A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: sibling moments

Read Along

My soon-to-be-threenager loves a story. Scratch that, he is absolutely passionate about a story. It doesn’t matter the quality; Little Man does not discriminate. I read to him so often that he has the entirety of his bookshelf memorized. I don’t remember him on this front when he was Warrior Queen’s age. Newly mobile, she is too consumed with exploring to sit for a tale. My best shot is when she is partaking in a bottle or solids meal. I have her feed herself a bottle in her car seat bucket with a towel supporting the bottle for when she has difficulty maneuvering her beverage. It’s become her preferred bottle method, the independent sprite she is. I came to realization yesterday that phasing out the use of her bottle in a scant month or so will be a nonissue. My daughter much prefers non liquid foods, and would gladly do away with bottles altogether if she knew what to do with the sippy cup.

Image result for munchkin sippy cup

(We use a Munchkin sippy cup. It doesn’t cause the same transition or dental issues as a typical sippy cup.)

I imagine she will get it once the time comes. I’ve stopped fretting on such things, as my kids always manage to do things like this in their own time as long as I don’t get in the way of their progress. If I’m a strong enough Mommy to let them be independent, they usually rise to the occasion, and it breaks my heart a little every time.

But, I digress…meals are the only time Warrior Queen will attend, unless her brother is reading to her…Mr. Man will take a tale whenever. It is a common site to have baby sister in her high chair, and big brother on my lap. We will all be snacking or nibbling something, and I will be reading from a collection my son chose and carted over to the kitchen table. Little Man will have a selection of certain favorites each week. Some of the books so practiced he will “read” them after my run through. Sometimes we alternate pages; sometimes he will recite sections randomly before requesting me to continue. I’m surprised of my love for a read aloud, even when the repetitions are tiresome. The best stories are the ones with an easy, rhythmical cadence; and I have to say I’m quite a good story orator.

I’ve found that Little Man quotes excerpts from his stories randomly throughout the day. One particular prized usage is from one that is tops on my list.

Image result for the duckling gets a cookie

Basically, the pigeon in this series is a toddler…and hilarious…because I don’t have to discipline him. My son’s preferred quote to throw at me is from this book, “It’s not fair. Ducklings get everything.” Usually the life context is correct even if there is no duckling…or cookie involved. If he isn’t particularly distraught with his situation, he will continue a bit further with the dialogue.

Several months back I schlepped a box of books up from the basement. Our shelves were becoming cluttered, so we temporarily retired some of the books I read to my son when he was a baby. Since my fierce sprite is older, they were called back into service. Mr. Man was absolutely delighted and pilfered the selection on the regular for a couple weeks.

The bucket feedings, however, are the purist opportunity for me to read to a captive baby audience, even if she demonstrates no literature preference just yet. The other day is an example of a moment I want to recall easily for the remaining days of my life. Warrior Queen was in her bucket enjoying her bottle. I was sitting on the floor next to her, Mr. Man on my lap. He chose two among the week’s favorites, and as I read Brown Bear my son bobbed his head to the predictable rhythm of the words each and every time I read the story.

Image result for brown bear brown bear what do you see

When I read Llama Llama Red Pajama, he laughed to himself at each of his favorite parts of the book.

Related image

Warrior Queen was rapt on the pictures, drinking peacefully. It was such a small memory, one that would likely evaporate in my family’s story. But, I have these words, and one day when I sit with my mug of tea, I will come across this, and the clearest picture will rush to my mind’s eye. For that brief moment my children won’t be quite so independent…quite so distant.

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.

Image result for white on black infant book

 (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.

 

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

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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