Sunday, October 3, 2010


A question I ask the kids a lot lately, when they are asking and nagging and demanding and pleading and pestering and pleasing:

"How many hands does mommy have?"

The usual response in a chorus of "2" (although Kate sometimes says 10. I think she might get confused with fingers)

David responded tonight with: "41. That way you can get everything done all at once."

Friday, October 1, 2010

trying not to get carried away ...

okay, so I am just going to come out with it.
David. can. read.

(dramatic pause for the awesomeness of this revelation to sink in)

The first book that he read? "Watch me throw the ball" by Mo Willems.

Now, he couldn't read all the words, I helped with the trickier ones. (Two vowel sounds together are stumpers.)

And, now I am trying not to get carried away. I have a mental pile of books ... ones I loved as a child, ones I loved as an adult. What will he think when he reads Charlotte's Web or the Borrowers or the Big Friendly Giant? What books will he love? And then the Hobbit. And Harry Potter. Pride and Prejudice. Galapagos. the Sandman series.

so many doors opened

and, I am trying not to get carried away. not yet at least.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

bath tub conversations

... not sure where the conversation started, but it ended like this:

David: You have a sister now mom.
Me: Yes, Wonkyung is my sister. She married my brother, Uncle Pooh. One day you will have a brother David when Kate gets married and Kate will have a sister when you get married.
David: I'm not getting married.
Me: Why not?
David: I don't want to look different. (Patrick shaved for the wedding. It was traumatic for all of us.)
Kate: You don't have to wear a dress David.
David: Oh. Yeah.

Their logic makes perfect sense sometimes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the Difference

On Wednesdays, David & Kate take turns going to Grandma and Grandpa's for the afternoon.

Kate, when it's just Kate and me, always wants to go somewhere .... the park, the zoo, for ice cream.
David, when it's just David and me, always wants to just go home and have the house without Kate.

Friday, May 14, 2010

the one about mothers day

There is this picture of my mother holding me. I must be just about Kate's age. I didn't have any hair either. She's looking at me and I'm looking off at ... something. There's so much light we are squinting our eyes.

I find myself at times in that same pose, holding Kate. Focused on her as she takes in what's around her. I see so much of myself in her. In David. Their actions, mannerisms, fears.

And I think of how much I have taken from my mother. And wonder how much she took from hers.

unfinished ....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My have a joke

"My have a joke. What time is it with trees?"

"What time?"

"They get all tangled up!"

laughter. laughter. laughter.

I think you have to be 2.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

oooh! a piece of candy!

I know. Two posts in one day.

Just a couple things that have made me laugh or smile the past couple weeks that I don't want to forget ....

(oooh a numbered list!)

1. We are all sitting at the dinner table.
David: My balls are sore.
Me: what?
David: My balls are sore. I was playing with them today. I have balls in my balls.
Me: ....
Mike: Sometimes if we squeeze them too hard they hurt.

2. Kate while eating ice cream on a mom & Kate day
"It's yummy in my tumbly"
She wanted to try some of mine. I gave her a bite. She wanted me to try hers. She takes a huge scoop and shoves it in my mouth. "we are sharing!" says Kate.

3. Kate while playing with her Barbies
"It's okay. Mommy's here."
As she kisses them and puts them to bed.

4. Kate is laying on the couch, hysterical because she is going to have to use the nubulizer.
David: "It's okay Kate. You are so brave. Remember in the doctors office. You can be brave again."

5. Getting into the car for school
Kate: David will you help me?
David: Yes Kate
He opens the door for her. I was in the foyer grabbing backpacks and coats.
I come out into the garage to find them both in the car.
Kate tells me David helped her get her leg up.

6. Sitting on the couch between David & Kate, who is hopped up on steroids at the time.
Kate: (leaning over me to talk to David) Mommy doesn't love you.
Me: I love you both Kate. You are both my babies.
Kate: (in a nasty voice) David looks like a baby.

growing pains

We came home from school today and David immediately walks in the door, takes off his coat, takes off his shoes, takes off his socks, takes off his pants, takes off his underwear. And, then puts on shorts.
Today he wanted to put a T-shirt on as well.
He was able to take his long sleeved shirt off and picked out a T-shirt from his drawer.
But, just couldn't seem to manage to get his shirt on the right way. The picture always ended up on his back.

