Great Expectations

Birthing babies is incredibly complicated and incredibly simple all at once. And while it is pretty freaking amazing, it rarely goes exactly according to (the meticulously researched, single-spaced, holistic birth) plan.

My guess is that it is just the universe’s way of saying, “You know how you thought you were prepared and in charge? You’re not. Welcome to parenthood. Neener neener.”

Parenting is full of a whole lot of unexpected events and feelings – some good, some bad, many hysterical and enlightening.

Some things I didn’t expect as a parent…

… how much I would simultaneously love and fear finger paints, stickers and silence.

… baby neck and armpit cheese.

… how very tired I would be.

… how happy and how sad I would be to see myself – traits both good and bad – reflected in my tiny people.

… how big a 2-year-old’s feelings are.

… how much it feels like failure or just getting by sometimes. And how universal that feeling is.

… how much work bedtime would be. And how lovely a quiet, full, sleeping house can be.

… how delicious baby cheeks, elbows, bellies and toes are.

… how much I would need to nurture my friendships. And just how much effort and scheduling that takes now.

… how amazing human development really is. From a helpless, little, human blob to a walker and talker in just about 365 days?! Unreal. Really.

… how much I love to be silly, to play, and to laugh with my children.

… how much I love whole milk yogurt.

… how much I feel like this is something I was supposed to do with my life, even in the hardest moments.

Smooches.

The Sweet Spot

It is 9:30pm. My family is sleeping.

I’m sitting in low Sunday night light, looking forward to climbing into my clean sheets.  The dryer is running downstairs, and I can smell the moist clean laundry smell. My children are clean, brushed, cozy, and sleeping that deep sleep of childhood.

 

My sweetest little one has learned to love sleep.  He sighs as he rolls to his side, pulls his silky blanket up to his face, and closes his eyes.  And I have sighed, too. I have felt my shoulders relax, my mind calm, as I slowly, slowly start to catch up on nights of sleep interrupted.

 

I made applesauce today from bright fall apples. My son told me he liked it better than chocolate pudding. High praise from a 4-year-old.

 

I pulled out a tiny ceramic tea set for Plum this morning. It was a leftover Christmas present; she was too little for it last year.  She dropped and broke one of the teacups this morning – she’s probably still too little. But she loves it, and loved making tiny cup after tiny cup of tea, coffee, and some other creation that included peppermint and salt. We played all morning, sipping delicious drinks from those thimble cups, as she poured the teapot, holding the top as she poured, always adding lots of sugar.

 

The sun was out today.  Leaves turning, falling.  The chill I love was back in the air after a stretch of rare October humidity.  And we had nowhere we needed to be.  We have many years of busy weekends to come.  Friends, sports, activities, adventures, all of these will fill our calendars too soon.  It has already started. But this weekend, today, I got to spend the day enjoying my cozy house and my favorite small people.

 

They are big, big enough to sleep, to play, to imagine, to inquire.

 

But they are little, too.  Little enough to snuggle, to need reassurance that monsters are never allowed in our house, and to love pudding more than just about anything.

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Two

1. I just noticed I hung the kids’ curtains upside down. They’ve been that way for years.  I may need a remedial course in drapery.

2. I recently cleaned out my purse.  You wouldn’t know this by looking at the contents, which include: stylin’ sunglasses for the 2-year-old set, a Chuck E. Cheese whistle, a kazoo, a Batman band-aid, lollipops, a bright green necklace that doubles as a teething toy (Chewbeads!) and, of course, a binky.

Mom Purse, Clean

Mom Purse, Clean

 

3. Clearly, Pickle has been watching too much Wild Kratts lately. He wants to be either a Peregrine falcon or a Harpy eagle for Halloween.  I’m pushing Spiderman cartoons, because that costume is much easier.

4. On everyone else the hairstyle is “beachy” or “tousled” but on me it’s just “messy.”

5. I already ordered my Christmas cards. I am equal parts happy and ashamed.

6. As part of our bedtime routine I spray “Sweet Dreams Spray” in the big kids’ bedroom.  Last week I ran out of the chamomile and lavender pillow mist I usually use, so I used Elnett instead.

Hairspray away the monsters!

Hairspray away the monsters!

Things I Like Thursdays

I’m thinking I should rename this blog feature “Things My Kids Like”…

Skip Hop Zoo Packs

Skip Hop makes great backpacks for kids. My children love them, and they are the perfect size. They are great for day trips, car rides, and flights.  Roomy enough to fit some toys, extra clothes, lovies, but still small enough that a toddler can comfortably carry it. Plum has the bee, Pickle has the zebra, and Pistachio has the giraffe waiting for him when he is big enough to carry it/care. Bonus: these make great and inexpensive gifts!

