Friday, December 05, 2014

Letter to my Lucky Penny: Four Months

Dear Violet,
 
This past Tuesday marked your four-month birthday. You are a mere 24 inches long and slightly over 12.5 pounds, my little peanut. I cannot believe how fast time has flown with you in our family. It feels very much as though you were brand-new and then we blinked and bam! We have a baby who coos, rolls over and fills the room with hearty laughs and high-pitched squeals.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

We went to see Santa earlier this week. You pulled on his beard to make sure it was real. 

Parenting has stretched me and expanded my heart in ways I never thought possible. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the diaper laundry and the pre-school drop-offs, but the best part of parenting for the third time is that I finally understand just how quickly time moves and how precious each moment is. Yes, the kitchen sink is often piled with dirty dishes and our house often has various laundry piles scattered across the house, but none of that matters when I lay your head upon my chest and feel your heartbeat against mine. Sometimes I look around and try to memorize these small, seemingly unimportant, everyday moments: the giggles during your diaper changes, the milk drunk smiles, getting my favorite onesie to fit you just one more time. These are the moments I never think to document because they are the mundane, but this third time around I am making every effort to remember because I know these are the moments I will miss the most when they finish fluttering by.

On a happier note, one of the really cool parts of parenting is witnessing how different and similar your personality is from your sisters. You love playing in your bouncer like your sisters did, laughing and gurgling at the swinging red, plastic mushroom.  You refuse to take a bottle like Lily did, but sleep consistently through the night like Daisy did. Like Lily, you HATE the Ergo, but similar to Daisy to love to snuggle in the Moby. You seem a bit more reserved like Daisy, but have the strength like Lily. Like your sisters, you watched the Giants win the World Series the year you were born. Like your sisters you love bathtime. Unlike your sisters, you suck your thumb.
 You have never once had to endure tummy time alone. You always have AT LEAST one of your sisters cheering you on. 

One of the things you all do extraordinarily well is interact. Both of your big sisters have been OVER THE MOON enthusiastic about you since before you were born, but their enthusiasm has really taken off since you have begun to smile and laugh. They read you stories. They sing and dance for you. They include you in their continuous make-believe game of pirates and princesses. And you just eat it up. Sometimes in the afternoon, we like to snuggle up and read books together. You love to look at the pictures in our storybooks, but I often catch you watching both Daisy and Lily in awe while you suck your thumb and smile. They don’t have to be doing anything, you’re just happy to hear their voices and see their faces.

Nothing has ever made my heart sing like it has when watching you three together. Sometimes I wonder what sort of sisters you three will be as adults. I hope you will be very close friends.
 On Thanksgiving morning we all snuggled and read stories in Mommy & Daddy's bed.  It was undoubtably my favoite part of the day. 

I love you, Violet, my lucky penny. Violet, my little penguin. Violet, my bright shining star. I love you. I love you more than the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.

Love,
Momma





Monday, November 17, 2014

Another six weeks have gone by and what do I have to show for it.

1. In a unsurprising display of immense unoriginality, I would like to announce that my favorite season is fall. Fall? Autumn? It used to be summer, but then I got older and realized that summer wasn't ever going to be the long, unencumbered swathe of freedom it used to be, but now was twelve long weeks of entertaining three young children. And second, the amazing amount of color. I have about approximately three hundred different pictures of the various colors of leaves in my neighborhood. You can thank me with a cinnamon spice latte and a slice of pumpkin pie for not showing them all to you. 

2. No matter how clever and charming my three little munchins are, at the end of the day I think we can really boil their entire existence down to this: Germ. Facotry. No, seriously. Daisy and Lily are like a walking petri dish. At any given time, I believe they are probably carrying AT LEAST eight thousand strains of the common cold. And you have guessed it, I am suffering from YET another cold. 


3. We've been spending our Saturday mornings working on our bike riding skills. 
4. The first time it happened, I wrote it off as accidental. Violet moved from one side of her crib to the other overnight. In her full-swaddling get-up. She was only a few weeks old, she couldn't have moved that much in the night. However, a few days later I was forced to acknowledge that it is no longer accidental. Then, earlier this week  while playing in the family room, I stepped out to check on dinner and she flipped from her back to her tummy. Again, I figured it must be accidental. Then, it happened again from her stomach to her back. And now, I'm realizing that it will be very, very soon that I'll have a baby on the move. 
5. A few weeks ago I woke up to Violet crying. This isn't totally uncommon, she is only a mere three months and is just learning to sleep through the night. However, upon further investigation I also found Lily along with her harmonica and toy drum. She was playing baby sister a lullaby. At 2 am. Needless to say, the musical instraments have been moved and a sticker sleep chart has been implemented. 


