A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: sibling bond

Faulty Negotiations

Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen started requesting stories about a week ago. It’s mostly the same three that she will remain rapt and smiling. One particular morning Mr. Man was enjoying Tar Beach on my applesauce legs, despite frequent sisterly interruptions to desist and read Moo, Baa, Lalala. Big Brother was good about it. He fully understands the lure of a good story. Warrior Queen doesn’t have an iota of patience, so my compromise was every couple of pages of his story, I stopped to read her much shorter ones…She’s quite a convincing advocate for her needs, and Little Man, thankfully, was a good sport. My hunch is that as long as he was able to remain encased in his mommy cocoon, Warrior Queen could demand anything she wanted. But, I also think her occasional protector loved her giddy smiles and occasional attempts at “lalala,” laughing when the book reveals that fancily clad pigs don’t actually carry canes and sing in a kick line.

I abruptly finished reading to eat my perfectly cooled grilled cheese sandwich breakfast. I started fixing two, as my breakfast of champions is consistently pilfered by Warrior Queen. Naturally my son insists on partaking so not be left in breakfast dust. But, this morning I almost managed to eat the entirety on my plate.

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(CinemaBlend must have seen what I look like hangry.)

It didn’t matter I’d read her story twice, Warrior Queen was immediately disgruntled that I left to care for the needs of my empty tummy. Squeals and a scrunched toddler face prompted Little Man’s intervention. He subsequently lifted the book and began “reading,” attempting the same page inflections as I. As a three-year-old he’s a convincing reader…His story recites parallel my utterances with impressive exactitude. But, despite his ardent effort to entertain his sister, she decided she wanted no part in his oration. He attempted to hold her in place and pleaded with her to remain listening. Warrior Queen whined her shrill shriek in the way that has become all too familiar, crawling past and over her brother while simultaneously attempting to kick him off her leg.

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(If there wasn’t a grilled cheese involved, you’d be thinking it was nap time too, right?)

She managed a few paces before Mr. Man tackled her flat, yielding a impassioned wail even though she wasn’t hurt. Big brother can be very persuasive when he puts forth the full force of his effort, but sometimes the art of the deal is destined to fail.

When there isn’t rivelry…

Since having my children, there are moments that I’m so touched or in love or something that I can hardly stand to exist in my body. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but it’s almost painfully crippling. This morning was one of those moments.

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(Wallpaper Cave knows it is inexplicably and profoundly exquisite.)

I’d woken in the early five realm. It’s summer’s excruciatingly early light that pokes me until laying in bed becomes pointless and annoying. I exercise at this time. I’d like to say that this specific perk allows me ample time to myself. Sadly, my children are also early risers in the summer. But, I usually am able to clear half my routine and finish the remaining portion during a synchronized nap. This morning the children slept into the last remaining sixes. I was enjoying my book, meaning to stop, but deciding to read just a bit longer while everyone slept. I almost finished my entire day’s exercise goal when Warrior Queen woke.

She’s usually dramatically unhappy about something…my little sprite so very assertive, and I adore it so much in her. I hope I nurture it effectively that it doesn’t diminish with the passing years. This morning…like many mornings…she wakes cranky, complaining immediately for me to retrieve her. Naturally I drag my feet to do so.

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(Search Engine Land obviously has small children who wake-up much too early.)

But, as I climb the stairs I hear she’s no longer unhappy, and it is a relatively quiet, joyful noise I’ve never witnessed from her. The sound unmuted because the door was ajar. I assumed it was my husband for the instant it took to see into the room.

Little Man had wandered in, and he was speaking quietly to his sister, and holding her small, delicate hand. And, she was just so happy, rapt looking at him standing before her. I had scant seconds to watch them before Little Man noticed, and Warrior Queen soon followed his gaze, begrudgedly letting go the vision of her big brother. My son greeted me warmly telling me that he was talking to his little sister. I’m not a terribly emotional person, but I just about teared agreeing with him, running my fingers through his thick, curly hair. I kissed the spot my hands left. Turning my eyes to my fierce little girl, her laughing eyes beaming at me. Outstretched arms, I lift Warrior Queen with her grabbing, patting hands and position her to my left side, Little Man dancing in tow. Our train ricketed down the stairs while my husband continued to sleep, thus beginning another day.

