Oh Sleeves!

Does this happen in your house? The weather gets a touch warmer, the sun shines a bit brighter, and the general consensus becomes….It’s Spring! You cannot ever say this too loudly in New England of course, because surely if Mother Nature sees the rejoicing, she will inevitably throw one last April snow storm your way. But, this is not about the slow slide into Spring.

In our house, we have a problem. A serious one. Well not so serious, but hilariously annoying. Henry and Owen have plum forgotten how to deal with short sleeves. After over 150 days of cold temperatures and a commitment to cozy long sleeves, jackets, sweaters, gloves, hats, long john’s, and heavy socks, this weekend I pulled out a short sleeved shirt and their world melted. Really though! It all started like a normal morning. We cuddled in bed as a family and laughed and talked about our day. We ate some breakfast slowly and I drank a cup of coffee. Then we headed upstairs to shift into our attire for the day. They slipped on their pants, one leg at a time and chatted about their interests and ideas. No issue when it came to the socks either. Then it was time for the shirt. This item had drastically changed in their 24 hour cycle. With predictions in the mid-60s, it was time to try a short sleeve. Naively, I thought nothing of this moment. It was just part of the normalcy of my own Spring transition. A time of year, that is exciting and much anticipated.

But, for the boys is was HARD and devastating! What the heck are short-sleeves? Why are my arms suddenly exposed? What do I do in the breeze? They fussed quite a bit as I tried to wrestle them into one. THEN once on, they were not impressed. Bottom lips all the way out, it was clear they were not happy with this new development. Each tried harder than the other to pull the little sleeves down their arms. Unfortunately, this only made the shoulder become exposed as it popped out the neck opening! Then came the arm slapping as though that would generate some sort of warmth or coverage. Finally they pulled their arms inside and down their shirts to stick alongside their torsos. And there we were, my armless boys unwilling to give Spring a try and I a tired and sweaty parent not sure how to get them outside to run and enjoy the shift in weather. They won the battle. Donning long sleeve shirts and demanding jackets and gloves too, we headed out. Slowly they shed the gloves, then the jackets. They did not budge on the shirts though. By Sunday, we got Henry into the short sleeves as long as they were batman. Now we wait the little one out. The temperatures will eventually convince them, no?

Owen Edward: Two Years

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How is my baby TWO!?!? Seriously though, it breaks my heart. Two years ago, I spent the day at school with classes and then “Fun Day.” I drove home from work wondering when I would meet him, I picked David up from the commuter rail at 5:00PM and then Owen was in my arms by 6:42PM. He came into this world fast and that describes these two years too!

A blink ago, he was this mushy human a mere 8lbs of love and sweet smells and today he is a busy little boy always looking around the corner for the next thing to get involved in. This year though was really quite awesome with Mr. Owen. His personality is so darn cute, I feel like I say, “He is so cute” approximately 1 million times daily. Born the year of the Monkey, he is exactly what his Chinese zodiac predicts, known to be a smart and  light-hearted prankster. After being a little mischievous this guy will crack a grinning smile and say, “I funny?” in the tiniest of baby voices.

He loves to do everything his brother does. They play, run, bump, and swing together. Every night we all go into Owen’s room and sing a few songs and do shadow puppets against the wall and then Henry gives Owen a kiss and hug and Owen gives Henry one of each and my heart explodes from the sweetness of it all. Owen has truly become Henry’s best friend this year. They play all sorts of imaginary games from super-heroes to construction workers to sitting with a pile of cars or laughing through a game of hide and seek.

Owen is jumping and skipping and working on practicing using a balance bike, he walks up and downstairs “by myself” as he would state, and is starting to the use the potty. And should you mention a number, he begins counting right away from 1 to 13. In so many ways he has just become a real little boy shedding so much of his baby-ness this year.   His talking is non-stop. He loves to share all sorts of stories and repeats his phrases to practice his articulation. Stringing along multi-word sentences, it is so easy now being his parent because he so clearly can engage in conversations and shares exactly what he is thinking about and wants. Climbing into and out of his carseat, he is ready to go. Grabbing books and his milk cup, he is a light packer with few needs once outside of the house and onto an adventure. He eats anything we put in front of him from kale to steak to apples to peppers to fish. The favorite eats are shrimp, raspberries, chicken, and broccoli. But he definitely has a sweet tooth and would eat himself into a cupcake coma if left alone with a dozen.

Mickey Mouse is currently his obsession. After going to Disney world for Thanksgiving he has been mad for that mouse. He loves wearing the fashionable Mickey on shirts and requested his birthday party have that theme. He loves to color and paint and could get lost in creating with play-doh for hours. He can easily cover himself (or the floor) in stickers and requests a tattoo a day always in the same spot on his arm which makes for a fun layered style that is uniquely this kiddo. Should a dog cross his path, he is easily smitten and looks for Buster and Bella every morning. When the afternoon gets lazy, he cuddles his Bella dog and sometimes “cooks” for her in his kitchen or reads her a story.

