The family is in the car on the way home from Boston on Sunday…
Ryan: “Mommy, what part did you make first?”
Ryan: “When you and Daddy made me, what did you do first? My nose? How did you pick?”
Me: “Oh! Um, yeah. First you were a teeny tiny ball of cells and then you started to take shape with a body and arms and legs and…”
Ryan: “How did you and Daddy make me into a baby? How long did it take?”
Me: “Ummm… Well… Mommy and Daddy got married and loved each other so much that we wanted to have a baby to love. When you are a grown-up, you cuddle in a very special…”
Ryan: “Was I just waiting in there? In your belly – what was I doing? Was I playing my Monkey game?”
I laughed out loud thinking about him sitting in my belly playing with his iPod waiting to grow big enough to come out.
Same car ride, moments later:
Ryan: “When they colored the world, how did they do it? Did they do the trees or the streets first? Who colored everything?”
Cory: “Well, many people believe that…”
Ryan: “I’m hungry.”
Seriously, I wonder how we’ll feel when we actually get to finish answering these questions! Have you ever had to explain birth, death, a higher power, sex or how we arrived on Earth to your child? How did it go?
We’re in Buy Buy Baby a few days ago and the kids are in a cart together. I go to reach for something and in that second, Lexi starts crying. I turn quickly and ask Ryan what happened.
“Nothing,” he said. “Her head got hurt.”
“Oh really?” I say. “So there’s no chance you hit her head just a little too hard by accident?”
“How did you know that?” he asks incredulously. “You weren’t looking at me.”
“Oh, that’s where you’re wrong,” I reply. “I have eyes in the back of my head.”
He implores me to turn around so he can see the eyes, but he comes up short. I tell him that only grown-ups can see them. He doesn’t believe me.
“Ask any grown-up in this store if I have eyes in the back of my head,” I say confidently. “I promise you they will say yes.”
He stops a handful of adults, all of whom seem amused and confirm that yes, I have eyes in the back of my head.
Days pass and this is going great. Ryan now asks me if I saw various things throughout the day. Did I catch him drawing on the table by accident? Did I see him eat that macaroni that fell on the floor? Did I catch him grab that toy out of Lexi’s hand? I’m finding out things I never would have seen had it not been for
Ryan’s admissions of guilt my second set of eyes.
Then today Ryan decides to ask my parents if they can see the eyes in the back of my head.
Of course, they say.
Ryan leans around to check on my head. Once again, he sees nothing. Then his cheeks slowly start to flush. His lip quivers. I can see the volcano rising in his chest. Crap. The jig is up.
He bursts into tears.
The ones where you don’t hear anything for a minute and then out comes a long, loud, solitary moan that cascades in waves. He tells us that it’s not fair that he can’t see the eyes. He can’t deal with everyone seeing something that he can’t.
And although I’m inwardly amused by all of this, I quickly tell him that I shut the eyes and put them away. I mean, I don’t want to see my kid have a coronary or anything.
But little does he know that tomorrow the eyes will grow back… out of my a$$.
Thanks, little man, for telling me all of the “bad” things you did over the past few days. Much appreciated.
Cory and I are going away for the weekend to visit friends who have a newborn.
Without the kids.
My parents and my in-laws are tag-teaming to take care of Ryan and Alexa. I’m a little nervous. Not because I don’t trust the grandparents (they’re wonderful), but Ryan and Alexa both have been a little Mommy-centric lately. I’m sure it will be fine. (Because we’re going anyway.)
My Mom likes details, so she asked for a list of everything the kids need. Honestly, as I was putting this list into words, I felt like a lunatic. When Ryan was a baby, I had a straightforward list for overnights like when he took a bottle, what time his naps were, etc. Simple.
I wrote everything from itemizing the diaper bag to where you can find the vitamins to little nighttime habits/shenanigans to what songs to sing at bedtime and what to do if it rains. I’m so weird. Really. I also think I forgot like 3,764 things and am wracking my brain trying to figure out what I forgot to write.
It’s 2011. There are phones and computers and if anyone has a question, they can call. Also, I think that if they keep the kids dressed, fed and alive then that’s really the point and this list is just superfluous. That being said, I am going to share my list with you. I assume that when you’re finished, you will no longer be my friend. I will miss you.