He tried with a couple different shirts.

He would get so frustrated ...

the tears would start

He would ask for help. So, I tried helping him - showing him how by putting a t-shirt on as well, explaining what he had to do. But, he really didn't want my help.

He would get so frustrated ....

In the end he ended up with a T-shirt on, picture on the front. He came out of his room with it on and into the kitchen where I was sitting, my face lit up, words of praise ready. He read my expression and whimpered a "no mom." A hug was okay though.

I wanted so much to be able to help him this afternoon. Part of me just wanted to do it for him. He was so frustrated and so upset. I could have put the shirt on him. And, he kept asking me for help. But, he really didn't want it. He would go in his room and close the door to keep me out. And, come out with the tears welled up in his eyes when it was on backwards. Again.

The attempts and failures. (i just want to help).

I remember thinking of how big he was getting.
I remember thinking how hard it was to watch and not do.

But, he did it. All by himself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It was a good day

I can't seem to remember what my definition of a "good" day was before David & Kate.
I remember having good days, but somehow it all seems a bit silly.
The importance we put on "things" and "stuff" ...

Some days, in the current way of thinking, a good day consists of:
1. getting dressed
2. eating

Other ways, on other days, it might be an actual event ... sharing an ice cream with Kate, getting everyone to sleep and in bed without any fussing and fighting, playing light sabers with David.

If I can just manage to eek out that one moment during the day where I think in my head "this is what it's (whatever it is that "it" really is) all about, " I usually consider it a good day.

Almost every day, at some point, we talk about our favorite things that happened that day. I started having them occasionally draw a picture (Kate) or write a word (David) on an index card that we've made into a book to illustrate what it was that made that day good. Sometimes its the obvious ... someone came to play, a trip to the playground or library.

.... And, sometimes it's unexpected:

David drew a picture of a person with a light saber.
We didn't play light sabers that day.

He knows, he tells me. But, daddy told him tomorrow was Saturday and they could play light sabers outside because he would be home from work. And, the anticipation of the next day becomes his favorite thing.

And my good day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

David the writer

Mike's mother, Sue, recently had a birthday.

The kids and I spent one morning trying to think of something we could make her as a gift.

Kate wanted to paint her a picture. "My think Grandma will love it."

David said, "Hey, I know. Grandma likes books. She reads me lots of books. I'll make her a book."

I wrote the words for him, but they were all his. Mike helped him with the illustrations. He was so excited about it. He hid it in a cabinet until Sue came for dinner.

The title: "My first book."

It went something like this:

Once upon a time there were a lot of Triceratops.
Then came a big T-Rex.
Then came a Spinosaurus.
Then came an Ankylosaurus.
Then came a Woolly Mammoth.
Then came a mouse.
They were a family.

It was a fantastic book.

Carry you around

You are distracting me from all other activity and I know that your presence will dominate my memory (Ani Difraco - Carry you around)

I think sometimes as a parent, I tend to dwell on the negative. Or at least seem to dwell on the negative.

I would be a liar to say that every day is easy.

Most days are long and tiring, usually with some sort of a challenge.

David doesn't want to school. Kate doesn't want to get dressed. No one wants to eat. No one wants to go to bed.

And I think that comes out sometimes in my writing and conversations, the frustration of a long day, mostly because of the need to release some of that frustration, get ideas from other parents.

That emotion though is not what I carry around.

David and Kate have their bedrooms on the first floor of our home, ours is on the second. At night, I put a gate up in the hallway and a monitor on. The other morning, over the monitor I heard Kate go in to Davids room and wake him up:

Kate: Wake up David

David: Hi Kate

Kate: My love you David

David: You too Kate

Kate: We are best friends

David: Yes. Mommy too. Lets go wake her up.

