In Love

January 21, 2009

Sometimes it still hits me with a real fierceness how much I’m in love with my boys.  We’ll be sitting around playing or watching dinosaurs on TV, and one of them will come up and give me a hug–and I won’t want to let go.  Scooter will smile at me, and no matter what mood I had been in, I’ll have to smile right back.  (Seriously, this kid has the most contagious smile in the world.)  I about burst from pride in them when anyone compliments them, which happens pretty often.

The other night, PJ gave me a hug and a kiss before bed, as usual, and I almost started crying when he said, “Mmm-ma, Mommy!”  He has said it so many times that I don’t know why this one time was so special.  Maybe it was the way he said Mommy.  Often he talks about what Mommy will do to me–as though he’s talking about me to me–but he doesn’t often directly address me with Mommy as my name (if that makes any sense at all).  It’s so moving to be called Mommy by my children.  Hearing Scooter repeat “Ma-ma-ma-ma” does the same thing to me.

And I am the center of both of their worlds.  There are times of the day when neither one wants anything other than me, usually at the same time.  They act as though they are mine, only mine, and everyone else is an outsider to our special relationship.  My boys play together happily, forging a close brotherly relationship, but I can tell as much as they love each other, they still consider themselves mine first.

There are days when being this needed gets to be overwhelming, and I wish they would cling to their daddy this way.  But all it takes is a little snuggling from either one, and I am reminded how much I will miss this closeness when they grow up just a little and I am just Mom, complete with eye-roll.  No wonder I still find myself longing for another baby, feeling eager to put myself through all that again, to prolong the feeling of being the center of a little one’s universe.

I can only hope that I make my boys feel this special throughout their entire lives.  As much as raising them up to be polite, well-behaved boys, I think this is my job–to make them feel this loved.


Life Is Richer

July 16, 2008

I’ve had this thought bouncing around in my head over the past few weeks: Life is richer with two.

It’s not something I would have really expected before BabyN showed up.  While I was pregnant, I was too busy worrying about the work involved or the sibling rivalry in our future.  I was anxious for the two to meet and for PJ to treat BabyN gently.  I was too afraid of what could happen to consider what would happen.

And what has happened is that my life has been so completely enriched.  There’s something amazing about a second baby, even more than the first.  You’ve been through all of this before–the pregnancy, the labor, breastfeeding, the dirty diapers and sleepless nights, the first scary cold, the sadness as you watch your baby turn into a little kid.  You are able to abandon more of your worry, more of your anal-retentive perfectionism, and just enjoy your baby.  I think that’s the reason I bonded much more easily with BabyN (although it’s possible the NICU thing contributed as well).  It’s comforting going into motherhood confident about your mothering abilities already.

Even more than already feeling like a good mother, however, the relationship between your two children is encouraging.  Some moms get to watch their children bond right away and have to fend off the older child who is overeager to give kisses and hold their baby brother or sister.  While I have no doubt this is heartwarming for the mother, it’s even more impressive when you watch the uncaring older sibling slowly warm up to the new baby.

That’s what has prompted me to realize how rich life is with two.  PJ has most certainly warmed up to BabyN.  BabyN loved him from the moment he was capable of doing so, and PJ’s coolness towards him only seemed to spur on that love even more.  But now, I am able to sit back more and watch as my boys interact.  Sometimes PJ will return BabyN’s adoration by letting him hold his hand for a few seconds or laugh as he plays with his hair.  Sometimes PJ will lean down and give BabyN a hug and kiss, entirely unprompted.  His obsession with his dinosaur is his attempt to nurture someone the way I nurture his brother; Doddledo is PJ’s less heavy brother.

I love each of my boys more than words can say, but I love them together even more.  I wonder how I ever let myself worry about how much more work they would be or how bad the sibling rivalry would be (although that will probably get worse through the coming years).  If I had known how great this would be having two sweet boys who love each other, I think even the crazy, hormonal, pregnant me would have been able to rein in all that worry.


The Most Important Meal of the Day

June 20, 2008

Mealtimes around here have started getting tough.  It started getting bad when BabyN needed food too.  It’s particularly bad when I’m alone to deal with it, like at breakfast.  This morning was a good example of how things go around here at meals.

BabyN decided to try something new while I was feeding him.  Instead of sitting there happily and quietly, anxiously awaiting each bite, he let himself get distracted by everything.  He would rock back and forth as I was trying to aim a spoonful of food at his mouth, which is how he ended up with food everywhere from his ear to his eye to his nose.  Then he decided that the spoon looked like a great toy.  He kept trying to grab it–while still rocking back and forth.  So now I’m avoiding his waving hands and trying to time it right to get the food in his mouth and not his hair.

