Dear Thomas and Caroline,

I’ve been thinking about this space lately, and my (lack of) use of it. And considering… Why I (should) write. What I (want to) say. Here’s what I think. I have HORRIBLE memory. Really, really bad. I’m the first to admit this. And I think at the end of the day, my desire is to capture moments with the two of you that will no doubt slip into the swiss cheese holes of my brain over time. This is not my space–it belongs to you. I will no doubt, from time to time take it over with thoughts that have little to do with you directly. But, at the end of the day, I am your mother so I guess that’s my prerogative. Right? (No need to answer.)

I want to remember how you are at 4 and nearly 7. I want to remember the things you say, your favorite activities, your oddities, frustrations, and triumphs. I want to relish the joy of parenting you. I want a record of these days that flash by in the blink of an eye. I want you to know how proud I am of you both. And most of all, I want you know just how much you fill my heart with love.

Watching my Ego

The scene: In the car, on the way home from the doctor’s office. Because yes. Once again somebody is sick. Thomas this time. Hello antibiotics and inhaler every 4 hours. Thomas is pensive, looking out the window, lost in his thoughts. He finally speaks…

Thomas: You aren’t the smartest person in the world, you know.

Me: [Shocked!] Whaaaaaat? Yes I am! Why do you think I’m not??

Thomas: I know you you aren’t.

Me: How do you know?

Thomas: Because you don’t know how to spell everything.

Me: YES I DO!! E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Ha! [Evil cackle.]

Thomas: [Audibly rolls his eyes at me.]

Me: What?!?

6 going on 85

My dear sweet boy, today you are six. Today you are giant. And confident. And filled with jokes and goofy faces. This morning I told you that being your mommy makes me the happiest in the world. And it’s true. Cheesy perhaps, but also completely true. I asked you how it felt to be six and you laughed at me and said, “Well, it feels fine so far I think.” You are a joy to parent 98 % of the time. The other two percent of the time? Let’s just say that Daddy and I don’t call you our ‘high maintenance’ child for nothing. You like things the way you like them. And you set precise expectations in your head, sometimes without letting the rest of us in on the secret.

You are a six year old unlike any other that I have met. Old for your age in many ways. You are VERY perceptive and intuitive. You also worry like an old lady. Really. Last Friday I took you to a birthday party for one of your friends. (One of your ‘best’ friends as you like to identify him.) The party was at farm about 45 minutes away from our house, and you were uniquely you on the WHOLE drive there.

“Do you know where we are going?”
“Do you know how to get there?”
“Are you sure?”
“Is this the right way?”
“Are we still going the right way?”
“Why did the car ding?”
“How much gas do we have?”
“Are we running out of gas?”
“Do we have enough?”
“Do we need gas?”
“Why are we stopping?”
“Is that the gas station?”
“Are we going the right way?”
“Why are you turning around?”
“Nooo!! That’s the way home, isn’t it?”
“Are we there?”
“Are you SURE you know how to get there?”
“Is this the place?”
“Is this right?”
“Are you sure?”
“Hey!! There are my friends!”

Doubting Thomas. My birthday wish for you is confidence. You have an amazing brain and a generous heart. And I would hate to see you hold those back from the world because you are unsure. We have been talking a lot lately about the fact that it is way more important to try something than it is to get it right on the first attempt. This is true for sounding out a word, climbing a play structure, or solving a puzzle. You want to be right. And you are on the first try nearly 99% of the time. But I notice that you decline to try when you aren’t sure you’ll nail it. You are afraid to fail. Don’t be bound by fear of failure. I want you to know that as long as you try? I will NEVER EVER be disappointed in you. EVER. Also? You don’t have to be the best, my sweet boy. You just have to be YOU. You are plenty. And amazing. (And most of the time the best anyway.) But I don’t love you because you are the best. I love you because you are YOU. And you are my son.

Happy Birthday Monkey Boy.

My Son, Robby

The other day when dropping Caroline off at preschool in the morning, her teacher approached me with a question.

“You have a third child, right? Another boy named Robby?”, she asked.

“Um…? No. Nope, just the two–Thomas and Caroline.”

“Huh. I thought for sure she must have another brother! She keeps talking about Robby… And I always ask if she means her brother Thomas because, I know Thomas, and then she’ll shake her head and say, ‘Yeah, Robby’ and continue on with her story.”

I couldn’t help it. I burst into laughter. Wubby. Not Robby… Wubby. Thomas is Wubby to Caroline. We aren’t really sure where it came from… Maybe a mutation of ‘brother’ when she was first starting to speak. But it is now decidedly Wubby. The funny thing is that he is very particular about his name. He doesn’t answer to ‘Tommy’ or ‘Tom’. He is very clear that his name is Thomas. If I call him anything other than Thomas, he corrects me. Pointedly. I called him Wubby once, and was corrected swiftly. (As an aside, he sweetly allows the Henry side of the family to call him Tommy. But no one else.) Despite this strong feeling about his name, he freely and happily answers to Wubby when Caroline calls. He even goes so far as to refer to himself as Wubby when talking to Caroline.

