Bennett grows and changes so quickly, you have to write it down when it happens or you will forget it's different. He learns something new everyday, a word, a gesture, a trick. This is the first time I've been away from my boy on his birthaversary. There is no telling what he will pick up while we're gone.
Bennett learned he can delay a dreaded carseat trip with a hug.
We learned my child is already a manipulative monster with delicious hugs.
Bennett learned to wipe his own mouth with a napkin.
We learned it's impossible to make it to work with clean clothes when suits and dresses make for good napkins too.
Bennett learned to tell Atticus "no."
We learned that while Bennett doesn't like being disciplined, he likes to do the disciplining.
Bennett learned to climb the stairs.
We learned it's time to stock the medicine cabinet with dinosaur bandaids.
Bennett learned to flip pancakes.
We learned not to sit on the griddle, aka the ottoman.
Bennett learned that there are special carts at the grocery store, rocket ships, race cars and motor boats.
We learned that the giggles and squeals are worth the dirty looks and the muscle cramps trying to turn the super mom mobile.
I can't express how excited I am to be celebrating this lovely lady today. Ami and I go waaaay back, back to glasses and braces back. Back to a day when she let her hair go curly and I straightened mine. Back to student council, back to JV tennis, back to uuumanities. I ruined her reputation once upon a time for giggling too hard in class. I'm pretty sure we were laughing about the inconvenience of overalls. That's so far back, overalls are back.
But I love her like a sister. We don't see each other often enough, but being with her makes you feel like you haven't spent a minute apart. Your face hurts from smiling, your stomach hurts from laughing, and your heart hurts because you know it will be a million years until you see her again. Ami is just something special.
We've seen each other make a few relationship mistakes, ie, overalls, head banging and taking Indian boys to honky tonks. Yet here we are, eight million dates later, a decade and a half later, five cross-continent moves later, a baby later, and we're finally toasting to the relationship she's been waiting for. He's smart and confident, funny and kind, just like Ami. We may have spent a long time waiting for today, but Ami is worth any wait.
Gosh, that whiny girl who wrote a few weeks ago about being overwhelmed? That girl had no idea what overwhelmed is. Let us consider a few facts: I will sleep in six cities in a span of thirteen days. I will travel or have traveled from coast to coast for work, family, nuptials, friends and a romantic weekend away. Then, I return from said vacation and potentially, hopefully(?) close on our new house the very next day. Let me just say life is crazy, hectic and unpredictable.
I returned from my quick work trip to a little boy who when he saw me, walked right past me like I hadn't been missing from a bedtime, wake-up, pick-up, drop-off or two. I guess I deserved a passive aggressive child from all the sins I have committed in my lifetime but that doesn't make it hurt any less. Thankfully, a booboo and a kiss to make it better later, I received a big huge hug. He stayed there with his head on my shoulder for a few moments longer than normal. I was back in his good graces.
Less than a week later, I'm packing my bags again. After an eighteen month engagement, we're finally headed to Cali to celebrate a friend and her mate. She got engaged just a few week's after Bennett was born, at the peak of the sleep deprivation. There was never a better time for a distraction and a goal. I fantasized about our trip from that point on, knowing I'd be in desperate need for an excuse to see old friends and relax at the beach.
I imagined a weekend at the wedding, followed by a drive up the coast to Napa and Sonoma, Rocky at the wheel of our vintage convertible. We'd wind up the road taking in the scenery that Tippi and Alfred etched in my mind, with my hair wrapped in a scarf and Jackie O. glasses on my face. There was no room for any aviary carnage, just seafood and spirits.
Reality has hit once again. First, work trips made me worry that it was too much time in one month spent away from my baby. We'll have to skip SanFran and head straight for the vineyards. Then, I realized that even without a work trip, a single night away is too much time away from my baby. Skipping the wedding wasn't an option. But we have never before needed this break from routine so badly. We'll be taking a mini version of the fantasy I had in my mind, still beachy, still seafood-y and still spirited. I hope we don't have to have another booboo to make amends.
Friday night, my son rejected my home-cooked dinner and instead decided he wanted PB&J on a tortilla. Mother of the year right here.
Saturday, we woke up early and participated in a Nashville tradition, overpacking for Steeplechase. Yes, friends, this is just 1/2 of our food/tent/beverage/entertainment/furniture haul, for a 9 hour event. Good thing we had two HOD majors, two music majors, two neuroscientists and a partridge in a pear tree all set and ready to get this show on the road.
Hadley had to downsize on the head gear. There just wasn't room.
Sunday we had brunch at a fancy downtown hotel. My child looked dapper as ever in his seersucker and chocolate stains. Guess who lovd the chocolate fountain? Guess!
And a mother's day miracle, all three of us looking at the camera, and SMILING!
This was the first time I was able to celebrate mother's day with my own mum in ages. This may not have happened since the last time I lived in Nashville, some oh I don't know, ten years ago?
As if tortillas and horses and chocolate fountains were not enough, Bennett was invited to his very first birthday party. As opposed to his shindig, there was no crying. And this time, he chose dessert over going outside. Anyone that knows my child knows just how momentous this really is.
But despite all the fancy celebrating, there were few more homegrown memories I'd like to keep in my pocket forever.