- Gets alligator spoon full of Penicillin twice a day until bottle is empty. Can be taken with or w/o food.
- He can choose to brush his teeth with either his Orajel toothpaste (“the kind I swallow”) or our Crest (“the kind I spit out”).
- Nighttime underwear with pajamas
- Vitamin is the big white bottle with the R on it. He gets one vitamin with breakfast.
- His brush, water bottle and gel are in the basket next to the vitamins
- He can’t have gummy snacks like twisty fruit because of his tooth
- Breakfast is either smiley face (bagel/cream cheese, vitamin and banana) or oatmeal w/ raisins (he likes to help with the microwave and scoop out the raisins)
- Only two snacks between lunch and dinner
- Dinner is around 5pm on bath nights, 5:30pm on non-bath nights. It’s a weekend, so you don’t have to stick to that schedule, it’s just usually when he’s hungry.
- Before bed, he chooses two short books or one long book. Make sure he has monkey. He needs his bathroom door closed, Buzz nightlight (window wall), ocean (white noise machine) and hallway light on. After lights out, lay in bed with him and sing ABC and Mary Had A Little Lamb.
- He’ll probably call you right after you close the door for water, he’s scared, etc. Go in, but if he calls again, tell him you won’t be coming in again and this is his last request. Cory does this whole freaking thing where he makes sure there are no monsters. Tell him Daddy checked for monsters before he left.
- Time-outs: given for pushing/throwing or unacceptable talk. Give a warning first, unless someone is hurt. In that case, immediate time-out. (Get down on his level and explain why he’s there. He sits for 4 minutes. Don’t communicate with him during time-out. After 4 minutes, come down to his level and ask him why he’s in time-out. Then ask for an apology and kisses and hugs. Move on.) If something REALLY bad happens, he gets a privilege taken away. Monkey game, only one book, no TV with dinner, etc. Pick your battles – a lot goes on in a day.
- Usually wakes up between 6:25-6:45am. Yup, you read it right. Go to sleep early!
- 8 oz bottle upon waking
- If you run out of milk, there is another box above the fridge
- She naps around 9:30 or 10 and has to be full before she’ll go down. Yes, really. Her naps are slowly getting later and longer, so we’re in-between 1 and 2 naps. Hard to tell when she’ll wake up and when she’ll need the next one, but usually she’ll wake up after 2 hours and will need another nap around 2:30. If you’re out, she’ll probably get cranky but fall asleep in the car. There is a paci in the diaper bag in a flowered paci holder if she really can’t sleep but I rarely have to use it.
- Lunch is anything in small bites. She can’t have shellfish or nuts. No juice yet. I usually give her a bottle again after her morning nap and before lunch.
- Third 8 oz. bottle at night before bed while reading two books on the rocker. She likes to look through one of the books in her crib to wind down while finishing her bottle. After a few minutes, say bye to the book and sing a song or two. She has a paci in her crib. Ocean (white noise machine) should already be on. She may cry after you leave for 5 minutes or so. It should get softer. If she starts wailing, she may need more of the bottle.
Notes For Both
- When going out, make sure diaper bag has at least 2 diapers and a full wipes case (I stocked everything already). There is Purell in there, a change of pants for Alexa, burp cloth, blue bags for poop diapers, sunblock, Ryan’s sunglasses, snacks (but add more if needed), pens, paci, etc. Ryan’s monkey game is ¾ charged and is in the outside front pocket. There is a charger in my car for any iPhone/iPod.
- Both need baths on Saturday
- When going out, have a full cup of water for each kid in the pockets on the side of the diaper bag, as well an 8 oz bottle for Alexa. If you want to bring milk for later, there are boxes of room temp whole milk above the fridge.
- I folded all of the laundry but didn’t put it away. You may have to pick socks, pj’s and other stuff from the downstairs couch. Sorry!
- If you need to know where anything is or have a question, you know where we’ll be!
- You asked about what to do if it rains. Besides playing in the basement, there are museums and indoor play places. Call me if you want to go. Also, I’m leaving you a book that has great ideas for places to go on Long Island in general. Have fun!
