Seven And Three Quarters

Lately, Alex has been a little obsessed with the idea of becoming a big brother. (Spoiler alert: he’s not.) I’m guessing it’s because there have been a few babies born lately, and probably most intriguing to him is that one of his friends, who is older than him, became a big sister just about a year ago. So he’s had the pleasure of seeing adorable new babies join his friends’ families in addition to some new humans joining our extended family.

“Mom. If I ever was a big brother? I’d be so good at it.”

(In case you were wondering, he would be nice, make the baby laugh, keep it distracted when it wanted to cry, but probably not ever change a diaper.)

I also think a lot of this talk about wanting to be a Big Brother is a way for him to talk about growing up. He’s becoming more and more independent as the months pass; he’s more and more capable of being a human in the world. He no longer needs me to help him get ready, he shuts the door for privacy sometimes, I feel comfortable leaving him in places by himself sometimes, and he’s even learning how to prepare some real foods (with supervision).

Minecrafting

The other night he asked to stay up a little later than usual to watch a show with Zach. I agreed, as long as he would put himself to bed entirely. “That means you go upstairs, put on pajamas, brush teeth, climb into bed, and go to sleep. By yourself.” He agreed, and I rejoiced! He’s not hard to put to bed. In fact, I kind of love our routine. But when it’s a beautiful night and I have the option to sit outside with a glass of wine and read by myself for twenty minutes? Well, sometimes that wins.

When the show ended, Alex walked outside in his pajamas and hugged me. “Mom, I really don’t want to put myself to bed. Will you please just sing me a song? I promise I’ll go to sleep right away after that.”

How could I say no? (I couldn’t. After having a discussion about how when you say you’re going to do something you do it, because now how can I trust his word? Blah. That kind of thing.)

We walked upstairs, hand in hand, and I tucked him in and sang him a song. Our routine. “Mom, don’t put my noise machine on tonight.”

“No noise machine? Why? You love your noise machine!”

“I know. I don’t need it. I can give it to my baby brother or sister. They will need it more than me.”

“There is no baby who needs it, bud. You can use it as long as you want and it doesn’t make you a baby.”

“I know… but Mom. I’m growing up.”

“I know, bud,” I said, frowning.

“Oh, don’t be sad because then you will make me feel sad,” he returned, choking up.

“I’m not really sad. I mean, I guess I am. But I’m also proud. I’m mostly proud and only a little sad. You are becoming an amazing person and I love watching you grow up.”

“Okay,” he whispered while holding out his hand, silently asking me to take it in mine.

He closed his eyes, and I kissed him goodnight.

My little guy really is growing up. “I’m almost seven and three quarters, Mom. I’m not a little kid.”

Nope. You sure aren’t, bud.

Minecrafting

This Space

I’ve been blogging to some extent for over fifteen years now. I had a very early LiveJournal, then my own website/blog a few years later, and then, when Alex was about 6 months old, I started this ol’ thing here. Allison Says, because I wanted to say things, and writing things is one way to do that. It was a way to connect with other local moms, of which I knew approximately zero, a way to share with far away friends and family, and maybe most importantly it was a way for me to put my thoughts and feelings out there.

Thoughts and feelings aren’t my forte. Well, thoughts are certainly in my wheelhouse, and feelings usually come with those thoughts, but sharing them? Not so much. At least, not about me. It’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s not something I’m particularly ashamed of. It’s just how I am. If we’re close and you ask me my feelings about something? I will tell you. But the chances of me coming out on my own, without a prompt, are slim to none. Those thoughts and feelings stay where my brain and self think they belong: buried inside.

Playground Fun

But I shared things. I shared our struggle to finish college, which we both did, and then I went and got a second degree. I shared my concern about Alex’s language development. I shared our sleep struggles. I shared when he was finally potty trained (thanks, Zach!). The world knew about me going back to school to get a degree in nursing, when I got my first job, when Alex started Kindergarten. But then the regular business turned into general laziness, and even when I found time to blog I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say. Allison Says not a lot.

Alex is nearly eight years old (::gasp::!) and it’s harder to decide what to write about. How much privacy do we need? Zach and I differ a bit on our opinions on this, with me leaning more towards sharing, oddly enough. So, do I write about my concerns related to Alex’s reading, his dislike of school, his fear of trying new things? Do I share my worry that he’s picked on, and that he has perfectionist tendencies? Or do I just show the good stuff and brag about how awesome our life is? Because it is awesome, regardless of concerns.

Do I continue to try to write and share things that I really mean, events that really hit home for me? Do I go back to writing slightly more polarizing posts that aren’t 100% about Alex? Do I want to share our happiness and our sadness with the world? And if so, which I think I do as I sit here and recap our lives through blogging, how do I do it again? And how do I keep it within what is acceptable for a growing child who has opinions and wants privacy?

How do I continue to use this space? Keep it as is, very rarely posting anything of “value”? Try to give myself the time to actually write something? Try to share more of our lives, both good and bad?

Why I'm a happy mother. Thanks, boys.

This Space has been something for me. It helped me make friends. It helped me stay sane. It shared our lives, however little I put here, with distant relatives. It’s too important to throw away, but it’s been so neglected for so long. Maybe all of this ruminating, this stream of consciousness writing, will set off what I need to make it a more “useful” space. I want to remember these times.

