School is on! Last night bed at 3am. Tonight bed at 2:30.
It's like having a newborn... Except I'm not covered in milk and in my pajamas for six days straight. Hey, I've got that working for me!
Well, I'm not entirely covered in milk...
School is on! Last night bed at 3am. Tonight bed at 2:30.
It's like having a newborn... Except I'm not covered in milk and in my pajamas for six days straight. Hey, I've got that working for me!
Well, I'm not entirely covered in milk...
I make cds for Liam at bedtime. He loves it!
He requests the cd by the first song. This one he calls "Omeless"
Here's the tracklist for the 4th one:
Any suggestions for future cds?
I recently read a terrific blog post by a favorite Mom blogger. It was her rules to live by.
Here are mine, not necessarily in order.
1. Make the house a place where you can always be you: This is most important - The house is a safe zone. This is one that I learned from my parents. There is so much out there to make you feel lousy. Kids tease kids. You wear the wrong shirt, you say the wrong thing, you are grumpy or tired. The house should always be a place where you can tell silly jokes, dance wild, laugh, be mad or grumpy, sing a crazy song about your love for sharks, wear your pajamas all day long, eat crackers until you simply can't do it anymore. But no matter what, you can be yourself. You can grow and be happy and confident around your family.
2. Family dinner every night: It can be simple. You don't have to cook. Hell, you don't even have to order take out. You can have deli meat and crackers and trail mix for dinner. But sit down with each other until everyone is done. Talk. Share. Connect.
3. Tv for 30 minutes MAX: Unless you are watching a movie, that should be it. The average child watches tv for six hours a day now. Tv off.
4. Avoid commericialized toys and products as much as possible: Period. I don't want that in my house. There is so much commercialization out there - all Nickelodean, Disney, Noggin, and even PBS market to kids. Marketing, marketing, marketing. Plastic makes for cheap toys. Batteries make kids use less imagination. We don't need to buy plastic that will fill some landfill someday. I'm not saying I will only buy the fancy wooden toys for my kid, but do we need Spiderman bedsheets, toys, books, clothes, coloring books, and fruit snacks? Hell no. We can fashion a Spiderman out of play dough and Liam is as good as gold.
5. Don't lie: This is more for when Liam is older, but still. I don't care if it hurts or is wrong, I want to hear about it. Really. I mean it. But don't you dare look me in the eye and lie to me. I will swallow whatever it is that is going on in your world and we can communicate.
6. No cable: Period. It just takes longer to figure out that there is nothing on. Time suck.
7. Go outside at least once a day every single day: Simple. Go outside. Explore the World. Connect. Play.
8. Every adult needs times for themself at least once a day: This can be as simple as cooking a meal for the family by yourself or setting aside a half an hour everyday to read in the family room. It is so good for kids to learn to be by themselves and play by themselves. Too often we feel like we have to teach with our children or play with our children all day for them to feel our love. But we are not respecting ourselves as parents or as individuals (because we are individuals as well as parents) if we do that. We are not allowing our kids to be bored and they need to be bored so they create new games or figure it out on their own. Grab a (big) glass if wine and cut the veggies. Or grab a cup of tea and read a book for a little while. Slow down. You'll all appreciate the time.
9. Mind Your Own Business: Simply put. If it doesn't concern you, it doesn't matter. This is something that I learned from my Dad: Act like a safebox to secrets. If someone shares information, a hard time, or a secret with you, it is not yours to share. It is not your business to share. Think of their secret like it is a book they are showing you: they indulge, share with you, but when they leave, they leave with their book. They leave with their secret. There are certainly exceptions to this rule - a friend of mine recently applied to grad school. It was almost a sure bet that she would get in. She had told most of our mutual friends about it. When she got in, I felt safe sharing that information with our mutual friends because it was so well known. But a divorce? Pregnancy? Couples problems? A friend venting about another friend? Even a hard day with some difficult details. It is not mine to share.
