First Day and Everyday

Pickle

First grade starts next week.

First grade for my kind, freckled thinker who is finding his voice, and up at night pondering the merits of inboard motors.

He will be fine.  What choice does he have other than to be fine, to navigate his life on his own, at least a little bit, and figure out the way of the world through the small, significant, triumphs and heartbreaks of childhood.

The skinny-legged boy with the too-big backpack (aren’t they all?) will walk into school and I will drive away.  And get a coffee.  And drive to work.  I will not worry.

I am ready for the big moments.

I am ready for first steps, lost teeth, first days.  I am ready to watch them glide away without training wheels, to sound out books on their own, to tie their shoes.

My tender heart catches when I least expect it.

When the biggest helps the littlest with his shoes.

When the middle uses a big word I haven’t heard her use before.

When the wobbly toddler gait all of a sudden becomes smooth and coordinated.

We may mark the time with first steps and first days.  But it is those tiny changes, the ones we almost don’t see, that add up to people, our people, growing a hair’s width every night.  Our little people whose lives slowly and beautifully start to become their own, separate from us.  One millimeter, one second at a time.

In the cool dark, the clock ticks and they sing our bedtime songs with lyrics of their own.  And then a quiet pause as they drift away into dreams that are theirs alone.

 

 

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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.

 

A happy home. ❤️

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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

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part 6

1. I bought more personalized stationery.  I couldn’t help it.  It has rainbow unicorns on it.  (Yes, I am aware that I am 37 years old.) It also has woodland creatures.  And apparently I have a thing for woodland creatures.
Unicorny.  This is the Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

Unicorny! Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

2. Those big crystals of sugar they put on the top of muffins? I HATE THEM. Stop wrecking my muffins!
muffin

 

3. I wrote a list of things that I really should do to make my life feel more comfortable, well-rounded and full.
  • Read – really read – a poem every day (or heck, at least once a week).
  • Have fresh flowers around.
  • Grow something (not just children).
  • Have a nice bed.
  • Eat more fish and more green things.
  • Go to the theatre – and not just musicals.
A pretty good list.  And while my mattress IS of legal drinking age and needs to be put out of its misery, my list also offered me some lovely perspective. It doesn’t contain items like survive, heal, or feel respected and loved so maybe I’m doing alright.

 

4. I’m pretty sure most people drink too much water, or think they need more water than they do. Really.

 

5. My mom was right about a lot of things:
  • As you get older, your hair gets less greasy. Thankfully, true! 
  • You should keep track of the Christmas presents you give, so you can keep things even and avoid giving the same gifts 2 years in a row. Yes. You think you will remember, but you won’t.
  • There is value to comfy undies. Duh. I have no idea why my sister and I fought her on this one.
  • Sometimes you will forget which baby is in the baby picture. I didn’t think it was possible to be unable to recognize your own children in photos, but sometimes I’m baffled even though I birthed them!
A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio.  Who is who?!  I have no idea!  (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point...)

A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio. Who is who?! I have no idea! (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point…)

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.

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.

A porcupine in my throat…

This Mama was down for the count.

Strep visited 3 of the 4 family members and I was the third. When I felt a strange burning on my tongue I hoped for the best. But I was up at 2:30 that night, pretty miserable, and making calls to my doctor’s office (did you know that the answering service can make appointments?! Most excellent!).

The doctor’s office swabbed me to confirm (rapid strep tests, also most excellent) and sent me packing with a prescription and directions to lay low for a day while those antibiotics started working. Kids at school, I called work, told them I was in quarantine, had them send me some work, picked up my prescription and went home to change into my pajamas.

Here’s the thing about being home sick.  It is hard not to look around my house and see things that need doing. In my mind, I had laid out my plan for the day.  The plan consisted of mostly work, with just a few “I’m-sick-but-not-on-my-deathbed” housekeeping tasks thrown in.  Work 3 hours, change sheets, put away laundry, change diaper genie, take out trash, return library book, start dinner, work three more hours, get kiddos. Sounded good to me.

But you know what?  My plan was dumb.

I was tired.  I was sick. And I was (am!) 6 months pregnant.

Mamas, self care is too often sacrificed for the sake of laundry. Aren’t we smarter than that?

Laundry is never going to go away.  But hopefully, with rest, fluids, and Amoxicillin, strep throat will.

So I amended the plan.  Housekeeping triage.  I removed the stinky things from the house (trash and diaper genie), made some tea, did some work (but not enough) while sitting on the couch in pajamas, and took an hour-long nap.  Much better.

The laundry will still be there tomorrow – and yes, there will be more of it – but I’ll be feeling better.

Sick.