Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I stand corrected

This evening, after his bath, Cole chose undies with bears on them.

"Rawrrr!!! " I said, as I helped him put them on.

"NO MAMA! NO RAWRRR! YIONS RAWRRR!" Cole corrected me.

"Oh, ok.  Sorry.  So what do bears say then?"

He paused, then said, "BEARS GO GRRRR!!"

I love this age.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Operation: Bye Bye Bink

So, if you've spent any amount of time around Cole, you know that he is a binky baby.  SUPER attached to his bink.  So much so, that I occasionally worried that he would need one packed in his bags as we sent him off to college.

I jest.  But not by much.

While we managed to limit him to just having it at nap time and bedtime, it was still starting to become an issue - his teeth were starting to realign differently because of his ferocious sucking habit as he was drifting off.  And our pediatrician recommended we wean him off of it sooner rather than later, because "it will only get harder". 

But...I didn't want to.

See, Cole is a child that DESPERATELY needs his sleep.  And a lot of it.  Twelve-plus hours at night, plus a hour and half to two hour nap during the day.  He is a crabby little apple if he's missing his sleep...not to mention that I also desperately need that break as well.

And he was doing awesome - sleeping so well and so independently. 

But this weekend, I realized that we just needed to do it - like ripping off a Band-Aid.  So, after talking it up for a few days, we told Cole that he was such a big boy, we needed to pass his binks onto his baby cousin.  (I wanted to play up to his sense of empathy - it seems to make things easier for him when placed in the context of helping other people.)  I told him how happy Baby Rowen would be with his old binks, how Baby Rowen would cry until Auntie Meggie gave her a bink and then she would be so happy.  I told him how glad I was that he could be a big boy now and help out his baby cousin.

So, we gathered up all the binks (even the ones hidden in random a true addict, Cole had some secret hiding spots) and plopped them into an envelope to "mail".  Baby Rowen even sent us a box with a new toy truck in it, complete with a thank you note.

Well...I'd love to say it was all smooth sailing.  But it has not been.  If I could do it over again - at this point - I would just let him have it until he DID take it to college.  I can honestly say that this week has been the worst week we've ever had. 

Cole's behavior has been horrendous, my patience has been limited, his sleep has been sporadic, and I'm at my wit's end. 

Can someone PLEASE tell me how long until I have my sweet, sleeping 12-hours-plus-2-hours-for-naps, well-behaved little boy back?  

And if you can't do that, can you at least bring me some wine? 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cole, right now

1.  He loves to tell me to be careful.  If I bump into the table, it's "MAMA, BE CAREFUL! NO BUMP TABLE!"  Or if I clink my glass with my plate, it's "MAMA, BE CAREFUL! NO BREAK DISHES! BE WERRY (VERY) CAREFUL!" all with a super serious look on his face.

2. Favorite colors are orange, pink, and blue.

3. Has no less than fifteen books completely memorized.  Word for word.  Now getting him to actually recite those books is another matter...stubborn little guy.

4. ADORES babies.  Gets super upset when anyone is crying.

5. His favorite restaurant is Olive Garden.  If he even overhears Chris asking me if we should eat out, he pipes up, "O-YIVE GARDEN! EAT O-YIVE GARDEN RESTRAURANT! COLE EAT BREADSTICKS!".  He's always willing to overcome his shyness to ask our server for "MORE BREADSTICKS PEESE!".  It's pretty adorable.

6.  Remains the most sensitive and empathetic child I've ever met.  He reads emotions so intuitively - I have to be careful to be really honest with him when I'm upset, because he recognizes it immediately.  "Cole, I'm feeling sad right now, but not because of anything you did, ok?  I'm really happy with you."  And then he gives me a hug and kiss to help me feel better.

7. Likes to choose his own spots and poses for photos now.  He'll search around to choose "just the right" spot, pose stiffly and look at me with the cutest, cheesiest grin ever:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cole + Sticks

It has begun.

I knew little boys have love affairs with sticks. 

I knew the day would come when Cole would become stick-obsessed.

And here it is:

I must admit, I love it.  The original open-ended toy.  And it doesn't get much cheaper than free.  Let's just hope we make it through this without an eye poked out...because if I had a dollar for every time I yelled "WALK WHEN YOU ARE HOLDING A STICK!!" we would be gazillionaires.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

my sister

I want to talk for a moment about my sister.

She's been my sister all my life (obviously).  We're only two years apart.  My childhood is filled with memories of playing with and arguing with her.  She slapped a boy across the face when I was seven because he wouldn't stop bothering me.  On hot days, we loved to fill up squirt bottles and squirt each other - until she squirted me in the face, after which I would refuse to play with her any more.  We walked to the bus stop or to school together for many years.  She was my maid of honor at my wedding, and I was her matron of honor at hers.  

