These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Growing Pains


This weekend brought with it one of your first instances of "time-out". We had Kelly, Bobby, Erin, Brett and Calum over to dinner on Saturday and we were all having so much fun that you got to the point where you couldn't hold in all your energy and excitement. You had gotten to the point of excitement on Saturday that you starting hitting the dogs (more like a hard pat, but I knew what you were up to) and I told you on a couple of occassions "no" and to be "niiiiiiiiice", but you did it again, so I was forced to implement a time out to show you that I was serious about this rule.

It was hard for me to figure out the best place for your time out, because you have to be careful about the area you choose. For instance, I can't make it your room because you might associate your bed with punishment and we have enough trouble with you going to sleep. It also couldn't be around people because that wouldn't make sense to you. You would simply pop right up and go back to playing.

I ended up taking you into the kitchen away from our visitors and sat you next to the trash can since there is nothing around there that you could construe as tied to the punishment and also no toys for it to turn into a game.

You sat for about 3 seconds and then I had to sit with you. Hey, it was the first time out and the concept was entirely new so I sat with you and talked about being "niiiiiiiiice" to the doggies and not hitting and so forth.

All in all, I think it worked out well for both of us because I was composed the whole time and thought it through carefully and we ended with a nice pat for the dogs and a hug for me.

I knew this "time-out" thing was bound to happen at some point seeing as how you are growing into a smart little boy capable of almost anything you want to do. I thought it came off nicely and maybe would help impress upon you the importance of listening and being nice and proper behavior, etc.

That is - until yesterday and this morning. We've drifted back now towards a behavior that I saw disappear a while ago where I couldn't leave the room without you panicking.

Now this behavior has resurfaced and I think it's because of the time-outs.

I think you know that you are challenging me and you worry that this is increasing the odds that, when I leave, you don't know if and when I'll come back.

I worry that you have this fear because I hope that I'm not exhibiting anything that you could be interpretting this way. I love you like crazy. Have no fear - that could never change. I wish I could find a way to make you understand that.

You're my Jack! My baby - my reason for coming to this job every morning and trying to pack all responsibilities into the smallest amount of time in order to have more time with you for fun.

Anyway, that's my latest concern - so now I've shared that with you and I'm sure - with each entry - you become more and more convince that that's ALL I do (worry, that is...). :)

Well, it's not.

This weekend, I planned for your second birthday party. I set up the party times and dates and sent out the invitations. Your Daddy and I took you to Toys R Us to pick out your presents while the other one distracted you with the toys on the shelves.

I let them know at the front desk that you were a birthday boy and they gave you a crown and a birthday boy balloon and made an annoucement that Jack was "2" and if anyone saw him in the store, to wish him a happy birthday. Well, you wouldn't wear the crown, but you WERE identified by the birthday boy balloon and a man and his son said "Happy Birthday, Jack!" as we went by in the shopping cart. How cool is it that they do that? :)

Also, this weekend Daddy went to the store to pick up some items we needed and brought home a movie poster of Cars - your favorite Movie. He framed it and hung it in your room. You are THRILLED! You love to point to each character in the poster and identify them.

And he did it JUST BECAUSE.... (by the way - here you are KISSING the poster. Guess you liked it, huh?) :)

Just because we love you SO MUCH, sweetie! Don't worry - you can continue to grow and rebel and that annoying little constant will never change. We'll still want to hug you and kiss you and be all up in your business because you are our sweetheart and just another reason for us to fall in love all over again.



Also, here is some recent artwork that you made for the scrap book:

A cute coffee filter snowflake made with water colors...

Your coloring is getting very impressive. You can now make very round deliberate strokes and identify things in your drawings like "cow" or "hooooo-hooooo" (an owl). Very cute and I love seeing your scribbles developing. You LOVE to draw:

And, here's a sweet little love note that your Aunt Kelly wrote to you that I want to keep forever and ever!:

Friday, February 23, 2007



We are definitely knee-deep in the "2" phase. You haven't even turned "2" yet, which means to me that you are ahead of your age group in the desire to become independent.

You know what you want and WOOOOOE to he who stands between you and that desire! :)

Example? Okay - you twisted my arm:

Picture dinner time if you will. A pleasant child playing with toys realizes that he's hungry. Mommy (insert curtsey) is making a healthy meal with portions of fruit and veggies in it in the kitchen (okay - not ALWAYS, but I do try...).

A woaful cry rises up of "Cheeeeeez-baaaaawl? Cheeeez-baaaawl?" You wander into the kitchen, eyes scanning the counter top for the bag of Cheetos cheese puffs.

(God - why don't we hide them? Are we retarted? Apparently so....)

When your eyes fall on the bag and you know their location, you look to me and somehow see in my expression (I need to carry a small mirror at all times, because you can read me like a book and I don't know how) - that I'm NOT going to give you the Cheetos.


"Jack. You can have a cheese ball AFTER you eat a good dinn.."


"Jack, I understand that you want..."


By now, tears are streaming down your face and you are alternating between stretching as tall as you can to try to reach the bag on the countertop and falling into a heap on the kitchen floor with your face buried in your hands at the hopelessness of the situation.

By the time I have you strapped in your highchair with the food that you CAN have, you are so distraught and upset that it takes about half an hour before you will even CONSIDER touching the horrible alternatives I have given you for dinner.

This is completely un-exaggerated and I invite any doubters to join us around 5:30 for the next showing.