10. Don't Judge: Simply put. This ties into the mind your own business rule.
Concerning parenting: Before I had kids, I judged ALLLLLLLLLLLLL the parents around me. It's easy to look at that kid in Target that is screaming and see that Mom that is completely ignoring him or her and judge. But look closer, that Mom is probably exhausted. Parents and people are always judging each other. Why are they wearing that? That kid looks filthy! It's late - put your kid to bed! Your kid is SO LOUD! Your kid has TERRIBLE MANNERS! The thing is, you don't know. You have no idea what is going on. That child might be having a bad day, that child may be sick, that parent may be sick, that parent may have four other kids at home who have been SCREAMING ALL DAY! Or worse, that family could be going through some hard times of their own and need your sympathy and not your dirty looks. We need to stop judging as parents, because whether you are a stay at home parent with six kids at home all running around or a working parent with a nanny all day, it is frickin hard. We need to stop judging and reconize that we are all in the same boat. And that boat can be beautiful, hard, loving, angry, sweet and cuddly, and screaming and crying. It's easy to say "If that kid was mine, I would do this..." or "MY kid NEVER did that!" or "MY kid ALWAYS did this!" Because your kid probably does do that or did do that, so back off.
Concerning life: Simply put, if it's not nice, don't say it at all. If you don't know the person, don't do it. Who cares what that person is wearing, how much weight they gained that year, who they married or what house they bought? Who cares what religion they follow, who they hang out with, who comes to their house, or what car they drive? If you DO know them, don't do it. Who cares?
Gossip and judgement are ugly. It makes you look ugly. It makes the people around you look ugly. It makes your friends feel ugly. Because if you are talking like that about people you don't know, what are you saying about the people you do know?
I am not perfect at all. I am not a perfect person or mother. I mess up - watch more tv, don't go outside, judge, and I am sure as hell that I will end up messing Liam and future children up in some way because I am not perfect, but I try. And I don't care if you have cable, buy commercialized toys, or never have family dinner together. Seriously. I love it that you might disagree with me. I love it if you agree with me. That's great because these differences make the world and the people in it stronger. The most important of all of these rules is to love your child, love your family, and love yourself. Follow your own family and what you think it right. Trust yourself and the choices you make. If you do these things, everything will be alright in the end.
Do you have rules for yourself? What are they?
Liam : "Trick or treating, Mommy!" as he pounds on the door.
Me: "But honey, you're a naked boy. You can't go trick or treating without any clothes on."
Liam : "But, I have socks on, Mommy!"
Well, in that case...
Good God do we love trucks! Liam spied the street cleaning trucks outside and we followed them for five or six blocks before we couldn't catch up with them anymore. We found these trucks, FOUR OF THEM!!!!, on our walk home. We are some lucky people - FOUR trucks in our own neighborhood.
Making pumpkin bread. Liam ate so much of the batter that the loaves were teeny tiny when they were done. He said he was "helping" so it was okay. Anybody that cute can "help" like that whenever they want.
It was cool to see him get into cooking for the first time. He was so proud and said "Iam do it" and then he'd stir the flour and sugar. It was so great, granted the kitchen looked like a flour bomb had hit it, but it was great.
We really pumped up Halloween. We watched Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin every night for the whole week, read Halloween movies, carved pumpkins, roasted the seeds, made bread, and went to a few Halloween themed parties around town. Liam was so excited that for the last few days before it, he wanted to wear his costume everywhere. Here is the cow at the park.
We made a lot of crafts as well. I am a crafter, that's how I think. I know... I'm a dork. But please try to consider me a hipper version of Martha, okay? I would totally make something with records. Or vintage something. That would be amazing.
Anyway, here is one of them. I cut out the body and eight legs. Liam pasted them wherever he wanted. Apparently it's a spider that Mommy took care of, if you know what I mean.
