Reese at 4 Years

FullSizeRender (12)FullSizeRender (11)

Early this morning I heard the sound of small feet running down the hall. Then a faint knock at my door. When I opened it, I found you,  bleary eyed and crazy haired. You looked up at me, not fully awake, and said, “Am I four?”

For you, I’m sure it has seemed like a long road to four. For your Dad and I, it has been the blink of an eye.

You have become so smart. Too smart sometimes. You are kind. You are creative. Your imagination is wild and crazy and it is one of the best things about you. You make us laugh so much.

You are girl through and through.

A couple of week ago when you were supposed to be in rest time, I came upstairs to find you in my room, standing in front of my mirror, holding an eye lash curler against your face. You said, “My eyelashes were flat, and they needed to be up.” Oh. My. God.

School is your favorite. Your teachers tell me that drawing and painting are your favorite things to do. Every day when I pick you up I leave with armloads of your masterpieces.

You can now dress yourself, put your shoes on, get your own utensils and placemat for mealtime, clean your room (kind of), spell your name and your brother’s name, and you know the lyrics to most top 40 hits. Every day you need me a little less.

You love your swimming lessons, but you won’t go all the way under water until I get you goggles. I will get you goggles, but I know you will hate them.

Recently, you have been asking to take ballet, but I suspect it is just for the outfits.

You go to bed around 7:30 each night even though you never seem tired, and you have finally stopped coming out of your room 762 times after we put you down. Although I do kind of miss hearing your ridiculous excuses to delay bedtime, including, “I can’t get my shoes on and my ankle is twisted” or, “my waist hurts.”

You love Frozen, Sofia the First, Curious George, Frances, books, dressing up, eating, dancing, baking, drawing and your grandmas.

So yes, my love, today your are four.I know we will blink again and you will be 24. So please slow down, but don’t change anything else.

Mom Friends

FullSizeRender (1)

Being a stay at home mom can be a lonely business.

In order to maintain one’s sanity, (and to make yourself take a shower), it is necessary to make other mom friends, join groups, make playdates, talk to people you don’t know.

Kill me.

The best way I can explain how I feel about interacting with strangers is through this Onion article. (I am the one experiencing spikes in anxiety. My husband is the one assaulting other strangers with Game of Thrones trivia and anecdotes about our dog.) But I feel that the article missed a major demographic in its list of offenders; Moms.

For the reasons I mentioned above, moms are on a mission to meet other people (usually other moms, because who else is available for a mid-day, mid-week date that may be cut short after 20 minutes because there isn’t a potty at this playground, and what the hell kind of place is this anyway!?) One can never be at a kid related place too long before a mom asks how old your child is. Then the conversation inevitably leads to your child’s eating/pooping habits. Pretty soon you have a new mom best friend.

Even I, the semi-antisocial, lover of my comfort zone, have become friends with a few other moms who I really like. But when we first met I quickly realized that I don’t even know how to make friends as an adult. Aside from people I worked with, I haven’t made any new, real, lasting friendships since college, back when I didn’t even have a cell phone. Once we hit it off at the playground and it’s time to go, do I ask for her phone number?? Is that a weird thing to do? My first instinct tells me yes. Do I just hope we run into each other again sometime? If I let her go will I have to only hang out with my children every day for the rest of my life? Love my kids to death, but sometimes you need a day where you don’t do the Sofia the First puzzle on your living room floor ELEVEN TIMES.

In my experiences, the other moms ended up asking for my number so we could do a playdate, and I didn’t think it was weird at all. And actually, who cares if I thought it was weird anyway? (Sidenote:I really, really hate the word “playdate.”)

Here is a picture of me with all my new mom friends.

Just kidding, we aren’t close enough friends to take pictures with each other yet. I like to take it slow.

Instead here is a casual picture of my real best friends.

FullSizeRender (2)

First Days

This is the day my girl left for school.

