You Get What You Need

I want a cup of tea.

Not herbal. The real stuff. With milk and sugar.

And I want someone to make me popovers.

Which I will eat warm with a little butter and cinnamon sugar.

 

I want someone to wash my duvet cover and then put it back on my comforter. Because if we’re honest with each other, that is a four-person job.

 

I want a week to declutter, shuffle and reshuffle, purge (stuff, not vomit – though both usually make you feel better), think about writing something, nap.

 

I want dinner to be done, meals planned. But really, I want to do that stuff myself.

I want a bedside clock for my husband that isn’t the brightest clock on the planet.

I want the socks paired.

Oh the socks.

 

I want not to worry about the four RSVPs, camps, birthday party to plan.

I want to be grateful that I have parties, camps, birthday parties to worry about.

I want new work shoes that I don’t have to break in.

I want to use the hours between 8:30pm and 10:30pm wisely at least once a week.

I want to figure out how on earth to spend more time being and less time doing.

 

I want to cook every day. Walk every day. Sleep more. Pick up less. Read to my kids more. Explore more. Love more. Give more.  Fight more for the things I think are worth fighting for. And sit on a blanket on the grass in the sun.

 

I want to spend more time doing silly and creative things, and less time wondering what could have possibly spilled on the floor to make it that sticky.  I want more time with my kids. I want more time with my husband. I want more time by myself.

I want more time having grown-up conversations. With wine. I want more music in my house. I want less dust. I want my kids to eat less yogurt.

 

I want more dancing in my life.

 

And I want the thank you notes to write themselves.

 

Pistachio Turned Two

A few weeks late my dearest little.
You turned two.  TWO!
And cried when we sang to you.
And passed on the cake, too.
Because now it’s time to do things your way.
Because you’re two.

Our puzzle doer, our book reader, who loves to show us and tell us that you get it, that you’ve got things figured out. You ask for what you want. Your demands are most often reasonable, a banana, a book, a binkie, a blanket, and bed.

Our blonde, dimple-cheeked boy, with the adorable almost-buck-toothed grin and throaty giggle.  I worry about that mischievous glint in your eye, but I don’t worry much.

Our curious boy, who tries to stump us, by suggesting random animals and items during our nightly singing of “Old MacDonald.”  I never knew that Old MacDonald’s farm contained a bear, an ear and a blanket.  And I do not know what sound an ear makes.

Our cuddly guy, the one most likely to climb into my lap, and cuddle into my side. Always willing to snuggle in the low light before bed.  Longer legs dangle now, but your head still fits perfectly between my ear and my shoulder.

I love how you love your siblings, and how they love you.  The three of you are so joyful in the mornings, when you greet each other in your room, tickled that you’re all together another day, making that laughing, glorious noise that can only be created by gaggles of small delighted children. You are gifts to one another.  You are gifts to us.

I love you so much my dear littlest one. Happy birthday to you.

To my firstborn at midnight.

To My Firstborn at Midnight

I wake you gently at midnight.

And you yawn and stretch,

Your mouth widening into the imperfect “O” I suddenly remember from years ago,

When your limbs were not so long, your sleep not so solid.

When you were still so small you fit in my arms. And we spent minutes and hours in the glow of the hall nightlight.

Your face, grown, is still yours.

And your crooked yawn is the same.

And I can’t quite believe how heavy you have become as I pick up your slack, warm, lanky body that smells like spit, and sweet sweat, and blankets.

And I am glad. And tired.

Because the middle of the quiet nights with you are mine alone.

It will be years until another person knows your midnight yawn.

For now, it is all mine.

 

 

Of Long Labors and Crinkly Whales

Recently, I was asked to offer some words of encouragement and advice to a friend expecting her first child. My first piece of advice? Pay no attention to even the most well-intentioned pieces of advice. With that said, here are a few things I’ve learned on my 3 trips to baby town.

 

  1. Doctors don’t want to scare you, so they don’t tell you exactly how long labor will last. But I will. Labor will last a long time. A few days. Yes, days. I know only two women whose first labors lasted less than 24-hours. Two. (I’m not counting scheduled C-sections.) And when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, anxious to meet your little one, in pain, and don’t know what to expect the whole process will seem excruciatingly long, miserable, and sometimes a bit out-of-control, no matter how well you plan. But you will be okay. You will.

 

  1. Get one of these.
rockn

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

 

  1. People with children who are teenagers or older will tell you to enjoy every minute, that it all goes by so fast. Those people are wrong. You won’t enjoy/savor/cherish every minute. In fact, I think it is far more likely that you’ll find a lot about caring for an infant to be tedious, repetitive, messy, exhausting and not-so-fun. BUT, it gets better, and there are lovely, quiet, rewarding, amazing moments.

 

  1. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re doing everything wrong. You aren’t.

 

  1. Forget what the books and registry guides say. Children don’t need much: love, warmth, a food source, and when they get a little older, a toy that makes a crinkly crunchy sound. You have enough and you are enough. Get this whale for the crinkly toy part.
Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

  1. Don’t feel bad about asking for what you need. If someone asks what they can do to help, tell them to bring food and hold the baby for an hour while you shower and nap. Never underestimate the restorative power of a shower and a nap. (In the reverse, if someone is over-staying their welcome, don’t feel bad about asking them to leave.)

 

  1. Bring your own pillow to the hospital. The bed is uncomfortable enough. Don’t add to your misery by sleeping on a pillow encased in rubber.

 

You got this, Mama.

The REAL Holiday Card 2015 Edition

Welcome to the yearly edition of “The REAL Holiday Card”.

Forget the lovely professional photos where everyone is clean, looking at the camera, and wearing coordinated (but not matchy-matchy) outfits.  Real life looks more like this:

Card design is "Jovial Holidays" from Tiny Prints.

Card design is “Jovial Greetings” from Tiny Prints.

 

Key to photos:

graph

Cards from past years are here:

The REAL Holiday Card 2014

The REAL Holiday Card 2013

Here’s hoping your holiday preparations are proceeding as planned!

With love from, The Tartlets

Middle Hours

middle

My middle. My girl. Fierce, wide-eyed, brave. With your loud, true laugh and a run that looks like dancing, skipping, rushing. Like your feet can’t keep up.

You’ve never loved hugs. They don’t suit you in the daylight.

But at night, when the house is sleeping, you crawl into my bed, pulling the covers over you and my arms around you. Placing my arms where you would like them. Silently asking to be held and showing me how. Nestled into my chest. Sighing.

And there you stay, for five minutes or forty-five. Quiet. Awake. Close. Until I ask gently if you are ready, ready to go back to your bed. Sometimes you need more time. Sometimes you whisper “yes” and sneak with me back into the room where your brother sleeps so deeply. And I cover you up, whisper “I love you” and watch as you smile and close your eyes.

My middle, my center.

To Pickle at Five

More than four, less than six

I kiss your tangy sweaty little boy head as you push me away.

There is sand in your hair clinging to your scalp.

Because you were doing somersaults in the dirt.

I should have known.

***

In early evening you sit, tired from a day spent figuring out the workings of the world, inside and out.

Your little brother crawls over you.  And over you again.

You don’t mind. You barely look away from the program on the TV.

***

You have grown so capable.

Limbs lengthening. Now all muscle and bone, and soft tight skin.

New freckles dot your nose. Your teeth used to seem so big.

***

Last week we saw the planets, and marveled at the vastness of the universe.

How this goes around that, and that goes around this.

And I marveled at you, my boy, who entered this world face up, eyes open.

***

Reflection

Happy belated birthday to my dearest Pickle, a kind and generous boy who has only just started being a little too cool for my kisses.

Close up