I lost my glasses.

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I really did.  I can’t find them anywhere.  Jimmy suggested, “Maybe they’re hiding.”

Coming from a three-year-old, this made a lot of sense.

Hope I find them.  They’re Oliver Peoples metal frames in a lovely cranberry-red color.  I can do contacts, but my eyes get very dry.

This morning my better half and I slept in.  We have the most comfortable bed in the whole world (gloat, gloat.)  I heard the two kids giggling and playing who-knows-what-game in the baby’s crib.  Yup, Jimmy’s toddler bed is at the foot of Lily’s crib, and every morning for the past few weeks, he likes to climb from the headboard edge, right over the rail, into his sister’s bed, making the total weight on the crib springs about 54 pounds.  I have been too tired to fight it, and too lost for words…”Don’t…not for you…you’ll hurt her…you’re too big.”  He just looks at me like I’m speaking Pig Latin.

So, this morning.  When I stumbled into their room, bleary-eyed, Lily reached out her arms and exclaimed, “Haaaahh-Yiii.”  I picked her up and coaxed bigger kid to get out all by himself.  The diaper change could wait a couple minutes.  Out to the kitchen.

“Mommy, I want to eat and watch.”  So succinct.  “Mommy.  Mommy, I want Galona.”  He says the word again, carefully enunciating.  Galona.

“Oh, you mean granola.”

“Yes, it’s my favorite.  Galona, galona.  With milk, Mommy.  Milk!  And Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  No, don’t turn on the TV first, I want to eat.  Eeeeeeat, now.”  Oh, dear God.

I think, before Husband and I realized that it was already 7:55 and we were all late for school/work, we had pleaded, four times, “Please STOP WHINING.  Please, the whining is awful, Jim.”  It was like a harmony of two instruments, wistfully playing a tune of deep pain, but both with the same phrase.  “Stop whining.”

Tomorrow is Saturday.  Remember when we used to sleep in until past 10:00?  Shoot, even past noon, if it was college?  I always laugh when friends post of facebook about final exam week. 🙂  For me, finals week stress/fatigue is pretty run of the mill.

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This is a good reason to face her away from the dining room wall.

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We have a desire – a pre-plan – to move to Northern California in the next twelve months.  Having my kids grow up closer to where I grew up will, I believe, be incredibly positive.  Closer to my family!  Marvelous.
We will miss the local French bakery, though.  Its cookies and bread loaves are really special.  The walk down the road (about 15 mins) is enjoyable, in image

that suburban family way.  <Sigh>  Memories to last us.

Last year, when I would encounter people who said, “Terrible Twos are nothing compared to the Rotten Threes,” I would roll my eyes and say, Not on my watch.  So help me…  Two was a real trial for me.  I barely survived.

Well, now I am on the tail end of Three.  Little Guy is officially 3 years and 9 months old, and he’s just as nonstop as he’s always been.  What’s changed since he was a two?  He has a lot more to say.  Constantly, he’s requesting.  Sentences start with “I want…” in the same sing-songy tone all the time, and Daddy and I repeat over and over, “You mean, May I please…”  We wait for politeness before we get up to fetch.  Sometimes he draws out the correct way to ask for more milk until it takes 30 seconds to complete the sentence accurately.  With a twinkle in his little blue eye, he acts like he can’t find the right words.  He’s playing me.  He’s playing so hard!  It’s infuriating.  He still has tantrums, too.  Sometimes those can go on for 45 minutes.  I want to throw objects because I’m so over it.  But, that would mean you were sinking to his level.  And by now, in my exhausted head, this has become a chicken and the egg sort of question.  Who starting yelling first?  Who started throwing first?  Who stamped their foot first?  It’s quite possible that he learned all of these moves from me last year, when he was two.  Back then, I was beside myself with embarrassment at the things that would happen in public, and in private, too.  I felt put upon and pitiful.  I felt so, so, so ill-equipped to raise a little boy.

Somehow, I managed to get through it, as all my friends insisted I would.

Then the baby girl started to walk.