Trick or treating! Liam was SO PUMPED for it! He was so timid for the first house. We went to our neighbor Linda's house first. He said trick or treat twice and when he got his candy, he immediately took it out of his bag, handed it to me, and asked "Mommy, open please." By the fourth house, Liam got what was going on and shoved his hand into the bowl to help himself.
After a few more neighbors' houses, we went to our friends houses and joined them. Our friends all have two and four year olds. They are ALL boys, so it's a funny energy. By energy, I mean WILD ALL THE TIME. We had a Tigger, a Sun and Moon, a Cow, and a Cowboy and Firefighter.
It was really fun night, even when Liam was really tired at the end and there were scarier people out. There was one kid that was a murdered child. Seriously? WHAT? This kid had a knife in his head and blood all over his face and shirt. I mean, really, I know that more mature costumes are coming. You know, superheros, ghosts, zombies, whatever... but a murdered child?!?!? Sheesh.
But Liam was okay with it. Was fine until he saw the guy handing out candy that was sitting in a chair with a bowl of candy in one hand and his head in the other. Liam took a few steps on the porch, then slowly backed down off the porch and down the stairs, all while staring at this man. I picked him up and he was whispering, "Scared man."
It took an extra hour to get Liam down for bed because he was JUMPING everywhere.
Good week. Sweet boy. Can't wait for next year.
Liam singing Teach me Tonight, stressing teach ME!
Liam grabbing my legs to lead me to dance around the house. My sweet boy, leading me. Love it.
Making pumpkin bread and Liam eating batter, saying "helping" as he does it. Not only does it help to make one and a half loaves instead of two because he has eaten so much of the batter, it is so stinkin adorable to see him eat it.
Watching Liam eat every ingredient of the pumpkin bread. I put a little pile of each ingredient (flour, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, etc) on the counter and he would eat it with his finger. Watching his face scrunch up with the funny or delicious flavors of each one.
Love how I ask him to wash his hands before dinner and he climbs up on the toilet, leans over the sink, turns it on, washes his hands, plays for a minute, then turns it off, climbs down, and dries his hands.
Narrating his life, "Running fast!," etc
Being so sweet to his mother. A few days ago, I had to stand on a chair to get something and he looked very concerned and kept saying "Kayful, Mommy."
Love it how he says a firm "YeSss." with everything now.
He named his dog "Tony" but I don't know where he might have heard that name. What?
How he messes up phrases, but in a way that I don't want to correct him. Earlier today he said, "Hold you," when he meant to say "hold me". I curled him up in my arms and he leaned in for the sweetest cuddle.
Here is a catchup of pictures from the last month. It's a ton of 'em, and future weekly posts will have fewer of them, but I wanted to catch ya'll up.
One of the Halloween/dress up costumes we picked up at thte Half Pint Resale
Liam learned how to turn his fork to get more pasta - he is so proud of himself!
At the park
The leaves are so interesting!
My little poet
Liam was so tired one afternoon that he actually walked into his room, leaned against his pillow, and FELL ASLEEP standing up.
A little while ago I had to write a narrative about an experience that changed my life. I couldn't think of anything greater than the years with my Mom. My life with my Mom. The speech that I wrote is below.
All of this I know and I don’t know. All of this has been warped and changed with memory and time. All of this I remember through slanted eyes, hurt eyes that have changed. All I know now is that I miss her. All I know now is that she is gone.
I was fourteen years old when my world changed in ways I could not yet imagine: my mother had breast cancer. She was thirty seven years old. My mother. Her struggle to live was more amazing than her struggle to fight the cancer that ate away at her. She fought for eight years, with chemo failing and doctors shaking their heads at her. She fought for so long, fighting for us. Fighting to live was different that her fight against cancer. And even though she eventually lost her fight against cancer, eight years after learning about it, she had lived. She had made a home, played with and raised her children proudly; she was not a pitiful woman. She was my mother. My mother: A woman who would not let the cancer stop her from building a beautiful one acre garden in our backyard. It would not stop her from decorating our home for birthdays, going above and beyond, even to the point of embarrassment. It did not stop her from smiling. Living. My mother fought cancer. Her illness and death will always shape me, will continue to shape me, and I will never be the same because of it.
