Friday, December 17, 2010

Pants on Fire, Self-Fulfilling Prophesies, and Peter Pan by Proxy

The other day, Will asked his sitter, Maggie, if they could play with the "small toys" (choking hazards).

"No, we have to wait until Finny takes a nap. Otherwise he might put them in his mouth and that would be bad!" she explained.

Will looked at his baby brother (BARELY a baby; eleven months old today!?!?), then back at Maggie, and said, "I think Finny is tired."


I don't think there are a lot of people who LOVE feeling unmoored, but I still probably land somewhere way, way, way over on the "HATE IT" end of the spectrum.

However, I unintentionally give myself a hard time about how bothered I am by it. I'm constantly trying to talk myself out of feeling stressed, as if it isn't taxing to a) not know where you'll be living in 2011, b) not know where one kid is going to preschool or what you'll do to fill the other one's days, and c) feel like you want to do some more work in your field, although you can't see a way to add more work into the daily schedule of motherhood.

I'd like to spend some time on a project I first developed three years ago while heading up my Intervention & Assessment classroom. It's an important idea for a curriculum that's desperately needed in our high school classrooms, and I've seen the need for it firsthand, and...I just feel way too out-of-the-loop to know how to jump back in. And there's the time issue, which is kind of a huge one.

Anyway, I'm putting this out there in the spirit of that Secret book Oprah loves so much. I've never read it, but I think the main point is that you're supposed to tell the universe what you want and then things start happening to grant you your wish(es). I do have a hard time with the concept that "it's as easy as that!" because of, you know, the starving and disease-ridden and oppressed millions who...just didn't want it badly enough?

BUT, one day in August of '07, I was talking to myself in the car about my current job, and how it wasn't right for me. The schoolyear was due to start again in less than a month, and I said something out loud like, "I really wish I could find a place that really suited me, where I felt like I could do everything I wanted to." And mere days later, I got a call from the director of the I&A classroom asking if I was interested in taking over the lead teacher position. If that job had been a tangible object, it would have literally fallen in my lap.

So. Wonders never cease, right?


Finny is eleven months old today, and this morning I woke up and thought, "I will absolutely cry on his first birthday."

I know how fast this goes now. Bear with my analogy, if you will: Motherhood started out feeling like a train, and I was the conductor, and the upcoming mile markers thrilled me; then it became a symbiotic thing where I still had my role, but now the train had a mind of its own (like Thomas!). And then I had another kid and started to feel like I was running down the tracks in pursuit of this runaway car, and if I could just--move--faster--?

Finn SO VIVIDLY remains a nursing, crawling infant in my mind, and part of me harbors the preposterous hope that time isn't linear and we'll get back there someday. I can't believe we're only moving forward, at a pace that's beyond my ever-shrinking sphere of influence.

He slept all the time, I remember.

 And now he's this sweet and handsome and charming little blue-eyed BOY.

(Or "Chubby little man!" as Will calls him.)

So Finny and I are at odds: he wants to grow up, and I'd prefer that he didn't. And although neither of us is the conductor of that particular train, I have a feeling Finn's going to win this one. And THAT makes me feel like crying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All in a Month's Work

You know when you have "Call so-and-so!" on your list, and then as the days tick by with no time for phone calls there is SO MUCH MORE to tell so-and-so, and you try to keep track of it all, and then you have to block out more and more time for this supposed phone-based catch-up session, and before you know it, it's been a month? Or more? That's what happened on this here blog.

First, I didn't want to jinx anything by discussing the sale of our condo. Real-estate-wise, how have we been burned? Let me count the ways:

-new construction home delayed by two weeks, then a month, then another month, and finally doesn't come through *plus* we have to do battle with the builder to get any money back for our upgrades

-rushed condo purchase leads to...interesting...upstairs neighbors, a far-less-than-ideal location in a busy intersection

-the whole thing about the economy tanking and our not being able to sell said condo for anywhere near what we paid

-our first buyers for the condo, five months after it goes on the market, back out post-"under agreement" for no reason at all, before the home inspection's even happened

And those are just the biggies. So you can forgive us for being closed-mouthed when it looked like we might actually, honest-to-goodness get out of our place once and for all.

