Monday, May 26

Four months old

You have one wild hair at the front of your head, three or more times longer than the rest, and curly. It is difficult to catch on camera, but then you much prefer to look at my face than the camera lens. When you do gaze at me, you frequently have your head cocked slightly to your right. Is it because I always carry you with my left arm?

My dilemma at the moment is whether to write a few words about these moments I won't remember except as happiness, or to enjoy your happy, alert presence while daddy has taken R & E out to run errands. You don't much like looking at the computer screen either, and my typing, as well as our play, is hampered by holding you in one hand.

There aren't currently many other options, as you are also no longer content to sit in your bouncy seat for more than a few minutes at a time. When I try to leave you in the bouncer or on your baby gym, you purposefully grasp whatever you can reach - a toy, a blanket, a burp cloth - and shove it as far as you can into your mouth. When you find that it doesn't satisfy you, you tug at the strings that move me with your tears and your little pout.

Yes, you like to play and so play we shall. You push up with your legs, so that you can stand on my lap, and then fold back down to sitting. You usually tire of this game long after mommy feels the need to do something else, or your brothers demand it. Now, while they are gone, let us play.

Finished after *all* the boys are in bed.

Sunday, May 25

Looking up

Good things also happened this week.

The maple trees have leafed out and while our lilac is not the color I imagined, it is still delightfully fragrant.

We finally made it to the craft store on Monday, for materials to create this token of our love.

We visited the library and brought back as many books as we could carry - about cats, dogs, tigers, a Tiger that wields a club, volcanoes, and more.

I enrolled in an art class to start in a few weeks, if at least one other student will join. I enrolled the Painter in a summer ceramics class as well. He is wait-listed.

I found a pediatrician and arranged well visits for The Painter & The Composer.

An appointment has also been scheduled for us to tour the neighborhood school at which The Painter is enrolled for the fall.

The boxes in the living room have been moved or emptied, their contents still partially strewn about.

Aimless wandering this week has apparently taken us where we need to be.

At my brother's house today, sitting in the warm afternoon sun, with my family around me, my grandmother asked me, "So are you glad you moved?"

My answer is an unqualified yes. I am in the right place. It may not always be easy, but it is where I am supposed to be right now.

Read here about something else that was up and came down to much applause.

Sunday, May 18

Tough Day Wandering

You can read why, below.

Instead of our shared sadness bringing us together, we somehow seemed to be pushing eachother's button's all day. Or rather, it seemed that the Painter, who was ever so close to Mira ("I like her best because she's the sweetest kitty") was provoking the rest of us. And, we were all cranky from lack of sleep last night. Completely understandable, but not what I would have wanted. Shouldn't we have banded together, had many big group hugs, been indulgent, done something creative? Shouldn't we have been more understanding that the one who protested that he loved her the most was, at least, hurting as much as the rest of us, and having not been through this before, in need of extra care himself? What about extra care for ourselves? Some of that ... but mostly the day felt like wandering aimlessly.

In the light of today, I feel again like I am wandering aimlessly. What are my goals? What is my purpose in being here? How can I find time for myself? We seem to have drifted from one thing to another this week, in this homeschooling experiment of ours. Several days with outings ended up with cranky mommy.

Am I crazy to attempt these things myself anyway? I don't easily ask for help, because I rarely really need it. I am strong and self-sufficient, am I not? I crave connection, but I rarely reach out. Here I am in my own little world, some days not even letting in the three little boys for whom I am constant companion, gofer, waitress, maid, playmate, milk factory. I want to be strong; how could it really be difficult, this thing that I am doing, raising my boys in a new city, homeschooling, potty-training, nursing.

And where is AD? Gladly busy with his business, things are moving, much interest ... but we get much less of his attention than we are accustomed to. And much more. Here we are all cooped up together in this house, with the basement playroom/entertainment room still not complete, no tv to lean on as a crutch - don't like to use it anyway, but sometimes crutches are very helpful! And I say to myself, here is my plan, get out everyday, get out in the morning, but I sometimes feel like I am dragging a mammoth behind me - I can't move until I get some help from the mammoth. How many times can I ask them to go get their shoes? And where should we go? We've been to the zoo and the nature center and the library. We've been to the playground down the street and to the one near the beach. We've been for bike rides and walks. We've been shopping, but that has its own dangers.

It would be really nice to get the stack of boxes out of the living room and the extra refrigerator out of the garage. I suppose we could just move the boxes to another room ...

Grieving in my own way, nothing seems to be right. Perhaps that is how the Painter felt all day, too.

