Category Archives: She says…

She Says… Tough Cookie

When Owen was a baby he was so tough that I actually asked his doctor if he could have some weird disease that causes him not to feel pain. In retrospect it was silly, but I couldn’t understand how he seemed completely unfazed by injuries that would have made me cry, even as an adult. He is always black and blue from climbing on things, jumping off of them, hitting the walls, bonking his face into things.

He is one tough cookie.

Today we got a call from daycare that Owen had been standing on a block and when he toppled off of it, his head hit the bookcase. He was left with a deep cut below his lip (and he bit his cheek from the inside, making his whole cheek swell up). After a good, quick cry and some hugs and first aid from his teacher, he was feeling fine again. I rushed over to school (thankful I live less than 5 minutes away!) and found him happily sucking on his popsicle reading a book with his teacher.

“I fell into the bookshelf, Mommy!” he told me. And, with a touch of pride in his voice, “I am fine now. It’s just a cut.” “Are we going to go to the doctor? Can I watch tv after?”.

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I called our pediatrician to see if they could give me some guidelines about what types of cuts need to be addressed by a doctor and what types will heal normally on their own. Because I have no idea. Once I described the cut to them (about 1″ long, and maybe 1/8″ deep, the skin kind of gaping open), they were very clear: Go straight to the ER.

Benjamin and I did a quick hand-off since he happened to be home today too, packed a quick lunch and some entertainment for the waiting room and he headed off to take Owen to his first injury-related ER visit.

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I’m sure it won’t be the last.

In fact, knowing Owen’s antics, I’m surprised we made it this long without one. Our only other ER visit was asthma-related and much scarier.

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Thankfully we have an awesome ER right down the road, and all of the doctors agreed that they could use glue instead of stitches for this particular laceration. A few hours later, Owen was headed back to school, anxious to show his friends his cool skin glue, his hospital bracelet and a little toy truck that they gave him in the ER.

Another day, another doctor’s appointment! But all’s well that ends well.

She Says… Raising An Olympian

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Since Owen still couldn’t go to school on Friday (he only had a teeny tiny patch of the rash that Emmett had all over his body, but since I knew what it was I was NOT going to send him to school and spread it to his friends), we decided to hightail it out of town for a little mini-vacay to Grammy and Grampy’s house in New Hampshire.

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The mountain air does a body (and mind) good.

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Usually we drive in the afternoon and I spend a lot of the drive stressing about if Owen is sleeping or not, and what do we do about nap when we get there, etc. This time we decided to leave as early in the morning as possible to capitalize on Emmett’s morning nap and so we didn’t have to worry about Owen napping in the car at all (and if he fell asleep, I’d count it as his nap anyway since we are working on reducing nap time little by little for him). As it turned out, it was a brilliant move and everyone was pretty happy the whole way. Definitely our most successful drive yet (THANK GOODNESS for a baby who actually *likes* riding in the car… it is such a change from what Owen was like as a baby that it shocks me every time).

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It was a weekend of skiing and enjoying the (hopefully) last of the snow! Saturday we went cross country skiing.

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Owen did great, but proved that enjoying cross country skiing is likely something you have to grow into… “I don’t want to just WALK everywhere, Mommy!”.

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He was a good sport and gave it a really good try (his balance is quite impressive for a 3 year old!), but it wasn’t his favorite activity.

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Grammy and Grampy were generous to help share the kid-duty. Grampy continued skiing with Owen and Grammy watched Emmett for the morning so Benjamin and I could get a few hours of solo (duo?) skiing in. It was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen; conditions were perfect and the sunshine felt like a warm spring day.

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Sunday we went downhill skiing. THIS is Owen’s favorite. The kid is a SPEED DEMON and prefers to go straight down the hill, skis parallel, and not slow down or stop.

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We joked all day about how we had to take lots of pictures and video for the “Raising an Olympian” video they will undoubtedly need to make when he is an Olympic skier.

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Once again Benjamin and I got a few hours of kid-free ski time. It was so much fun to be out being active together.

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As with many of us, Owen’s favorite favorite part of the ski weekend was the apres ski. Aka hot tub time.

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He practiced dunking and swimming and jumping and splashing. Dude is so ready for summer when he can actually do those things for real. Weirdly, it seems like he somehow learned to swim (or at least greatly advanced his skills) with absolutely zero practice since last summer. We practically had to force him out.

