BlogHer Reviewer

MeKate's got a new Etsy store. Gorgeous paintings!

A dear friend is selling ADORABLE handknit baby clothes. If you're in the market, have a look!

free counters

Small Things 10-12-13

1.  Canned another batch of salsa today because, damn, the garden is still kicking out tomatoes.  It’s the middle of October, fer cryin’ out loud!  Not really complaining, because I figured while I was at it, I should make another batch of pico de gallo, and then while I was on a roll, I made some guacamole, and then I went all out & bought lard & made flour tortillas.

And our dinner (all that + spicy black beans) was flat-out divine.

2.  We had our library insulated this summer.  When we bought the place we noticed that for all the beautiful woodwork inside the library, the contractors did some bizarro work where it wouldn’t be seen (using upside-down wall insulation for under-the-floor insulation in the crawl space) that basically made the space under the library the perfect nesting area for skunks, raccoons, squirrels, etc. All that lovely fiberglass batting + an area not being used for anything + not inconsiderable amounts of heat coming down from above = perfect winter resting place for stinky critters!  So we had solid insulation installed down below & blew in a few inches of foam in the attic space to see if we could make this giant room a bit more comfortable in the wintertime.  But since it was summer, we sort of didn’t know if it would actually make a difference.

Boy did it ever.  It’s only getting into the 40s, but still, library’s getting warm & staying warm.  Woodstove is having an easier time of it, too, and the cat?  Cat’s never leaving this room again, as far as I can tell.  Yay for insulation, yay for getting to use our favorite room year round instead of just when the weather’s lovely.  And yay for feeling snug instead of cold.  All good things.

3.  Hen napped today–but in the middle of the afternoon instead of late morning.  I think we’re going to be playing it by ear for a while, let him set the pace & decide if it’s a napping day or not.  I can live with that.  I got to go shopping with my grocery buddy at noon–which was s first–he’s always napping by noon.  So that was kind of awesome.  Lots more time to get stuff done if the nap is negotiable.  I think I might like this stage!

4.  He is deep deep deep into ‘pretend’ play, which is a blast to witness/be a part of.  Most conversations now consist of him telling me things he’d like me to pretend–usually things like “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of ghost-es.”  or “Mommy, pretend you’re afraid of getting your face wet in the swimming pool.”  And then he proceeds to reassure me, ie: teach me how to do whatever it is that’s worrying him at the moment, or scare me.  “Mommy, are you afraid of monsters?”  “No.”  “Will you pretend that you’re afraid of monsters?”  So I will, and sometimes he reassures me and sometimes he becomes a monster and chases me.  Either way, it’s a hoot to see his imagination working like crazy all the time, no matter what else is going on.

5.  When we bought this house, the very small master bedroom had a king-sized, canopied, extremely ornate brass bed.  Which I can only assume the owner couldn’t figure out how to disassemble, because she left it for us to deal with.  Long-time readers might remember that we instantly dubbed it the QE2. We figured we’d sleep on it until we could figure out how to get it the hell out of our bedroom, since the mattress was practically new, but then, during the nights of co-sleeping–the boy, me, the baby, and the whippet–realized we really loved the bed.  At least we loved the way it felt when we stretched out on it, not so much because of the way it looked. So soon after we moved in, I took down the canopy framework.  Because really, too too much.  (She liked shiny a lot, did the nice little old lady we bought from.  This year, we finally got around to replacing the chandelier in the dining room, which used to feature weird brass dragons, flowers painted on china, and lots & lots of beadwork–all of which sounds weird enough to be cool, but it wasn’t.  It was just very very shiny.)

Anyway, I also finally got around to buying a rug for our bedroom, and in trying to maneuver it underneath the enormous, unwieldy brass bed, I was reminded how much I hated its wrap-around brassiness, and its largeness.  So I pulled off the footboard and the wrap-around parts of the headboard and find that I rather like the (comparatively) simple, plain brass headboard.  An enormous king-sized bed doesn’t seem to take up nearly as much room without all that visual furfeleuing, and the room looks cozy now, instead of overwhelmed.  Very nice.

And the rest of the QE2 is now living in various places up in the attic, (right next to the chandelier) where it’ll be the problem of the people we someday sell the house to!  Hahahah!

Small Things 10-9-13

1.  A busy day today with…no nap.

Gulp.  It might be here.
The end of the nap.

ACK!!!!!

(yay.)

2.  Apparently Hen spent much of the time today telling his therapist all about the Halloween costume he does not have, but has been dreaming of.  He’s going as a cement mixer driver, apparently and he couldn’t explain to her exactly what a cement mixer driver costume looks like–which is a shame, because, really, all I’m coming up with is blue jeans and gloves  Maybe boots and a trowel/smoother thingy?  Not exactly easy to differentiate from, say, an excavator driver, without a prop–like a cement mixer?  Ack.

I miss the last couple of Halloweens when I could slap him into a lion costume, give him a five minute lesson in ‘roaring’ and call it a day.

