Another summer list item

Last year getting out with two littles into the city seemed a little much for this mama so I promised David that this year we would make multiple attempts at lunches with daddy. Today’s first venture out proved that the kids are at an easy breezy stage. We dropped Henry off at camp (more successfully than any previous day with minimal tears at transition time) and then Owen and I walked to a nearby T stop and hopped aboard.

Mesmerized by the subway, Owen talked all about the view and people holding the rails so as not to fall over. Once above ground, we spent most of the morning meandering around the Boston garden watching the ducks and enjoying the shade. On a whim we were able to sneak in a coffee break with our friend Lauren! My only wish was that we had more time with her to really catch up and then it was off to lunch with David and a toe-dip in the fountain. We grabbed a train back and Owen fell asleep for Henry pick-up. And because we only get 18 summers of our kiddos being our “babies” tonight we are off to swim because I just want to have the best of times with these two minions of mine and their daddy-o!

UPDATE: Henry finally had a fantastic day at camp!! He swam, did the back float, used a barbell floatie, had a hot dog and popsicle and came into the car smiling. HOORAY!!!

A funny mother’s day

Last year’s Mother’s Day was a little silly. In some ways, these holidays in which we  pause and share some extra love to a parent can be a little bit of a set-up. Maybe it is just me, but I imagine a day of laying in bed late (like 9AM-10AM late) followed by everyone getting along, no messes, no fuss, and lots of indulgences. And while much of this could in theory happen you cannot take the Mother out of Mother’s day. And there is the set-up. I love my kiddos and husband with every ounce of my being but no day will ever go by without a little fiasco on the spectrum of silly, family drama. When you have a 2 year old and a 3 year old, it is inevitable and the more you can embrace it, the more likely you will laugh when it unravels. Ironically, this year’s Mother’s Day came pretty close to perfection and awesome-sauce. David made my favorite Dutch pancakes with homemade whipped cream, we enjoyed a stroll through Cambridge to a little coffee shop for a latte, ate too much for second breakfast including chicken and waffles at Tupelo, and then headed home for nap time for the boys and pottery for me. Tantrums were at a minimum and family time was a delightful maximum. But last year’s Mother’s Day was definitely more “eventful.”

Brunch is my favorite. Breakfast at an in-between hour full of delicious decadences like ricotta cream pancakes and honey lattes and I am ready to go! Last year, Henry was two and Owen just turned one. I thought I was in the “sweet spot” of motherhood. No more breast-feeding and two independent kiddos to dine out with. Today, I can look back and say that was a good time but this current situation is even sweeter. But anyway, back to last year:

Owen was a gaggy kiddo. Seriously, every single meal Owen would eat some random thing and begin to epically choke. He would purse his lips out, make a growl, and look as though a second more he would pass out. Typically, I would panic, grab him, flip him upside down, and bang on his back. There was a 50% chance that he would dislodge the the item (be it a morsel of chicken or a crumb of bread or a spoon of applesauce) and continue enjoying his dinner as though nothing had just occurred. The other 50% of the time he would vomit his dinner up and then continue to enjoy his dinner as though nothing had occurred. Either situation left me sweating and exhausted from the roller coaster of panic to disgust to confusion over what I should clean first. We never made it through a single meal for months on end without this kid having a good ole choke.

So why did we think brunch on Mother’s Day would be any different? Well, I held out hope that the stars would align and Mother’s Day would be special and therefore if he only ate truly soft items or stuck to purely liquid foods we would make it through brunch at the cottage in Wellesley without an issue. We sat at the table amidst a crowded dining area filled with loads and loads of moms and children of all ages. We ordered and chatted and mostly maintained a state of calm with the kids and a handful of little table toys. Owen was to eat some scrambled eggs and I was ready to sip my latte and have some crab cake Benedict. The meal went on like this for maybe 30 or 40 minutes and I remember sighing and thinking: Wow, this is amazing.

And then it happened. Owen’s breath caught in his throat, he was choking on barely a finger-nail sized piece of mushy scrambled egg! HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING?!?!? I tried not to panic. This was routine and like a well-practiced, first-responder I hoisted him out of his chair, tipped his head toward the floor and administered a solid thud thud to his back. The egg flopped out and placing him back in his seat, it seemed like the crisis was averted. Taking the napkin to the egg bit on the floor, I sat back up in my chair just in time for it. Owen’s choke was the 50% in which he lost his breakfast contents. He spued the contents of his baby breakfast which somehow multiplied on the way out all over himself and the plate in front of him. I WAS THAT MOM!  How could I have come to a fancy-ish brunch with a sick kid? Except everyone at my table KNEW he wasn’t sick, this was standard non-sick behavior. I did the only thing I could think of. I sacrificed every clothe napkin on the table to cover his spillage and then stripped him naked to his diaper. I took his clothes and asked David to throw them in the garbage in the bathroom. As though a Navy Seal on a covert Op, David snuck off to complete his assignment. No use saving that little shirt and pant if our dignity was also gone! The waiter came back to the table and you could see he was pausing. You could almost read his mind saying, “Something happened here.” The baby was naked but everyone else was dressed in button-downs or sun-dresses, everyone was nervously laughing and in unison we asked for the check!

We walked out into the sunny parking lot like we had just sprung from jail and raced to the car as though anyone from the restaurant would follow us. Buckling the kids into the car, we turned on the ignition and looked at each other the only way parents do when you are simultaneously thinking: this is nuts, WTF, and I love this family.

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


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!