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Today you’re three

me and my son

Dear Son,

Today you are three years old. It’s hard for me to believe it has already been three whole years since you joined us. You have brought so much joy and light into our lives. You’re funny. You’ll do just about anything for a laugh. You’re charming. That grin where you wrinkle your nose and squint your eyes is so very cute (but I’m on to you). You’re silly. You love to stand on your head and look at things, or use the wrong end of the binoculars to view your world. You’re sweet. There’s nothing better than hugs and kisses from you.

You are my little buddy. We’re together day after day, just the two of us until daddy gets home from work. You’re my constant companion. You keep me company. You want me to play cars all the time. You stand in my chair and run cars on my head while I type away at the computer. You give the best nose rubs and hugs. I hope you always have a special place in your heart for mommy.

You love to help. I hope you’ll love helping with your little brother. I don’t quite think you understand yet what it means. And I hope that it only brings you joy when we arrive home with him just days after your birthday. You and your brother will be exactly 3 years, 1 day apart. But I hope that you’ll always be good buddies.

I love you so much, little buddy. That will never change, even as we move into a new dynamic with our family. Happy 3rd birthday, little man. I cherish these years with you. I hope you do, too.

Always,

Mama

Oh, how sadly mistaken I was

At 36, I’m of “advanced maternal age.” That places me in a high-risk category in and of itself. Oh, and last time I had diabetes and preeclampsia. More high-risk factors. I’ve had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I just can’t control what my body does at this point. What I wouldn’t give for a normal, uneventful pregnancy.

This time around, my body is even more insulin-resistant than it was previously. Diet? Exercise? Not enough. I feel frustrated. What I’m doing should work, right? It’s not.

I have weekly appointments with a dietician to check my food, my blood sugar numbers, and just to make sure everything’s going the way it should. Today was my first appointment. Since it’s mid-morning, I have to take my son with me. I thought that wouldn’t be a big deal. He’d play with his cars while I talk to the dietician. WRONG. Oh, how sadly mistaken I was.

When I got to the office, I was so happy to see 20 minute parking available. Hey, things are going my way. Woohoo! I thought. We went upstairs and checked in. My son was fascinated by the fishbowl at the check-in desk. It was still early enough that I thought we’d be fine. It’s a good two hours or more until naptime!

As soon as they called me back, all hell broke loose. My son fuh-reaked out. He didn’t want to go into the tiny office they had for consultations. Literally would not go through the door. He started crying. I tried to give him some of his cars, which always worked before. His milk. My phone. He wanted NONE OF IT. But I had to do this appointment. So I’m kneeling in the doorway, trying to calm him down while talking to the dietician about my food diary.

We basically had to talk over him. Oh, did I mention that this is back in the offices, where other people are trying to work? Here’s my screaming child, throwing a tantrum in the hallway and there’s nothing I can do about it. I tried everything to calm him down, but he only worked himself up even more.

Between that and having to increase my meds AGAIN, I felt like such a failure. As we left, he was still crying and throwing a fit. So much so that I had to THROW HIM OVER MY SHOULDER to get him in the elevator (he doesn’t much like elevators on a good day). I have never been so mortified in my life.

I managed to make it to the car before I broke down. Sobbing, I called my husband to let him know what had happened. I don’t know how we’ll manage more of these appointments. Whether it means trying to find an alternate time or just taking him all the way to daddy at work for a half hour while I do my appointment. (Which adds a lot more time, mileage, and gas to the equation.)

I don’t know whether he’s finally hitting the terrible twos, or just getting a start on three. But man, if he’d started this crap any sooner I’m pretty certain he would NOT have a sibling on the way anytime soon. Or maybe ever.

(Let me note how much I love my son. I adore him. He is the sweetest, most loving kid. Really. He has never acted this way when I’ve had to take him somewhere. Ever. So I was totally unprepared. And I’m still not sure what we’ll do in the future to stop this behavior. I just felt like the most incompetent mother in the world today. I’m sure there will be more rounds of it in the future, especially when there are two to deal with.)

Two years – so far, so good

Today is my son’s second birthday. Originally I wanted to write a beautiful tribute to everything he means to me (us).

Instead, I spent time just watching and enjoying him today.

Mid-morning, just before his nap, he sat on his little foam couch next to the toy box, his feet up in the air and resting on the side of the box. He grabbed a piece from his toy garage that is somewhat like a straw and was blowing into it, making noises. He’d pause every so often, throw his head back in glee and just laugh.

If I close my eyes, I can still picture the joy in his face. That big smile with the gapped teeth and dimples. Bright eyes, half closed in the middle of laughter.

That? Is the best part of my day every day. I am so grateful for every minute of the last two years. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Happy birthday, boobah. May you continue to bring joy to those around you.

Mom as Jungle Gym, A Modern Art Piece

I was in the dining room, squatting down to look at something on the bottom shelf of our baker’s rack. I didn’t even see it coming.

Whack!

A very large car starts moving over my back and shoulders.

Wait, let me back up. My son is obsessed with cars. It’s really anything with wheels. If an object has wheels, he must have it.

