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?

the end of the era of binky

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There is a name that cannot be mentioned.

Binky.

As long as we don’t say this name out out, fingers crossed, I think we did it. We successfully weaned Henry of this binky ways.

Obviously, he shouldn’t head off to college with a binky habit, but the idea of getting rid of the binky seemed like a fate worse than death. We were all sleeping SO well. After dinner, was pj time, followed by stories, a kiss and a hug, and binky in the mouth, and off to sleep Henry went from 6:30PM to 6AM. During this magical time, David and I had the place to ourselves. We wildly would hang out, snuggle, make dinner, catch up on “Making a Murderer” or the “Bachelor” and get some much needed uninterrupted shut-eye. Why would we ever intentionally end this?

At Henry’s 18 month appointment on January 2, our pediatrician recommended weaning the binky before the new baby arrives in April. I sat in that appointment and sheer panic rose up inside of me, what?!? I thought you were going to listen to his heart, weigh and measure him and let me continue to just be this stellar parent (haha)! You are telling me, that the thing that has gotten us to sleep beautifully is now the enemy. Say it isn’t so! After the appointment, I contemplated  whether to share this information with David or withhold the pediatrician’s recommendation in order to secure my bedtime. Obviously, I had to tell David, but I knew he would bite the bullet before I could and move us toward binky removal.

And, he did.

David was ready to start right away with “Henry’s New Year’s Resolution” to be binky free in 2016. I begged to wait for a long weekend. At least then we could salvage some sleep because we both knew HOW in LOVE with his binky Henry was. And he not only had one binky but he had 8 scattered about his crib. A complete smorgasbord of binky for the little man. The one thing to our advantage was that Henry mostly kept his binky habit to the crib, we had stopped letting him take it all day long and reserved it for naps and sleep. Thank goodness.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend arrived and David had a dream that Henry would go cold turkey on the binky. I was hesitant and sweaty and scared to say the least.

Day 1: David is home alone with Henry for nap time. Removes said binky from crib. It is a struggle. Henry calls for his friends, begs for his friends, but the sleep monster finally takes him. At night, we battle for an hour. Every 10 minutes, David or I go in, pat his back and listen to our little baby call out for his binky buddies.

Day 2: I am ready to crack. Naps don’t seem to be too horrible, but this night is atrocious. From 6:30PM-8:30PM Henry is inconsolable. His binky has forsaken him. In 10 minute shifts David and I rotate in. I talk to him quietly and pat his back, he will lay down and settle and close his eyes, but the second I leave the room he is up and crying again. Have we created a new sleep issue? I am BEYOND second guessing myself. David holds firm, reminds me that it will get better and takes over the shift work.

Day 3: What is that a light at the end of the tunnel? Instead of two hours of utter sadness, Henry is asleep (probably because he is so darn tired) after an hour of back pats and quiet mumblings every 10 minutes.

Day 4: The habit is “kicked.” This is the first night he doesn’t mention the word binky as we lower him into his crib, this is the first night he doesn’t cry out. Instead he stands in his crib and stares at the door (we can see him on the monitor). He watches the door and rests his head on the crib rail. Then after 20 minutes he lays down and goes to sleep.

Day 5: We all sleep.

My fingers and toes are crossed that this is indeed all it will take to be purged of the binky. I worry though that there could be a regression, but mostly I am really proud of Henry. He went from a little dude surrounded by binky love to a little dude who no longer needs his beloved to fall asleep and that is no easy task for such a little guy. I am also really impressed with David. He totally understood what to do, stayed calm, loving, and supportive. He helped Henry and me. Maybe I was more attached to the binky than anyone else in the house. David deserves all the credit on this transition. He kept me sane, and truly comforted his son without ever wavering in his intention or his love. It was a painful 5 days, but now we are sans binky!