Naturally he grabbed the spoon several times anyway, getting food all over his hands and arms and dripping some in his lap.  I got frustrated, of course.  Thank goodness I kept my cool head and remembered something we used to have to do for PJ when he hit this stage.  I gave BabyN a different spoon to play with to keep his hands occupied.  That’s the only way I made it through feeding him without having a breakdown.

Of course, while all this drama is happening, PJ is on the other side of the table eating his cereal.  It was the first time I’d tried pouring milk in it and letting him use a spoon to eat it.  He was having a blast and eating very well, so I was grateful I didn’t have to give him as much of my attention as usual.

Until he finished the cereal.  He saw the little bit of milk that was left and thought it looked like a great toy.  At that age, the messier its potential, the better toy it is.  I warned him several times not to shake the bowl, even if he was doing so gently, and he proceeded to repeat, “PJ, don’t shake it” while gently shaking it.

I would have immediately taken it away from him if I hadn’t been covered in baby food at the time, trying to clean up both BabyN and me.  I was seriously debating just throwing BabyN in the bathtub about then but didn’t want him to spread the mess before I had PJ under control and could start a bath.

So I kept scrubbing at his face and hands (and legs and high chair and hair, etc).  Then suddenly I glance over to PJ who seems giddy.  The change in mood happened quickly, so I suspected something was up.  Sure enough, there was Apple-Jacks-pink-colored milk in a pool on the table, dripping onto the floor and into his booster chair.  All over his white onesie.

Of course.

So as soon as I finished cleaning BabyN, I got to start on PJ.  Now we’re all three just a bit sticky from spilled milk and fruity baby food.  I would give us all a bath, but I need a bit of a break first.  I can’t handle the drenching I know I’ll receive from a double bath about now.

It seems that the hospital was negligent in their duties when they discharged me from the hospital with both boys; I managed to make it home without that extra set of eyes in the back of my head or the extra pair of arms.  I could have used all of them this morning.

Thank goodness tomorrow starts the weekend.  At the very least I will have help with tomorrow’s meals, and most likely M will get this fun alone for breakfast, as he usually lets me sleep late while he watches the boys on Saturdays.  Do you think I should warn him about what he can expect or just let him enjoy this fun the same way I did?


A Few Vacation Stories

June 3, 2008

Okay, ready for stories?  I’ll tell them in bulleted form with as little background as possible so that I don’t lose you before the end of the first one (no, me? I’m never long-winded!).  Oh, and they’re not going to be even close to chronological order.

–The very first night we were there, we put all three babies in the same room for bed (remember my niece who’s the same age as BabyN was there too).  She’s not used to sharing a room, so one of the boys disturbed her just as we were all going to bed, and she woke up crying.  Her crying woke up both boys as well, so we had three parents trying to calm three crying babies at midnight.  I took BabyN into the other room to nurse him back to sleep (something I rarely do), and put him back to bed close to one.  When I crawled back in my own bed exhausted, I felt something damp.  I smelled it: urine.  Apparently the dog peed on my side of the bed.  I ended up getting a very short, very interrupted night of sleep on the couch.  I also couldn’t nap the next day because the only available bed was ours, and it took all day to get the sheets washed.

–Two more nights were no-sleep nights due to one teething baby (as we realized on Saturday when he suddenly had another tooth).  I could go into all the gory details of walking a baby for hours and nursing him on and off all night, but I think you get the picture.

–And yet another night was no-sleep thanks to something else.  The night M and I were at the B&B, the one devoted to endless “marital activity,” started out great with some shopping, a nice dinner, and a movie together.  But about the time this marital activity would begin, I suddenly started getting some stomach cramps.  I spend most of the rest of the night on the toilet suffering what was most likely a nasty case of food poisoning.  What a waste of a nice, expensive room at the B&B!

–Oh, on our night away, we decided it would be romantic to share a bottle of wine.  M had these great hopes of getting me a little tipsy, thinking just about everything would be funnier with me that relaxed.  Since I’ve never had alcohol before and M has never tried wine, we got a recommendation from my parents that is supposedly the mildest wine ever, the first one my mom ever liked.  Turns out I hate it.  I had about ten tiny sips and each one was worse than the last.  M didn’t like it either, even though he made it through a whole glass before giving up.  I guess there’s not much chance of us becoming alcoholics.

–PJ totally showed off for his grandparents, trying just about any food we put in front of him.  He really likes tomato, which both M and I HATE.  He also seemed to like raw onion and mushrooms.  At least he wasn’t too fond of the fried okra; I don’t think I could stand to even have that in my house, even for my son.

