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, March 15, 2010

Now I can see my WHOLE NECK!


Today you turned 5 years old.

Sure - this may not seem as astounding to anyone besides maybe myself, your Dad and immediate family members. I mean... I guess it was bound to happen at some point, right?

Still. You are FIVE!


This morning you emphatically told me that now you could see your whole neck! I won't tell you how long I pondered that statement before I put together that you meant when you looked in the mirror. Lately, my mind isn't what it used to be.

I look upon five as a big milestone - you become school age, you aren't technically a baby anymore - you are now in the little kid zone. You have friends that you hang out with and joke with now and you'll come home and tell me what Max said today and laugh while I nod blankly desperately trying to put the puzzle together in my head to figure out what the joke was. The punchlines always seem to have something to do with the word STINK or POO and they just send you into convulsions of laughter.AHHH, YESSS - I remember that. Five year old humor! So, we had a big birthday bash this year where you could invite all your friends and play in a fun environment. We opted for Monkey Joe's and I'm really very proud of how well the party went. It was a VeggieTales party because that is your absolute favorite thing now. I planned this for weeks - I ordered special favors online because there aren't any local stores that carry VeggieTales items. I found costumes and videos at stores, but that was it.The cake was VeggieTales which I was able to find at a local bakery - put together goody bags and the whole shabbang.I'm sooooooooooooo glad we did it, too, because you had such a blast with your friends! I'll admit - it had the element of Lord Of the Flies to it, but in a good way! :) You were all so cute running around and jumping and you were almost purple in the face from all the activity before you slowed down to eat. Actually, you slowed down because someone - some girl I don't know - pushed you down and that was it. You were crushed. It was a typical "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" moment that we've all had at some point. It was all so exciting and you were basically elevated to cloud level for hours on end. A crash was inevitable, but it wasn't too bad. You simply chilled in the party room while your guests continued to bounce and you were completely recovered by the time everyone joined us in the room to eat and open gifts.Recently, I've been reminiscing with you about how I wished for you before you were born. How I couldn't stop hoping that I would have a baby and that you were the perfect little baby that I dreamed of that came along and made me a Mommy.I let you know that I asked for YOU specifically and I got what I wished for, but it's not really the truth because, Jack - I could never have imagined that anything would be as strong as this - this fierce need to protect, this testing of my strengths and pushing me to be a better person - this all encompassing love. It's better than anything I could ever have hoped for because it's better than I could ever have imagined.You make the day brighter and you show me the way by showing me how to become the person that I want to be each day.

Happy Birthday, Jack!



Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Pure Joy


You are growing and changing so much that it’s impossible to keep up.

Seems like just yesterday you were this chubby little smiling cherub that happily watched me and came along for the ride while I did what I needed to do and enjoyed playing with you balanced on my lap or tummy.

Now you are on the move – crawling, pulling up and getting into everything. I swear that whenever I’m in the middle of something that you shouldn’t get into or if I’m changing your diaper, you grow eight arms. It’s impossible to keep you under control. You can be pulling a wipe into your mouth, while your legs are twisting the opposite direction threatening to get poop on my pants, the couch or carpet, your other hand grabbing my hair that is hanging down and you are trapping my head to your chest while you start pushing off with your other back leg trying to scoot up and out from under me and screaming all the while. WOW!

You LOVE to eat paper. I barely have a chance to see Jack’s artwork that he’s showing me when I realize you already had the corner in your mouth, chewed it off and are consuming it while you brother looks on in unspeakable horror. The fiber in your diet must be astronomical. You may be part goat.

You have such an incredible love of life. Many times a day your enthusiasm and excitement for your brother, his antics and life happening around you is so large that it spills over in loud screams and squeals. Sometimes with your arms extended as though the sound itself was not enough – your whole body explodes with your enthusiasm!

Absolutely nothing escapes your attention – you notice everything. At school, you watch your friends and wind up exploring new areas, like the kitchen, etc – and you pull them down to your level so you can interact with them – squealing and screaming as you do so. They shake on the baby gate, so you crawl over and shake it too, just as hard as any of the big ones - enjoying every moment of being a part of something. Sometimes you get overwhelmed by them because you are so little and most of them are toddlers – bigger than you and you will scream to be rescued from the pack of toddlers when they swarm too thick about you.

You love to eat big person food. You will try anything and you are very observant. You look at the food really carefully as you try it and, if you don’t like it, you don’t pick it up again. Also, if you DO like the food, not only do you easily find more of it, but you hummmmm in appreciation of the food. Hmmmmmmm as you eat it. As though this yummy discovery just makes your motor purr.

Feeding your bottle to you has become a bit of a challenge. You are always wanting to turn your head to see what is going on so you can watch it. I certainly wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything! Also, the end to breastfeeding is just around the corner. You have started to bite me, so we are in the weaning process now. You certainly know sometimes what you are doing because you will pause and look at my face before you bite and then when I wince and tell you not to do that, you smile at me - seeming to understand you made that cause/effect happen and you are so happy to make the connection. Yes, definitely weaning... :)

You are always on the move now. You certainly wish your body allowed you to move faster than you already do. Sometimes I play a game with you and Jack where Jack takes off running and your legs start pumping in mid air as I hold you and you start breathing as though you are charging after him. I take the cue and charge after him holding you out in front of me while you just SCREEEEEEAM in excitement that you are chasing down your big brother. When we finally catch him, I will place you sitting on top of him and you usually pin him down with your little arms while you scream and put your mouth on his head in excitement of playing with your big brother whom you idolize more than anything else in this world. It’s so much fun to play and be a witness to this love and devotion.

Jack keeps saying that you are the cutest baby and he loves how chubby you are. I’d have to agree – you are the perfect amount of cute round smiling chubbiness.

You even have gotten to the point where you can play simple games with me – peekaboo with your blanket and we can roll a ball back and forth which is very exciting to you and you will SMILE BIG as I toss the ball to you or after you succeed in pushing it back to me.

We always read The BellyButton book at night and when I sing the Belly Button song on the second to last page, you always turn full around and face me with a smile growing on your face as you listen to my voice singing to you. Every time it happens that way – like you are so surprised to hear me singing – as though you never expected to hear my voice do that and you like it and smile at me afterwards for awhile before you turn back to the end of the story.

I wish I had it together enough to take pictures of all these things – to video tape all these things because I never ever ever want to forget them. They are memories that make my heart feel like it’s going to explode. My mother used to say she wanted to stop my baby sister from growing up. I do wish there was a way to hold onto these moments and relive them throughout life because these moments are so pure and joyful. And that's what you are. A Pure Joy.