Friday, April 15, 2016

To My Third Child

You’re not my first; that much is true.
I loved others before loving you.
I’m a different mother this time around,
more calm and confident I’ve found.

With your sister, everything was new.
I was focused on her every move.
Each tiny smile was photographed.
I changed my ringtone to her laugh.

When you come, there will be a new dimension.
Three children will want my attention.
I will not watch your every move,
or when you cry out, jump to soothe.

I won’t panic every time you sneeze
and dash you off to A&E.
Your clothes will be hand-me-downs,
and some of your toys will have lost their sounds.

I know what the next year has in store;
each phase you’ll reach I’ve seen before.
This doesn’t mean I love you less.
This time the feeling’s more complex.

I’ll be pleased to see you learn and grow,
but it will pull my heartstrings so.
I was so excited first time around;
this time I'll want to slow things down.

All your firsts will be lasts for me:
last crawl and last to ride my knee.
Last diaper, breastfeed, spoon of mush,
last rock to sleep, last cry to hush.

You’re not my first; that much is true.
But the last child I will have is you.
You’re the last lullaby I’ll sing.
And lasts are a special kind of thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Breakfast for My Lucky Charms

On the morning of Thursday, March 17, a little green man snuck into our house and turned all our milk green! Evie swore she heard "jingles" while she was supposed to be sleeping—jingles that could have come only from a leprechaun. To make up for messing with our milk, the leprechaun left us some candy, St. Patrick's Day stickers and tattoos, too.

Maddox wasn't thrilled when he saw the color of his milk and learned that a tiny, bearded Irish man had been swimming in it earlier that morning. I don't blame him! 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

We're Sew Happy

want to know why we're happy? because it's saturday and that means we get to watch mimi sew the flower girl dress she's making for our friend's wedding! i can't wait to see evie walk down the aisle in her one-of-a-kind "princess gown." a couple weekends ago, we all went and picked out the fabric. my mom searched the store while i half-heartedly kept evie and maddox from crashing into other shoppers as they raced through a maze of fabric bolts. luckily, with that bright red hair, it's easy not to lose evie—or my mom!—in a big fabric store. 

as mimi sewed, evie and maddox made jewelry out of colorful beads and stretchy string, and disney music floated in the background. the kids love the special craft room at mimi's house!

the cat and i just watched and listened to it all. :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Reagan's Rainbow

i was in palm springs last weekend for a bachelorette party (love you, lex!). on my way to the airport yesterday, a little bummed about having to trade in the sunny, 85-degree weather for the portland rain and cold, i spotted a rainbow. i didn't realize then that it was nancy reagan's rainbow—mother nature's beautiful tribute to her death, stretching over indian canyons golf resort, ronald reagan's favorite course, apparently. i did think it was eerie, though, since there hadn't been any rain. today that very rainbow is all over the news! r.i.p., nancy. and happy monday to everyone else.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rining in the New Year

I'm a little very late with this post, yes, but wanted to share this super-fun New Year's Eve video here for the sake of keeping my favorite memories all in one place. Hope your 2016 has been great so far!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fast Food, Failure and Fun

I promised myself I'd never be a "helicopter" mom who hovers over her kids. Or a "curling" mom, aggressively sweeping the floor in front of her precious brood, smoothing all bumps and obstacles to help them glide safely and easily through life. Before I even had kids, I took a vow never to check their homework unless they asked for help. I promised myself I'd make them get jobs after they got their drivers' licenses if they wanted to drive regularly (gas costs money, and money should be earned). I swore I wouldn't be overly involved in their extracurricular activities ("Why isn't he getting more playing time, coach?") or try to boost their grades for them ("What can she do to get extra credit, teach?"). And I promised I'd let them quit the sports and activities they really didn't like—or completely bombed. I'd let them fail. A little failure is crucial to becoming resilient and successful in the long run, right? I quit volleyball after just one season and Girl Scouts after two and turned out pretty well.

The problem is, all these promises I made to myself were for my school-aged children. Until recently, I didn't even realize you could be a "helicopter" mom of a baby, toddler or pre-schooler. But you can! Even when you're consciously trying not to. Here's how it happened to me:

I get daily emails from parenting sites with subject lines like Toddler Spanking: Don’t!, Is Your Child Getting Enough Protein?, Health and Safety Concerns, and Playtime Tips for Babies. (First of all, how'd these sites get my email address? Second of all, I feel guilty for not opening all the emails, like I'm not doing my best as a parent by ignoring the expert advice. But the subject lines themselves make me feel terrible! I've spanked my kids, I prefer meatless meals . . .) I once received a "child tracking device" as a baby shower gift. (Huh?) I also received plenty of big, loud, light-up toys that claimed to be educational—Enhances hand-eye coordination! Develops language skills! Encourages a love of music!—which sold me on the idea that I had to stimulate my babies with them or they'd fall behind. The toys, the emails, everything you're "supposed" to buy, use or do to keep your little ones safe—they turned me into a "helicopter" baby-mom and I didn't even realize it!

When I finally figured out what was happening to me, I blocked the emails and began ignoring the baby industry's ads for its latest "educational" toys and even baby-proofing gadgets. (If my kid slams his fingers in a drawer, maybe he'll learn a lesson about closing drawers more slowly or removing his fingers first. With a gizmo that stops the drawer from closing completely, he'll never learn anything. Am I crazy?)

Even worse than the expert emails, toys and new "safety" contraptions is the pressure from other parents to hover. This happened today:

There's a girl in Evie's tumbling class whose mom follows her around the entire time, helping her on the balance beam and coaching her through every obstacle course, while the rest of the parents sit on the bleachers and watch—or leave the gym and go for a walk, like I sometimes do. Today, before class started, this little girl and Evie were squabbling about something, and I didn't interfere right away. I normally keep quiet to see if the kids can solve the problems themselves. But this girl's mom shot me a look that made me feel obligated to step in—to hover! (I didn't. But I felt judged. This mom was in between the two of them before I even had time to stand up. Never mind that there were two coaches right there who are paid to keep the kids in line and could have handled the dispute themselves, if they had to. I guess they didn't feel the need to jump in right away, either.) How will kids of "helicopter" moms ever learn to overcome real-life obstacles if they don't learn to solve their own problems now?

Also, someone asked me why I let Evie eat McDonald's once. More judgment.

Speaking of fast food, I took Evie and Maddox to Burgerville for dinner tonight. Since taking a stand against "helicopter" parenting, I've also realized that not every bite my kids take needs to be of kale or quinoa. And that not everything I do, say or feed them will screw them up. A little fast food, a little failure, a little fun—maybe it's what we all need.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy Friday!

tgif, people! jeff will be skiing at mt. bachelor this weekend, so the kids and i will be keeping busy on the backyard playground (crossing my fingers for dry weather!), at tumbling class, and maybe even at the children's museum or with a saturday-night pizza date.

i made sure we had plenty of groceries for the weekend, because there's nothing worse than being 24 weeks pregnant and realizing, at 8pm, after the kids are fed, bathed and in bed, that there's absolutely nothing for me to eat for dinner except the leftover chicken nuggets i gave the kids—and then having to wait an hour for pizza delivery because i can't leave the house because my husband's gone and the kids are sleeping soundly and there's no way i'm waking them. (yes, it's happened before!)

have a fun weekend!