Today is the last day of having a one-year-old Leo. Two has been creeping up on us for the past few months. Lots of "I do it myself, mama! You don't do it!" and gleeful hitting of mamas, dogs, and brothers. This guy is in love with life, and it is seeping out his every pore.
He has had such a sunshiny disposition this year, always laughing and saying things to make us all laugh with him. I can only hope it lasts. I will need something to bolster me for when I am wrestling all 37 pounds of him into a pair of pants.
Monday morning Finn boarded a plane for Spokane to visit his grandparents. We started talking about 6 months ago about how he wished he could see his grandparents more, and that someday he could fly there by himself. He made me check into how old he needed to be, and I was amazed to find out he only had to be five. He started making the plans right away, and never had a moment of fear or hesitation.
This boy amazes me. He won't watch most Disney movies because of the scary parts, but flying solo to his grandparents house is no problem. I know he is having a wonderful time in Idaho, but the house feels quiet without him. Leo asks constantly where Finn is, and when he can go see him. We are joining him on Saturday, and I can't wait!
Sometimes I get so busy, or tired, or so caught up in my own mind that the kids ask me to do something and I automatically say "no". Without really even considering the question. At the time it seems like saying no will make my life easier. Whatever the request is will surely take too much effort or time, or make too much of a mess. But in reality it doesn't. In fact, it usually takes me less than five minutes to help them get what they want. And then they are happy, and I can go on with whatever I need to do. Or perhaps, I can even sit down and enjoy their idea with them.
This time Finn's idea was to set up a snack like he had seen in an episode of Blue's Clues some random time, months ago. While I set it up according to his very specific instructions he gave me a fairly accurate lesson in nutrition. We didn't have the exact supplies or ingredients suggested by Blue, so I made some suggestions and we improvised.
This is by no means a snack-time-tutorial, but in case you're wondering... its bananas dipped in vanilla yogurt dipped in crushed animal crackers. It was pretty good. And Finn was thrilled to have his idea honored, which made me happy to have helped him do it.
There are so many times that we must say no to our kids, it feels really good to say yes.
LESSON: Say yes to your kids!
6/26/12 at 1:44 PM
Little Leo turns two at the end of this month. We will be traveling on his birthday, so I wanted to have a small party for him at home before we leave.
Our neighborhood park has bocce ball courts that you can reserve for parties. What do little boys love more than throwing balls and getting dirty? Nothing. Except for cupcakes, and we had those too.
Finn put on his "Big Brother" shirt so the little ones would know who was in charge. I think his mardi gras beads make a nice statement.
June has been a busy month, with a lot of life happening in our circle of friends. That meant many of them could not attend the party. It felt even more important to take an afternoon to celebrate this sweet boy and the joy he has brought to our family. It was a prefect little celebration.
These two crack me up just about every day. But when they're not cracking me up they have me leafing through my giant stack of parenting books to figure out how best to guide them through the rough parts of having a sibling.
Derick and I essentially grew up as only children. So we are both at a loss when it comes to determining what a "normal" sibling relationship is. The best I can figure from books, friends, and family, is that it involves a a fair amount of arguing and (in the case of boys) wrestling.
These two have the arguing part down. And the wrestling is coming along nicely. Fortunately Leo is a giant, and can throw his weight around pretty well. And every once in a while we have a few shining moments of cooperative play or genuine enjoyment of the other's company.
I try to keep the long-term goal in my mind at all times. That goal is to raise two adult brothers who love and enjoy each other, and can rely on each other in times of need. Best friends would be great.
It is becoming more and more obvious to me that family is where its at. As members of our once close-knit group of friends move away, and get caught up in the inevitable business of family life, there isn't much left to tether us together. Not true with family. I am envious of my boys' potential relationship. I hope with all my heart that it is something that they grow to appreciate and cherish.
In the meantime, I would be thrilled if I could get just one AMAZING photo of the two of them together. It seems to be my ultimate challenge as a photographer.
It's true. I hate waking up. The first half-hour after I open my eyes each morning is full of internal cursing and denial. Lucky for me, Derick is a morning person. He gets up with the boys, feeds them, and showers them off while I try to transition into wakefulness without offending anyone.
Also lucky for me, this is the first thing I see each morning. Finn's face, a few inches from mine, saying "Good Morning, Mama!" Then Leo comes waddling out of the bathroom wrapped in a tight towel burrito. He says "Hello Mama!" and giggles. Then he calls Ghostbusters.
So far the Ghostbusters have not come after being called. Unlike the time Leo called 911.
Going to Grammie's house is kind of like going to camp. There's a creek to muck around in, little fish to catch, field trips, and a happy camp director full of plans for activities. We spent some time one morning moving rocks for Grammie's garden. Then we caught what we thought were some tadpoles. Now that we've got them home I'm pretty darn sure they are fish. Oh well.
Being outside with my boys makes me a happier mom. I can see the ideas and curiosity bubbling in their minds. They don't need anyone or anything to entertain them. Nature is enough.
Finn used some of his allowance to make a nice little home for these guys. I guess we'll see what exactly they turn into.
I'm pretty sure that the #1 rule for raising boys is to get them out into nature as much as possible. Living in the bay area, we have a lot more concrete than open space, so we sure appreciate mud and sticks and wide open spaces when we get them.
This weekend we found ourselves at Spring Lake. It happened to be 96 degrees that day, so the water was extra refreshing. We ran and splashed and dug in the mud. We looked for little fish, ripe raspberries, and ate BBQ.
The little one is fearless in the water. He gave me about three heart attacks when he purposefully flung himself under water in his attempts to swim. He's going to give big brother a run for his money.
Watch out big brother. Here I come!