Things I Don’t Want to Forget

I just renewed the doman name for this blog, which is a little silly since I only post a few times a year. Being a mom takes up a lot of time, eh?

I’m not ready to let it go just yet, partially because I like going back and looking over the milestones that I managed to record. Somehow, I blinked and we have an eight-year-old and a three-year-old.

Those two are smart and funny, both in their own ways. Stubborn as heck, adorable, and generally happy, too. Ava is intellectual and it is hard to convince her to take her nose out of a book, even for dinner. She likes to dance to Just Dance on the Wii and is increasingly interested in playing video games. She is one of the youngest people in her grade and is therefore shorter than other kids, despite being tall for her age. She likes wearing dangly earrings and playing chess.

Ian is still young enough that he mispronounces various things in ways that are endearing and certainly endangered. My favorites are “slipperly” instead of slippery, “lellow” instead of yellow, “Oses” instead of O’s (as in Cheerio-Os), “oranges” instead of orange, and adding “ed” to many present tense verbs to make them past tense. “I eated,” etc. He also, thank the baby Jesus, finally started sleeping through the night over the past few weeks. 9:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. solid. It’s a beautiful thing. He’s the size of a five year old and, like his sister, is sturdy. One of his teachers said a parent that she knew likened children to chocolate Easter bunnies in that some of them are hollow and some of them are solid chocolate. We have two solid chocolates. Not overweight or unhealthy, just solid.

That’s probably enough for now. I get nervous when it’s too quiet in the other room since that usually means they are up to something, like using the couch as a trampoline or watching another episode of Clarence.


The Beginning of the End

It started with a few lost ounces and worked its way up to blood tests, special food, and urinalysis. Our Junebug, who is almost 16 years old as far as we can tell, has always been quiet, methodical, and independent, which are usually perfectly lovely qualities in a cat but in the case of failing health, they serve instead to mask symptoms of decline.

I remember the day we brought her home from the pound in a city where there is a real prejudice against “ruining” your pet by fixing it; therefore kittens were plentiful and cheap. Junie was lucky enough to tug at Paul’s heart strings when we visited previously–I wasn’t overly attached until she slept in the small of my neck, which I found to be the most charming thing ever. She fit in the palm of my hand and her brown eyes and ears were both comically large. She had ringworm and terrible ear problems that we later found out were yeast. She over ate and threw up. A lot.

But she was also elegant and quiet and snugly (especially with Paul) and accepted the kids when they joined the family. She has been a good kitty for us for so long, it is hard to imagine us without her.


Today the vet advised us not to do the dental surgery that June needs, because she likely won’t make it through anesthesia and her teeth don’t seem to be bothering her. She could live another month or another year, but it’s time to start preparing ourselves (and Ava) for what is inevitable. We’ll give her extra snuggles and be thankful for the time we have with her, because it is all we can do.


Today my son is three.

I love his gray eyes and his sense of humor and his rosey cheeks. I love the way he snuggles and insists on turning on (and off) the light in every room we enter or leave. I love that he loves to read and hear us read to him. I love that he admires his sister and wants to watch the same cartoons as her and play with her toys because he thinks she is tremendous. I love that he talks in full sentences and he gets concerned about his classmates if they are upset or sad. I love that he is careful when he pets the cats and that he exclaims, “I have a happy plate!” every time he finishes his dinner. I love that he says “Des-pickle-too-me” when he want to watch Despicable Me. I love that he crawls in bed with us to snuggle and that he gives bear hugs and tiny hugs. I love that we get to be his parents. I love my little three-year-old.

Ian at three

Ode to a Dandelion

It’s dandelion season in these parts and I have to admit that I really don’t mind at all. They are a bit miraculous, really–brilliant manes of yellow roaring back to life each spring, followed by soft, round chandeliers of seeds that float on to any ground fertile enough to make it grow.

There are other reasons that I like them, too. The tackiest being that my neighbor is fussy about her yard and dumps Chemlawn on her grass as much as possible in an attempt to get rid of anything that isn’t fescue. The boundary that separates our property is quite clear–the uneven ground with various shades of green, flecked with weeds and spotted with dandelions, denotes our side.

The sweetest reason that I like dandelions is that my kids ignore most of the lovely perennials that emerge at this time of year in favor of their favorite yellow “flower.” It would not surprise me at all to get a bouquet of yellow weeds for Mother’s Day this year. They both think dandelions are the prettiest flower ever and I’m not at all interested in changing their minds.