The cancer was stage two breast cancer. She had chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and eventually reconstructive surgery. I learned these terms alongside Advanced Algebra and AP English. I learned them because it was my life. I wanted to learn everything I could about the disease and where it would take us. When her hair started falling out, she bought a wig, but didn’t want to wear it. It seemed less depressing to have a bandana and it worked well for her. It fit the spirit that she carried with her her whole life. The wig acted as cancer décor in the house. Soon more décor came, prescription bottles, souvenirs from the hospital like the chapstick they gave you. I remember that chapstick, always too dry and it stuck to your lips in clumps. We were all strong then, laughing and having bonfires when she was feeling fine. She continued to garden and to build a home for us. My Dad worked more often then and my brother, then nine years old, and I were taking care of her. My brother, my sweet brother, who will only remember my Mom with the cancer. It seemed okay though, we were doing our part. I swallowed this responsibility, wore it like a badge. I did not rebel. I didn't scream that I hated her or fought with her like most teenage girls my age were doing. We laughed. We were best friends. We would watch Law and Order in bed together and laugh at the silly plotlines. We created nicknames for each other. Most importantly, we lived.
We earned ourselves a reward after that difficult year and a half. The chemo ended and after many tests, it was announced that her cancer was gone. She was cancer free. It was over. My Mom was free. We were free. Her hair grew back, thicker and curly. The wrinkles in her eyes were deeper, she had aged from this time, but she was more beautiful.
What we didn’t know, couldn’t know during that time, was that the cancer was growing in her body. It had metastasized. While we celebrated, it grew to consume 90% of her liver. When they discovered it a year and a half later it was too late. They gave my mother a year and a half to live. I was then eighteen years old. I was older. My family was older too. We all knew what would happen and we were resigned. My mother, especially, was resigned to this new death sentence.
She changed. Slowly. Slowly. She changed.
She was able to take chemo at home, in a pill form, and she didn’t lose her hair. And the good news is she continued to fight. She gave herself and she gave us three more years. But it was a death sentence. Both the emotional memory I have of her and the physical person began to die. She spent more and more days in bed, started taking antidepressants because she was so depressed, and she yelled more often. Her pain never went away. All day every day the cancer hurt her as it grew. It metastasized to her pelvic, spleen, and brain. As the years went on, I graduated from high school, started college, but was always her caregiver. I moved away and moved back, living with her, living with cancer, living with the heavy cancer umbrella.
For a few weeks in August of 2007, my Dad went out of town and I was left at home to care for her alone. Someone had to be there for her now. She was hardly eating then and slept almost all day.
The pictures of that time show a woman we could not recognize at the time. Her face was drained of color, her hair thin, her smile weak. She was dying, but we did not allow ourselves to see it. If you look close, look into her eyes, she knew. She knew.
In the few days that my Dad was out of town, the cancer that had then spread to her bones pushed calcium into her bloodstream, making her confused. She took days and days of pills at once. It made her even more confused.
When my Dad returned from his trip, we took her to the hospital. The doctors told us that the chemo she was taking had failed and that she could take a break. We didn’t know that they meant forever.
We didn’t know. We couldn’t know then. Mom had more tests and they discovered that the cancer had grown so much that there wasn’t anything more we could do. We had a few months to say goodbye. She was sent home.
Goodbye? How could we?
We had hospice come in and they set up a bed in the living room. It was the our Christmas tree and stockings. I still remember my Mom’s face when she saw the bed for the first time. She knew what it meant.
But she was still herself. She continued to fight to live, even if she couldn’t fight the cancer anymore. The night that she returned from the hospital she had a glass of wine with my Dad, her close friends, and me on the deck. She was laughing and joking with the hospice nurse. She fought.