The sweetness of the two of them together is enough to make my teeth hurt.

(Not) Wordless Wednesdays

Jesus vs Ankylosaurus
Thomas drew this last night. He started explaining it to me while I was cooking dinner. I have to admit, I wasn’t paying very close attention… Until I heard him say, “And this is the fire ball that Jesus threw at the Ankylosaurus.” Whaaaaa? You’ve got my attention now!! This morning I made him repeat his description for me, to be sure I got it right. He rolled his eyes at me, but eventually explained it all for a second time.

So, in the bottom left corner, you will see a Euoplocephalus (note the shape of the tail in the upper left corner). She is a female, and was fighting the (male) Ankylosaurus on the right (the brown is his well armored back). Thomas says that even though Euoplocephalus is the best of all Ankylosaurus dinosaurs, she was tiny and so was having a hard time winning the fight. So Jesus came to help. Upon his arrival, Jesus threw a fireball at the Ankylosaurus, and cracked the armor on his back (note the small grey smudge in the middle of the brown–this is the crack).

You’ll be happy to know that Jesus and the Euoplocephalus were victorious. Hurray.

Little Sister

Thomas: Caroline, can I tell you something?

Caroline: Yesh Wubby. What?

Thomas: I really like dinosaurs.

Caroline: Mooooommy!! Wubby luffs dinosaurs!! (In her best sing song tattle tale voice.)

Wordless Wednesday

Photos taken last summer by my beautiful and talented sister.

Top of the Food Chain

One recent morning Thomas and I were playing the ‘favorite’ game.

Thomas: Who is my favorite mommy?
Me: Umm… Me?
Thomas: Yep! Who’s my favorite daddy?
Me: Daddy!
Thomas: Annnnd… Who’s my favorite bug-bug?
Me: Hmm. I’m gonna guess… Caroline?
Thomas: Yes!! And what’s my favorite thing that lived before humans?
Me: Oh, I know this one!! Dinosaurs!
Thomas: Right! And what’s my favorite thing that lived BEFORE dinosaurs?
Me: Ooh. Hmm. Dimetrodon?
Thomas: Right again! And what’s my favorite thing to eat? I’ll give you a clue… It starts with an ‘F’.
Me: French fries? (Without even thinking about it.)
Thomas: No!! It’s fruit. (With an implied ‘duh mommy’.)

Right. What was I thinking?

Failing Fall

This is officially the Fall of Ear Infections. And I? Officially would like it to be over. OFFICIALLY. Either the ear infections or the fall. I don’t really care which. When we were little, my sister was infamous for constant ear infections. When Thomas got his first at 6 months I braced for the onslaught that I was sure would follow. But it didn’t. And then Caroline was born. And I was mildly surprised when she had one fairly early. And less surprised when she had another. And another. And another. And now? When she sneezes I’ve learned to expect an ear infection in a week to 10 days. And I’m not even kidding. What surprises me now is when I take her in and she DOESN’T have one. Although now that I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever taken her in for a suspected ear infection and had her ears be clear. Ever. Finally at last, Sarah’s ears have shown their face in the next generation. <sarcasm>Oh yay.</sarcasm> By now, we know the staff at our pediatrician’s office rather well. And if they weren’t so nice I might be a little more upset about it.

Anyway, where was I? Oh right. This September I think I was at the doctor’s office once a week. Issa and I conferred, and then declared that October would be the month of health. Soooo close. But… We made it to the third week and then Thomas’ ear (the left to be exact) let me down. Sigh. Ok. Maybe November?

The first of November, Caroline took a 4 hour nap. And just like that the little mom hairs on the back of my neck were up. 4 days later she had a fever and said, “Ouchie, Mama. Ear.” A quick trip to our friendly pediatrics office left me waiting in line at CVS for a prescription, yet again. Three days later, (on a Saturday evening as per normal operation procedures), Thomas informed us that his ear hurt. He was nearly in tears. He doesn’t cry for pain, so I knew it couldn’t be good. Sigh. Monday morning brought an appointment for him. He had been fine all day Sunday, but had his heart set on going to the doctor. When Ben called to inform me of the exam results (Yes, that’s right, my husband took him to the doctor. What? He’s a parent too. And yes I know I’m lucky.), I was prepared for a clean bill of health. Ben said, “Thomas was wrong. He doesn’t have one ear infection… He has… TWO.”

Gah. Sigh… November is NOT the month of health. We shall refrain from talking about December out of fear.