Terror & Songs

“I fear Squirrels the most,” my brother Bryan said one random evening over dinner. We all cracked up laughing. Not because his fear isn’t legitimate since squirrels are pretty terrifying. They just sort of freeze-up when you see them and then shift side-to-side as they contemplate their escape and you engage with them in this awkward dance as neither of you knows which direction to shift your weight into and you fear that the beast will choose to leap onto you face! But that exact sentence has been repeated in our family countless times because of its beautiful construction and the way it brought us all together in agreement that squirrels might be the creature to fear the most.

Prior to the articulation of our familial collective phobia of squirrels (known as “Sciurophobia”), there was and remains another creature of equal trepidation: The Music Snob. Now this person is not insufferable, entirely. In fact, the music snob is a much important species in the ecosystem of humanity.  Except, the music snob is super intimidating. You know you are in the presence of a music snob based on four telltale signs:

  1. The snob wears an over-ear-set of headphones of probably some sleek vintage looking variety.
  2. The snob hates pop music <period>.
  3. The snob complains about what is found on radio stations.
  4. The snob ask you about some band they just saw live that is so obscure sounding, you can merely nod your head for fear of embarrassment

Mostly, this person intimidates me because my musical preferences are so pedestrian. Tops 40s are my jam and I rarely download a single song but enjoy whatever the radio personality puts on. Live shows don’t compel me to purchase tickets and I don’t think I even own a set of earbuds. There does exist a desire to be more musically inclined but no follow-up is ever consistently achieved. When people share their favorite songs during ice-breaker activities, my face heats up in a panic. “What was a song on the radio that I heard this morning?” as my mind floods with anxiety before my turn to share out.

But there are three songs that no matter what else is going on in the world, when the introduction chords or baseline drops, I pause. These three songs compel me to listen to them in their entirety because I sort of love them and they make me think about the three most important relationships in my life. They aren’t maybe the coolest and they likely would not impress a music snob, but they are literally music to my ears and in the past 24 hours I have heard each of them on the radio and gotten a little smile from coincidence. So take that hypothetical  music snob judging me! haha

 

For David:

When the rain is pouring down
And my heart is hurting
You will always be around
This I know for certain
You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s going to be alright
People keep talking they can say what they like
But all I know is everything’s going to be alright
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel
-Alicia Keyes
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For Henry:
I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted?
Then who the hell was I?
Now I’m breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines
Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?
Come on skinny love
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
-Skinny Love
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For Owen:
For all the things my hands have held
The best by far is you
If I could fly
Then I would know
What life looks like from up above and down below
I’d keep you safe
I’d keep you dry
Don’t be afraid Cecilia
I’m the satellite
And you’re the sky
And you’re the sky
-Cecelia and the Satellite
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When is Christmas?

At least 3 times a day, Henry and Owen ask if today is Christmas. We have tried giving them the numerical time frame between today and December 25 but the number is too big and abstract. We have tried to share that first comes the celebration of Halloween and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas so you have two holidays before TODAY is Christmas. But both of those other holidays are not as exciting as Christmas so they are easily skipped over. We tried using the temperature and trees as way to tell time with your senses: the trees need to be naked and there will be snow on the ground at Christmas time. But again that excitement factor for Christmas to just be here trumps all logic, reason, or cues.

So instead of tempering their excitement for the winter holiday, I am just going to fully embrace it. They are only this little for a short blink so if they want to gear up now for Christmas let it be!

We have started a list of all their “to-dos” for embracing the winter wonderland: make snow forts, build a snowman, eat snow, hold icicles, go for a sleigh ride, see Christmas lights, visit Santa, see a reindeer, eat cookies, bake cookies, eat cookies (they really want to eat their holiday joy!), wear hats and gloves, make a snow angel, make a snow ball, wear cozy footie pajamas, stay up late with mommy and daddy, open presents, and start a list of presents for Santa.

Their list though they refuse to write down. Instead, they get an idea for something that they would love to open on Christmas morning like: Batman Lego mini-figures or any number of little toys they saw in the Lakeshore Learning magazine that came to our house and they immediately run to the chimney. They grab ahold of the fireplace hearth gate and say, “Hello Santa, could I have a Batman Lego mini-figure for Christmas, please? ::they pause::  “Thank you.” And off they scamper back to the playroom and share that they think Santa will say yes. It is the cutest little thing and it is getting me really really excited for the season they are longing for so much.

