5 Years Old

Dear Henry,

I always love this time of year.  Your dad and I are inundated with photos of you from when you were a baby, through last year when you became a brother.  It’s amazing to watch you grow and compare you from one year to the next.  Every year I look back and think to myself how amazing you are, and you really and truly are amazing.

This past year you started school at The Burlington School in their PreK program, and you loved every moment of it.  There wasn’t a single day when you didn’t want to go to school.  You were motivated and raring to go every day, which made me beyond happy.   You’ll be going back to The Burlington School this year in their TK (transitional kindergarten) program.  I know that you’re excited to be in the same class as your best friend Amare, but you’re sad and a little scared because you have a new teacher.  I know that you’ll end up loving her as much as you love your PreK teacher.

We’ve spent the summer going to the Aquatic Center here in Burlington.  You love to go and play in the water.  You’re a little intimidated from it all, and I really want to get you some swimming lessons so that you’ll be super confident in the water.  You love playing with me and your dad in the water, and we love being in there with you!

Your birthday party was at the Splash Park this year, and you shared the party with your brother.  I made you a chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, and a Superman logo on it, per your request.  We invited your entire class to your party, and it felt like most of them showed up!  You were running around, playing with friends, trying to put ice water in your water gun to shoot at your dad (which was incredibly funny).  It warms my heart to see you have such a great time!

For your actual birthday, I took your to Chuck E. Cheese’s, which is where you were dying to go!  So, you and I went, and we played all of the games until we ran out of tokens, and then you took your tickets and bought some candy and a few other trinkets.  You and I had a marvelous time!  After the games, I took you to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  I had a wonderful time hanging out and talking with you.

The only downside to the year has been that I believe you’re developing some anxiety.  You seem to constantly worry about things that are out of your control.  You worry about car accidents, and robbers coming into the house.  You worry about being separated from your family or things changing.  Sometimes it gets so severe that I worry about you, and starting thinking that I might need to find a child psychologist to work with you.  For now, I’m keeping an eye on things, but if it gets much worse, we’ll seek professional help for you.

Henry, you are such a sweet child.  You’re continually curious, wanting to know and learn more and more.  You’re as silly as can be, and no one can make me laugh like you do!  I also find that you’re the most loving child imaginable.  You tell me 50 thousand times a day that you love me.  Whenever you go and spend the night at your grandparent’s house, or your Uncle and Aunt’s house you tell them 50 thousand times that you love me and that you miss me.  It warms my heart that I’m in your thoughts so much, because you certainly are in mine.

You light up my life and you always have.  I will love you forever and always, no matter what.  You are my child, you are linked to me and I always want what’s best for you and what will make you happy.

Keep growing, loving and learning.  I love you,


Name Calling

My In-laws are overall wonderful grandparents.  They adore my kids, they love to spoil them, always want them to come over for sleep overs etc.  However, my MIL keeps saying things that are hurtful/ harmful to my oldest child, and it’s driving me mad.

Henry has always been an easy going kid.  He’s very “go with the flow,” laid back and calm.  He was like that as a baby too.  If he was playing with a toy and it rolled out of range, he’d just pick up another toy to play with.  And, if all toys eventually rolled out of range, his toes were always nearby to play with.
Some of you may also remember that Henry didn’t become mobile until a year old (low muscle tone), after he started physical therapy.  He also didn’t walk until he was 17 months old – again with the help of physical therapy.  Because he wasn’t mobile my MIL, and Grandmother In-Law (GMIL) would call him “lazy,” “unmotivated,” “skittish,” “cowardly,” and “timid.”  They said these things about a 1 year old….And, they still say these things still today.
Henry has always been a cautious child.  He didn’t (until recently) like to go too high on the swing set, he doesn’t like large slides at parks, he’s not the type of kid to run and jump off of every piece of furniture.  He’s calm (most of the time), assessing and cautious.  I don’t view any of these things as negatives.  But my MIL and GMIL do.
Last week was Grandparent’s Day at Henry’s school.  His grandparents and great grandparents all came out to see and support him.  After the program, they all came back to the house, and in front of Henry, my MIL started calling him names.  “He’s skittish, and timid and shy.”  Henry was obviously hurt by these remarks, and left his family to go over to our 80 year old neighbor’s house where he felt loved and welcomed.  I unfortunately was at work when this happened, but you better believe that I would have said something if I had been there.
The other day I posted a picture of Ben pulling recipe cards and pots out of kitchen cabinets on Facebook.  My MIL commented that “Henry was always too skittish to do anything that like.”  Which is completely  100% false.  I have pictures of Henry doing the exact same thing!!
J and I need to talk to her about these comments.  These are hurtful to Henry.  He notices that he’s being called names.  He’s noticing that is grandmother is picking on him, and finding him lacking.  I just don’t have words….Grandparents are supposed to love unconditionally, and always lift the kids up!  They aren’t supposed to tear them down!  They aren’t’ supposed to shred their self confidence…..