An added bonus of the weekend away was that the time change passed us by without any issues at all (we were all so exhausted that everyone slept well at night, and our days/naps were all a bit different from our home routine anyway). Though it’s only been a couple days, we have definitely used the time change to our advantage and the early morning waking issue seems to be eliminated. No jinxies!

Now we’re back. Laundry is going. Kids are BOTH at school (and fingers are crossed we actually get a full week with no sick days for any of us!). Bodies are recharged and ready. It was just what the doctor ordered.

She Says… Sick Owen (Days 1 and 2)

Dear Sick Owen (Day 1),

You are the sweetest. I know, as a parent, I should never wish that my child felt sick. But last week, wrapped up in my quilt laying on the couch, you were the quietest, most polite, most gentle little version of yourself that I have ever seen. You felt vulnerable and breakable and sad. You held my hand and said “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” so softly and preciously I thought my heart might burst. You let me pat your hair and look into your sick, watery eyes.

It was one of those days when I realize that underneath the crazy drama of being three years old, you are truly a sweet, kind, gentle soul. A caring, empathetic, emotional little boy. A little dear.

You asked “Please Mommy, can I have some more water? Thank you” and said, “No thank you, Mommy” when I asked if you were ready to eat anything yet. You were quiet. And still. Quite unlike the you we see every other day.

I don’t know if it was all just an elaborate, sneaky plan to make me give you unlimited tv time and popsicles, but for the first time in your life, that’s what you got. I secretly loved waiting on you and clicking away on my laptop while you rested your feet in my lap and watched “Frozen” (your 2nd movie ever). I could have done without the puking, but, you know, we’ll forgive that little episode (that I had to clean up, single-handedly, with a pack of frozen baby wipes, minutes before our doctor’s appointment).

Although of course I am glad you are feeling better now, I kind of loved the way you needed me so much. I’m so glad I have the flexibility to be by your side on days like today.

Love,
Your Forever Nurse

 

Dear Sick Owen (Day 2),

You are feeling so much better today. Your energy is back along with your appetite, but you still can’t go to school thanks to a contagious rash. While yesterday you laid quiet and still on the couch while I worked, today you are impatient. Whiny. Angry that I can’t drop everything (ahem, my work) to be your playmate all day.

“Who can play with me?” you whine incessantly, while I try to explain that as much as I love you, I have other things to do (ahem, like work) and you will need to practice playing by yourself for a while. I regret not calling around frantically for a babysitter for you yesterday when I realized you would also be out of school today, assuming that you would be as easy and complacent as you were yesterday.

You cannot understand why I don’t want you to watch tv all day today, like you did yesterday. You refuse to eat anything and demand only popsicles, like you had yesterday. You whine that your tummy hurts, your head hurts, your hip hurts (?). When you said it yesterday it was received with empathetic nodding and gentle hugs. Today I know it is not the case, and I am irritated and tell you that you shouldn’t lie about those things to get what you want.

I get that it’s confusing. Because yesterday we shared a lot of sweet moments and you’re probably unsure of why things are different today. But they are. You’re not sick. And your whining about all of the “rules” I broke yesterday is making me never want to break them again. Why can’t you just be happy with the exceptions and enjoy them, rather than ruining them by expecting them to be the new routine? Exceptions are just that. Exceptions.

Now it is finally evening. After spending the day watching tv and playing quiet games so that I could get some work done, and amped up on a popsicle that I gave in and gave you (because it’s probably true that your throat still hurts a little), you are wild. WILD. Out of control. Bouncing off the walls. Now I remember why I always always always try to get you outside at least once a day to burn off some energy. You are running around the kitchen like a hurricane. I’m going to lose my mind.

The sweetness of yesterday’s real sick day has been almost completely overshadowed by today’s not-really-real sick day.

Thank goodness you can go to school tomorrow. I know I’m not supposed to feel that way, but sometimes, it’s true.

Love,
Your Tired Mama Who Has Spent Almost Her Entire Work Week Being a Nurse (And Still Has Work To Do)

 

She Says… Small Victories

Can I get a woot woot?

I feel like a rockstar when I can get dinner made at naptime (thank you, turkey enchilada casserole!). I’ve showered today. My hair is blown dry. The littles are peacefully napping (for now). Owen and I even got to the dentist this morning (please ignore the fact that it’s been a year since we went last and consider this a win…)! This is all even more amazing since yesterday Emmett was diagnosed with a CRAZY contagious rash all over his body and Benjamin was working half the weekend.