We are also dealing with a hitting (when frustrated - at toys, dogs, parents - and then looking wide eyed at the nearest parent to gage just HOW MUCH trouble you are in) and kicking (usually at diaper changing time) toddler who is having trouble expressing his frustration and I am more and more aware of my first-time parenting skills as I try to come up with ways that are acceptable for him to express these feelings because - the feelings themselves aren't wrong. We all have them - it's the way you express them and, when language is not quite there, it doesn't leave a lot of options.

On the other hand, you are also becoming more and more capable and it's fun to see you identifying things in your artwork that only you see and putting words together in sentences that we understand:

"byyyte, dadda!" (meaning you want a bite of something Daddy is eating) "Maaaaaaamaaaaaa - beeeeeeee?????" (meaning you can't find your pacifier and you want me to find it for you) "AAAAA-POH! NOOOOO!" (you don't want the dog to lick you, stand in your line of vision to the television, or eat your food or basically be where you are - on the couch, on your blanket, and so on and so on....)

I need to get this on video because the beginning of this stage, while challenging, is also very adorable and surprising in how quickly your development progresses daily.



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Big Boys


Yesterday at the park, your eye caught on a big boy that was about 8 that was playing on the playground. It struck you particularly emphatically that he was COOL! You laughed while you watched him playing ball and determined that it would be perfectly natural and acceptable for you to join him and become best friends.

Oh, god. I was SO worried that he would look at you as if you had two heads and say something mean or rude and hurt your feelings, but we were lucky. He was a nice boy that had a sister the same age as you so he was nice enough to play chase and let you bounce his ball and even climbed on the small playground equipment with you.

Boy, you really aren't scared of anything! I'm more intimidated by older youths than you are just because I'm afraid that we might encounter a young bully who could hurt you or - worse yet - your feelings - and I don't want you to learn behavior that is hurtful. You've already picked up this hitting thing from your daycare that we are working with you on and I don't want you to pick up any other behaviors from the older kids that you want to emulate so much.

I know it's inevitable, but still.....

Worry, worry, worry.
frett, frett, frett.
stew, stew, stew.

You'd think I'd get it out of my system one of these days, wouldn't you? :)



I love this Night Sky picture that you made:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



There are many ways to say: "I love you" without saying the words, but you have the best way, I think.

When you want to tell us you love us, you take your two index fingers and make a triangle and Daddy and I touch your index fingers with ours to make a pyramid and then you say "Dada, Mama, Jaaaah" and we say - "that's right, buddy. Family. Daddy, Mommy and Jack".

It melts my heart every time.

God, I would recommend having a child to ANYONE! :)



Monday, February 19, 2007

More Valentine's Cards and Art to preserve


I have additional Valentine's Day artwork you made and cards from you for myself and Daddy that I want to preserve forever because you were involved in making them.

Here they are:

Happy Valentine's Day cupcake art with stickers:
Valentine Sticker art:

All My Love Sponge Painting bear:Have a Heart foam art:

Daddy gave me this card from you which was very thoughtful. Keep that in mind when you are married with a young child. It's a sweet sweet gesture and you get MUCHO brownie points!:

This is a special Valentine that you and your teacher's made for Daddy from you:

And this is a special Valentine's Day card that you and your teacher's made for ME!:

It was perfect because the inside of the card had a chocolate kiss in the middle of your picture. It's missing for a good reason - I already ate it:

I'm really feeling the love from this Valentine's Day and this is my attempt to preserve it!



Sunday, February 18, 2007

First Sleepover!


Last night we attempted your very first sleepover. I wasn't sure what to expect. I expected mayhem and I expected a late night with lots of energy!

What I didn't expect was for the evening to be as wonderful as it was.

We had your cousins Sarah and Hannah over and it was a blast! You all went up and down the slide more times than I think it's been used in the entire time since we first got it and that's a LOT. You and Hannah devised a system of up and down on the slide where you were both convinced the other was chasing them so you moved faster and faster and more and more excitedly to go down again and again with much squealing.

You would stop quite frequently to get a hug from your cousins and even took to calling Sarah "Mommy" and Hannah "Hanni". You actually didn't acknowledge me the entire time that your cousins were there.

That just goes to show me how quickly you will drop me for a girl! :)

Daddy even tried to get you to acknowledge him several times and you would look right through him and run past without blinking.

Your Daddy and I actually found this quite humourous and would call out your name and laugh with each other at your non-reaction.

We set up a blow up matress on the floor downstairs fully intending for you to fall asleep with your cousins and for us to then transfer you to your own room, but the air mattress turned into a trampoline even before Daddy was done inflating it. You were up and running even until 9:30 when Daddy and I decided that all good things must end and I started the long and rough process of calming you down for bed.
What a wonderful time we had. The girls were so much fun for you and they were so well behaved that they taught you some good things. We have been struggling with you hitting when you get frustrated but "Hanni" told you "Noooooo, Jack. Niiiiiiiiiiice." and showed you how to touch gently with your hand which was 1,000,000% more effective than anything similar that I have said to you so now I'll be sure to remind you that Hanni said to be nice. :)
The sleepover ended as I believe all first sleepovers do, with the guests leaving before or at midnight to sleep at their own respective houses, but the whole experience was an overall success and I think you would be quite content to adopt both Sarah and Hannah as sisters from here on out!

It was wonderful and I know I'll want to do it again soon!