Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend Soup: Birthday, Baseball, and Parenting

I really enjoyed being Mom this weekend. I mean I always love being a mom, but some days are easier to appreciate than others. This weekend was far from perfect, there were times I wanted to scream, times I DID scream, and one very low moment where after a difficult and long shopping trip with both kids, I lost my keys somewhere IN my car and broke down sobbing in the middle of a parking lot at 7pm (spoiler: a good Samaritan stopped and helped me find them). But luckily, days as a mom are not defined by the valleys. They are defined by the many peaks that inevitably outshine everything else.

On Saturday we celebrated Jacob's sixth birthday. Six doesn't seem very old. Personally, I don't have a ton of memories of being six. But relatively, when I think about the day my first baby was born, six seems ancient. He's so tall and independent and capable and basically living a life completely separate from us now that he is in school. I don't even know the people he spends all day with (music teacher, computer teacher, classroom helpers, classmates). It's so odd to not be fully 100% immersed in your big kid's life. It's also so odd to look at your own kid and realize that somewhere along the way, he's become a real person and is no longer an extension of you.

What amazes me about Jacob are his emotional smarts. He is capable of understanding what other people are feeling, understanding how his actions affect how others are feeling, and shows genuine concern regarding the same. (Jacob told me the other day that their teacher gave each child a Skittle and Jacob gave his Skittle to another kid in the class for no reason other than to make him feel happy). I don't know how we are doing it, but we are raising an intuitive, sensitive, and caring child. And that makes me so proud. More proud than anything else. I've recently decided that as complicated and tough as being a mom may seem, the objective is simple and clear: teach my kids to love and be kind to other people. In my book, that is the benchmark which defines mommy success.

For Jacob's birthday we rented a party room at an indoor pool/gym. This was by far the easiest and least involved party EVER. First, Jacob is old enough to be a huge help and I totally took advantage of that. I made him pick out and assemble all the party favors and put him to work on what would have been most of my tasks. We ordered pizza from a place that was literally across the street. All that we had to bring was cake, drinks, eating utensils, and our swimsuits. The quickest and easiest party ever. And when we were booted out of the party room 2.5 hours later, we returned to a clean and organized home where we all took naps (it was heaven compared to the usual party chaos).

Family photo at the pool party room

Please note the frosting on his chin and the fact that there is no trace of baby whatsoever (sigh).

Watching Jacob open present was the highlight of the party for me (followed by listening to him dialogue with the adult guests- when did he become such a grow up?). With each gift that he opened, he displayed the most intense exuberance and excitement I have ever seen. He opened one gift that contained both a Lego set and a pack of gum. He opened the Lego set first and nearly screamed, while waving the set wildly in the air, "How did you know these are just the Legos I always wanted!" (even though I'm sure he hadn't seen this particular set ever before). And when he pulled out the pack of gum, he was equally wild with enthusiasm. He looked at the gum and exclaimed, "MINT gum! This is the best day of my life!" I was dying. He repeated a similar comment for every single gift, with genuine excitement.

"MOM LOOK. Star Wars Legos. These are my FAVORITE Star Wars Legos in the whole WORLD!"

"A NINJA TURTLE BOOK! I can read this with my new bedtime flashlight!!"

"A SUCKER! How did you know suckers are my favorite?!"

Present heads

The party was a success, with many thanks to my husband who did all the clean up and behind the scenes work and supervised the kids in the pool - ha, like I would wear a swimsuit at 37 weeks pregnant! Thank to my gigantic protruding belly, I'm pretty much uncomfortable every second of the day unless I am laying horizontal... as a result, I'm not much help, I'm very slow, and I'm often cranky. My husband was seriously the best!

37 weeks. I'm SO SO SO sick of being pregnant. I will hire a hit out on the next person who stares at my belly for too long, tells me I look like I'm going to pop (OMGSTFU), or asks me any questions about the baby (Is it your first? do you know what you are having? When are you due?). Praying every day that my water magically breaks.

Today after church and Jacob's Sunday school class, we hoped on a ferry to Seattle to watch the last Mariner game of the season. This is the first time we've taken the kids to a game and it was not the disaster I predicted it would be.

Post-church donuts on the ferry

Daddy hugs and tackles

Brotherly love

In fact, the kids were mostly very good. They enjoyed waving and cheering with the crowd although they were more entertained by making the bleachers their own personal jungle gyms and playing with a large cup full of ice than anything happening on the field. Ryan was solely interested in the mascot moose and kept asking me every ten minutes where he was.

Go King Felix!

Safeco Field

Ryan's lap bed for naptime.

Baseball games are so thrilling

Despite our busy weekend, I got a lot of chores done. And for probably one of the first weekends in months we spent almost the entire weekend as a family. This is a far cry from a typical weekend in which my husband and I split duties, errands, and weekends chores (and occasionally the kids) and rarely see each other except for dinner and bedtime. It was so nice to be together, even if I was just folding laundry or doing dishes while my husband worked on the computer and the kids tackled each other.

I sometimes get so caught up on life and chores that I forget to just sit back and soak up my time with the kids. Lately, with a third baby on the horizon and with a winding down of my schedule, I'm trying really hard to just appreciate their little personalities and quirks and focus less on getting stuff done and checked off my to-do list.

Nothing like having another baby to remind you how quickly it all goes by. I barely remember Jacob as a baby. I don't want to believe that the same thing will happen with Ryan.

Ryan is going through a phase where he is very affectionate (actually, now that I think about it, he's always that way). He randomly likes to reach out for my hand and rub it softly up and down his cheek. He often asks me to hold him in a voice that just makes me melt. He also gives what I like to call "forehead nuzzles." If I'm sitting down, he will approach me, put his forehead against mine, and just press forward or rub his forehead back and forth. It's so weird but so cute at the same time. Also, he makes me lay down in his bed with him every night until he falls asleep. Most of the time it drives me crazy, but sometimes I really look forward to it. He wraps his arm around me, holds my hand, recaps bits and pieces of his day ("I have fun at the baseball game. I clap and eat a hamburger and wave my flag and saw the moose.") and drifts peacefully to sleep.

Right now he talks in the sweetest high-pitched voice. My favorite thing lately is how he uses the word "actually" in many of his sentences. For example, tonight he told me he wanted pizza. Then he said, "Actually, I want a corn dog. No, actually, I want pizza." It's pretty funny to hear that word come out of a two-year old's mouth. Yesterday, he waltzed up to me and exclaimed, "I'm playing dinosaurs. Actually, can you take me outside?" It reminds me of the "apparently" kid (look him up on Youtube, he's adorable).

People often ask me how I feel about having a third boy. They ask me if I was hoping for a girl. If I want to try for a girl. If I wish I had a girl. And, you know what, I'm sure girls are awesome. But I feel so full of love and life with the kids that I have that I've never once felt that I was missing out on something. In anticipation of our third boy's birth, I don't feel anything but fulfilled and thankful and blessed.

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