Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Saga Continues

I really, really hope this isn't any sort of three-strikes-you're-out situation, because today was the third day in a row without a parting 'I LOVE YOU' from Caleb. He was in such a good mood this morning that I was sooo hoping today everything would be back to normal. Alas, it wasn't.

I know I could say something about it to him and he would gladly resume his old goodbye ritual, if he knew how very special it was to me. But, I just don't want to. It brings to mind the whole free will question - is it really REAL and heartfelt if it was coerced? I don't think so. As much as I long to see his smiling face and that little hand stretching up to say 'I LOVE YOU', I want it to be legit. So. This will be the last post documenting this unfortunate development. But, here's hoping that before long I can report back that The Love has returned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update: No Lovin'

So, I was burned again today. Left feeling rejected and disappointed - no 'I LOVE YOU' sign from Caleb, again.

Thankfully, there was no girl at fault today. I know that should provide some level of relief, but I'm not so sure I feel any better. While he was barreling out of the car this morning, one of his friends was nearby, so he just slammed the door and took off running. He was feeling the urge to get down to the business of play as quickly as possible and, paramount to any biological or emotional need to make even the briefest of connections with his Mommy, he got right to it.

Darn it.

I think that might make me feel even more nervous than the 'girl' interloper. I know there will always be girls and they'll come and go. Thankfully, right now we're still in the stage of girls-are-a-mystery. There are little groups of boys on the playground hiding snickering whispers of "So-and-so kissed a GIRL!" behind their dirty, little boy hands. But, for the most part, the whole idea of 'girlfriend' is still completely innocent and elusive.

[Thank God!]

But, what happened today feels more like an indicator of business and distraction than anything else. And that makes me sad. I think I'll choose to keep this experience close by as a reminder of how I treat Caleb - am I sometimes too distracted and busy to flash him an 'I LOVE YOU'? It never takes long, but it's amazing how very important it is to establish that connection, to reaffirm someone special and to remind them of how much they mean to you.

[As an aside: Sometimes, when we're walking to the car from his class, I'll stick my hand out for Caleb to hold. More often than not, as long he's not bounding around in the bushes, he'll absentmindedly take my hand. It's bliss. It rarely fails, though, that shortly after I've got his hand in mine, he realizes, "Crud. I'm holding my Mom's hand." Awkwardness ensues, but only for him. I cherish every second of walking hand-in-hand with my big guy - no matter how dirty his hands are!]

And, while we're on the subject of my boys and girls... This is what Owen chose to wear a few weeks ago:

His explanation went a little something like this:

Owen: Mom!! [with major exasperation and eye rolling] I want to wear my button shirt and tie because I'm going to a dance tonight and I need to be dressed up!

Mom: Okay, Buddy, that's fine. [Who am I to argue with dressing up for a dance?]

Owen: Isaiah's girlfriend is going to be there and she's bringing a date!

Mom: Oh, really? Who is this date she's bringing?

Owen: Me!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Love For Me Today

Day-to-day life is, more or less, a series of routines that we repeat at nauseam. Yes, there are often hiccups and bumps in the road that cause delay, way-lays and complete detours. The routines come and go and change with the seasons - of the year AND of life. For the most part, though, each day has a certain amount of predictability that I enjoy.

One of our current routines is dropping Caleb off at school. We get ready at the same frantic pace, we drive the same route, we do the same things (more or less) 5 days out of every week. My absolute favorite part of our routine is after you, my dear Caleb, get out of the car. You hop out of the rear, passenger-side door. You usually tumble out like a clumsy waterfall spilling over an obstacle in its path - forcefully, with your backpack swinging from your back and some sort of hat in hand. [Baseball cap, derby hat, beanie - you name it, you wear it.] After we say our 'goodbyes' and 'have a good days', you compose yourself and get the door closed. And, here comes my favorite part - you've always stretched one arm up to the passenger window to sign to me an 'I LOVE YOU' in sign language. All I can see is the end of your arm and your face from chin-up flashing me a sweet smile. You started this routine all on your own and it makes me smile and feel SO special every time.

Well. Not today. I didn't get an 'I LOVE YOU' today. While you were mid-spill-out-the-door today, I heard you holler, "Hey, there's Madison!" You slammed the door and took off running without so much as a farewell glance over your shoulder. Who is this Madison? As far as I could tell, she was the brown haired little girl sporting the turquoise skirt, pink headband and shiny, silver sandals that was hop-skipping her way onto the playground.

[Pardon me, but this can't be helped...]


Even if only for today, you have stolen the love, affection and attention that is rightfully mine from my precious Caleb and I didn't like it one bit! I imagine that this was just one of those unforeseen hiccups and that everything will be back to normal tomorrow. But, the whole thing reeked with an ominous foreboding for our future that I just can't say that I'm okay with.

