To Hold Him Close

18 Feb

My son has never been much of a cuddlebug.  As an infant he was a champion flailer (“He sure moves a lot, huh?” I heard from many a-people as they stare down at my thrashing baby).  By the time he was crawling at 6 months, he was too busy exploring new corners or wreaking havoc in general to revel in cuddles with mommy.  And now, at the increasingly rambunctious age of 17-months, it seems the only time I can cuddle with my little man is when he is sick.

To be sure, I don’t wish an illness of any kind on my son.  Not only is it so sad to see him feeling under the weather, but being sick takes a toll on everyone in our family.  I guess what I mean to say is, as much as I hate when little man is sick, the silver lining in it all is that we can cuddle.

And cuddle we did the night before last because, oh…it was a long, long night.

For the first time in little man’s little life, he threw up.  And I mean THREW UP.  Projectile vomit across the room throw up.  Like he’d done one too many keg stands.

It was awful.  And frankly, we didnʻt know what to do.  After the first time, when the hubs was drenched in that dayʻs lunch and dinner, we cleaned everything up and thought, “Hmm.  Ok.”  After the second time, it became apparent that this would likely be a recurring activity throughout the night.  In attempt to contain the mess, I placed a plastic bowl in the potential line of trajectory when I thought little man might hurl again.  But he just pushed the bowl away in frustration, taking it as confirmation that what he feared his little body might do again was truly about to happen.

We learned quickly that what he needed most and wanted most were mommy cuddles and daddy hugs.  He needed soft whispers in his ear.  Gentle pats on his back.  He needed to know that everything was going to be ok.

Because, for little man, this was the first time his body had betrayed him.  This was the first time that his world had reversed itself in that gross, disgusting manner that his mother and father had experienced themselves, one too many times before.  And when he could feel his insides start to turn, and that feeling of dread began to spread in his little body, he would whimper and hold me tight, and with each little moan I could feel his little body ask me, “Why Ama?  WHY?” before his bodily fluids would erupt and deluge my body.  And after each moment would pass, he would look at me, sobbing and shaking, and it took all my mommy might not to breakdown with him.

We decided that the easiest and (surprisingly) cleanest way for us to handle this situation was to let little man vomit all over me.  Thus, we developed a rhythm: I would cuddle with little man while positioning myself away from any furniture (i.e. bed, couch, glider, etc.); I would rub his back and whisper my love; little man would vomit his little insides all over me (he was surprisingly good and not once did he throw up on my pants); the Hubs would take little man while I quickly changed myself and then changed little man (he too wore a tshirt for easy cleanup); then I would take little man back, and the Hubs would change himself and clean the carpet (the man is a regular Martha Steward, I tell you).

There may have been an easier way.  There may have been a cleaner way.  But on that long night that just stretched longer and longer, this was the way that worked for us.  My little man needed mommy cuddles and daddy hugs and the only way we could give him what he needed was to agree to sacrifice our entire wardrobe to his hurling insides.

If only he would remember this night the first time he steps up to a keg stand.

Kolohe Eyes

12 Feb

This post is for those who know what it means to be Kolohe.  Or worse yet, what it means to have Kolohe eyes.

My son has them.  He has those Kolohe eyes.

I saw them for the first time yesterday.  I suspected, but never knew.  Now I know.

For those who don’t know…what it means to have those Kolohe eyes…

Its not that bad.  It just means…your kid is Rascal.

Rasssssscal.  Wit one capital R.  If we was home right now, and my Kupuna was still wit us…gunnfunnit, kid…let me tell you…

But then again, that may perpetuate the cycle.  Does it?  Has it?  Is that why I’m here…with my son…the one with the Kolohe eyes?  (It must’ve skipped a generation then, because I was one of the good kids.  Ask my Aunty.  She said I was the happiest baby she knew).

