I miss my kids when they’re sleeping

Is that weird?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. The quiet is nice sometimes. At the end of a long day, on a quiet morning like this when hubby and S are still sleeping and little C has had his milk and is playing in his crib for a few. 

I stepped out back just to enjoy my cup of coffee with the morning sun and before the neighborhood started bustling with activity.  My kids’ swingset sat all quiet, like something was missing. Like it missed something too. 

I get that feeling at night when I’m picking up the house after they’re in bed….their little toys, their little shoes, all the things they hold and touch and wear. And I miss them. 

But for now, knowing I have about 5 minutes to finish my coffee before my oldest comes down the stairs and asks for our Saturday bacon and pancakes tradition…I’ll breathe in the quiet. 🙂

We were on a family walk today and I had a minute to observe my daughter from afar. We actually first stopped in our tracks to watch a small snake slither across the sidewalk and through the grass (I love that S is not afraid of them!). Then, just ahead, we saw a little bunny rabbit.

She scampered up ahead saying “I’m going to try to catch it mama!” but of course the bunny hopped ahead (you can see it on the left side of this photo). She started to walk a little slower, and actually got closer than I thought she would.

It was then that I took a minute to soak in the picture…she looked so tall. So big.  I remembered thinking that last night when I was hugging her goodnight. Her arms seemed so thin…her body was so long.  Gone were the days when she’d wrap her chubby toddler arms around me. This was a lean, growing girl, and she actually fit up against my body differently all of a sudden.

I know everyone says they grow so fast. I feel like when they are little, tiny, newborn babies, you lose sight of that because days and nights can feel like one big endless loop. But as the days go by, especially this summer – I feel like I’m acutely aware of just how fast my “babies” are changing.

Yet another moment when I wish I could freeze time and keep them this age forever. I’d take a lifetime of these hectic yet carefree days without a second thought. 🙂

 

to grandmother’s house we go

Today we visited grandma for the first time in about a year.  We see her at our house about two to three times a month – she comes to help watch the kids on an occasional Monday when my husband and I both have to work. But, it had been about a year since we made the trip to see her at her house (about an hour away).

Truth be told, she was a little irritated that it took us so long. But every time I thought about packing up everything little man would need (bottles, pack ‘n play, sound machine, portable high chair, etc.) just for a day I always felt like it wasn’t worth it since we saw her a few times a month already. So now that my son is down to one nap a day, he’s 16 months old and doesn’t need that much “stuff” – we packed up a few things and went for the day.

And I’m so glad we did. My almost 5 year old LOVED seeing Grandma’s house.  She remembered quite a bit from last year – the backyard, the tomato plants, the garden, Grandma’s room, etc. But there was also a lot she rediscovered. My husband’s toys from when she was little, for example. And the lemonade popsicles Grandma keeps in her freezer for her.  My son just had fun running around her house and backyard.

I realized that we need to do this more often. Seeing the joy on my mother-in-laws face, having both her kids at HER house was clearly so meaningful to her. And, I know that she won’t be around forever. And for all the times she drives down to our house to spend time with my kids – we should be able to make the effort to go see her where she is most comfortable – her home. Especially since she is a widow (although my brother-in-law moved back in with her…that’s a story for another day!).  The company is a nice change for her.

I feel like we thoroughly enjoyed our day. On the way home my daughter said she can’t wait to go back to Grandma’s house. I have such fond memories of my grandparents’ homes – I would love my kids to have the same. So I plan to make that happen for them! I’m committing to get them up there more often, so that they can look back and have the same kinds of memories I do of my youth.

It was a great day!

 

finding a teaching moment in a difficult one

Today was a tough evening for my almost 5 year old. She was playing outside with my husband before bed and saw a couple of the neighbor kids in their pool…with some friends.  Of course she wanted to go in, and had trouble understanding why she wasn’t invited.

I watched out the window as my husband carried her in, sobbing. Initially I was a bit mortified that we caused a scene outside, but as soon as I saw her my heart softened.

She looked so sad, so little. And she said to me, “Mama, I wasn’t invited. Why wasn’t I invited? Why didn’t they want me to swim with them?” I picked her up and sat on the couch with her, and hugged her. I could feel the disappointment in her little frame as she cried into my chest.

