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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Letting Go

I woke up this morning, for the 1st time since he was born, without my son. At 6:30 every morning he comes to my side of the bed and either climbs in and snuggles or wakes me up with that adorable little voice of his. This morning I lie awake in bed with a pit in my stomach, knowing he's not coming into my room.

My sister-in-law and her husband have been bugging me all summer long to let him sleep over their house. He has NEVER slept away from home without me, I mean he is only 4. But he really was excited of the prospect of sleeping out, so with a heavy heart and much trepidation, I agreed.

He had the day planned from activities to meals and I knew he deserved 100% of someone's attention, which since the addition of Camryn I can't give to him very often. As I packed his overnight bag, the reality of it hit me hard. I wasn't going to be the one to read him books, sing him lullabyes or kiss him goodnight. I honestly did not want him to go.

I was indeed being selfish. There was no reason on my end that he should go. I didn't have plans that required a babysitter. I was going to be home being a mom, except half of my offspring was going to be missing. What would I do without Dylan to dictate the activities?

I was going to focus on Camryn and have some girl time. Give her 100% of my attention, which she never gets either. But I found myself struggling to interact on an 15 month old's level. She usually just plays with whatever Dylan and I are playing with. My attempt at girly activities like painting her toenails was a little premature. Baby toys weren't holding her interest or mine for that matter. Bathtime, which usually occupies 20-30 minutes, lasted 5 because she just kept standing up. With no one to play with, the tub was boring for her. Storytime proved to be a disaster. While I tried to read her books, she was pulling all the other books off the shelf. Dylan's absence was the elephant in the room. I sung her to sleep holding her tight, grateful that she was still too little for sleepovers.

As I await Dylan's return, I realize how hard it is to let go. They are little for such a short time. The breakaway is inevitable and when the time is right I'll embrace it. Hoping that along the way I've instilled all the right tools for them to soar. But in the words of Darius Rucker, "It won't be like this for long" and I intend to cherish every minute.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome to my world

was all I could say to my husband as I listened to him struggle to get the kids out the door in the morning. The combination of me being a stay at home mom and John's crazy work hours doesn't leave John much time alone with the kids. So I have to admit that on the rare occasions that he does have them alone I secretly hope that things don't smoothly, just so he can get a taste of what I deal with on a daily basis.

I went to grab a cup of coffee with a friend and he was going to drop the kids to me on his way to work. When I called to let him know I was done, I ran down the list of things he needed to bring with him. I could hear the kids running a muck in the background while he frantically collected everything. He finally got them out to the car when he realized he left the diaper bag inside. One second is all it takes for my little munchkins to get into trouble and that's all it took. When I heard him swear, I knew he had come outside to an unexpected surprise.

Camryn had found a puddle to play in and was soaked from head to toe. Now he had to go back inside and get her dressed all over again. Trying to find an outfit that matches is not John's strong suit, paired with chasing around a toddler to try to wrestle clothes on her, I could hear the frustration starting to build. When he brought her back outside and she headed for the same puddle, he finally got the hang of it. He strapped both the kids in their carseats to keep them out of trouble while he finished gathering his things.

He barely stopped the car as he unloaded the kids and threw the diaper bag my way. He sped away already late to work and if he had looked in his rearview mirror, he would have seen me grinning from ear to ear.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Airing your dirty laundry!

Kids really will repeat whatever they hear. I learned this lesson the hard way. Last hunting season my husband bought himself a new gun, an expensive gun. Without any warning he walked into the house with it and Dylan's eyes lit up. Of course, he thinks anything his dad does is cool so he had a million questions.

I used to be a vegetarian, love animals and hate guns. By these three facts, I'm sure you can assume my opinion of hunting. But it's a hobby of John's that apparently I need to live with. However, I really wanted to shield Dylan from guns and such for as long as possible, for obvious reasons. The last thing I need is his pre-school teacher calling me up telling me he's using sticks on the playground to shoot things in the woods or worse, his classmates.

The whole situation caught me off guard and I start to yell at John. Asking how much the gun was, why he would spend that kind of money without consulting me, did he have to walk in with it slung over his shoulder like Rambo in front of his son and so on. Dylan was in the room with us but I never thought anything I was saying was really of any interest to him. Did he prove me wrong!

That night we went to my parents' house for dinner. While he was helping my mom cook I heard him say:
"Nana, daddy bought a new gun and mommy's REALLY mad at him."
My mother didn't even look over her shoulder at me but I could see her snickering while she tried to focus on cooking us dinner.

A little family time

Last weekend we snuck away to the Berksh ires fo r 2 days. We didn't go far or stay in a fancy hotel but we got a little family time. We took the kids swimming in the hotel pool, rode our bikes and spent a day at Jiminy Peak. Without any responsibilities from home, no laundry, dishes, yard work, even the computer to distract us, the kids got 100% of our attention the entire weekend. And we all had a blast! I came home rejeveniated and ready for another week of summer!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please hold the door!

