The double double

Grab your Rosé mama and join me at the campfire for a tale so mystical and mythical that it may forever become part of motherhood folklore! When the event occurred, my awareness for the unique situation was keyed up. I both wanted to share the events with friends and strangers but worried that no one would ever believe me. There are dozens and dozens of memes about children sleeping in the carseat and the spectrum of crazy a parent emotionally tackles during this circumstance: Child fell asleep while mom drives into garage for 2 seconds and wakes up “totally refreshed” from the long blink, child falls asleep in carseat and parent decides to hit up the drive-thru Starbucks for a 40 minute silent car nap and coffee BUT baby takes massive blow-out and is screaming all the way home instead, and, of course, a dad dressed in a bomb suit trying to transfer a baby from carseat to house while sleeping.

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If you are a parent, you know these feels and these situations all too well. You likely experience them EVERY day plus so many more. But I am here to tell you that when the moon is blue, when pigs fly, and when you think that all hope is lost there is such a thing as the double double transfer!

Double double transfer: verb. To move two sleeping children from their carseats into something else (i.e. crib, bed, stroller), and to successful return sleeping children into the carseat.

I know what you are thinking, NO WAY! Not is a million years could a parent successfully move TWO sleeping children out of their carseats into something and then back into the carseat. But on July 14, 2018 at approximately 1:05PM, in Wrentham, MA this happened. You might have felt the shift in the universe and thought it  was a minor earthquake tremor or perhaps a spirit moved through you, but no it was me experiencing the impossible.

After lunch on Saturday, we kissed David goodbye and packed the boys up in the car for a quick errand to the outlets. I barely backed the car out of the driveway when it became too quiet. Looking in the mirror, it was confirmed that the two little dudes had fallen asleep. Panic set in. The drive to the store was 15 minutes. That was not nearly long enough for a proper nap, but I also did not want to spend an hour + driving around for a car nap. I decided that I would just deal with them waking up after a 15 minute nod off and see what happened in the car ride home and just prepare myself for a moody evening with the boys because of that 15 minutes of shut eye. We parked in the lot, and I braced for them to wake up confused and angry!  Opening the trunk, I slide out and assembled the stroller and went for the first boy,Henry. There was NO way he was going to stay asleep. I would open the car door and his eyes would follow.  But then I opened the car door and his eyes remained closed. Thinking this was weird, I unbuckled him, lifted him, and settled him down in his stroller seat without a slight wakening. Then I started to hold my breath. Could I also do this with Owen? Feeling both cocky and terrified, I strolled over to his side of the car, opened the door, carried him out, and placed him in his seat. Taking my first breath in 5 minutes, I nearly fainted from the crazy transfer I just completed! WHERE WAS MY AUDIENCE? Where were the rounds of applause? Immediately, I called my mom and David because no one would believe this and it had to be documented. Then we headed into Jcrew and for the first time in maybe four years, I shopped “alone.”  I went into the store with the hope that I could quickly grab one thing, and here I was meandering through the store slowly taking my time with each clothing rack, thinking about items, evaluating selections, and just shopping peacefully and quietly. Slipping the cashier my money, I was in shock that still they remained sleeping. Heading back to the car, I knew my time was up and I thanked the gods and prepared for the kiddos to wake up confused and angry when I moved them back into the vehicle.

Taking probably a dozen preparatory breaths, I attempted my first transfer of Henry. He slipped right back into the seat eyes closed. I felt invincible! Then Owen followed suit. It was a miracle: a double double transfer. Could I also fly? Read minds? Cure diseases? Win the Lotto? Life felt invigorating. And before you think, “Wow this is the lamest thing ever,” I want to say that I have gone skydiving and the sensation of excellence, surprise, and thrill that I got from backing my car out of that parking spot was the equivalent of jumping out of that plane over Chatham and that is when I knew my identity as mom was cemented fully and I was totally cool with that.

More summer vibes

July is a month of celebrating! There is America’s birthday, Henry’s birthday, even Nathaniel Hawthorne has a birthday this month. David’s dad and step-mom come for a visit and the travels of friends and family bring so many of our loved one into our daily life with stops in Massachusetts and quick reconnections. With all this, we are summering hard but somehow it is already mid-month! Sitting next to the boys this morning, I just feel so lucky to be able to soak up this warm month with them and am plotting and planning how we continue this awesome trend of exploring, enjoying, and entertaining.

Six squares

For Henry’s birthday we got a few temporary Star Wars tattoos. He added a BB8 and a stormtrooper to each of his forearms and ran about believing in the magic of birthday parties and saving the rebel army. This morning his little tattoos were starting to rub off evidence of a good time and the morning after his soirée. Disappointed the pictures were not permanent, we chatted a little bit about tattoos and what they are and why people get them.

