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.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
You've been potty training for about a week now and we've had precious few accidents and I want a way to reward you for these successes.
Introducing the Responsibility Chart.Your first and most important responsibility on this cart is that of the Potty. Every time you have a potty success, you get to put a magnet next to that responsibility (you call them "maj-in-eenes"). When you fill all the spots next to that responsibility, you get a matchbox car.You have been wildly successful and we've shelled out three matchbox cars so far for these accomplishments. (Guess who's Mommy works for an Incentive company.....)The chart itself has been a wonderful addition to our routine as a family. There are other items on there - things you had been doing but now we can make a bigger deal out of them by giving you a magnet and another chance to earn a reward for doing these good things that have made you more eager to do them and that is good for all of us.I had mentioned before that I think I've found my Mommy Groove with you and it's really simple but it was a hard lesson for me to learn. I think I have the tendency to be all gooey.
I don't like the word pushover.Anyway, you are a smart kid and if I don't deliver my message with complete conviction in my voice and mannerisms, you can tell and you don't take it seriously. This applies even to the way that I walk out of your room at naptime. If I hesitate because I'm flinching expecting crying and carrying on, there will be crying and carrying on. But if I leave directly and in a positive manner with a good kiss and hug and a "I love you! I'll see you at wake up time!" and head directly downstairs, you accept this as it and all is usually well. Sure - there are always exceptions, but for the most part it's true.If I have confidence in myself, you have confidence in me and it's better for everyone.
So I've been telling my inner critic to shut his/her piehole for once because this is what we need right now. And it's working - for both of us.We are both delivering on our responsibilities and seem to be loving every minute of it!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
With all the focus recently on your Birthday and starting Potty Training, there has been a LOT to absorb. So even though we HAVE been talking up Easter to you, I don't know that you were all that prepared with everything else taking place so recently, too.
We dyed Easter eggs and had a lot of fun watching you switch an egg from one color to another. Daddy figured out some fun ways to get multicolored eggs and we would oooooh and aaaaah at them as they came out of the dye looking all bright and toxic. :)
Anyway, your mind was blown today by the Easter Bunny.
That Easter Bunny is a generous little ball of fluff, bless his little Cotton Tail....Now, we HAD left a nice little note for the Bunny telling him that the eggs were in the refrigerator and to please hide them.We left him a carrot, too, of course - in the spirit of Santa and such showers of generocity, one must be cordial and extend a cookie or carrot or one may not receive loot.Well, that Bunny - he came, he ate, he left lots.And I don't mean the brown droppings you would expect.... That bunny brought you cars toys, candy by the basketful, iced and decorated cookies, a puzzle, playdough and a stuffed bunny that you won't put down and have named Easter.After checking out all the surprises, Daddy explained about the hidden Easter eggs that we dyed and you were off.It's like every day of your life has been leading up to this moment.You're a born egg hunter, Sweetie!That bunny could have stepped up his game a little because you didn't have much trouble finding those eggs and they weren't sitting right out in the middle of the floor, either...All the while, wierd and strange things were happening outside because IT WAS SNOWING. ON EASTER.But our indoor hunt which is the way my family always did it, was a wild success.Your Daddy was an outdoor egg hunter. He preferred the wild ones.So, who knows what will happen next year. Weather permitting, of course.Much to my surprise, after finding all the eggs, you were up for hiding them for us. Given that most of them were lined up on the kitchen counter, but I'm still really impressed by this!I mean, I know I did this when I was little, too, but I KNOW I was much older than 3 when I did it. And you DID have some good spots!Boy, Egg Hunting can work up an appetite.YEAH, CHOCOLATE!!What? What's THAT? Sorry! I can't hear you over ALL THIS CHOCOLATE!With all this sugar in your system, it suddenly occured to you that it might be possible that the Easter Bunny was at Calum's house RIGHT NOW. WE HAD TO CALL HIM RIGHT AWAY.So, you spoke with Calum and confirmed that the Bunny was NOT there, but HAD been. Satisfied, you let go of the phone and ate more chocolate while I spoke to Aunt Erin.And this next photo is of the Sugar Space Out. This is the step just before the body realizes - WOW! YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO WITH ALL THIS? I CAN TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!So, we headed right over to the Rose family's house for the family Easter egg hunt because many children all in this state of mind hunting for eggs outside in freezing cold weather is the perfect recipe for rainbows and unicorns.You didn't know that, did you? You're welcome. And your Rose cousins, completely unaware of your MAD SKILLS in the art of the egg hunt, threw you many a generous and obvious freebie.You didn't let on that you noticed.Well played, Little Man!The hunt continued until the older kids determined that all eggs had been found and the we went inside to open them up and find out what you had discovered.I was surprised to see how upset it made you to open an egg that had change in it. This was very disappointing to you and you would let out a little whimper as though this was a serious betrayal and reach for another.I think you were looking for your next sugar fix and this money thing wasn't cutting it.