Hole in our Hearts

Mommy, before the movers come, next time we move, we should dig in the same hole where we put Mira, and see if she is still there. If she is not there, then we know she is in heaven.

She left us as she came to us, loving the warm sunshine, the outdoors, and eating tuna.

Friday, May 16

My day

It was a gloriously warm spring day. I managed to get V to take a nap and the older boys to put their shoes on, and proceeded to head outdoors to enjoy the weather.

I put the new wheel on the wheel-barrow, and raked up the remnants of last week's weeding. I pulled at the overgrown grass along the fence. I opened a few boxes in the garage to find bike helmets, patio chair cushions, and (!) gardening tools. Hooray! More tools means more ways to putter in the garden! The rose bush (forest) on the side of the house has been substantially pruned ... but the nice thing about pruning is that you're never done.

At first the boys were happy to entertain themselves. Later, I just wanted to do what I wanted to do! Sorry, I'm not playing a game now. Why don't you play together? Several hours later, all hot, thirsty, hungry, and tired, they were cranky and the baby was waking up. So I finally put an end to my gardening. In addition to cranky boys for the afternoon, I suspect we all (at least I) got a bit of a sunburn (bad mommy!) but the price was worth it. I feel renewed.

Thursday, May 15

Bike ride

R was very sweet to me this afternoon after we returned from our walk/bike ride. He brought me two glasses of water, offered to bring me snacks, and kept suggesting that I have some coffee. You see, he wanted his happy mommy back, instead of the screaming banshee I had become as he decided to walk his bike across the busy street near our house in such a manner that in comparison a snail would have been a reckless speed demon. I guess walking his bike the way I had showed him was not interesting enough, or at any rate, wasn't his idea and therefore not worth undertaking. In any case, I calmly explained (feeling much better after reaching the safety of a confined space) that while coffee might help a "you-woke-me-too-early-in-the-morning" cranky mommy feel better, it probably would not be quite the right thing for a "the-baby-was-crying-for-twenty-minutes, the-traffic-was-crazy, and you-were-trying-to-get-run-over" overstimulated mommy. Snuggling and playing with the youngest manipulator of my heartstrings helped to cure my mood.

In other news, our sweet little kitty Mira is not doing well - eating less and less, and becoming less and less active. Her meow has shrunk with her body, to the point that it is barely audible. We are giving her the best loving care we can - medication, fluids, sponge-baths, and lots of snuggle time.

Wednesday, May 14

Fresh Perspective

I am trying to remember to see life in front of me. Sometimes I need to mix up my routine or my schedule or my furniture or my blog to gain a fresh perspective. The header is a picture I took of some of the tulips on the south side of the house.

Walking down the stairs today, I realized I have already become accustomed to this house. I no longer notice all the details on a regular basis, but today, I saw the leaf detail at the ends of the stairway window curtain rod, and the sticker posing as stained glass on our front door.

I realize that I often would rather be in my own world than trying to keep the boys out of trouble, and keep them fed, and happy and learning. Sometimes I just want to get the laundry done, and other times I really want a break, but those moments that I am really *with* the boys are some of the best times of the day.

I also realize I think I need to give all three of the boys all of my attention all of the time. But they will be okay when I don't. It is okay to do the laundry, or rest, and it is okay if they don't get equal time.

I realize that I have been highly critical of myself since we decided to homeschool R for the remainder of the year. But, I have been reading. Today I realize I don't have to be a teacher. I am a mother. Helping with chores is learning. Playing games is learning. Reading books is learning. I am learning, as well. Together, we are finding our way.

Tuesday, May 13

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there, even if I am a few days late.

So I'm tired of always calling my boys by such formal monikers. From now on I will use their first initials instead, or at least interchangeably.

Got items from my "wish list" from the boys. Last week R asked if I had a wish list. I said I did, in my head, and told him the two things I could think of at the moment. So, I received a new wallet and this book from the boys, and bath and body goodies from AD. I also received, one day late, a handmade ceramic heart with a butterfly engraved in it from R. Artwork, or paperweight? I'm not really sure, but I imagine I will cherish it for years to come.

Later we headed out to Grandma's house. True to her word, my grandmother refused to call V by his given name. His middle name was given to honor her late husband, but rather than being happy, or appreciative, or any of the emotions we might have expected, she instead, in the guise of AD's birthday card in January, (before V was born), indicated her displeasure with our choice for his first name, by suggesting that we call him by "any other name". She told my parents she would only call him "baby", and she made good on that promise. Oh well, we can't please everybody.

