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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Disney: It’s Happening

The pitiful paid time off that I was given during my various jobs as a nurse never left much wiggle room for vacations. We were very luckily able to make a Parents-Only-Romantic-Vacation happen not just once, but twice, during the last few years thanks to going at really random times, saving up a year’s worth of paid time off, and, most importantly, amazing, phenomenal, grandparents who were willing to watch Alex while we sat on beaches. Other than that, it was a rarity for me to even manage a few days off around the holidays.

Each and every time I got sick, which sadly was pretty often, meant that I had to use paid time off. Every day I spent at home nursing a fever, my own or Alex’s, meant a day that I couldn’t take a vacation. Every time I needed to go to an appointment, deal with a household situation, fix my car…

(And I shouldn’t even complain. I had a paying job. I had paid time off. It was just…not well done where I worked.)

Now that we only have to worry about Zach’s time off, and getting Alex out of school, it became pretty obvious that we had to do something special. Something pretty amazing. Something that the whole family would love.

Disney World. It’s happening.

Disney 2015

We leave next month for four nights in Disney, after which we will spend three nights with my wonderful grandparents who live a few hours away. Being able to combine two trips that we have been meaning to take for a long time is pretty awesome. Disney World will surely be intense, and then being able to spend a few nights recovering by a pool, leisurely reading, walking around, and generally relaxing with family? Pretty amazing.

Disney 2015

Needless to say, we are pretty stoked. I’ve never been to Disney World, and Zach hasn’t been since he was a child. Alex has obviously never been, and, if you ask him, he’s “the only kid EVER” that hasn’t taken a trip to Disney World.

It’s going to be awesome.

Disney 2015

(Disney World lovers, people who have been only once, and people who have any level of opinion on these things: What are the Musts? Must See? Must Do? Must Eat? Must Watch? Must Skip?)

Not What I Wanted To Pass Down

Alex is a mini Zach. He looks so much like him. They have similar attitudes and personalities. Their interests are aligned. They are just two peas in a pod, and it’s wonderful.

I love to watch them together. They are so meant to be an amazing duo and it’s evident in nearly every interaction they have. Between the wrestling, Lego building, and comic book reading, they are just the best.

But! Alex is my kid, too. He isn’t only a mini Zach. He’s a mini Me, too, although it’s not always quite so obvious. We actually do look pretty similar as kids. He is very sensitive to the material his clothes are made of, something that surely drove my mom nuts when I was a kid, and is something I still, to this day, deal with. (Wool? ACK. MAKE IT GO AWAY.) He’s not particularly coordinated, so, sorry, Kiddo.

It turns out that he got one other thing from me. A tendency for cavities.

Alex has a cavity. It’s between two of his teeth, so I couldn’t see it. The dentist seemed really surprised, given that he never has had any issues and his teeth are “spotless!”…except for the cavity, clearly.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I felt like I had failed my child. “You had one job!” kept ringing through my head in an admittedly jokey way. Alex has a cavity and it’s my fault. I’m the one who is supposed to keep him healthy. I’m the one who is supposed to protect him.

I know it’s not my fault. I know that there is likely little to nothing we could have done to prevent it. And if we had prevented it, it probably would have happened eventually. We use a Sonicare, floss daily. He eats very few sweets, nothing gummy on a regular basis. He’s tasted soda maybe four times now in his life. Juice is a very special treat, and usually just when we are out. We do everything right. But it seems he may be like me and just, well, prone to cavities.

Fortunately, he’s not upset about this at all. “It’s a little bit of a bummer,” he told me after the dentist appointment last weekend. “But it’s okay. We’ll be even better!”

He’s not even nervous about them fixing it tomorrow. (I am.)

February 2015

Home Again, Home Again

She knew what I was going to say before I even said it.

I had just asked for a minute of her time. I guess that was enough of a hint.

“You’re quitting, aren’t you?” she asked.

I smiled, laughed a little, and nodded in agreement.

I quit my job.

I actually liked (most of) my job. I enjoyed the work I did and I felt, day to day, respected and like I was doing something important. My work was interesting, and I was actually good at it.

But you know what’s more important to me right now? Zach and Alex.

So, I quit my job.

To stay home. For the first time since Alex was two.

(And no, it didn’t happen just like ::snap:: that. This has been a long discussion over many months, many spreadsheets, many concerns, many budgetary considerations.)

DSCF4698

The first time I dropped him off at daycare felt amazing. It was only two hours, and we did it once per week to transition him from the only thing he had known: being with me all day, every day, except when he was with Zach or his adoring grandparents. This was the first time he would be with strangers. Strangers who would feed him, change him, play with him.

He loved daycare. And once I went to school on a more-than-full-time basis, he went to daycare full time.

