Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eating out

Tonight we attempted to eat out at a restaurant. It was no different than many other nights; we've eaten out as a family before, so it isn't as if this were the first attempt with three kids. But tonight it was just not going to happen.

My husband has a gift card to a group of restaurants, one being a pasta and pizza place near our house. We've never been, and I was feeling a bit of cabin fever, so we decided to try it out. I had a strange feeling that it wasn't going to be a fun, family dinner out and I clearly should have listened to my instincts. As soon as we walked in the door of the place, our 2 1/2 year old son G was in rare form. I think a day of being couped up in the house on a rainy day with tired parents who weren't too interested in making the day fun had worn on him. He immediately started testing out the acoustics of the place and was thrilled to discover a slight echo coming off the tile floors and walls. Loud shrieks ensued. He also felt the need to run around in circles near the first group of tables, then throw himself to the floor and roll around a bit. Having tested the tactile sensation of the floor and the cleaning habits of the staff, he went back to shrieking.

Judging by the lack of customers (there were a couple of tables with people, but most of the place was empty - probably a good thing), it took far too long for someone to come seat us. When we did finally get a table, it became clear very quickly that G was not going to calm down and sit for dinner. He immediately started trying to either climb up onto the table or to get down off his chair. And trust me, this isn't a child who upon realizing freedom from the restraints of a restaurant chair will hang out nearby. He has no fear and insatiable curiosity, and consequently, if left to his own devices, would probably have ended up either in the kitchen climbing into one of the ovens or out in the parking lot happily splashing in a puddle.

We tried to peruse the menu, but were interrupted approximately every 4.6 seconds to tell G to sit down, or get off the table, or stop trying to grab anything and everything he could get his hands on and throw it onto the floor. After about six, "But I don't want to sit down!" from him, I could see my husbands blood pressure rising. I had this brief image of him turning into a cartoon thermometer, the big red line rising quickly and bursting the bulb at the top, accompanied by the sound of a train whistle. I told him we could just leave - we hadn't ordered anything yet. In fact, we'd been sitting there for some time and no one had been to our table at all. If this was the kind of service we could expect, this was going to be a vey long meal.

Finally, we decided to bail. We wound up going through the drive-though at McDonald's and bringing it home. Not exactly the meal I was looking forward to, but a much more peaceful one nonetheless.

Sometimes I think G is God's way of telling us to eat out less.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Laughter... bliss.

My 3 1/2 month old daughter, E, laughed - really laughed - for the first time today.

I'm not sure what exactly she was laughing AT, except possibly me. And by me, I don't mean I was making silly faces, or big exaggerated fake laughs at her, nor tickling her or doing anything else to try to induce a giggle. I was sitting on the couch, holding her up as she stood on my legs. I was looking at her, and all of a sudden she broke out in a big giggle. Naturally, it made me laugh right back and she rewarded my response with another giggle and a huge, open mouthed smile. After that, she laughed more as I brought her close to me, then moved her back to see her face, and later as I held her up in the air and slowly lowered her towards me, then back up again. Big, hearty, from the tummy giggles. It's about time she started laughing at me...

What a sound. It is hard to imagine anything sweeter than the sound of a laughing baby. And when it is your baby, it is all the sweeter.

A smiling, laughing baby girl... bliss.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An old friend

I have this friend...

She and I have known each other since we were 12. We traversed the perils of junior high together, helping each other through those awkward years. I moved away in 9th grade and somehow out of all my friends from those days, she is the only one I kept in touch with. Not that it surprises me, really. She and I weren't friends because we hung out with the same crowd or always sat at the same table at lunch. In fact one of the peculiarities of our friendship is that we've rarely had the same friends in common. But we've always understood each other pretty well and enjoyed each other's company. I guess that would have to be true for a friendship to span two decades.

We got together today for a "playdate" (and I use that term loosely, because although our children are of an age, our playdates are more an excuse for the two of us to get together) and it made me think about our history. We used to pass notes to each other in class - folded up oragami style with a little tab labeled "pull" on one side. We'd rush home to talk to each other on the phone each afternoon, as if we hadn't been together half the day at school. I'd call her at precisely 3:08, a long standing joke between the two of us.

Her mom didn't like me much. I'm still not sure why, considering I was among the most well behaved and innocent kids, especially at that age. But my friend would hide in the downstairs bathroom to talk and her mom would set a timer outside the room to limit our talk time. Boy how we hated that! What do you mean I can't sit and talk on the phone for three hours? Things like that make me laugh now, and the irony that despite her mom's feelings for me back then, we're still friends after all these years is not lost on me.

