I’m Sorry, I Love You, Thank You

Those were the three words I said to my parents Wednesday night when they answered the phone.  I’d just spent the better part of my evening experiencing one of the most overwhelming, intimidating, mentally and physically exhausting excursions since giving birth to my two boys.   What did I do?  I went to Toys R Us to buy their presents from Santa.   Yep, my husband and I accomplished it in one fell swoop and if we hadn’t been beaten up so badly, we’d likely have done a jig, followed by a high five.

As with most things I encounter on a day-to-day basis, I find that I was completely oblivious to level of work my parents put into me and my brother.   As a child, I thought they were so mean, self centered, and slave drivers.  Yes, I did think the last thing especially when I had to mow the lawn on the weekends.   With each new day of me raising our boys, I develop a different level of respect for my parents, for their hard work, their resilience, their strength (both mentally and physically), their heart, and their intelligence.   It doesn’t seem to get easier as the boys are growing, just more complicated.

Wednesday, my husband and I walked into the doors of our local Toys R Us.  I stopped for a moment and looked around.  Skylander toys seemed to be yelling down at me from banners.   Queen Elsa and Princess Anna smiled devilishly at me, their backs against each other.  I could hear them laughing at me while saying under their breath, “oh, here’s a new one.   Let’s see what we can put them through.”

There were Paw Patrol toys, FAO Schwartz, Disney, Thomas the Train, Legos, Avengers, Star Wars, Barbies, bikes, balls, pretend clothing, books and games.   There were so many levels and dimensions of each toy and each brand that I slowly felt my anxiety start wrapping around my heart and lungs, constricting my airways and veins.   This experience was going to be the death of me.  I knew it.  I knew it, even though my husband and I had a plan and a list.  I knew it as I was entering the realm of medieval torture.

My husband grabbed a cart and we immediately went to the Paw Patrol toys and Transformers.   Henry loves Paw Patrol.   You name it and he wants it.   Davey is all about his Transformers and Avengers.   He’s a super hero kind of kid (both literally and figuratively).  And of course, we’re smacked with a double whammy, as Henry’s birthday is 12 days before Christmas.  Yes, I know, we planned poorly.

We looked at our watches, determining that we had exactly 45 minutes to accomplish our task and set out to get it done.   This proved to be a bit too ambitious on our part.   45 minutes is ample time to discuss the absolute atrocity of pricing a chintzy plastic toy $56.   45 minutes is not ample time to get presents for our boys.   It was ludicrous on our part.

After completing our purchases, which nearly required two carts, we set out to collect the boys from church and quickly whisk them away to bed.   While my husband separated out our purchases, making sure that we had both boys taken care of, I placed the phone call to my parents, and what my dad told me made me love them both even more.  Not so much for the gift, but for the fact that they were willing to sacrifice for both me and my brother.   What he told me made me proud, and made me want to be as great as the two of them, although I can only hope to be half as good.

In the early 80s, there was a huge toy phenomenon known as Cabbage Patch Kids.   They were everywhere and yet nowhere.   Every child in the country wanted one, but they flew off the shelves faster than a North American X15 Thunderbird.  I was one of those children desperate for a Cabbage Patch Kid.   On the Thursday before Christmas in 1982, my dad cashed his paycheck and then set out to find a doll.   For those of you unaware, Christmas Day was on Saturday of that year, so he admitted he was a bit delusional, but also desperate as he and my mom had spent the better part of 3 months attempting to get one for Christmas.  He told me that he didn’t care what color, shape, size, or gender my Cabbage Patch Kid was, he just knew that he HAD to get one.  It’s the only thing I’d asked for and he couldn’t bear to face his child without one.   He made his way to Service Merchandise and there were two on the shelf.  He grabbed one as another person was grabbing the other.

As he told me this story, especially the part of not being able to face his child without her gift, I started to tear up.   I get it.  I really do.   Every parent wants their child to be happy.   No parent wants to see their child sad.   Until I had children of my own; however, I had no clue how stressful and yet heartbreaking shopping for them can be.

So as he finished his story and I thought back to my experience only hours before, I could only say these words, “I’m sorry.  I love you.  Thank you.”  I’m sure I’ll be repeating these words to my parents for years to come, especially during this time of year.


Just a Mild Heart Attack

When I close my eyes, I can still see it happening. Sometimes it’s fast, so fast that I can’t even comprehend what is happening. Other times, it’s in slow motion and I watch in happen but I’m completely paralyzed incapable of really doing anything to prevent it. And even though it’s been a few days, I’m still having dreams and even nightmares about it.

