Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm having blogger's block.

But have faith. I'll muck through it soon. In the meantime, here are two photos taken right after each other that speak well one of the many truths of my life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

to be two. 2b2.

Clark is impossible these days. Impossible. But when he's not being impossible, he's a real joy--a great stage. Luckily we're looking at about 50/50 right now. If it tips up on the impossible end I'm going to lose it completely, rather than just partially, which is where we are now.

It's like he got a memo--the instant he turned two he began to rampage. It was almost overnight, and it's quite unhinged me.

It's hard to be two. You want to be independent, and there are many things you can now do by yourself, but there are lots and lots that you can't do, that you still need Mommy for. Knowing you still have that need can be scary. It's a big world, and at two you suddenly realize that it's bigger than your little space, bigger than you and Mommy, and Clark woke yesterday from his nap screaming. Not just crying and calling for me, but shrieking. When I got him and his blankie settled on my lap he said a dinosaur and a tiger had been chasing him, and neither Daddy nor I were there. I bet that's sort of what it feels like in general, that anxiety of being suddenly alone and trying to outrun the monsters.

Then my friend W mentioned that her daughter, who is exactly one week older than Clark, has her molars coming in and has been miserable. That hadn't occurred to me, so I checked when I was brushing his teeth, and sure enough he's got half of two new teeth in the back. Ouch. At least he's not keeping me up at night, like W's daughter is her. Could his pain-in-the-ass-ness just be teething? Could my philosophy of two year old development just be over-thinking?

Not that I've done that before. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

fueled up

I've been away, which is why the blog has been quiet, in case you were wondering. Mitch and I went to Lake Placid to ski, and sit in the hot tub, and stroll the streets of the Olympic Village, and eat until we were uncomfortable. We did all those things. It was wonderful. Usually when I go away I don't feel as refreshed coming home as I'd like. I don't feel like I've refueled, and my patience with the kids isn't any greater than when I left. But this time it's different. I have SO much more patience (how long will that last, I wonder?) and I'm relaxed with them and enjoying them. My mom stayed here while we were gone and she's still here now, so I didn't walk back into full time momming, so maybe that has a little to do with it, but I think the real reason is the skiing. We noted on one of the ski lifts how when you're skiing you can't think about anything at all except the snow and the next turn you're going to take. No room for stress about what isn't done for work, about what the kids might be doing right now, about whether or not you're hungry. I was wearing boots that were too small (don't ask) and I didn't even think about the pain (which was rather tremendous) while I was moving. As soon as I stopped my feet would scream in pain again, but while actually skiing my brain didn't have room to hear them. Fascinating.

I can't wait until we can go with the kids, until they're old enough that we can do this fun thing all together.

So we're back, and the weather is spring wonderful, and I've made some new decisions. For one, I've decided to sit on the floor a larger percentage of the day. Before we left for vacation Frances and Clark were having a hard time together, getting along fine for moments at a time, and then whacking each other over the head. Most of the time one would whack the other when I wasn't looking so it was hard to intervene and help them resolve the conflict. So I'm going to play with them more, and I'm excited about that decision. Before when I've tried this, my sitting on the floor was a distraction for them, meant they just wanted to play with me, rather than my being able to witness their own playing. It's different now.

Sitting on the floor more is going to mean less cooking, which is the other major decision I've made. I think it was the first fall that we were here that I swore off cooking, and I'm thinking I might do it again. It does free up a lot of time, and much of that time is in the cranky afternoon, which is just when they need my help. They get along so well when they get along, and now I'm thankful they are close in age, just as everyone said I would be thankful. Often when they're not getting along it's only because they don't have the skills to solve their problem, and I could help them with that.