Vicious cycle.  Is that what they call it?  Is it really vicious?  Can it be tamed with love, patience…understanding?  Do I have it in me?  (Silly, you don’t have a choice…)

Dinner with my son

12 Feb

We sat across from each other, dining on mac’n’cheese with broccoli.  My dinner on a white ceramic plate.  His dinner on a purple, plastic plate directly on the table.  His face wore a huge smile.  My eyes shone love and delight.  I took a bite and made an exaggerate Mmmmmmmmm-sound.  He laughed, clapped his hands, grabbed a piece of pasta with his fingers and shoved it in his mouth.  “Mmmmmmmmmmmmm,” he mimicked.  He laughed and did it again.  This time, I mimicked him.  We went back and forth for a while, then he began to sway to The Wiggles album that was playing in the background.  “That chicken’s got the hiccups!,” those crazy Australians sang.  “Can you believe that chicken’s got the hiccups?!?” I asked him.  He laughed, then shoved another piece of pasta in his mouth, and looked at me like I was crazy.  We were having so much fun.

This is the first dinner we have had together, just the two of us.  We’re on a different schedule these days: little man is waking up earlier, thus going to bed earlier, which means dinner for little man is earlier, frequently before the Hubs gets home.  I would hold out and wait until the Hubs got home so we can enjoy dinner as a family, but little man insists on waking up at 5:30 in the morning, no matter what time he goes to bed, so I’m trying to get him to bed as early as possible so he can get a good night’s sleep.  Hence, dinner is frequently without Daddy.  The Hubs usually comes home just as we’re cleaning up though, so they get some playtime together before its upstairs for a bath, then bed.

Is it crazy though, that in his 16-months, this is the first time I felt like I was spending quality time with my son?  I’m a full-time working mom, so a large chunk of the day is spent away from him (sorry, this point is not open for discussion.  I give myself enough grief about it and my mom gives me enough grief, but this is what is best for our family right now, end of topic.  thank you.)  When we are together at home, theres lots of playing and reading and the occasional tv-watching, all of which are quality-time activities, I agree.  But this dinner was the first time I felt like actual quality time was being enjoyed: I looked into his eyes, he looked into mine, and I understood that for the next 10 minutes, we would be sitting face-to-face, totally uninterrupted.  He couldn’t wander off.  I couldn’t check my phone (no screens at the table!).  It would be just the two of us facing each other, talking about Elmo.  Or Dorothy the Dinosaur.  Or that chicken with the hiccups.  Or absolutely nothing at all: my son engrossed in separating the pasta from the broccoli, and me reveling in the joys of this boy’s mama.

KCRW, I’m…ok….wait….not quite ready yet

2 Feb

I’m a fan of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project, the radio show in which L.A.-based KCRW invites celebrities and other cultural hotshots to share the top 5 songs that have influenced their lives/careers.  LOVE this show.  Seriously.  This podcast made me fall in love with Colin Firth.  All over again.  And it was also how I found out about Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS.

And, like every other normal listener, I’m sure, I will occasionally drift off into the fantasy of the 5 songs I would play when I’m invited be the “cultural icon” that shares my musical inspiration with the world. (What do you mean you’ve never had this fantasy?!?)  The problem is that so far I’ve only come up with three songs that have had a significant impact on my life.  A truly significant impact. And I just might lose sleep trying to think of the other two.

I mentioned this predicament to my husband, and he just shook his head, “How can you really, truly know yourself if you can only think of 3 songs?”

He’s deep.  He gets me.  Thats why I love this man.

So, I will continue to rack my brain and sort through my memories for those two songs that have had a truly significant impact on my life.  And hopefully manage to get a decent night’s sleep.

Confident and Comfortable

2 Feb

I walked down the hall to his classroom at daycare, and he wasn’t there.

I peeked into the infant room, where he will sometimes be in the early evening, and he wasn’t there.

I walked back down the hall to the office and the two-year-old room, and still, he wasn’t there.

Behind me, a voice called gently, “He’s in here!  He’s in the preschool room!”

And so he was.  My little 16-month-old had thrown himself into the fray of the three- and four-year-olds, not at all intimidated by their louder, larger, faster and more agile bodies.  He didn’t care.  He saw a world he wanted and he decided to make it his.

“He’s so confident and comfortable.  Its great,” his teacher said.

And it was.  So, so great.  I have struggled with self-confidence my entire life, and to see my son at such a young age exhibit a quality I’ve always wanted but never really understood made so happy, and so eager to continue to nurture this part of him.

Confident and comfortable.  This little man has one proud mama.