(Two children appear from bedroom on left, a 4 year old boy and 2 year old girl, dressed in pajamas. First the older child tries shaking the gate, the younger repeats the action. Working together they realize they can push down the gate and escape.)

It's those sort of moments that dominate my memory. That I carry around.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's my fat girl

Kate no longer takes a nap.

So, to say that the past couple weeks around here have been rough is probably an understatement.

Most of the day goes by in a bit of a whirl wind - trying to keep the kids active, busy, entertained and from trying to kill each other and of course all the other stuff that goes into the day ...

And, most of the day goes pretty well. We have the occasional melt down and they still do take the occasional nap.

Most of the day until dinner.

Dinner is usually the worst part of any day. By 5:30 - 6pm David and Kate (and Mike) are usually exhausted and short fused. They are also fantastically picky eaters, so, trying to figure out something for dinner and getting them to eat it isn't fun.

I don't want to two meals at dinner. But, I have to be realistic - do I really expect them to eat steak fajitas? I try to get them to at least try whatever it is that Mike and I are eating. But, even that some days turns into an ordeal - David crying, Kate crying ... And, I don't want that either. I don't want dinner time to be something negative.

But, tonight. Tonight was different. Tonight was fantastic.

Dinner went well, David even tried the sweet and sour chicken I made. We talked about our days. And laughed.

At one point during dinner, Kate started yelping. We reminded her that there was no yelling at the dinner table.

"It's my fat girl. It's my fat girl."
more screams.
"It's my fat girl."

Oh, Kate ... it's your echo.

I don't know how I got echo from "fat girl", but sure enough, that was what she was trying to tell us.

After dinner, we played hide and seek, cleaned up and got ready for bed.

I know it seems trivial. Maybe even a little silly.
But, a nice stress-free night after a couple rough weeks felt so comforting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

a bit of bad parenting

David is still obsessed with dinosaurs.

Almost every day, at some point, he and Kate pretend to be dinosaurs.

Some days David is a meat eater and I am his prey.
Some days he is a brontosaurus trying to make friends.
Some days he is a pteradactyl looking for fish.

Yesterday, was his most creative day.

He and Kate were pretending to be Allosaurs. They were looking for some meat to eat, because, as he explained to Kate and I, he had a nest filled with babies that were hungry. He was going to kill another dinosaur and bring it back to his babies to eat.

I was actually pretty impressed.

It's hard to explain unless you see him do it, but David does a fantastic job pretending to be a dinosaur - he moves his hands like claws, arches back his head when pretending to takes bites out of another dinosaur, rocks back and forth on his legs.

So, where do you find yourself asking, does the bit of bad parenting come in?

Well, at one point he yelled to Kate, "C'mon Kate (because he was yelling to Kate), there's a baby brontosaurus over here. It's parents left it alone. Lets kill it and bring it to our babies."

And, I told him that maybe killing babies wasn't such a good idea. And, that I think he and Kate
ought to play something else and take a break from dinosaurs.

(See, just a bit of bad parenting.)

I don't know why it bugged me so much. Don't I "kill" meat and bring it home for my babies to eat? It's not like he yelled, "C'mon Kate, lets kill this baby dinosaur and watch it bleed all over the carpet, suffering."

Part of me was very surprised and impressed. David can do some mighty good pretending.

sigh. But, I think part of me was embarrassed as well. Not of David, but for David. Kids can be cruel. And so can other mothers. What would the moms and kids say at the playground at preschool when David was pretending to kill some baby dinosaurs? Do he or I really care? And why would I ever try to stifle his creativity?

I guess I don't know the answer to the last part yet.

I can, at times, be a very insecure person. Am I projecting that insecurity on to him?

Of course, David was really confused. I am sure he didn't understand why I asked him to stop playing. I wasn't sure why I asked him to stop playing.

We talked the next day about it and I apologized for confusing and told him that he could keep playing it. He told me he was glad because he really liked playing it.