Sharing the Spotlight (written July 12, 2010)

31 08 2011

The title might make you think that this post is about the challenge of juggling two kids and making sure that each gets the attention they need. When BA was only a month or two, I might have written that post, but as he’s grown, an unexpected development has occurred. I find myself on the outside looking in on a quickly blossoming relationship.  A relationship between my two boys.

During Drew’s entire infancy, I was the light of his world. He clung to me, and although it was at times exhausting, I secretly enjoyed the fact that when I went to get him from his crib, his arms would swing ecstatically and the most exuberant smile would break out all over his face. Drew was infatuated with me. Naturally, when BA was born, I expected the same. But the apple of BA’s eye is not me — it is his beloved big brother Drew.

From his first days, BA has intently watched his sibling.  As BA developed, the intent stares changed to laughs and chuckles and antics and an obsession with Drew that has put me firmly in second place.  Sure I provide BA with food and he’ll throw me a smile, a laugh, and sometimes even a squeal of joy, but if big brother is anywhere nearby, his attention is quickly redirected.  It’s gotten to the point where he will fuss and start to cry if he can hear Drew in another room, but he can’t see him.  BA won’t nap if Drew is anywhere around, and toys become useless accessories if big bro strolls by.  I guess I half expected that this might happen, but what has really surprised me is that Drew is just as enthusiastic about his baby brother.  Suddenly, Drew has a undivided audience, and he absolutely loves it.  “Mommy, how about Baby A watch me racing cars? Mommy, how about Baby A pway wiff me?  Mommy, how about Baby A watch me pway baseball?”  (Everything Drew says these days begins with ‘how about…’)

Yesterday, I watched the funniest scene unfold.  BA was in his walker in the living room, but Drew decided that he wanted to show BA his room (as if BA hadn’t ever been in there before).  Drew knows he is not supposed to push or move BA while he’s in the walker, so he stood in front of him calling him as if he were a puppy till BA scooted towards him.  If Drew noticed that BA wasn’t going in the ‘right’ direction, he would say, “OH, Baby A, are you stuck?  Let me help.” And he would reposition BA to head where he wanted him to go.  Finally, they reached Drew’s room, and I heard him say, “Look BA, this is my room.  Here’s my bed.  Here’s my toys.  Look over here at my train.”  The whole time, BA, in true second child form, went smilingly along with his elder brothers manipulation.  I was amazed.

The Insanity of the Moment

28 08 2010

I put in a Nicole Nordeman CD.  I needed peace.  It was the CD I used to listen to long ago when I was single and alone and enjoying a quiet, sunlit Saturday morning.  “Maybe if I turn it up loud enough, ” I thought, “I can find my  happy place.”  Then I started unloading the dishwasher.  Then I began planning out the evening .  Then I started calculating how long it was going to take me to catch up on school work.  Then I wondered if I could skip the grocery store this week.  Drew tore around the kitchen making spaceship sounds while flying his Yoda birthday card in death-defying loops.  The card creaked out the theme to Star Wars over and over and over again.  Baby A barreled through in the walker crashing into walls and cabinets and human beings.  I practiced evasive maneuvers trying to save my already scarred feet.  He screeched with glee and took aim at his brother howling his battle cry.  The two circled the kitchen amidst sounds of light sabers and squeals and scraping walker wheels and screams and clanging dishes and Nicole Nordeman belting out ‘peace’.  I stopped and looked and huffed — and then laughed out loud to myself.  And my peace came back amidst the insanity of the moment.

Catching a Train

28 05 2010

The boys and I went train hunting last night.  A sport that requires no weaponry.  It was a Thursday, and Tim leads a college Bible study elsewhere, so being alone with the young ‘uns I am constantly looking for ways to GET OUT.  Drew loves trains, and asks to see one everytime we cross the tracks.  Of course, the trains around here only run in the evening or over night so spotting one during Drew’s waking hours is rare.  But yesterday, I found a website for the Florida Train Chasers (who knew they existed?!).  The website has tips on when and where to see trains.  It also lists radio frequencies for listening to conductor chit chat for extreme enthusiasts.  We’re not that extreme.  I decided to just find a good parking spot and wait to see if we got lucky.

Before parking, I swung through the Chik fil A drive thru.  I had a coupon.  I am madly in love with CFA coupons.  It’s the only fast food Drew will eat, so it makes an easy, inexpensive meal that I do no have to make or clean up after. It’s a beautiful thing.  The coupon was for buy one get one chicken sandwiches and I added fries and a strawberry shake to the order in honor of our train chasing adventure.

