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.



Three-two-one… Jump


Last night at bath time, Thomas demanded a tub to himself. He opted for the ‘Extra Room Bath’, leaving Caroline alone to blissfully soak and splash and play by herself in the large tub in the master bath. I find humor in the fact that this arrangement meant that there was NOBODY in the kid’s bathroom. It’s an appropriate illustration of how the kiddos run the show, right? They have taken over our lives!! And Ben’s large tub…


Anyway, Caroline decided to go all out with the toys last night. Perhaps it was because she had extra room without Thomas demanding space? Bath time is one of my favorite times of the day. Caroline is as happy as a clam in the tub, and I can take advantage of the ‘free’ time a bit by folding laundry on our bed while I listen to her chatter away at the toys. Last night she was exceptionally adorable, and completely surrounded with rubber duckies and an assortment of other water toys. She kept repeating, “Three-two-one… Jump!” and I discovered that she had lined up all the ducks along the edge of the tub and was having them jump into the water one by one. Ok, maybe it was cuter than it sounds. What pushed me over the edge was her sweet words of encouragement and congratulations to the ducks…


“You can do it! I know you can!”
“Ooooh! Good jump!”
“Come on little guy, jump!”
“Biiiiiig jumps!”
“Wow! What a good big jumper!”
“Great job guys!”
“You did good big jumps like Mommy!”
“What good jumpers you are!”


She makes me ridiculously happy. Like heart swelling, tears welling up, want to squeeze her sooooooo tight, happy.



To the Nurses of the Burn Center


I am once again at a complete loss for words. Over the last nine weeks you have had under your care the gentlest person I know. She is the glue that ties our family together. She is the backbone of steel that can offer the most comforting embrace. She is my mom and she means the world to me.


It was nine weeks ago this morning that we first set eyes on you. And nine weeks ago (VERY EARLY) this morning that you first welcomed my mom into your unit. Over the past 63 days you have become part of our family. And we all feel that you have let us into YOUR family in a very real way. You have laughed with us and cried with us. You have hugged us and offered encouraging words. You have called on days off to check in on Mom. You have stayed late and stopped by just see how she is doing. You care. You care in a very real and personal way. This is not just a paycheck for you. This is your life and your heart and we are forever grateful. You tell us that we are a special family, and whenever I hear that, I reply with the simple fact that so very much of who we are as a family comes from Mom and her quiet spirit.


You have saved her life. Literally. There was no better place for her to be. Last night as I thanked you and we hugged, both with tears in our eyes, I felt overcome with thankfulness for the healing space she has been in and the love that each of you has shown her.


Today she moves on. She’s graduating on to Rehab. We will miss you so very much. It will feel foreign to walk down the hospital corridor and not take the elevator up to the fourth floor. I have no doubt that I will show up in your unit on autopilot at least a few times. I also have no doubt that you will continue to check in on Mom when she is in rehab.


Thank you. Thank you for my mom.



Dear Mom


Dear Mom,


Today is your 34th Mother’s Day as a mom. I know it’s never been a big day for us. This year is different. I really wanted to write an awesome post for you. I never got around to that post… I didn’t even make it down to see you, to pat your hand and squeeze your toes, and thank the nurses caring for you. I spent the day folding laundry, grocery shopping, collecting dirty socks from under the table, cleaning bathrooms, and thinking of you nonstop. And I have no idea what to say now. I love you so much. I miss you so much. We are so very alike, you and I. I hope that someday, Caroline and I will have a relationship like ours. The uncertainty of the future eats at me. I just want my mommy back. I want you back. You always know just what to say to me. No matter how low I feel, you have the right words in your soft gentle tones.


Just know that as I pretend that life goes on this week, my heart is with you.


Love,
Lizzie



Wordless Wednesday


Paper Dinos
In our house, we don’t do paper dolls… We do paper dinosaurs.



Binky Battle


When Caroline was born, she came out and they placed her on my chest to clean her up. She was tiny and amazing. And I was completely in love. Once she was properly wiped down, diapered and swaddled, she breastfed for the first time. FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF. No, I’m not exaggerating. I WISH I was exaggerating. I remember one of the nurses commenting, “Wow, that girl is going to need a bink.” And she wasn’t kidding… Breastfeeding Caroline was a challenge. A painful challenge. But that’s not what this post is about.


