Lessons on Love

I have been working a lot lately, and Leah was starting to really miss me. So, yesterday afternoon I saw an opportunity for a mommy-daughter date and seized it. She had been dying to go see the new Cinderella movie in theaters and it happened to be playing in the afternoon, after she got off the bus.

On the way to the movies we were listening to her favorite Taylor Swift CD when the song “Love Story” came on. Leah asked me about the song’s references to Romeo and Juliet, and so I explained to her that it is a famous story about two young people who fell in love, but that their families hated one another. I left out the tragic ending, for now, but I told her that it was a sad story.

After the movie was over, I asked Leah what her favorite part was, and she told me that it was when Ella married the king and became a queen.

It got me thinking, fairy tales are such unrealistic pictures of love. Both Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella are stories where the lovers fall in love after only one meeting. In real life, it is not all that common for love to lead to such dramatic tragedy as in Shakespeare’s tale, nor is it realistic to think that some man is going to sweep you off your feet and make you a queen.

Don’t get me wrong- I love fairy tales. However, as a mom I have to be sure that my daughter understands that these are just stories, meant to entertain us. Real love can feel magical, too, but I want her to have realistic expectations. And in reality, most of us fall somewhere between the tragic ending and the happily ever after ending.

I want my daughter to know that it is okay if it takes time to fall in love with someone. You should know that person inside and out before determining if they are your soul mate. I want her to know that not every day will be perfect. Love is messy and couples fight, and not only is that okay, but it is healthy. I want her to know that it’s not a partner’s job to save your life and fix all of your problems. Real love is about working together to build a life, even when you are struggling.

I saw a quote once, probably on Pinterest, that said something along the lines of, “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other”. I think that the old-fashioned wedding vows were onto something; “In richer or in poorer, in sickness and in health…” True love, out here in the real world, is not finding the perfect person. It is finding the person whose imperfections you can live with because you love them anyway. And the person who you can be happy with in both the good times and the bad.

That is a lesson that I want my daughter to know about love. I hope that I am showing her by example.

Mrs. Sippy

“What can daddies fix?” My Dad used to ask me, as he popped a head back onto a Barbie doll.

“Anything!” I would scream enthusiastically.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager, bummed out from the end of a high school romance, heartbroken by the death of a loved one, or disappointed in myself for a not so great grade, that my Dad confessed something to me. He couldn’t really fix EVERYTHING. Give him a toy, any toy, and he could repair it with super glue. But a broken heart? Not so much.

As parents we want to fix everything for our children, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Earlier this week Leah came to me and told me that her best friend in the whole world is moving away.

“She’s moving really far,” Leah said, her eyes welling up. “They are staying with some lady her Daddy knows named Mrs. Sippy.”

I swallowed back my chuckle at her misunderstanding that they are actually moving to Mississippi and hugged my daughter. It was Tuesday morning and they were leaving on Friday. I didn’t know what to do. Was it best to fill the week with playdates so that she could savor these last few moments with her first best friend, or would it be better to distract her with other things?

I decided that play dates were the way to go, and my week has therefore been filled with the sounds of little girl laughter and Taylor Swift drifting out of Leah’s bedroom, paining teeny tiny little finger nails, and watching as the girls ran around the house screaming, as my husband was chasing them around with our remote control flying shark.

Today will be the little girl’s last day at school, and tonight they leave for their new home. My heart is broken, but probably not as much as Leah’s. I have done the best I can to cheer her up, but nothing I can do will really make it better.

Over the course of Kindergarten I have had the pleasure of meeting several of Leah’s friends, but out of all of them, little ‘M’ and her sister were such a pleasure to have playing at my house. They are sweet and polite, and they all had a great time playing together. I am sure that Leah will have many friends that will come and go, but I truly hope that she will never forget her first “bestie”.

Table Manners

It’s funny how a second child learns things that were such difficult concepts for the first child, with ease. Just from observing the rest of us, Christopher already uses a fork. One day I gave him one, just to see what happened. I fully expected him to play with it and then throw it on the floor. Nope, he immediately picked it up, stabbed a piece of food and ate it. All while giving me a look that said, “Finally! I was so tired of eating with my hands like some barbarian!”

Of course, don’t get me wrong, he still totally double fists his mac and cheese when it is just so delicious and he is so hungry that he doesn’t have the patience for utensils. And he puts his piggies up on the table and laughs, and occasionally throws food on the floor for the dog we don’t have.

But, when he is finished with his meal, he puts his fork and cup on this plate, and gently pushes the whole thing towards me. I don’t know where he learned that, but I think he is well on his way to growing up a gentleman.

Pot Holder Paradox

One of CW’s favorite things to do when I am in the kitchen doing anything is to open up the drawers and pull everything out. I have baby locks on the drawers that contain knives, but there are two that he can get into. One houses all of his bibs, and the other all of my dish cloths and pot holders.

I used to have five pot holders. Two were matching sets, and then one random one. About a month ago I realized that I was missing two pot holders, one from each of the sets. I searched high and low, but I couldn’t find the darn things anywhere!