Let’s back up.

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I have been trying to make us dentist appointments for about, oh, a year now. And by “trying” I mean I had a reminder set in my calendar that I kept looking at and thinking, “Oh! Time to call the dentist!”, but then getting sidetracked by anything and everything before actually doing so. We went last back in January 2013, which meant that our 6 month follow-up put us EXACTLY at Emmett’s due date. Well, anyone who has had a baby (and probably anyone who hasn’t) can tell you that dentist appointments aren’t usually high on the list of priorities once the wee babe pops out… so it took us another 6 months to actually get there again. Ummm, oops. The grandson of a pediatric dentist should do better, eh?

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At least our visit was a huge, cavity-less success.

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Benjamin’s dad is my dentist (why yes, I DO still see a pediatric dentist…) so Owen gets to see Pop when we go. Even more incentive to keep up with our appointments! O hopped right up in the chair next to me, put on the cool shades he was offered, and chatted it up with all of the hygienists while they flossed and cleaned and counted his teeth. He could not have been happier or more at ease in the office. Hallelujah that he did not inherit my fear of all things teeth-related!

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He “played dentist” with everyone and loved getting to hit the buttons to move my chair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if any readers live in the Boston suburbs and need a pediatric dentist, check these guys out. I realize I’m biased, but I am always impressed with how they treat Owen when he is there. (Bonus: There are 2 adorable pictures of Owen blown up on the wall!).

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Everyone wanted to meet Emmett too, but alas, he was quarantined at home.

On Saturday I noticed that Emmett was shaking his head around and acting kind of fussy. In the afternoon he woke up with a temp and all of my Mommy signals were screaming “Ear infection!”, so I made an appointment with our doc for Sunday morning. When I put him to bed on Saturday night I noticed two small red dots on the backs of his shoulders. He is constantly battling eczema and has very sensitive skin, so I made a mental note about it to ask the doctor about it on Sunday. I know some viruses can come along with a rash as well, so figured that’s what he was fighting.

When he woke up in the morning, his arms and trunk were covered with what appeared to be boils or crusty sores. GROSS. The doctor confirmed my ear infection diagnosis, added on a symptom of blisters on the back of the throat and then called in 2 other docs to take a look at the weird rash. It looked like chicken pox, but the distribution wasn’t right. Long story short we figured out what it was (very contagious) and started treatment right away for all three things. SAD BABY. He hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, and won’t let us put him down. Can you blame him? Poor guy is exploding with an itchy rash all over his tiny little body! Benjamin was traveling all day Sunday (I survived the day without him!) but got home just in time before I had to handle double bedtime with a screaming baby. Phew.

I’m just counting on my magical Mommy immune system to get me through this one without boils all over my body too, because I’m not going to not touch or hold my sad little guy. In the meantime I’m bleaching and doing a constant rotation of laundry in hot water and anything else I can do to stop this awful infections from spreading to other members of the family.

Uhh, anyone want to come over and play?

She Says… The Evidence

His little body bounces out of the car after school, shouting “BLAH BLAH BLAH” at the top of his lungs while simultaneously showing me how high he can jump (“almost as tall as Mount Washington! Sixty five fifteen forty high!”). He asks about 75 questions in 1 minute without waiting for answers… and then asks a few questions later, without pausing, why I haven’t answered him yet. He leaves the door to the garage wide open, icy cold air seeping into our cozy house, strips his coat off and throws it on the floor. Seemingly impervious to the cold air, he drops down to the floor right in the open doorway (blocking anyone else from entering the house, even the person carrying his chubby little brother in the astonishingly heavy carseat), pulls his shoes off without unvelcroing them and tosses them into the air in a celebratory fashion, laughing no matter where they fall.

That’s only kind of what I meant when I set the expectation that we all take off our shoes and coats right when we walk in the door.

He races through the kitchen in his paint-stained sweatpants and undoubtedly rainbow shirt (no matter how many other shirts he owns, anything rainbow is going to be the favorite) with a twinkle in his eye, asking “Do you wanna see how fast I can run?”. There is no answer other than yes.

He flings open the doors to the toy cabinet in the living room and starts pulling things out. “Do you wanna play Candy Land? …or cars? …do you wanna play with me? Who can play with me?”. The questions come rapid fire and I do my best to dodge the ones that will make him upset and distract him with the answers I can give remotely while I balance the baby on one hip and attempt to get dinner started on the stove as quickly as possible.