He did great. And I have to admit, it was great for me, too. Two years with a baby, one who refused to sleep, meant that some time away, doing things with only other adults, felt pretty awesome. So, I did just that. Spent more time with other adults every week than with him. Spent more time with other children every week than with him.

I impressed people, made a name for myself, and now I’m quitting.

Alex is very excited. I’m anxiously psyched to begin a new routine. A new day-to-day. Domestic, picking Alex up after school, being there with him on sick days, not having to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work.

Not having to do every single chore and every single errand on the weekend? I can’t begin to imagine how different that will feel for all of us.

We are lucky. Immensely lucky. It won’t necessarily be something we can do forever, but for now?

I quit.

Little dude cuddles before a few nights away.

If I Had A Flower For Every Time I Thought Of You…I Could Walk Through My Garden Forever

My lovely little Alexander,

Alexander eating bananas. I screwed up this year. I didn’t complete your slideshow or yearly letter on time, so this year you get something a week late. I have a lot of guilt over this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you don’t mind one iota. Instead of spending time on this around your birthday, we spent a wonderful five days together. With your birthday falling on a Thursday, and camp ending the day before, your Dad and I decided to take Thursday and Friday off to spend the last few days of summer together. And Monday being a holiday? Bonus! We had an amazing five day weekend full of back to school shopping, birthday day fun, and a very small amount of relaxing.

Seven days ago? You turned seven. Seven. Can you believe it? I certainly can’t. When people ask me what age you are I find myself stumbling over the words. “He can’t be seven!” I think. FrenchBakery

Seven days ago we spent the day doing some of your favorite things. Other than the obligatory yearly well-child visit, the day was about you. We went to your favorite french bakery, the toy store, and a second viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy. Needless to say, the bakery, toy shopping, and movie were a big hit. And the whole day I kept looking at you, staring at you, saying, “Buddy! I can’t believe you’re my seven year old now!” You would smile every time in this way that you do, with a slight flush to your cheeks, your eyes bright and knowing, and the corners of your mouth attempting to not spread out too wide in a grin.

“Seven, buddy! Seven!” I would grab you saying, amazed at the fact. But seven you are! And what a year it has been. What changes we have seen in you! And what an amazing young man you are becoming.

While you were six, you started and completed Kindergarten. It was not an easy start, and really it wasn’t easy at the end, either. But you did it! You graduated from Kindergarten, and learned so much along the way.

First Day of Kindergarten

You continue to be a very sensitive, loving, kind person. We frequently discuss your feelings, of which you have many, and how various things in life affect them. It’s a struggle for you to not take everything personally, and to not be very worried about how you are doing in life. While this causes you some pain, it also means you are a very conscientious young kid with a big heart. I have never once been concerned about you being mean to another kid.

And now you are beginning first grade, your first time in a full day learning environment as Kindergarten was a half day program. First grade is going to be The Big Serious, at least relatively speaking, and I am nervously excited to see how the year turns out for you.

Unlike Kindergarten, you were quite excited for the beginning of first grade. In fact, you were so excited that you “didn’t sleep at all!” the night before. You woke your father up at five in the morning, exclaiming your inability to sleep. When I picked you up after your first day of school, your eyes were glossed over and you told me you felt like you were dreaming all day. Your excitement kept you awake and had you wake up far too early in the morning, something I can relate to for sure!

March 1, 2014

For your birthday this year, you had very specific plans. You knew that on your actual birthday day, we would do something quiet, small, just you and your parents. But we discussed doing something bigger a few days later. We had talked about doing a party, but you wanted nothing to do with that. I must admit that when you told me your plans I was both surprised and yet not so surprised. Your plans were so very you.

This was your birthday plan:
Go out to breakfast and order peanut butter/chocolate pancakes
Go to the toy store and get toys (you knew there could be a lot because you chose not to have a party)
Have sushi for lunch, specifically sushi rolls with cream cheese in them
Go rollerskating!
Have Chipotle for dinner

We didn’t quite have that day exactly as you had desired. We went to Chuck E Cheese in the afternoon, had amazing pizza for dinner, and entirely skipped the toy store as you had gone two days before in between eating macaroons and seeing an IMAX 3D movie and the day before after back to school shopping when you got maybe the coolest costume yet.

And little man, I’m so happy that you still love costumes, superheroes, reading, and wrestling. I love that you have grown into an immense love of swimming. I love that you were so excited about starting first grade that you couldn’t sleep. I love that you still like to dress up sometimes, wearing ties and blazers. I love that you and Daddy have a love of comic books and Dr. Who and Adventure Time together, and that I can join in on the love in my own way. And I love that last night you told me you couldn’t help it, you just had to kiss me again and again and again…

July 12

I can’t wait to continue watching you grow up, Alex. You make me so proud.


I love you, Little Dude. Forever and ever.

Love,
Mom

When you turned one!

When you turned two!

When you turned three!

When you turned four!

When you turned five!

When you turned six!