Some Days, Part 4

Trying out another class. (Mar 14)

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He wins. (April 10)

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One more sleep until Disney! (April 18 part 2)

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Mine train o'clock! (April 20 part 2)

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So. Dizzy. (April 20 part 5)

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Great way to start the morning. (Photo credit to Zach.) (April 21)

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Made it to my grandmother's. It's pouring but he insisted he swim. Sure! (April 23 part 4)

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Family fun in the sun! (April 25)

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I'm a lucky person to have these two as my dates. (May 1 part 2)

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Hey, girl, hey. (May 5 part 2)

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Ed o'clock! (May 12 part 2)

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Just Around The Corner

I am so excited to spend the summer with this kid.

Playground Fun

He’s in school for what feels like forever longer, thanks to the snow days piling up and getting tacked on to the end of the year. Since we aren’t really that close to summer break yet, we have just been planning: planning our activities, joining the swim club, making sure our museum memberships are up to date, thinking about what friends we should drag to Kennywood with us, and, for my sanity, signing up for a few week-long summer camps.

I think he’s almost as excited as I am.

Playground Fun

More Magic

We have to go back.

Disney World 2015

One of my friends texted me on our first day there and told me to take it easy. To not cram too much in, especially on the first day. We were exhausted, overheated, and basically teetering on the edge of miserable. I took her advice seriously that day and throughout the rest of the trip: when it felt like we weren’t having fun anymore it was time to go.

So, we spent a lot of time at our hotel.

Fortunately the hotel was lovely (because Disney, man!) and cooling off while having a snack and a rest was really good for all of us. Alex actually went to bed before eight on our first night there, and I struggled to figure out how to take pictures of the fireworks across the way. We enjoyed the air conditioning, the balcony, and the peace and quiet that getting away offered us.

Disney World 2015

Taking it easy was amazing advice. We didn’t push to ride everything, we weren’t stressed trying to fit in every show, and we let ourselves skip some fast passes if it meant more happiness. Because of that, though:

We have to go back.

There is so much we didn’t see. There are rides we didn’t ride, shows we didn’t see, and we barely even scratched the surface of characters. We didn’t do anything in Epcot other than eat, skipped out on all tours and scavengers hunts, and I didn’t even get to try Dole Whip.

Disney World 2015

In all of the times people have said Disney is great, I just kind of brushed them off. Sure it is.

But it really, actually, truly, is great. They weren’t lying. They weren’t exaggerating. And there is so much to do.

Disney World 2015

I hope we can go back some day.

It Really Is Magical

I didn’t actually believe that it would be magical. I mean, it’s a really well organized theme park, right? Sure, Disney has this reputation for being impeccably maintained, and for the entire staff going above and beyond. And sure, the whole booking/organizing process was easier than any other vacation I’ve ever planned, but how could it be that magical?

Disney World 2015

Beyond being clean and beautiful, and beyond the (sort of creepy) fact that there were employees (::cough:: sorry, cast members) willing and able to help you before you even realized you needed help, and beyond the fact that the food was amazing, our whole trip was pretty much perfect. Sure, it rained more than is typical, and, sure, our first day was a mess because waking up at 3:30am is not a good idea no matter the fun plans for the day. (Lesson learned: don’t take the super early flight and expect to do much of anything that day.) It didn’t matter, though, that our first day was kind of meh because the days that followed more than made up for it.

Disney World 2015

The last time we took Alex to an amusement park was when we visited our adorable and, I think, pretty darn awesome, Kennywood right here in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly love it. He didn’t want to go on any rides, and, quite frankly, was a little scared of everything. After essentially forcing him to ride one of the milder of the roller coasters, he exclaimed that he hated it and would never go on a roller coaster again. It wasn’t the best day, and the only thing that saved the day was when we ran into some friends. Instead of being a total disaster, at least we got to see friends, and I got to hold my breath and hope that he got over his fear of amusement parks.

So, needless to say, I was a bit worried about how the whole Disney Thing would go. Would he want to go on any of the rides that I was so excited about? Would he enjoy the dark rides at all? How would he handle all of the walking?


Disney World 2015

I had nothing to be concerned about.

Once Alex rode Space Mountain, he was completely sold on rides. All he wanted to do was find the big rides, and for the rest of the trip we dubbed him Our Little Thrill Seeker.

Disney World 2015

Each time we got off of a roller coaster, he would ask to do it again. When I was able to see his face during rides, his smile would be huge, and his laugh infectious.

Disney World 2015

Clearly, we have to go back. And I’m officially so excited to take him to Kennywood again and again this summer. What good is having a kid to take to amusement parks if they won’t go on all of the fun rides with you?

Disney World 2015

Spring!

It took a long, long, time to get here. Something about this winter felt harder than usual, even though apparently last winter was colder. The cold, the snow, the darkness lingered. It held on and at some point I genuinely wondered how I would deal with a perpetual winter. Would I learn to deal with the cold? Would I whine less? Would I finally find a hat and gloves that kept me warm?

But then: Spring. It’s here, finally, and it feels great.

Spring! Finally!