There is nothing more infuriating than people who don't hold the door. It's bad enough when it happens when I'm by myself but when I'm pushing my double stroller it's beyond rude. I mean, you can clearly see my struggle. I have to lean over the stroller to grab the handle, back up a bit to allow enough room for the door to open, hold the door with my hip and then navigator through the door. People often stand there amused at the process and do nothing. Others sneak in right before you because they don't want to be held up by the process. But my favorite is the people who side-step right past the process and use the door alongside of you, without even a glance backwards to see if you made it or not. Top that off with a nice downpour and it's about as fun as a shopping experience with 2 toddlers can get!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chips and Dip

I was going to my mom's for a picnic on the Fourth of July and she had asked me to bring chips and dip. So I sent my husband to the grocery store to get chips and sour cream to make the dip. The chips were buy one, get one so he got a bag of regular and a bag of cheddar and sour cream. I made the dip as soon as he got back and put it in the refrigerator to set. About an hour later I come in to see him and my son scooping up all the dip and gobbling half the bag of chips. Now this is all my mom would let me bring so I can't go there with a half bag of chips and a tablespoon of dip. I grab the food away from them and of course my son starts to cry.

Dad to the rescue....he snatches the other bag of chips and tears into it. When Dylan sees these orange chips he says: "Oh Mom, we don't need the dip anymore, because these chips already have the dip on them! See the orange, that's the dip!"

Of course, he got the usual laugh from mom and dad and continued to eat his "special" chips. Now that was almost 2 weeks ago but he is still talking about these things. He'll randomly bring it up in conversation with people. Today at a restaurant, he leaned over and bragged to the table next to us: "At home, we have chips that already have the dip on them!" I wonder what he would do if he knew there is an assortment of flavors too!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daddy the SuperHero

So I'm fully aware that I'm under appreciated. Let's face it my kids are too young to comprehend exactly what it is I do for them. So I'll spell it out:

Feed them
Clean them
Dress them
Play with them
Comfort them
Teach them
Keep them happy
Keep them safe
Keep them healthy
Make them laugh
Play with them some more
Feed them some more
Undress them
Clean them again
Read to them
Sing to them
Put them to sleep

Not to mention all the things in between. And of course the household chores. But my husband catches a stinking shark and my son thinks he is a SUPERHERO!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just five minutes of Pilates!

Ok, so it was more like 55 minutes but is that really a lot to ask? Sunday night Dylan asked to relax and watch a movie before bed and I obliged. We had spent the entire weekend outside, so I wasn't feeling guilty about some down time. He was happy watching Toy Story on the couch so I thought I could sneak away and get a little Pilates in. TV doesn't really hold a 15 month old's attention so I brought Camryn downstairs with me and set her up with a plethora of toys. But nothing is more fun than using mommy as a jungle gym. The minute I laid on my mat, she was on me like white on rice. She was happily bouncing up and down on my stomach, with a giggle that is hard to be mad at. I tried to work around her but she was really inhibiting my movements. When she finally did leave me alone it was to turn the TV on and off or to adjust the volume knob on the receiver. She was grabbing at my glasses and hitting me over the head with her brother's toy hammer. I heard her splashing in the dog's bowl as if it was a water table. I figured, no harm, it's almost bathtime anyway. Anything that would keep her busy long enough for me to get my pilates in. But when I saw her pop a piece of kibble into her mouth, I knew there was no hope for a little "me" time. Frustrated and defeated I turned off my video, grabbed Camryn and went upstairs to show her the magic that Disney/Pixar has to offer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Throwing the Game

Dylan already has a competitive streak. He has to run the fastest, jump the highest and have the biggest half of whatever it may be he and my daughter are splitting. He is overly concerned about winning, even if it is not a contest. And he is not shy about pointing it out to other kids when he indeed has performed well. So I explained to him how it wasn't nice, could hurt feelings, etc. Of course, you can't change a personality trait so now when another kid is involved he'll say something like "We are both the best runner" just to appease me. So even though he was still being competitive, I felt like it was under control!

Well things took a turn for the worst. We are a huge board game family and I'm super excited that there are games that I can play with Dylan. His favorites are Candy Land, Trouble and Cootie. With all the rain we have been getting, we've been playing our fair share.

I'm not one of those parents who let's their kids win. Because really, what does that teach them? It isn't like that out in the real world. You don't always win or get what you want. It's not easy but it's true. And when he is playing with another kid, they aren't going to throw the game for his benefit. So the lesson in losing is inevitable. I thought Dylan understood. Sometimes I would win, sometimes he would win but he was genuinely having fun playing.

I guess he lost one too many times because he freaked out! He was almost to the Candy Castle when he drew the dreaded Gumdrop card, sending him all the way back to the beginning. And send him into a tizzy. He grabbed his gingerbread boy in a screaming fit and ran out of the room. Knowing exactly what the problem was, I played dumb and asked him anyway.