–We went to the zoo this past Saturday (and it was crazy hot).  It was lots of fun watching PJ watch the animals.  He was repeating lots of the names of the animals.  He really liked the bears and the elephants, but our favorite was the ostrich.  He tried to say ostrich at first and then just insisted it was a ducky.  I thought it was pretty smart of him to make the connection between the birds, so we just agreed it was a big ducky.

–The last place we visited has this little-known park area that is done up like a Japanese tea garden, complete with a huge pond full of goldfish, a picturesque pagoda, and a waterfall.  It’s a great place for photos, so we went armed with our nice camera.  It turned out to be kind of annoying because it has steps everywhere, which is lots of fun with a 2-year-old who insists on taking each step one at a time and a baby.  It is NOT stroller-friendly.  And PJ was so excited about the steps that he wouldn’t stand still for a picture without throwing a fit (although the lack of an afternoon nap this day probably didn’t help).  Then finally I got him to the edge of the water and held him close while pointing at the fish.  He was awestruck.  “I see fishies!” he said–a full sentence.  We sat there for close to ten minutes pointing out the fish, the big ones and little ones, the slow ones and fast ones.  And I think that was probably my favorite part of the trip right there.

–While at my in-laws, one of the touristy things we did was go to the top of the “mountain” overlooking the town (okay, it’s just a big hill).  At the peak, they have a cute little park.  PJ had so much fun swinging and even more fun on the slide.  It was a really good time with those grandparents, and I got lots of great pictures.

–And oddly enough, I have no in-law stories to tell you.  The drama was minimal, and I actually enjoyed myself this time.  I’m not sure what was different, but I hope it continues for every trip from now on.

–We finally got to meet our nephew for the first time, too.  If you remember he was born early, about a week farther along than PJ.  He’s four months old now.  He still looks and acts like a newborn.  The only area he’s caught up on at all is his weight.  I’m actually a little scared for him.  I remember PJ at that age (thanks in large part to pictures), and this little guy isn’t even close to where he was developmentally.  This baby doesn’t lift his head or smile (although they say he does–in response to some sort of physical stimulus).  M and I recommended they call ECI to get him checked out, without actually letting on that we were worried; it can’t hurt after all, and we do wish we had done it earlier.  I hope we just saw him on several bad days for him and that we’re dead wrong.

–The second best moment of vacation was the first night in the hotel room, with both boys within earshot as they went to sleep.  I knew PJ always chattered some as we left the room to put him to bed, but I never knew what he said or how long he talked.  Apparently, he talks to his brother, telling him sleep tight and even that he loves him (we think–he never says this to us).  He also says all sorts of things we can’t interpret yet.  He talks to him long after BabyN has fallen asleep.  It was the sweetest thing listening to him talk his brother to sleep.  I think they love each other after all.

And with that, I’ll finally quit talking.  I think I have more stories that I haven’t remembered just yet, so I may have more for you tomorrow.  I also have another post or two of deeper stuff that surfaced during the week (all good!) that I’ll delve into later this week.  So stay tuned!


Sometimes I Love Being Right

March 26, 2008

Back when I was pregnant with BabyN, I wrote something on the other blog about how sweet PJ was getting.  One of the few phrases he was repeating at the time was “It’s okay,” something we always told him when he was upset.  It was just one of those things that when said in the right voice calmed him down from even the nastiest head bump.  I thought it was sweet that he repeated that phrase of all things, and sometimes even to me (after accidentally hitting me or something).  I remember writing something about how I hoped he would be as sweet to his baby brother and tell him “It’s okay” when he cried.

I knew how likely that was, though.  PJ doesn’t share attention well, and I fully expected him to be jealous of his little brother.  When he all but ignored BabyN for the first month or so, I decided my unspoken expectations were what really happened.  No big deal–at least he wasn’t antagonistic.

Then he started noticing his brother and doing sweet things to BabyN because he liked the reaction he got from us.  He would pat his head or boop his nose while around us, but I suspect he was wondering what would happen if he hit him instead.

Fast forward to the last few days.  BabyN starts crying, usually from teething, and PJ is quick to comfort him.  The cutest was after he accidentally hit BabyN with a toy and BabyN started screaming.  PJ walked up to where I was trying to calm him down and patted his head while saying, “You’re okay, you’re okay.”  Amazingly, BabyN calmed down.

We’ve thought we’ve heard PJ talking to BabyN at night as well when he’s started crying, but this was the first time I had seen such outward comforting happening.  It was obvious PJ felt bad about the accident and wanted to help make sure his brother was okay.  It was amazing to me that something I had written months ago had just happened.  Something that was more of a wish than a prediction actually happened.

I love this stage of the boys’ relationship.  BabyN admires PJ, possibly more than M or me.  He’s always watching his brother and laughing at his antics.  PJ is also protective of his little brother, even when he’s stealing all the attention.  He may ignore him most of the time, but I’ve noticed that he’s really keeping an eye out for him, even when it looks like he’s ignoring him.