Caroline likes to have something in her mouth. She found binkies early. And was smitten. Thomas hardly used them. He would take one if you gave it to him, but didn’t really care much one way or the other. Caroline LOVED them. She would seek them out, crave them, hunt them down. Eventually she was sleeping with at least 4 in her crib every night. She even named her favorite. Spot. “Mommy? Where go Spot??”, she would ask. Even when Spot had a hole bitten through it, she still wanted to sleep clutching it tightly in her hand. She’s a feisty girl, and we quickly learned nothing would calm her quite like a bink in her mouth.


Our pediatrician suggests that kids are weaned from bottles and pacifiers by 15 months old.


Um. Yeah. Not so much.


I have been DREADING the ditching of the binks for well over a year. Dreading, and putting it off. We did our best to limit her bink use to just naps and bedtime. I didn’t like the idea of her running around the house with them… But, we had so many that she was pretty good at finding them and popping one in. And I’m more than willing to admit that I used them freely when we were out of the house and needed to keep her (relatively) quiet. They make a pretty good bribe.


However, with her third birthday rapidly approaching, and the fact that she had ear infections NON-STOP for the first 3 months of this year, it just seemed like the time was upon us. Spot and the gang had to go. One Thursday night, I clenched my teeth and decided that D-day was upon us. I did what any sensible mother would do. I hid the binks, including Spot. And then played dumb. We went upstairs to get ready for bed and as she usually did, she went racing into her room to grab a bink out of her crib. (Yes, she’s still in a crib. Not a toddler bed. What’s it to you?) “Oh no Mommy! Where’s Spot?!?” She looked under the bed, had me pull it away from the wall, checked all the frequent hiding places… I played dumb and sympathetic. “Gee, I don’t know… Are they missing? I wonder where they are…?” We continued with our bedtime routine, jammies, book, snuggles. And then? It was time to get in bed. I put her in and she dug around (under the 6 blankets and 12 animals she requires) and still came up empty handed. I sympathetically said, “I’m sorry sweetie, it’s time for sleep. And I don’t know where the binkies are. We’ll have to look for them tomorrow.” Hug, kiss, arrange the blankets, lights out.


I tried to strengthen myself for the fit that was sure to come. As I walked away, I told myself that no matter what, we couldn’t be pushover parents and give her the bink. No matter how loudly she cried.


It was silent. I figured she must be pulling herself together for the fit to end all fits.


It never came.


Really.


NEVER.**


Over the next few days, she would ask about her binks a few times… Less and less each day. Before a week was up, she stopped asking. Instead she would just say wistfully, “Binkies all gone…”


Sometimes I think that I don’t know her at all. Despite that, I am soooooooo thankful to be her mommy!


Caroline_with_bink


**Well, okay. The fit never came at home. I never saw it. Yep. The only fit she ever threw over the binks was a 15 minute cry during naptime at daycare.



Wordless Wednesday


As If!


Things that I like to think I would do if given the chance, but really would never ACTUALLY do…

  1. Jump out of an airplane
  2. Swim with sharks
  3. Go rock climbing
  4. Be in good enough shape that I could complete a marathon. Hahahahahahahahaha! Sorry. Can’t stop laughing over this one.
  5. Become fluent in a foreign language
  6. Go backpacking
  7. Go to art school


Random


I had several thoughts floating in my head that I wanted to share but the second I started typing this, they vanished… Go figure.

  • Cake for breakfast is basically the same as toast, right? Cake = bread. Blackberry filling = jam. Frosting = butter. Works for me…
  • When the DVR decides not to record anything for an evening, I find it annoying. And frustrating. But? The fact that we didn’t notice all the Monday night shows were missing for a whole week probably says good things about my current level of TV viewing.
  • I’ve been trying really hard to go to bed early on a regular basis. You may find this shocking, but the difference in how I feel at 7:30 AM in the morning is DIRECTLY tied to how close to 10 PM I went to bed.
  • I actually did clean the baseboards last weekend. In 10% of the house. NOT with a toothbrush.
  • Baseball season is just around the corner!