Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sugar & Spice

Zo and Fi

So, last night after I'd finished reading some bedtime stories to Zoe and while I was singing her some of her favorite "nigh-nigh" songs, we heard Finn crying. The crying a mama hears and knows that her baby is hurt*... but I didn't rush in because I knew he was with his Daddy and was being taken care of.

Zoe had been nearly asleep. She was at that stage where she was petting my hand as I sang and sort of fighting the inevitable like she's done since she was an infant. She would open her eyes and stare at me when I'd stop singing and then when I'd start again, her eyes would sort of move side to side like a Cylon and then roll back a bit before they closed. Yes. THAT tired. No, it's not creepy, it's endearing.

Anyway. Finn's tears startled us both a bit, but I had her needs to think about too so I tried to soothe her. Zoe wasn't having it though. She sat up straight and looked at me:

"Finnegan's crying, Mommy!"
"I know. But Daddy has him. He'll be OK."
"No. He's CRYING. He needs you. Go to him, Mommy!" - nudging me to get out of her bed.
"Will you be OK?"
"Yes. Go to him. I, OK."
"You're such a good big sister. Nigh-nigh, baby."
"Nigh-nigh, Mama."

She's such a sweetheart.

This morning when Finn was playing with a toy that Zoe didn't want him to have, she put her hands on either side of his head and pulled him backwards. BY HIS HEAD! When we asked her why she did that it was: " Because I want it."

Sometimes it's not easy being the big sister. Sometimes it's not easy being the little brother either. I'm bracing myself for the day when Finn can fight back - and holding on to the memories of how sweet they can be together. It will get me through the next 15 or so years, right?


*- He'd been climbing and hit his face on our end table. There was a red mark on his face, but I think his ego was bruised more than anything. I took him from Daniel to calm him and he fell asleep within minutes. He's fine now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goodbye, Buffy (the Family Dog, not the Vampire Slayer)

Buffy was my parents dog. They got her as a puppy around the time I moved out of my parents house the first time. We joked that them getting a sweet little puppy was their attempt at getting me to not move out but I don't think that was really the case... even if it is a shame that didn't work. Ha. Not really, truth is those choices are what shaped me into who I am now as a person: a wife, mother, friend, etc.

But that's not what this is about. This is about Buffy.

Buffy smile

Buffy was the 2nd Buffy my parents have had. The first passed away when I was a baby, I think.

Buffy the 2nd seemed to always have a smile on her face. She had big brown eyes that could melt your heart. She was a big girl and we joked affectionately that she was part dog, part cow. Despite her large size, Buffy thought she was a lap dog. Shaking hands soon turned into her throwing both arms around you. Buffy never met a pair of black pants she didn't cover with her long hair and she never met a treat she didn't devour in 5 seconds. When Buffy was really happy she would sort of hop - back paws would stay on the ground, her booty and tail would shake and her front paws would skip up and down. Buffy liked to get as close to her loved ones as possible and she loved giving kisses.

When I moved back into my parents house in 2002, she and I shared the living room floor. She would throw herself down on the ground next to my sleeping bag and arch her head back to "kiss" my nose. I spent quite a few nights curled up next to her sleeping and quite a few morning with her trying to climb IN my sleeping bag WITH me. We used to joke that Buffy was like my kid sister. She loved me and I loved her.

KVB-E & Buffy

Buffy also loved our Nana. And even if she sometimes drove Nana crazy, Nana loved her so much. Buffy liked to stay close to Nana especially when Nana got sick and I know that she felt a true sadness when Nana left us. She was as much Nana's girl as she was my parents.

Buffy didn't like my ex husband, I don't think. She stayed clear of him whenever possible - but she adored Daniel. She liked to sit close to him and looked up at him with so much love. She used to run to me when I walked in the door, but that honor went to Daniel too.

Buffy was intrigued by Zoe as an infant, but Zoe was a little bit intimidated by her. I imagine she looked like a giant. As Zoe grew older she still stayed a little apprehensive, but she always said hello to her and would ask about her and include her in her nightly song about all the people she loves.

Buffy tolerated Bailey and Max. Bailey was pretty much indifferent - if you're not going to play, she has little use for you. But Max, I'm pretty sure Max was in love with Buffy from the moment he met her.