3.  The indoor playground where we go always has certain staple activities–bouncy house, climbing maze, shopping area–but it changes other sections around every few months.  Today, the area previously designated for ‘playing house’, is now for ‘playing doctor’.  x-rays on light screens, lights for peering in throats, coats and masks and stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.

Hen was in heaven, getting to handle all the gear he’s been subjected to over the last few months.  He and a little girl played quite happily–he used that light to x-ray her ‘broken’ arm, show her over and over (and over and over) again where it was broken on the x-ray–he really coveted that xray–and apply a cast made from a doctor’s white coat to her arm.  It’s the first time I’ve really seen him engage in pretend play with someone else.  Very cool to see.  This afternoon at home, he fixed my broken arm many times.  A large stick was the xray machine and also the saw (!) he used to cut my arm open, a crazy-dance sufficed for the stitching portion of the surgery, and he pronounced me all better–though it will hurt for a month or maybe a year and I would have to go to therapy and do things I do not want to do.

Yep.  I guess that pretty much sums up medical care from his perspective!

4.  It’s mouse season.  How do I know this?  Because the cat–whose stated purpose in life is to kill rodents trying to live in our kitchen–has started bringing them in from outside.  Our own population of mice being, apparently, not large enough for her.

A couple of mornings ago she brought one upstairs in the wee hours, whereupon it got away.  I found it huddled halfway down the kitchen stairs the next day and chucked it outside.

Found another one under the couch where it apparently expired from previously acquired injuries, along with a live and very healthy chipmunk.  (That one might actually have gotten in through the basement vents, rather than the cat’s mouth, but still–why is she roaming outside when we had a chipmunk in our living room?!  Yuck!)

Also? I couldn’t find her when it was time to take her in for her annual vaccination & exam.  Mattie Catty needs to get her act together.  Grrrr.

5.  I have 3 hours to myself tomorrow while Hen’s in school and I can’t decide how to spend them.  Shopping? Walking? Yoga? Writing? Cleaning? Jogging? Gardening?

I know what I should do. (Cleaning & gardening & shopping & jogging.)

I know what I want to do. (Writing & walking & yoga.)

I know what I’ll probably do. (Writing. Basic bathroom cleaning.  Vacuuming.)

That’s kind of like accomplishing everything on my list, right?

Seriously, the house could use a deep clean.  The garden needs to be pulled/hacked/macheted down (since we’re apparently never going to get a hard freeze.)  With xmas time coming up, with the knees of almost all my pants wearing (or worn) through, I should put in some time at the mall even though I’m the world’s worst shopper.  And I should be jogging.  I just should be.  I need to get back in shape so I have the chance to live long enough to play pretend with my son’s kids someday.

But there’s the book.  And a short story I’ve promised to submit.  And I do love walking when I have a free hour with nothing to make me hurry faster than I want to.  And I’m becoming a fan of the YogaStudio app that Mel recommended a few months back–as a non-joiner, yoga has always seemed far too high-pressure for me.  Classes?  Not happening.  Get dressed up to do yoga?  Hah.  Competitive, crazy-makin’ yoga?  Double hah.  But I am enjoying the routines and the pacing offered, and–well, being able to do it in my jammies if you must know!

Oh well.  Everyone should have so many not-horrible-at-all problems, eh?

Woodfire.  Tummy full of delicious food.  Darling husband beside me, darling son upstairs fast asleep (and I DO mean fast asleep.  Kid conked out almost an hour earlier than usual!)  Cat waiting for me upstairs (I’m hoping she does not have either an indoor or an outdoor mouse to share.)  Dog waiting for me to help her under the covers because she’s just that cold and just that lazy.  Leaves are turning brilliant outside.  I have a book to write, a short story to submit, and a whole slew of ideas for what to do with myself tomorrow.  Life really is good.

 

Small Things 10-7-13

1.  3-year pediatrician’s appointment today.

42 inches tall
40 pounds heavy

“Big.  Really big.”

Um, yeah.  I know.

That would be the comment from both the aide who led us back, & the nurse who did all the weighing, bp measuring, etc.

Um, yeah.  I had noticed.

You know why I like his pediatrician & deal with the rest of the office staff, and their occasional forays into bad practice?

Because the dude is like 6’7″ and never makes inane comments like “Wow, he’s really tall!” to me.  Besides being tall himself, he has tall kids (duh) so he knows how annoying it is to have someone talking excitedly about your kid’s bigness (or littleness, or anything else that you & kid have absolutely no control over).

Also, because today he showed Hen the massive scars on his elbow where he broke his elbow when he was four.  Back in the pre-pin days.  Hen was duly impressed and wondered if it still hurt.  The dude might not be as touchy-feely friendly as, say the lady therapists Hen sees & likes, but he knows how to win over a little boy.

2.  Speaking of hurt–flu shot.  Hen did not like that.  I offered to let him come with me to the grocery store to get mine, thinking he might appreciate a little bit of his own back, but there was no way no way no way he wanted anything to do with that.  Sweet kid.  I was startled at how little it hurt, honestly.  Needles no longer hold anyfear for me, but really, I didn’t even know she’d already zapped me.  That painless.