An escape artists, we are crossing all the fingers and toes to keep him in his crib a touch longer. We are currently onto trick number 2 to keep him in there (a backward sleep sack since little man can get his legs up and over the side of the crib and do zippers with ease). At night after we get into pajamas, and read stories, and sing songs, David takes Henry out to his room for a few extra stories (before I join them in there too), and I stay behind with Owen. In the dark on the glider, we cuddle-in and chat for a few minutes. I share with him how much I love him, how special he is to me, that he will always be my baby and that I am so proud of him and love a whole litany of things about him. He always smiles and grabs my lips and I could stay in that moment with my baby for forever. This has been a magical year, sweet boy. Daddy and I are crazy about you and your brother is too! Thanks of completing our family and giving us so many laughs you naughty little monkey.

Ears, nose, and throat

Owen had ear tubes put in last summer. We like to say that that was the moment when he went from our most difficult human encounter to an insanely sweet, cheerful fellow. But seriously, it was like night and day following that procedure. So many evenings had been dedicated to sleeplessness prior to his mini-surgery. Every 45 minutes, David or I would be in his room rocking him, pacing with him, shushing him, singing to him, bouncing him, and praying for a reprieve to the nightmare of sleep deprivation and for sunrise. Then after a fifteen minute visit to the OR, he popped out cured of his ear troubles and has been utterly delightful and our best sleeper since (even sometimes staying in bed on Sunday mornings until 7AM).

It took until today though to really understand how miserable that poor baby must have been. Of course during his troubles my mommy heart broke for him and empathy washed over me like a tsunami but I had no gauge for the real level of his pain. Clearly it was real enough to keep him up all night for sure but I had no comparison to measure it to. Then this weekend hit! Out of no where, my ear fell to the same plight as Owen’s. I suddenly could not hear, had shooting pains, and could not sleep. I felt sick from sleep deprivation and scared I was losing my hearing. Hightailing over to the ER, I worried through the examination and prayed it would be okay and that I would walk out suddenly cured. The doctor confirmed my eardrum as the culprit and referenced if I was child I would get tubes and I thought about Owen and how my poor baby stomached this discomfort for months and months and months before he was given relief. How strong that little human was and is!! My ER doctor prescribed me a strong antibiotic, patted me on the back and said it will get worse before it gets better, and handed me a script for Vicodin. If your drum ruptures you might need this he noted. Sitting in CVS waiting to fill my medicines with everything crossed that this acute pain subsides and my ear drum does not rupture so I can travel to China with no problem is two weeks, I just keep thinking of baby Owen and how much pain he endured and I am so glad that procedure helped him because he is just so stinking sweet and loving and giving and clearly very brave and strong!!

Toddlers, Babies & Parents say funny things

Much of the day of mommyhood is processing and responding to funny, sweet, and weird phrases, conversations and requests from Henry and Owen. So many of these parenting gems have been lost to the abyss of noise that is forever constant from sunrise to sunset, but every now and then, I have enough mental clarity to recall from my working memories those little sillies and jot them down for posterity. And then add to this an assortment of the many socially acceptable behaviors we try to encourage and discourage the boys from doing in an attempt to socialize them to the cultural norms they are a part of.

From the parents:

No, you can’t lick your brother

Don’t touch your butthole or you will get pink eye

Eating a cake pop off the floor of Starbucks is yucky

Did you pee pee on the couch? Where should we go to the bathroom?

Buster doesn’t want you to ride on him

From the babies & toddlers:

Let’s play pretend tiger. What is that? It is when I roar at you and then you scream and then say wait you are just pretend.

Baby in thereas Owen points to my boob

I have an idea, how about I eat my dinner and then we go to CVS for a new toy?

Can we play hide the ball? I will hide it first….okay ready Owen runs over to the hidden spot and points to where the ball is. No, Owen stop it, be more fun.

Ce Ce Ja Ja? Puppy Ja Ja? Santa Pajamas or Puppy Pajamas what Owen wants to wear all day everyday.

Can we just do dinner and a show? Trying to have dinner small talk and Henry would prefer to do otherwise. Ha Ha nice try kid!

Hands mommy Hands! Any time we ride in the car, Owen gets his shoes off and slides his socks onto his hands. His proudest moment.

