Friday, June 19, 2009

A Year and 1/4

Looks who's fifteen months old! I don't have the specific numbers with me, but Michael has gained a little less than a pound in the last three months, while growing about two inches taller. 25% for weight and 50% for height; head circumference holding strong at 90%! Overall status = healthy and in need of learning to use the sippy cup already!

We have landed in Wisconsin after an 8 1/2 hour drive today - the kids and I are here for the week to relax at my parents' house and celebrate my dad's parents' 60th wedding anniversary on Sunday. Thank goodness I didn't have to make the drive alone - my mom flew down to Ohio, just to drive back to Wisconsin with us. She'll drive back with us next Saturday and then fly back to Wisconsin the following Tuesday - that's dedication! Matt will be busy with basketball tournaments while we're gone - including taking his team to the national tournament in Kenner, Louisianna. We'll miss him, but we're looking forward to lots of family time together as the summer goes on, including a Wisconsin Dells vacation in late July.

Hope everyone is surviving the summer thunderstorms relatively unscathed - may your basements be dry!

(Anyone in Wisconsin who wants to try to get together this week should email me!!!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

On My Way

In a couple of hours I will leave for Chicago, to spend the weekend with one of my best college friends. It is a final girls' weekend for the two of us before her wedding in September. I am lucky to be going at all, this weekend is the only weekend in about a five month span that I was free to travel because Matt has no basketball and can be with the children and my friend was free. I am really, really looking forward to this trip, including the several hours in the car to listen to music of my very own choosing.

Unfortunately, as I am packing and gathering this morning, Michael has been having one long drawn-out fit. I am not quite sure what his problem is because when his wailing gets sad enough that I pick him up to snuggle him he does NOT want to be snuggled. I think he just doesn't want me to be doing things other than paying attention to him - which is pretty standard one-year-old behavior, at least in these parts.

When it comes to parental preference Michael is a Daddy's boy, no question. He is very clear that he prefers Matt to me and cries (or simply pouts, on a good day) when Matt leaves for work or basketball. So I know he will be just fine this weekend with Matt. In fact, Harper keeps telling Michael what a great time he'll have this weekend, and telling me that he really won't miss me, "Because he just loves Daddy better."

Still - it breaks my heart just a little bit to leave them, even though I know I'm going to have a great time, even though I know a little break is so good for me now and then, even though I know that they will be in the capable, loving hands of their father.

I think any parent feels that tiny nagging feeling, when leaving her children for any amount of time, that something catastrophic might happen and she might never see them again. I mean, it's ridiculous and unfounded, but there it is. So I want them to know how much I love them and I'll miss them (even as I'm enjoying myself in a city a few hundred miles away) and I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This is my 600th post. . . I really thought I would run out of material about 599 posts ago. Turns out I enjoy talking about things I'm interested in and posting pictures of my children (you: duh!).

So here's a question!

How old is too old for bathtub photos? (Or rather, bathtub photos posted to the Internet?)

If the overwhelming response is that Harper is too old, I will take them down, but I thought these were too fun not to share.

Bath time has recently become an entirely new experience because Michael has graduated from the duck tub (which he liked better in theory than in practice) to the regular tub.

Now he can take a bath with Harper!

(Did you notice that our hall bath comes complete with a blue tub and pink carpeting?! If anyone would like to donate $15,000 for a bathroom remodel, email me!)

Michael LOVES being in the bathtub with Harper. And I have to give Harper credit for enduring his splashing without too much complaining. I remember sharing lots of baths with my sister, but not so much with my brother - I was nearly nine when he was born.

Harper, who usually cracks me up anyway, has acquired a new saying recently and tonight she applied it to the tub. "Ah," she said, "There's nothing like a good bath!"

At dinner she'd said, "Ah, there's nothing like some leftover pancakes!"

Ah, there's nothing like listening to a four-year-old!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Endings, Beginnings, and the Summer Crazies

So Harper and I were both finished with school last Thursday. The "big kids" (read: not preschoolers) had one more day to go on Friday, but the teacher I was subbing for had to come back for that last day so I bowed out with Harper.

The end of the school year has always felt bitter-sweet to me. I felt it as a student, as a teacher, and now as a parent. I still track life on a school calendar, do non-teacher people do this? Now that Harper has started in school I know that each "last day" is another step toward the end of her childhood. And while I'm having so much fun watching her growing and learning it is sunrise-sunset sad at the same time.