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

A few of my favorite things

1. Last Week with John Oliver. Admittedly, I'm pretty much out of the loop in terms of what's going on in the world. However, I feel somewhat informed after watching my weekly dose of John Oliver - plus, I get to laugh the entire way through.

2. This sweet face.
Need I say more?

3. Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn. I won't even pretend to hide that I polished off an entire bag of the Caramel and Cheddar mix during quiet time.

4. This girl. Each morning she carefully selects her outfit and then carefully adds stickers as her "accessories." This morning my nursing cover was added so that she could pretend to be Queen Elsa while she sang  Let it Go (complete with her "moves").

5. Delicata Squash. Roasted with a dollop of maple syrup. Daisy tells me it smells like candy when it's being made (and the other night both girls polished off two very large helpings.)

6. Daisy has starting writing. She started showing interest a few weeks ago - wanting to know how to write more than just letters, "words Momma. I want to learn to write words." Honestly, I'm not sure who is more excited.

6. We recently came back from a visit with my folks. All three girls slept each night. All. Night. Long. Which, if you've ever traveled with my children you know this is a miracle. One afternoon we took a few grandparent photos, and this quickly became my favorite.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Perfection

The other day Lily refused to nap. While Daisy played quietly with her dolls and Violet napped, Lily and I made our yearly batch of Apple Honey Challah bread. We watched the yeast dissolve into warm water. We kneeded the flour and salt to make a sticky dough, laughing as we made a mess with our tacky fingers. We peeled and chopped apples. We folded them into the dough. We watched it rise.

While the bread baked, I cleaned up the kitchen and the girls asked to paint. They pulled out the watercolors and paper and got to work.

A few minutes later Lily came into the kitchen to show me her painting. Lily loves art. She loves to color. She loves to draw. She loves to paint. She stands so still, and sticks out her tongue in such concentration. She says, "Momma, Look! It's finished." She holds up her masterpiece. She showed me the colors with a huge, beaming smile. I told her it was beautiful and asked if I could hang it on our gallery wall. "Yes, Momma. There," she says pointing to a empty clothespin.
She leaned over and and asked for a kiss. Of course, I oblige and as she did she said, "I love you Momma."

A missed naptime that resulted in a moment that made my heart sing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A letter to my monkey girl

To live. To live would be an awfully big adventure.
Dear Daisy,

Nearly three weeks ago, Robin Williams, an iconic comedian and prolific actor, took his own life. For some reason, his death resonated with me. Maybe it’s because I’m still hormonal and sensitive after the birth of your baby sister, or perhaps it is because I remember falling in love with Walt Whitman’s poetry after watching his rendition of John Keating in Dead Poets Society. Or maybe it’s just because it reminded me of a simple lesson. We never know what battles others are fighting, so we must be kind to everyone we met. 

I’ve been thinking lately of my reasons for writing to you and your sisters: what is my purpose, what do I hope you take away from my messages. Sure, I want a place to record your stats and achievements, our family adventures (since I have failed miserably with all three of your baby books. Well, to be honest, I’m not even going to attempt one for Violet), but also to pass on nuggets of wisdom that you three have taught me.

One of these lessons is your ability to find beauty in the world around you. You look for more than just aesthetic beauty, but beauty from inside. You love smelling the wildflowers on our daily walks because their smell is beautiful. You love to say your baby sister’s name because you believe it to sound beautiful. You want to be an astronaut and astronomer because the earth must be so beautiful from space, and the stars shine so brilliantly. You love for me to read from our book of poems because you think the prose is so beautiful.
In Dead Poets Society Williams plays a teacher at an all-boys prep school, in one scene he tells his students “But poetry, beauty, romance and love; these are what we stay alive for.”  You, my petite chou, look for the beauty, you look for the love, you find joy, and you remind me to savor and enjoy the beauty in my everyday world.

At four and a half years old, your imagination has taken off, reaching new levels. You love to pretend our backyard is the moon, exploring the valleys and crevices on your lunar rover (i.e.: your old tricycle) while wearing your gravity boots (i.e.: your rain boots). You, your sisters (well, technically Lily. Violet’s just along for the ride in Daddy’s arms) and father play pirates. You have your “secret” hideout and search for treasures, coming up with elaborate play scenes. Sometimes I peek out at you four from the kitchen sink and I think that these moments are the reason I became a parent.
While you do look for beauty, you are also oh so very cautious and organized. These are traits that I see in myself, that I work so very hard at overcoming. For example, you are terrified of riding your bike (with training wheels) and worry constantly about going too fast. You have a hard time dealing with spontaneity, worry about the rules and being messy. While there is something to be said about approaching life in an orderly fashion, assessing risk before each new move; we need to learn to sometimes just jump: Without thinking. We need to feel more, and think less. “You’re only given one little spark of madness,” Robin Williams once said. “You mustn’t lose it.” This is the spark of impulse, insight, enthusiasm and inspiration that is essential in life. This is what makes life messy. This is what inspires us to take risks. And then I think about how messy life can be, I think about how your future glimmers with possibility.

