Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Little Star

I wanted to play softball. Rec softball. I loved sports. I was no superstar, but that didn't matter. I just wanted to be out there.

Mom said nope. Why? Because she didn't want to have to drive me to practice or games. Not that she had anything better to do. She was a stay-at-home mom in those days. She nevertheless let me know that she was not "your chauffer."

So softball wasn't happening.

I do have a vague recollection of playing soccer when I was really young, and maybe one ballet class. It all ended before I was really into it. Before I really wanted it.

Maybe it was because I was a third child. Maybe she was too worn out by the first two, though come to think of it, they didn't do much sports either.

I guess that's why I encourage my kids to do whatever activity they'd like. It's funny, though: Sawyer isn't really all that excited about anything, while Sage, who's sat through all of Sawyer's swimming lessons, tee ball and soccer games, couldn't wait for her turn.

She's been in dance for almost a year and loves it. And she finally, finally is old enough to do some soccer. This past week I took her to her first soccer camp. It was just an hour a day for a week.

First objective: look as cute as possible.

That accomplished, she really loved the whole thing. At least, at first she did. Each kid got their own ball and all they had to do was practice dribbling that first day. She and I kicked the ball to each other. She's actually pretty good.

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Enjoy the happy pictures. Cause it didn't last.

The coach tried to organize them into a game. Problem was, most of the kids had no clue what was going on - except for a boy who was almost five. He got the ball and never let go. Oh, and that ball? Yeah, the coach decided to use Sage's for the game. She proceeded to burst into tears because all the other kids were playing with HER ball.

So David retrieved it. She still wanted nothing to do with the game. She wasn't the only one. This little guy (the camp was for ages 3-4) then tried to dribble, and the ball went out ahead and the big kid got it - causing the little one to also start bawling.

It was ugly. I decided Sage and I needed to have the talk about No Crying in Soccer. Xander also listened attentively to my speech.

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Luckily, the hour was up. The good thing was she was happy to go back the next day. And the coach was smart enough not to try a game again. Wednesday, the coach did a drill which he threw all the balls in the middle, and the kids had to run backwards or crawl or whatever out to the balls, then dribble back.

Sage at one point got knocked down by another kid. She sat on the ground for a second, then got up and kept going. She was SO proud that she was being so tough. Adding to her confidence was the fact she was the only kid who could actually skip to the middle.

It's a funny age. There was a little boy who wet his pants and spent an entire session lying on the grass. Another one plopped down on his butt in the middle of the field and sucked his thumb.

Sage's ony issue was her gnat-like attention span. Hey, the coach was British, half of the adults had no clue what he was saying.

Otherwise, she had fun. The best news? She's ready for her next camp - soccer and tee ball - in another week.

Maybe that's not the best news. Even better is she's having fun. I'll drive her anywhere for that.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The unthinkable

Remember the first time you left the house by yourself, after your child was born? The whole time in the car it felt so odd, not having a little creature in the car seat.

It's just weird, because 99.9 percent of the time, you have a tiny passenger. A baby, facing backwards so you can't see the face. But you know by the silence that he's been - finally - lulled to sleep.

It seems unthinkable - impossible - that you could ever forget he's back there. Unfortunately, it happens.

There's an incredibly sad story in Broadsheet, about a little four month-old up in Northern Cal whose father forgot to drop him off at daycare. The boy's mother realized he wasn't at daycare when she went to pick him up. She instead found him, secured in his carseat, in the father's car in the parking lot for the BART.


The Broadsheet story also links to another article about a mother who, for the first time, talks about leaving her 10 month-old daughter in her carseat. It's incredibly touching and devastating at the same time.

I can't imagine how you ever get over that. These parents were doting, loved their child, were by all accounts good parents. So how does this happen? How do we forget about the most valuable thing we have? It seems inconceivable, and yet, it happens about two dozen times a year, according to the Broadsheet story.

There is no answer, other than being distracted, overloaded.

Most important is how to prevent it. An alarm if the driver leaves the car and weight remains in the car seat? It's a possibility.

As my husband points out, maybe it's not such a bad thing that our baby cries whenever we stop the car (hence, the crazy rocking dance our SUV does at every red light).

It is much better than silence.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Graduation Day

He almost missed graduation.

That might not seem like such a big deal. It's just preschool, right? But when Sawyer got really sick this week, I started to stress. I wanted him to have the experience of marching to the park with his class, singing the songs he'd been practicing, and having his family there cheering him on.

He woke up this morning and I didn't think he was going to make it. He's got this thing where whenever he gets a cold or virus, it goes right to his lungs. This time was especially bad. The inhaled steroids weren't working, so he had to take an oral one. They don't call it 'roid rage for nothing, people! The kid became the King of Nutsville. It was awful, especially the yelling of "Mommy, I'm going to poop on your head!" followed by hysterical laughter.

Luckily (for all of us) he started to get better and the doctor he saw Thursday said he could probably come off the steroids. I thought we were totally in for today. But he had a nasty cough this morning and seemed kind of out of it.

I told him he might have to stay home. He cried. Not because he was going to miss the activities, but because he was going to miss the rice crispy treats his grandmother was bringing.

