This Moment

Thanks for your sharing in the excitement of my last post! I really enjoyed the comments. However, there are things going on around here that have nothing to do with the third baby question. Here are a few of those things:

Dinosaurs. As part of Yogi’s ever-growing fascination with power (how it works, who’s got it, how he can get some) he’s got dinosaurs on the brain. Every library book is a dinosaur story (a really great one is Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct (Mo Willems)) and most of his imaginary play features growling, crushing houses with his huge feet and telling everyone that he is a dinosaur who eats other dinosaurs. His favorite? T-Rex.

Sesame Street. This winter we started having some family TV time after dinner and the boys fell in love with Sesame Street. Now that we have more daylight and can get outside we’re trying to remind them of how fabulous the post-dinner family walk used to be. It’s a work in progress. Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventure, Super Grover 2.0 and Elmo’s World are hard to resist.

Repetition. Every word that anyone says is guaranteed to be repeated by the Monk. Not only will he repeat your words, but that repetition will echo. His little voice might be the sweetest sound I have ever heard, but there is such a thing as too much sweetness.

Yogi’s New Closet. He’s been choosing between two shirts every day since he was old enough to point, but until recently we called the shots on all the rest of his clothes. A while back it occurred to me that giving him a little more say might smooth out some of our getting-ready friction, so we rearranged his closet. Now everything is within his reach. He can choose shirts, pants, and socks. At night he picks out his pi’s. He looks a little eccentric much of the time, but he takes pride in his selections.

Evolving Values. I’ve been flirting with veganism for years. It’s the cheese that really stands in my way. I would miss fish and ice cream, but I could handle it. But cheese? Man would I miss cheese. And then last week I read this. I’m a long time Zen Habits reader and I’ve certainly read his ideas about living vegan before, but this piece really connected with me. The flirting continues.

Baffling Boys. The sibling dynamic is incomprehensible. I don’t think I will ever understand it. At 4:28 they can be shrieking and using every ounce of their strength to crush one another and then suddenly it’s 4:29 and they are belly laughing. I wasn’t aware that such radical mood shifts were possible outside of psychiatric facilities. Or maybe…… never mind. 😉

Another Big Boy Bed?! Grandpa has made it and brought it to our house, but I am NOT ready to set the Monk free. He, of course, feels differently. He spends much of his time trying to dismantle the crib himself. I guess we should be glad that we don’t have climbers, but climbing out of a crib might be safer than shaking the bars and jumping with such force that the whole thing crumbles beneath you. Ugh. We’ve got to do it soon.

He Keeps Sneaking Up on Me

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My boys are growing up. This is alternately heart-breaking and the best news ever. Somehow our little Monkey is almost two. Two?! He was just born. The whole walking, running, talking fact of his little boy-ness is frequently more than I can take. While all of Yogi’s changes have been similarly world-shifting, they’ve also been more anticipated. When he took his first steps it was a moment we had been waiting for. His babbling and eventual talking felt the same way. There was a sense that this thing that we had been imagining was actually happening now and oh, the excitement! No so with the Monk.

When he started walking, my first thought was “Wait a second! What are you doing?! Babies don’t walk!?”. The same shock accompanied his first everything. It’s strange how deeply I have not seen any of it coming. Of course none of that matters to the Monk. He has had his own thing going from the beginning and  I’m certain he relishes each surprise.

At not-quite two he wants to do everything “self!”. He drinks out of a top-less cup, clears his place at the table,  throws away all of his own trash and pours a (mostly) responsible capful of bubble bath in the tub each night. He also wipes and diapers his baby with great care, runs almost as fast as his brother, gives huge, wide-armed bear hugs, and eats no fewer than two apples each day.

I’ve never meet a more gentle soul. Lucky is what we are.

My Chefs

Yogi is an enthusiastic chef. He hops on his tower at every meal so he can help “cook”. He oversees all of the preparation and is happy to participate as long as the dish requires. He likes to hold each ingredient (“I hold it”) and he’s gotten quite good at what he calls “dumping” everything in the bowl/skillet.

Yesterday we received the most fun surprise from the UPS man. Some friends ordered Yogi his very own Chef apron and hat. He’s not sold on the hat yet, but he LOVES the apron.

Mommy “cooks” coffee while Yogi supervises.

Two More Weeks

Maternity leave is drawing to a close. We’ve got two more weeks and I’m feeling surprisingly settled.

Not so long ago my heart would race at just the thought of my wife’s return to work. The work of caring for both of these boys has been exhausting with all four of our hands on deck. Yogi is unbelievably energetic and busy and Monkey has not been the easiest baby.

The poor guy spent most of his early waking life uncomfortable and fussy (read: crying), but he’s growing up. Already. :(. He now spends time with his eyes open, looking around and (I really think this is true) smiling. We still have rough patches of inconsolable crying, but they are becoming much less frequent. All of this makes it much easier for me to manage what I have in less attractive moments termed his “barnacle nature”. Monkey is not so much a baby as a barnacle. I’m pretty sure that if he could figure out how to swing it, he would burrow himself inside your body. Again. The guy puts my snuggling prowess to shame. In fact, he has taught me something about myself. I am a snuggler, not a snugglee. I like to call the snuggling shots. I snuggle you, not the other way around. I’m a bit of a cat that way. So far the Ergo with infant insert has been a lifesaver and I’m imagining that I have lots of baby wearing ahead.