Secrets between friends

My parents had Buffy for 15 years. They got her when our dog Ramsey was getting older and needed a young pup to add a spring to his step. And today... they're going to put her to sleep. She's lost her spring in her step. Her hip creaks and she does not do that hopping thing anymore. She has trouble standing and trouble sitting and trouble laying down. And even though I still see that little puppy when I look in her eyes, she is old and tired and not enjoying her life like she used to.

So, I'm sad. I'm sad for my parents and for me. I'm sad because she was another link to Nana that is leaving us. I'm sad because the last time she was here I did not cuddle with her and give her attention because I was so sick. I'm sad that I'm going to have to explain to Zoe that Buffy isn't going to come visit us anymore and we don't get to visit her - but that she'll be watching over us with my Nana from now on.

Profile of Buffy

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A letter to a friend:

One of my oldest and dearest friends is due this Monday with her 1st child, Oliver. She and I have had a lot of conversations about the crazy/rude things people say to expectant parents and about parenthood and I wanted to write her a note for her to be able look back on. I remember how anxious I was in the days before Zoe (and even with my 2nd, Finn) and I wanted to send her something to help put her at ease and put a positive spin on this motherhood "thing". Being a mom isn't easy, but I truly think focusing on the joys and gifts of motherhood is the way to go instead of trying to scare people who have already decided to be parents.*

Here's the letter:


Dearest Ashley,

I've been thinking a lot about you and Justin lately. I've been thinking about this great adventure you both have been having these last nine months and how very, very soon your adventure and your family will expand. Today you are just five days from your due date and since your son could be joining us any day now, I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a few things.

When people see an expecting couple, they like to give their two cents... as you know. They like to tell you "Just you wait!" and "Your life will never be the same again!" Sometimes people just laugh like the joke is on you: "You'll see!" In a way, this is natural... we want to relate to each other, we want to commiserate and share our life experiences. I think that people don't always hear themselves as these words are coming out and they don't realize how negative they sound.

After 2 kids and almost 3 short years of motherhood, here's my take on it:

Just you wait.... until you see your son for the first time. When you get to kiss his forehead and feel his skin against yours. Just you wait until you hear his first cry, his first coo, his first hiccup. Just you wait until you hold him in your arms and you are overcome with joy and emotion at this embodied miracle. Just you wait until he looks you in the eyes and you him. Just you wait until you get to share him with the world and feel this extreme sense of pride. Just you wait until you get to see your husband be a father, your parents be grandparents.

Your life never WILL be the same again. It will be even busier. As much as you and Justin love, adore, and respect each other now... that will grow exponentially as the two of you learn to parent this little man you are bringing into the world. Every time I look at my husband holding our children or playing with them, I fall in love with him even more - and there was a time when I didn't think it was possible to love him more than I did.

As a mom, you will face things you never imagined and even the things you imagined won't be exactly what you thought they would be. You will experience love unlike any love you have ever felt in your life. You will become fiercely protective. You will be more empathetic. You will relate to other women, other mom's, your mother more than you ever have before. You will laugh when your son laughs and sometimes you will cry when he cries. Even more now than ever, you will be inspired to do more great things and make a difference in the world. I'm especially excited about all this because I think you are such an amazing woman and I know that you will just thrive in your newest role .

You'll see... that you will become an even stronger person. You will learn to manage your time like a pro. You'll see that as nice as sleep is, that there is nothing that compares to holding your child and getting to know their personality and being there for them when they need you. You'll see that it will all go by so quickly... it will seem like the first year goes by much faster than these last nine months have gone.

Now, I'm not saying that you won't face stressful days. You and I both know that I have cried and not known how I was going to get through the day or do all the things I wanted or needed to. But those are fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things. When you face those stressful moments, remember the joyous ones and look to the moments you will get to experience as a mom: his first words, crawling, walking, watching him with Louie, seeing who he resembles physically and personality wise. Those things more than make up for the crying and the multiple feedings and the crazy diapers.

I am so excited for you and Justin. I think that you two are amazing people and together, an awesome team. I know that your son is so very lucky to have you two as parents and I am so looking forward to seeing you be a mother and getting to know the person Oliver will become.

I love you, sister. If you ever need me - I'm always here.


* - Not to say that I don't think it's OK to warn my daughter about how hard it is to be a mom so she doesn't end up being a mom before she has experienced life and is emotionally and physically ready.