Hand-Me-Downs

Despite the fact that I have two boys and my sister is expecting a girl, I spent the afternoon packing up a fairly sizable bag of clothes to pass along.

I had no idea we had so many blue clothes for these kids! I suppose at that round headed, no hair, sleepy newborn phase, marketers feel the need to force us into putting our kids in obvious gender appropriate clothes to cue those we encounter that our child is a boy/girl. Luckily for my soon-to-be niece, we also had quite a few adorable sleepers and t-shirts that paired with the right ruffly bloomers or skirt could definitely pass for girl-wear.
What surprised me the most was the fact that I was remarkably unemotional during the sort. I anticipated a teary moment as I held up each tiny newborn sized garment, remembering Pumpkin and Peanut before him in it. Perhaps I would have an inability to part with a particular favorite sleeper. I thought for sure I would feel some sort of tug at my ovaries as I folded each soft little shirt and sock. I felt none of those things. Sure, I was amazed that my big boys ever fit inside that teeny, tiny little hospital t-shirt, but then I folded it and put it away.
I am excited about my sister and her husband’s upcoming journey into parenthood. I am eager to welcome another niece into our circle of family. I am thrilled to pass along clothes I don’t need anymore so that someone else can enjoy them.
And there it is. As much as I rationally know that we have a complete family and do not intend to have more children, I have recently been reluctant for us to make any permanent steps in that direction. The simple task of sorting clothes allowed me to face that emotional pull straight on and realize that as much as I love babies and can’t wait to cuddle another little one in that adorable giraffe pajama set, it doesn’t have to be my baby.
I will add this collection of clothes to the other items I will be passing along to my sister as she prepares for her first foray into parenthood. And thank her for allowing me the opportunity to find the emotional closure I apparently needed.
Then, I will go online and find the frilliest, pinkest, girliest outfits to spoil this new little girl with. After all, isn’t that what the aunt with two sons is supposed to do?
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Your Topic Here

After my call for help for something to write about, I received a few suggestions on Facebook and in person. My cousin suggested I write something about that feeling of joy and anxiety every Red Sox fan feels each February when players start reporting for spring training. A friend said she needed advice because her 18 month old was starting to give up her afternoon nap. A few folks have asked for an update on my NaNoWriMo project.

For a few days, I’ve wondered how I wanted to tackle each idea. After all, I promised I would write about whatever you suggested. I’m not one to go back on a promise, even if these seemed like three completely unrelated topics.
Until I realized, they aren’t. They are completely related. The commonality? Hope.
Despite two recent World Series Championships, Red Sox fans hear one phrase each February when the first players start reporting for practice in Fort Myers, Florida. A phrase whispered across generations. A phrase that very nearly is cliche except for the sincerity and intensity of its utterance after years and years of near misses in October.
This is the year.”
For me and my family of Red Sox fans, we watch the new year’s roster report, analyze personalities, consider off-season injury recovery, and declare that yes, indeed, this could be the year. With “the Curse” finally being broken, we are almost more anxious having tasted the sweetness of victory. We are excited. We are very nearly giddy. Underneath all that positive emotion, we are anxious, frightened, doubting (86 years of disappointment is hard to brush off) as this group of men we blindly follow based on the jersey they wear hold our emotional well being in their hands from April until October. And so we do the only thing we can. We hope. We hope for a fun season. We hope for victory. And above all, we hope that at least if we don’t win, neither do the Yankees. *shiver*
My friend with the nap-averse toddler, well, that’s a whole other level of hope. Peanut gave up his nap early, not 18 months early, but he probably started showing the signs that young. He’d boycott an occasional nap, but then take them back up after several days without one. Once he hit two, he’d refuse a few more, but accepted quiet time, even giving in to an occasional nap when I thought for sure there was no way that bouncing in the crib was going to stop. At two and a half, about the same time I got pregnant and my body desperately craved being vertical for at least an hour each afternoon, he was done. I still put him in his room, hoping against all hopes that maybe, just maybe, that would be the day he would quietly sit in bed reading books or by some miracle, fall asleep.
It wasn’t meant to be. I hope, for my friend, that her little one is simply in a phase and quickly remembers the joy of her nap time because I haven’t a clue what to tell her to do. Other than to keep putting that child down each afternoon and hope for the best.
Finally, my NaNoWriMo project. In all honesty, I haven’t even opened the file since November 30th. As proud as I am of accomplishing 50,860 words in 30 days, I am just as disappointed in myself for ignoring its presence the last 87. It’s a scary prospect, reading back words that I pounded out. I’m convinced it must be horrible and it seems easier to ignore it rather than confirming my worst fears.
As long as it remains unopened, I can still hope that maybe, just maybe it’s at the very least mediocre. I can hope that I have what it takes. I can hope there is a nugget of some measure of talent in its pages that will propel me on to fight to the finish and eventually see those words, my words, in print one day. On paper. In between two hard covers. On a book shelf. In a real store.
So I hope. I hope I have the courage to open that document. I hope my friend’s child takes a nap. I hope the Red Sox win it all again this year.
Because what do we have if we don’t have hope?
Well, Cheerios on the floor. I always have those.

