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I read once about children entering a state of disequilibrium every six months or so. How starting at around 18 months old, they cycle between — and I’m paraphrasing here — being easy, mellow and pretty sweet to be around, to infuriating shits. Ok, that’s not exactly the theory, but it sure feels like it.

Year Two has been a YEAR. Owen challenges me daily. He is so smart. I don’t mean this in an annoying, braggy parent way, I just mean the kid surprises me. He sings all the 50 states, then turns around and chews on his shirt and trips over air. Normal kid stuff, right? Only sometimes I think he’s too smart for his own good because the kid argues with me like he’s 16. Occasionally I have to take a step back from an argument and check myself. You are fighting with a small person who hasn’t even been on the planet for a full three years. CHILL, WOMAN.

It was as though a switch flipped at two-and-a-half. My pleasant and fun kid became a constant battle. From sleeping to eating to leaving the house, everything was a fight. “No!” was shrieked more than anything else and I found myself wishing away our afternoons for the silence bedtime would (eventually, after a fight) bring.

I get it, I do. I realize he is working towards independence and his little brain is working overtime as he grows and learns. I also realize that he deals with some jealousy when people fawn over Ryan, or I have to care for the baby (taking attention away from Owen). It was no surprise at all that as soon as Ryan became mobile, the issues with sharing began as well.

The knowledge that this was coming/is normal/happens to all kids has been the one string I’ve clung to over the past six months. The understanding that this too shall pass and that we would emerge virtually unscathed. His third birthday is the light at the end of a very bumpy tunnel.

I thought we had coasted into quiet waters two weeks ago when suddenly naps and bedtime were easy. Fight free. He started eating his dinner again and didn’t run away from me every time I asked him to put his shoes on. I THOUGHT we were there.

We’re not.

Once again, the battles rage on. With his birthday just eight days away I am willing the shift back to equilibrium to happen soon.

I love Owen something fierce. He is my light, my heart, my world.

I just wish he’d stop being such a shit.

 

 

The last week or so has been a rough one. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Last Sunday:

How it starts: We load up and hit the road early for a 3.5 hour drive to my sister’s graduation. Knowing I’ve timed it just right, I figure Ryan will nap most of the way and Owen might even fall asleep as well. We will get to New York just around lunch time and both will be rested enough to enjoy the graduation before heading to my aunt and uncle’s house for lunch.

What actually happens: Owen immediately falls asleep and stays that way for most of the ride. Ryan naps for 40 minutes then proceeds to cry on and off the remainder of the trip. Since he’s hardly rested, he is exhausted by the end of the ceremony, yet refuses to nap the rest of the day. At all. He is in full-blown meltdown mode by the time we head back home that evening. Both boys sleep the whole way home and we arrive around 10 p.m.

What happens next: I bring the boys in and Michael lets Kodiak out the front door for a quick bathroom break before bed. It’s pitch black and pouring rain. He’s mad at us for leaving him during the day (even though Michael’s grandmother let him out twice). While Michael is in the garage, Kodiak saunters away into the dark and refuses to come when called. Fast forward through countless searching, both on foot and in the car and calling and calling him, and we give up, angy, and hope he comes home safely. At 1:30 in the morning I hear him bark to come in. I open the slider and as he walks into the house — BAM. I’m hit with it.

He’s been skunked. UGHHHH. We quickly put him in the garage but the damage is done. The house STINKS. It is so overpowering that I have to sleep with the blanket over my head just to breathe. He is so very much in the dog house.

How it ends: In the morning, I wash him twice to no avail. He spends the next three (thankfully sunny) days outside and sleeps in the garage until we can take him to the groomers on Thursday. He is still slightly skunky and will probably smell every time he gets wet for a long time. Did I mention that Sunday was Michael’s birthday? Happy birthday to him, huh?

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Post-skunk bath #1. Pathetic.

Wednesday:

How it starts: I go to get Ryan out of the crib in the morning and immediately feel how hot he is. I take his temperature and it confirms he has a fever. His spirits aren’t to bad, though, so we go about our day just keeping an eye on it. That night we hear a strange sound coming from the crib. When I go to check on him I find that he’s wheezing. Great.