We sat there on Monday afternoon, waiting to order our lunch. It was Day Two of our Disney vacation and today’s special treat was eating in the Rainforest Café at the opening of the Animal Kingdom. It was an interesting place, a place with mechanically operated animals and vines hanging from the ceiling. There were fish tanks with live fish, and trees and shrubs, and periodically the rumble of thunder followed by what sounded like rain that would arouse the jungle animals. Davey was loving it already.

We put Davey in his high chair and placed him at the corner of the table alongside me. My husband sat in the booth across from Davey and we had Henry in his car seat carrier onto of an overturned high chair, something made specifically for those parents (like myself) who prefer to keep their young children in a carseat. I didn’t have him buckled in, which I know is a big fat “no-no”, but I never thought something would happen.

Henry was reclined all the way back and instead of being turned to the side, he was facing the table. He’s quite the mover, my second spawn, and loves to kick. So, we sat there perusing the menu, talking to Davey, and periodically looking over at Henry to get one of his infectious smiles and laughs. And then it happened.

It’s almost like I knew it was going to happen before it even happened. I can’t really explain it, but it’s like I saw a quick glimpse of the future. Henry’s feet were touching the edge of the table and I’d already watched as the carseat and high chair swayed once. Why didn’t I say something then? Why didn’t I get up and move him? I don’t know.

His toes were curling on the table ever so slightly and then he flattened out his feet before finally giving a swift shove and that’s when the carseat carrier fell off the back of the upside down highchair. I watched as the carrier flipped over and landed upside down on the floor before rolling to its side.

“Oh my God!” I shouted as I jumped and pulled my screaming 4 month old from the carrier and took off running out of the restaurant.

At first, I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I don’t know if I was afraid of what I might see or if I just wanted to keep hugging him and hoping that my hugs would cure anything that was wrong with him. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law joined me out in the lobby along with the manager, while my husband sat with Davey to make sure he was alright. That’s when I finally pulled Henry away from me and started to inspect him.

My knees were weak, even shaking, and I could feel the gut-wrenching pull in my stomach that was almost making me vomit. I felt like my heart had skipped a few beats and it continued to flutter as I found that there wasn’t a single scratch on him. No broken skin, no cuts or lacerations, and he was crying with real tears.

The manager called the EMT and Henry was checked out. There were no broken bones, no dents in his head (which is what really had me scared), his pupils were not dilated and by the time the EMTs arrived, he was already laughing again. I panicked briefly about if we would have to take him to the emergency room and what that meant for Davey. We were only at Disney World for a short amount of time and he’d been looking forward to it for so long. Would he resent his brother if we had to leave and go to the ER? How would we explain it to him? Thankfully, Henry was given the all clear and we were able to enjoy the rest of our day, but not without periodically waking him up to make sure that he didn’t have a concussion.

And this is how he was treated for the remainder of the day.
And this is how he was treated for the remainder of the day.

Looking back, I should have known and should have been prepared. Henry has slid, feet first, off of our couch before. I was sitting alongside him and he was wedged in with a boppy, but still he kicked himself lose and slid down onto the floor. It was a short slide and there were no injuries then either.

This will not be the last time I’m scared to death as a mother. I just wish if these boys of mine were going to do acrobatics, that they’d wait until they’re older and can at least tell me when something is wrong.

My Sensitive Little Man

If my husband knew I were writing a blog about our 2 year olds’ sensitivity, he’d probably give me grief.   I guess I really never understood,or perhaps I underestimated, Davey’s level of emotional comprehension.   We used to worry that he didn’t understand pain, as it’s very unusual for him to cry even when injured.   Truthfully, it used to worry us, but not so much anymore.  

Of course these days, Davey’s had to deal with my emotional roller coaster especially on these final few weeks of my second pregnancy.   He’s seen me cry more, although I do try to leave the room if I feel the tears coming on.   He’s seen me get upset and lose patience.  He’s seen me exhausted.  Frankly, he’s had to deal with mommy’s entire emotional spectrum, but he’s handled it pretty well. 

Last week, I recorded “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, which of course is Disney’s version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I thought how wonderful it would be for him to watch especially since he’s a HUGE Mickey Mouse fan.   What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that my two year old was able to completely understand what was going on.   And why didn’t I anticipate that?   He’s a very smart child, very intuitive, and always eager to know more.   He’s constantly questioning things and doing his best to regurgitate what he’s learned.   So, why wouldn’t the movie have an emotional impact on him?  