Yogi is becoming more independent every day and he’s pretty enamored with Monkey. His little brother is the first person he wants to find when he gets out of his crib in the morning and he kisses his head each night before story time. He laughs hysterically when Monkey gets the “hic-um-ups” and is never too immersed in something to shout “Bess u Monkey!” when he hears a sneeze. He’s thrown a few toys his way and has been known to steal a paci right out of Monkey’s mouth, but other than that he’s nothing but sweet.

Now instead of bursting out in tears after we get both boys down for the night because I cannot.imagine how I will manage all of this alone, I’m beginning to think that we’re going to be ready. I can actually imagine the rhythm of our days. With two weeks left I want to savor every moment of this precious family time and welcome the next regular life chapter as it unfolds.

A few pictures from Pride. Monkey was there, but taking a picture of someone in a bucket with a shade over their head is no fun.

Saturdays in the Summertime

I’m a longstanding fan of Sundays, but Saturday is my new favorite day of the week. Saturdays in the summertime feature almost every one of my favorite things rolled up into one day.

If you’re a longtime reader this will come as no surprise, but I LOVE a ritual. Something fabulous repeated on a loop is both comforting and exciting. We have settled into a highly satisfying Saturday routine and it looks like this:

Once the four of are up and rolling, we begin a leisurely (some might call it s.l.o.w)  walk to the neighborhood Farmers Market. Depending on how hot the morning is we either take Monkey in the Bjorn (cooler) or the stroller (hotter). When we don’t have time (or patience) for Yogi’s leisurely pace, he rides in what he calls the “big backpack”. It’s one of those huge framed contraptions and usually my wife carries it. Along the route Yogi greets every dog by name (and there are many) and most of the flowers. There’s lots of “pink flowa! white flowa!” and adorable amounts of pet friendliness. Since we take walks at least every day (sometimes multiple times) we’ve managed to meet just about everyone on the circuit. This means that we either greet or speculate on the whereabouts (Yogi’s favorite guess – napping) of no fewer than 10 animals each day. His favorites are Coco, Hank and Louie, Shelby, and Polka.

The Farmers Market begins at 9 and that is usually around the time we arrive. We come with bags for produce and a blanket for eating popsicles and visiting with friends. The weekend Farmers Market is a kind of social center for our neighborhood and in addition to stocking up on good food we also look forward to catching up with friends. A handful of families spread out blankets in the center of the circle of vendors and enjoy the local musicians and all of the yummy food. There are often a few food trucks and Yogi’s popsicle friends are a fixture. He requests a popsicle every time and with flavors like Avocado, Strawberry Lime and Cayenne Chocolate we always get one to share. In addition to music and vendors selling everything from fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat to hummus and salsa, there is also the bread guy, the raw food people and Yogi’s other personal favorite, the Montessori math tutor. Her name is Susan and she has all sorts of “works” to explore. Yesterday he spent almost an hour in her little tent.

Although he’s still pretty bummed that strawberries are out of season, he’s giving peaches and corn a chance.

After a few hours we begin the trek back home. Along the way we usually make a stop at the park. Monkey hangs out in a shady spot and Yogi swings and piles bark at the bottom of all the slides (??) and climbs on anything and everything. By the time we arrive back at the house Yogi is ready for nap.

Pre-Monkey nap time was an oasis of quiet and calm and Mommy time. These days it’s hit or miss. Sometimes their naps coincide and we have at least 90 minutes of adult time while the sun in shining. On other days Monkey decides that Yogi nap time is the perfect time for extended wakefulness.

When Yogi rises for the afternoon we usually feed him a quick lunch (most often fruit and cheese) and head to yet another park for a standing Sat afternoon music festival. Yogi hops in the bike trailer and rides with Mommy and Monkey and I make our way in the car. (Poor Monkey…. one day he’ll have head control.) Once the four of us meet up at the park we scope a shady spot and settle in with our blanket.

Yogi’s first order of business is getting Mommy over to the ice cream. He’s up for any flavor as long as it’s ice cream. Mommy once tried to slide some sherbet by him, but he wasn’t having it. Ice cream is ice cream. I’ve befriended a food truck that sells snowballs and I’ve been trying a different flavor every week. My favorites so far are Raspberry Wedding Cake and Chocolate Covered Cherry. Yum! In addition to the snacking there is also dancing, dog admiration, people watching and car racing. Everywhere we go there is car racing.

By the time we arrive home it’s time for a quick dinner and tub. If Yogi isn’t too tired he gets lots of bubbles and bath play time. If it’s late and/or he’s tired we bring him in the shower with us. Then it’s time for stories with Mommy and what Yogi calls “tuck in”.

These days my wife and I make it about an hour after Yogi turns in, but it feels good to collapse at the end of a good day.