For instance: yesterday they were wrestling (which means Clark lies on the floor and asks Frances to lie on top of him, on his belly, and then they roll around together) and then Frances asked Clark for a hug several times. He hugged her maybe the first three times she asked, then he got bored with that and went to flip himself over the swing. Frances kept asking, "Will you give me a hug, Clark? Will you give me a hug, Clark? Will you give me a hug, Clark?" and Clark kept plainly saying, "No." Finally Frances burst into tears and came to me. "Clarkie won't give me a hug," she wailed. I explained that sometimes she also doesn't feel like giving hugs and that's okay, and that we need to respect when he says no. She cried. I said, "He still loves you, Honey." "No he doesn't!" she hollered. "When someone won't hug you they don't love you."And I realized in her mind love is a thing that comes and goes, something that you might feel one moment and not the next. I suggested she ask him instead if he'd like to play with her and she did, and he paused and then joyfully said, "yes!" and she smiled, big and relieved, knowing again that he loves her.

They do love each other, so much. Their affection could be the thing I like most about being a mom these days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

my baby is two.

The gym. I finished stretching and was headed to the shower, passing the cafe. There on top of one of the tables was a baby. Sitting up, big eyes, curious, watching. His mom at the table, and another lady too, both of them aware of the attention they were (rightly) drawing with this incredible cuteness.

He looked so much like Clark had. The baldness, the plaintive expressions, the chubbiness. I hesitated, circled back for another look. And then I was crying, surprised that I was. What I thought was: my baby is gone, vanished, lost from me. Something that was mine and is no longer.

In the shower I put my hands flat on the tile wall and cried in full. I was in the shower a long time, and I thought about how this loss of mine wasn't just a personal loss--it also belongs to every woman with a child. Every mother. A whole segment of the population.

I finished with my cry, was ready to move on, dried off and dressed. I was walking out, my bag over my shoulder, when the non-mother woman from the table (the grandmother? a friend?) passed me in the locker room carrying the baby on her shoulder. Oh he was cute. Cute cute cute. Serious cuteness. I stopped her and said, "I have to get a look at this guy," and to him, "Hi there sweetness," and then suddenly again I had to turn away for the emotion. It came up so quickly! I ended up having to sit on a bench by the locker room door and just try to let it pass. Every woman who left the locker room couldn't help but see me there and I wondered how many would pass me before someone stopped to ask if I were okay. (which I was, and felt pretty silly for all this emotion over something so obvious and normal.)

All of that was last week. Today, however, is Clark's birthday. Two years ago I was very tired and large and uncomfortable, and then while cooking dinner I had a contraction that made me stand still. Two years. Time is a funny thing, a slippery thing, and now my baby flips himself over the back of the sofa, shouts SCHOOL BUS and CITY BUS from the back seat, eats his gnocchi with a spoon. Self, self, he says, and hauls himself up and into his own car seat. This afternoon he and his sister and our neighbor kids were playing, and when they said they were going to the attic he turned and pointed to me, said no come. 

My baby. My last one.

It's okay, though. A couple of days after the thing at the gym I found myself laughing with him, getting him to say words that were hard for his mouth wrap around. He said zweebwra, and we laughed and laughed. And I thought, this is better. That baby was sweet, but this is more. It is life. Going forward. Because that's what it does.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I don't know why I haven't been writing here lately. I often think about things I want to say on the blog, but some days I'm just so tired... emotionally worn out, and all I want to do at the end of the day is slump on the couch and watch moderately funny sitcoms. Which is what I've been doing rather than writing on the blog.

Plus, I've been struggling with my headaches, which takes me out of all kinds of games and activities.

But this past weekend my best and longest kept friend came from Seattle and we went to a spa. Ah, a spa. It was amazing. She was here two days and the first day I couldn't relax, felt guilty for leaving the kids and also wanted constant updates on what they were doing. The second day I let go a bit more. I don't know how long the effects will last, however, in my dealings with the kids. Right now I just want a nap.

We're out of the sweet spot with Frances. That was quick. Now we're full in some other spot that is not sweet at all, but rather weepy and cross and full of dramatic moaning. I'm going to hold on to the hope that this is just another stage and it will also be quick. The other option is to assume she's dealing with something (but what, exactly?) and try to help her. But it's so hard to want to help when she's being such a ridiculous pill. Yesterday she fell apart because I didn't want to come upstairs and put her paci in her mouth for her. Really.

Maybe in my mind I'll just still be at the spa.