Second kids have milestones too

The passing of time seems to march on here, much like it does everywhere else in the world. We mark the time with Facebook comments or Instagram pictures. We comment with shock and awe in the tone of our voices on how did we get here? How did this happen? But I feel like each milestone is more dramatic with Courtney than with Patrick. I’m sure it’s because she’s older and we can’t help but wonder how X number of years has gone by so quickly or how did our small girl become such a big girl. And, of course, it’s not so quickly. These things take time but just yesterday they were babies and now they’re small people.

But Patrick’s milestones seem to go much unnoticed, or at least unsaid. On some levels it’s more surprising and in others it’s just part of the every day. Maybe because Courtney’s already been there so it’s less of a milestone in all of our lives. Or maybe it’s because Patrick is so big, he’s the same size as his sister who’s 2 years older and she’s not small for her age. Or maybe it’s because he’s so easy. He goes with the flow and goes along for the ride. He mostly does what you ask him to do and he’s just a pleasant, all around great kid. We don’t push him to do things that maybe we should. And I feel like we treat him differently than his sister, partly because he is the “baby” and partly because his sister is older and we expect more. I can see it everyday in the way we treat them, on the expectations we place and I try and balance things out but know it doesn’t always work that way.

Patrick is a love and while I know he won’t always want to give me kisses, I want to impart on him the understanding that it’s good to tell someone they are loved. That it’s OK to share your feelings and to hold someone’s hand or show affection. Several times a day Patrick and I have this exchange where he says, “I love you. I just love you. And I’ll love you forever.” I’m already sad for the day when that stops, when he doesn’t tell me that or when a pouty face from me won’t result in a kiss on the cheek from him. Because he will be bigger and older and it won’t be OK to kiss your mom.

Last night Patrick reached another little personal milestone. As Paul put him to bed, Patrick asked when he should stop using his pacifiers. (He uses them at night. We never make a big deal out of them, or comment upon them, they’re just part of his night.) Paul asked him if he was ready to sleep without them and Patrick said he was, and handed over all four of them. Just like that. And just like that my little boy is stepping away from those baby years and towards those days where we don’t hold my hand in public. I know the days don’t go that quickly but they go. And I’m not quite ready.

And on to the next chapter

Paul pointed out to me that it was probably worth mentioning, my baby girl is a kindergartener. I find it hard to believe that the little baby that taught me what it meant to be a mom and to love unconditionally, is sitting in some classroom doing who-knows-what. 
In a lot of ways I feel disconnected. I don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t know what’s happening in her day. Who is she sitting next to? Is she making friends at lunch? Is she speaking up or is she sitting quietly? Courtney’s a talker but not a talker. The girl can talk all day about everything but when I ask her about her day, she’s all quiet. I ask questions and I get some answers but even then, I often get “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know.” It’s exasperating and provides me with no peace.
We did have an end of the week meltdown. It was a heartbreaker and I was completely ready to start homeschooling. I know that isn’t the answer, pull her out because of my uncertainty. (And let’s be honest, I’m no homeschooler.) But I knew that what she needed was for me to sit and listen and stroke her hair and wipe her nose and tell her that I love her and she’s going to get through this. This is a small mountain in our journey (except for the 6:30am wakeup, that’s Everest) and we’re going to learn to love, or like, the next step.
It’s crazy to me to think that 5 years + 3months later and here we are, on the bus, emerging on this grand adventure. I remember that November morning of her birth like it was yesterday. And there are days when I want to stop time, hold on to these moments and never let them go. But I know that’s not possible and so I will enjoy them and try my best to remember and hold on to my little girl as long as she’ll let me.

