Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Good Days

Finally, finally something clicked and I've had two consecutive days now where I didn't feel like blowing my brains out. Things haven't been easier, not really. But I've felt more calm and even. Ivy kicked over a glass of water on the table this morning (because of course she was sitting on the table) and as I mopped it up with a kitchen towel that had already dealt with more than its fair share of spills that hour it occurred to me that a few weeks ago, I would've been in tears by now. I guess I finally got a little bit of a grip.

It helps that I'm finally feeding myself the way I feed Rob and my children. I pack my lunch every day now. For Christmas I got new glass food storage containers from both Rob's mom and my mom, and I'm using them to portion out multiple lunches ahead of time. Protein, starchy vegetable, and leafy greens all nestled together, ready to be microwaved at noon.

Eating meals and not just whatever comes to hand makes it easier to roll with the toddler punches. Finding a groove with two-year-old Ivy has been challenging. She's firmly in the Everything You Do is Wrong stage, where she asks me for a banana and then looks offended and turns away when I hand one to her. I don't know how much to go along with this impossible, unfair game. As much as I want to pull my hair out when Ivy shrieks at me to pour her smoothie in the blue cup—"not dat blue cup, de udder blue cup!"—she's two, and when you're two the color of your cup and picking your own straw and which socks you wear matter. So I let it be okay that it matters to her right now, because this two shall pass.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seven (& Eleven Days)

Seven

Westley turned seven on the first of this month. I wasn't really sure what to say about that. I thought I might copy off my own paper, so I glanced back at the things I wrote about his sixth birthday. The more I think about it, the more he seems like the same guy he was last year. Just more so.

Happy Birthday

That's a thing about birthdays for me: regardless of whose it is, a birthday is always kind of a let-down. Somehow I got it into my head that on your birthday, something MAGICAL happens, and you are suddenly A TOTALLY DIFFERENT YOU now that you're another year older. Not only is that not the case, but it's an easy notion to disprove once you have children and watch them not change as they get older so much as become more fully themselves.

Seven
Seven
Cake

I don't write much about Westley anymore because I don't write much about anything anymore, but also because he doesn't like people talking about him—or even to him. At seven, Westley is loquacious, rambunctious, imaginative, and deeply something I can't put my finger on. Sensitive begins to scratch the surface of it. He really discovered drawing this past year, and through his pictures and stories, I get glimpses into what seems to be the rich inner life of a boy who marches joyfully to the beat of his own drum.

* * *

We finished out Westley's birthday week with trip to see PNB's Nutcracker, just him and me. It was the most fun we've had together in a long time, and Westley's full-self sigh-of-relief at not having to share me with his sister was palpable. (Westley and Ivy are best friends and worst enemies, sometimes within the same half-hour.)

Nutcracker
Seven

Nutcracker more than tops our first-ever movie in the theater as my favorite Mommy-Westley date...to date. Westley was a charming companion, and he loved every minute (except waiting in line). It was the something MAGICAL every birthday deserves.

Nutcracker
And he's been humming the music ever since!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween '14

Halloween '14

We got really into Halloween this year. We put up decorations, we carved pumpkins (twice!), and the kids had their costumes picked out well in advance. At first, Westley wanted to be a ninja, and I did a little happy dance, because that's among the easiest costumes ever: black hoodie he already owns plus black Toms he already owns plus thrift-store black sweatpants and done! Then Westley decided he wanted to be something scary, and after some serious deliberation, he settled on being a werewolf. It was either that or the Grim Reaper, but I think the mask settled it.

Werewolf Salon

As much as I love the idea of making costumes from scratch, I'm not actually that crafty (or energetic). I got to mom it up a little, prepping his mask (stuffing it with balled up pages of The Stranger and blow-drying to make it less bag-shaped and more face-shaped) and cutting up a 99-cent teddy bear so he could have little patches of fur coming through holes in his jeans. But Westley still got to experience walking the aisles of the costume store, oohing and ahhing over the masks and bottles of fake blood.

Halloween '14

Ivy went as a flower fairy, because after trying several costumes on her—a kitty, a giraffe, a pumpkin—and having her veto them all, I settled on something I thought she might actually wear for longer than a minute: a thrifted tutu and wings with tiny elastic straps, both of which could be slipped over regular clothes.
Flower Fairy at Work

(A headband with flowers was also purchased. When I tried to put it on her, she handed it back to me and said, "You can wear it.")

Halloween '14

This was the first year Ivy got to go trick-or-treating with her own bucket. She got really into it. Going out at night was exciting. Walking up people's driveways was exciting. Seeing all the Halloween decorations was exciting. Wearing her costume was the best. She toddled happily up the street announcing, "I got mah tutu an' mah wings!" She carried her plastic pumpkin bucket even when it got heavy. We also heard a lot of "I ha' some candy!" The only thing Ivy absolutely would not do was say "trick or treat." On a few occasions, when an adult tried to encourage her—"What do you say?"—she answered, dead serious, "In my bucket."

There were a few meltdowns along the way—which is probably to be expected when combining small children, refined sugar, and lack of bedtime routine—but overall, I'd call it a successful holiday. We walked a short loop through our neighborhood, which took much longer than I thought it would. The kids ate a second dinner of protein, raw veggies, and olives to offset the two pieces of candy each, while Rob read the The Vanishing Pumpkin aloud. They were in bed about an hour and a half later than usual, and fell right asleep.

This was also the first year we made a real plan for all that Halloween candy, and it's been awesome. The kids got to eat a couple pieces the night of, and then choose a few more to keep, one piece for every year of age. The rest Rob and I "bought" from them for new games and DVDs. Now, instead of being asked for candy twelve times a day, I hear "Can I watch—?" and "Can I play—?" But I can live with that.

I donated the Halloween haul yesterday, and took down most of the decorations today. I also sent out Christmas party invitations. End-of-the-year ride, here we come!

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