After the tortilla dinner on Friday, we baked cookies. Bennett decided he was much more interested in playing with the melty chocolate chips than eating the chocolate chips. He got a little carried away. The night ended in giggles and baths and an extra load of laundry.
Not to be outdone by melty chocolate, my child proved once again that toys are for kids, random household items are for big boys. He spent the weekend dancing on a giant piece of paper, coloring on a giant piece of paper, putting stickers on a giant piece of paper, carrying around a giant piece of paper, and finally, snuggling with a giant piece of paper.
Last mother's day, I was still in awe of the whole motherhood thing. It's funny how much things can change in a year. The days don't seem as hard, the nights don't seem as long, and the months and years are getting shorter. Time is flashing before my eyes as my fears come true; my son doesn't need me to identify every object. He does it for me. Dog. Bird. Ball. But as much as I was afraid of the growing and changing, that also means I'm getting a handle on being a mom.
Sure, I still feel like I flounder some days. Bennett gets a bad report from school. No, he isn't forgetting to turn in his homework, but he is a bit of a bully from time to time. Being a toddler is hard, you have feelings and frustrations but you can't express yourself other than getting a little physical. We're working on it. Then, there are those mornings when nothing we do is right. We fight over getting dressed, putting on our shoes letting go of the dog. I can't help but feel like I am no good at this.
Days like today remind me that there are good days and bad days, but I'm doing alright as a mom. On Friday, I got the sweetest message from school. His teacher got some bad news and she couldn't help but getting teared up in front of Bennett. He walked over to her, brushed the tear off her cheek and said, "sad." My child with his limited vocabulary knew exactly what that tear meant. I love this little boy who is growing to be kind and thoughtful and sweet. I am just so proud to be his mommy.
I'm happy to celebrate this day of mothering and all the moms that showed me how the job is done. My mom taught me not to sweat the small stuff. It isn't the stubborness or quirkiness that define a child or his mother. It is about the big picture, the kindness, the empathy and the compassion of who that child will grow into. My mother-in-law has shown that it's possible to raise a boy to put others first, that for better or for worst, it's alright to show some emotion. Because I know, this kid just might take after his momma, wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Or maybe just underwear on his head. I'm definitely doing something right!
I swear, all these baby posts have no deeper meaning. I have not succumbed to baby rabies, not again. Not yet. I even held a baby a few weeks ago and didn't feel that suck to the gut, that need. But, I see these pictures and can't help but feel a little something. I just thought I'd pass along the craving to my poor blog readers.
Karen Mordechai via Cup of Jo
And then I saw this one and thought, oh, crap. There it is. The rabies. But, nothing a round of teething can't cure. I hope.
I hate reading other blogs that are all whiny and depressed. I read blogs to see pretty pictures, learn things and laugh. I do not come looking for a glimpse of someone else's reality. But, I started this blog almost two years ago to exercise a part of my brain that was going numb and occassionally post pretty pictures of my little family. But, I fear that if I don't write about the real stuff, this blog will go silent and eventually die itself.
We are under contract on another house. A house that someone polite might say "has potential." It's old, has room to grow, mostly renovated, but has a few quirks. By quirks, I mean, you might place a pencil at the back door only to watch it roll to the front. Technically, we are supposed to close at the end of the month, but I am not sure that will actually happen. The seller doesn't seem all that eager to actually sell this house, despite the fact he doesn't live in it. Between this house and the last house, I didn't buy any celebratory art or throw pillows to celebrate the beginning of creating a new home. I didn't want to curse it. However, I think I need to at least start choosing paint chips so I can feel somewhat invested and keep the hope alive. I will keep you posted.
Rocky and I work too much. I don't know how this happened because we moved to slow down. I have early morning meetings and late night events. Rocky is crisscrossing the state for depositions and consultations. Even on "normal" days, we sometimes do not sit down to eat until 9:00. And don't get me started on what constitutes a dinner these days. Let me just say, Trader Joe's and I have become good friends.
When we lived in Arlington, Bennett went to bed promptly at 7:00. Even though we moved to Central Time, Bennett transitioned to an 8:00 bedtime. It is wonderful to get an extra hour with my little man, but my evenings have gotten even more hectic because I have one less hour to pick up my house, do the dishes, read the mail, love on Atticus, and make dinner. Come Friday (or Thursday), my home looks like I should be hosting a frat party. I'm not used to living like this.
Speaking of evenings, I thought I would share with you a little play by play of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night. Picture it, Nashville, Tennessee, May 2012, 5:47 pm...
Bennett's sippy cup somehow lost suction and he's screaming in frustration from the backseat as I pull into the carport. I give him my keys to help me unlock the door. Instead, he runs off to greet the neighbor and I have to pretend I'm not immensely irritated that I can't go rescue the dog. It all goes steadily downhill from there. B cried when I turned left instead of right. Atticus ate half of Bennett's dinner when I went to get him milk. B screamed when I brought it back in a new cup. He got upset when I took away the ink pen that had been left out on the coffee table. He peed on the carpet when I took off his diaper before bathtime. It was one thing after another until I tucked him in and went downstairs to start my nightly routine of making lunches, making coffee, cleaning the kitchen, washing cups and doing the dishes.
I just hope and pray I'll be recreating my routine in a new house this time next month. If not, heaven help the blog.