Christmas reflections: The good, bad and merry!December 28th, 2011 | Posted by in Christmas | family | Laughter and Disaster | MaMa Moments | parenting - (0 Comments)
Girls Day OutDecember 17th, 2010 | Posted by in aunts | family | MaMa Moments | motherhood | Out and About - (0 Comments)
Today was a delight of a day. I managed to take it off and spend it exclusively with my little lady and one of my favorite aunts. Just the girls. No big brother, no little brothers, no one to steal the spotlight from my four year-old princess (or alternatively, drama queen!) in training. Today was just for us and I must say, it was stellar.
We took the train to the city and walked over to Lord & Taylor to see the windows and meet my aunt. This aunt is the kind of aunt you wish for — she’s the one who let me play with her makeup, helped me through my teenage angst, and got me a CB jacket for Christmas circa 1984. If you were in eighth grade in the 80s and leaned toward the Preppy Hand Book side of life, you know just how cool that CB jacket was… it was the perfect complement my matching Bermuda bag and headband. But, I digress…
Today we marveled at the windows, strolled through the windy city streets and bonded over lunch. If you were to ask Ciara about her favorite part of the day, it wasn’t the train ride or the Rockefeller Center tree or the windows at Saks or the huge plate of cookies she devoured with hot chocolate; it was “having lunch with Auntie Pat when she gave me my special bracelet.”
Just as we sat down, Auntie Pat presented Ciara with what can only be called big-girl bling… a silver charm bracelet with a little angel because, as she put it, Ciara is her angel. While my little lady seemed rather unimpressed with the beautiful gift upon tearing it open (instantly remarking “why isn’t the pizza ready yet?”), just a few hours later, it stood out in her mind as the highlight of a day filled with highlights. It’s the first thing she told her Dad about and the last thing she took off before bed. It has a special place in her room just as the memories of this day will forever have a special place in my heart.
Today was an excellent reminder of just how good (and perhaps even necessary!) it is to take a day off to bond with your little ones… as I’m told repeatedly and am starting to see firsthand, they really do grow up so fast. So, why not treat yourself to some quality time with them and enjoy it while it lasts?!
Boys Will Be BoysSeptember 25th, 2010 | Posted by in boys | family | kids sports | Laughter and Disaster - (0 Comments)
My poor daughter and I are surrounded by boys in every sense of the word. Even our dog is a boy. And even our dog seems to revel in the primal pleasure of burping and farting in a way that I’m certain I will never understand.
In our house, while I’d like to think that I rule the roost, I am woefully outnumbered and consistently amazed and slightly horrified by just how much boys will be boys and how young it all starts. I remember when our firstborn was about one and a half, he looked at me with outright glee and said ‘FART!”. I instantly shot my husband a stern look that clearly said “where the hell did he learn that and do you really think it’s appropriate for a kid under two to be joyfully exclaiming FART?!” and then I sweetly looked at my little lad and said “No, no. Not fart. Toot.” And then he and my husband roared with laughter as if to say “is she serious?! What a loser! Guys don’t TOOT, we FART!” And so it began.
Our triplets are just about the age our first guy was when he discovered the joy of flatulation. And they are equally exuberant. I sometimes feel like a poo-poo prisoner because though they are not yet two, they have figured out the one way to get Mom’s undivided attention is to shout with all their might “Poo Poo Potty!!! POO POO POTTY!!!!!” So, I take them, one by one to sit on the potty. They hold me hostage as I rub their back, sing them songs, tell stories and urge them to poop or pee or do something other than hold me against my will in our dirty bathroom. And you know what my reward is? The occasional fart! The stinky fart (most certainly NOT a tender toot!) has become the first inking of potential success with the poo-poo potty training. Ah, the irony of it all.