Owen Edward: 18 months


One year and 6 months ago, Owen arrived on the scene! In the last 3 months, he has transformed from a baby into a little boy: thinning out, getting taller, running around with the fastest of feet, babbling and talking, pointing and making his presence known from the moment wakes up until he heads to sleep. He is really quite silly and smart and it has been so much fun watching him grow into his unique self. Despite crowding his bed and room with stuffed animals, he prefers to sleep at night with a small rubbery bouncy ball. He holds the ball in his hand and tucks it under his arm while he sleeps only to wake up in the morning to bang it on his crib rail when he is ready to start his day! Sometimes we hear him throw it across the room and immediately regret his decision. No matter how many nights we follow the same sleep routine, he always seems surprised and saddened that in fact it is bed time. He will play during stories and “ignore” the inevitable, and he will fuss during songs, and when it is time to transfer into his bed he clings to his carrier and begs for it not to be so! He enjoys twinkle twinkle litter star before bed followed by the I love you song from Barney and he loves to give us kisses on our lips at the part of the song, “With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you…” And my heart just about explodes every time! He is great with chores and loves to clean up the dog bowls and throw ANYTHING in the garbage. He laughs non-stop and loves to run around at top speed after Henry. He is terrible at hide and seek always giving up his position by running out smiling or walking over to me or David and pointing at us when Henry is searching, but I cannot get enough of this phase of life with  Owen. He has some phrases now like when David dropped his apple on the floor and he said, “Dadda apple uh oh.” He mimics everything he sees and hears. If you are talking about something in the car and you think for a second he is not listening, if you look  back at him through the mirror you can see him touching his head or feet if the conversation was referencing these body parts. Dogs are his obsession. If you want to get his attention you need to show him a dog, talk to him about Buster and Bella, or read a book about dogs. While he prefers to dip all of his food in every condiment possible, he is generally a good eater and will at least try everything we offer him for dinner including olives, fish, and random vegetables. The funniest thing of all is that he still prefers momma most of all and I can almost hear him saying “not the momma,” when anyone else tries to hold him. No matter what this little peanut is all ours and all cuteness and finally sleeping like a pro through the night with an awesome nap in the afternoons too! So while he might have been a “tough” baby, he is a killer awesome toddler and I want him to stay forever 18 months old!


 

 

 

 

Better than expected

Some days Owen really surprises me. Today took the cake. This little guy can be so independent and fiercely so. I have heard mamas say that the way their babies entered the world was indicative of the kiddos’ personality and that is so true about baby Owen! Owen was born fast, without hesitation, daringly missed arriving in the parking lot. He is our courageous and fearless one. He is always ready to try something new and death-defying that keeps his momma’s heart racing.  But today he was calm, quiet, and cozy. He “knew” that something was going on and about to happen. When we arrived at the hospital, I worried about containing my free spirit during the pre-op stuff that would inevitably take forever. Owen sat with David and me, played with a single toy, and laughed gleefully as we blew him bubbles. He snuggled hard and always wanted to be touching. He waved to every nurse and bashfully hid his face in my shoulder. It was sweet and simple and it made the whole experience so hard at the same time. He had no idea what was going to happen today! While getting tubes put in is a “routine” procedure, it still felt so scary as his momma. I just wanted to stay with him through the whole thing. When it was time, he gave his daddy a kiss and while David walked into the waiting room, I carried Owen to the OR.


The room was big and bright. It was our first time ever in an OR. Everyone in there was so friendly and warm. We sat in a chair together and they pulled out a farm animal book. It warmed my heart because Owen loves animals so much. He watched and listened to the story and they placed the mask over his face and despite the warning from the doctors that he will fuss, wiggle away, and potentially scream, he just sat there listening to his book. He fell asleep and they took him from my arms and I kissed his little cheek while he laid on a huge bed. It was the longest walk out of that OR. Some many days I have complained that my arms were tired from motherhood. My arms were heavy and sore from it all, but that walk my arms felt empty, and that emptiness was devastating. 

Ten minutes is not a long time at all. I sit captivated for twelve 10 minute segments of the Bachelor weekly, but those 10 minutes of waiting were long and quiet and while we sat there I felt my breath catch. The doctor came out soon and I stood up and said to David, “it’s time to go.” But the doctor held up his hand and said, “just a minute.” For a millisecond, my heart sank and I panicked! What, what, what!!! He methodically explained that he had to go back to his office and would not take us to recovery and that Owen was fine, we could see him shortly, and that the poor baby had a “tremendous amount of fluid in his ears” and much needed the procedure. We shook hands and I shook off those little fears. Finally a few minutes later, we were brought into recovery by the anesthesiologist. He explained that while many kids wake up upset, crying, and clawing at their cribs to get out, Owen (our wild man) was just sitting up looking at puppy pictures with the nurse. Seeing him there with groggy eyes was the best moment. He reached out to me, I grabbed him, and my arms knew that familiar weight again, my nose took in his smell, my cheek felt his bristly hair, and I snuggled my baby long and hard. He drank some of his juice and fell asleep until we got home.

He is a little wobbly right now at home and napping hard this afternoon, but we are home and it went much better than expected. And we saw some yellow butterflies in our yard and if you know me, you know I take that as a sign of my nanny. 

Summer vacation 

Every summer my to-do list gets in the way. I end up racing around doing errands, home projects, and school prep and before I blink it is time for back-to-school. I am making a promise though to myself to not let that happen this year. The boys will only be this small for a short while and our short summer together should be filled with time together adventuring and exploring.  Those window frames can wait to be painted, it is okay if my garden is not meticulously tended to, and no one will judge me if all my dishes are not cleaned up after mealtime.  The hardest part of this plan is going to be sticking to it, reminding myself to take a breath and let it be, and to savor the these fleeting moments. He boys won’t remember their mommy cleaning up st this point but they will remember the sand, waves, and cuddles. So just going to do that this summer!