He was glued to the television for the entire 30 minutes of the production and when the Ghost of Christmas Future showed what was to come, Davey seemed to take it to heart.   It wasn’t so much Scrooge would die alone, as it was that Davey understood what was to happen to Tiny Tim.   As he watched Mickey kneeling at Tiny Tim’s graveside, Davey climbed into my lap and said, “No, Mama, Mickey sad.  Tiny Tim go to Heaven.”   And he put his arms around my neck and hugged me.  

How did my son know this?   My husband and I have never really talked about life and death.   I love to tell him stories of my younger brother who died of leukemia.   He’s been with me to my brother’s grave to put balloons and flowers on it.   Perhaps his memory is so astute that he remembers all of this.   I never cry at my brother’s grave, but I do become slightly misty when I tell Davey that his uncle is part of his namesake.  

I smile, though, as I’m writing this because I’m proud of my son for having a sensitive side, an emotional side, a side that can hurt and understand even emotional pain as complex as that of losing a loved one.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job raising him to try to deal with all of life’s little nuances.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job in raising him as a Christian boy.  

We haven’t watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol again.   Not because I don’t think it’s acceptable, but more so because we all have been just slightly too busy preparing for Henry’s impending arrival.   I am concerned that Davey may cry when he sees Mickey at Tiny Tim’s grave again.   I don’t like seeing my baby cry, but to know that it’s not because of fear but because of a level of sympathy and love makes me feel good as a mom.  

Have a Little Faith

Such a simple, simple phrase. How many of us hear this every day? How many of us repeat this to ourselves every day? Our personal mantra. Well, for the next eight weeks, I’ll be saying this to myself over and over.

Last night I did something that in theory seemed like a good idea. At the point I conceived the idea (nearly three weeks ago), it seemed like a good idea. I had grand visions in my head, selfless AND selfish acts. I was (and still am) going to do what is best, or what I feel is best for everyone except me, so I booked a flight for my husband and two year old son to fly to Rochester, NY WITHOUT me.

Henry’s actual due date is December 20th, but since I am having a scheduled C-section, the actual date of birth will be Friday, December 13th (dun, dun, dun). That being said, it almost seemed like Davey’s grandparents and aunt would not be able to see him this year for Christmas. Normally, we fly up the first week of December since my husband is a shareholder with his company, which is headquartered out of Rochester.

The first Friday of December is his annual shareholder’s meeting and company Christmas party, so we try to make a week of it in Rochester since Davey was born so that my husband’s side of the family will get some time during the holidays with Davey. This year, thanks to Henry’s impending birth, we didn’t think that was possible. However, I thought long and hard about it and felt that my husband and son should still try to fly up at least for a few days. That means I will have four days all to myself.

It started out as a selfless act, but then evolved into something more. What a break! Four days! How sweet, wonderful, and enticing. Immediately, I decided I would coerce my husband into doing this. It was all such a fabulous plan until I booked their tickets last night.

What was I thinking? Four days ALONE???? I haven’t had even ONE day alone in over two years. My body and mind has adjusted to this. How will I survive? My sister-in-law tells me to schedule a day at the spa. Great idea, the only problem is that requires money and since I’m a stay at home mom, we’re not exactly rolling in any sort of extra cash.

I could read some books! That would be awesome, considering the only books I get to read these days are “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. I could get caught up on some of my writing! That sounds great as well especially since I don’t seem to have time for too much of that anymore between potty training, the croup, and my other “volunteer” activities I do to keep my resume still active for the day I decide to go back to work.

Hey, I could sleep in! Might as well try to bank some hours seeing as how a week later we’ll be adding a newborn into the fold. Too bad you can’t really bank sleep hours.

I could watch old movies or adult television, anything other than Disney movies. There’s so much I could really do with my four days of being baby and husband free. No cooking dinners, no laundry to do, nothing! It’s all great, but it’s still not easing my mind or my incessant need to worry. So, what’s eclipsing all of these fabulous opportunities I’ll have at my disposable? My narcissitic personality and need to be in control.