And then there are the sports. Our oldest is in first grade and just started soccer. In addition to the identity issues this creates for me (am I now a “soccer mom”? what does that even mean?!), it frankly destroys our weekends. Practice on Saturday, games on Sunday. My five year old races energetically down the field while my husband plays the role of assistant coach and I tear up the field in my own way while trying to corral our other four kids and keep them off the field/out of the goal/away from the ball. It’s the same kind of fun I had when T-ball started in the spring except that now my kids are bigger and faster and it’s harder to catch them!
The triplets love to get in the game – any game. They are obsessed with balls. … soccer balls, soft balls, baseballs, tennis balls, footballs, beach balls, golf balls, lacrosse balls, you name it, they love it. They’re even starting to enjoy their own personal sets, if you know what I mean. Their limited vocabulary is fairly fluent in the language of sport – “pass”, “catch”, “out”, “my turn” are a part of their daily vernacular. And regrettably “NO BALLS IN THE HOUSE” has become part of mine.
Of course, beyond playing sports, watching them has become a favorite pastime. While the triplets are already chanting “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, JETS!,” our five year old cries when bedtime arrives before the Yankee game ends and then demands to watch Sports Center when he wakes up. Heaven help me and my little lady… especially since, much to my dismay, all my little fellas seem to enjoy watching any sort of ball game while clutching their own. My husband assures me this is all normal (as he asks me to move so he can see the score of the game) and utters with an admittance and acceptance that I’m starting to understand, “Boys will be boys.”
Why have kids anyway?!July 22nd, 2010 | Posted by in family | kids | parenting | Tips and Quips - (0 Comments)
When we were first married, I wasn’t so sure why people actually take the plunge and decide to have kids. What’s the point? Our lives seemed so full – and relatively speaking, so were our bank accounts thanks to two full time jobs and relatively low expenses, our bellies thanks to frequently dining out and our one bedroom apartment, thanks to two ninety pound dogs. I was really on the fence and decided to dig for an answer from one of my best girlfriends. “Why?” I asked her. “Why do people have kids? Is it just a rite of passage? Is it just the assumed next step? I just don’t get the allure. Kids have dirty diapers, sticky fingers, they’re expensive and from what my Mom still tells me, they always talk back!”
“Ah, true, but that’s only part of it” she told me. “Kids are entertaining! They’re funny. They have a fresh perspective on things and they let you see the world through their eyes. It’s like you get to be a kid again! Plus,” she said coyly, “you can make them unload the dishwasher, take out the trash and walk the dog.”
Well, seven years and five kids later, I’ve clearly put my reservations aside and fully embraced this whole kid thing. And, I can honestly say that they make me – they make us — happy. Furthermore, it turns out that my good friend Audrey was right… our five year old actually does walk the dog, our three year old happily unloads the dishwasher and there are few things more entertaining than watching our one-year old triplets dance. DANCE, I say! And, they do. Very entertaining and very funny indeed.
Last week, we had a more poignant reminder of why we have kids. Last week, we lost my brother-in-law to lung cancer. His battle, like his life, was spirited and far too short. Just five months after diagnosis, he succumbed to the horror of this disease. I think it’s fair to say that the past five months have been rough on all of us – the kids included. But, they have shown us time and again just what incredible little beings they are.
• They are resilient; they might have been disappointed that their Dad missed the 4th of July but they knew he was taking care of their amazing uncle so it was all ok.
• They are flexible; one day we were headed to the pool and then did an abrupt about-face to head to the hospital, dumping them at a friend’s house on the way. Instead of disappointed, they were delighted.
• They are smart, gentle and kind; not all the time, of course, but we witnessed such tenderness when our three year old blew off some dandelion blossoms, made a wish and told us she wished for Uncle Conor to get better.
• Last but not least, they are incredibly intuitive; last Tuesday, Liam, our five year old, and I were talking and I said “you know, little buddy, I really don’t think Uncle Conor is going to get better.” And he said, “I know Mom. I think he’s going to go today.” To which I responded “where?” and he said “To heaven.” And, he was right.
