Can’t be sure

Because taking a woman out of her element and letting her parent two amazing baby humans is akin to stringing her up by her ankles and asking her to live with bats, I’m not always sure what I’m doing. It’s hardly my fault. I’m a diurnal, visual biped forced to hang upside down and fly around echo-locating by night.

So I was surprised when our two-year-old decided his outfit for the week would be just socks. On his hands. And nothing else.

I shouldn’t have been shocked. His brother did the same thing for one whole month, four years ago. Also in the winter. It’s as though winter nudity with impromptu mittens/puppets is in the toddler manual.

Wait, is it?

The week of rain at the end of a rainless winter did not surprise me. Neither did the frenetic and borderline sociopathic cabin-fever behavior during the same time. What did shock me was how planned activities totally took care of everything. One part dance party, one part playdough party, one part playdate, one part role playing goodness. Who knew? (I did. I had just forgotten. We’ve had a dry winter and I haven’t had to do this for over a year.)

And I was taken aback when the six-year-old decided it was time to use his words, react calmly, and speak in a normal tone of voice.

For the first time in six years.

Who knew that there was a phase during which children were reasonable, interesting, and fun to be with?

Oh, yeah: Me. Because it happens at least once an hour.

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‘Tis the Season

We’ve been consumed with the giving spirit around here, and Peanut has been making presents and giving to those in need and those he loves. He’s been practicing some holiday greetings, too.

A partial list of today’s favorites:

“I don’t have to if I don’t want to!”

“It’s my body and you can’t make me!”

“I might, but I’m not going to tell you so stop talking!”

“You can’t make that a rule because it’s my body and you don’t know my feelings!”

“Either you let me or I’ll punch your eye!”

“Either you let me or I’ll kick you!”

And the perennial, Jimmy Stewart-esque reminder of all we’re thankful for:

“You can’t have that; it’s mine! Don’t touch anything that’s mine!”

Aaaaaahhhh. So much merriness and brightness.

Happy Not-Quite-a-Holiday-Yet-but-It-Sure-Feels-Like-It-for-All-the-Work to you all!

‘Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

‘Twas the night before kindergarten
and all through the place
not a creature was stirring
except the frenetic author of this space.

The children were tucked haphazardly in bed
because they fight going to sleep
like most resist the undead.

Preparations were made and concoctions couldn’t lag
sweet potato waffles for breakfast
and tortellini for your lunch bag.
When in the kitchen there arose such a clatter
Spouse ran to the room to see what was the matter.
Homemade honey ice cream was whirring around
and the tea kettle was making a delightful whistley sound.

For what to my addled brain did become clear
was that the family needed enough chamomile
to tranquilize a deer.
So I brewed and I chilled and I diluted in safe steel
that magical herb that would make us all feel
that your first day of school would be more than okay
though nothing in your young life had ever gone quite that way.

You’re wonderful, clever, funny, and dear
and you’re stubborn, persistent, intense, and I fear
that one or the other of these will transpire:
you’ll fall apart in this new school
or make me seem quite a liar.
For I have foretold how you’d be slow to warm and shy
but just to prove me wrong I bet you’ll be the school’s
sunniest guy.

I love you too much and I hope it’s all fine
because if kindergarten’s hard for you
we can’t afford enough wine.

But of course once you warm, about you they’ll rave
because what you deserve most is to skate through unscathed.

[I love love love you little boy. Good luck. I hope against hope school’s everything that makes you love learning forever.]

This week in Naptime

The big guy has had his last day of preschool. Two years of a loving, supportive, superb play-based outdoor/indoor extravaganza of exploration and choices. He has, in the past month: lost a tooth, learned to tie his shoes, and ridden a bike without training wheels. It’s killing me, but I guess he is ready for kindergarten. [sob] I’m worried about the unfortunate things kindergarten has become and the heart-wrenching ways it affects boys, but here we go.

The little guy is a flirty goofball of performance and projects. He’s only saying a few words, but he signs dozens of words and has fabulous grasp of social relations. He has a great sense of right and wrong and has no problem telling an older child to “knock it off,” to “give it back,” and to “step off or I will bite you.”

It’s killing me, but I think he’s ready for night weaning. [sob] We believe in nursing on demand, we believe in nighttime parenting, we believe in compassion. And I miss sleeping. I need to edit, I want to write, and I have to think. I haven’t slept more than three hours at a stretch since he was born. Between teething and ear infections he’s been up every two hours for a long damned time. Of course, night weaning doesn’t equal sleep. His older brother night weaned at 18 months (forcibly, as a last resort for my sanity by Spouse, who spent three months awake trying to lovingly convince Captain Stubborn that the milk goes away during sleep time). That willful, opinionated Peanut didn’t slept through the night until after he turned 3. Butterbean seems more willing to nightwean. The few times I’ve said no, he cries an angry cry for 30 seconds then lies down and falls asleep. [sob] I don’t like facing this milestone.

But, as with shoelaces and two-wheelers and kindergarten, we have to try. Because sleep and writing and editing and half days with only one kid might make things a lot easier around here.

Wish us luck, would you?