I know that some day there will be a special lady in your life that trumps your Mommy, and I'm okay with that. It will be a good thing, I'm sure. But, by some day I'm thinking when you're 23, at least! So, for the next 17 years or so, I'd better still be #1 in your book, Pal, and don't you forget it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Happens at Momo's...

...stays at Momo's.

Okay. It actually doesn't. We usually DO get to hear the excited retelling of tales that I could think tall, if I didn't know better. But, when it comes to the 4 completely amazing grandparents that my boys are so very blessed to have, it's not at all unlikely that by the time we pick them up they've had motorcycle rides [for real], getaway adventures to imaginary futon-turned-islands, tunnel digging expeditions, countless numbers of Happy Meals, forays into the magical domains of their grandpas - their garage/shop where the motorcycles stay, missions to feed the local birds, trips to the park, homemade pizza feasts, etc., etc. It's no wonder that when we leave them they're usually more than eager for us to get out of there and that when we get back they're usually too busy to even take notice. After all, the real magic doesn't happen unless Mom and Dad are gone.

Please know, Momo & Papa and Mammie & Popo [yes - weird names - it's a grandparental prerequisite these days], that we are unbelievable thankful for you, for everything you do and just for the fact that our boys are so very loved by you. It's an incredible blessing. YOU are an incredible blessing.

And, as a special treat, I'll let you see what it usually looks like when we bring them home from your houses:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What a Sweet, Little Man

You, my dear Caleb, are a Momma's boy - and I love it. A few weeks ago, you went with your Daddy to run some errands and you brought this beautiful bouquet home for me. I assumed your Daddy had something to do with it. Quite honestly, though, he admitted that all he did was pay for them. While you were out, you asked if you could please get some flowers for me and that you would use your own money. You didn't have enough, but Daddy was happy to help out, since you were making such a nice and thoughtful gesture.

I loved your smile when you gave them to me. You know I love surprises and you were so proud that you had thought of such a wonderful surprise for me. You can tell when you're doing something good that is going to make me extra happy. You get a shy little look that hides behind your smile. When it's time for you big boys to put your laundry away each week, you load Owen's laundry into the basket for me after you finish, just because you know it blesses me. YOU bless me. In big ways and in small, you bless me, just by being you.

You're more than half way through your first year in school and it has been absolutely amazing watching you grow and learn. You're starting to read and write. You love writing sentences, making up songs and drawing - and you do a great job! Your creativity is incredible. It doesn't matter what you're doing, you never fail to impress your audience.

I don't know how many times [because it has been too many to count] that I've looked at you lately and felt a pang in my heart because of how grown up you are. You just seem so big, grown up and self sufficient - and you're only in Kindergarten. It makes me wonder what it's going to be like when you're in third grade and then in seventh. Yikes. I can't even think beyond that, because I know it'll be here FAR too soon.

Whenever I think about how fast you're growing, I always think back to when you were a baby. I remember so clearly the time when you were a super-fussy, hard-to-please, colicky baby. It was SO hard and I felt so ill-equipped to care for you. The books I read said that you'd stop being so fussy when you were about six weeks old. Knowing that didn't help a bit. In the middle of it all, I could only keep rocking and bouncing you while I cried, because it seemed like you'd NEVER be six weeks old. Now you're six years old. You're going to be seven this summer and I hardly know where the time has gone.

It's flying...

You are a precious boy, Caleb, and I love you so very much!

Monday, February 14, 2011

You Made Me Laugh So Hard I Cried

A post chronicling some of the daily [and sometimes hourly] antics of Owen Jerome, or as we like to call him - Owie J, is long overdue. You, dear son, are a wonder. You constantly leave your Daddy and I at a loss, either because of your ferocious attitude, your insane shenanigans or your incredible sweetness. Sound like contradictions? They are. You are. One minute you're high, the next you're low. One minute you're angry, the next you're sweeter than sugar. You can shift gears in an instant and, like I said, it oftentimes leaves me feeling lost. Lost, but also completely addicted. You are completely unique and wonderful and perfect - even when you're crazy.

You've become quite obsessed with growing bigger lately. I often explain to you that you need to eat lots of healthy food and get lots of exercise and rest to grow bigger and stronger. After almost every meal, you ask, "Am I bigger now?" I know you're in a hurry. But, for your poor Mama's sake, would you mind slowing down just a bit? You've also been quite focused on your muscles lately, too, and for good reason, I'd say. They really are quite amazing. The other day I caught you staring down a little boy in the mall while you flexed your muscles at him. Yikes. Settle down there, Hot Shot!

Not a day goes by that isn't touched by some sort of Owen weirdness. It's sometimes maddening, always crazy silly and definitely makes life fun. You are never without a surprise, or two or three, up your sleeve!

This was you donning some cheer while we were shopping for a few new Christmas decorations for our tree. You felt like you looked quite smashing, and I agree!

This is how you wanted to dress to go to the daycare at the gym a few weeks ago. I was afraid the tie was going to get lost and I could have made you take it off, but how could I resist such a corny, little smile from such a handsome chap?