Feelin’ the Love

There are truly delightful moments with my children, especially my soon to be threenager. Warrior Queen is ten-months and not really mobile, so most of her life’s navigation is exceptionally cute. Right now I relish the floodingly moist baby kisses and the way she will rest her head on my chest at times when I hold her. It is a sign of affection I will miss once it vanishes. It’s usually prompted when I provide smooches to her cheek. Once she’s sufficiently speckled, often she rewards me with multiple cheek sucklings in return or a resting hug. My daughter is much freer with her affectionate efforts, and I’ve found it my mission to preserve that in her…as well as her determination to assert her needs with the force meriting a, suffragist lady. And, if I’m honest, I’d prefer her to be a bad ass Black/African American suffragist lady, because they were the strongest among the group. With my fierce girl, it’s all pretty much swoon worthy. Little Man within the context of his independence and control assertions, swings his disposition pendulum to the extreme sides of the arc.

The other day he was so terribly sweet to his baby sister. He often is, but it is usually misguided with all of his attempts to be kind or helpful. He tries to cuddle Warrior Queen…by sitting or laying on her for a hug. He shares toys, but ripping from her hands the one she is in the process of enjoying, replacing it with a different toy she has no desire for. He will often help me clean…after making his various puzzle pieces rain confetti all over the sitting room area. Mr. Man will retrieve his own food…by climbing up the ladder that is our refrigerator shelving. His drinks are within easy access. But, this particular day he asked me to hug and snuggle his baby sister, telling me that he has to be gentle. True to his word he nuzzled and wrapped his arms around her so delicately, and my heart swelled. We read many books to prepare Little Man to be a big brother…he still enjoys them, attempting to enact every strategy listed. Sometimes he will become particularly frustrated when denied something he sees as his obligation. Following his lovely hug, my sweet boy asked me to feed his fierce sister. He tore a piece of his toast, showing me before lightly placing it in her eager mouth.

Several instances throughout that same day, and with increasing frequency in general, my son selected a favorite book of his he memorized, and sat next to Warrior Queen, reading each page with the same inflection in which I read each tale. If I didn’t know better, I would think he was an almost three-year-old reading prodigy. My daughter always seems to prefer my son’s literary touch to mine; she’ll gaze at him enamored while he concentrates on each page. The only time I have her undivided attention with a story is while she is eating.

But, of all of his growing and independence pursuits I’ve been expecting him to turn away from me…seeking to understand his world. Elements of that exist, certainly, but I’m surprised to find that my son turns to me more than he did when he was his sister’s age. Last night for example, Little Man’s latest pursuit to delay his bedtime is “two minutes” to lay in our bed. He doesn’t ask his father. This is a delay tactic reserved entirely for me…because he knows I’m a sucker for a snugglefest, and last night did not disappoint. My sweet boy cuddled into me as we shared my pillow, under three blankets. Upon his initiation we had multiple rendition exchanges of stating how much we love each other, “Love you too,” “Love you,” “I love you so much.” The final version particularly impressive, as Little man confuses I and you within his increasingly sophisticated sentences and requests. Furthermore, this was the first time he really told me he loves me. Prior he would say, “Love you too,” but that is something he’s repeated from my utterances…probably directed toward his daddy. I suppose he’s heard the other versions as well, but it’s never been like this. I suppose a piece of this was to delay sleep, but some day…probably soon…these efforts will stop. He will turn away from me as he grows into a man. But, these moments are mine for as long as I have them, and hopefully they will sustain me for the drought that is to come.

Worth 1,000 Words

I’m all about the reading. Reading aloud to my children is one of my most favorite activities, even when the story selection passed its threshold of tedium in the rear view mirror. Beyond the general short and long term benefits of reading to the young’uns, I have ulterior motives. I was illiterate through the fourth grade, and a fairly lousy reader through college. I’m ignorant of the scientific explanation for my troubles, but it impacted everything from my egregious writing to my pathetic understanding of social cues. It’s all part of my path, and I’m proud of who I am. That said, it wasn’t an easy path, and some of my struggles endure. Aware that my genetic composition is the cause of some of the more harsh parts of my reality, I try the best I can to offset their effects should my children inherit some of my dysfunction. Reading is one of those interventions. If my children can’t read as most, I want them to love a story. With any luck it will be a beacon if the literary world presses down its fog.

With this theme ever present in my mind, I’m heartened on days such as today. Certainly there are copious of other events to warm my very core in this arena. Little Man loves tales above all else, and the Warrior Queen at a ripe old age of six-months shows every inclination of possessing the same passion. She has since she was brewing in my belly; developed enough to hear and appreciate my vocal cadence, yet small enough to have room for her interpretive dancing in response to my rhythm.

Warrior Queen is on the cusp of reciprocating as her big brother’s playmate. Little Man itches for these interactions. Today is a new one. When my son was an itty bitty exterior soul, I purchased these Black on White/White on Black books…if you can call them that.

