Sunday, September 11, 2011

Deep breath. Exhale. Smile.

Work has consumed my life lately.  I finished 3 straight weeks of  back to back events and am in desperate need of a more normal pace, filled with a lot more time spent with my boys!  Last night, after I finished setting up a beautiful Bat Mitzvah Party space for one lucky little teenager, I headed home and was ready to cry when I realized that it was just late enough that I had missed my chance to say goodnight to my boys.  Even though they have been spending their time primarily with Charles when I've been working (and not with a sitter), I felt guilty for the lack of quality time with them. So late last night, after the final hot pink chair cover was packed away and the last cotton candy-filled vase was boxed, I headed home knowing that the rest of the salvageable weekend would be spent just being "Mom" and lavishing them with attention.  I woke up this morning and after everyone was clothed and fed, I decided I needed a little one on one time with Christian (well-timed with Elijah's nap...)  I wedged him into my car between the bags of still un-returned chair covers and linens and headed off to a local farmers market.  I am craving some domestic time, plain and simple.  I also brought along my new birthday gift: a Canon SLR camera! I have been having sooooo much fun playing with it and actually capturing shots that my little "point and shoot" was never fast enough to get.  The weather couldn't have been more gorgeous, my company couldn't have been more perfect and the fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs spread out on rows of tables at the market were a sight for sore eyes.

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I bought zucchini, broccoli, onions, carrots and the most delicious Fuji apples.  My mission was to prepare a little for the week ahead and try out the new recipe that caught my eye last week: "Simple Harvest Fried Rice".  Christian and I perused the aisles and I had to give a couple of lectures about stealing, when I caught him pick a tiny piece of cauliflower off a bunch and pop it into his mouth (Secretly, I was proud. I mean, it was cauliflower, people.  It was cauliflower and it made him smile.)

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The free samples of cheesy-caramel corn nearly did us in.  Who knew that cheese and caramel on popcorn was so insanely delicious?? Luckily the guy passing out the samples had a soft spot for Christian and he managed to get 4 servings during our trip!  I think having this time today meant more to me because I haven't had a relaxed day like this in so long.  I wanted to soak up all of the little moments and store them for reserve energy later. We finished out the day with a long, leisurely visit with Nana and PawPaw.  Playing with my kids, catching up with my parents, and dinner together as a family made me feel so grateful for this relaxed day.  My littlest man seemed to cherish the attention, and I was more than happy to give it to him too!

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In between all of the workload craziness, we had another big moment last week: Christian started back to preschool.

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I cleared my schedule to be the one to take him to his classroom and get him settled. He put up with my first day of school photo shoot session and seemed in good spirits until we pulled up to the school.  As we got out of the car, he said, "I'm three, Mom.  I need to be in the Orange door." (The class he was in last year.) So the real question becomes: How do you hold it together while you try to convince your child that growing up is the coolest, most fun thing in the world while on the inside you're screaming, Please slow down, this all happening way too fast?! But, I did what all Mothers have to do: I told him how cool it was to get new teachers and meet some new friends and that he would have so much fun, and I did it all with a smile.  It is really cool to grow up, but it is also happening way too fast.  This whole "school thing" brings a whole new level of parenting emotion with it.  We made our way to his new classroom- the green door- and saw that this year, the name board was a large apple tree, with each students name written on an apple that they hang on the tree each morning. I tried to move away just a little bit from Christian and he started clinging to me with a death grip.  I noticed Christian watching a little boy playing with a pirate ship nearby.  I squatted down and asked, "Hi.  What's your name?"  He said with a very confident attitude, "I'm TJ!" I said, "Hi TJ!  This is Christian." and he said, "I know him."  (They were not in class together last year.) So, I said, "Oh.  Did you guys meet out on the play yard last year?" He said, "Yeah." and then walked away to play with something else.  Christian said, "But, I want to play with TJ, Mom!"  So I suggested he go over and ask him to play with him.  I was so proud to watch him release the death grip, walk over to TJ, ask to play, and then have TJ say yes.  They walked back to the pirate ship nearly arm in arm.  Oh my heart. It was hard not to cry right then and there.