Note to my future daughter-in-law…
1. Please never make a list like this for me.
2. If you do make a list like this for me, I’ll outwardly laugh at you but inwardly be really, really proud.
Last weekend, I took Ryan to a 6th Birthday party at a planetarium. Fabulous idea for a party. The show brought me back to my childhood – the awesomeness of that great faux-sky… then my teenage years when I would go to see Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd laser shows at the Franklin Institute Planetarium in Philly and we’d go outside and
do bad things hang out. Anyway.
So I get to the party and I notice that my friend (the Birthday boy’s Mom) is there with her extended family and there are a couple of other adults. Then I notice there are like 20 plus kids there. A little strange – maybe the other adults are in the bathroom or something. Then a Mom comes with her son and my friend casually says to her, “12:30, okay?” and the woman nods. AND LEAVES.
OH. MY. G-D.
A drop-off party!
I never even considered this next fabulous phase in my life. Didn’t know it existed. Right now, Birthday Party Season feels like an endless trip to Toys ‘R Us and a mounting credit card bill. In a couple of years, it will feel like one big, fabulous vacation!
One catch, though. The adults present are in charge of keeping order, so it was like I was back teaching a classroom of elementary school students. Lined up the kids to go to the bathroom. Chose the best sitting table as the first for cake. Tried to tame a wild game of catch the zombie. Must be tiring when it’s your party, but the rest are someone else’s problem! Totally worth it.
Ryan came home and said he couldn’t wait until he could be 6 so he can be like those kids. Right there with you, bud!!
For my fifth Mother’s Day, I will not ask to sleep in (because I know it’s going to happen anyway.) I will not demand a massage, breakfast in bed, someone else to do the laundry or pay the bills. I won’t request the day off, because I wouldn’t be celebrating Mother’s Day if I didn’t have my kids. I won’t ask for gifts, a few hours to read, blog or work on my bows.
It’s not that I don’t want these things.
It’s that Mother’s Day makes me think of something else that kind of overshadows the above list.
My first Mother’s Day in 2007 should have been a wonderful experience. My baby boy was one month old. Happy and healthy. Except I wanted nothing to do with him or Mother’s Day. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. I was in the throes of Postpartum Depression and I asked my family not to acknowledge that I was a Mother or to treat this day as something happy. I couldn’t even feel. I was in deep emotional and physical pain. I didn’t want to look at Ryan. Hear him. Touch him. Care for him or myself. I didn’t feel alive. I didn’t care if he was alive, either. That was difficult to write, but it is the truth. I was trapped in a mental state of hell and at that point, saw no way out.
Mother’s Day will always be bittersweet, or at least these past few years it has been met with feelings of happiness, as well as extreme guilt and sadness. This Mother’s Day, I feel so blessed to have two amazing children that have enhanced my life and who make me a better person.
I just want to acknowledge that there are women out there this year who may not feel blessed, or lucky, or even feel anything at all.
Women who want children and can’t have them.
Women waiting to find out if a child is a match for adoption.
Women who have lost their Mothers.
Who never knew their Mothers.
Who are estranged from their Mothers.
Who don’t want to be Mothers.
Women who are mourning the loss of their unborn babies.
Their angel babies.
So many women for which Mother’s Day means something different.
My own Mother gave me life, love and a wonderful childhood for which I am eternally grateful. She taught me that I am worth respecting. She instilled in me confidence, self-esteem and infuriating stubbornness. We are very much alike yet insanely different.
This Mother’s Day, I do feel lucky. I am not under a dark cloud. I have an amazing, inspiring, beautiful family and many things for which to be thankful. I think that my Mother’s greatest gift to me is that I grew up to like myself and also to like myself as a Mother.
I take great pride in my role as a Mother, so thank you Mom. For everything that you sacrificed to make sure I had a childhood worth a thousand memories, confidence in myself, the freedom to make my own decisions, your support and your faith in me that I could be anything I wanted to be.
To those women who will be having a difficult Mother’s Day, I offer hope, strength and compassion.
To my children – the greatest gift you could give to me is to grow up to be sensitive, loving, respectful young adults who work hard, love and respect yourselves and above all, ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.