Monday, September 27, 2010

A question...

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Mack - Two & 1/2

Dear Mack,

Today you, your brother and I spent a morning at an indoor play zone with friends trying to escape the relentless Indian Summer heat that arrived this weekend. You are such a social kid that seeing friends is always high on your priority list, but usually if we're on a playground, or anywhere for that matter, you are content to go off and entertain yourself and explore everything on your own whether or not your friends want to join you or not.

In general, you are a very inquisitive and physically active child. You aren't a very physically aggressive child but you love lots and lots of activity to keep you moving and stimulated.

You love to climb furniture or jump off of stairs or balance on narrow beams or swing from anything like a little monkey-man, and you generally want to try new activities in whatever form they come in with little regard for what may cause pain or injury.

That doesn't surprise me much, since I was a pretty adventurous kid too with a broken arm at preschool to prove it. And although there may be times your sense of adventure is challenging and exhausting, however, at the end of it all, I absolutely love that you are so brave.

Today, I could barely keep track of your bright yellow shorts in the maze of the habitrail play gym and other kids.

You were climbing up the many levels and squealing your way down slides like you owned the place.

It's great to see you have so much fun. And at the same time, like almost everything this fall, it makes me a little sad, because you're getting to be such a big boy, less and less of a baby every day.

I knew that the change I would see in you between two and three would be pretty significant, but obviously I wasn't prepared enough. You're a totally different kid than you were even six months ago. Then you were two. Now you are two and a half. It is a big difference. My imagination fails me when I try to picture you at three.

Frankly, I don't think you've been prepared for all the change of the last 6 months or so either, and that has made the last three months or so an interesting study in how hard it really is to grow up. Your two most frequent verbal phrases these days best express to me the contradictory emotions I think you're feeling. Those phrases are "Me do it myself!" and "Help me, mommy!" For a while now, no one but me could do anything for you without you having a fit. At the same time, you were so difficult and so frustrated that you couldn't do everything yourself that our every interaction was a series of conflicts, or at least it started to feel that way to me after a while which was not fun at all. It's striking to me how often in parenting my job isn't really to do something to fix you when you're having a hard time as much as it is to be patient with you and love you through it. I never thought it was that way, and finding that it is makes me look at the good parents I know as masters of some kind of higher level of patience I can only dream about. I hope I'm becoming more patient, but in the meantime I know I'm becoming better at apologizing. And you're getting good at forgiving me. So that's a start.

However it seems that your persistence is paying off, and you can do so many things by yourself these days. Some of them are really coming in handy. I was kind of annoyed when you started insisting on climbing into your car seat by yourself because it just took so gosh darn long, but now that your brother is also needing more of my attention, I am thrilled that you can save me the trouble and get yourself loaded and ready to go. You brush your teeth really well, although this also goes down on the list of things you can make last for a small eternity. You also can heat up Radley and your milk bottles in the microwave (as long as I double check the time you entered) which is also really really helpful while I get other things done around the kitchen.

Perhaps not surprisingly, you are getting to be a great talker, and that is letting me hear more and more of your perspective on the world. You are currently fascinated with stop lights, and every time we get to one, you tell me if it's green, yellow or red, and what those colors mean. ("Green mean go, mama. Go go! Red mean stop! Yellow slow DOWN!") I might have been about to forget those vital pieces of information, so it's extremely helpful of you to share them with me. At every stop light in Southern California. Every day. Every time. Without fail. Green means go. Check.

It seems that in recent months you have finally gotten used to having a baby brother. You now wake up in the morning looking for him and he you. Or you wonder where he has gone when out of sight. And sometimes you even share your toys and snacks without a suggestion from me. A few times you have found that if you talk to him when he is upset, you can make him laugh. And the baby belly laughs only you can get when you poke his tummy are classic. And a few times you have even encouraged him to "come pway wif me Ra-lley!" which is just heart melting to your momma.

You love to have others join you in your fun. "Dance wif me, mama!" or "Sing wif me, mama!" are phrases I hear daily as well as "Mama! I miss you all day!" even when I have only been out of your sight for no more than 5 minutes. It is simply precious and I miss you all day, too, my love.

I just think you're the funniest, most adorable and best kid ever and you have given my memories of the last two and a half years with you such a special place in my heart forever.

I love you so much and I love watching you become more of who you are as we forge on in this year of wonder. I can't wait to see what else you have in store.

I love you,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Radley - Month 15 (and 14, 13, 12)

Dearest Dearest Radley,

I am sorry to say that I have fallen into the second child trap of being a complete slacker when it comes to documenting your life. I could blame it on the craziness of our summer travels, or trying to finally get a handle on so many projects around the house, or even a fairly stubborn case of writer's block, but ultimately the days, weeks and months of this summer have flown by and with so much still left to do to at the end of each day, the blog was one of the casualties. And truth be told, my failure to finally sit down and write you this letter in honor of your first year, which has turned into months 12, 13, 14 AND probably more about wanting to stop time and wanting to freeze your perfect little-baby-heaven-ness rather than admit that time is relentlessly rushing by refusing to slow with a complete disregard for how hard I ignore it. And as the weeks roll on, I see you turning into a toddler right before my very eyes and while I love love love love this stage, I will definitely miss your baby snuggles.

Here you were at 12 months....

We celebrated your birthday with a full 2 weeks of festivities...and lots of yummy cake which you have a real fondness for that quite possibly could be traced back to your in utero experience and my obsession for cake in any form for my entire pregnancy. I was honored to make your special cake to mark the occasion officially...:

And at 13 months...not quite fully walking yet...but oh so close...

And nearly 14 months...rockin it out...our family photographer has forever planted that silly "Party in the USA" song in my head every time I see this makes me smile.

As I look back to my last email at 11 months, I am astounded at how far you have come and just how much you have changed in 4 short months. Now you can walk and talk and express your annoyance with remarkable clarity. There were definitely moments that could not be done justice without whining, so I will just leave those out and focus on the precious little things that make being your mommy the best job on the planet.

You adore your brother and seeing the two of you figure out how to navigate each other just warms my heart to no end.:

I love watching you "get serious". You have such a little old man face when you are really processing the world around you. At times I can so see the man you will become...

You are so adventurous. Here you are as I found you one morning after doing the breakfast dishes up on the dining room table, checking everything out with a lollipop from the diaper bag in your mouth. You were so proud and cute, it was impossible to be upset with you.

You are a great travel buddy as we spent our summer hitting playgrounds, beaches, Disney & more...


Horses, oh my!

Park swing (and yes your feet are that big! - currently you and Mack wear the same size)

Sometimes I think you can look right into my soul

You love Mickey Mouse and with your latest "no one but mommy" phase, that sometimes gets me exactly 25 minutes to prepare a meal, do dishes, get us ready to walk out the door, etc.:

You make me laugh:

You are just the most remarkable little human and a wonderfully sweet little boy. Your emotions show on the surface much more intensely than I would expect. You love stronger and you complain louder too and when your brother crosses the line, you are quick to let him and anyone within a 100 yard radius know it too. And as I see my baby start to fade into the toddler you are becoming, I am struck by how so very much I love you. I knew I would, but not this much.

In no way can I do justice to all our adventures of the last 4 months and how much joy you bring to our family. I can only skim the surface and get back into a bit of more frequent musings of how very much I love you. A subject that I never tire of...

I love you so very very much...