Earlier this month, he threw a fit over a rain gauge that had a tractor on it. When I finally figured out what he wanted, I got it down for him. And then he threw a fit because the wheels wouldn’t move on the stupid thing. It was the funniest and most pitiful thing, all at the same time. He was so disappointed that the wheels were immobile.

So we have these cars (Ridemakerz, which we LOVE) that have been sitting on top of our stereo since last Christmas. After we got home from Missouri, the boy noticed them. As in, would not stop until we got them down for him. Point, whine. Point, stomp feet, whine. Repeat. I really don’t mind him playing with them, so I got them down for him.

And they have not left his side since. He even sleeps with them now. These cars are not small. They’re about 10-12 inches long. But he loves them and runs them all over the place.

Me, included.

So this car starts running across my back. I’m leaning over enough that he can balance the car on my shoulder and it will stay. So he leaves the car there so he can go get the other one. He brings it back and runs it all over my back, too.

I’m amused, but also glad there are no cameras around.

I think that I’m my son’s favorite playground. He’s constantly running his hot wheels cars all over me, too. Or when I’m laying in the floor, he crawls across me. Over. And over. And over.

So I’m a jungle gym. Or a car track. Or just a really soft play toy.

And I actually love every minute of it. Being a mom is so cool.

Dance, little boy, dance

Last Friday was my best friend’s birthday. She came over for a low-key dinner, to visit and to see the kid. And that kid loves playing with his auntie. She brought over a movie, one that she’d told us we needed to see. So we did.

Nacho Libre.

I hadn’t planned to see that movie. Like, ever. But it made her laugh, and she kept quoting from it. So we had to see it. These days, we could use all the laughs we can get, right? We knew it would be dumb. It was. Yet it was funny. And a distraction that I desperately needed.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the part of the movie I’m going to refer to. Nacho is at the market, buying some things, when he spots a pair of boots that he must have. And that’s when the Bubblegum song plays.

That’s when the Boobah started dancing. And we all cracked up. How could you not? Here’s this little – almost 3 foot tall – boy, moving his head from side to side, wiggling his little bottom, and grinning for all he’s worth.

So we replayed the song. Then his auntie got up, grabbed his hands, and danced with him while we sang the bubblegum part of the song. I wish I’d gotten it on tape. The pure joy in both their faces was awesome. My sides ached from laughing and my cheeks hurt from smiling.

That, my friends, was a perfect Friday night.

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Used and abused

Things my child has hit me with recently and the injuries I sustained:

Blocks
He loves to pound on everything, and unfortunately my face is sometimes a little too close. Results: several fat lips.

Sippy cups
I get hit with these at least once a day. Most of the time I manage to dodge, or at least keep my glasses from getting broken. My cheek has been bruised more times than I can count.

Feet
My son LOVES to kick when he’s lying on his back. Especially during diaper changes. Results: many pummelings in my stomach. And occasionally my legs. I think he left a bruise on my thigh. This kid is STRONG. I don’t mind it so much when we’re lying down and he does that to my back. I just need to teach him when it’s okay. ;)

His head
This is the most damaging weapon. He bruised my nose this morning and I still have a headache from that. He cracked the side of my head with the back of his a few days ago and my ear is still sore where it got crushed between his head and my glasses. Fat lips galore. Many head bruises. And he’s only recently started to stiffen up and throw himself backwards. Hence the rapid increase of head injuries. For me. Doesn’t seem to bother him much at all.

I think my son may be trying to kill or maim me. How much do you think his father paid him?

Crying game

Motherhood changes you. It shifts something in your core, tinges how you look at things. I never realized the deep fundamental difference it would make down to my soul.

I sat here, at my desk tonight, sobbing unexpectedly. A short scene on TV reduced me to tears in a brief 30 seconds. Even now, just the memory brings tears to my eyes.

I am not the person I once was. I could watch movies and TV shows without a second thought. Oh sure, things sometimes scared me or disturbed me. But I could distract myself (oooh, something shiny!) and move on.

Not any more.

I was watching Leverage on TNT. It’s new to us, but I’m really beginning to like it. There was a scene in which one of the main characters talked about his son, who died when a treatment was denied. Just them talking about it wasn’t too bad.

But when they flashed to the scene where he remembered his son dying, showed him running into the room to hold his son in his arms after the heart monitors flatlined? I broke down. I sobbed that ugly way when you’re so upset you can hardly breathe, your head pounding from the intensity of it.

Because I think of parents who have lost their children too soon, and then I get a little scared, worrying about my boobah. Wondering how anyone gets through something like that. And not wanting to ever, ever find out.

I’ve always been a little emotional. I cry at movies, poignant scenes, even those darn tissue commercials that were on for a while.

But this? Is something deeper. Something that strikes my core. I can’t bear to watch a child in danger, hurt, or killed. I can’t even read about it. I read Deep End of the Ocean several years ago. I doubt I could handle it now.

Does it ever get easier? This paralyzing fear? This crippling emotion that grips your head and your heart? Is there a way to get through motherhood intact? I don’t know.