When you're 13 and 14 years old, everything seems like a crisis. It is a relief to be beyond those hormone drenched years, in a place where I'm not so concerned with how I look or what clothes I'm wearing or who is going to sit with me at lunch. Where friendships aren't made or broken based on where you sit in class or who you hang out with after school. And it is also fun to still have someone around who remembers me when I was a skinny, awkward little girl, with big worries in my head and big dreams in my heart.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Confession of a sleep deprived mommy

Last night my 3 month old daughter experienced what is an unfortunate right of passage for my kids. I heard her over the baby monitor around 12:30, so as I always do, I checked my watch to see the time and turned the sound on the monitor down, so as not to wake my husband. I need to stop doing that. A little after 2:00am I woke up again and realized I had never gotten up.

Insert crushing mommy guilt here.

I dashed to her room to find her awake and yes, crying. But not the hysterical crying I would have expected. As soon as she saw me, she greeted me with a huge smile. I don't know if she was awake that entire time, or if she fell back to sleep for a while and woke up again. Either way, she was sure happy to see me - and wide awake. I nursed her, which would normally put her right back to sleep. But my lengthy delay kept her wakeful, so I had to sit and rock with her for quite a while before she finally drifted back to sleep. Normally being up with her for over an hour in the middle of the night would have me frustrated. Last night I didn't mind. I felt so bad for falling asleep and leaving her awake, I wanted to sit and hold her as she slept.

So why do I say it's a right of passage for my kids? Because I have officially done that to all three of them at least once. I admit it. I guess it happens to the best of us sleep deprived moms. The weird thing is I don't remember anything from the moment I turned down the monitor to the moment I woke up again. No fleeting thought of closing my eyes for just a minute before getting up, no conscious decision to wait before going to her room. I just turned the monitor down, and woke up nearly 2 hours later. And no, I can't hear her with the monitor off. We sleep with a fan running in our room for white noise and that, coupled with the distance of her room to ours and the crazy insulation in our house, we don't hear anything in our kids' rooms without the aid of baby monitors (which is why there is still a baby monitor in the boys' room, even though they are 5 and 2 1/2 and both able to get up out of bed and come find us if they need to).

This morning she slept in until the unprecedented hour of 9:30, but woke up happy as always. Apparently there's no permanent damage done. Lucky for all of us, kids are pretty resilient.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Five years

I've been a parent for five years now. My oldest son D turned five this week. How it is possible that he is five years old is beyond me, yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. It's an odd sensation, to have so many memories of times when you didn't have children, yet have such a hard time imagining that there was life without them.

The day I found out he was coming is still so clear in my mind. At that point, I didn't know if I'd ever be able to have children. I have a hormone disorder that causes fertility troubles, among other things, and it had been 2 1/2 years since we decided to try for a baby. We'd spent thousands on fertility treatments that didn't work; I had cried countless tears and said countless prayers. Then one day I woke up and thought I should take a pregnancy test. Again. I'd wasted a lot of money on those too, but that day it was the one that mattered. Positive. Glorious.

I remember the day he was born as well. The minute we laid eyes on that boy we were done - we were his. I remember as we drove home with him from the hospital I couldn't stop staring at him. My husband and I kept exclaiming, "He's so awesome! Look at him!" And he was. All that waiting, all that anticipation, all that hard work, come to fruition in this little person wrapped in a blanket and wearing a tiny blue hat.

Now he's five and he's still one of the coolest people I know. He's been talkative since he could say his first words and rarely does he stop asking questions. He's so curious about the world, he wants to know every detail. "Mom, what happens if..." is heard at least a thousand times a day in our house. He loves dinosaurs and sharks and wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. He's fascinated by skeletons, both real and imaginary, and is far too smart for his own good. Or maybe he's too smart for my own good. He loves building things with legos and reading books about, well, just about anything. He's sweet and affectionate, if a bit sensitive and dramatic. He doesn't have a shy bone in his body and his big brown eyes could melt an iceberg. I'm in big trouble when that kid is older.

I'm as in love with that boy as I was the day he was born. My big boy, the one who made me Mommy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starting anew

A couple of years ago I started a blog. Not so much because I thought throngs of people would flock to read my random musings on life, but because I like to write and the thought that perhaps someone would occassionally read what I wrote provided a bit more motivation to sit down and exercise my brain a bit. I made it fairly anonymous, not using my kids' names or too many revealing details. And I didn't give the address out to anyone I know, as they say, IRL.

At the time, I thought that if it was more anonymous, and if no one in my real world life had access to it, I could be more blunt, talking about things I wouldn't in front of people I have to see everyday. As it turns out, my life just isn't that exciting. If I went back and read all the posts, I doubt any of them say something I wouldn't be willing to share with anyone.

So I decided to start fresh, and put this out there for anyone who feels so inclined to read it. I'll probably still keep my kids' names out of it, even though it's unlikely anyone who doesn't know me will be reading this - but still.

Here I am - just another mom under the influence of children.