Topicless

I’ll be honest, I’ve been wanting to post, trying to post, needing to post. The problem is my brain is a blank slate. Or, more accurately, my brain is a mess of distraction. The heart monitoring has been a distraction. The unseasonably warm weather has been a distraction. The mounting to-do list is a distraction.

So, dear readers, leave me a comment about something, anything, you’d like to read about. A parenting challenge you’ve encountered. A transition to the stay at home lifestyle issue. A question you’ve been dying to ask. Inspire me. Challenge me. Dare me. Whatever. Consider it a little blog experiment.
I promise to write about whatever you come up with, so don’t disappoint me all you lurkers! Come out from behind the shadows and give me something to write about.
Please! 🙂

Valentine’s Day: Mom Edition

The hubby and I have never been a big Valentine’s Day couple. Between Christmas and both our birthdays in late January, Valentine’s Day comes along and we’re done. There is typically a card, maybe some flowers, and that’s that. We express our love throughout the year and certainly have never needed a holiday to remind us.
But this year, I’ve been pretty excited about Valentine’s Day. For my boys.
There have been heart shaped pancakes served in bed (there is apparently nothing more fun than eating breakfast in bed to a four year old!), cards, small treats, heart shaped PB&J in the lunch box, banners in the living room and treats to come after dinner. I’m having a blast lavishing goofy love on my boys this Valentine’s Day.
Someone recently told me that no matter how close I was to the boys it wasn’t at all the same as the closeness of a mother-daughter relationship. I’d agree with that. It’s not the same at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s inferior. So far, in my young mother-son relationship with my boys, it’s full of sweetness, hugs, tickles and a connection that can’t be beat. I am the woman that my boys will compare all other women to. If that’s not pressure, I’m not sure what is.
So this morning, I had fun getting up early to treat my boys to special pancakes, enjoyed some snuggle time with my munchkins in bed and happily accepted the treats they had picked out for me.
And then, as a mother of sons, I cleaned misdirected pee off the bathroom floor.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is American Heart Month

The timing seems especially appropriate this year.