I sing my kids lullabies.  I’m not the best singer in the world, but I’m not awful, and my kids seems to like it.  This started when Henry was a teeny tiny baby, and I would sing to him as I would nurse him to sleep.  These lullabies also came in handy when he was crying so hard and was inconsolable.  I would sing to him, and it would calm him down pretty quickly.

Over the past 4+ years I’ve collected 6 songs that I sing to Henry:
Baby Mine – traditional lullaby – found in Dumbo
Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald’s version
Blue Skies – Ella Fitzgerald’s version
L.O.V.E. –  Nat King Cole
Good Night Song (Taken from Daniel Tiger – but the tune is made up)
Book of Love – Peter Gabriel (I change the ending from “You ought to give me wedding rings” to “You give me everything.”
His favorite by far is Baby Mine, and that’s the song I’ve been singing to him the longest.  He now asks for it almost every night before bed, and he’ll sometimes ask me to sing it when he gets really upset, or wakes up from a nightmare.  I’ve sang these songs to him so much at bedtime that he now has a pavlovian response to it, and it makes him sleepy when I do it.
Since I was pregnant with Ben I’ve been looking for songs to sing to him – Henry’s list I’ve associated so much with Henry, it would feel weird to sing it to someone else.  So far, I have three songs that I’ll sing to Ben:
Too La Rue La Rue La – Irish Lullaby
I Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis
Ben seems to have the same reaction to lullabies as Henry does.  He loves them, and they will calm him down whenever he’s upset.
I love singing to my boys, and I love how much they seem to like that time with me.  I hope that they remember me singing these songs to them, and that they mean as much to them as it does to me.

Birthday Party Dilema

I’m trying to plan a joint birthday party for my boys.  Henry will be turning 5, and Benjamin will be turning 1.  Big numbers for both boys, and I need to do it together to save some much needed money.  I’m starting to stress over this because I can’t find anything that fits, and I don’t want it at my house.

I need to have a space where Benjamin can have fun too, so places like Chuck E Cheese are out.  My last wish is to try to contain the baby who just want to explore and then have to keep the big kids from running all over him.

J and I thought we had found a great place, a local splash park!  But, they only do parties after normal operating hours, which means a birthday party from 6:00-7:30….for a 1 and 5 year old.  Is that too late?  I feel like that is too late…and then people won’t come because it’s too close to bedtime for their kiddos….

Is it too late?  Would you let your kid go to a birthday party in the summer at a splash park that started at 6:00?




Yesterday on facebook I shared an article from Scary Mommy about the reality of a working and breastfeeding mom and how that reality is at best difficult, and at worst fucking awful. It hit very close to home for me. I’ve worked full time with both of my boys and I’ve had to pump milk for both of them while I’ve been at work. Having to worry because you’re sitting next to doors that don’t lock and anyone could come and open it and see you pumping in a storage closet. It’s so hard for me to relax enough to get my milk to let down when I’m constantly hearing door knobs rattle, while I loudly shout “occupied!”
Anyway, back with my first kid, I had to drive 5 minutes down the road to another building to pump milk for my son. So, what should have taken my 30 minutes (set up, 20 minutes to pump, and break down), ended up taking closer to 45 because of traveling, and I had to do that 3 times a day (one of those was my lunch break though). Anyway, my employers – WHO WERE MY INLAWS didn’t like how much time time it was taking away from my desk (despite the fact that I got my work done anyway) and they wanted me to either stay late, or come in on Saturdays to make up the time I spent pumping during the week.  

I was already working from 8-5 anyway, and had to leave no later than 5:30 because Henry’s daycare closed at 6:00. Which meant that I needed to spend half my Saturday at work – away from my kid – who I then had to pump for…..the cycle was endless and it caused major tension between my inlaws and myself – still to this day.

Anyway, back to the article I posted, my MIL had the nerve to comment “I admire how strong you are about this. I wish I had your strength!”  

I saw that comment and my blood started to boil. The rage that I felt was instantaneous. How dare you say that after the absolute hell you put me though when I was trying to feed your grandson! You only think it’s admirable when it doesn’t affect you! The moment you were the slightlest bit inconvenienced you wanted me to stop because you think breastfeeding is gross and a waste of time, and that I should have just gotten over myself and formula fed.

How hypocritical can you be?