He shoots tiny toy cars all over the kitchen floor (“wanna see which one wins?” and “look how far they can go!”) and then abandons them to ride his plasma car around our first floor. Thank goodness that our house has a circle for running and riding. He whizzes past me making silly faces and silly sounds each time he comes through the kitchen. I echo them and a new game is born. I am relieved it appears to be one I can play while still using two hands to make dinner and keeping one eye on the baby.

I stick the baby in front of a cabinet full of water bottles and let him go to town pulling them out and sucking on them, one by one, before he tosses them into the middle of the kitchen. Ignore the fact that they will all have to be washed once this little display is over. I don’t want to put him down after a day spent at school (no, all I want to do is nuzzle my nose into his chubby neck and breathe in his delicious baby smell), but I have to capitalize on the rare calm moments when I can. Yes, this is as calm as it gets around here in the evening.

Making dinner is like an obstacle course, leaping over pointy cars and rolling water bottle tops. Owen has finished riding his car, leaving it somewhere between the front door and the kitchen to undoubtedly taunt the dog (who is terrified of the wheeled creature he is sure is out to get him — and with Owen behind the wheel, he might be right). He writes his name in scrawly, rotated letters on the chalkboard that sits in our front hall for whenever the artsy feeling strikes (“Mommy! Come see what I wrote! O-W-E-N!”). He wipes his chalk dust covered hand on my pants and starts building a maze to roll little tiny choking hazards marbles around in. I run back in the kitchen to flip the salmon I have miraculously gotten in a hot pan with some oil and salt and pepper.

The baby bleats like a little lamb as he is stuck on his tummy, surrounded by water bottles and travel mugs and plastic cups. A miniature beached whale swimming in mid-air, his arms and legs flailing in a valiant attempt to move his body forward. He’s so close to crawling we can taste it, but he just can’t figure out how to get those knees up underneath him. Though I know it will open up a whole new world of challenges having a mobile baby, I think it will also ease some of the tension of having to carry him everywhere. The kid can’t stand not being in the action. And with a 3 year old as active as mine, the action is always a moving target.

In a blur of portioning salmon and microwaving frozen vegetables and stirring some rice I prepped before I picked the kids up from school, dinner is served. And after another 10 minutes of cajoling Owen to wash his germy little preschool hands, we sit. Everyone is calm and quiet for 1 minute while the first bites of food are keeping their mouths busy. Then Owen is popping up and down from his seat, bringing different toys to the table “to watch us eat”, the baby is frustrated that he can’t get the little green bean pieces I’ve put on his high chair tray into his mouth, and refuses the mashed up sweet potatoes I’m offering out of spite or stubbornness or just being done with the day after having spent the last 9 hours at school. We shovel our food into our mouths and before we know it, it’s bathtime.

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Completing bathtime with two energetic little boys is nothing short of a miracle. It is like a hilarious comedy show meets Olympic-level fitness test. They strip down naked, clothes strewn around the room like crepe paper garlands, and we all laugh and sing during our night time routine of countertop dancing. Teeth are flossed and brushed. Feet are scrubbed and faces are washed. Boys are pajamaed. Baby is bottles and Owen is read to, and finally, it’s lights out.

I always marvel at the quiet once Owen is tucked into his bed. The silence is deafening. Benjamin does the dishes while I wander through our house, picking up the evidence left behind from the whirlwind that is a day at home with two crazy boys (or even the 2 hours between school and bedtime on school days).

The clothes hanging around the bathroom. The piece of chalk on the floor. The abandoned plasma car. The cars stuck under the kitchen cabinets. The errant marble hiding in the corner. The drool-covered water bottles strewn around the floor. The tiny little sneakers in the middle of the hallway. The coat, arms inside out, still on the floor.

Sometimes this evidence feels like a weight on my shoulders — the mess I am constantly cleaning up. But then sometimes I can see it for what it is.

Little reminders that my boys are still so little.

That I am lucky to have these shoes on the floor to clean up.

That I am lucky to have these little messmakers making my life so full and busy.

And I am thankful that I have so many reasons to be exhausted at night.

She Says… Olympic Gold

We have Olympic fever up in this hizouse.

But I’m still a stickler for screen time, so Owen hasn’t really gotten to watch much of it. (Benjamin and I, however, have spent most nights clicking away at our laptops while binge-watching any and all events. We sure know how to have a good time, eh?). Nevertheless, Olympic fever is contagious, y’all.