As I type this, I am hooked up to a 30-day heart monitor – electrodes stuck to my chest, monitor on a lanyard under my shirt, cell phone monitor in my pocket. I have to say, it’s actually pretty cool – it’s not nearly as bulky as I anticipated, it’s wireless and sends my information via Bluetooth to a cell phone that magically transmits my every heartbeat to a monitoring company that then sends reports each day to my cardiologist. Very cool.
Until I notice that I just typed the phrase “my cardiologist.” I’m 35 and have a yearly appointment with a cardiologist. I recently sat in the waiting room for my check up as the youngest person by at least 3 decades. I smiled behind my magazine as I realized this. Then I noticed the pitying glances of several octogenarians as they must have been wondering, “What is she doing here?”
What am I doing here? Honestly, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a follow-up on some symptoms I’ve had the last few weeks related to the arrhythmia episode I had right after Pumpkin was born. I trust my doctor. I believe him when he says it’s not serious. I understand that this is simply for a better understanding of what is going on inside of my body. I know I’m being responsible by monitoring this condition instead of burying my head in the sand and hoping I’m fine.
BUT.
It’s the buts that have been torturing me this week. The buts that have been creeping up on me in the dark hours. The buts that have me holding my babes a bit closer at night.
So this month, this month of heart health awareness, I feel compelled to tell you all to take care of your hearts. You only have one. Although mine has expanded a hundred fold to hold the love I feel for my kids, if it’s not working right, no amount of love will make up for a less than one hundred percent healthy mama.
And so I face the fear of the monitor, take ownership of my health care and will spend the next 30 days dutifully replacing electrode stickers and monitor batteries. Because I love my kids. Because they love me. Because it’s not cliche to say that a mother needs to care for herself first, it’s an obligation.
Get your physicals. Don’t ignore symptoms. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Don’t be one of them.

Stars Go to the Library Just Like Us

Saturday morning found the Peanut and I trolling our local library. Our strategy at the library tends to consist of picking an aisle and randomly perusing the shelves for a book that has cool illustrations, space ships or pirates. While chasing after the Peanut as he went from the “B” to the “K” aisle, a woman and her daughter passed me. I had the quick sense of recognition and glanced back to see if it was another mother from Peanut’s school or someone from Pumpkin’s music class I should acknowledge when I realized it was Jennifer Garner.
Talk about double take.
She is apparently in town with her family filming a movie. She was looking completely laid back yet still glam in her jeans and hair pulled back. I’m not sure if anyone else recognized her. If they did, they kept their distance, too. I enjoyed my moment of spotting a star and then gathered up the Peanut and his stack of books and headed home.
Later, I had to laugh. I figured that even though movie stars are normal people and can spend their morning in the local public library entertaining their kids on a Saturday morning, they probably weren’t spending their Saturday afternoons scrubbing their floors followed by watching their husbands assembling an IKEA cabinet.
Although, the IKEA cabinet instructions did indicate that I should have been wearing heels when I helped:
Perhaps there is hope for my Saturday afternoons yet.

At Least It’s a Short Month

Imagine, if you will, a cozy bed. It’s cold, probably snowing, outside, but you’re snug and warm. Perhaps you nestle down in your little nook of the world a little deeper, relishing the drowsiness, uncommitted for the moment, a sigh slipping through your nose as you drift back into a dreamy state of bliss.

When…
*BAM*
Some jerk pulls you out of your bed, holds your ill-dressed for the cold weather body over the frozen snow to see if you’re casting a shadow while flash bulbs blind your sleepy eyes. You are then thanked for your service and shoved back into your hole to sleep off the rest of winter.
Thanks, dude, but I’m pretty much awake NOW.
Unlike Punxsutawney Phil, I have not been sleeping away the winter, but the hustle and bustle of the holidays and our subsequent busy January lulled me into a similar false sense of security. Strange since busyness is the antonym of lull, but the constant treadmill distracted me. Now that February has reached its cold hands to rouse me from my bed, I’ve been feeling a little stuck, a little like when you can’t get back to sleep at 3 AM because your mind is racing ahead of you into the day while the minutes tick by at seemingly half speed in the red digital display of your bedside clock.
I came back from DC inspired, eager, ready. A week later, I’m confused, frustrated and paralyzed. The difference? February brought back routine.
We’re back to the normal grind and with it the normal time sucks. I feel the tug of new ideas in the midst of my day and find myself telling them to take a back seat, that I’ll deal with them later. Unfortunately, later hasn’t turned up yet. It’s going to take hard work, on all our parts, to make changes so that mama has some time to allow these ideas to take root and grow. I take the time with my kids to allow them to experience their environment, make discoveries, master a new skill, shouldn’t I give myself the same space?
Although February snuck up on me, and poor Phil, I’m hoping to channel this frustration into change. After all, Phil didn’t see his shadow. Maybe that means things will be blossoming soon for both of us.