Recently in River Category

Just one of those days

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Quick grocery shopping and child pushes kid size cart in circles with sound effects and running. Thankfully, the store is nearly empty. 

Go to shoe store. It opens a half and hour later than the website said it would. Waiting...waiting...Child licking the window. 

Get sandals picked out for the big child and then child running laps in the store. Child running away from me when I try to get near enough to tell him to stop running laps in the store. Child slamming body into door over and over and other child joins. 

Walking back to car, child kicks mulch when told not too. Mulch in new sandals. Insists on sitting on curb to remove both sandals even though told not too. Barefoot in the middle of a parking lot. 

In car, I turn and say "You need to listen. You need to stop running in stores. Daddy and I told you this last time. You need to stay where I can see you. I am not taking us to a park after this to play with your friend. We are going straight home." 

He cries and apologies. I tell him it is okay but I'm still a tensed ball of nerves. 

Lunch is relatively peaceful. Take Sage for nap and it's one of those rare days where an hour slides by and she will not sleep. So, no break for me. And of any day this week, I need that break today.

Take kids to the tennis court and help River practice on his bike. Running back and forth hunched over his bike and at first it is all fun and praise and then, after I am soaked with sweat and my foot gets run over, I snap "Why can't you keep the handlebars straight?!" and then try to back track over my bitch with, "You are doing very well. I'm so glad you are willing to try today." But I killed the mood. He doesn't want to ride anymore. He humors me after some wheedling and we head home. 

Another span of peace before I am asking him to come off the porch. I need to change Sage's dirty diaper and I don't leave the kids out there alone. I tell him once. Twice. Three times. "Please, River." and he is still playing bumper cars. I am two feet from him. I yank him inside and send him to his room for not listening. For down right ignoring. Sometimes I can ask him something and he just blinks owl eyes at me and says nothing. I mean something that requires a yes or a no answer. He tells me, when I go into his room to talk to him, that he didn't hear me. 

I believe him. He's spacey. He's imaginative. He's in his own head. He's well intentioned. I know. I'm like this. He's me in so many ways. 

Before bed is always a hectic time. I don't know why his energy peaks when he is tired. We all know. He knows it. When I scold him and he finally stills to listen to stories, he says "I am just tired."

"I know," I assure him. "I know." This is after he's knocked his water on the floor, I caught him chewing on his big toe at the dinner table, he put his hands directly into the mixture of water from the tap and his spit out toothpaste after I brushed his teeth ("Think, River! Think before you do things!"), he began kicking the pile of dirty clothes and a dirty wet diaper instead of getting dressed, and running and jumping about after being told to stop it several times.

What happened to my quite, intense little boy. It's like he's regressed to age two suddenly. Like he's running on overdrive/ jet fuel induced energy/ high as a fucking kite. 

All I know is my one year old hears me better than my four year old the last couple of days. 

So here is what I am going to try:

1. Establishing both touch and eye contact before communicating
2. Asking if he understands and having his repeat what I said back to me
3. Reminding myself that his behavior isn't malicious, it is just him being young, exuberant, and naturally oblivious (just like his mother!)

Wish me luck.

This motherhood thing is so damn hard sometimes. 
I'm not sure if every child is sensitive to sugar, but mine is. We are not a household of frequent desserts or daily candy consumption. So when River gets sugared up-- he can practically blast off to the moon. 

Today in preschool, as part of their Christmas party, the boys made gingerbread houses. They were extremely, insanely hyper afterwards. I'm sure they had an amazing time. 

It's time for me to get packing before I head north with the family for Christmas festivities. Posting will resume on Wednesday. 

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

River's 4th birthday party

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I always have this parent paranoia that I'm not doing-it-right. That I'm not making enough effort for the holidays and special events. My childhood memories of Christmas and birthdays are so amazingly, awesome that I feel like I can live up to the shadow of my mother's enthusiasm that made these special days so very special. 

But through the lens of childhood, birthdays are more amazing than I see them now. River's birthday party, for me, was preparation, spending money, decorating on my tiptoes in the kitchen chairs and knotting balloons together, cleaning the house just to see it littered with toys and crumbs, and Jason slaving away all morning in the kitchen making a cake. 

It's the flip side of the coin. The maker of the events may not be as exciting as my childhood role as the receiver of all my mother's hard work--but it is rewarding. To see his joy and the fun he had with his friends, to watch Jason's cake partitioned and consumed, to pick up the wads of torn wrapping paper and tape another birthday card up with the bunch--that was also awesome. Work, but well worth it. 