But hoping to avoid another flu year like last, where it just dragged me out for weeks.

3.  And yeah, I think the nap is on its way out.  :(  He’s getting sleepy later, and staying cranky longer after he gets up.  Used to be he’d get up from a nap & be very happy.  Now he gets up & he’s just whiny til after his bath–which sort of shoots the whole afternoon if we’re going from meltdown to meltdown.  So we’ll soon start trying ‘quiet time’ and we’ll see where that gets us.  (Quick trip to the loony bin being a distinct possibility).

4.  Henry only just recently figured out that other people–like mommy!–have birthdays, too.  He’s been offering me all his most prized trucks (and occasionally Real) as birthday gifts when the momentous day arrives, which is oh-so-sweet & oh-so-hilarious at the same time.  Truer love hath no person, than a son willing to part with his best beloved excavator to give his mommy a perfect birthday.  Seriously cute.

5.  He told me very seriously–with quivering lip, even–that when I tell him I don’t have time to play with him, sometimes it hurts his feelings.  Since I was doing nothing but reading the news on the computer at the time, I felt like a schmuck and immediately got down on the floor & made vroom vroom noises with him.  It was a good reminder that he still takes even very small rejections very personally–as a rejection of his whole self.  We had a long talk about how just because Mommy couldn’t–or wouldn’t–play every time he asked, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be asked, and doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to.  Sometimes I have other things that just need to be done.  But I also told him I’d try harder to say ‘yes’.

My sensitive little boy.  I hope you always want to play trucks with me, and I hope I always at least try to say that I will. 

 

 

Small Things 10-3-13

1.  Apple picking field trip at Hen’s school today.  So, tractor ride, apple picking/nibbling, new playground to explore and animals to gawk at made for a happy group of preschoolers today.  Including Hen.  Here’s hoping to more weeks like this one!

2.  Naps, though still very much needed, are seeming to get a bit shorter.  Yikes.  Actually, it will be nice to have a bit more midday freedom, though I’ll miss that time-out in the middle of the day when it disappears–my actual productivity might (might) go up, but then again, it might not.  And my stress levels will certainly go up when I don’t have that bit of alone time in the middle of the day.

3.  A very disappointing harvest–if I can even call it that–of the sweet potatoes.  Granted, it was not an optimal year for sweet potatoes, and I probably planted them out a bit late, and I could have located them better in the garden–but still.  Wow.  Very disappointing for all those vines to have grown from nothing but some straggly roots barely worth calling sweet potatoes.  Of course, I’m Still harvesting tomatoes.  I’m going to go buy some more chiles tomorrow so I can can up another batch of salsa, because, really, I simply can’t stand to let this many tomatoes go to waste.  I’m totally growing this same sauce tomato next year, I just won’t grow half as many of them!  Yikes.

4.  I finished Hen’s quilt, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.  Even more pleased with myself for actually getting it done.  I realized that while I love the finished product, even using a machine to cheat the quilting part, I just don’t enjoy the process enough to make it worthwhile.   Which is a shame since, as I say, I think the finished product is about the coolest thing a person could make for their home.  I did like sewing on the binding.  And I guess I like piecing the bits together.  But really, once the never-ending hand-quilted quilt I’ve been working on for, (honestly) 10 years off&on, is done I do not think I will ever start another one.  Not until I’ve knit everything I’ve ever wanted to knit (which would likely take me approximately 3000 lifetimes…)

5.  Been reading books from the library again, and enjoying myself thoroughly.  Last year was a very little reading year, and it was an odd way to live, entirely in the reality of the moment.  I think I prefer my head in the clouds, somewhere, dreaming of a story when not otherwise occupied.  Nice to have that escape back.

Small Things 10-1-13

1.  And then, he had a great day at school.

(Massively deep exhalation of relief on my part.)

Part of it was being allowed to bring Bunny in.  His teacher sees how instantly Real Bunny soothes him when he’s getting anxious, and has said he can bring Bun as long as he needs to.  Part of it is that we’ve been deliberately singing songs from school, saying The Pledge of Allegiance for fun (?), and talking through different scenarios that have, apparently been worrying him.  Part of it is the teacher understanding that some of his refusals haven’t been contrariness but his deep-seated dislike of being messy.  The fact that he says, “No, thank you.” when something is offered that he would like to refuse isn’t hurting.  Yay for teachers who appreciate well-mannered kids!  Or maybe it’s because he had a bit of a breakthrough with his thumb yesterday (more on that to come) and was still feeling the joy of realizing he could do more than he could yesterday.  Or maybe it was simply the bribe of getting to go to the indoor playground tomorrow if he was a brave boy and didn’t cry today.

Whatever.  All of the above, I suspect.  But he had a big smile on his face when I picked him up this morning, and I’ve never been happier to see my boy looking so happy.