I am not perfect

My kids are not perfect. I know, this is earth shattering. They are small people with lots of thoughts and ideas. They have big imaginations and hundreds of ideas on how things should be done. They are growing and changing and learning and are full of questions. This is all how it should be. That’s what small people are all about.
Sometimes I forget.
I’m not perfect either. Far from it. I’m a big person with zillions of thoughts and ideas running through my head. I have a wild imagination and ideas on how I think things should be done. I’m growing and learning and am so full of questions. And this is also how it should be. This is what being a parent and an adult are all about.
And sometimes I forget that too.
We had an incident earlier today in which I found myself using a Very Scary Voice and screaming at my child while the other one cried. And as I heard the scary words come out of my mouth, I was more than just a little horrified. Everyone was ok. Maybe a little scared but otherwise ok. 
I had just told said kid not to do what they were about to do. And shockingly, they didn’t listen. And I lost it. None of this is the proper response to a child’s behavior. After I calmed down and the crying child calmed down, I sat down with my kid. I looked my baby in the eye and talked. I spoke calmly and rationally and mostly told the kid how awesome he/she is. How I love and cherish  them and how wonderful I think they are. And the tears streamed down their little face. 
It’s been too long. Apparently it’s been way too long since we talked about love and pride and the things that make Paul and I happy. I’m not perfect. And my kids are just kids. And maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I need to let the kids be kids and learn from their mistakes. As I hope to learn from mine.

Who doesn’t love a vacation?

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Me? 
OK, that’s not quite true. I love vacation. I love the change of scenery and the beach or the mountains or the ability to read books and relax. I love spending time with my family and trying new restaurants and doing different things. But man, do I love to get home.
We went to the beach last week and had a great time. The weather completely cooperated and it wasn’t too crowded. We saw dolphins and manatees and rode boogie boards and built sandcastles. We read books and ate yummy food and had tequila well before 5. And we all got to spend lots of quality time together.
But it was exhausting. The packing and the organizing and the shopping and the driving. The refereeing and the ability to function outside of our normal routine is where things sort of fell apart. Courtney and Patrick both were GO GO GO all day. We spent loads of time outside, in the sun, playing in the ocean or the pool, eating all the crap and generally not doing our normal things. And boy oh boy, did it show. Not only was Courtney awake at night and not sleeping but she was up insanely early. And since she was sharing a room with her brother, he too was up insanely early. There was a lot of tears and a lot of arguing and quite a bit of ultimatum-ing. And some of that wasn’t so fun. OK, all of that kind of sucked.
It makes me nervous for the next trip. The kids and I are heading out for 2 weeks. Is every night going to be a battle? I hope not. I REALLY hope not. I won’t make it. Or some small human won’t make it. 
Do vacations get easier? Do small people become medium people and things are less of a battle? Please?SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bits and Pieces

So what have I been doing that I can’t find the time to write for over a year? A lot and nothing. Or so it seems.
Well, there’s the every day stuff. The parenting and the cleaning and the cooking and the laundry. And then there’s the exercise. My bestie and I were walking 4 days a week until she left me and moved away in November. Bitch. So after a 2 month funk, with some occasional hot yoga thrown in, I joined a karate place that has kettlebells and kickboxing. I LOVE the kettlebells. It’s a grueling 30 minutes with a LOT of sweat but a great workout. I figure I can do anything for 30 minutes, right? But my strength has definitely improved and I’m able to swing and lift more and more weight. My arms are looking great and I’m way more toned but I still have a long way to go. The gym also has crossfit and with my membership, I get 2 free weeks of CF. I’ve only done 2 WOD’s so far but I can already tell I’m hooked.
And then there’s the sewing. I have been doing a TON of sewing. I can definitely see a marked improvement in my skills and am all over the map with clothing (for the kids and I), bags, pouches and quilts. I feel like sewing is one of those things where the minute you think, “I’m pretty good at this,” you then spend 2 hours taking something apart. But I really love to sew. I love choosing fabrics, putting things together, the way that it allows me to be creative and imagine how things will look. It also keeps me engaged and I really enjoy that. Of course my “I want to make that” list is a good 6 years long and I’m sure I’ll never get to them all but I really love it. We completed my sewing room ages ago but I’m still working at the dining room table so I can be part of the family. Maybe someday I’ll move downstairs instead of using the designated sewing room as a dumping spot.
Then we’ve been doing some traveling. Let’s see… We went to Connecticut and New Hampshire last summer. We also went to Florida in the summer and fall and then to Disney this past spring. All of them exhausting trips but great fun and full of wonderful memories. Our ability to travel at will and off peak times has come to a crashing halt as Courtney will be in the public school in the fall and we’ll actually have to be there on the designated days. Total crap.
I’m sure there’s more but that’s a highlight and I’m sure you’re bored silly. Then again, I’m pretty sure no one is actually reading this….