Once parked, I invited Drew to join me in the front seat, and I wrested Baby A from his carrier to sit with us as well.  Drew went straight for the fries, requesting bbq sauce for dunking, and I unwrapped the scalding chicken sandwiches holding them in front of the AC vents to cool them enough to eat.  I had pictured this whole scene as a wonderful and peaceful bonding experience – the three of us enjoying an easy meal while watching the lengths of a freight train disappear into the setting sun.  But sadly, my imagination forgot to consult reality.  My imagined version of this event did not include a bouncing two year old and buttons and gears and bbq sauce and a strawberry shake with whipped cream and my arms too full with a four month old and scalding chicken sandwiches to halt the freight train of a mess that was about to rock my poor car.  Next time we train watch, Dennis the Menace WILL BE firmly restrained in his seat.

Well, we ate, then I cleaned up the bbq sauce, then the whipped cream, then the bbq sauce that was spilled while I was cleaning up the whipped cream, but still no train.  It was almost time for Baby A to eat so I reluctantly strapped the kiddos back in and headed out of the parking lot.  Just as I pulled out, a horn blared, and I looked up to see a big yellow CSX engine hauling a never-ending line of cars.  I yelled for Drew to look and heard the gasp of awe come from his seat.  The road I was on ran parallel to the tracks, so we ‘raced’ the train for a few blocks till we hit the section of tracks we had to cross to get home.  Then we sat with dozens of other cars waiting and watching the massive line steam by.  Drew pointed and named every train car he knew amidst exclamations of “Mommy, look at the wheels!” and “Mommy, it’s a train!”.

“Yeah, Buddy.  It is.”  Sadly, Baby A just screamed.  Evidently he was not satiated by the bbq sauce that I’m pretty sure he sucked off my finger during the whole feeding fiasco, and he was not impressed by the train that he could only hear but not see.  Several minutes and dozens of cars later, the final boxcar crossed the street and echoed into the distance.  It had been a long one, but it wasn’t enough for Drew.  “Follow it, Mommy?  Follow the train, please, Mommy??”

“Sorry, Buddy, we can’t do that tonight.”  I think he just might have a future as a South Florida Train Chaser.

Things I learned this week

26 04 2009

Things I learned this week:

1.  Eating only almonds during South Beach Diet, phase one is not at all effective.

2.  Pointing fingers during an argument always makes the situation worse.

3.  When living with a toddler – the real mess is always being created while the decoy mess is being cleaned up.

4.  Playgrounds in South Florida in April can be dangerously hot by 10:30 AM

5.  Change poopey diapers immediately

6.  Watching temper tantrums from an undisclosed location can be more entertaining than a blockbuster film.

7.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick – Proverbs 12:13

8.  Our future hope should place us in submission to the will of God.

9.  I have the best husband in the world.

10.  I don’t tell my husband that he is the best often enough.

11.  The five second rule cannot apply to my kitchen floor in its current condition.

12.  Fire ants are bad and should all die.

13.  A hard day’s work that is dreaded beforehand can be very fulfilling afterwards.

14.   My son thinks his name is baby. (We are now working to correct this)

15.  A few intimate, quiet moments with my family can wash away a week’s worth of hardship.


28 03 2009

I logged onto this blog a few days ago, and realized that I hadn’t written anything in six months.  Six long months.  The last time I posted, it was the day before Drew’s one year birthday.  Today is the day before his 18 month birthday.  It’s not that I haven’t had multiple things I wanted to write about.  It’s just that most of my time has been spent cleaning up after those events that I would have preferred to have been blogging about. 😉 Some of those events include the first time Drew learned to flush a toilet or when he figured out how to unscrew lids to fun things like lotion and value size bottles of hydrogen peroxide.  I could have written about his macaroni-n-cheese artwork that graced my kitchen floor or the time he decided to help me eliminate dirty laundry by hiding one piece at a time in the most bizarre locations around the house.  (I’m certain articles are still missing, but I’m sure we’ll eventually nose them out – I hope.)  Yes, at sometime during these last six months my baby exploded into a toddler without warning and without even asking for my permission.  Now, he regularly practices for the day he will turn into a terrible two.  I guess he wants to make sure to perfect the full fledged temper tantrums that ensue whenever I refuse his requests.  =P He’s quite the over-acheiver.  I’m sure these experiences aren’t new; they are just new to me.  In fact, as I was finishing Drew’s baby book, I decided that baby books in general should be completely rewritten.  Sure, it’s sweet to remember the first step, first word, and the first tooth, but wouldn’t the book be more interesting if it included memories and pictures of parent and child during firsts  like these:

First Public Vomiting Experience

First 30 Minute Temper Tantrum

First Time Baby Grabbed a Sharp Object from the Counter (and mom’s frantic reaction)

First Time Watching the Wiggles (umm…are you serious?!)