I realized that this was probably a teaching moment. That I should try to use it to explain that this is how it feels to be left out, and let’s make sure we show kindness so nobody else feels that way around us. So I tried.  I tried to tell her that that didn’t mean they weren’t her friends “but mama, they NEVER invite me to swim and I always see my other friends there.” (that was a tough one). Truth is, that does happen. We have had playdates with the kids that live there, but she hasn’t gotten a “swim invitation.” But I know it’s their home, their pool, and they are under no obligation to invite my child. I was in no way upset with them.

I know this is a lesson that my daughter would be learning soon anyway…the first of many. But it was so hard. The look in her eyes were of genuine hurt.  And confusion. Even though I tried my best to explain it to her in a way that she could understand (we don’t always have playdates with everyone, sometimes friends like to play with other friends) it really hurt my heart to see her sad. Because to her, it was so easy.  Everyone plays together.

But I used it as a lesson about inclusion. How when she is playing on her swingset with a friend, how she can call out and say “do you want to come play with me?”

Although she cried a lot last night, she woke up her usual happy self. I am hoping that tonight’s outside playtime doesn’t rekindle the same sadness, and that she knows what to expect and can move past it. I hate seeing my kiddo hurting, but I know this is the first of many difficult life lessons for her.

let’s hear it for the single parents

Whenever I’m home alone with the kids for more than a day or two, I start to think…how do single parents do it?

I mean, I can get through a couple of days. The crazy mornings, trying to get everyone out the door, the meals, the cleanup, the baths, the tantrums, the cleanup again, etc. But I’ve realized I don’t stop to think often enough about how grateful I am to be a part of a two person team that works side by side to keep things running smoothly.

I’m lucky enough to have a husband who definitely pulls his weight, both with the household chores and raising the kids. From the time we both get home to the time we go to bed, he participates alongside me every step of the way. Sometimes together, sometimes in a divide and conquer sort of way. And we both help each other out – one of us will often say to the other – “you head on up to bed, I’ll finish up these dishes.”

But those single moms – or dads – it’s THEM all the time. No backup, nobody else to help with cleanup…or tantrums…or baths. How are they not exhausted all the time? Maybe they are.  Maybe I need to think about that a bit more the next time I bump into someone I know that is handling it all solo.

So tonight, this is a shout out to all the single parents out there.  You rock.  I don’t know how you do it, but you impress me and give me strength at the end of a long day!

it goes so fast

My little itty bitty graduated preschool yesterday.

I picked her up from school just like any other day, but had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. She started here when she was 3…and she will be 5 in a couple of months. I feel like it was just yesterday when I had to leave her crying in the arms of her teachers. Teachers that I just can’t begin to thank enough for taking care of my heart.

Her graduation ceremony was yesterday evening. My little baby…that I feel like was just born, walked across the stage in her little cap and gown (so cute!) to accept her “diploma.” I was sure she would cry. I was sure she would get stage fright. But nope, she walked right across, accepted the diploma from her teachers, then followed the instructions to pose with the piece of paper so mommy and daddy could get a photo.

Flashback to her first holiday concert at just over 3 years of age. Same auditorium. Same stage. The class started singing and she walked to the front of the stage sobbing to be rescued. Where did that little preschooler go?

She’s blooming right in front of my eyes. Posed for pics with the grandparents…enjoyed a celebratory ice cream after (and a bedtime that turned out to be way too late).  She amazes me every day, my firstborn.  I just can’t believe we are already starting kindergarten.

It goes by SO fast, doesn’t it. And I’m worried it will even go by faster with her younger brother. Time, slow down please…

You stole my heart, little man

I don’t even know how to really describe it or when it happened. Of course I loved him even before he was born. And then fell in love with him again the minute he took his first breath. But then sometime after that, he stole my heart. 

Maybe it was when he first said mama. Or maybe it was the first time he smiled. Or maybe, it was th first time he held my hand when he was learning to walk. 

I watched him at the park the other day. He’s so curious right now at 15 months of age. And he kept turning to me as if to say “did you see that? what is that? what does that do?” And even though he would run off exploring, he would keep looking back at me to make sure I was still there. 

Then when he had had enough exploring, he walked back over to me, lifted his arms up to be picked up, and then came in for a snuggle. 

Boys are so precious. I secretly hope this little one turns out to be a little bit of a mama’s boy. My daughter is such a daddy’s girl, it’s only fair, right? Even if he doesn’t…every time he looks at me with those giant blue eyes I just melt. 

There’s just something about a baby boy. 🙂