Image from Skip Hop.

Image from Skip Hop.

 

Kleynimals

Babies love keys. They just do.  But those silly plastic key-wannabes just don’t cut it. Kleynimals are lovely, jingly, well made, and safe for chewing, unlike the key to my minivan. They are bit pricey, but are a favorite of Mr. Pistachio. Bonus: you can put them in the dishwasher, and you can have them engraved for a lovely baby gift.

Image from Kleynimals

 

Note: I have no affiliation with Skip Hop, Kleynimal or Amazon.  I don’t receive anything for liking them, or linking to them, I just like their products.  

Admissions of a Tired Mom

Croak?

Croak?

1. The other day, I actually thought that it might be nice to get sick. But only sick enough that I would feel justified in staying home and sleeping all day.

2. There is a dead frog in my car. Somewhere. Thankfully (?) it is flat and dried.

3. I sometimes feel bad about:
a. not reading The New Yorker;
b. not eating enough fish;
c. sometimes writing “congrats” instead of “congratulations,” because that’s just lazy.

4. I don’t watch much TV, except for Wild Kratts and Curious George, so I’m woefully behind in my knowledge of news and pop culture.  And I don’t really go anywhere interesting anymore.  This paired with my usual state of exhaustion means that I am, in fact, only able to talk about my children.  I do recognize how annoying this is.

5. My children think they have the power to change stoplights and songs on the radio using only their minds.  This is going to come back to bite me, I’m sure.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

Growth

Pickle, if sometimes I look at you with a bewildered look on my face, it is because you’ve just used the word “concentration” or “distract” or “predator” correctly and I have no idea how that is possible. 

Pickle

 *****

Plum, if I laugh at you when I’m supposed to be grumpy at your utter disregard for direction or instruction, it is because you have seen my displeasure, and instead of heeding my request, go your merry way saying simply, “Be HAPPY, Mama!” 

Plum

 *****
Pistachio, if I spend too much time kissing your wobbly cheeks each evening, and making you chortle, it is because I see my baby turning into a thinking, exploring, social little being and I know you will change into a toddler too soon. 
Pistachio
 *****
True, some days bedtime can’t come early enough.  But even on those days, I can’t imagine my luck, my three dear ones. 

I Miss Brunch.

I saw them. Sitting outside in the August overcast cool. They had drinks, cocktails, beer, small plates. They were leaning back, relaxed. They were talking. Laughing. Sipping.

Brunch. 2pm on a Sunday.

I looked at them and thought that perhaps after brunch, they’d wander home, flip through a magazine, take a nap under a spinning ceiling fan, belly full and head a little swimmy from the mimosas. They’d wake up, maybe shop a bit for nothing in particular, and without a list or itinerary. They’d pick up a piece of fish or some scallops for dinner. They’d take a walk. They’d take a drive. They’d go pick some raspberries. They’d consider going to the movies and decide against it. They’d finish reading the Sunday paper or the latest New Yorker. Maybe that woman would research a new bathroom fixture, pluck her eyebrows. Maybe she’d spend some time sorting old photos or looking up new recipes, listening to a podcast of storytellers. Maybe she’d finally clean out that closet. Make some raspberry muffins. Fold some laundry. Lie in bed in the quiet and think.

I miss that.

I miss brunch.

I miss the me I used to get to be. I miss being untethered.

I would like to say that I am the same person I was before I had children. But I’m not. The very center of me has changed. I am tied to them and there is never a moment they aren’t with me. In me.

And now, even when I get that time, that time to myself, to enjoy lazy brunches, to browse bookshops, to just be, by myself, and to recreate those untethered times, I recognize they are just that — recreations. They are wonderful and restorative times, but they are recreations of a time and a me that no longer exist. And when my hour or two is over I slip off that costume of my former self and return to being me, the current edition.

Still, sometimes, I miss brunch. I’ve replaced it with unreasonable wake up calls, too much cold coffee, Cheerios on the floor. But I also get tiny toenails, perspectives on the world from those new to it, and the warmth and heaviness of small sleeping bodies laying, growing, breathing, against mine. And though sometimes I miss the way brunch used to be, the changed me wouldn’t trade. And I know that’s the way it is supposed to be.

New Normal