He talked about school all the way home with very little prompting.  He mentioned a few things that Real Bunny was concerned about at his bunny school.  Things like the words to songs, not knowing anyone’s name, etc.  But he had many more good things to say about playing, and conflict resolution, and being the one who got to turn out the lights at recess.  Thank heavens for loveys.  Thank heavens for teachers willing to bend the rules when it’s obvious a kid needs a bit of help.  And thank heavens that he’s possibly through the worst of it.

I was really worried we were going to have to pull him from school, mostly because I know how much he’s actually going to like it.  He’s desperate to be around other kids, and he is a little sponge these days–he needs a bit more stimulation than I am giving him, I think.  In the last couple of months, he’s learned the names of the states from his puzzle map.  I think I was in college before I was entirely sure which was Arkansas and which was Alabama.  Also, he’s SO verbal and so very tall that he’s already being assumed to be older (much) than he is.  I suspect this is just going to get more pronounced.  I don’t think red-shirting this kid will be a good option, just for that reason–he’ll be the hulking kid in the back row even if he’s the youngest in the class.  If he were the oldest as well?  Yikes.  And at this point in his life, I really think he needs to be around more people his age, and so the idea that he was disliking school was hard.  Made me feel all failure-y.  Like I’d seriously erred by giving him such a good life at home that leaving it even for a few hours was traumatic.

But it’s (I do fervently hope) sorting itself out.  He likes his teacher, he loved being able to show mommy & daddy around his classroom and tell us all the things he knows (damn, this boy likes knowing that he knows).  I think he’ll be ok.  I think he’ll have fun and get what we wanted him to get out of this year of preschool–namely, a love of school as ‘a good place where you get to go and learn new things’.  He’s started inserting bits of dialogue and such into our interactions that he must be getting at school “I’m stretching high as a giraffe!”  This is what school is, and it’s what I hoped for, but it’s still a bit bittersweet trying to bow out gracefully as the complete arbiter of his world.

At his open house this afternoon, when it was time to leave, all he wanted to know was when he’d be allowed to come back and play.  His teacher overheard, and grinned.  Yeah.  Me too.  OMG, the relief.  And yeah, I’m sure we’re not completely through it yet, but since I was seriously wondering if we’d have to pull him from school last week, having him react much more like a normal kid with normal levels of separation anxiety–ie: not thrilled with walking away from mommy, but willing to be distracted once he’s there–is such an amazing relief I can barely describe it.  It was a rough weekend since last Thursday!

2.  A follow-up appointment with his surgeon yesterday went well.  Elbow is completely healed, and while she’d prefer the nerve damage to never have occurred, she reiterated that it does seem to be progressing, which I absolutely agree with.  She was trying to get him to move his thumb & he said he couldn’t, even though we were watching him twitch it against her hand.  Then that night, after dinner, he got a huge smile on his face and held his hand out to me, “Look, Mommy!”

Kid curled his thumb all the way in to his palm.  “Cymbals!” he cried as he gave himself a weak round of applause, inviting us to join in.  Boy, did I ever join in.  Henry’s left thumb has come back into the world!  It’s still weak, it’s way unreliable, but he’s been using it like crazy today–occasionally so well that I wasn’t even conscious of the fact that he was using his not-so-good hand to do something.

Again–the relief…

3.  Went out to dinner in Portsmouth & remembered why I liked that town so much.  It’s only half an hour away–I really need to spend some time getting to know that city.  Delicious seafood, eaten right on the river where we saw a seal, lots of seabirds, some junkyard cranes, and a whole fleet of tugs.  Best place to take a little boy to dinner ever.

4.  Finished the quilting part of Hen’s new quilt–need to slap a binding on that sucker and it’s done.  Not that he’ll ever need it–temps are supposed to creep back up into the 80s this week.  Crazy.

5.  Going to go try to get some sleep.  No.  Scratch that.  Going to go upstairs, sleep like the dead until my son creeps in and whispers, “Mommy, my clock is yellow.  It’s time to get up.  Here, take my hand and I’ll lead you to where I live.  You can play with me if you like.”

And then we will start our day of playing with trucks and trains, talking about construction vehicles and ‘grabber claws’.  Trying to answer the age-old questions of whether sharks are actually mean or just very very cranky (cranky), and if fish like to be eaten (who can say?)  Do shrimps have eyes? (yes.)  Am I still 3? (for a long time, you’ll be 3, little one.)  Did you see what I just did, Mommy? (I did.)  Did you see? (Yes, I really did.)  Which is your favorite truck, Mommy? (Probably the street sweeper.)  If you like the street sweeper, I will like the stump grinder.  Would you like to play a game with me?  (Always.)  Do you love me more than airplane contrails?  (Oh yes.)  What about more than pink contrails.  (Even more than the pink ones.) I love you too, Mommy.  More than sharks love taking baths. (That’s a lot of love, Hen.  Thank you.)  You are welcome, Mama-kitten.

Am I the luckiest woman in the world? (Oh yes.  Yes indeed.)