If I learned anything from this birthday party (the first one he could really, really understand and enjoy completely) it is that we can do this. Jason and I can do this parenting thing and we can do it well enough. We can bring anticipation and excitement to those special days of the year. We can make our children feel adored.

But of course, we couldn't have done it without our guests. Friends of all ages who came to celebrate River with us. Thanks to Jensen, Oscar, Bennett, Liana and Nuria for coming to play. Thanks to Heather, who came even though it was her own birthday. Thanks to John--especially for not abandoning Sage at the table while the rest of us went to watch River open gifts. (you'll make an excellent Daddy some day) Thanks to Juliana and An for staying to chat. And thanks to Brendan for picking out an awesome boy-gift and letting my friendly daughter enjoy a couple stories on your lap. 

Life is rich because of the people we are fortunate to meet in it. 

River is a lucky little boy to have you all. 

Winter dislike x infinitity

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One of those things I just don't like about winter is the winter cold and the winter sick in general. I have to say that we're a pretty lucky family in that we have good health. I haven't been horribly sick since my junior year of college. River has not gone to the doctor for anything but a well check since we moved here in May of 2009... that is until today.

It was kind of odd how Jason and I looked at each other last night and agreed that River needed to go to the doctor. He's acted more sick before this and we've always waited it out. It was a virus every time or something his body could beat. After a few days he'd be his old self again.

Yesterday he ran a slight fever (no biggie), but we could sense something was off and it turns out he was edging into bronchitis territory.

Over a month ago he has a runny nose and cough. A pretty wicked cough, but no other symptoms. It pretty much went away--but never completely. He'd still cough a bit just in the morning when he woke up--a dry cough. 

Well, another cold came around and who is to blame? With preschool and watching my friend's daughter twice a week, six households are swapping germs back and forth. Fun fun fun 

Three of those households with older kids in schools. 

Two of those households with Dads working in hospitals.

Let's just say all our immune systems are getting a good old fashioned work out this winter. 

So here comes River's cough--returned with a vengeance. A wet, rasping wicked cough that wakes him gagging and hacking and crying throughout the night. The last few days he's been a bit listless.

When Jason took him to the doctor today, she finds that his oxygen saturation levels are a bit low. Thus, our friend the nebulizer--

It was a bit alarming to hear about this machine since my only experience with it was my friend with chronic asthma and my trembling hands trying to put the thing together and add the medication while she wheezed beside me, nodding here and there and looking like she might pass out! 

On another note: check the crazy mom hair/my attempt at keeping myself from chopping off my hair while I attempt to grow out the funky layers! 

On a second note: the red happy face sticker on my forehead was put there by River. I was the King of Pizza tonight. He was the King of Ice Cream. Obviously, I am the only one who took my kingship seriously. 

River will be using this nebulizer every 4-6 hours for the rest of this week and has another doctor visit on Friday to see if the fluid in clearing out of his lungs.

On a last note: Fuck you too, winter. 

I dropped my diarrhea

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"Mommy, why is diarrhea wet?" River asks me as I am trying to convince him to put on his shoes and coat so we can leave preschool.

Red alarms start going off in my head. "What?!" I drop my voice. "River, do you have diarrhea?" I'm eying his pants for a spreading stain of brown. 

"No" He's looking at me like I am insane. Then he says it again, "Why is diarrhea wet?"

"O!" my mind makes sense of what I heard. He is asking me Where is the Diary of a Worm? This is the book he took with him to preschool. I start laughing.

Now he is certain I am insane. 


We are walking home from preschool as this week's class is just down the street at my neighbor's home. Sage is on my left hip bundled into a bright red winter snowsuit, one complete with antlers, because it is so damn cold. In my other hand I am balancing a Styrofoam plate with a single sugar cookie my son cut out himself and frosted in a bright pink for his Valentine Day Party. River has his Elmo backpack on. It's rattling with pencils and crayons and stuffed with Valentines. In his hands is his favorite book of the day, "The Diary of a Worm."

"Here, Mommy." He holds out the book to me.

"River, you have to carry that. My hands are full."

"But Mommy I can't hold it any longer."

"River you have two free hands. I have a fat baby here and your cookie in my other hand. If you want me to hold your book, then I am going to throw your cookie in the bushes."

"No, don't do that. Just take my book."

"If you can't hold you book, throw it away. I'm not doing it."

He trots by my side, whining halfheartedly and dragging his feet now and then. My left arm aches from holding the baby. The cookie slides on the plate. 

