Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So this is what perfect feels like

SmileyMiss

Some days there are no tears. At all.

Some days the three-year-old is so full of Okay mommy’s and Yes daddy’s that you wonder, is this really my child?

Some days the kids, who’ve been in nap purgatory, transitioning from one stage to another (two naps to one, one to none), which means who knows what the sleep gods bring, nap for you beautifully.

Some days your preschooler does well enough in her first drop-off gymnastics class, listening to instructions and working well as a team, that you know when you actually do decide to drop her off next time, she will be fine.

Some days both kids play so well together and apart that all of the things you needed to get done while they’re asleep and awake do get done, which leaves room for leisurely time at the beach with friends!

Some days the weather is so perfect that the sun is just hot enough for icy Lake Michigan to feel cool and divine on your skin. And even your kids manage to enjoy a dip in the lake as well.

WaterWithThumper

Some days mealtimes go without a hitch; both kids down their food without so much as a nudge from you, and you wonder, did I really do that? (No, not really. But it still feels good.)

Some days bedtime is delayed because of the uncharacteristic naptime, but no one minds it as the evening culminates in smiles, kisses and lights out all around.

* * *

This is just one of those days. A day of parenting wins. Except I don’t think our parenting had anything to do with it.

Honestly, we didn’t do anything differently today. We offered rewards for good behavior as we often do, and as with all things parenting, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Today, the stars were aligned. A perfectly uneventful day. An uneventfully perfect day.

It’s days like these that make those impossibly hard ones seem bearable. As parents, we need this don’t we? We tell ourselves, it’s rewarding, we love our kids, we can do this, it gets better...and it’s all true, but on a really tough day, we need more than words. We need a day like today as a reminder.

That it can happen. Does happen. And when it does, oh man!

The fact of the matter is, we have no more control over a perfect day with the kids than when Halley’s Comet decides to show. It just does. Every 76 years.

Today kinda felt like that. Unreal, amazing, and so rare.

Because we know better than to expect this every day.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This one goes out to the one I love

Playground

It’s Father’s Day. Naturally, I’m dedicating this post to My Guy, but first, let’s talk about me. I know it’s hard to believe, but this will get us to the sappy daddy part. Just stay with me. You’ll see…

This past week was my first full week as stay-at-home mom. In reading this, you’ll at least know one thing: I survived.

But here’s all the other stuff in between:

- Our laundry is pretty much caught up (gasp! it's a miracle!)

- The bed is made. Daily.

- The toys find their way into their respective designated areas at the end of the evening (holy shit!)

- I make homemade granola.

HomemadeGranola

…And bundt cake. And pesto. And roast chicken - a meal often left for weekends because the time it takes to cook the bird is not conducive to a working(-for-pay) mom’s schedule.

- I ferry my three-year-old to her first dance class.

- I put the girls in the stroller to meet My Guy every time he arrives at the train station after work so we could walk home together.

- Mid-week playdates at the beach or at a neighbor's.

- Thursday-morning story time at a neighborhood cafe.

- Extra snuggles and giggles with my girls. And tantrums, too, of course; this isn’t fairy land after all.

- Feed my family more than once a day (both a delight and a pain because that just means more dishes to do!)

- Actually find the time to take pictures of these meals I make, like my spinach and feta frittata for lunch below.  

Frittata

- Yoga classes twice a week while My Guy deftly runs the show at home. Breather for me, bonding for him.

And there you have it. Nutshell.

Nothing special, really. Housework. Food. Kids.  But at the same time, to someone who used to spend more awake time at work than with her family, these are so very extraordinary. Even the most mundane tasks are special. At least for now.

The thing is, I never thought staying home with my girls was ever possible before this.  But because of My Guy's dedication, hard work, and understanding, as well as his encouragement, it is.

So, on a day like today, I can think of no one better to dedicate this post to than the man who helped me realize a dream I didn't even dare to dream.

DaddyDayCollage

To my one and only guy,

Thank you for being the kind of partner and daddy who helps me be the kind of mommy I've always wanted to be.

Happy Father's Day, my love.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Star Wars Saves the Day!