Four days after that she slipped into a coma. She just couldn’t wake up with what was happening to her and the pain medications. Ten days after that, on August 18, 2007, she passed away. It was peaceful, and my Dad, brother, and I were all able to be there. She had a smile on her face as we held her hands.
The fight to live is strong. The fight can last for years, it can last the rest of your life. My mother fought for eight years. Now I fight for her. I will fight for the rest of my life.
I will always need a mother. I will always need friends to get through this. I will always need a therapist to get through the many issues that will come up over the years – for instance, when I got married and she wasn’t there or when I had my son that I knew she would never meet. No matter how long she has been gone, no matter how much I have mourned for her, I will always need journals, friends, and therapists to get through this. She will always be with me. I can see that now. She will always be here.
It has been five years since her death. First I mourned, now I fight for her. Now I fight for me. Breast cancer is hereditary. Two of her sisters had breast cancer and survived, but I may have the gene. I may get cancer. When she was sick, I gave my life to her. In the years after her death, I gave those years to my Dad who mourned. Now I am standing up and I will fight to live.
I fight. This year I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure. It was an exhausting 60 mile walk over three days in Chicago. I raised over $2,700 myself and all of the walkers that weekend raised 4.2 million dollars to help find a cure. I now run half marathons, exercise, eat organic and healthy foods, and get regular mammograms. When I get the gene testing in the years to come, I will see if I have the genes. If I do, I will take whatever other preventative measures I can.
I live. I enjoy time with my son, learn to savor the moments with friends and family, and take things slow. I can safely say that my mother and the years that I spent loving and living with her are greater and more inspirational than the depressing year of her death and funeral. I can safely say that those years have weighed on every decision I have ever made in my life.
My mother fought and she will always win. I will always fight and I will win. I am strong because I am me and I am strong because I am Molly’s daughter.
Ah, today is that special day.
The kind of day where you wake up stressed. Upset. Wrong side of the bed. Mad.
Why aren't the dishes done? The laundry pile is as tall as my son. I need to clean the fridge. Do grocery shopping. Take out the trash. On top of that, WHAT IS that smell in there? Shit, I need to clean the trash cabinet too. Seriously, what IS THAT smell?
I'm tired. Stayed up too late. Procrastinated, then worked. Then stayed up too late. Woke up too late. Still haven't showered.
And then there's Liam. Who seems to be in the same pissy mood as me.
Ah, today is that special day.
Only for him, he's upset. Wrong side of the bed. Mad. Wants something, but can't express it. Pissy, hungry, tired. Body can't handle all of this. Wait, are these my 2 year MOLARS coming in? Ah no, I remember teething. That sucked.
He's tired. He's growing. He has needs. He can't communicate them. So he throws himself on the ground. He kicks. He whines. He pushes my buttons by doing things that he knows are wrong, like throwing things when he's frustrated. He has this thing that he picked up somewhere, and says, "Go away" I know he means stop, but it breaks my heart and makes me so mad at the same time. WHY are you SAYING THAT? Don't you know you are my whole heart? Don't you know that all I want to do is play with you all day? Don't you know that all I want is to read with you in the chair and have everything finish itself.
But I react wrong and get equally mad. Shout. Take things away without explaining why.
All I want is one afternoon, no one full day, to get my life in order. I want to spend the day with friends, connecting with them and catching up in a deep and meaningful way. I want to explore art. Read books that I want to read with a blanket and a massive cup of tea. I want to listen to music and immerse myself in the lyrics and melodies. I want to pay all of my bills and finish my jobs. I want to get perfect grades. I want to finish my house and paint my room.
No, all I want is to be a great Mommy. All I want is one full day to take my son on an all day bike ride and pick pumpkins and read books and enjoy the day. Enjoy my boy.
All I can hope is that I get work done, maybe wash some dishes and start a load, sip my coffee and enjoy a moment of peace.
All I can hope for is a better afternoon. A second chance. A better Mommy.
I remember nannying two year olds, wondering when I would be so lucky to have my own.