Your hair is getting really long and, thanks to the super sticky hair goo that your Momo gave you for Christmas, you can rock a really mean faux-hawk. I let you wear one to church yesterday. The pastors' oldest son will sometimes sport a faux-hawk of his own and as soon as we got to church yesterday, you ran up to him and yelled, "My mohawk is bigger than yours! Ha! Ha!"

Little did we know, you were just warming up your engines for the craziness that was to come later in the day. We had some dear friends [Chris, Jane & Haven] over for dinner. We were sitting around enjoying some coffee and cookies when I remembered to tell Jane about you staring down the little boy in the mall. Being a fairly combative and aggressive girl herself, I knew Jane would appreciate the story. You were standing nearby, so after the story I asked if you could show Auntie Jane your muscles. You looked at me with the, "Mom, do I have to?", look of sudden and completely un-characteristic shyness. It surprised me, because you usually have NO problem absorbing quite a bit of lime light. You started shrinking down to the floor and really had me stunned. "How weird that he's not taking full advantage of the spotlight!" Little did I know, though, that you were improvising an even MORE impressive muscle display than normal by taking a knee right down by her chair. You looked up at her and gave her the biggest flex I've seen to date! We all got quite a laugh. I thanked you and your Daddy promptly reminded you, "Yeah, Buddy. Remember, though, that flexing is really just for the girls." [I think he was trying to avoid more muscle showdowns like we'd experienced in the mall.] Chris was prompt to agree and told him, "Yep. You should flex for Haven." We all figured the main event was over, but lightning fast, Owen hopped up, ran around the table and dropped down on to his knee in front of Chris' not-quite-two-year-old, Haven. "Hey, Haven! Check this out!" Again, with the impressive display. I'm sure you get the picture. It was hilarious! I was completely aghast and at awe! Much to my dismay, you are rarely that prompt and agreeable to do anything that is requested of you. When it came to winning the affections of a pretty little lady, though, you were definitely hot to trot.

So, yikes!! I'm confident that these are just the first of many similar episodes sure to come. I have to say I'm quite glad and honored to occupy a front-row-seat to enjoy the show that is O. Your Daddy and I are quite taken by you, Little Man!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Cheap Impostor, Some False Hope & The Ultimate Compliment

In your stroller @ the library.

My Sweet Nathan. You are getting so big so fast. [19.2 lbs, to be exact!]

You're 9 1/2 months old now and you have started so many new things just in the last 4 weeks. You sit up like a pro, you do a mean army-crawl and you're getting faster every day, you popped out two beautiful teeth without a fuss, you're going gung-ho on solid foods. It's amazing. YOU'RE amazing!

From the very beginning, you have been a champion nurser. You are all business and you make no bones about letting people know. You'll even stop to glare at your daddy if he tries to interrupt you mid-meal. You're too funny.

I nursed both of your big brothers for about nine months but then they both started to lose interest, my supply wained and then it was over. I was SO hoping that I'd get a little extra time with you. [Not creepy long, mind you, but still. I'd gladly take a few more months.] But, alas, it seems like our nursing days may be coming to an end. You're definitely not losing interest, but my supply just can't keep up with you. All your moving and shaking is churning up quite an impressive appetite!

Since I could tell that weaning is on the horizon, I bought a canister of formula and tried giving you your first bottle of formula last Saturday. Both of your brothers were pros at taking bottles. You, on the other hand, have made it quite clear on several prior occasions that a bottle just doesn't meet your standards. Whether you get nice, warm milk or not, that bottle is a cheap impostor and you would really, REALLY rather not resort to such a desperate measure. But, Saturday was different. It was a breeze! You snuggled right up to me, looked me in the eyes and gulped it right down. No problem! I laid you down for a nap and promptly went to sing your praises to Daddy - because you really are an amazing little guy.

But, it seems you aren't prepared to give up quite so easily. [Darn it!] That one blessedly simple formula feeding was your first and your last. Ever since you have refused to take a bottle. Apparently you aren't willing to give up without a fight. Where does that leave us? Well. You are slightly hungry. I am slightly frustrated. I think we're just going to have to keep at it until you decide that maybe your standards are a little bit unrealistic. [Although I do think anyone that cute really should get their way.]

So. Like I said, I'm frustrated. I'm trying not to think too much about weaning you, because I don't want to. You're my baby and everything you do for the last time is something that I will be doing for the last time, too. If I think about it too much I'm going to end up soaking my keyboard while I type. I have to move on and know that every last comes with another first and that you're more and more incredible each and every day - it's just the way it was with your brothers. But still, harder with you. Will you please, please always be my baby?

In the mean time, I'm trying to down-play my frustration by realizing that you are really just giving me the ultimate compliment. After all, how special does it make a person feel when someone they love shows them that they are #1? That absolutely, without-a-doubt no other thing or person could ever take their place? It feels darn special and I'm so happy to be your preferred milk-delivery method. I love you, Little One!