It really felt good to watch you with your older cousins.You look up to the big kids so much and I can't express my gratitude enough that they include you, look out for you, help you.I hope you're close to them as you all grow up because it's nice to have people that you can look out for and can count on to look out for you.That's family. :)Happy Easter, Jack!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today is the day that we are no longer using diapers. And I mean that.
(except at night and naptime. Do I look crazy to you?!?)
We had a couple of accidents today, but they were in underpants.
Here's the thing - you are a very bright kid. I could see that you weren't just going to suddenly be "ready" for diapers. I don't know what I was waiting for before. I think I half expected you to be all "I get it, Mom! I want to be big and not wear diapers anymore."
You accepted this logic without question, but are not always so ready and willing to stop playing so you can sit on the potty. I started off with a timer set for every 30 minutes and when it went off I would clap and jump around excitedly like a fool and yell "YEAH! ! IT'S POTTY TIME! WE GET TO SIT ON THE POTTY!" That worked the first time, but from there you were totally onto me and would take off when the timer went off just knowing that I was going to plop you on the potty.So, I dropped the timer. It had good potential, but I also see that I need you to know it's important for you to come to the potty on your own, so I'm going to let you have the accidents so you can feel the discomfort and realize that you'd rather put that in the potty than get cold and have to be constantly changing your clothes.
But, I'm committed and I'm not going back. This is the end of diapers, little boy. You are a big boy now!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Last night our cat, Lilith, died.She was a couple of years old when I adopted her from the Humane Society 13 years ago. She had been a city stray that had birthed a litter of kittens before being brought in and neutered and put up for adoption. Because of that, her belly was always large because her uterus hadn't shrunk before the surgery and stayed big for the rest of her life.Lilith was my very first grown-up pet. My first real act of independence after I had my own apartment and could make my own decisions. And boy was I ready to prove it! I decided on Lilith because she was an older cat and I knew they had trouble getting adopted. Plus, the distended belly dwarfed her head and the rest of her body seemed disproportionately small in comparison. I thought she might have trouble finding a home.I chose the name Lilith because I was kind of into learning about mythology and stuff at the time and there are lots of creation stories, but one of my favorites is the one where Lilith was the first woman that God created, but she was too independent, so God created Eve as a "do-over".
Well, Lilith was the first woman of our house.What a sweetheart she could be! She meowed more than any cat I've ever known. I never had to worry about her running out of food or not getting enough attention because Lilith knew how to speak up!
Lilith was a wonderful cat. She would purr on your lap when you needed a hug or some type of warm comfort and made you feel needed and loved. Whenever I needed comfort, she was there.When the other cats joined the family, Lilith would be the most vocal about their presence, but she was also the one that I would find snuggling up to the newcomer first and grooming their heads.You called her Mommy Cat - and that she most definitely was.
A caring kitty cat. It's been a long road together and she kept me company through my twenties, through dating your Daddy and marrying him, through our store, through your birth. She's always been there while I established my life, found my independence. Found myself.
I'll miss her.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I'm wondering if you'll look back on all this and wonder if we might have gone a little over the top, but here's the way I see it.This celebration of you turning 3 has a number of sides to it:
- You are old enough to understand that you are getting older and that this in itself comes with priveledges. You can move to the next grade at your school and this means the others in the room call you a "3" which is obviously wonderful because everyone wants to be a "3". Already, you are excited about this year's birthday so I want to build off of it and make it even better for you since you are amazing and I want to make you feel special and loved.
- You love attention and you love family. These parties allow you to be the focus of the people that you love and what could be more wonderful than that?
- We are also celebrating because the last year came with a lot of challenges and reaching this milestone signifies that we are turning a corner. I've already seen around the bend and I like what I see. We are communicating well with each other and I seem to have found my Mom Groove with you. I'll try to explain more about that later.
All in all, it's been a great year and the future looks bright and you are aware of what this all means, so BRING ON THE PARTIES! You won't turn three again and I want this to stick in your memories as being incredibly special because you are that to us. I love you, Jack!