I awoke this morning and told my husband I could never forgive him if he lost our son at the airport while they were sitting through a lay over! Can you believe I said that? The only thoughts swirling through my head are the two days of travel for my boys. How will my husband handle flying solo with Davey? He’s NEVER done it. Heck, I’ve never done it either, but for some reason I have a lot of faith that I can handle it. I’ll say out loud that I have the faith in my husband. He would NEVER let something happen to Davey. He would sacrifice himself before he let something happen, but what if the unthinkable still happens.

Davey’s fast, insanely fast! What if he breaks free of my husband’s grasp and my husband chases him only to catch him and then tweak his lower back when trying to pick Davey up? What then? How will he survive? What if Davey walks into one of the many shops and starts pulling items off the shelves and onto the floor when my husband isn’t watching? What if he tries to grab something in one of the shops and runs without paying? Will security and police be called? Will my child play the game of “this isn’t my daddy?” with the police? What if he won’t sleep on the plane and starts kicking the seat in front of him and the person becomes angry, which then angers my husband and they get into a shouting match and Davey and my husband are forced to leave the plane? All of these “what if” scenarios are killing me and I’m still eight weeks away from the actual travel. Can you imagine how I’ll be when I drop them off at the airport?

It’s not that I’m a super mom, but I just know it’s easier to have the “tag team” effect when travelling with a toddler. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my husband. It’s not that I could necessarily PREVENT any of these things from happening should I be travelling with them. It’s just that with me the whole out of sight, out of mind phrase doesn’t work. I’ll be a nervous wreck. I’m already a nervous wreck. Geez!

My husband says to me this morning, “I’m insulted and I’m hurt that you think I would let something happen to our son.” I don’t think he would LET it happen, but sometimes it’s really hard with Davey. Until then and even on those days, I’ll just start working on faith, having a little more of it, and saying my prayers for all of us.

As a side note, my husband is thinking of getting a leash for Davey just for those days of travel. I’m totally against this, but if it will help him keep track of Davey, then I’ll concede. As long as my husband never puts the leash on Davey while around me.

Big Boy Bed

Try to say that three times really fast!

So, last week I took advantage of the Labor Day holiday, which meant my husband was home and could entertain Davey, in order to start work on Davey’s new big boy room. I’ve put it off a lot longer than I did with his first bedroom. I’ve toyed around with ideas on what would be best. Did I want to do a room devoted to Mickey Mouse or did I want to do one with a different Disney theme? Side note…anything Disney rocks this child’s world!

Then I thought of practicality. Did I want to redo a room again in a few years when he’d outgrown some of the kiddie/baby phase? Not really. I needed something easy, something convenient for me, and something that would grow with him. That being said, we quickly decided to avoid a themed bed (he has a racing car bed at his Grammy’s house in NY), just because I didn’t want to fork out the money again for another new bed in a few years. We landed on a contemporary, with a hint of the traditional, full size wooden bed. Bedding can always be changed.

For a month the bed sat in our garage as the days ticked by as we awaited anxiously the ultrasound that would determine whether we were having a boy or a girl, hence dictating which room the bed would actually be placed. After a trip to Rochester to see family, and a quick jaunt to Myrtle Beach to kiss summer goodbye, we began work last week, and I must say so far I’m pleased.

enjoying some quality time on the new bed
enjoying some quality time on the new bed

It’s a nervous arena, being the parent of a child who’s growing, one that you wish would stay your little baby forever. I cried when we converted Davey’s crib into a toddler bed! How the heck was I going to react to this? Truth be told, I was second guessing moving him into another room. First, the nursery is a tad bigger in size than his new bedroom. There’s more closet space, more playroom. Second, what if he became really irate about giving up his room? What if he didn’t want to move? Of course, this hasn’t been the problem and we haven’t even referred to the nursery as Henry’s room.

Finally, with the walls painted, the bed up, and new bedding on top, we decided to let Davey have a “go” at the room on Saturday. Naptime is much more different. No longer do I rock him to sleep. Instead, I say “nap time” and he runs up the stairs (just like he always has) and I tuck him into his bed, give him a kiss, read a book, and then close the door. it takes about a half an hour to 45 minutes of him “talking” to himself or “reading” one of his books to his stuffed animals before he finally goes to sleep. Bed time is much the same, which has become quite shocking to both me and my husband. We both thought we’d have a bigger issue with getting him asleep in the big boy bed.

first official night
first official night

From time to time, I see my little baby in his big bed and I do get a lump in my throat. I love the new stages and his growth and development, but I am super sad to know that one day he may be much too big for that bed.