IMG_4310_phixr IMG_4285_phixr

IMG_4294_phixr

I wasn’t sure how she was going to do on that first day. I have never dropped her off anywhere, except with her grandparents. Would she cry when I was leaving? I didn’t think I would be able to handle that. Would she cling to my leg and beg me to stay? No, she would literally jog into her classroom, toss her backpack at me and wave goodbye to me from the dress up corner. I don’t think she even looked up.

When I came to pick her up, her teachers would tell me that it was like she had been going to school her whole life. I am relieved and happy for her that she loves school so much. She only goes two days a week for four hours but she tells me that she would like to go every day, and also to stay for nap time. She loves her teachers. She brings them flowers that she picked and often asks intimate questions about what they do after hours. “What do you think Mrs. Bannon is doing RIGHT now?”

Eating lunch is her favorite part of school. Rightfully so. Followed by playing dress up, particularly in the “Barbie costume.” She is one of three girls in her class and there are 6 boys. The two other girls in her class were best friends last year at school, but Reese seems to be fitting in. I’m not sure if she would know if she wasn’t fitting in anyway.

I am enjoying a few hours with just James and am thrilled for Reese to gain some independence and to interact more with kids her age, I also love hearing about what she is doing. Is it creepy that I would die to be able to somehow watch her while she is at school? I would love to see what she’s doing, what she’s saying etc. I am so fascinated by how she might act at school, away from me.

So while this is the end of our 24/7 togetherness, and that is a little sad, it’s just the beginning of first days, and that is so exciting.

IMG_4265_phixr

IMG_4264_phixr

James at 18 months

DSC_0634

18 months young.

Our boy is walking, running, jumping and CLIMBING like a maniac. The other day I found him standing on the kitchen table jumping up and down. Always with this grin.

IMG_3912

The current phase is beating the crap out of his sister and sometimes, out of me. He has discovered hitting and he uses it whenever something is taken away from him, or when he’s tired. So basically he is hitting 80% of the time. The other day at the playground another mother said “he is just so cute!” just as he started trying to climb up another boy. I picked him up and he slapped me in the face. So cute!

Despite this new fun phase, James is a snuggler, and when he’s being nice, he loves his sister to death. Often giving kisses and hugs. I think they are kisses and hugs; they are definitely more aggressive than one would imagine hugs and kisses should be, but they usually don’t end in tears so, yay!

He likes other kids and especially, older girls. Whenever we are out somewhere where there are other kids, he beelines for the girls who look to be about Reese’s age and either hugs them, or holds his arms up to them, asking to be picked up.

He is a sleepaholic. He still takes two, two-hour naps a day. He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 and he usually wakes around 9. He has slept till 10:30 AM on more than one occasion. Please stay this way forever.

He is still big and beautiful. A big, beautiful beefcake with the most adorable curls. He literally has ringlets in the back of his head and I won’t get his hair cut because I’m afraid they will cut off the curls and his hair will grow back straight.

He likes most foods but favorites are graham crackers (when he sees the brown packaging he starts hyperventilating), corn, bananas, applesauce, Kix, pizza, chicken parm and sweet potatoes.

Jamers is ALL boy. He loves running and jumping and throwing and crashing stuff together. Trucks are his favorite, particularly tractors.

He has a few words, definitely not as many as Reese had at this age but he babbles all day long. He says, “tractor”, “car”, “mama”, “dada”, and “dirty.” All with a Boston accent, “tracktah!”IMG_4122IMG_3196IMG_4138

Bedtime is my favorite part of the day with James. After stories and some milk he puts his head on my shoulder and lets me rock him to sleep. This is something Reese never let me do, she was always trying to wriggle out of my arms. When we’re done rocking, he allows himself to be put down awake and sometimes sits up in the crib to wave goodbye to me. And everytime he does it, I just die.

DSC_0722

Transitions

DSC_0671_phixr FullSizeRender_phixr

I love big families. My sisters are my best friends. I want my kids to have the experiences I had growing up. Sharing bedrooms, road tripping  jam-packed in the back of a station wagon, always having a playmate, etc.