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Bedtime routines

Bedtime: (n.) sometimes a verb too..

  • The perfect time to ask meaning of life questions, to take multiple trips to the bathroom, to request food & a couple of different kinds of drinks in varying cup distribution methods, to require additional nightlights, to request a full musical of songs, and to give heart-melting amounts of cuddles.

But silliness aside, we are pretty lucky with the routine-ness of our bedtime routine with the little dudes.  Each night around 7ish, it sort of depends on a weeknight versus a weekend night and what sort of fun shenanigans we are up to as a family, we clean up the playroom together and march ourselves upstairs. The boys either take a bath or slip into their pajamas and nowadays they get themselves potty-ed and dressed which is pretty stupendous. We chit chat about our day and share our favorite moments and then there are some stories piled next to the chair and a snuggle and a trip into the imaginative world of Paddington or Curious George or another fantastic heroine/hero before we head to Owen’s room for the first slumberland express drop-off. Three songs are on this little man’s daily list: ABCs, I Love You, and How Much is that Doggie (because he is crazy for all things dog related). Then it is time for a little tuck in to bed. Owen nestles under his crotchet blanket, requests that he is surrounded by this three stuffies, and then gets one last lullaby before it is kisses and lights out. Next door, his big brother follows a similar routine. Laying in his big kid bed, David and I sandwich him with hugs and sing three songs of his choosing. Sometimes he picks the exact same ones as Owen, and sometimes he chooses something new or something we have to create on the spot like “The Mr. Potato Head Song.” And then he too gets his final lullaby, kisses, and squeeze and lights out.

But what happens after this is far cuter in mine eyes. At some point in the evening, probably right after we leave Owen’s room, he has one final element to his bedtime routine. He gets up and tosses out every blanket and stuffy he had just two minutes before needed placed in its “perfect spot.” Then with nothing but a naked bedsheet he settles in, tucking his arms in under his body, and facing down in to the mattress. It looks a little bleak and the position is a little scary, but he seems to find comfort in this very simple final sleep routine element. Henry too emerges himself from the covers and flips upside down on his bed with only his precious “Maggie dog” alongside of him. Neither child wants a blanket or the “correct orientation” and I love to sneak in and steal one final peek at the boys before going to bed myself, just to confirm they each flipped and flopped into their preferred position.  It is so cute the ways in which they settle themselves for the long night’s rest until they open their eyes at promptly 5AM to start their new morning…

Summer Bucket List

The 12 weeks of summer vacation were so sweet. With both boys excited for little adventures and outings, we started the summer by making a bucket list of activities and places we wanted to seek out and embrace. Afraid of getting into a routine of just slow mornings and lounging, I tried to tackle one item a week so there would be a good balance between “get out and be busy days” and “sip coffee and settle in days.” With only 24 hours left of my summer being a “stay-at-home-mom” with my kiddos, I am feeling nostalgic for the warm, long summer days we shared. It hurts so much to return to the rigid school day schedule after savoring this time together as family, but this summer there are no regrets or “I wish we hads.” We carpe diemed the Sh*t out of our summer together and I am happy to look over the memories we captured as our trio explored together. If only I could get paid to just have time home with my family, that would be the life! I know that once school starts on Monday, it will feel fresh, and good, and exciting to be back on campus, but tonight I want to halt time and stay in this summer sunset longer.

What was on the bucket list?

Wingearshaek Beach

Beach Days… yes, multiple!

Lunch with David

Davis Farmland

Eat oysters

Get a pottery wheel

California

Newport, RI

Hopkinton State Park

Ashland state park

Kayaking

SUPing

Salem

Gloucester

Beach Picnic

Summer Concert

Aquarium

Running in a Fountain

Eating outside

Roger Williams Zoo

Strawberry Picking

Riding bikes (my only picture of them on wheels)

Lobster rolls

Visit to Long Island

Have a kickass birthday party for Henry

Duck boat ride

Savor our family

Which items didn’t get crossed off this year?

Castle Island, SoWa, Provincetown, Mass MoCA, Portland Day Trip

Not bad! We almost did it all, but I am glad we stuck to picking from our list. The boys loved hearing about the different places we could visit and would fall in love with one location and then want to go back and visit over and over again. This might be a fun little tradition to embrace and to maximize our time together and our explorations of this beautiful region of the country we get to call home.

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.

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.