Small Things 9-27-13

3 year old cake

1.  Birthday party went well.  Henry got to run around with 5 of his favorite friends, eat cake & ice cream, and after they left and the excitement was over–there were more presents to open!  Henry has just realized that birthdays are fantastic cake-eating, crazy running, sandbox-playing, loot-grabbing days, and that he likes birthdays a lot.  Especially his, and he’d like to know when he can have another.  “Am I still 3, Mommy?” Is a question I’m hearing an awful lot these days.

2.  Preschool.  Oh yeah.  (Oh no).  First day went great, only he got tired by the end of the school day (which is his typical naptime, so no surprise there.) Second day, there were tears all day, off & on, though he seemed ok when I picked him up.  The night before the third day, he hardly slept at all–having burst into spontaneous tears over dinner when he realized that the next day was a school day.  Third day, he went nuts when the aide came to walk him from the car.  I had to carry him in, and he had to be held back when I left–with him shrieking, “Mama, don’t leave me! Don’t go away without me, Mommy!  Please don’t leave me!”  I made the teacher let him keep Real Bunny, and she called about 20 minutes in to let us know that he was sitting with the aide, reading books & eating apples.

And weirdly, when I came to pick him up, he was good.  “I was a brave boy today, Mommy.  Let’s go get ice cream.”  Well, I’d thought of an ice cream bribe if he didn’t cry at school, but hadn’t really thought he’d internalized that promised reward.  And there certainly had been tears.  But he also seemed to be trying to brave his way through it–and I’m a big believer in ‘fake it til you make it’ in most things, and especially in things requiring courage.  So we rewarded his ‘bravery’ with ice cream after dinner, and we took our time getting home & getting to nap, stopping to watch some construction at a nearby store, buying some frozen peas and mac & cheese for lunch, etc.  He had a great day for the rest of the day, which is good.  But I’m dreading Tuesday almost as much as he is.

And he is so damned apprehensive about next week that it breaks my heart.  I found a copy of The Kissing Hand to read to him–a book he’d read before and not been too interested in.  Figured it was timely and so gentle and sweet he’d like it.  But he realized what it was about and just froze up–like he was afraid I was going to drive him to school with only a kiss on his palm for comfort that instant.  He’s scared, and he doesn’t like it, and he’s worrying about it way more than I’d hoped.

And some of it is just that he’s had constant one-on-one attention since he was born and he doesn’t like having to share the adults in the room.  Some of that is that he’s very attached to me and it’s hard being away from the giver of hugs and snuggles and giggles.  Some of it is that he is, by nature, a sensitive kid and he’ s constantly worried that people he doesn’t know well are angry with him–especially when they’re telling him to do things differently from how he’s trying to do them.  Some of it is some learned bratty behavior stemming from the injury & attendant frustration when it doesn’t work/teachers not really realizing how little strength/control he has with that hand.  Some of it is frustration from being suddenly enrolled in school & OT four days a week.  And some of it is, as I feared, from starting school later than the rest of his class and not knowing the things they already know.

“I don’t know any of the words to any of the songs, Mommy.  I just don’t know what is happening!”

*sigh*

And the hand.  The damned hand.

On his second day, his teachers sent home the materials for him to make a craft–along with a note saying, “Henry just didn’t want to do this.  See if he’ll be more willing at home.”  The craft was ripping up red & yellow & green construction paper & then gluing it to the outline of an apple.  He saw that I had the construction paper & got really excited, so I handed it to him & then I watched him try desperately to grip  it tightly enough to rip a piece off with his other hand.  He let it fall to the ground and turned his back.  So I held the paper & let him rip with his good hand, and we had a blast doing the craft together ‘as a team’.  And it showed me that they didn’t spend quite enough time figuring out what was going on–he was actually desperate to do the craft just like the other kids, but he couldn’t.  And once he realized he couldn’t, he got cranky about it.  And then he said he didn’t want to do it because that’s the way this kid works–sour grapes isn’t even the word for it.  So I sent a note of my own back, reminding them that he has no feeling or gripping ability with his thumb & first two fingers, and might they please give him some additional help when the group project is something that he is not physically capable of doing unassisted.

And they were obviously better about that on Thursday–offering him a brush to use during painting when they realized that fingerpainting was too stimulating for his left hand.  (He’s also got a whole new slew of sensory issues to deal with as the nerves heal.  Yay.)

And a much-anticipated visit with my parents was canceled at the last minute when my mom fell at home.  He keeps asking if today is the day they’re coming, and we keep explaining that they’re not, and unfortunately I think we spent so much time building up this visit for him to look forward to, that our explanations are just not sinking in.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for the little guy.

3.  On the positive side, a friend of his from playgroup is in his preschool class and his mother and I are going to start walking on Thursdays while the kiddos are in school.  I like the little girl and I like her mom, and it’s nice to have some mom-time to look forward to each week.  She just lost a pregnancy at 17 weeks due to hyperemesis gravidarum.  My heart just broke for her, and I reached out and I’m so glad I did.  She’s someone who might become a real friend, and I’m delighted.