First Mad Dash through the House Chasing Baby with a Diaper Blowout

First Object Flushed Down the Toilet

Baby’s First attempt Eating a PB &J

First Emergency Room Trip (haven’t had this yet, but I KNOW it is coming)

First Time Baby Runs Head First into a Wall

First Time Baby Tries to Boss Mommy Around

First Time Baby eats a Rock

Any all the other firsts that I’m sure are coming…

*Note: I had more I was going to add to this post, but I had to run to stop Drew from eating my chapstick – where he got it, I have no idea.  Instead of delaying another six months before posting, I decided to simply put this up as is.  I figured you’d get the general idea…gotta run 😉

Baby Traveling Chronicles #2: Breaking the Sound Barrier

5 07 2008

My sister has a large and, ummm, gregarious family.  😉 I love going there for the company and entertainment (as well as for my sister’s amazing food 🙂 ) But, poor Baby Drew, is used to being at home with just Mom and Dad in a relatively calm and quiet household.   Boy did he get the shock of his life when that fun airplane trip landed him in a totally new and crazy place in NY.  My sister joked that he was going to be thrown into bootcamp. For the first few days, it took me at least an hour to get him to sleep for naps and bedtime, and then he would still sometimes awaken a while later from the strange smells and sounds that were all around him.  He always had this horrific expression on his face when he woke up like he was thinking, “Oh no, I’m still here!”  To make matters worse (his sleeping that is), we had lots of family coming in and out to visit, and he was being greeted by new faces everyday.  The poor little guy had a few meltdowns – he didn’t know what to do.

Eventually, he began to get used to it all though.  And by the end of the week, he was going to bed fairly easily and sleeping through door slams, chattering kids, and big family gatherings.  And now that we’re back in FL, I’ve decided that I am going to put all of my future kids (Lord willing) through my sister’s family bootcamp. 🙂  Drew has been consistently sleeping 12 hours every night (he has never done that), and yesterday, he napped through Dr. Daddy drilling and hammering the new baby gate at the top of the stairs, and went to bed without a peep despite several neighbors setting off their own personal firework displays.  I am amazed – and wonderfully well rested.  😉 Thanks to Big Sis’s Baby Bootcamp.

Dinner revisited

24 04 2008

Just for kicks, I thought I would compare the experience of making dinner sans baby versus making dinner with my darling 8 month old…

The Pre-Baby Dinner Experience

1.  Cook a lovely, tasty meal for two

2.  Sit down to a quiet dinner with my husband, enjoying his conversation and lavished compliments regarding the meal

3. Enjoy a tasty dessert

The Post-Baby Dinner Experience

1.  Retrieve screaming child from living room and deposit him in walker in the kitchen.

2.  Practice acrobatics while gathering ingredients for dinner and dodging child-in-walker chasing rolling desk chair around kitchen.

3.  Chop zucchini while screaming child-in-walker rams into ankles.

4.  Shove raw zucchini into baby feeder and hand to screaming child.

5.  Scramble to get vegetables prepared while baby sucks the life out of raw zucchini.

6.  Begin preparing chicken while baby beats stainless steal dishwasher with baby feeder oozing raw  mutilated zucchini pulp.

7.  Ponder how long it will be before zucchini streaks are cleaned from stainless steal dishwasher.

8.  Abruptly end pondering to launch emergency rescue mission to save vertical blinds from child-in-walker.

9.  Pause dinner prep to clean raw chicken slime deposited on vertical blinds during emergency rescue mission.

10.  Return to stove to rescue burning vegetables.

11.  Mental alert triggered by prolonged silence.

12.  Discover baby-in-walker exploring toilet in downstairs bathroom.

13.  Disinfect baby.

14.  Disinfect self.

15.  Pull overdone chicken from oven.

16.  Hand baby over to Daddy stepping in the door from work.

17.  Scowl at Daddy as he says, “Oh, what a cute little boy!”

18.  Put dinner on table.

19.  Wrestle octopus-baby into high chair.

20.  Shrug shoulders and grunt in response to Daddy’s question of ‘what’s for dinner?’.

21.  Sit down to dinner.

22.  Get up to retrieve forgotten bib.  Sit down to dinner.  Get up to retrieve forgotten silverware.  Sit down to dinner.  Get up to retrieve forgotten…etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc…

23.  Feed baby dinner.

24.  Apologize to husband for dinner.

25.  Forget to eat my own dinner.

26.  Whisk baby off to bed.

27.  Return to kitchen to tackle burned chicken pan.

28.  Decide best strategy is to soak burned chicken pan till morning.

29.  Ponder if burned chicken pan will sit as long as zucchini streaked dishwasher.

30.  Try not to look guilty when husband asks if there is dessert.

31.  Confess to having eaten the last of the M&M’s during dinner making escapade.

32.  Lay on couch and mentally change dinner menu for the entire week to frozen pizza.