Chris has a habit of moving things around on me, but usually I find whatever he hid within a few days. This time a few days passed by, and then a few more, and then a couple of weeks. Still no pot holders!

I had all but given up, figuring I would find them someday down the road when we are packing up to move or something. Then yesterday I took the kids down the road to the recycling center. I use those reusable shopping bags to hold the recycling in my pantry. When two or three of them are full, we go to the center and dump everything out.

Leah gleefully helped me pluck milk jugs from the bags, one by one, and watched as they tumbled down the shoot. It was cute, but the wind was blowing and I was getting antsy, so I picked up the last bag and said to Leah,

“Watch this!” as I dumped the entire contents down the shoot.

And then I watched as two pot holders fluttered gracefully and landed atop the pile of plastic, glass, cardboard, and newspaper below. Well…mystery solved!

Bedtime Bliss

A few weeks or so ago I posted about Christopher’s horrible sleep habits and how my husband and I were basically turning into zombies. Around the beginning of March we couldn’t take it any more, and so we began sleep training. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will tell you that Little Man was very resistant at first. He has now made so much progress, and he goes to sleep on his own! If he wakes at night, all it takes is a quick check from Mama or Dada and he lays back down and goes to sleep again. So much better! Naps, on the other hand, still are not going well. But I will take the night time sleep!!

Part of sleep training was the incorporation of a set bedtime routine, put in place to signal CW that it is time to sleep. He LOVES this routine!

The other night my heart became so full of joy and love. First of all, as I carried him off into his room for bed, I half-heartedly remarked, “Chris, say goodnight to Dada!”

You can imagine my happy surprise when he took his Nuk out of his mouth, looked at Dave, and said, “Nigh-night!”

We had purchased a white noise machine for his room, and when I brought him in and turned it on, again the Nuk came out and he grinned at me and went, “Shhhhhhhh…”, imitating the sound of the machine. We sat down to read some books and he will point at the pictures and turn the pages of the books he likes, or he will push away a book if he doesn’t want that one read. We read three, and then I turned out the light and began to rock and sing to my sweet boy. He cuddled into my chest and layed his head down on my shoulder. We stayed that way for about five minutes before my baby picked his head up and began kissing me.

“Are you ready for sleep?” I ask.

Christopher nods his head yes. I put him down in his crib and he begins to stand up. I figured it was too good to be true and now he is going to cry. No, wait…I’m wrong. He turns his face up to me for one last kiss before sitting back down, watching silently as I leave the room. And there is quiet, and if I listen on the baby monitor very carefully, I can hear the sound of the steady breathing of sweet baby slumber.

Snowfall in March

Blech! More snow?!! That is what most of us here in the Northeast have been thinking. It’s March, it’s snowing, and we are filling your Facebook newsfeed with our whining, moaning, and complaining about it. Today, however, as the snow fell down outside, I took a moment to think back to November of this year, when we had our first snowfall.

It was the day before Thanksgiving and everyone was in a panic about travel plans, the roads, etc! Since my family is all close by, I didn’t have to worry. My husband was out working, but his truck drives really well on wet, slushy roads. The house was warm and quiet and both of my babies were home. Christopher happened to take a great, long nap that day, affording me a rare mommy-daughter day with Leah. We sat at her little table right next to the front window, stringing beads and watching the snow fall gently from the sky outside.

In November, snow is a promise of things to come. Holidays, magic, laughter, and love and that will fill your home and your heart during the season. Outside it is cold, but somehow, the first snowfall always represents the warmest warmth that you will feel all year round. I felt cozy and content on this particular day, and full of hope.

Somehow, between fall and spring, the holiday magic dissipates, the warmth turns ice cold, and we begin to hate the snow. We loathe the winter. The beautiful untouched white of November has become dirty and messy looking. It has begun melting, frozen over, been rained on, and snowed on some more. We are damp and chilly, and our feet are cold. We long for the sunshine to warm our faces and thaw our hearts.

Today, though, with a single memory of a moment in time I could never get back, I embraced the snow. At least as much as I possibly could. I am not going to throw some boots on and make a snow angel, but I enjoyed another quiet day indoors with my children. I filled my home with laughter and love, and I felt warm from the inside out. Mirroring the beginning of the season, Chris took another great nap, and I had another precious hour of time with my sweet girl.

If you are in the Northeast and you are cold and damp, remember it will be over soon, and try to hang on to November. Love can happen in any season, and if you let it in, it just might warm you up.

You Spin Me Right Round

I have heard of kids hitting their heads on the floor during a tantrum, or on the wall. I have heard of kids who scream, kick, bite, and throw themselves down on the floor. I have heard of kids who begin destroying whatever is in their reach when they throw a fit.

Not my son.

When CW gets upset (usually because I say NO to something he wants) he begins to whine and spin himself around in a circle as fast as he can until he falls over.

It’s hilarious, I am not going to lie. I have the whackiest kids!