How quickly we forget…

A woman I know – a brand new mom – reached out on Facebook the other day to mention how much her world had been rocked by the arrival of her son.  She mentioned this without a positive or negative spin.  There was no whining or wonder, just a mom noting how much her life had changed and how much hard work parenting a newborn is.

Then came the responses. There were so many women telling her to enjoy her baby! Cherish these moments! Change is good! He is adorable! Welcome to your new normal!  Your life has been changed for the better! It is a love you’ve never known! Welcome to MY world – now you get it! You’ll miss these days when they’re gone!

Blarghggghhlll, these posts gave me reflux.

How do we forget so quickly?

Why does “We’ve done it, so can you.” sound so dismissive rather than supportive?

The subtext of so many of these types of comments seems unkind and unsupportive:

Enjoy your baby! (Stop whining. We’ve all been there.)

Cherish these moments! (Stop whining. Why dwell on the bad stuff?)

Change is good! (Stop whining. What did you expect?)

How do we forget that the newborn “new normal” is occasionally terrifying, always exhausting, and can throw a person completely off kilter, no matter how much they love the little milky, loose-skinned, froggy-legged baby asleep on their chest?

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

I think my poet friend’s response was best “You are doing it! And you can do it! ❤ ❤ ❤ No subtext.  Just support and love from another new mom who isn’t so far past that newborn world-rocking that she forgets what it is like.

Because it is so hard – it is bigger, more all-encompassing than that even.  And you just do it.  You get through the days, you get through the nights. You have good moments, bad ones, lots of tired ones.  You call in your village if you have one.  Or you call your village if they are far away.  Or you call your doctor.  You accept help, pay for it, ask for it, or struggle through without it.  You do it.  You just do.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

I’m making a promise to myself that I’ll try my darnedest not to forget the feelings, the exhaustion, the crazy way the universe shifted completely when Pickle was born.  And I promise my friends that I’ll never demand that they cherish their baby and enjoy every damn moment.  I’ll just love them, remind them of their own strength, hold them up when they need me to and bring dinner when possible.

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Five

1. My kids wear their shoes on the wrong feet ALL OF THE TIME.  I always tell them, but I don’t usually make them switch them if they don’t want to.

2. I dislike the word “cray” (meaning crazy).  The Brits and Aussies (Kiwis, too) are really good at slang. “Bro, this Chrimbo, I’m going to slap some shrimp on the barbie for brekkie before we open prezzies, s’truth!” (Okay, I probably butchered that a bit, but a basic translation would be “This Christmas I’m going to grill shrimp for breakfast before we open gifts.”) Cockney slang takes things to a whole amazing other level.  Americans?  We’re just not as good at slang.

3. I could eat Russell Stover pectin jellybeans until my tongue bled.  I’m not proud of this.

Nom nom nom.  Image from Russell Stover.

Nom nom nom. Image from Russell Stover.

4. I thought my brie and Juicy Juice dinner was awful.  Then I got sick, for quite some time. I lost my appetite and most of my sense of taste. So dinner a few weeks ago was croutons.  Out of the bag.  Because I couldn’t taste much.  We needed to go food shopping.  And they were crunchy.  And there. And I was tired. And I wanted to go to sleep, but I was supposed to eat something with my meds, and stay upright for at least 10 minutes (weird, instruction, right?).

Crunch.  Image from Pepperidge Farm.

Crunch. Image from Pepperidge Farm.

5. Rare moment of parenting genius? Buying my 4-year-old son a DUSTBUSTER for Christmas.  He and his sister love it.  They can carry it, it is noisy, and exciting.  They cruise around the house, dustbuster at the ready, looking for “yuckies” to suck up into its whirling vortex.  And when they suck up something they shouldn’t (there was a dollar bill on the floor?) we can simply open the DB up, and retrieve the item. And I never have to yell “Shut that thing off already!” because it is rechargeable, and needs to be plugged back in after 30 minutes of hunting yuckies. $40 very well spent.  Thanks, Santa.

Vrooooom.  Image from Amazon.

Vrooooom. Image from Amazon.

Happy Friday, and happy Spring!  Bring on the mud and daffodils!

PS – Not affiliate links, just for your convenience.

That was for me.

That extra episode of Octonauts I let you watch?

That was for you, because you’ve been helpful, patient and kind this week.

But that was also for me, because I needed 23 minutes to pack bags for tomorrow, load the dishwasher, feed the cat, and breathe, for just a second.

 

That third lullaby I sang tonight?

That was for you, because you love our rare quiet time together, my third child.

But that was also for me, because you are growing too fast, because the glider will move out of your bedroom too soon, and because your warm hand on my cheek and full face smile as I sing won’t last forever, it won’t even last the year.

 

That dance party in the kitchen?

That was for you, because you’ve been cooped up too long in this winter house and need to wiggle and giggle and move.

But that was also for me, because your shimmies, and beautifully un-self-conscious twists, hip shakes and jumps are so lovely, so silly, and so free, and someday you’ll worry more about how you look as you dance, and who is watching.

 

That late bedtime?