His response: "I wasn't going to win and I always want to be the best."

Not sure if I should be proud of his ambition or scared of it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I wanna be a big kid

Why is it that kids are so anxious to grow up? Camryn is enamored with her brother. Whatever he is doing she wants to do. And I can already see the "I don't want to include my little sister" thing happening.

Today my nephew, who is the same age as Dylan was over and naturally the boys play well together. I set the kiddie pool up and they had a grand old time splashing each other and such. Camryn was able to play along for the most part. But when the boys decided it was time to drive around the gator, meltdown is an understatement!
Dylan is usually good about taking her on rides, going slow and making sure she is holding on. But him and Matthew tool around on that thing, like it 's the Indy 500. In between sobs, Camryn was trying to chase them around the yard, wanting a ride. So when I asked Matthew if Camryn could have a turn he replied, "Yeah, she can just sit in the dumper!" Which is the back of the gator that has a huge yellow sticker that clearly states children are not permitted to ride back there. Apparently, he didn't want to give up his turn either. But babies with tears always prevail and Camryn got a ride from her big brother.

And when it was time to give the Gator a rest, more tears. Easily fixed....

Don't you long for the days when a popsicle made everything better!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Girly Girl

Can girls be born with a fashion sense? Because I seriously think that Camryn was. It is so interesting to me to see the difference between boys and girls right from birth. And Camryn is a stereotypical girly girl. She LOVES accessories!!! Mind you, she is only 14 months old. I often find her dancing around in her twirly dresses and being overly animated in front of the mirror. She puts everything around her neck like a necklace.

Cords to the Wii remotes, belts, ties, strings and anything that she can find. (I know it sounds dangerous but I find it fascinating that she knows what a necklace is already)

I couldn't keep a hat on Dylan even if it tied around his neck. But Camryn willing puts them on herself. The bigger and flashy the brim, the better!

And boy are we in trouble when we have to dish out the cash for her shoe collection!!! She is obsessed with them. If you ask her where her nose is she has no idea, but ask her to point to her shoes and she is spot on! She already slides her feet into my heels and tries to clop around in them. And if you don't put shoes on her, forget it, complete melt-down!!! My husband is hoping that she outgrows the phase, but coming from a girly girl myself, I hope she embraces it!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Puppy Face

This morning I was going to go for a bike ride by myself when my dog gave me the cutest puppy dog face ever. She was waiting by the door with a face that said "Please take me with you, please, please" Just 5 short years ago, I wouldn't have ever thought to go outside without her!

I was born an animal lover. Every holiday and birthday I BEGGED my parents for a puppy but couldn't have one because my older sister was allergic. I thought the easiest solution was to send my sister packing and bring in the hounds, but I guess my parents were attached to her. So when I was a little girl my father promised me that when I graduated college, he would buy me any puppy I wanted!

So in May 2003, I graduated from Ithaca College donning a graduation cap that read "This was one expensive puppy!"And my dad held true to his word and by June I had Callie, my adorable roly-poly golden retriever!

She was my first born child! I gave her 100% of my attention. She had two hikes through the woods a day. The best dog food money could buy. I groomed her, brushed her teeth and even spent a night on the kitchen floor with her after I cut her nail too short and it bled. I rushed home from work to play with her. If I went anywhere, she came with me and if she wasn't welcome, then I wasn't going.

When I became pregnant with Dylan, people would tease me that this would be the end of Callie's reign over the house. But I knew I would never be one of those people. I loved my dog and nothing was going to change that. If my kid came out allergic, then they better invent infant Claritin because she was here to stay!

When Dylan came home, Callie was just as excited as we were!

But the hustle and bustle of having a baby kicked in and Callie had to share her attention. Her hikes were down to once a day and grooming was only done when necessary. We installed the electric fence in our yard (something I was horrified by only months before) so we could let her outside without having to keep an eye on her. But I still brought her everywhere, she still appeared with Dylan on our Christmas cards and had her spot on the couch!

Camryn's arrival on the other hand, meant 2 kids under the age of three and the house turned into complete chaos. Callie had to whine at the door to go out. I brought her to a groomer only when I noticed that her fur was matted and couldn't stand the smell of her. Her hikes were weather and children's mood permitting. Although her name appeared on the Christmas card, only the kids were pictured. If she was able to find her spot on the couch, it wasn't worth being climbed on and pulled at, so she would resort to the floor!

I could tell that she was being neglected but I still loved her just as much as the day I brought her home. And I kept telling myself that I was enhancing her life with my children. She now had someone to protect, chase after in the yard and go swimming with. She loves to follow the kids around and see what kind of food she can steal from them.

I often watch them interact and have come to realize that although she isn't the spoiled, pampered pup anymore, she gets more attention then I could have ever given her alone. She has more people that love her and is such an important part of our family!

Needless to say, her puppy face worked and I turned my bike ride into a run through the woods and Callie wagged her tail the whole way!!!