What happens next: I take him to the pediatrician the next morning and he is diagnosed with a virus. Which basically means, sucks for you. Got to ride it out. He’s given a little something to help with the wheezing, but the fever continues for a full 24-hours. He is also now leaking snot and oh! Look at that. Cutting a giant tooth. Poor guy is a mess. I worry, because we are leaving the boys, Ryan for the first time, the next day to attend a wedding. I still want my mom when I’m sick, so I feel for my little baby.

How it ends: Well, this ending was just the beginning. Friday morning his fever is gone, but he is cranky and coughing and generally unhappy. I waffle about leaving him, but am convinced to go. We leave the boys with my mother-in-law at noon and leave for my good friend’s wedding. We have a great night away (there was a cheesecake bar at the wedding. I mean, nom.) but return the following afternoon to absolute chaos. My in-laws are loud people, so the house is a frenzy of noise and activity. As soon as I walk in the door, both kids burst into tears. Ryan is hacking a lung and snotty, and I know the minute I hold Owen that he is now running a fever as well.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday

How it starts: I…I don’t even know. The next few days are a blur of no sleep, bodily fluids and miserable, MISERABLE children. Michael had to work all weekend too, so it was just me and the sick. For days. I keep a detailed white board listing who took which medicine when. I try to find anything they will eat (Owen – some toast, applesauce and a popsicle. Ryan – boob. And then some more boob. And hold on, let me scream my head off for a bit and ok…more boob now), I run humidifiers, put mattresses on angles, offer cool wash clothes and warm baths and anything I can think of to make them feel better. It goes on, and on, and on.

What happens next: Yesterday, Ryan appears to be back on a normal nap schedule. This looks promising. My mother-in-law offers to take Owen for a few hours to get him out of the house and give me a small break. He has fun, but returns feverish and exhausted. He naps on and off for four hours and when he finally wake up, he seems a bit more like himself.

How it ends: I’m hesitant to say it HAS ended, but it looks like we might be almost there. Both boys slept through the night and awoke happy, fever-free and just a little congested. I managed a shower and even met a friend for coffee. Could this endless stretch of suck finally be over? Are we finally emerging?

OMG, I HOPE SO.

(Hope you all had a good Memorial Day. I’m hoping next year includes a bbq and beer instead of fevers and Advil.)

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I want to remember today.

It’s just an every-day. Nothing extraordinary has happened. No monumental events experienced.

No, today we just…played outside. We blew bubbles and hit t-balls. We filled buckets with water and dirt, and dug holes. We pulled dandelions and rolled balls; sat on the deck and stuffed ourselves full of fresh fruit and hummus.

Today the smell of sunscreen mingled with that of the sunny marigolds next to our blanket, and our soundtrack has been the banjo strums of Mumford & Sons wafting between peals of laughter. Only now is it quiet, as the babies fell into an afternoon slumber without protest.

I want to remember today — the beginning of that magical time of year where our days fade lazily into one another and the evenings hold the heat of the sun just long enough. The anticipation of the three magical months ahead. I want to remember because it is the start of something wonderful.

Welcome, Summer. We have missed you.

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- Over the last few days my nose has become progressively more congested, to the point that now it’s just spontaneously leaking. I was all ready to blame those snot-nosed kids at story hour (not that my kids ever have snot, oh no) for hacking some germ on me, until my eyes started to itch and the sneezing kicked in and woe is me, I totally have seasonal allergies. Only, the hell? I’ve lived here how long and at my last check I was 30 years old. Why exactly am I just dealing with this now?

Well whatever reason, it sucks, and my face feels like a giant inflated helium balloon draining directly from my eyeballs and I’m blowing my nose every two minutes. And WHINING ABOUT IT. I’m not going to mess with any over-the-counter stuff while I’m nursing so that’s that. Hopefully whining cures allergies.

- The timing couldn’t be worse for me to be sniffing all the live long day, because Ryan’s baptism is Sunday. Nothing is worse than someone sniffing/sneezing/coughing in a quiet room full of people. Like, uh…a church, for example. I’m totally going to be THAT person. I will hopefully be able to convey with just a look that it’s allergies and not some disgusting plague brought upon by the grimy hands of children, all while mouth-breathing. My goodness, can you just picture how attractive I’m going to be?

- As like any formal-ish event, the whole what do I wear? dilemma has come up. Not just for me, but for the kids. I pulled out the next size up for Ryan yesterday and while I was digging through the totes I became confused. Their birthdays are only a few weeks a part, and yet I found hardly any summer clothes in the 12-month size. How could this be, I wondered. I swear Owen didn’t go naked the summer of 2011. He must have been wearing clothes.