Lastly, and perhaps most urgently, dandelions are good for hungry bees emerging from winter slumber. Best excuse ever to let the lawn go and sleep in on Saturday morning.


Even Bigger

The following is a rant that I’m tired of holding in. Ands since this is my blog, I won’t hold it in any longer.

Ian’s third birthday is rapidly approaching. He is a lovely little boy, who likes to make people laugh and joke around. He likes to dance and can go to the bathroom all by himself. He is a great eater and doesn’t complain or whine any more than any other two-year-old. He can count to 15 and even recognizes several numbers by sight. He is curious and asks a million questions a day. He is a snuggle bug.

He is also big. Still. Three years after our big bundle of joy arrived, we still get comments about just HOW DARN BIG he is. Often the people who make the remark make it every time they see him, as if they didn’t quite drive the point home the last five times we saw them. One parent at Ian’s preschool topped it off by telling me how utterly REMARKABLE it was that he was so big–bigger than this person’s child, who was more than a year older than Ian. I didn’t not reply with the very obvious response that Paul and I tower over both members of this couple.

I struggle to understand why this is the thing that gets said about him. Sure, he’s really tall. But he’s funny, he’s cute, he’s smart, he’s sweet. And none of my clever retorts seem to dissuade the “OMG he is SO big. How old is he again? Because my child is nearly the same age and he’s nowhere near as big!” Lately I’ve just replied, “It’s amazing what happens when you give them a little bit of food and some sunshine!” But under my half-smile and quick exit is a festering resentment and confusion over why they can’t just smile, say hello, and ask how things are going instead.

Perhaps more than anything the reason this comment hurts is that there is a subtext that I infer whether or not it is intended. I feel like the people making it not only want to point out that he is big, but they want to know why. Was there something wrong with my pregnancy? (No). Is he normal? (Yes.) Will he always be so big? (Probably.)

Ian will never be average. It’s okay with me, and Paul, and even Ava. It’s more than OK, actually. So if you ever feel compelled to let me or any else know your feelings about the freakish size of our kids, maybe re-think it a bit. You really don’t need to tell us what we already know.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always sort of an odd day for me, but it’s impossible to ignore.

Only a short week away, the advertisements for chocolate/jewelry/dinner date/main-pedis/gifts that will make mom happy are ever-present. My own children will bring home treasures for me, carefully glued, marked, constructed, and glittered with little fingers and presented with the kind of sweet enthusiasm that only small kids can muster. I will put these little works of love in a plastic bin and save them because even though I may never see them again, there is simply no throwing them away.

But I’m acutely aware of the friends who suffer silently on that day as they grieve the pregnancies that ended and/or the pregnancies that never happened. I think of the people who long for their mothers, either gone or estranged, and the mothers who were not ready to become mothers but did it anyway. I think of the women who became mothers to other people’s children and of the women who never had children because they just didn’t want to. I think of the mothers who have lost their own children and the mark that leaves on their minds and bodies, and wonder if all of the chocolates and hype and dinners out really convey the appreciation that they are puported to convey.

I would say that we don’t really observe Mother’s day in our family, but that is not necessarily true—every day is Mother’s Day in my little niche of the universe. Every day I wake up with one of my babies next to me because he still crawls next to me in the middle of the night. I brush hair, I brush teeth, I help floss, I pull up pants, I wipe behinds, I dry tears, I make dinner, I referee arguments, I ensure adequate protein and water consumption, I divvy out gummy vitamins, I read out loud, I kiss cheeks for night-night, I cling to the hour of together time that I have with their father. Mothering is hard, mothering is exhausting, and mothering is amazing. Every day.



You know how everyone has moments that define their adulthood? You know, those little events that make you realize, “yup, I really am undeniably, absolutely an adult.”

I had one yesterday.

I got my first mammogram. It’s pretty much what I thought it would be—squishy and all—but what I didn’t expect was how interesting the actual image would be. The mammography technician allowed me to look at the images after they were taken as long as I didn’t ask for any commentary or diagnosis. Looking at interior of these things that have been with me since I was 11 years old,  make shopping for shirts that fit a bit difficult, and fed two children for years was really amazing. My first thought?

The gray criss-crosses of arcs reminded me of something celestial, like the milky way, or even  like the surface of the moon.

Courtesy of NASA.

Courtesy of NASA.

Now I wait…either for a call from my doctor so that they can get more baseline scans, or for a letter that will arrive next week, telling me that they did not find anything abnormal.