Ironically, Grandma told me on Sunday that she always liked the name Annalee for a girl, but didn't give it to either of her daughters because of criticism from her mother-in-law.

Also saw mom again, who loves every minute she gets to play with said baby, dad, who spent a good part of the day running around the backyard with the older two, and my aunts, uncle, brother, and sister-in-law. A nice family gathering, with all the advantages (e.g. people to entertain the boys) and disadvantages (e.g. people getting on your nerves). We lucked out in arriving after most of the housework was complete.

So I managed to journal/post every day for three days in a row ... now that I've taken care of missing a few days, I don't have to stress about it, and can take it as it comes. This is for me.

Saturday, May 10


The mall was crowded today, at least in relative terms. That is to say, on weekdays it seems almost deserted, and today there was a healthy crowd buying last-minute mother's day gifts. (We, of course, were part of the crowd.) Temporary vendors in the centers of the mallways added to the crowd. Some stands were bustling, while at others, the people tending the tables may as well not have been there, for all the attention passers-by gave them. Indeed, some of them seemed to be elsewhere even as they sat staring.

Later, at a bookstore outside the mall, I bought some juice-flavored sugar water and sat down to nurse V. I looked for a secluded spot in the bookstore cafe, and wondered if I would be harassed for feeding my baby, as had recently occured at a "super"-store not far away. We both finished our snack uneventfully, and I laughed as I passed by this book while looking for the rest of the family.

Friday, May 9


The flower garden grows like a wild jungle at our new home. We have already discovered in it beautiful daffodils, tulips, trillium, and grape hyacinth, and await the blossoms from lilac, rose, and clematis. Periwinkle covers the entire corner of the yard beside the garage. Dandelion and violets dot the lawn with color. Other plants I can't yet name.

Today we spent the morning outside. I met the neighbor Molly, going for a walk with her three children. She told me Mondays are always free days at the zoo. We agreed to walk together to the coffee shop next week. Perhaps we will get to be friends.

The boys drew with chalk and continued to play in their crazy competitive way, while I pulled the grass out of the garden. Weeding is such a simple pleasure. It allows me to bring order to my surroundings, at least temporarily, and to discover the joys of my garden up close. It forces me to focus on what is in front of me, and allows me to bring order to my mind, at least temporarily. I would gladly have spent the entire day weeding; but the boys who are growing like weeds also needed my focus and tending.

It is amazing how easy it is to write words about my day, when I just start with a few. Life is so full of details!

In the spirit of detail, I think I must be allergic to the maple trees blooming up and down the block; a manageable side-effect of weeding.

Thursday, May 8


Inspired by Shelli at Mama of Letters, I'll be trying to write a few words about each day. Some of them will be here, some may be kept exclusively in my journal. Here is my first offering.

Spring is in the air. Beautiful multi-hued tulips bloom in the backyard: frilly yellow ones with red striping and miniature white ones with pink tips intermingle with reds, yellows, pinks, and one purple beside the basement window.

Boys run along the paths at the nature center as if in a giant maze, until we stop and see two beavers swimming in a small pond. They might have been muskrats.

I talked with Grandma today. She still has some leg and back pain after last year's surgery, and seemed to want company. We will go visit her Sunday, for Mother's Day (mom & dad will be there, too). I learned from Grandma that it will be a day for housework, too, if the weather cooperates.

Is this normal?


It's nice that they're learning to play together, but ...

Playing in the backyard:
Inventor to Painter: Mr. Repairman, I need to fix my car.
Painter to Inventor: I'm the car breaker. I'm breaking your car.
I to P: NOOoo. I need to fix my car.
P to I: I'm going to break your car.

Playing in the living room:
Painter, while lying on top of Inventor: Here's a nice soft carpet.
I gets up.
P: Come back here carpet.
I, lying on top of P: Here's a nice soft carpet.
P gets up.
I: Come back here carpet.
This scene is from today. Yesterday it was lying on "nice soft grass" outside. The day before it was stepping on "the stairs".

Playing anywhere:
One of them: I'm shooting my bomb-shooter at you.
The other: I exploded your bomb shooter. I'm shooting poison at you.
The first: I ran away from your poison. I pushed the "die" button.

Or this:
First: I threw you in the trash.
Second: I threw you in the diaper pail.
First: You're kitty poop.
Second: You're a poopy diaper.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Help! I'm living in a house of lunatics and they're trying to turn me into one.

Or maybe I already am crazy and this is all normal.