Our kids have lifted us up time and again. They provide joy, love and laughter and seem to know just when we need it most – as we have this past week. So, although our bank accounts are less full, our bellies miss all those dinners out and our three bedroom house is more crowded than that one bedroom apartment ever was, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This post originally appeared at http://www.parentsask.com/
Day of Rest?July 7th, 2010 | Posted by in family | Out and About | parenting - (0 Comments)
Some folks think of Sunday as a day of rest. For better or for worse, I’m not one of them. Consider this recent example…
While I would admittedly enjoy sleeping past 6:30, I set the alarm so I could meet a friend for a run. As hard as it always is to drag my butt out from under the covers, I’m always so glad I did when the morning run is behind me, the endorphins have kicked in and I arrive home ready to take on whatever the day has in store. In this case, as I downed a cup of coffee with my sweet and unsuspecting husband, I outlined an ambitious plan for the day that was rather surprisingly – and successfully, fulfilled.
It started with a short trip to pick up our farm share. We’re new to a local CSA and I’d never been to the pick-up point. When Des delicately suggested that I take a ride up by myself, I would have no part of it. Nope. This was to be a family day! So, with sippy cups and Cheerios in hand, we piled the five kids into the car to retrieve our weekly supply of fruits and veggies – which, as seems to be the norm, included items both foreign and familiar – like kohlrabi and kale. With our farm fresh bounty on board, we then headed to the diner for breakfast. Our hearts sank a bit when we saw the crowded parking lot but somehow they squeezed us in. We had a circular table that comfortably seated our family of seven – four in chairs, three in highchairs and all quite content after feasting on pancakes, waffles and omelets.
The weather was extremely hot, hazy and a bit iffy so, we weren’t quite sure what to do next… head to the pool? Road trip to the beach? Trek into the city to visit a museum? It was pretty much a toss up between being in water and being in air conditioning and, never ones to settle for an either/or scenario, we decided on both. First, a trip to the Norwalk Aquarium, which fairly well delivered on both requirements…. the AC was just right and, while the main attractions were obviously IN the water, we did get our hands wet as we stroked the sting rays and handled the hermit crabs. There was something for everyone… the triplets squealed with delight at the “Fishes! Fishes! Fishes!” while the big kids enjoyed building their own sailboats and shrieking at sharks.
At around 2:30, we loaded the kids into the car and loaded them up with fistfuls of snacks as we headed to our next destination… the pool! By this point, we had dragged five kids five and under to the farm share, the diner and the aquarium and frankly, we were getting kind of tired so, we were sure they would all squeeze in a snooze as soon as we hit the open road. No such luck though. These kids were fired up and ready to go – much the way I was after my run about six hours earlier!
We arrived at the pool and went through the usual drill that we’re now quite adept at… Liam and Ciara have mastered the quick change into their suits while Des and I quick change three babies… out of diapers and into swim pants, swim suits, swim shirts, sun hats and sun block. Before we knew it, we were all in the water, thoroughly enjoying splishing, splashing and a break from the oppressive heat. We were surprised to look up at the setting sun and realize that dinnertime had arrived far too quickly.
With our sense of adventure spurring us on, we decided to go out to dinner. Des’ brother Conor, who has been battling lung cancer, was playing jazz guitar at a local restaurant and going to see him play seemed like the perfect way to end our fun-filled day. And indeed it was. When Conor was playing the guitar, the horror of cancer seemed to fade away. You could see the joy it gave him – and to those who were lucky enough to be there to witness it. It reminded me of why I don’t think of Sunday – or any day – as a day of rest but rather, as a day for living life to it’s to fullest. Because, as we’ve be reminded by watching Conor bravely battle cancer, each day is truly a gift. So, why not make the most of it?
A Successful "Staycation"June 29th, 2010 | Posted by in family | Out and About | staycation | summer vacation | travel - (1 Comments)
(This post originally appeared at www.parentsask.com)