So we’ve come up with some new events to occupy ourselves through all of the unrelenting snowstorms.

She Says… 7 Months

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My sweet baby-who-is-quickly-feeling-like-not-so-much-of-a-baby,

You are SO MUCH FUN right now. Seriously. You’re the best. Your chubby cheeks and toothless grin and sparkly gray-blue eyes make everyone around you smile right along with you — your joy is contagious. You still have your characteristic easygoing way about you, but recently we’ve seen more and more of another side of your personality. You are driven and focused and determined.

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You practice new skills like rolling (which you rock at) and grabbing (everything) and getting food from your fist into your mouth over and over and over again with the determination of an Olympic athlete. You love to pull hair right now. Especially mine. Especially when I leave it curly and I’m giving you a bottle and you gaze into my eyes so sweetly and dribble a little milk out of your mouth so that I let my guard down, and then BAM! you grab a fist full of what you had been twirling so gently a moment before and PULL. HARD. I wrangle my hair out of your clenched fist, and we start that little dance all over again. You’re sneaky. And strong. And you have hilarious timing.

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Speaking of rolling, you are a rolling machine. You’ve actually developed this amazing ability to maneuver yourself all around a room to get your hands on whatever you want. Most kids do this with crawling, but your preferred method is a carefully planned out series of rolls and pivots. It’s quite impressive and I’m so glad I finally got a video to show you one day. I have to imagine that crawling is just around the corner for you, my active little dude!

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The other day Owen and I ran upstairs to get him a pair of socks and came back down to find that you had rolled yourself right out of the living room and into the kitchen, and you gazed up at us, giggling and proud, with one foot in the dog’s water bowl and gnawing on a magazine. Watch out, Mommy.

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You are growing like a little weed these days. And it’s not a wonder — you down over 35 ounces of formula (that’s a LOT) plus three solid meals of food a day. And recently daycare started asking me to pack snacks because you were hungry. HUNGRY? Must be all that rolling you’re doing. Favorite foods at the moment are peas, corn, sweet potatoes, blueberries and bananas. The only thing I’ve found that you really don’t like is butternut squash. You’ll still eat it, but you make a scrunchy face and spit most of it back out.

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Due to your ongoing tummy issues and some weird rashes and hives, we’re seeing an allergist and a GI specialist. Currently my instructions are to introduce you to as many new foods as possible in the next 4 weeks, so here we go! I’ve been on a baby food making extravaganza and our freezer is filled with different concoctions. I love mixing and matching your meals and I’m excited to branch out into different grains and textures and flavors in the coming months. I’m so glad to see that you seem to like food just as much as your brother and Daddy and I.

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Your brother. Oh, Emmett. I can’t even put into words how much you adore your brother. And how much he adores you. The two of you are obsessed with each other. I can already see the incredible connection that the two of you have that has nothing to do with Daddy or I, and it makes my heart sing.

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At dinner Owen loves to entertain you by making silly faces and shaking his head around. Physical comedy seems to be your thing at the moment and just about anything Owen does that involves climbing/jumping/twirling/dancing/running elicits the most delicious belly laughs from you. You also have the uncanny ability to laugh whenever he says something silly. It’s like you can understand every word he says. He’ll tell us a story and make a joke, and you’re ALWAYS the first one laughing. It is precious.

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He can’t get enough of you either. He asks me to bring you up in his bed so we can all “pretend to sleep” together and he loves to hand you toys and make you put them in your mouth (which you do, every time). He shakes your head around and bobbles you so forcefully I’m still constantly saying, “Gentle hands!” and “Owen, Emmett doesn’t like that, please stop” and you are constantly making a liar out of me by laughing your little butt off at whatever he’s doing.

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Though I know there are wonderful things on the horizon for you, I wish I could bottle this age and keep it in my pocket. You are just… delicious. Jolly. Sweet. Easy.

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Every day I look forward to waking you up just because I get to hold you and squeeze your beautiful baby chub and cover you in kisses. I can’t wait to see more and more of your personality as you grow. What you’ll be like. What you’ll do with your life.

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We’re so lucky to have you, Emmetty. Bonky bonks. Blemett (Owen’s favorite). Chubs.