4.  We’re still harvesting tomatoes.  Lots and lots.   The quality isn’t as high as it was in the middle of August, but damn– garden tomatoes in the last few days of September?  Unheard of!

5.  It’s my anniversary today.  I’ve been married 5 years to the most wonderful man I’ve ever known.  If we have 55 more years together it won’t be enough.

He went out to ‘run errands’ and came back with a bunch of beautiful flowers for me.  We went out to dinner at the local ‘fancy’ Italian place.  Had some decent food and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  Now we’re home, hanging out in the library and generally having a lovely evening.  Life is good, and as the wee one adjusts to his new big boy routine, it will get even better.  (Or so I hope.  Life may be pretty much perfect, but having to calmly walk away while my son is screaming for me not to leave him?  That’s pretty horrible.  I’d like that to get better please.  And soon.)

 

 

 

Three.

Three years old.

Three years ago my world filled with more joy than I ever could have imagined–and I have a good imagination! I figured it’d be awfully darned wonderful to have a child around to love, but really?  I had no idea.

Henry, you are a delight.  You amaze me with your compassion and your kindness, your silly jokes and your intensity.  You are such a little person–no, you’re a big person temporarily trapped in a small body.  So much personality; it’s no wonder you’re growing by leaps & bounds–it’s just an attempt to contain it all.

I have to tell you–everyone warned me about ‘Two’.  “Two is hard,” they told me.  “Tantrums.  Potty training.  Inappropriate aggression.  Picky eating.  You’ll hate it.”

Hah.  I loved two.  As did you.  Last night when we were talking about the importance of today’s anniversary you thought a moment, then rather plaintively said, “But Mommy, I like being two.”  I know you did, kiddo.  You wore ‘two’ like a superhero cape, all bright primary colors and trying to fly.  You were very happy or you were very sad.  You learned about moods.  I learned how important it is to keep you well-rested & topped up with food!  Frustration is hard for you, as is the fear that someone is angry with you.  Which I understand, so we have an agreement now that I will be super-clear if I’m getting angry so you won’t have to guess if I’m teasing or really angry.  It’s helped, as has talking through different responses you could give if someone says ‘something’ to you.

You want sharks to be nice.  You want tigers to merely be misunderstood.  You’re pretty sure Cruella Deville is a very nice lady who’s just dressing up for Halloween.  In a perfect Henry world, there would be no mean people or animals or bad situations anywhere.  Actually, that sounds pretty good, that perfect Henry world.  Can I live there too for a while longer?

And yeah, there was the shattered elbow.  Boy did that ever suck, eh?  But we’re getting over it.  And as soon as that damned cast came off, you were back to your sunny, easy-going self, so one-handedness?  It’s not so bad.  Not as bad as sleeplessness, apparently.  Speaking of the Year of the Elbow, you think your therapists are splendidly nice ladies who just like to take you swimming and play with nifty toys.  You still get frustrated when something doesn’t yield easily to The Good Hand’s solo efforts, but sometimes I’ll look over and see you concentrating like mad, your tongue peeking out from between your teeth as you grip a lego or a pen lid or some other recalcitrant small toy in The Not-so-Good Hand.  And then I’ll realize that it’s. coming. along.  Slowly but surely, we’re getting you back to the land of two-handedness.

You love your books, and it seems like you’re ‘this close’ to reading them on your own, but you’ve been there for a few months now, so maybe it’s just a fond mama idea.  But I do love coming in in the morning and seeing you ‘reading’ books–piles of books–to all your critters.  You’ve started spreading your affections about a bit amongst the stuffed toys.  You’re still clutching Real in the middle of the night when I check on you, but as often as not, another toy gets pride of place next to you in the car, or in your fort.  Trains aren’t so important anymore, although the recent acquisition of “Kelly the Tow Train” has you practically giddy with glee.  But I suspect that’s just because for you right now, it’s all construction vehicles all the time.  I never knew so much about CAT vehicles.  I never wanted to know so much about them.  But it’s cool to see you developing your own interests and dragging us all along with you.  For you, I have learned to be excited by the sight of a tower crane or a bulldozer on the side of the highway.  If that’s not true mama-love, I don’t know what is.

You are compassionate and kind.  You’re shy now, which you weren’t a year ago, but you’re easily won over by people who aren’t too insistent.  You bring toys to your friends when they’re crying.  You share with babies.  You talk a lot about rescuing animals and people.  You make plans for how to keep your smaller friends safe from bigger, slightly more rambunctious friends or dangerous situations.  Your sweetness eases so many of my fears for you.  You are a charming boy.

And you are a big boy now–big enough that it’s sometimes tough to snuggle you on my lap, arms and legs tucked underneath, the way you crave, but you’re still my Snuggle Puppy.  You’ll always be my Silly Monster.  I love you not to the moon and back, but to the stars and back “because, Mommy, the stars are much farther away.”  So they are, kiddo.  As far away as the edge of the Universe and back, that’s how much and how long and how far I love you.