Running Cold

23 Jan

Despite having lived in these cold climes for almost 15 years, I still do not understand how to stay warm during the winter.  When I dress in the morning amidst the warmth of my home,  for some reason I can never imagine what it will feel like to walk out into the cold winter.  I mean, I know enough to wear more than just a short-sleeve shirt under my winter coat, but I frequently walk outside wearing ankle socks.

I know the trick is in the layering, but layering baffles me.  Even in college, when my room got bitterly cold, I took to sleeping with a blow dryer under the blanket, letting the contraption blast on HOT HIGH for a few minutes every hour.  When my roommate kindly suggested, “Why don’t you wear layers?” I was shocked at the proposition.  Layers?  To bed?!?!  Is she insane?!?!  To this day its a difficult concept for me to wrap my brain around.

Considering my love-hate…er, no, sorry…hate-hate relationship with cold weather, you would think that I would be adamantly opposed to running in 30 degree weather.  Yet, thats what I found myself doing last Friday.  For reasons completely uninteresting to the general reader, I rented a car for the day and had to return it to the rental company before 5:30pm that night.  The Hubs was not yet home from picking the Bubs up from daycare, so I had to return the rental and then run home.  Really no big deal, except that it was *bleepin* 30 degrees outside.

“I think I can!  I think I can!” I puffed as I started my jog home.  And it really wasn’t that bad.  For the first 3 minutes.  My body started warming up, and I couldn’t really feel the cold.  But then, winter won, and I learned a few things the hard way from my winter run:

1) Your toes can still freeze while you are running.

2) Your nose runs faster than you do.

3) Your lungs burn.  I mean BUUUUURN.  It feels like a flaming apple is stuck in the very center of your chest.  And just when you think you can ignore the pain, it becomes difficult to breathe.

4) But perhaps the worst thing about winter running is that you can’t stop.  I mean, you CAN stop, physically, but you will freeze.  And freeze quickly, since your toes are already frozen, your fingers and ears almost so, and the rest of your body closely following suit since you are no longer warm from your activity.  I wanted to stop after minute five, but I was still 25 minutes away from home at a walking pace.  Instead, my sheer will to survive kept my feet moving at a light jog, and I made it home in 15 minutes.

It took me a half hour to thaw out.

Admittedly, I could have been better prepared.  I probably should have layered my socks and worn better headgear (the beanie I had chosen did not adequately cover my ears).  My pants were probably too thin, and my shirts (3 layers!  learning!) were not the appropriate fabric for a winter run.  I probably should have listened to this guy.

That said, even appropriately dressed I could not have avoided inhaling the winter cold, which is my biggest problem with running during the winter.  It appears that if I want to continue running during the winter–which I do since a run is a run is a run and its exhilarating–I need to accept and embrace that flaming apple in my throat.

As long as I remember to keep that flaming apple a metaphor.

Change of Appetite

20 Jan

It matters to me that my son eats healthy.  I would prefer that he not be raised on a diet of cheetos and soda (despite his father’s borderline dependence on the latter).  So I have been researching and experimenting with recipes and dishes that are healthy yet still delicious.  Problem is, I’m not that healthy of an eater myself.  I mean, I don’t eat cheetos and soda regularly (and despite the Hub’s love affair with soda, he does, for the most part, eat healthy).  But, given the choice between pretzels and a Snickers bar, I think my choice is obvious.  I mean, c’mon…wouldn’t you?

I guess my point here is, though I am trying to cook dishes that are healthy for my son, my heart really isn’t into it because, frankly, I wouldn’t eat these dishes myself.  Which means, in order to provide healthy food for my son, I need to change the way I eat.

Which, for me, is about as easy as achieving world peace.

I will admit, I don’t really know how to cook.  I’m learning, and willing to learn, which is important.  But its slow going.  Before we had the little man, I was getting pretty good at whipping together a side salad (just greens and a vinaigrette) and the meat du jour, occasionally remembering to roast some veggies (yes, sadly, vegetables are just not on my culinary radar).  Well, the little man does not yet appreciate the beautiful simplicity of a side salad, and really cannot stand roasted veggies of any kind.  What my options are now, I have no idea.

Getting him to eat veggies of any kind, or even fruit for that matter, is challenging.  So rather than push and fight, I’ve started just eating them more regularly myself.  Hopefully he will come around.

