Between Four Walls

Like most siblings, my children have their share of squabbles, hurt feelings, and episodes of what I perceive to be I-want-that-toy-right-now-because-he/she-has-it-syndrome.

Yet every single night they fall asleep to the sound of each other’s voices, the monitor fills our hearts one last time before silence sets in.  Giggles, squeals and comfort in the dark. Knock-knock jokes that make entirely  no sense.  Silly songs composed by mama, sung by tender hearts in unison.  Companionship upon awakening – they are never alone.  And in their shared space they plot grand schemes, bursting through their door, arms linked in solidarity.  “Let’s make cupcakes” seems like more of a possibility when your fellow ally is gripping your hand.

I pause to thank my lucky stars for whatever path lead me to this life and to a city where space is sparse, yet love is so so rich cocooned between four walls.

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On Flying Baby Birds

Sometimes, I’m cognizant of my mind wandering to the when and the will.  A year ago, I thought:  Will Adrian always prefer his all you can eat nursing buffet to nocturnal rest of any kind? Will I ever experience a month without migraines?  When will I have an hour to myself?  Will Lucia get into her zoned school?  When will I sleep again?  Will they be better off if I work fulltime?

And now I sleep, Adrian stopped nursing a long time ago, Lucia’s in Kindergarten and I’ve found migraine help in a skilled acupuncturist.  I sometimes still experience self doubt in mothering.

Our children, our truest markers of ticking time, often remind us just how fleeting these precious moments of childhood truly are.  Like when I stop to hear the pitter patter of banging feet on the hardwood floors accompanied by the most beautiful symphony of belly laughs.  When I’m fully present in the rhythm of my grandmother’s rocking chair, with Adrian’s wisps of hair in my face and his gentile hand on my clavicle. When my eyes open every single morning to eyes smaller than mine, overjoyed to welcome a new day, arms flailing around my neck.

And all of the sudden, while making memories in mess, the days somehow slip into years and things that feel really big take place:

And I worry and wonder about the when and the will.

And once again I’m reminded that right now is what matters most

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Sometimes You Just Need To See The Bread-Eye

Sometimes nights involve tending to sick littles, ejecting gross pillows out of the humble abode and co-sleeping with the non-sick two year old who’s preferred sleep position feels like a human neck brace.  Sometimes days feel long when you’re cooped up inside, disinfecting, tending to hurt tummies, dodging miniature cars filled with glittery ponies and scraping hardened play-doh off the floor.   Yet wee-ones seem to have a way of drawing us in amidst the chaos and subtly reminding us that their little-hood won’t last forever.  They also project so much hope and resilience in hardship.  Today Lucia delivered that powerful message through her effortless smiles and a newfound super-power while deep in the trenches of a  nasty stomach bug.

Thanks so much for showing me your “bread-eye” kiddo.  

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While They Are Sleeping

We tiptoe into their rooms in the middle of the night, to watch their chests rise and fall, to study their juicy lips, to see what toy or doll they are clutching, to inhale their scent and listen to each breath.  We imagine their dreams and sneak in one last goodnight kiss.

We stand over their beds to glimpse at our most beautiful illustrations of peace and grace.

When they sleep, we can still see the baby in them.

I wonder if the peaking will ever end?

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The Smallest Package

From what I’ve observed as a parent, and recall from my own childhood: children yearn to be bigger.  From birth, our children are praised for growth and weight gain.  As they grow older, they seek acknowledgement from “big kids” and find pride in growing out of a favorite pair of sneakers.  Most little ones (including  my own) are swift to correct if the half is left out of their numerical age.

I was usually the smallest in the class, I think I stopped getting taller somewhere around 7th grade.  At just over five feet tall, I actually enjoy many aspects of being small.  I can comfortably curl up on an airplane seat, while my husband (at six feet tall) is cramped with no leg room.  I’ve also learned that I can easily hold little hands while walking down the street, while my taller counterpart has to lean substantially to achieve this feat.  I’m OK with my packaging, but I find myself wondering and hoping that my own children will embrace their own genetic destiny- whatever that may be.

My son was suspected to be growth restricted in utero, resulting in weekly growth scans and all sorts of hoopla.  I remember pleading with my medical team to let me be, because I innately knew that I would be blessed with a child that my body could birth.  At ten days late, my Adrian was 6 lb 14 oz and hovered around the 5% percentile for his first year and half of life.  At Adrian’s two year checkup his pediatrician measured him three times, because he could not believe that his height was closer to the 50% percentile.  I found myself beaming, although cautiously concealing my thoughts around my impressionable children.  As  a child, I witnessed my own brother being bullied for his small size (he was a super preemie), and as a parent I have an instinctual drive to want to protect my children from such ridicule.

Today after school, I watched Lucia’s new Kindergarten girlfriends call her “Little Lucia” and take turns picking her up in the playground.  In that moment, I again questioned our decision of not holding her back (she made the age cutoff by five days).  I had to take serious steps to redirect my fueling mama-copter.  I inwardly screamed “NO LABELING!!” and hoped to hear Lucia speak up for herself.  Instead, I found my daughter belly laughing with delight and then yelling “Hey guys follow me!!!.  As I watched the gaggle of little girls excitedly follow Lucia’s (very directed) play, I cheered for the visible mightiness inside that small packaging.

I think my girl is going to be alright.

And I think that her mightiness is absolutely larger than life.   

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I Blinked and a Kindergarten Admission Letter Arrived.

It feels like I was just agonizing about her biting another baby during class at the 92nd street YMCA.  And then we celebrated her first birthday – with three parties.  Somewhere during toddlerhood I blinked and we were off to mommy-and-me preschool co-op.  And then I blinked again and she went off to Nursery school and then Pre-K.

After hours of digging in the dirt at the park, we arrived home to a Kindergarten admission letter.  (Tear).  She studied it like it was one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.  I suppose I have six months more to be in denial, to try and prepare myself.  In the meantime, I’m going to cherish picking my baby girl up from school at 11:30 am, and many more afternoons playing in dirt piles.

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