Before I had James, a friend told me that they had heard that the transition from 1 to 2 kids was more of a life changer than then the transition from 0 to 1 kid. At the time, this seemed impossible to me. When you have your first kid, it is no longer just you, and it never will be again. Now there is this little person who feels like they are literally a part of you. What bigger change is there than this?

Then came James. Then there were two little people who depended on me for absolutely everything. It felt like someone needed something ever single minute of the day. And night. And that’s because they did.

When one finally fell asleep the other would wake up. When one had a great night and slept till 8 AM the other would be up at 4. There was no “sleeping when the baby sleeps” this time around.

Instead of peacefully nursing my baby to sleep in a rocker, I was nursing him to sleep while making a sandwich for the other kid and shoving cold spaghetti into my own mouth. The ratio of kids to adults was equal, but somehow Andrew and I still felt outnumbered.

Others have told me that the third kid is really no biggie. They have actually said this. People who have told me this are in agreement that the second kid can be a total shocker, but claimed that once the third comes it doesn’t really change much. Just another body. I can’t fathom this, I mean, when the third kid comes the mom and dad actually are outnumbered. The mom can grab one kid and the dad can grab another, but will the third run away and be lost forever?

So at this moment, I do feel like the transition from 1 to 2 kids was much greater than from 0 to 1 kid. Out first few months with James, I have deemed the “holy shit months.” Nothing could have prepared us for that. And I say that honestly, but with love. We were overwhelmed, tired, and a little scared.

But then he started sleeping, and he and Reese started interacting and playing together. They could actually entertain each other for a few minutes. Reese could occupy James at an age when I had never been able to keep Reese occupied long enough to do the dishes, or go to the bathroom.

So it is different this time around, but just like with a first baby, it has been more wonderful than anything else. Completely different, but still wonderful.

 

Princess Diaries

It is full-fledged princes mania around here these days, much to my chagrin.

IMG_3908_phixr

When I was pregnant with Reese we wanted the gender to be kept a surprise. We got all neutral clothes, toys, gear etc. As a baby and a toddler I made the effort to avoid the all pink princess everything. We painted her room a light gray, we got her toy trucks and dolls, and I rarely bought her pink, frilly clothes.

Now, at three years old, she asks to wear a dress every day, to have her nails painted and have “red lips”, and wants to know why she can’t wear her “jewels” to bed. I don’t even know where these things came from. Red lips and jewels? I never imagined that I would end up with such a girly girl, but here we are.

IMG_3016_phixr

I think there was a princess birthday party somewhere along the way that got the ball rolling, then we got a few princess gifts, she started noticing the little girls in Elsa costumes at the grocery store, etc. Then she discovered the Disney princesses and there was no turning back.

I still do my best to keep it to a minimum but I am not above buying a nine dollar coloring book featuring all the Disney princesses (Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose/Aurora, Jasmine, Tiana (?), and I’m sure I missed a few others) because I knew when Reese saw it she would totally lose her shit. And she did.

IMG_3696_phixr

 

IMG_3657_phixr

 

What is my problem with pink, flowery, princessy, girly stuff? I have no real vendetta against it, I just worry sometimes about the message it may send, but if my daughter loves it then I am over it. Especially since most of the princess stuff out now is much more girl empowering, and much less beauty oriented than it used to be. But, the emphasis on looks is still there and the underlined theme that beauty is equivalent with goodness is not lost on my three-year old. So yes, when my daughter is brought tears when I ask her to wear pants, and cries “but I won’t be pretty!” I take pause. And I blame Tiana and her band of bejeweled skinnies in gowns. But really, she will see this everywhere in a few years, except worse, she will see it in real life and not in fairy tales. And she may even see some of it from her own mother (eeek) because I too am guilty of reading the first ten pages of the Brazilian Bikini Diet book so I can look just like Giselle.

I am probably just overthinking this whole thing, and when this phase is over and she is asking me to buy her clothes at Justice I will be wondering what I was complaining about.

IMG_1926_phixr