want to be; cars and lights and people. Wasabi--a bit too much; warmth of plum wine down my throat, ease of conversation. Night and the lights of the city enter into our room. We both decide to leave the shades open (we are on the 27th floor afterall). City is beautiful and busy and we are warm and soft and relaxed. A movie, room service chocolate brought on a tray. Pretty, decandant, perfect. Melting into softness of the bed and covers next to him. Warm chocolate and omelet made to order wakes me up. Lavendar aromas and warm hands, fingers, elbows rubbing and massaging my shoulder, neck and face. Feeling like kneaded dough I let my husband have his turn on the massage table.

And then home from our perfect moment, our anniversary outing...back to chocolate chip faces and lego star wars updates.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Matter of Perspective

Last night I had someone ask me how many kids I had and their ages. Probably because I was tired and relaxed, in a strange place without the kids, or the fact I had just finished a big glass of plum wine...I gave their ages as 12 and 8 years old. I immediately corrected myself and, pleasantries done, we went on to the matter at hand (room service, YUM--more on that next post).

This morning as I lay in bed enjoying the non-wake up calls of my children, I pondered upon that mistake. Why did I say 12 and 8? Probably because our original plan would have had the kids be closer in age, and my ideal age gap would have been 4 years apart. Yet again the age gap question that lurks in the deepest corners of my subconscious. This time, however, I started realizing that I actually was happy the length in age, for I am starting to see Michael grow out of childhood and into teenage/young adulthood. And there is Willow, just on the cusp of all the things I really love about childhood. So, while sometimes I do wish that they were closer in age, I realized that while that would have been my "ideal", I am damned lucky to have this chance to relive those childhood milestones again, and yet see the future too.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Note to Daycare Provider...

Hubs wrote this:

(Sorry, can't seem to make it bigger)

Today is Willow's last day at family daycare. She has made visits to Preschool and will be starting there on Monday. I bought Hoodsies and a thank you card with gift to her family daycare provider...but I thought my husband did one better than all that...he gave of his heart.

Willow has been with this home care provider since she was 5 months old. She has been there through my lay-off (part time) and through various stages of her development (she is leaving with potty training in full swing). I can tell you her love of babies can be directly related to the time in this care. And I know they will both miss each other. (And yes, I will try to make time for some visits!)


Roll Out

Well, after over nine months of unemployment, I have accepted an offer for a position at a mid-sized law firm.  So, the "strange normal...