Couldn’t love you any more if I tried,
Mommy

She Says… Wakey Wakey and My Stylish Valentine

Oh, friends. So much to catch you up on, once again, and no time to do it. I have been starting my days too early (more to come on this later) and burning the midnight oil working for the last few weeks/months straight, and I’m burnt out. BURNT. OUT. The end is in sight, but I’m still a few weeks from becoming a normal human being again; which in turn means that this blog is a few weeks from being regularly tended. But I’ll be back, yo. Soon.

In the meantime we are back in a phase of early wake-ups thanks to a little 3.5 year old alarm clock who sometimes goes by the name “Owen”. I’ve been doing this parenting thing long enough to realize that everything is a phase (EVERYTHING), so I’m doing my best to just ride it out. But man, when I turn off my laptop at 11:30pm and then hear cries/the pitter patter of little feet/doors slamming/toilets flushing at 4:30am, it makes me a little bit cranky.

And by a little bit cranky I mean a lot.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Remember when we got the “OK to Wake” clock? And then we went through a phase when it had to be removed from his room because he was too anxious/excited about it turning green and it was actually causing him to wake up earlier? We made it through that phase after a while and the clock went back in his room. It worked beautifully until a few weeks ago when the same thing started happening. He nudged the “rules”. He began asking if he could wake up “a little earlier” to read books before his light turned green. Or he would get up at 5am to go pee and then hear cars outside and make the logical assumption that since other people were awake, that it was time to wake up. And his clock was about to turn green. And then his active little body could only sit still or “read books” for so long, and he was popping out of his bed, slamming doors, running down the hallway to peek under our door to see if our light was on, etc. For some reason, the clock has made him ask more questions than having no clock at all. And now that he has some understanding of time and how to tell time, NOT having the clock seems to leave him confused and anxious as well.

Inevitably these early morning shenanigans have woken up Emmett, and despite our best efforts (demands) for everyone to stay in their room and quiet until “the light turns green” (we still have never given in to going downstairs before the clock turns green), we’re in a dark, dark place filled with 4am potty trips and crying and negotiations/deal-making.

On one hand I wonder if he’s currently getting too much sleep. He goes to bed at 7:30pm and is almost always asleep by 7:45pm. He’s exhausted at this point and I really can’t see forcing him to stay up any later. He’s also still napping during the day (usually 2.5 hours, but recently I’ve cut it back to 2). Again, he’s usually exhausted midday and still crumbles to pieces if he misses his nap (and HELLO! I love and need those 2 hours of him napping as much as he needs them sleeping), so I can’t see doing away with it quite yet. In the past, MORE SLEEP has always beget MORE SLEEP for him. So I hesitate to change his schedule and take away sleep if what he really needs is more sleep. With Owen, more sleep has pretty  much always been the cure for… everything. But it certainly seems like his body is ready to get up for the day at 5:00am on average. And that’s just a wee bit too early for me.

On the other hand, I wonder if some of these issues are stemming from a yearning to understand time and how to tell it. I wonder if giving him more information about time will help, or hurt. I really don’t know, and I don’t know what a 3.5 year old can really grasp or understand.

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It’s a good thing he’s so darn CUTE.

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That’s his outfit for “Fancy Day” (his school’s alternative to Valentine’s Day) that he chose all by himself. No, he wouldn’t let us iron his pants.

I’m sure the sleep thing will pass, and one day when he’s a teenager and I can’t, for the life of me, wake him up to get him to school, I’m sure I will look back on this and laugh. Given the millions of other things that are battling for my attention right now, I am trying not to waste too much brain space on stressing about an issue that I have very little control over. But seriously? I would like some SLEEP.

Tips? Thoughts? Helpful tactics you have used? We already do ALL of the sleep tips like totally dark room (we have sliding shutters that seal out the sunlight like he’s locked in a windowless jail), sound machine, etc. Should I just abandon all “rules” and let the kid wake up whenever he wants? Honestly, I would consider that if he could do it without waking anyone else up, but I’m not sure that’s possible…

 

She Says… On Being Gone

Back before I became a mother, I remember hearing a new mom friend talking about how she felt like she was carrying all of the weight of taking care of their newborn. How her husband didn’t even get up at night while they nursed. That will never be us. I thought. That is so unfair. Fast forward a few years and two babies and not only have I completely changed my perspective on sharing the midnight feedings, I’ve also come to an entirely new understanding of the words fair and equal as they pertain to marriage. Specifically marriage when you are parents.