That’s when I realized that I had an abundance of 12-18 month clothes. Emphasis on the 18. Oh, right. Owen was a butterball. Of course he didn’t fit into 12 months when he was ACTUALLY 12 months. Sigh.

Thankfully, I did discover that I had some really sweet polo shirts in a brand that runs small, so Ryan is all set. That left Owen, and I was able to run out yesterday and found an equally cute polo for him. I love having boys, but the only time I get real pangs for a girl is when I see their adorable outfits. However, once you have seen your little boy in Ralph Lauren and Dockers, there’s no fighting the omigod, so cuuuuuuutttteeee!!!! from coming out. Nope.

- A baptism is as good an excuse as any to make banana pudding. Bring on the fat!

- (OMIGOD, MY NOSE.)

Dear Owen,

Last week your Mema asked you where you came from, and you replied, all matter of fact, from my Mommy.

I sat there momentarily stunned by your answer. As the story goes, my first response to that question was from the moon, so the fact that you included me in your answer surprised me. As you approach your third birthday, the things you come up with are really starting to blow my mind. I think you’re too smart for your own good sometimes.

This is still a tough age behavior-wise. You continue to assert your independence and be willful and make me wish day drinking was acceptable. While some days it feels like all we do is deal with that side of you, there really is so much more to who you are right now.

Like how each day you become an even better big brother. You are a mini-mommy and will do anything in your power to make Ryan laugh. He adores you, Owen, he really does. I can only hope this is just the beginning of a magical lifelong relationship between you two. He has recently started calling you by name on occasion — “Oh-wa-wa”. Considering he hasn’t even said “Dada” yet (poor Daddy), I would say you hold quite the spot in his heart.

You have become a loud and rambunctious boy, which is a 180 from the quiet toddler you used to be. Watching you play with other kids, dance and tumble has been really fun. You love to color and play with Playdoh, play instruments (especially your mini piano and anything you can make into a drum) and sing. OH, do you love to sing. There is a song by a band called Mumford & Sons that you adore. Every day you make me put it on and sing “I WILL WAIT FOR YOUUUU!” at the top of your lungs while headbanging to their banjo playing. Don’t worry, I have it on video to embarrass you with for the rest of your life, though really, I think it’s adorable. You are LOUD, and like to zoom things, and slam things and jump on things and whoa, are you a boy or what?

You are really into words and letters right now. You’ve known your alphabet for as long as I can remember, but now you want to know which one begins each word. You like to practice the sounds they make and I can’t hide my pride each time you get one right. “La-la-la-LOVE. Love starts with ‘L’!”

You ARE a love, buddy. The sweetest boy. As your grow and change before my eyes, sometimes I have to remind myself that you’ve only been here for less than three years. You’re so big, but still little.

I love you through and through, Bug.

Love,

Mommy

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Oh, hey. It’s been a while since I complained about Owen’s sleep, huh? I bet you missed it. Well you’re in luck. Here’s another installment of My Child Is Trying to Kill Me With Sleep Deprivation. Part 475.

Actually, I don’t know. There isn’t THAT much to say about it, other than he occasionally wakes up just briefly enough at night that I need to go in there and tuck him back in. That’s fine, it really is, but it’s usually an hour or so before or after Ryan wakes to eat, so I’m not falling back asleep long enough on either end for my night to be restorative.

Wait, scratch that. It would be restorative if he wasn’t also waking up FOR THE DAY between 5 and 5:30. Some days — the good days — it’s six. Six I can sort-of handle, but five? No. No I can not. I blame it on him being potty trained. He wakes up, has to go, and that’s the end of sleeping. I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve spent semi-conscious on the couch while he is plugged in to Sesame Street with his milk and cereal. Usually around 7 he will decide that’s enough rest for me and start poking me in the face or something. The only saving grace is that Ryan usually sleeps until at least then, sometimes almost 8, so I don’t have to worry about him. The days he gets up early, though, I pretty much want to die.

I know from past experience that this is just another stage and that if all else fails, in another few months or so he will be able to go to the bathroom completely on his own with no help needed from me. Maybe by then he can even grab himself some cereal, let the dog out and make Mama some coffee. Ok, I’m reaching here. A little.