That was for you, so I can ease you into this time change.

But that was also for me, as you sat, gently combing my hair and we pretended to color and style, because someday soon, you’ll both be too busy to bother playing hairdresser with your mom, even if she lets you stay up late.

 

My babies, my marvelous little people, thank you for the gifts you give me every day.

three

Midweek Deep Thoughts

Have you seen Ugly Volvo‘s recent post entitled “All of my Issues With the “Goodnight Moon” Bedroom“?  It’s great.  And right on.  When you have to read the same book or listen to the same song over and over (and over), you can’t help but over analyze.  My children are currently obsessed with the Kidz Bop version on “Kokomo”.  (Excruciating.) The Kidz Boppers have changed the lyrics “afternoon delight” and “cocktails” to make them tamer. But they have left in the phrase “tropical contact high”.  For real?!  I shake my head in annoyance every time I hear that verse.  And then I immediately wonder “WHY AM I WASTING VALUABLE BRAIN ENERGY THINKING ABOUT THIS?!

If there is something better than the slightly crispy broiled cheese that hangs over the edge of a crock of French onion soup, I don’t know what it is.

Serious Eats recently posted a pretty amazing French Onion  Soup recipe.  This is their photo.  Click on the photo to take you to the recipe - and check out the blog post "How to Make the Best French Onion Soup" while you're there.

Serious Eats recently posted a pretty amazing French Onion Soup recipe. This is their photo. Click on the photo to take you to the recipe – and check out the blog post “How to Make the Best French Onion Soup” while you’re there.

The other day, a few gals commented on my have-it-togetherness. I found this hysterical. My hair was wet, I had just fed my kids bribery donuts, I forgot some necessary school item (like a coat for Pickle, in NH, in winter), I was exhausted and I had just discovered that the shirt I was wearing (to work) was coated in something sticky.  I didn’t feel together. At all.  I never do.  But, as these ladies noted, my kids are clean(ish) and happy and I’m pretty calm (perhaps, “tired and resigned to chaos” is a more accurate description).  Sure, I’m in desperate need of some mascara, but I’m doing alright when it comes to the big stuff. It was nice to stop for a second and reflect on that.  It was also a nice reminder that the folks I admire for having it all together probably feel the same way I do.

My little Pistachio just turned one.  He is awesome.  He is a baby optical illusion – people constantly remark on how large he is when he is actually quite average size.  He loves to dance.  He loves his brother.  He is the straight man in our family farce.  And he is a smart little dumpling who has recently started hiding his binkies, just because he can.  A few months ago I dedicated a post to him, and how often he looks at the camera, just as I snap the photo, as if to say, “Really?!”  He didn’t let me down on his birthday (see photo). But the part of that post about sleeping through the night?  Yeah, I take that back. Birthday wha?

Onward and upward, friends!

The REAL Holiday Card 2014

I think some year we should all skip the professional photos, color-coordinated holiday outfits and kids with combed hair and we should put photos of our real lives on our holiday cards.  Last year, my card looked like this:

REAL Holiday Card 2013

REAL Holiday Card 2013

 

This year, we actually gave in and had professional photos taken.  Since I’m usually the photographer (and a mediocre one at best) I was thrilled to have some photos I’m actually IN.  We ended up with some good shots.  But my very favorite photo? No one is looking at the camera, my belly is hanging over my jeans, and my husband is being attacked by our cute 2-year-old.  But it kind of sums things up.  That’s my life.  Things don’t go quite according to plan and stuff is a little chaotic, but we’re in it together, we help each other out, and can laugh about all of it.

So without further ado, I reveal The Real Tartlet Christmas Card 2014:

Card design is "Winsome Holly" by Tiny Prints

Card design is “Winsome Holly” by Tiny Prints

“Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.”

– How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Things I Love Thursdays

The latest installment!  Holiday shopping is upon us, so here are some ideas for great gifts for kids.  As usual, I don’t get any sort of kickback for recommending this stuff.  I just like it. 

Micro Kickboard Mini Micro Classic Scooter – This scooter is awesome for the 3-5 set (my children started using it at 2).  The double wheels in the front makes it easy to balance and steer.  It is lightweight, active and fun.  Speaking of Christmas gifts, my 4.5 year old is probably ready for the next size up (the Maxi Micro). 

Mini Kick Scooter by Micro Kickboard. Image from microkickboard.com.

Mini Kick Scooter by Micro Kickboard. Image from microkickboard.com.

 

Elemenosqueeze Blocks by B. All of my children play with these. They are fun as blocks, but they’re so much more.  They are colorful and chewable.  They are squeezable – and my kids love the little whoosh of air squirted on their faces and hair. They are the complete alphabet with great graphics on each side. Young children can stack and balance them more easily than other blocks because they aren’t slippery. AND they aren’t dangerous – since they aren’t hard, they can be thrown and stepped on without pain (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Lego). Bonus? They come in a carrying case. 

Images from Amazon.

Elemenosqueeze Blocks by B. Image from Amazon.