This was a few weeks ago.  It’s the cutest thing, and when your second child hits one of those milestones it brings back joy and pride mixed with experience.  Ahh yes, I remember now!  I realize that despite my every attempt to be a laid back parent the first time around, this was near impossible.  My daughter gets a mommy who takes 99% of things in stride.  Plus, she’s just a different baby.  I never had to sleep-train Lily.  I’ve never worried that she was getting dirt in her mouth, or that her teeth were coming in too soon or too late, or that she would rather eat Cheerios off the floor than strawberries off her food tray.  She is go-with-the-flow, and she has been this way since she started growing in my belly.

The minute that Lily could waddle over and snatch a toy away from her brother, while he was playing with it, was when the shit really hit the fan for me.  I would try to tell him that she was going to take a turn and then he’d have it back.  Sometimes he would scream and then she would scream, and above the shrieking I’d have to remove the toy from the room so that no one was enjoying it.  Sometimes I would encourage Jimmy to move his legos to the dining table so that little hands couldn’t rip apart his creations.  Sometimes I would say nothing at all and just let chaos ensue.

It seems that having a baby sister has finally caused Jimmy to get territorial and moody.  Things are unfair and we can’t really have a sophisticated dialogue about it.  Instead I have to referee, and no one on earth hates to referee more than me.  I have said to many folks that the boy thinks that we are equals.  I try different ways to show him that I’m the boss, that he cannot tell me what to do.  This does not stop him from trying.  And what I am learning is that a lot of children like mine will try and try.  They’d rather get a negative reaction than no reaction at all.  It is the parents’ job to stay strong and not to cave.  Stay strong and be prepared for anything, all the time.  Seven days a week.  I have never had to use my improvisational skills like this before.  Coming up with answers to requests that won’t incite a riot is HARD.  I try to avoid an altercation because that’s what most people would do.  Who wants to fight?  Who wants to tell a child to stop throwing toys “or you’ll lose them all for a whole day”.  Who wants to say, “stop hitting the walls and calm your voice…or else you’re going into the carseat until you cool off?”  No one.  If there were a magical spell I could cast that would make him understand that he cannot act like a maniac, I would cast it.  Alacazam!!  Instead, staying calm myself seems the only (and last) course of action.  And as his fourth birthday approaches, I can see myself laughing at these days, for they will be in the past.  And maybe my daughter will give me grief when she turns three as well.  It’s too early to tell.  Meanwhile, I can share a good anecdote of the defiant, spirited child with the best of them.  My boy has a big personality!

But the love is still there.  The love I feel as a parent makes it all worth it.  No mother is happier than about 15 minutes after her kids are asleep for the night.  That is when the world seems right.  That is when I feel blessed and peaceful and grateful.

And I do.  I promise you, dear reader.  I feel grateful.

My little baby girl had her birthday party a week ago.  I’m almost done writing and mailing the thank you notes.  Haven’t washed a single gifted outfit yet.  All in good time!  So many dresses.  She is my precious girl, and every day she grins knowingly, with her 7 tiny teeth.  She knows that people find her dazzling.  When Big Brother’s not slyly shoving her out of the way when she tries to share his toys, Jimmy makes Lily giggle.  We have tried to capture it on video a few times.  Once, I was filming her and she pinched her fingers in a drawer.  I kept rolling as I ran up to release her!

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Lily-kins…So many people came to your party at the local park!  I had the guest list on my smartphone — 25 adults and 21 babies/kids.  It was major.  There was FOOD.  You were so chill the whole time.  You had a taste of cake and some pizza crust.  You had a scrape on your forehead from falling at the park 5 or 6 days prior.  Neosporin to the rescue.  I wonder if I’ll photoshop out your boo-boo or just leave it.  I wonder if I’ll ever get around to printing the photos from your birthday.  Isn’t that just the plight of every modern parent?  When to stop shooting and start albums?  Well, anyway, I hope that your life is grand from here on out.  You are a blessing to DaDa and to me.  I thank heaven for you each day.

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At the grocery store, the checker did not ask to see ID.  She keyed in an arbitrary birthdate for me, putting me at 4 years older than I happen to be.  I guess its not too terrible of a thing to see.  Perhaps this was her own birth year and she thought we looked peer-like.