Being your mommy is more fun every day.  I am the luckiest woman in the world to have you for a son and your daddy for a husband.  Life is so very good these days that it’s hard to believe it’s our real life, that this is the life you’ll grow up knowing and–I hope–loving as much as I do.  Tomorrow is the first day of school, with all its attendant joys and sorrows.  Teachers, friends, a life separate from Mommy as your life has never been before.  I’m so proud of you, so eager to watch you navigate your way through this world.

IMG_0728

And honestly, I can’t wait to see what “Three” brings!

Small Things 9-16-13

1. Hen woke up sobbing last night. He’s had a cold, so when I rushed in, I tried to soothe him: “It’s ok! I know it’s scary when you cough and wake up, but it’s ok!”

“No mommy. I was reading The Best Word Book Ever to Real but all the words were gone!” (TBWBE is a Richard Scarry picture ‘dictionary’ that Hen adores.). And so it looks like we’ve certainly instilled a love of books, but now they’re figuring in the kiddo’s general anxiety dreams. Not so great. (But also pretty funny, I thought).

2. Hen’s first actual OT appointment was there–first appointment without mom in the room.  And he did…great.  No problem.  He went with her, did what he was asked to do, came back, told me all about it as we drove home.  So…easy.

And honestly, these next weeks are going to be crazed enough that two 45 minute blocks a week where I can just sit back in the waiting room and read a book?  Much needed break!  So glad I had a new book loaded up on my Kindle from the Brooklyn trip!

3.  When was lovely.  Hen’s cold got better–though he’s still hacking up a storm.  And he slept well.  And we were able to see a friend in Manhattan as well as grandbaby, which was awesome.  Hen got to see his sisters and brothers (in law) and it was good to have a bit of a shake up in our routine, just to shake us out of it a bit.

And we ate yummy Colombian food (well, I did, anyway.  Street stand.) and Italian food, and drank yummy Sicilian wine.  And Henry & I got to enjoy (hah) the subways on a Saturday.  (Much walking, mucho exhausted Henry and therefore mucho exhausted mommy arms…)

And it was good.  Really really good to get home.

4.  This is birthday week.  Birthday on Wednesday.  First day of school on Thursday.  Party on Friday.  Two days of baking.  A sleepless night for Henry Mommy the night before school starts.  (Although, seriously, the kiddo walked off with his therapist today with no problem, and did just great during his appointment.  Maybe I’m worried for nothing!) Party preparation (including much praying for dry warm weather for Saturday, because really, 10 toddlers inside to amuse for 2 or 3 hours?  No thanks!) and then a new routine.  I’m going to wait a week or two to see if my 2 x 3-hour blocks of kid-free time per week magically evaporate, or if I can start my OWN schooltime routine of going to the gym again.  It’s so easy to just get sucked into other stuff, that I want to be realistic about it.  But it would be so very nice to be able to do that a couple of times a week.  Strange to be looking forward to reclaiming a bit of my old life even as I’m mourning the end of our all-mommy/Henry all-the-time time.

5.  Still harvesting tomatoes.  Lots and lots of tomatoes.  I think I’ll try to run a batch of salsa tomorrow with the last straggler Roma tomatoes & see how that works out for me.  My freezer is full, I have such marvelous plans for next year’s garden…we’ll see how that works out!

 

Small Things 9-11-13

1.  100+ degrees today.  What?

The fantastic weather made it–of course–the ideal day for canning tomato sauce!  Yeah, not so much, but I ran out of room in the freezer, and if I’d let my sauce tomato harvest spoil I’d’ve hated myself.  I got 12 pints of sauce (each of which is the basis for one ‘spaghetti-type’ meal) from about 3 bushels (or so? I suppose I should have measured!) of tomatoes.  I might be able to get another recipe out of the tomatoes if this weather holds–I’m thinking of trying a peach salsa that I love..

But in the meantime?  We had spaghetti for dinner in a red sauce that The Boy raved about, I enjoyed, and that involved absolutely no cans.  Which is sort of cool.  This year, I’m just freezing my sauce, but next year I’ll do it right and test for pH & can them up proper in a waterbath.  Very exciting to be taking control of one more staple foodstuff around here!

2.  Hen’s sick.  Because, yeah, we’re about to go visit my granddaughter.  Like he’s gotten every time we’ve gone to visit her!  If this fever isn’t gone tomorrow, then he & I will be stuck at home while The Boy goes down.  Sniff.  Not that I’d want him to stay home too, but we’d all been looking forward to this Brooklyn trip & I’ll be sorry to miss it.  And sorrier to be at home with a fussy cranky baby and no relief for the weekend.