I ran down to his school (it's basically across the street) and talked to his teacher. She said they weren't going to get to the park until about 10:45 a.m. I figured he'd feel better by then but I knew he'd have a tough time marching from the school to the park. So we decided he could meet his class half-way. She gave me the graduation cap he'd made out of a paper bowl, cardboard and sequins, and I came back home to give him the news.

He was happy and anxious and already had his sneakers on.

So when it was time, David dropped us off so he could park closer to where the graduation was to take place. Sawyer and I waited. Soon we heard a tinny rendition of Pomp and Circumstance and saw yellow and blue balloons.

There was his class, with his teacher holding the boom box. When the kids saw him, they all said "THERE'S SAWYER!" It was awesome to hear them excited to see him. He got in line right behind his good friend, who was first.

I sprinted across a baseball field to tell David they were coming so he could get the video camera. The group marched toward us on the path, and just before they got to the place where they were going to sing, Sawyer broke out of the line and came over to hug me.

(We got this on video, but no one will ever see it because I, still in my maternity pants, was showing more crack then a busload of plumbers. Or hos.)

Next, they lined up under an archway. Their teacher read them a little poem and she thanked us for letting her teach our children.

It was time for the perfomance. The kids sang eight short songs about going to kindergarten. It was beyond cute. I could totally hear Sawyer's voice. I kept trying to really savor the moment. They are so little and so incredibly adorable and I know it'll seem like two minutes later we'll be at his high school graduation.

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The teacher then handed out diplomas. And announced the graduating class of Kindergarten Connection, 2009!

It was the only time I got truly teary-eyed. I mean, when he started in the fall, Sawyer couldn't even hold a crayon correctly. Now he's writing his name and a few other words from memory (he's quite good at 'Mom' and 'Dad'). Still not reading, though I know he will this time next year.

Last year, he never really made a good friend. That changed this year. He's got a bunch of them, boys and girls. He's already talking about all the playdates he wants this summer and he's very excited to go to kindergarten in the fall.

I think he'll do just fine. And so will I. Because I've got another one to watch out for...

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

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When my little boy is mayor of Crazy Town, especially now when he is in a roid rage (thanks to a steroid he's taking to help him breathe normally again), I just need to look at this picture he drew a few days ago to remind myself what a sweet kid he can be.

That little bean-shaped thing is a heart. And that's me beneath it. I'd say he got my hair exactly right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three Months

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We have made it to the first major milestone. Both of us. The baby and me.

Three months.

That would be 13 weeks, 1 day.

I'm still without more than a few consecutive hours of sleep a night. But who's counting?

It still seems surreal that I even have a baby. Sometimes I look at him and I'm all "Who are you and how the hell did you get here?" It was just over a year ago that I ran a marathon. And now I have a baby and baby weight.


We are still getting to know each other, Xander and I. Or is it Xander and me? Now that he's no longer screaming constantly, I actually have a chance to study him without both hands clutched over my ears.

He is very, very smiley. He thinks it's absolutely hilarious when I take the sleeve of his shirt and pull it to get his arm out. Sometimes he gets the hiccups after he laughs.

He's also incredibly demanding. As in, I demand that you carry me constantly, don't even THINK about putting me in that bouncy chair for ONE SECOND or I will SCREAM my little lungs out! Do what he says, and no one gets hurt. No one's ear drums, that is.

But you can tell the world is opening up a bit for him. Last week Sawyer was running across our living room (which is maybe 5 steps for him) and crashing into a chair. Xander was totally watching him and cracking up. He makes eye contact with me from across the room. He's starting to notice the dogs.

Sometimes I wonder what he must think, with all the noise and craziness around him. Possibly that he's on a bad acid trip?

He looks neither exactly like Sawyer or Sage, but is a nice combo of both (except with hair). His temperment isn't as easy-going as Sawyer's was, nor is it as enraged as Sage's when they were babies.

He has delicious chubby thighs.

I took him for his 12-week checkup last week. He weighed 13 pounds, 11 ounces and was 24 inches. He's in the 60s as far as height/weight percentiles.

He has large hands.

I started to feel guilty that I haven't given him one second of official tummy time. So I did that Monday. I put him down on the pink rug in Sage's room. And he promptly rolled over. So I put him back, and he rolled again. Then I put him in my room, in front of the full-length mirrors on David's closet. And he rolled again. Hasn't done it since though. Guess he's not the trained monkey we'd hoped for.

He's started to cut his two bottom middle teeth. We can see the white bulges. Poor guy.

The biggest news of all, though, is that we are still successfully nursing. His pediatrician was thrilled by his growth and how healthy he looked. I'm just happy it's working. I am still not eating any dairy, soy or wheat and I'd be lying if I said this was easy. It isn't. It sucks. I'm exhausted and hungry all the time. And I'm beyond sick of eating turkey burger patties, sans cheese and bun.

I did have a little plain pasta the other day and he didn't explode, so I might gradually add some wheat in. We'll see. I don't want to get TOO crazy.

But I'm determined to stick it out as long as we can. When we're done, I will gorge myself on ice cream, pizza and chocolate. And that'll just be breakfast.

Oh, and the picture? I wish I had a great one to post of him on his three-month birthday. But hell, we forgot to take any. This one was taken a week and a half ago. Third child syndrome and all that.

Hey, we remembered to feed him and change his diaper and nobody drew on him with scented magic marker - it's a good day!
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