But all the knowledge in the world is not making this chunk of time any easier. And so, I get myself a Dark Chocolate Mocha Latte from Dunkin Donuts (otherwise known as a big ol’ cup of super fuel that tastes nothing like coffee {which is probably why I like it}) and inadvertently over-caffeinate myself because in my fog, I usually forget to eat breakfast. I only realize it a few hours later when my buzz turns into WARNING, WARNING, ALL SYSTEMS CRASHING!!!!, which is usually right when both kids are ready for a nap and irritable.

I wish for Owen a lifetime of love, happiness, adventure and prosperity. I also wish for him a child who doesn’t sleep well because PAYBACK IS A BITCH, kiddo.

Did this make any sense? I wrote it with my eyes closed.

After Hurricane Sandy and the four days we spent without power, we started talking about buying a generator. Michael started doing research on them, but the price tag and life getting in the way made us push it to the back burner. Which is why I started panicking on Friday when reports of 60-80 mile winds hitting the coast on top of two feet of snow started pouring in. If we lost power, we lost.

Not surprisingly, the power shut off that evening. In anticipation, we had cranked the heat up to nearly 80 degrees before it shut off, so it sustained us through the night. In the morning, I bundled the kids in multiple layers and Michael set about trying to get us some power.

There was no rhyme or reason to the outages this time. I saw reports of more than 180,000 customers without power, but by the luck of the draw, a lot of our friends did not lose it. Because of that, if we HAD to leave, we could — assuming we could drive anywhere — which was iffy. Thankfully, friends with a generator didn’t lose their power, and helped us out. By 10 p.m. the generator was running and though the house was cold (it had dropped below 55 by then), it gradually started to warm back up.

I am blown away by the kindness of our friends and neighbors the last few days. Those who could offered whatever they had. Heat, food, a place to stay. One neighbor spent the storm away, and when he returned he said his house was 39 degrees. I am so thankful I was in a position where I could keep my babies warm.

Scenes from Nemo: Happy dog in the snow, a little boy snow gazing, a bundled baby playing and a tired husband snow blowing his mom’s driveway.

Digging out has taken a while, and a slow drive to my mother-in-law’s yesterday painted an eery, cold and still picture of our town. Down lines, telephone poles and snowbanks scattered everywhere. Reports of a transformer blown off into the river. Forty-eight hours later, the power returned. It was bad, but it could have been worse.

Actually, the worse part was last night. After a day with a constantly running nose, Owen woke a few hours after going to bed gagging and burning up. He threw up for the first time and it was a scary experience for him. His fever broke a few hours later and he is a much happier kid today, but I’m ready to wash my hands of the entire weekend and start anew.

Needless to say, we are purchasing a generator.

 

Dear Owen,

There’s been a couple of stages during your life that I declare your current age to be my favorite. This is one of them. You can still be willful and stubborn and frustrating as you continue to grow and assert your independence, but something changed in just these last few weeks. It’s hard to articulate, but you are such a KID now. I know, I know. Every letter I write I tell you how you’ve grown so much, but really, trust me. This time you have. You’re not just two, you’re two and a HALF. Halves make all the difference.

You crack jokes, including your first toilet humor. You changed a word in a song from “super” to “pooper”, then collapsed in a fit of giggles. I of course couldn’t NOT laugh at your nonsense, so you repeated it over and over until it was no longer amusing and I had a pretty clear view of what life with a 10-year old boy will be like. I’ve started writing down all of your best quotes so I never forget them. Like just the other day, when I mentioned I wanted go to Starbucks and you told me you didn’t want to go, you wanted to play, and I should “go in the kitchen and make your own coffee, Mommy.” Well. Ok, then.

You want to do everything yourself, even if it takes twice (or three times) as long. You are essentially daytime potty trained, but actually wake up most mornings dry as well. When you go, you want privacy, telling us to “go in the living room” until you are done. Which is fine by me, because you can already stink up the bathroom like a grown man. Yes, my love. I put that on the internet. Consider it advanced payback for the first time you stay out past curfew.

Currently your favorite things are your toy animals, pretend food (you go shopping and cook “just like Mommy”), any of the wooden blocks/Kinex variety, and of course, vehicles of every kind. You also enjoy our weekly trips to kid/mom dance class and story hour.

