Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Latest... and Greatest

Hello, dear friends.  We haven't spoken in a while and I miss that.

So, the latest news on the block is that Elliott ("I have a lot of names, Mom!")-- sorry, I mean Elliott/Mr. Incredible/Kung Fu Panda...etc.,-- is officially a man.  He turned four years old (four years old!) on January 18th.  We had a blow out party complete with a Mr. Incredible bounce house (surprisingly affordable contrary to popular belief), build your own taco salad bar, massive amount of presents, friends, cupcakes, cake, cookies, freshly squeezed lemonade from the tree out back, and a home-made pinata built to look like the omnidroid robot from The Incredibles movie.

Photos by David

You know how people always jokingly ask you on your birthday if you feel any older?  Well, it seems as though as soon as Elliott turned four, he was totally different.  I feel as though my little son is already almost fully grown and about to leave home.  It feels scary like it is merely a day or two away that my little baby will be all grown up.  I have just been watching and cherishing everything about him and everything that he does since the day he turned four.  In the morning as we were lying (laying?) in bed together watching the sunbeams just start to smile through the blinds the other day, I saw his little smoothly pale baby legs all curled up in a ball and I thought, in no time flat those adorable little boy legs are going to be big, hairy, man legs!  It is so weird to think that someday I will be the mother of a grown man...  How can that be?  I can see it in the way he acts and talks with me that I am his mother.  He's just starting out and has his whole life ahead of him and its all about him--and my life is all about him.  Its weird how kids act like that without knowing it: as a child you just automatically expect your parents to be so very interested in everything you do and to be totally invested in you.  And that expectation continues for the rest of your life, I think.  It is so weird to think that I have someone expecting me and my life to center around him.  How did that happen?  Or when did my life go from being all about me to being all about him?  The transition feels so seamless.

I was walking downtown last week, with Caiden on one hip/arm--along with my bag--and I took Elliott's hand on the other side of me to cross the street.  We had about 3 blocks more to walk towards our destination and usually after we cross an intersection Elliott will impatiently pull his hand out of mine.  But on this particular day and after all of my aforementioned contemplations, he just kept his sweet little hand in mine and was content to walk along with me by his side--all. three. blocks: holding my hand!  Boy, I tell ya, my other arm--which was toting my ten pound bag and twenty pound daughter--felt like it was ready to fall off!  But I just kept holding Elliott's hand like it was heaven itself.  Because my heart was aching even more than my arm, thinking that this sweet time with him is so very fleeting.  Oh, how I love my boy!

***If you would like to experience a more detailed photographic account of the birthday activities, please view my MobileMe Gallery here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Photo by David

We have always read books before bed and we still do, but we have just starting incorporating storytelling into our routine as well.  Some of my fondest memories with my dad growing up were of bedtime when my older sister and I would beg our father to make up a story for us.  It would always be "Jo-rynne" and "Co-leen" (my sister's and my names mixed up together) who would be the heroines.  They were fantastical heroic tales and adventures just as any good story should be...  He had his own unique phrasings and things that he would use in the telling of all of his stories.  My dad had a few cues that Jolene and I had learned to come in on in the story each night.   At the end of each story my dad would begin the final sentence and then let us finish it. 

During the last few weeks, Elliott has soaked up this idea of audible storytelling and he is stuck.  Every nap time and bed time he begs me, just like I once begged my father, to tell him a story.  These stories are always off the cuff style and they sort of make themselves up as we go along and meander into mischief or silliness or some such nonsense.  Surprisingly, I find that I am in a rhythm--a rhythm that seems to have been unwittingly passed down to me.  Without even thinking, I've picked up my dad's signatures and phrasing.  I've taken up that last sentence of the story, just like him.  After crafting out an amazing, silly adventure with Caiden and Elliott as the subjects, I always wrap up with their mom or dad asking them some sort of question about what they have been doing, or where did all of these animals come from, etc. and then I say, "...and they just looked at each other..." and then Elliott is supposed to say,  "...and smiled." 

The funny thing is that it all came about so naturally.  I didn't even notice I was doing it until it came out.  All of a sudden I was ending my stories with "they looked at each other--and they smiiiiiiled."  And all of these memories started flooding my mind.  And my heart swelled and I felt like I was that little girl again, intently listening to Daddy who held all of the magic in his mind and made me the hero of his story.  And when I realize that this is what I am passing on to my boy...  well--words cannot even describe.

It kind of makes me stop and think.  Because the things I do now with my children and the time that I invest in them is not in vain.  It is not a chore or something to just get done so they will finally be quiet and go to sleep.  They will remember it.   It does impact them--for better or for worse.  So when Elliott asks me to tell him a story and I am tired or I am cranky because he has already asked for and ransomed five hundred jillion other things before getting into bed, I realize that telling him a story means so much more than the 'right now moment' and it makes me want to say, "yes" more often than not.  Because this is not something that just anyone can do.  This is a gift that only a parent can give.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cryn Tips : How to Coerce your Child into Drinking Milk

I tried all sorts of trickery to try to get my one year old daughter to drink milk and she wasn't having any of it.  She would take a sip and then let it sort of trickle out of her mouth.  Being breastfed until she turned one, Caiden never had a bottle, so we never switched to bottled milk.  She just really didn't like the taste of it, apparently.  I tried strawberry milk, even chocolate milk (as the doctors suggested), milk with fruit blended in... Nothing.

But then I did as my ingenious friend, Nina, suggesed and filled Caiden's cup about a quarter full of yogurt (I used Wallaby Vanilla Australian- style yogurt) and then the rest milk.  The result was like magic.  After that, Caiden wanted that cup all day long.  And I have been slowly reducing the amount of yogurt in it each time.  Genius!  Not to mention a great relief...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

May it be a good one...

You know who took this, right?