Henry knew his Uncle Andy had tattoos and we tried to remember them all and their meaning together. Then he exclaimed, “you have triangles.” And I do. In the way way back of the highlander I said that, “I waited until I was a grown-up to decide if I wanted something on my body forever and ever. I chose three little triangles because they represent you, Owen, and daddy. And you three are the most important humans to me in the whole world.” Thinking quietly Henry said for his fifth birthday he would like to get six squares for his six ladies: mommy, Mema, Mom-mom, Alyza, Bella, and daisy. That is just about the cutest thing ever.

Henry Adam: Four Years Old

Happiest day to my little guy for making the FOURTH trip around the sun!!!  Looking back over the year in photos, it blows my mind how blessed we are to have you in our lives. You came into this world, slowly, methodically, and chubby and you have turned into the most curious little tinkering boy. Every morning you turn the knob to our bedroom door and, carrying your little Maggie dog, you ask, “Can I come and cuddle you?” And my heart nearly explodes every. single. time. Your smile and your laugh are contagious and you love to tell jokes to make others burst out laughing alongside you. You are mischievous in all the right ways and the best friend and brother to your Owen. School this year was an utter blast. Everyday at pick-up you would exclaim, “I had such a GOOD day!” and show off the stamps you received from Mrs. C for listening or being a helper or just for being a kickass little kid. There were travels this year to California and Maryland to see the nation’s capitol and lots of visits with family and friends and then there was your epic first trip to Disney World! Your favorite toys are transformers and legos because you love to take apart something and build it back up or configure it differently and you are always excited to try a new food or meet a new friend. I often think about how I want to live my life more like the way you lives your: curious, playful, non-judgmental, in the moment, and with magic in your eyes! Happy Birthday, Henry you our everything to us love ~ Mom and Dad

Thursday moments: the carnival addition

Yesterday we snuck off to a little carnival in the next town over. We had driven by it for two days and the boys looked longingly at the lights and spinning metal. It was a really good choice to go! They loved it. While most rides were geared toward the older, more adventurous, and less prone to nauseous rider, there were 6 the little boys could do. They bounced and twirled along happily, although the little roller coaster gave them a bit of a scare. But their favorite ride of all was zooming down the super slider on a burlap sack. They both surprised me so much with what they were willing to try. They had both had their eye on that slide and I hesitated thinking there was no way they would climb the tall ladder let alone go down the slide itself. They proved to me that as a parent my job may be to keep them safe but it is also important to get out of their way so they can step out of their comfort zones all on their own! The night ended in ice cream and those are the best nights.

flood, sweat, and tears

Does anyone else cry during a spin class?

No? Just me?

The instructor in this morning’s 9:30AM spin class was quite chipper. She had just finished the previous class and somehow remained sweat-less while dancing on her bike in front of this second class. Sitting in the dark, I patted myself on the back for finally getting my butt to the gym. What motivated me? The class was free. The lights were off, the music was some intense techno beat meant to amp us up, and I peddled along lagging behind the woman in front of me, but she was probably seventeen anyway.

Then Chelsea up at the front called out over the microphone: “It doesn’t matter why you walked through that door today, what matters is how you treat yourself now, how you push yourself to be stronger, and ask yourself how this mind shift will change your outlook on this day.” Now was this super inspiring? Not so much. But something about being in that room, on this morning, in the dark, made me burst into tears. Pretty grateful for the dim light and extra loud music, I felt myself turn the resistance dial up and start peddling as fast and as hard as my legs could go. The previous night Bella peed in our bed and while cleaning up that disaster the washing machine flooded and I felt helpless and exhausted in a pile of wet towels and up way past my bedtime. As my legs swirled around, I felt the tension I was still carrying in my shoulders from the night’s mishap untwist. This morning and every morning this week, Henry sobbed his eyes out and my heart broke during camp drop-off, and as I let my head hang down over the handlebars I felt the mom guilt I was shouldering peel back just a layer. I am not kidding, I felt myself getting faster and in some ways freer and I started to realize that no matter how much I told myself I love running because it was cheaper and easier, it wasn’t true. I do not like to run. I do not get this kind of intense mind/body rush with a dash of emotional heap like I do from anything else but this spinning class. Yes, this is dramatic but then I was crying in a 45 minute spin class so drama was the name of the game.

It felt so good to see that the free class nonchalance turned into some awakening. And then I realized that I had not been on spin bike since I was pregnant with Owen. Owen (in utero) and I went to spin every week and it felt amazing to be strong and to share my body and strength with him so intimately. It felt weird being on the bike today alone, and I think that is why I cried. Something deep down inside of me felt that before my mind realized it.

