Monday, March 28, 2016

Big Boy Time

Sam has plowed forward from toddler to childhood with both fists swinging. Happy Fourth Birthday, son.

Uncharacteristically for the third-of-three-children, Sammy had the unique pleasure of having a birthday all to himself tonight. We stopped for cupcakes at Delicious on the way home, cooked his favorite stroganoff for desert, and opened and played with possibly the two most perfect presents for this little warrior (see below).

Jack and Caroline are now off at Camp Sparty, cavorting with Nana over Spring Break. We were all down in Sparty for the weekend for Easter, hanging with the fam.

We did up a big party for Sammy at lunch on Saturday, opened presents and sliced and diced the custom-made, '77-vintage Wilton-brand Batman cake. Matilda stayed up all night baking that cake - well, actually I didn't get started until I was sure that the UNC victory over Indy in the Sweet Sixteen had been cemented. Doc slaved away all morning getting the totally sweet icing job completed - the result? Perfection:


 Sam was duly impressed. It was just what he had requested. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was getting to spend nearly all of the next day ensconced in his the arms of his beloved Annelise.

Before we left, I was a little concerned that Sam would feel like he was missing out, not getting to spend time at Camp Sparty with the other kids. Three hours in the car later, having basked in the glow of having the iPad ALL TO HIMSELF (we did not hear one peep out of him the whole car ride) I was reassured that he would be OK.

So today, just the three of us - a concept that Sam is totally alright with, at least in the short term - we had ourselves a pretty good little day. It ended up, after popsicles at school and cupcakes at home, with Sammy beating the snot out of his new "Bad Guy" punching bag:

When he's not kicking this guys toosh, he steps back to launch a few arrows from his new bow and arrow set. The only disappointment? "Dad, I really wanted my own hatchet for my birthday," he says. Maybe next year, big guy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Four years in a flash

A lot can happen to someone in four years.

For BamBam, it was the development of his senses, growing teeth, learning to walk, to talk, to run, to jump, to reason, to laugh, to lie, to apologize, to chase, to hunt, to wrestle, and to love.

For me, it was transitioning from being a mother of babies to a mother of children and it happened so fast I hardly noticed.  I don't remember the last bottle I heated.  I couldn't tell you the last diaper I changed.  I don't even think I can recall the last night I was needed to rock someone to sleep.

I guess that's nature way of protecting a mothers' heart.  Had I known it was going to be the last night of footie pajamas or the last time I would see BamBam suck his thumb, I would have fought more to make it last.

I try hard to teach my kids about nature and the circle of life. I want them to be comfortable with the phases we all must go through and embrace them with excitement and optimism.  The best is yet to come, my children.  Today, though, I find myself needing that same pep talk.

So's ok to miss the midnight feedings, the soft cries of a newborn, binkies, Huggies, bouncers, chest snuggles, nursing, napping with warm sweaty heads, boogers on all my clothes, puffs, strollers, the Bjorn, baby food, and sippy cups (though do let me remind you how much you cursed them at the time).  But now is the time of real work.  You taught them to walk and talk but now you get to teach them to think and to reason.  You are now going to be shaping how they see and present themselves to the world.  It's daunting, yes.  But it's also going to be so much fun.  Now is the time of sweet surprise questions in the car or while cooking dinner.  Conversations can be bigger and richer and so too can the emotions.  It used to only be happiness or anger, laughter or crying.  Next is curiosity and hope and melancholy and trepidation and pride and fear and empowerment and accomplishment.

Don't worry.  You still get to hunt for lovies every night and fight the monsters in the closet or the toxins in the veggies on the dinner plate.  And I bet they aren't done with the snuggles quite yet.  But you also will get to watch her keep a smile on the kindergarten stage even though HoneyBadger is scared out of her mind or watch BamBam sing his ABCs into the microphone at pre-K graduation with the pride of a thousand lions or listen to TenderHeart as he explains why BamBam shouldn't be afraid because they can conquer anything that comes as long as they are holding hands.

Your family is weaving together now that the babies have grow into their own skin and the connections you are making have so much more strength and color.  It's OK to shed a tear or two for the simplicity of the moments that are gone but don't dwell too much.  What is coming next is a thousand times more beautiful and powerful than you can even begin to imagine.

And Doc, most importantly, the moments to come are the same ones you will look back on with tearful nostalgia.  So work hard to be in them, with your entire self, both eyes and your full heart open.  The best is yet to come.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Perspective is priceless

I thought we were overwhelmed when Matilda and I were working parents to 3 small children, a dog, and an aging house.  Then I tore my hip labrum and realized we actually had it pretty good.

I thought we were overwhelmed when I went in for surgery.  Four weeks of crutches meant 4 weeks for Matilda to run the house.  Turns out the surgery was more extensive than we had anticipated and suddenly Matilda's workload doubled to 8 weeks and we realized only 4 weeks wasn't so long.

I thought we were overwhelmed post-op week 2 when the laundry started to pile up on the kitchen counter and the fridge couldn't be opened due to the smell.  But then I got shingles on the hip that is supposed to be wearing a brace 24/7 and simply being a one-legged invalid seemed easy in comparison.

I thought we were overwhelmed when I had a hard time wearing pants because of the shingles pain, much less helping with the laundry or the smelly fridge, when Tenderheart had surgery on his ear and Matilda got the flu simultaneously.  That was fun.  What hip surgery?

Then after a night of sleeping in 45min segments due to said ailments of all involved, Matilda and I finally fell asleep while the kids sat quietly in front of the TV when they all stormed up the steps with a burning electrical smell trailing behind them screaming that the wall was on fire.  True enough, the wall switch was hot and smoldering.  Apparently, electricians do not work on weekends. What shingles?

I thought we were completely and totally overwhelmed and stretched to the max.  Then, last night at 2am, Tenderheart woke up with the flu and I distinctly remember hearing God chuckling that we thought having 3 little kids, a dog, and an aging house was hard.

Here's to appreciating the moment we're in because God only knows what the next one may hold.