 

Edison the Petite Lamp by Fatboy – This is a bit of a strange recommendation for a child-friendly “toy”, but hear me out.  I love this little lamp.  We received this as a gift and I was a bit confused about why until I got it home.  This little LED lamp is molded out of plastic, so there are no light bulbs to mess with.  It has three different brightness levels. It is rechargeable and each charge lasts for 6-8 hours (or more, in our experience).  It has replaced nightlights in our house.  Our children can take it to bed to read a book, and we don’t have to worry about burns, or broken glass or plastic.  It is definitely splurgy, but is well-designed and so very useful. The little switch tag is rubber and can break off, so be sure to use it with kids who won’t try to eat small rubber things. 

fatboy

Edison the Petit by Fatboy. Image from Amazon.

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Three

1. First of all, don’t serve kids rice.  Or couscous.  You’re just asking for trouble.  But if you do, and if (when) they dump it on the rug, don’t clean it up immediately.  Let it dry.  It is so much easier to clean up once it is dry.  If I was going to add a hashtag to this post it would be #WENEEDADOG.

 

2. My kids don’t have dedicated rain gear.  I’m just not going to spend $40 on a raincoat they’ll wear twice and outgrow.  Sorry kids, you’ll dry out quickly enough. 

 

3. It is wasteful and silly, but I throw out bread heels. I know I should freeze them, compost them or make bread crumbs or something, but I just don’t.  

 

4. In the middle of hanging photos I couldn’t find our tape measures. Anywhere.  Even in Pickle’s room.  So I used this:
Measuring the Marigolds

Images from Amazon. Not affiliate links.

Why?  Because the back of the toy looks like this: 
Marigolds

Inchworm indeed!

 

5. I am suspect of juice cleanses, multi-level marketing and artificial sweeteners.

 

6. One of my least favorite things about being a mom (besides the worry, guilt, fear, sleepless nights, etc.) is that I am FOREVER PACKING AND UNPACKING BAGS FULL OF KID STUFF.  I am hopeful the day they can do this for themselves is fast approaching (yeah right). 

Things I Love Thursdays

And now for your latest installment of TILT!  Just so you know, these aren’t affiliate links, I just like this stuff.

MagnaTiles – These flat, magnetic blocks are awesome. My children play with these just about every day.  We build buildings, make pizza, make rockets, the options are unlimited, and they really encourage creative play. They are even fun for parents.  Downside? Super expensive. 

Image from MagnaTiles.com. Click on the image for to go there.

Image from MagnaTiles.com. Click on the image to go there.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee – I know I’m not alone in my love of this book.  It is a simple (and not too long! Major perk at bedtime – I’m looking at you Mike Mulligan) book about sweet friendship and the illustrations are just lovely.  We have a lot of books, and this one consistently ranks among my favorites.

Amos

Image from Amazon.

Max Daniel Security Blanket – Pickle and Plum chose Angel Dear Blankies as their security blankets/lovies. I thought Pistachio would do the same.  But this soft, silky blanket gifted by my sister is his lovey of choice.  I can’t say I blame him.  It is cozy and luxurious, and a nice size.  It is pretty darn expensive for a lovey but it is his favorite. 

Image from Amazon (click on photo to link there).  You can also see these at maxdaniel.com.

Image from Amazon (click on photo to link there). You can also see these at maxdaniel.com.

Boo! A little bit late.

Halloween 2014 – A Recap, about ten days late

The Costumes: Batman (with muscles!), a lamb (pronounced “yam”), and a bat.

dressedup

The Numbers: 60 Trick-or-Treaters visited our house. So I suppose the 480 pieces of candy I bought was a bit excessive.

The Good: A really amazing tree costume.  He may have actually been a tree stand, now that I think about it.  And his buddy was a squirrel. The best part?  The costumes were clearly homemade, and the kids were 9-year-old boys.  Nice. 

The Bad: The mom wearing her costumed 14-month-old and trick-or-treating.  Really?  She’s too little and you’re too big. I give the kids 3 pieces each, but you? You get ONE.

The Icky: Plum thought the carving was vastly overrated.  Pumpkin guts? Ew.  Pickle loved it.  Pistachio? He munched on some chicken and puffs and watched us, amused. 

The Strange: A 50-year-old woman trick-or-treating with her dog.  The dog wore a cape. The woman wore a Mickey Mouse costume.  She pushed a loaded up baby stroller.  No baby, just lots of stuff.  Still confused by this one.

The Philosophy: Eat it all, as fast as you’d like.  It gets rid of the candy faster, only coats those teeth with caramel for one or two days (sorry dentists!) and perhaps helps with the “you eat too much candy, you feel ill” self-restraint lesson. 

score

The Boss: Pickle liked his costume and his candy, of course.  But I think he liked handing out the candy the best.  “Take two!” he would instruct seriously.

The Awesome: The very concerned 8-year-old who seemed so sad that Pickle was handing out candy and wasn’t out in costume, having fun and trick-or-treating.  I assured him that Pickle had already made the rounds. Three cheers for caring, thoughtful kids. 

The Verdict: Halloween is awesome. Thanksgiving?  Not nearly as cool. 

 

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.