Ryan is your best friend in the whole world and watching the two of you together brings me so much joy. You love to play with him and make him laugh, and I have to tell you multiple times a day that while it’s incredibly sweet, he does not need to be kissed and hugged quite that much. You’re going to squeeze the stuffing out of him.

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You still think Daddy is the coolest guy on the planet (I get it. I do too!) and on his days at home, it is All Daddy Everything. On those nights only Daddy will do for bedtime.

You still nap, though it takes a while and some gentle reminding that it’s time to settle down and go to sleep. You have always been a grumpy waker from your naps, though, but I have to be honest and tell you there’s a part of me that doesn’t mind. After your nap you usually wake calling for me. It is then you call me Mama, not Mommy, and want nothing more than to bury yourself under my chin and be held. You are always on the go now, slowing so infrequently, that I cherish the moments when all you want is to slow down with me.

Tomorrow we are touring the preschool you will attend in the fall. It’s just a couple hours a few days a week, but it will be a huge change. For all of us. I know it’s still months away, but it doesn’t feel very far at all. You, my ever-growing boy. How did you get so big?

I guess you’re not This Little Toddler anymore. What do we call you now? This Little Kid? Yeah, I think that sounds about right.

I love you through and through, Mister Mister.

Love,

Mommy

 

The winner of the Tiny Prints giveaway is Sarah! Congratulations and happy holidays to you!

I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Not until I had two kids, that is. I don’t drink it every day, but some days I’m not sure I’ll make it through without a cup. And some cookies, because I earned those.

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Owen inherited seven Days of the Week onesies and I was so sad when he grew out if them. Yay, round two! And yes, I’m one of those crazy people that has to have him in the right shirt on the right day. Who knows what would happen if he wore Wednesday on Friday! (He would spit up on it? Like all his other clothes?)

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Does anyone else feel like fall is disappearing too quickly? It’s gotten cold here and pretty soon I’ll have to retire the Sperrys for year. I might end up barefoot because I pretty much wear them daily.

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Ah, the election. We voted, did you? Ryan cast his vote for boobs and a drool-friendly America. Owen is very concerned about the state of his lunch. Is it time to eat yet?

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Oh hey, little speed demon who can’t quite reach the pedals yet. Slow down on the growing, will ya?

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Speed demon just pooped, so I guess we’re done here. Happy weekend, all!

*uh, monthly? I should keep up on these probably…

It’s a parent thing to save your kid’s art, right? I get it. I mean, I don’t want to save EVERY piece of paper my kids ever scribble on, but the special stuff. I’ll save those. I kept Owen’s first-ever drawing, and while it looks remarkably similar to the one below, I’m saving that one too. Because see that black blob on the bottom right corner? He told me that’s a “choo choo train”, so clearly he is a brilliant artist-to-be just budding with curiosity and talent. Or maybe he just watched an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine that day. EITHER WAY.

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Summer is coooooming. I’m so ready for it. I’m not ready for the sweaty, red face, the frizzy hair and the feeling of GET THIS BABY OUT ALREADY, but summer itself? Yes, any time now. We were having some summer prep done to our boat and went to pick it up the other day. Owen went nuts at the marina and it was fun to walk around and daydream. Because these boats? Sadly, none of those are ours. Unless you’d like to toss some tens of thousands our way. I think that one in the middle was on sale for around $50k.

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The couples and kid date night from last weekend was fun, successful and chaotic. I threw on some cute accessories to jazz up an otherwise basic black top and jeans and brought a homemade key lime pie. A friend made a Butterfinger trifle that I ate for three days until it made me sick. In a delicious way.

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I dropped my foundation on the bathroom floor. I cannot tell you how mad that made me. It’s not designer or anything, it’s this one by Revlon, but STILL. That’s like 14 bucks down the drain. Or more like seeped into the grout.

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Luckily, I have Owen to help me clean up. He loves to empty the dishwasher, “fold” laundry and push the vacuum around. With Kodiak’s dog hair the Swiffer is basically useless, but hey, if he wants to clean, I’m not going to stop him. It’s coming in handy for places my belly is currently preventing me from reaching easily now. Manual labor, for the win!

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Did you know that Starbucks is doing their annual Frappachino “Happy Hour”? I think it ends this weekend, but from 3-5 you can get any size Frappchino for half price. So…I’ve had…a few. And this year, they have CHOCOLATE whipped cream.

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Be still my heart.

Happy weekend!

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