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I managed to say a quick goodbye- like ripping a band aid off and quickly walked out of the classroom. Once outside, I looked back through the window to see if it was meltdown central. Nope. He was fine.  Still happily playing. I breathed a sigh of relief and walked back to the car.  About a block later? The waterworks.  What. on. earth?  I swear, the emotions of this "school-thing" completely catch me off guard.  I go into it thinking I'm totally fine, not feeling overly emotional, but I come out of it in an unexpected torrent of waterworks.  About 3 hours later, as all was quiet on the home front and Elijah was napping and I was getting more work done in one sitting than I may have all summer, I was over it.  This is great!  Yay school!!!   I have a tour of an elementary school for Christian on Friday.  So, we'll see how I hold up under that pressure.  Luckily, I'll have two friends with me...don't know if that will make it better or worse, considering they both have kids the same age and we've all been friends since our firstborns were 6 weeks old. Yeah...now that I put it that way, it might make it way worse...

Elijah is on a slow- sometimes very slow- but steady path.  I've been very frustrated that he will not sit for any length of time.  At first my therapists were convinced it was just that he doesn't want to.  He doesn't sit, because he'd rather crawl (scoot) around.  He is so obviously going where he wants, exploring his world, and getting into the things babies get into that I'm not worried, per se, but frustrated that he is missing out on an important learning and playing position.  Over the last couple of weeks I've been challenging our therapists with other possibilities.  Could it somehow be related to a sensory issue?  Could it be related to the Nystagmus, an eye condition which we know can affect balance?  They are taking my inquiries seriously and trying to think outside the box.  Last week, I became even more convinced that it is not just a stubborn personality issue. I became convinced, because something made him sit still (not even while playing with much) in the grass, for about 10 minutes straight.  Just the day before, he was scooting around in the grass, so I already know it's NOT because he doesn't like the feel of grass.  But, something made him stay.  I don't know quite what yet, but it was fun to watch.  I kept saying to myself (outloud), I can't believe he is still just happily sitting there! I can't believe it! Finally, either because my friend Mary understood the incredulous undertone of my voice, or I was starting to babble like a crazy person, she remarked, "He doesn't normally do this?"  No!  He doesn't normally do this, but Yay he's doing it right now!!

The evidence: I didn't even need a fast, fancy camera for these shots...


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I am so looking forward to this coming week, where some semblance of normalcy will return.  Christian is back in preschool, I am back to teaching ballet and my event work is in the "regularly normal" category (and not the "def con 5" category), and Elijah's therapy schedule is back on track after a couple of cancelled/re-scheduled sessions. Deep breath. Exhale. Smile.   Lots to look forward to... lots to blog about...Trip down NICU memory lane, Christian starts Boys Hip Hop classes, and the Elementary school tour.

Last thought of note: Things get crazy. Life is a complete rollercoaster.  For my husband, that is not necessarily fun and while we joke that living with him is occasionally like living with a disorganized Nick Nolte character who never stops cursing, there is one thing that always puts a smile on his face. I love my husband even more when I watch how he melts with our children...

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5 comments:

thea said...

Love this! Couldn't help but get a but weepy reading @ school. Today is our first day of the new year. Even though we went in the summer, there is the realization that we have made a new milestone. Ballet, soccer, t-ball... It feels like so much when I can still recall the sweet smell of their baby heads. So glad you had a calm relaxing day with family. Woohoo for Elijah sitting for 10 minutes!!!!

Jenny said...

Funny you should mention the sitting in the grass thing...That is exactly how Russell finally learned to sit for any length of time. I did a post on it sometime last year...He would not sit in the house, but if I took him outside he would sit very, very still for long periods of time. Most of the pictures of him learning to sit were taken outside. Its just funny to hear another Mom mention that, interesting!

Brigid Keely said...

Congrats on the sitting!

BTW, cheese and caramel popcorn is a Chicago specialty. If you're ever out here, try Garret's Popcorn, although there's a bunch of places that make it fresh and sell it. AMAZING.

P said...

You are very perceptive to catch the WET grass thing, seek and find and exploit to your and his fullest advantage those high motivating items!

Love love love the second pic on the grass, World DS day submission for penny green if it's not too late!

P said...

These ranges of attaining milestones are insanely WIDE and frustrating. Benji walked five and ten steps a few times the night before he turned two years old. But then not stable for real walking for another three to four months!!!

Here is a chart of some of the basic developmental milestones:

http://www.ndss.org/images/stories/NDSSresources/developmental_milestones.pdf

Benji's core is really weak but he loves basketball and has an excellent arm--any ideas besides baby sit ups? His PT said working on puzzles to one side is good (he's a put it on my lap with straight locked knees guy). Not a presence for him at all.

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