And here we are.
My boy. My son. Liam.
He has grown intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. He is no longer my baby. He is Liam. The gangly walk he once had is now a swift and graceful run. He has grown. His eyes are bright and curious.
Throughout our day, sometimes I'll catch him staring off. I follow his gaze and notice that he is watching the leaves blow in the trees, the light reflected on the floor, or the rain falling down the window. Minutes at a time will pass as he watches. Daydreamer or simply observant, he sees things.
I love how he connects new things to the knowledge he already has. For a while, all women were Mommys and men were Daddys. Most instruments were the "bass" because he loved it. Now, his vocabulary is changing and growing. We love the "sax-phone", "pian-no-no", "BAN-jo", the "TRUM-pet" and the "oBOE". I love how he has his own unique pronunciation of things.
He is a sharer. Not only with toys, but with experiences. If he loves it, he wants others to love it as well. He asks me, sometimes physically moves me, to see what he sees. "Come on, Mommy." Or he will take a turn with his stick and place it in my hand, "Here Mommy." Earlier this week, he was pretending to be a horse and tried to get our cat Buckley to do it as well, “Buckley horsey.” When you share his experience and play his game, his excitement grows and he giggles with you.
He is hilariously literal sometimes. We were at the Children's Museum and played with the pretend food. Liam shared a wooden spoon and bowl with me and set one up for himself. We pretended to eat out of the bowls and I asked Liam what we were eating. He paused, blinked at me, and answered, "Spoons, Mommy." Then continued playing.
But I love how he can be silly - putting the giraffe in his airplane ("airpane") and laughing hysterically about it. we make a "pffttvvvvvvv" sound to fly it around the room and giggle to each other. Or he turned the remote into a boat and buzzed it all over the floor.
I love our moments together. Yesterday I was reading a book for school as Liam napped. It was cozy and sweet; I had my blanket, my cat in my lap, my tea, and a book I was enjoying. Liam woke up and walked over to me. His eyes were all sleepy and puffy, his hair was sweaty and extra curly. He held his red monkey close and climbed into my lap. I set my school book aside and picked up his pile of books next to us and he selected a few. Together we cuddled under the blanket, Buckley purred on our laps, sharing our mandarin tea, and read for over an hour. Truly a time that I wanted to stretch out and savor.
The one thing that I have learned this year above anything else and love in this year is that Liam has become his own person. He is a person that I love to know, love to get to know, and love to help him grow. I know that I cannot make him be anything; I can only love him and help him along the path that he is already on. It is so beautiful to see the choices he makes, the personality forming, and I am so excited for the future.
It's the strangest kind of love. One where I am wholly consumed at all times. One where I find myself reading a book to him, pausing to kiss him every page or so, and breathe him in. Yes, after two years, I love to smell his hair. It has always, will always be the Liam smell.
I know that the day will come where he won’t let me kiss him, or cuddle in the chair together. A day where we will fight because he is his own person and people push others people’s buttons. Out of love, out of hate, out of living together... But for now, I will sit and savor my moments with my boy. I will soak it all in. I will be grateful for all the days, hard or easy, long or short. I will love every moment.
Thinking about getting this for Liam for above his bed?
It's described as, "pyxis mobile design made from fourteen (14) hand-folded moravian paper stars. each star is fabricated from 4 strips of different colored paper, dipped in paraffin wax, and sprinkled with ultra fine glitter. stars are 16-pointed, 3-dimensional, 3" (7.6cm), and 1 1/2" (3.8cm) tall. Stars are suspended invisibly from metal wires. mobile is a 3 tiered design that spins and floats freely around without touching itself. measures 30" (76.2cm) long. mobile hangs from a loop that can be slipped on an existing hook in your ceiling. it is even light enough to be hung with a push pin."
Made by theStarCraft on Etsy.
I can get it in almost any color. And no glitter!
He's no baby, but I need something for that space.
Thoughts? Too old for him? Too weird?