"Mommy! Mommy!" A desperate squeal. "My pants are falling down!" 

I turn and there stands my son, pants around his ankles and skinny legs exposed to the breeze. The bottom of his blue underwear peeking out under his coat. I laugh. I laugh and laugh. I laugh while I try to balance baby and cookie plate in one hand while yanking up his pants with the other.

"Come on!" I call. "You can make it!" We climb the steps and get inside. I hurry upstairs and prop the baby against the wall to unlock the door. And down the stairs..

"Mommy, my shoe! Mommy my pants fell off again! Mommy, my diarrhea. I dropped my diarrhea."

I am in hysterics. I leave the baby against the wall, help the boy pull up his pants again, put back on his shoe, and hand him 'The Diary of A Worm." I get myself under control and then I get to the top of the stairs and see Sage's fat baby face sticking out of her bright red winter suit--left against the hallway wall like an over sized stuffed animal, one antler slumping down onto her forehead.

I laugh my way into the house. 

River's birthday party

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I feared this moment, especially after the catastrophe that was his birthday.  We had nothing special planned. Just a couple hours in our home. Our only original deed was the creation of several superhero capes sewn from some velvet we had laying around. It was three nights of teamwork after the kids were in bed when we would much rather been doing...anything else. With some party masks, we told the attendees they were Superheros. In fact they looked more like homosexual vampires. One mom was reminded of the movie Eyes Wide Shut

The wonderful thing about little children is they don't know any better. They had a blast hitting each other with balloons and playing with River's new toys. River agreed he had an awesome third birthday party. Even Jason, who tends to wear a perpetual frowny face for most social events, enjoyed himself. 

I stressed so much. Worrying that I don't have that whatever it is my mom had that made our birthdays and holidays so special when Bryan and I were kids. That maybe as an adult that holiday magic wasn't going to return. The one that would insist we throw these types of party. The one that would make Christmas amazing. Instead I had the voice of the cynic. Does River really need all this hubbub? Should we even teach him about Santa Claus? 

These types of things aren't as fun from this viewpoint, no. Now they are full of responsibility and planning, pride and wonder. But it is true. The memory of what it felt to be a child burns back to a half life as I live it all again through my son's excitement and his joy. 

As he gets older, I enjoy doing these things for him more and more. I look forward to more birthday parties and yes, there will be a Santa Claus. 
a baby Jason

Check the forehead on the girl child. It's hauntingly familiar.

Stealing time

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I miss being with only River. For almost three years were spent an incredible amount of time together. I never left him alone until he was a year and a half. I was never without him overnight until after Sage was born. It must be hard to share my attention and care with his sister. It's also hard on me and not in a way I anticipated. Sometimes I just plain miss him.

100_3211.JPGI've been trying to steal little moments this week to just be with him. Jason was home sick over the past two days. I took full advantage of a second pair of eyes. One day, after the baby had just nursed and was sleeping, I took River with me to the grocery store. I listened to him talking, asked him questions, teased him, and nibbled on his cheeks to make him laugh. I sniffed his curls, gave him sudden hard hugs, had him help me bag fruit and veggies, and ran the shopping cart down the aisle at his prompting.

100_3212.JPGIt recharges us-- these little slivers of time before Sage is demanding I hold her in my arms or needs her diaper changed or wants to nurses again and I have to tell River, "You have to wait. You have to wait. You have to wait."

100_3218.JPGToday, while Sage slept, I remembered a pile of leaves under a pair of flaming maples. I took River outside and we played, briefly (so so briefly) before the baby woke and Jason called my phone to summon me back inside.

100_3219.JPGFor another little sliver of time we were together, just the two of us. We piled leaves and ran through them and threw them and kicked them. We picked out leaves for everyone in the family and then ran back towards home chasing one another.

100_3220.JPGWhen he wakes up at night, frightened or lonely, he still so often calls out, "Mommy." He's still my baby. He's just my bigger baby now.


A snapshot

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"It's Super Peanut Baby Sagey with her super spit up attack!" I fly Sage over my head, her lower lip and chubby cheeks dragged down by gravity. A spot of drool forms at the lowest point. 

River shrieks and giggles as I make her swoop towards his face and press her mouth against his cheek.

Her eyes widden when her lips touch him and she licks.

He laughed harder.

"I'm Super Spiderman!" he calls out.

He is wearing his Halloween custom down to threads. It has runs down the back and grass stains at the knees. Yes, he is Super Spiderman. It's River the boy behind the curls. I mean, the mask. 