3.  OT appointment at the rehab place that’s 15 minutes (as opposed to 1:45) away went well, and they have a warm-water pool, so Hen will be doing 2 sessions a week–one on land & one in the water.  He is delighted with this prospect, though he doesn’t yet quite fully understand, I think, what this means for his routine.  Instead of lounging around the house in the mornings it’s going to be:

  • Monday=OT
  • Tuesday=School
  • Wednesday=OT
  • Thursday=School
  • Friday=Library
  • Saturday=Swim lessons

And how the hell is our life so scheduled all of a sudden?  Ah well.  Hoping that the OT is over fairly soon and then we’ll be back to our usual calmness.  He’s using his hand a bit more.  Enough that I’m reassured that there is ongoing progress, but not enough that I’m at all happy.  (If that makes sense.)  This weekend, we took him to York, ME’s amusement park, which is pretty much designed for kids his size, and he had a blast.  Bumper cars and a baby roller coaster that didn’t even scare me (though he was pretty white-knuckled!) and a carousel, and a mirror house, and lots of round&round rides–helicopters and bees and boats and trains.  Plus he got to try cotton candy.  Heaven for a 3-year-old!  Sadly, this next weekend is their last for the year, or we’d be going regularly.  Best of all, he climbed (over and over again) a rope ladder/net thing with both hands, which was wonderful to see.

4.  Hen has apparently decided that he is the boss of the English language, not the other way around.  While he does–thank goodness!–eschew anything so vulgar as ‘aint’, he sees no reason why ‘am not’ should not be contracted to ‘amn’t’.  My little Scotsman!  I think it’s hilarious and marvelous and rather cool that he rediscovered this old usage, so I’m letting it stand.

And I amn’t sorry for it, either.

5.  At a playdate yesterday, he heard the other mommy naming ‘cymbals’ to her kid while reading a book.  Last night, after he won a round of Candy Land, he demanded applause, demonstrating: “Cymbals!”  Granted, his clapping cymbals was rather zen-like ie: the sound of one hand, since he barely patted the one palm with the other.  But since he’s been reluctant to so much as touch his bad palm, I gave him the applause he wanted–even if it wasn’t for winning a board game.

 

 

Small Things 9-7-13

1.  Hen’s OT evaluation went well in that he responded well to the therapist, (mostly) did what she asked, and generally thought that going somewhere to play fun games with nice ladies beat hell out of the other appointments we’ve been to in that hospital!  He was so scared in the car, and I finally winkled it out of him, what he was worried about–he thought that maybe we were going back for more silver nitrate, or maybe having pins put back in (or taken out).  Once I explained in detail just what would probably be happening, he relaxed enough to really make me realize how worried he’d been.  Poor kiddo.

Bad news is that she thinks he should really be doing OT 2ce a week.  Good news is that she thinks the outpatient services at the very nearby rehab hospital will be just fine–saving us 6 hours in the car each week.  So he’s going in for THAT evaluation next week and will, we hope, end up going there instead of Boston for future OT appointments.

2.  The library program for big kids started this week, and it was kind of wonderful.  He was definitely higher energy than the little girls in the program, but since the theme of the week was ‘let’s move!’ it worked out just fine. His full-body response to the librarian’s “Who knows how to move their body?” was emphatic and hilarious and involved much dancing, stomping and spinning.  He had a marvelous time, even when a well-meaning mother sort of harangued him for not holding the parachute tightly enough with both hands when he kept dropping it with his left hand.  (ugh).  But it’s good.  AND it’s a program where, if the kid’s happy & well-settled in, a parent can walk away and go check out books in the adult room.  OMG the luxury!  Someday!

3.  He also started swim classes today, and although I feared the cold water would be a problem, he came through it great.  And then took a 3 hour nap.  And went to bed a bit early.  Tired kiddo.

4.  Wore slippers today.  Drank mint tea.  Noticed that the neighbor’s glorious maple tree is already leaning in to glory–red tipped leaves are already here!  I pulled down the corn stalks.  I harvested gallons of tomatoes–I missed harvesting yesterday in the rush to clean for dinner guests–and generally, it just felt like the beginning of fall.  Wow.  Where did the summer go?  Oh yeah.  Blur of sleepless nights & miserable days.  I remember…

Sort of.

5.  Hen has discovered ‘the concept of the fort’ and no movable furniture in our house is safe from being appropriated and turned into walls.  Afghans make fantastic walls, and cushions spread outside the walls?  Those make up his patio.  I honestly could not walk through his playroom/our TV room today because there was such an elaborate/crazy-wonderful fort adventure going on in there.  And then we went for a walk and he showed me the under-the-tree ‘fort’ that he and daddy discovered on a previous walk–an old pine tree with branches bent down to the ground–a well-trodden path leading into the interior…  Yeah, I think I’m understanding the roots (so to speak) of the current obsession.

But I get it and I’m happy to encourage it.  Forts are fun.  I’m quite sure that my early interest in forts morphed into my later love of building structures, and my still-existent love of small houses, travel trailers, tents, etc.  He could do worse.

Which is also, kind of our motto these days.  He’s using his hand a bit more since the OT appointment.  He still really intensely dislikes being encouraged–however gently–to use it for something specific.  But if he realizes he can do something (like take off his socks) with his left hand, he is very proud.  As are we all.  His moods have improved steadily.  He’s still quick to frustration when he’s tired or hungry, but breakdowns aren’t everyday occurrences anymore, and for that I am very very grateful.