I know this wonderful stage where my boys actually like each other won’t last forever.  All too soon we will enter the days of fierce sibling rivalry, and the sweet moments between them will be few.  I ought to get plenty of video of the two of them interacting in this phase so that I can prove to them they really did love each other at one point when they turn into surly preteens who hate each other.

Okay, on to something entirely different.  I’m feeling myself sliding into another blogging slump, and I’d like to avoid that if at all possible.  So I’m going to steal an idea I’ve seen many of you do before.  Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?  What things are there you’ve wanted to know and I’ve somehow avoided blogging about?  I’ll answer just about anything, so ask away.


Welcome Home

March 24, 2008

Sorry about taking the weekend off.  That was not my intention at all.  We just got so caught up in doing stuff for once that I didn’t make the time to sit down and write something.  Here’s the short version run-down of the weekend:

Friday afternoon we went to the mall with the boys, the first time taking both boys in the double stroller.  We didn’t do much shopping, but it kept PJ mostly contained and entertained so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the endless tantrums and disobedience.

Friday night, M and I came up with a possible punishment for PJ for when he repeatedly disobeys.  He’s used this new time-out spot twice since, and the disobedience seems to be tapering off.  Oddly enough, the tantrums seem to be fewer as well.  Even threatening time-out now seems to be helping.

Saturday we attempted to take the boys to Petsmart.  It looks like we might actually get a dog, so we did a little research on crates, food, etc.  We also thought it would be a fun place for PJ.  He can look at fish, birds, other small mammals, and maybe even dogs and cats since they should be adopting on such a busy weekend.  Unfortunately, all we saw was fish, which held his interest less than five minutes.  Then he wanted to drag us all over the store, even into employee-only areas.  When we told him no, he threw a tantrum.  He even did the limp body falling to the floor trick.  Needless to say, we left early.

Then yesterday we finally got our butts out of bed early enough for church, the first time since Christmas.  We even got up early enough to drive an hour to the church I grew up in, the church I consider my home church.  I left the church almost three years ago, when M and I moved across town and I was pregnant with PJ (long story behind that).  I’ve visited once since, a week or so after PJ’s birth for the baby shower my friends threw for me.  It was obviously a momentous occasion, one that I could ramble on and on about for ages.

I’ll spare you all the details and other feelings related to the day and simply say that it was wonderful.  It was a long-needed return “home.”  I was welcomed back with open arms, me and the whole family.  M and I are now going to try to make the journey there once a month or so as we attempt to find a home church closer to us.  At least we can get that spiritual and social feeding we so desperately need every so often until we find somewhere else we can get it.

Anyway, it was an awesome Easter.  PJ had fun with his egg hunt and learned the word “jelly bean.”  Now there are plastic egg parts scattered all over the house and jelly beans scattered all over the yard.  And I have LOTS of pictures of the day to sift through.

Now it’s time for a nap.  Both boys are miraculously napping at the same time, so I’m planning to take full advantage of the occasion.


Happy Pi Day!

March 14, 2008

Today is the day all of the math nerds come out to play, or at least ‘fess up to their math nerdiness.  I’m one of us.  I openly admit today that I am fascinated with many math concepts and could happily solve complicated math problems all day long (as long as the word problems were limited).  But enjoy the merciless teasing while you can because we all retreat back into our caves or alter egos tomorrow.

(By the way, today is March 14, 3-14.  Pi is 3.14 for those of you who have selective amnesia about anything from high school math.)

My in-laws are planning to visit this week.  I don’t know any specific plans, but I think they were planning to get here sometime tomorrow.  Considering the state the house is in right now, I hope they clarify “sometime” in enough time for me to feel comfortable letting them into the house.  And I’m actually looking forward to the visit, even if it limits my blogging time.  It’s been long enough since we’ve seen them or my parents that I’m anxious for PJ to have some distraction.  Besides, they always spoil the boys when they see them, almost to the point of embarrassment.

This morning was our once-a-year lawn overhaul.  Early spring, the lawn needs tending again, and it’s always bad after the winter.  It needs much more than a simple mowing, so M decides it’s worth paying someone to do all that hard work once a year.  It was so weird being awakened by a lawn mower in our back yard.  It was like being taken back in time to my high school years when my dad or older brother would get up early on Saturday mornings to do the lawn–every week during the spring, summer, and fall without fail.  I griped about it back then, but the familiar drone behind our bedroom window was comforting today and lulled me right back to sleep.

Hehe, right now PJ is trying to share some of his big boy toys with his baby brother.  BabyN doesn’t have a clue what to do with them.  I’d better go take some pictures while I can.  This is too funny.