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 (This is an example of a couple of the book images.)

I couldn’t tell you if these books are actually helpful for babies or just in name, but such a thing doesn’t hurt. Why not invest in a couple? Mr. Man was indifferent as a baby, but my fierce girl is much more delighted by objects in general than he ever was. I gave this accordion cardboard collection another whirl. My son was thrilled by the suggestion before I had the chance to formally present the book to either child. He ecstatically shrieked his request to show the Warrior Queen, and I may have lost a frequency or two in my hearing capability.

I sat on a chair at my desk. My daughter on her belly facing away from me, the book standing on its edges, fanned before her. Her doting big brother sharing in tummy time immediately next to her, reading the images. He was engrossed in the task, oblivious to her vacillated gaze between the pictures like the ones above, and awe of the sweet boy she resembles so closely. And, I melted.

 

Wake-up Call!

It’s been a grueling time, but I’m not sure why.  Other than a whole mess of sick, things are not that bad, but I’m finding longer gaps between posts than I’d like.  I have my list of topics, yet time escapes, and nothing produced but a couple unfinished pieces and penned wish lists.

But, yesterday was a moment taking its slot at the front of my noted scrawled lines.  Warrior Queen at four months was sleeping after her first feeding of the day.  My son descending the stairs with his newfound boisterous chatter.  I understood a fraction of what he said, but he was so excited for his day to begin, I didn’t need to understand more than his vacillations between eggs and toast and lotta poop.

Little Man always seeks his sister immediately entering our main downstairs living area.  This morning no exception as he hovered in front of Warrior Queen shrieking, “Baby sleep!”  I was too late shushing him, and my fierce one woke with a startle.  Immediately, though, she saw Little Man beaming at her, and there were smiles abound.  My daughter just so excited to see the two of us stalking at her feet that her jazz legs began performing their gyrations, and gummy grins engulfed her face.

Mr. Man danced and pointed.  I laughed and tended to the eggs and toast.

Breakfast of Champions

I’m still sick, but reverted back to my pre illness state of coherence, so I vaguely make sense in brief conversations, but I can’t actually remember the conversation once I’ve journeyed ten minutes from it.  It is a pretty wicked cold that passed to my husband…because of the, “what’s mine is yours,” jazz.  So, as the less sick spouse, I took the kids out early this morning for breakfast before a visit with my parents.

My cold is well into its second week, but I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve had it.  Existing in the throws of early infant days hits my memory profoundly, leaving me to feel as though I’ve always been sick.  Taking my children to breakfast this morning reminded me of my real life, not this current experience of me periodically in tears from exhaustion and frustrated with my poor husband who certainly didn’t ask to share my earlier misery.

While the first reasonable night’s sleep in almost a week greatly improved my homicidal perseverations toward humanity…and the idiots sharing my road; preparing breakfast wasn’t something worth tackling.  We ate at a local diner with questionable interior design, but the best vegetable omelets I’ve ever eaten; even the mushrooms are fresh among the impressively plentiful variety of roughage.

Our trio entered the virtually empty space and chose a seat.  My son in a high chair looking at the traffic along the rotary outside, pointing and unintelligibly discussing the various trucks passing.  But, I hung on every word.  My daughter sleeping in her bucket.  I ordered my meal and my son’s blueberry pancakes (The blueberries are fresh and the amount almost ruin the integrity of the cake!).  The service is usually slow at this establishment, but I soaked every piece of this morning.  I basked in one of the wait staff commenting I had beautiful baby boy, even though I changed her out of her brother’s pajamas…because Warrior Queen is an infant and resembles this:

(Pat has a better hairline, but this is the identical facial expression just before spit-up seeps from her mouth or she is about to take a dump.)

I reveled in my son’s excitement of having a return to a typical peaceful and low key outing.  I felt exuberance anticipating my omelet…my son was equally invested in the arrival of his food.  The meal arrived.  My son expressing his excitement with his mouth agape in an “O” that wraps around and hugs his teeth.  Eyes wide, he waited patiently as I cut his stack of pancakes, but really he was transfixed by the bacon.  I completely understand his reaction.  Bacon is fabulous, and I would sign any petition enacting it as a superfood.  Yeah, I get that it has fat and yadda, yadda, yadda, but who isn’t so happy they almost wet themselves while eating it?  But, maybe it’s me.  I have twelve more baby pounds to lose, so my order arrived with the Canadian counterpart cooked well.  It’s a deficient alternative, but kept me from snatching my son’s pieces out of his hands and mouth.  We all have our strategies.