LookingOut

This is the first week of summer break for Little Miss. It’s momentous because this also kicks off my stay-at-home mom gig – at least until the three-year-old is back in preschool in the Fall.

I have big plans for my girls and me this summer (projects! baking! museums! dance! gymnastics! playdates! beach!), but on our first day, I decided to ease into it with some freeform structure (oxymoron!). Little Miss got to pick her game of choice (princess!), and I immediately realized my grave error (ugh!).

So far, I’ve played the role of Ursula (the witch from The Little Mermaid), the wicked queen from Snow White, and the witch from Rapunzel to Little Miss’ cushy, titular roles. Hmm…I’m seeing a pattern here. Also, why are the villains all women in these tales?

When asked if we could just mix things up a bit, Little Miss generously granted me the role of one of the Seven Dwarves: Grumpy.

Gee, Thanks.

At least Thumper got to play Happy. She even played the Prince! Until her sloppy, open-mouthed kisses grossed her sister out, that is.

This princess business is rough on me. No, it’s not the typecasting that bothers me – I do make a better witch than a princess, I admit. But having spent much of my life fighting the pink and princess stereotypes, watching my daughter in her pink dress, pink tights, pink shoes and pink tiara makes me shudder.

I know it’s fleeting because I remember wearing a towel on my head, pretending they were cascading curls of an exotic princess when I was her age, perhaps older, but that eventually gave way to skateboards and Atari.

Even then, I couldn’t help but try to steer her away from the damsels in distress: “How about Princess Leia? She’s awesome. She doesn’t need to be saved by a prince.”

Her response both surprised and didn’t surprise me - “Well, I want to be a princess who needs to be saved.”

Deep breaths. Keep calm. Do not hyperventilate. She’s only three. Three.

I wanted to explain the merits of self-reliance. Extol the virtues of strength and independence, especially in women. That we shouldn’t depend on others to shape our destiny.

And then I looked at where I am: At home with my girls. On a Monday. All because I could no longer stomach the idea of working all day and being away from my girls while they were being raised by someone who, well, isn’t their mommy. And so My Guy made this happen. He’s busting his ass for this family so I could do this.

I suppose we could all use a little saving sometimes. And that’s something I’d like for my daughters to learn as well - to know that it’s okay to ask for help every now and then.

Just not all the time, like the freakin’ princesses in these horrible fairie tales that do nothing for a girl’s development as a woman. But I knew trying to counter her point would only make her more adamant. Instead of arguing, I chose the route of manipulation compromise. 

“That’s fine; I know how you love Ariel and Rapunzel and Belle, but my favorite is still Princess Leia. I just think it’s so cool that she can fight bad guys too.”

Here, I made some ridiculous Bruce Lee moves, grateful we weren’t in public. She perked up and asked, “But does she have a Light Saber?”

“She doesn’t,” I admitted, although, what the hell, she really should! I didn’t say that though. I chose to stick with the facts. “Because she’s not a Jedi like Luke and Yoda”--

“And Darth Vader!” she interrupted excitedly.

“Yes, but she certainly knows how to use it.”

“And she can take care of herself!” Her eyes were shining now. I saw potential, and I went for the kill.

“Absolutely - She sure can! She’s the one who saves Han Solo…she may be a princess but she’s also a hero! ”

Unable to contain herself, she squealed, “A SUPER hero!”

She posed like Superman, with one fist in the air.

“Exactly.” I was loving the direction of our conversation.

"Since we played princesses all day today, how about we play superheroes tomorrow?”

“Yes!” She hissed, “I want to be Princess Leia!”

Ding! Ding! Ding! I gave myself a mental high five.

Then she added, “And you’ll be Darth Vader!”

Oh. (Sigh.) Of course.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It’s not just a number

After spending her first year in the 90th percentile for her weight, reaching a whopping 98th at one point (a surprise to us as her older sister had always been small at that age), Thumper has now arrived at the inevitable: The melting of the baby fat.

And with that, the departure from babyhood.

Everybody, meet 50th percentile.

Thumper50Percent

I know this has no bearing on her health. But the same cannot be said about my heart.

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