I want to delete the comment, but I know it would only cause tensions to become worse. Even though it’s been just about 4 years since I’ve stopped pumping for Henry, I’m still angry, sore, upset, and hurt over how they treated me. And situations like this don’t help me get over it any faster.

Infant Assessment

Ben has his assessment with the NC Infant-Toddler Program on Wednesday morning.  Even though I’ve walked down this road with Henry, I’m still nervous and anxious about the situation with Ben.  I’m worried about his limitations.  It seems like the list of things he can’t do for his age is long, and it seems like it keeps growing.

As of right now, Ben cannot:

  • Roll over from back to tummy
  • Lift his arms up over his head (we can move his arms there, but he can’t do it himself)
  • Crawl (he is 95% immobile – can can push himself backwards while on his tummy and spin around, but that’s it.  He also hasn’t discovered that he can get to places he wants like that, he seems to be doing it by accident)
  • Pull up
  • Get to a sitting position on his own.  Although, he has just learned how to get from sitting to his tummy, but it seems to be more a face plant than anything else….

This situation definitely causes me to question why Ben isn’t crawling.  I keep wondering if it’s something that J and I did – or didn’t do, or if it’s genetic since both of my boys have/had this issue.  I definitely have feelings of guilt, anxiety, stress and just an overwhelming sadness that we’re back on this road again.  I’m really wondering what the outcome of the assessment is going to be on Wednesday….

On Trying Not to Raise an Asshole

This past week has been a bit rough for my son Henry.

He has struggled with with his behavior the whole week, which has ranged from being ungrateful, to rudeness, to outright defiance.  

Last Sunday, J and I took him to a trampoline park to meet up with some of his schools friends. It was a nice chance for us to get out of the house and get some pent up energy out. The plan had been for us to only buy 2 jumping tickets (it’s expensive). So, Henry would jump, and J would jump, and I’d hold the baby, and then J and I would switch. Well, we quickly found out that our plan wasn’t allowed. And, because we’re both poor teachers, we couldn’t afford for all three of us to jump, so I volunteered to sit on the sideline and watch. So, for an hour, I watched J and Henry bounce all over the place, and run, play and bounce with his schools friends, and it seemed like they were all having a great time.

Fast forward to when we were driving home, and Henry just keeps talking about the fact that he didn’t get to do any of the arcade games (we had no money for it), and how he’s so sad because he didn’t get to play, and how that’s all he wanted to do, and we wouldn’t let him. I’m just stewing in the front seat, and then I start to really get mad, because this kid won’t drop it! When I just can’t take it anymore, I whip my head around and let loose on the kid. I told him that he was being ungrateful. That mom and dad had to scrimp and save and pinch pennies to take him to the play date, and instead of saying “thank you,” you’re telling me how your experience is ruined because you didn’t get to play a video game? I go on to tell him that I didn’t jump because I didn’t want to, but because we couldn’t afford for me to. And, we didn’t say no to arcade  games because we were being mean, it’s because we didn’t have the money to do it. Be thankful for what you did get to do!

I’m not sure if any of that sank in for him, as he’s only 4, but it sure made me feel better to say it.

Then, during the week, Henry got 3 time outs at school (in one day) because he wasn’t listening to the teacher. That’s unheard of for him. One time out is odd for him, let alone 3. He’s usually the silly, yet respectful kid….So, more punishments ensued at home….No electronics for the day (no computer, tv or ipad – that caused major tears).

Then, on Saturday, we were all sitting down to dinner – having homemade cheese steaks, and Henry pretty much refused to eat it. This is a hot button for me. We spend a lot of money on groceries, and spend a lot of time cooking and planning meals, so telling me that you don’t like it and you don’t want to eat it, is a no go. I’m not saying that we make him clean his plate, we let him eat until he’s full and then stop, but he is going to be respectful to me and appreciative that I spent time and money to make him a delicious meal (and most of the time it’s healthy too – cheese steaks notwithstanding). I can’t abide comments like “that’s disgusting,” “ewww,” “I’m never eating that.” etc. Comments like that turn on my rage in 0.3 seconds. So, after giving him multiple chances to eat, he only ate about 1.5 bites, which is unacceptable. So, Henry left the dinner table and went straight to bed, 1.5 hours early. He cried and was upset, and he and I had a long talk about why this was happening and what to do in the future (when someone makes you dinner, you eat it, smile say “thank you,” no matter how much you hate it. It’s called manners.)

My usually sweet, sweet boy, was totally bordering on being an asshole all week, if not actually being an asshole. I really want to be a present mom, and to raise my boys so they are polite, respectful and grateful and to take into account people’s feelings before they make an off the cuff remark. I’m hoping that I’m on the right track to do that….Parenting is hard.