The old me thought that fair and equal meant splitting things down the middle. You take one feeding, I’ll take the next one. You take a night “off” to go play poker, I get a night “off” to do whatever I want too. You do the dishes, I fold the laundry. You buy yourself some new clothes, I get to add a few new pieces to my wardrobe too. In little ways, we kept score. Our relationship was built on equality, and that was important to me. We did equal “work” and shared the load. Gender/income didn’t dictate who wore the pants. We both did.

Equality is no less important to me now, but it doesn’t look quite like what I thought it would. Equality, these days, sometimes looks like me “doing it all” instead of “having it all”. Sometimes it looks like me schlepping both kids to and from school AND working full time AND cooking dinner AND remembering to buy a present for the birthday party this weekend AND packing lunches for the next day before falling into bed at night. And the only way that looks like anything resembling equal or fair is that sometimes it is Benjamin doing all of those things.

In the past couple of years Benjamin’s travel has ramped up quite a bit, and I have found myself at home alone more than I would like. Although I travel some for work (previously about once every couple months, usually to relatively close places like New York or Chicago, but once in a while a bigger trip like Paris, London or Munich), when we are apart, he is almost always the one “gone” and I am the one “home”. Sometimes this doesn’t feel fair or equal at all.

But then there are times, like this week, when I traveled to New York for work. I slept in a hotel for three nights and didn’t have to wake up, pulse racing, when I heard a cry from down the hall. I enjoyed dinners at lovely restaurants, sipped wine at a jazz club in the West Village and slurped oysters with old friends. I worked hard during the day and wasn’t constantly thinking about daycare calling or when I had to rush out of the office to pick up the kids or how I only had one earring on since I was holding the baby when I got dressed and didn’t have enough hands to put the other one on. I missed my family, of course, but I relished in the feeling of being the one who was “gone”. Benjamin, on the other hand, woke up to the 5am cries. He fed and bathed and diapered and kissed. He shoveled a foot of snow while still getting the kids to daycare on time and getting himself to work.

What the old me didn’t realize is that having a fair or equal relationship isn’t about keeping track of how many travel days each of us logs, or a tally of the chores. It’s about doing whatever needs to be done for as long as it needs doing, and knowing that my husband will be there to do it when the tables are turned. We may not do the same job all of the time, or even come anywhere close to splitting it down the middle, but we are partners.

The “workload” of our life shifts back and forth between us like playing catch with a huge sack of hot potatoes. One of us will inevitably hold that bag longer than the other sometimes, but it’s all fair and equal in the end if we know the other one is there, arms open and ready to catch it when it gets too hot.

She Says… Stranded

Or, thankfully, NOT stranded. Yet.

I’m running a work event in New York this week. Given that the weather reports showed that Mother Nature was about to puke ice and snow all over the East Coast this morning, I opted to hightail it out of Boston and down to NYC last night instead of this morning as planned. Turns out that was a good call, as there’s no way I would have made it here if I was traveling this morning.

That “good call”, however, left Benjamin at home to get the kids to school in the snowstorm (they were still open! Hallelujah!) before heading to work (IMPOSSIBLE). You know what’s tricky? Going outside to shovel snow when you have a 3 year old and a baby at home. It’s dicey to leave them inside alone, but it’s also nearly impossible to hold, or even wear, the baby while you shovel. And let’s just say that Owen’s “helping” doesn’t usually equal helping. Luckily our driveway is a downhill from our garage to the road, so in the worst case scenario you can roll out and get the kids to school, and then come back home and deal with snow removal.

So I woke up this morning to icy rain and slush in New York City, thankful that I only have to walk 1 block to get to my office. Benjamin did get the kids to school successfully (go Daddy!), but called me from the parking lot to say that he might not be able to get home, as he was totally stuck in his parking spot on the way out. Womp womp.

I’m sad to be missing the big storm (I kind of love getting snowed in, despite the inconveniences) and feel guilty leaving Benjamin to clean up the mess on his own. But I am so happy to be “stranded” in a nice hotel in NYC with no plans to travel in this swirling vortex of snowflakes for a couple of days!

On our “home day” on Monday I got to enjoy a couple inches of snow with the boys. That was only scratching the surface of what this storm is supposed to bring (14″!).

snow1 snow2 snow3 snow4

(Side note: See those mittens? Buying a brand new pair of totally huge, totally ugly mittens that Owen picked out himself seemed to solve his mitten issues. For now.)

Happy Snow Day to those on the East Coast, and Happy Freezing Day to many others! Stay safe and warm. And please send all of your best snow-removal thoughts to my husband, stranded at home with two little crazy people.