The summer solstice was 2 days ago

Tracing my finger lightly around Henry’s chin, cheeks, and forehead and down his nose and across his lips, he giggles and I remember doing this with my Nanny. It is a silly little game and, at the time, I thought it was the most luxurious thing to get your face tickled endlessly. And it is. I used to think, how did my Nanny have the stamina to tickle my face for what seemed like hours while I  laid in her lap and laughed and relaxed. Then sitting there with Henry and Owen, it dawned on me. Here I was with her endless stamina to tickle their little faces because I love them so darn much and they were clearly enjoying the little “spa” treatment and because I was SO DARN tired from the day, days, and weeks of the past month that I would have tickled those peanut faces for the whole day if it meant I too could rest a little.

Exactly 30 days ago, we packed up the family and went to LA to join in my father’s retirement flight from Unite Airlines. After working for 35 years in aviation, it was time to hang up his wings. The FAA regulates that at 65 years old, captains and co-pilots must step down from the flight deck and this legislation pained my father. A truly passionate and gifted captain, he was not exactly ready spiritually to comply. We spent a few days in SoCal with family celebrating this momentous event. As a chief pilot said to my father, “The sign of a great career in this industry is an uneventful one, thank you for for having a great career.” While there together as a family, we tackled jet lag, a desire to really go all out and all in for this special lifetime event, and a spectrum of emotions as we watched our dad come in to LAX for the last time at the helm and prepare for his return to his base in EWR. The morning of, our dad saw a number of friends in the terminal who came to shake his hand and clap him on the back. He boarded the plane and took control of the ship for 5 hours. The landing greased into New York and he received a round of applause not only from the passengers who each shook his hand but also when he came up out of the jetway. More family came to celebrate and it was a really good time.  It was such a beautiful and incredibly proud moment for him and for us. One day, and not in the proverbial way, my dad and I will have to sit down and write his stories of flight down. I imagine something titled “Confessions from the Flight Deck,” in which we curate his hilarious tales from 35,000 feet because my dad was not only the epitome of professionalism in flight but also a character and a truly a humorous raconteur!

Once we got back to Boston, it was time to close out the school year. The last week and a half of school is obviously incredibly exciting because summer vacation is so close BUT standing in between a teacher and a much needed break is a mountain of grading, a pile of finals, a heap of comments to write, and way too many meetings to sit through. The workload always feels insurmountable and the pressure of the final due dates makes me grow “Bertha.” Who is Bertha? Well she is more of a what. Bertha is my shoulder knot. David has often commented after an encounter with Bertha that I have a lump of cement in my shoulder blade. Every end of the school year, I sit at my desk with clamped shoulders while grading furiously. This position and those stress levels form Bertha who causes me literal sleepless nights and takes away my ability to turn my head from side to side. As the graduates of the class of 2018 threw their caps off, some tears fell down my cheeks, and I pushed “submit” on all the grades and finals, only then can Bertha slowly dissipate.  Goodbye Bertha, goodbye this school year, and hello to the next 11 weeks!

And then summer started!

10 days into summer and this feels like such a good one. Obviously summer vacation is always a good thing and time off with family is truly a gift that this profession gives in exchange for the high stakes and demands of the academic year. Jessie, Avery, and Smith arrived minutes after my final faculty meeting and stayed with us for 5 days. My underlining goal of their visit: Convince them that one day they should move to Boston because the city rocks, the people rock, and because we love them so much and just wish we had more family closer. Of course, leaving beautiful SoCal (or Florida for David’s side of the family) makes moving north a bit of a hard sell. Neither of our families’ current locations have snow or what I like to call wintry wonderlands, but Boston does have us and you can’t find that anywhere else, right? In wanting to show them the best of Boston we bit off a lot: Fenway Park, duck boats, Boston visits, Strawberry picking, late nights, 6 bottles of wine, lots of eating, even more snacking, and even more laughing making it hard to  say good-bye to them. It almost felt like we just live together now.

After teary goodbyes, the boys and I headed into our first 4 days of “Mom is at home season!” This year a bucket list of fun and breezy summer activities will guide our time. And we already ticked off two items: a trip to the Roger Williams zoo and a morning at the lake. The beauty of this year’s summer bucket list is that it is short. Potentially only 10 line items but most of them will definitely be repeated especially if they involve the oceanside. So stay posted because now that I have returned to this page, I am planning on documenting more effectively this summer’s shenanigans and my next pottery class starts in two weeks so there will be more updates from the “artist’s” studio as well as some really cool new pieces I am trimming and glazing right now.

But back to face tracing. Sometimes when you do a lot in a short amount of time or when you are transitioning from the fast-paced, routine-based school year into summer you need a little buffer time to slow down, kick your feet up, and trace your babies’ faces. Maybe if I do this I can commit to memory their lines and curves more deeply and slow down this season.