But it happened. We closed on November 29 and moved in with my parents. And (Mom, Dad, I love you, thank you for being so wonderful, but) that's pretty rough on a 30-year-old with a husband and two young kids. There are trade-offs, and the good of escaping a home we KNEW we wanted to escape CERTAINLY outweighs any bad that accompanies this temporary situation. I won't get into all the pros and cons, but please believe me when I say, for all the short-term perils of a crowded house and six conflicting schedules, I'm vastly grateful to have the opportunity to conduct a house hunt that is Thorough and Thoughtful rather than Rushed and Desperate.

Then, the kids' "new things" kept piling up and changing. Will went from saying "Cranbezzies" to "Cranberries" and I didn't cry because at least he still says "Peamup and jelly," and that's about the cutest thing that's ever happened, maybe to anyone. My big boy has been in his big-boy bed for four months now, and he has never had one iota of angst regarding that transition. He HAS been working through a cough for the last month and a half, which means when he partially wakes up in the middle of the night, Dave and I completely wake up. We've recently begun addressing this problem (for us) with something called Wal-Zyr (for him), a Walgreens-brand antihistamine approved for 2-year-olds. It's been fabulous, as has my discovery of Walgreens. Hey, did you all know there's a place that sells the same stuff as CVS but has, like, great coupons and Jingle Bucks on top of already low prices and steep sales? You probably all did, but as my turn as a bargain shopper is relatively new, I had not known. (My mom got concerned when she realized I was suddenly all about the coupons--I had to reassure her that it was, in fact, my classic What's The Point of Doing Anything Without Going Whole Hog? routine and not the more worrisome We're Broke So I'm Off to Fight that Lady in Line for the Last Bottle of 99-Cent Apple Juice life crisis.)

Back to Will! He's as verbal and as gargantuan as ever. We just ordered size 10.5 double-wide sneakers for him. If you don't have a two-year-old, trust me when I say that's RIDICULOUS. He says things like, "I'm tempted to see everything!" and "Finny, you're such a cute little munchkin!" In other words (ha), he parrots us all the time, but also seems to know what he's saying. It always takes me aback when he paraphrases something I've said, as if he needs to make it his own, or just comes up with something spontaneously--lately it's been on-the-spot songs narrating his thought process, like when we were at his bestie Connor's house and he sang, "I want to hold--hold--hold--Con-nor's hand--hand--hand." I didn't have the heart to tell him it was bordering on copyright infringement and the remaining Beatles would surely sue if they caught wind of his plagiarism.

And Finny? Finny walks, runs, pivots, swivels, bends, lunges, squats, and generally runs me ragged. I can't believe I used to sit on my playroom floor and despair while Will toddled around me and Finny lay sleeping on my lap. THOSE WERE INDEED THE DAYS.

Finn also continues to sign, tries to talk--he can half-say a lot of words when prompted. Much like Will at (almost) eleven months, nothing is safe around that boy. He is, however, less of the Dismantling and Reassembling variety than his older brother--Finn's more a "Let's hurl this ball/block/4-pack of paper towels as far and as hard as I possibly can. Over and over and over," sort of guy. His new game is to kiss me repeatedly, with a wagging tongue and an open, drooly mouth. It would be positively disgusting if he had one less dimple and stubbier lashes and eyes with no twinkle, and if he was missing that guttural, joyful chuckle that punctuates our days. Instead, that sloppy French kiss is out-of-this-world adorable, and I'm constantly squeezing him and then pulling back to ask for "Kisses?" He even makes a "MWAH" noise. He's crazy cute, demands an audience, grunts heartily when he needs something, beats his chest as he circles the house, smiles at everyone, snuggles us all, and LOVES his Cheerios and his mozzarella. Purees are, like, SO three months ago, says his expression when Chicken and Summer Vegetables are on the menu.

And see? This post is already ages long, and I still have covered maybe .0000003% of everything that's happened since last I wrote here. I still have to put up pictures of Thanksgiving and tell you about the many wonders of the boys' Mary Poppins-esque babysitter. For tonight, I'll leave you with these:

My sweet and exhausting boys. And also Bulldog the bulldog.