In the meantime, I’m feeling kinda awesome, so I guess its a win for everybody. :)

An Oldie but Goodie

11 Jan

His little hand grabbed my finger and he pulled with all his might.  That little tug–really the earnestness behind it–was enough to get me to my feet and moving towards the middle of the living room.  He looked around yelling, “Da! Da!” and seeing the Hubs in the kitchen, pointed emphatically in that direction until I called “Sweetie, you are being summoned.”  Grinning at this ritualistic request, the Hubs joined us in the living room, and the little man lifted both arms so we could each grab one of his little hands.  Then joining our hands together, the Hubs and I began singing, “Ring around the rosy…” as we started moving in the tiniest of circles, with the little man, grinning from ear to ear, looking up at us and contributing his own nonsense words to the nursery rhyme.  “Pockets full of posies…ashes, ashes,” we sang, “we all fall…” and on the last word–“down!”–the Hubs and I come plummeting to the ground while the little man, still standing,  and still grinning from ear to ear, nods his head and claps enthusiastically, as if to say, “Very good people!”  Then he makes us get up and do it again.  I swear I once heard him say, “From the top! 5-6-7-8!”

He learned it at daycare a few weeks ago, and since then its one of his favorite games.  He makes us sing and turn to this age-old nursery rhyme–this oldie but goodie–almost nightly.  Though sometimes, mid-rhyme, he will suddenly bolt to some forgotten toy in the corner of the living room, or as in the case of tonight’s dance, take off to continue watching tv, leaving the Hubs and I frozen in a kind of hilarious bewilderment.  I swear I once heard him say, “Suckers!”

This is one of the greatest joys of parenting.  No, no, not the being one-upped-by-your-child part.  That part sucks.  One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching your child learn new skills or seeing them grasp new concepts or ideas.  I love watching the little man play.  I can almost see the gears turning as he tries to figure out a puzzle or as he begins to comprehend the world of make-believe.  Its such a beautiful thing.

Reflections on 2011

2 Jan

2011 was a good year for us.  An exciting year.  Though the year was relatively quiet through-out, a few big events took place: the Bubs turned 1-year-old.  We ran (and completed!) the Hershey Half marathon.  We bought a house.

But if I continue to reflect on 2011 in this way–that is, by counting our milestones, acquisitions and accomplishments–the year actually seems mild and our lives may appear…what’s the word?  Boring?  Which is the absolute opposite of where we are.  Quiet though our life may be right now, it is far from boring.  So rather than reflect on what we did in 2011, or what we accomplished, instead I’ve chosen to focus on what we have: the laughter we create as a family, the energies we provide each other when we’re together, the individuality of our personalities when we’re apart.

Viewed through this lens, 2011 was full and warm and rich: Bubs learned to play peek-a-book and ring-around-the-rosie (which he demands we participate in on a daily basis), The Hubs got lost on a run and had to ford a river (it was really more of a stream, but he’ll never admit that), and I’ve expanded my culinary arsenal (by only two recipes, but still…two good recipes).  We’re happy.  We’re comfortable.

We’re ready for another kid. :)

Home

11 Dec

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was super excited but also very nervous about our move from our one-bedroom apartment to our much roomier new home.  I mentioned that tomorrow scared me.  Well, tomorrow has come and gone, and all those anxieties are long gone.  We are in our new home and we LOVE IT.

The packing and moving was absolutely dreadful, mostly for my husband who did almost all the work while I tended to Bubs (have I mentioned that the man is AWESOME?)  But once we were IN our new home and OUT of our little apartment, it was WONDERFUL.  And it continues to be wonderful in every way.

Bubs loves the house.  So much more to explore.  The Hubs loves the house, and guess what?  His commute to work is shorter than when we were living in the apartment!  So he’s psyched.  And I love the house  because its OUR house.  Its still not decorated to my taste–and I realize that will take a few years to get everything in place–but we’ve got a few homey touches up and it all just feels right.

Our life is so great right now that I want to write about where we are now and where we are headed, rather than dwell on where we were.  So this is just a quick note to address the anxieties I mentioned in my previous post.  The anxieties which disappeared as soon as we had the keys to our new home in hand.  We’re home.  Oh yes we are.

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