My daughter woke, so my attention vacillated love between my blissfully eating son and my daughter who also seems to relish our typical togetherness atmosphere.  My meal was rewarded with smiles, and I barely missed my breakfast lacking the salty magnificence of regular bacon.  My fierce girl is almost laughing, some of her smiles so large gasps sporadically escaped her mouth.  My son occasionally looked down and pointed.  Maybe he would smile or comment on his sister’s excitement.  He looked back at me after each gesture with his fist of bacon or fork of pancake, before cramming the selected food in his grinning mouth.  He looked at me with all the love I’m tickled he still has, seemingly every tooth on display in between mouthfuls.

It was such a simple morning, and some day these simple moments might be more difficult to come by.  Even though my children won’t remember, I hope I can always replay every expression of theirs in my mind, cementing anything from having the chance to wipe my mind’s eye clean.

Smiles

Warrior Queen is particular with her smiles.  I am the recipient of loads, but second to the ones bestowed on her brother.  She absolutely adores him, and he her…when he isn’t casting a greenish hue.  Little Man tends to his baby sister; the first at her feet when any unhappy squeal is uttered.  Sometimes he stands before her and stares.  Other times he not so gracefully attempts to return the pacifier to her sleeping mouth, or almost falls on top of her attempting to restart the swing or mobile.  Each event almost stops my heart thinking of the harm his loving deeds almost caused, but I try to commend him for the effort.  Often my intervention is showing him the appropriate gentle gesture required or assisting him with his caregiving task.

I’m not sure my son appreciates or even notices the fierce girl’s smiles, even when he is more accepting of her existence.  But, there are those times when my son will lie on the floor next to my daughter.  They will look at each other and smile.  Little Man will laugh and look at me before patting his sister’s belly.  The moment is never long enough; in a toddler blur he stands up, trotting off to his next diversion.

Close from the Start…Rollin’ Along…

I took both kids to my favorite bit of bonanza yesterday.  My son attends a class that ended up cancelled without me receiving notification, but it ended up as an unplanned opportunity to bring both offspring to an activity because my mother has a cold.

My son continues to melt me with his gestures toward his sister.  He views his child care responsibilities seriously; a pox on the parent who deprives him of his parade to our sofa or kitchen table carrying his sister’s bottle.  I think one of his favorite duties, however, is the shared one of helping feed her.  Now he’s starting to dab her mouth of milky drool when she is chillaxin’ in her swing.  It’s all so sweet that I can barely stand it…but maybe it’s still the hormones…

My little man seems to know his sister’s hunger cues better than I do.  On two occasions he’s heard her fussing and walked to the refrigerator to retrieve a bottle.  As the Warrior Queen’s mother, I assumed it was too early for her to experience hunger pangs, but my son was correct on both occasions.  She downed at least a couple of ounces.

The other day was another occurrence in less than two weeks of Mr. Man foreseeing his sister’s needs, which brings me back to the slice of heaven play spot.  My son was enjoying himself among the other children.  A beautiful day and the end of the latest class cycle prompted very few kids in attendance, but the quality enabled my son to find consistent playmates throughout the morning and early afternoon, so he was larking it up.  I’m wearing his sister in the blessed carrier my sister-in-law gifted to us, chatting with a friend who met us with two of her cherubs.  It was approaching the Warrior Queen’s next feeding, but usually when I wear her the meal delays.  At that specific time she communicated no indication she was hungry, just continued to snooze peacefully cuddled against my chest.  Suddenly, my son escapes the children’s play area (because he can work the child gate barricade).  I assumed he wanted another snack, as is his usual protocol.  But, this time he began fishing out all of his sister’s formula from my bag.  Within a minute at most the Warrior Queen awakens and wants her meal…three for three, Little Man, well done.

Close from the Start

My dear, sweet boy has been afraid to touch his sister, not wanting to hurt her and understanding how delicate she is in these early stages.  But, there has been progress in the last couple days.  Little Man has held his sister twice.

Last night was the first, and he was a bit afraid, but looked exhilarated with her seven pound body resting between his legs.  While she slept, his eyes darted, looking down at his charge and back and forth between me and my husband, displaying careful smiles mixed with uncertain glances.  My son lasted just long enough to capture the moment on our camera.

This morning he was a bit more eager and comfortable holding the Warrior Queen, and she was more awake.  She isn’t socially smiling yet, but during this encounter she looked up at her brother and presented the widest smile I’ve seen yet.  My son noticed and looked at me grinning.  I hope that exchange is a sign of the bond to come.

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