(AND we still have another year before kindergarten for her - which seems not quite right somehow. I don't want to rush her and in my teaching experiences I have NEVER seen a child and thought that a mistake was made in NOT sending them early. I would advise anyone in our same situation to go ahead and wait and give their child time.)

There are lots of things about the summer I'm looking forward to, but I was having a difficult time remembering them this morning when Harper planted herself six inches from my ear and started repeating, "I don't know what to do-oo, I don't know what to do-oo," over and over again. AND THEN proceeded to shoot down every suggestion I had with, "Definitely not that!"

Anyone want to board a bonus four-year-old for a few weeks???

Michael and Harper also have more time to play together now that Harper is finished with school. And by play I mean Harper teases Michael until he hurls himself at her in a screaming open-mouth head-butt/attempt to bite. It is actually, possibly, perhaps just a tiny bit funny to witness, but I sure wish I could press the mute button on that particular pastime because the sound level of that activity is set about thirteen-notches above tolerable.

It's all fun and games until Mommy's ear drums bleed!

So here we were on what is technically the fourth day of summer vacation and I had called my friend Chris by about ten this morning to beg for a play date as someone (me) was surely going to have a psychotic break if we didn't leave the house. She graciously opened her doors to us, the kids played for a while, and then we came home and both of mine took naps, amen.

I've already scheduled another friend for tomorrow. Swimming lessons begin on Thursday. And I am high-tailing it to Chicago for a girls' weekend with one of my best college friends before she gets married in the fall. I think we'll survive the summer, but I don't know, I may not be sorry when those yellow school buses rev up in mid-August...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Last Day

August 2008:

June 2009:

(nmk is for Not My Kid)

School Wrap-Up (Video Version)

Michael Swinging

Harper Talking About School

Harper Talking More About School

The two funniest things about these videos are:

1) Michael's position in the swing slowly deteriorates.

2) My instructions for Harper to be gentle with the swing sound a little less gentle with each passing moment.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Deja Vu

Hmmmm. . . Tuesday night, the last week of school, it's just like last year!

Matt was away, at practice, and the kids were eating dinner when the tornado sirens went off tonight. I could see from the televised weather report that the actual danger was still at least 20 minutes away, so I felt a little less frantic than last year when I was sure which ever child I didn't take to the basement first would perish as the house was leveled.

So Harper and her plate went down first - she ate at my old desk in the basement. Then I took Michael downstairs and placed him in the high chair we don't use, leaving him to scream in fury as I went back upstairs to retrieve: phone, epi pens, diaper bag, blanket, bottle, and Michael's dinner, but only AFTER assuring Harper that I would be fine, there wasn't any danger near our house then, we were just being extra careful.

I finally had everyone/everything down in the basement, Michael was screaming, Harper was covering her ears because Michael was screaming, and she was shouting over the noise of the screaming that she was, "Just a little bit worried!"

I fed Michael and reminded Harper that going to a safe space in a storm is a lot like wearing seat belts... we take steps to make ourselves safe, just in case, but usually everything is just fine.*

After a few minutes everyone settled down (Michael's been in the basement about three times in his life, so I think the new surroundings plus my running up and down the stairs kind of freaked him out). Then Harper wanted to know, if the tornado did come into our front yard, could she just go upstairs and take a quick peek?

In the end the tornado warning was canceled about ten or fifteen minutes after we made it to the basement, but there were more storms coming so we stayed put until things truly settled down. It ended up being fun - we got the "finished" room cleaned up a bit, and we discovered that Michael likes the Little Tikes slide we have down there. He can't go down it on his own just yet, but he loved when I held him under his arms and helped him down - I think he even said, "whee."

Our current storm "watches" are only supposed to last another half hour or so, which means I won't feel like I have to stay awake tonight, keeping vigil. Thank goodness.


*The seat belt analogy seems to work well for calming a lot of Harper's fears, allowing me to discuss potentially scary/dangerous situations (strangers, fires, etc.) and then say they probably won't happen, tra la! However, it did occur to me that it might make an overly anxiety-prone child afraid to ride in a car. So, um, feel free to use my approach with caution.