Today when I read him stories, he held her hand. 

I can't believe he is almost three. 

When he was as small as Sage, I couldn't even imagine the day he would hold a younger sibling in his arms. 

The blues

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One of the upsides of pregnancy is that it regulates my moods after the first trimester. I ride a hormonal high of good feelings. It seems like nothing can pop my bubble. I feel positive almost constantly. Now I'm not sure what is bothering me. It's either the baby blues, my new birth control I started, or seasonal depression. Here's what I do know, since I started my birth control I feel more emotional and anxious, but I am more lethargic and moody on cloudy days. There isn't much I can do if the cause is my birth control. If it is seasonal depression, I've begun sitting under my light therapy lamp every evening for thirty minutes. Doing so always perks me up from a fog of fatigue. 

I feel tense often, anxious, liable to snap about-stupid-stuff. It takes a concentrated efforts to relax my muscles, my tense stomach muscles (what is left of them!) restricting my breathe, and convince myself that the world is not ending because we are taking longer to get out the door in the morning. That there is no life punishing rule that says we have to get to the grocery store this afternoon. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. Logically I know this. It's frustrating that I go from fine to sweating, tense, anxious, flipping-the-fuck-out over nothing. Over something I wish I could just brush off. 

I envy relaxed people. I seem to function, inadvertently, in a tense state. 

Which makes me think of this episode of "It's Me or the Dog" I once watched. (Yes, because I am that random) So there was this little dog that was flipping-the-fuck out over everything. Victoria, the dog trainer, explained that animals who live in stressful environments begin to grow anxious faster after each subsequent stress. So, pretty soon any little thing will cause them to go into panic mode. 

Which makes me think that I grew up in a stressful environment, one in which panic mode would happen randomly as if someone had pulled the rug out from under my feet and I landed hard on my ass.

Maybe this is why I don't know how to relax. It's hard. Even when I get to the point where I have my feet up reading a book, I get up randomly to do things. I just can't not do it. Like, "O' my hands are dry. I need lotion." Then up I get. Read a few pages and, "O' the cats need fresh water." When things should roll off my back and be not-a-big-deal-at-all--I find myself growing more and more tense. On my trip up to New York it took steely will and vigilance to recognize when I was growing tense and force myself to relax. 

But what if River peed in his pull-up?! 
But what if the baby started crying?!
But what if there was horrible traffic?!

These are the panicy thoughts that are yipping like a small annoying dog in my head. I realized, what does it even matter? Nothing might happen and if it does...dude, I can totally handle it. Why the fuck am I working myself up into an anxious state OVER NOTHING? I had to then forcefully relax my muscles and slow my breathing.

I was sending myself into flight or fight mode over some thoughts....

thoughts people...

I don't want to feel this way. I'm working on it. But my body just goes there without my permission. Like I have two switches--functioning and flipping-the-fuck-out (big time).

I have my good days and my bad days. It's harder when I'm tired. So sleep in really important for my sanity right now. It's harder on cloudy days. It's harder on days that one or both kids are more challenging--for whatever reason. Other days I wonder what was eating me the day before. Why did I have such a bad day?

At the worse I feel like I don't love my children, now that I have two, as much as I loved River alone. As if my brain chemistry has warped and I just can't feel that depth of affection I once did. Other days, I know damn well, I love them with all I am. I just feel so busy getting-shit-done, that I have no chance to enjoy my children. Too much--get this one fed, get that one fed, go here, go there, do this, and do that. I realize that is just part of having a new child and will pass. But the stress is making me a bit more socially withdrawn than I was before the baby. I have to rally my forces just the get through the day. Being social leaves me glassy eyed and numb. It doesn't help that often by bedtime (the kid's bedtime) I feel like I was beat on. 

I also feel an on again off again guilt for River who I just can't be with the way I used to be before the baby. I don't have the time, or the patience to be that mother right now. I never wanted to leave River and now I find  have fantasies about having a day without the kids. A day just for me. I never felt that way with River, but now--like all the time

I want to be super mommy. I want to do it all and do it very well.

The reality is, I can't. I can't even get close. I know that is okay. More than okay--it's normal. 

But, whew, sometimes this is so hard. I find myself envying Jason's ride home and his lunch break that he has five days a week WITHOUT KIDS. 

And now? Now it's time to go nurse the baby. She's giving me the eye and has her lips pursed. This means, "Put a boob in my mouth woman."

I live to serve. 



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