Our relationship changed when I had Cole - not in a bad way, but just in the way that people who have kids have just a bit less in common with people who don't.  We still talked together most days of the week, still loved each other, but it was just a little bit different.  My life was centered around being a mama, and while she loved Cole dearly, the deep, all-encompassing love for a child was not something she could fully understand (as anyone who is not a parent can attest).

Then, in October, she had her baby - her Rowen.  My first niece.

And suddenly, it was as though we were even closer.  Even better friends than we were.  Suddenly, we had so much in common again.  Suddenly, we each had even more mutual respect and understanding for what it means to be a new mama.

The bonds of motherhood, of sisterhood, of friends, of women - now we have all of those in common.  The sleepless nights, the unending worry, the pure joy in their accomplishments, the struggles to make the right decisions...but most of all the mother-love for our babies. 

For Meg's baby shower, we each wrote a message in a notebook for her.  I wrote, "I am so glad to be a part of this journey of motherhood with you."  And it's so true.  I love watching her mother Rowen.  I adore listening to her talk about Rowen and about being a mother.  I love that we have so much new respect and love for each other, that we have yet another way to bond with together.

To you, sister, my friend.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Random Adorableness

1. Last week, Cole received his first compliment about his speech.  We were all chatting at a restaurant before dinner and the server told us she thought he spoke very well for his age!

2.  After his bath, Cole always tells me his fingers feel "fuzzy".  It's such an accurate description for prune-y fingers!

3.  Cole adores plaid, stripes, and argyle.  He's also started trying to pick out my clothes in addition to his own for the day - it's usually "STRIPES, MAMA!  WEAR STRIPES SHIRT!".  And then he tries to insist that I wear two different shoes.

4.  I was working on a craft project (a St Patrick's Day banner) and hung it up during Cole's nap.  When he woke up and came out to the living room, he pointed to the bunting and said, "SO NICE, MAMA!  DIS SO NICE!" A compliment from my two year old!

5. His perspective on things still makes me laugh.  Last week, he came up to me and asked for tape.  I gave it to him and watched what he was going to do with it - he proceeded to tape the tops of two of his convertible matchbox cars!  "CARS BROKEN, MAMA!  NEED TAPE, FIX BROKEN CARS!"  Since they didn't have roofs, Cole decided he needed to make a roof for them!

6. After peeing the other day, he ran to see me and announced, "MAMA! COLE'S PEE YOOK YIKE PLANE CONTRAIL!" I laughed so hard.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Gram with her grandbabies:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Curiouser and curiouser

I adore watching Cole's growing curiosity.  A simple trip to the park turns into an escapade of following ants; discovering different kinds of leaves; exploring textures of bark on tree trunks; splitting open seed pods; observing different heights of trees; and picking flowers.

This age...I will never stop being amazed at how much I love showing my boy the world.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scenes from our Portland adventure

Scenes from our Portland adventure:

Running off some energy in the driveway:
Cousin bath time!
 Just look at that pudgy little baby! All those rolls!
 Baking with Auntie Meggie - she always knows just what Cole loves to do!
So glad the cousins get some wonderful time together :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Change your life

This little story popped up on my Facebook page this weekend and I just had to repost:
"We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I m
eant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her
baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings."

-Author Unknown

Monday, March 11, 2013


Dear Cole,

Every once in a while, while I'm observing you at play (or "WORKING FERRY FERRY [very] HARD, MAMA!"), I catch a little glimpse of your personality.  Of traits and distinguishing features that might play a larger part in your future.

I think about how organized and specific you are with your toys.  If you are not in the middle of a project, you always put them away in the exact right spot you chose for them.  You take the time to make sure things are "right" - no sloppiness here - delighting in the "menial" organizing tasks.

And I wonder if you might become a financial analyst or banker.

I think about how you take such joy in the process of your play and "work".  How you don't take shortcuts.  How you would methodically use each and every marker one time when making art, lining up the used ones in one pile, so orderly. 

And I wonder if you might become a scientist, a researcher, with your thoroughness and attention to detail.

I think about how much you love to run and run, yet you can spend literally hours listening to books or reading books on your own.

And I wonder if you might become an Olympic runner or a book editor.

I think about how interested you are, how curious with "how things work".  I think about your fascination with bones and muscles.

And I wonder if you might become a doctor or a surgeon.

I think about how much you enjoy being in the kitchen with me, "helping" with every step of baking, delighting with measuring and pouring and stirring.  And if you are not allowed to help for some reason, how you patiently sit on the barstools across the counter with your head in your hands, chatting to me happily, watching every step, and asking a million questions. 

And I wonder if you might be a chef.

I think about how you love to build with your blocks - stacking them to make "TOWNHOUSES! CASTLE! CHURCH!" - using various sizes, practicing which ones will stack and how high you can build them. 

And I wonder if you might be an engineer.

And then, sometimes, I wonder how I can possibly stand to wait to see what you will choose to do with your wonderful talents.  How I am so excited to see what your future holds.

But then, I think about how fast you are growing in front of my very eyes...and I think that I can wait patiently for a very long time.

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