One of William’s most famous lines is when he jumps onto a classroom desk in Dead Poets Society and tells his students “Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.” And this, my love, is perhaps the most poignant reminder to make the most of our days. Go and lead an extraordinary, beautiful and messy life.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and the water in the oceans.

Love,

Momma

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Letter to my Hazelnut

Dear Violet, 

Two weeks ago, you joined our family in a whirlwind. One minute I was reading in bed at home, trying to maintain a positive attitude in dealing with prodromal labor five days post-due date, and the next minute (or six hours later, whatever), you were laying on my chest, skin-to-skin, and I was falling irrevocably in love. 

I’ll be honest, my love, our first 24 hours were a bit rough around the edges. Perhaps it was me, finding my ground as a new mother all over again, or perhaps it was you, not exactly ready for the chaos of life, the florescent lights of the hospital, and the insane hosptial roommates we had, but they included plenty of tears and plenty of screaming. However, in the past two weeks you have essentially just slipped into our family like you have always been here. You sleep in four to six hour stretches at night. You take several solid naps throughout the day. You hardly ever fuss, you are a nursing champ, and seem to have a knack for tummy time.

At two weeks of age, you are already way too cute for your own good. I love how perfectly pouty your lips get when your diaper isn't changed fast enough, the brightness of your blue-gray eyes, the suckling noises you make when your nursing, and the sweet baby rolls. Speaking of baby rolls, at eighteen days you are 9 pounds, 9 ounces, 21 inches in length and 100% perfect. 
One day when you are older and you have a chance to read this, I want you to know that you have been a magnificent surprise. Your father, your sisters and I are all absolutely head over heels for you. We love (particularly Daisy) gazing into your eyes and smothering you with kisses (Lily is the kissing queen!). We love marveling at how tiny your fingers are and how your left ear folds over at the top, and we love seeing that milk-drunk grin. 
We love you more than all the stars in the sky and the water in the oceans.

Love,

Momma 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Letter to my firecracker: 2.5 years

Darling Lily, 

If I had to sum up these last six months in a single sentence, I would have to tell you how immensely proud of you I am. It seems like seemingly overnight you went from my baby to this amazingly independent, opinionated little girl. 

I sometimes feel that your toddlerhood is slipping through my fingers, but then we cuddle up on our rocking chair with a stack of books by our side and your little white lovey clutched against your chest. I soak of these moments with you, memorizing every inch of you, trying hard to hold on to your babbling sounds and sweet, sloppy kisses. 

The last six months have brought so many wonderful changes for our family, with more still to come in the coming week while we wait for your baby sister to make her (late!) appearance. Your maternal grandmother has been staying with us for the past two weeks while we anxiously await for our newest family member and you love every minute that you get to spend with her. Watching you and Daisy develop a relationship with your grandparents has meant the world to me. While I am uncomfortable and moody and so over being pregnant, I am thankful that you get this special time with Grandma and I just know that it is the beginning of something extraordinary. 
 Your outfit of choice when picking Grandma up from the airport. 

Today you are officially 30 months, and I can barely believe it. In the past six months you have learned how to use the potty (personally, I think I am more excited about this than you are!) and your language has completely exploded. This particular phenomenon happened in the past three weeks - every day you astound me with another half-dozen new words. You still of course have your made up language, and you have the rest of your family using this language. For example, you call yourself Na, and these days we refer to you as Na. Also, every night your father asks you if you want “Da Da Hi do doot and Bubba Hi do doot” which clearly means “Would you like me to turn on Mickey and Lullaby music on the iPod? But, finally you can name all the colors, call your grandparents by name, and label desserts including your new favorite, “Cookie!,” spoken like cookie monster with your hand outstretched waiting for your treat. Additionally, you have also started sleeping in a toddler bed, however, you actually prefer to sleep on the floor and your love-affair with all things Minnie Mouse (or Mamma HI as you prefer to call her) has reached new obsession levels. 

You, my love, are such a firecracker - always pulling some sort of antic and running around like a wild animal. You constantly make me laugh. You are an artist. You will spend hours coloring in all sorts of coloring books or drawing on blank sheets of paper with whatever writing utensil you have. The magna-doodle is a must have anytime we are in the car. You love to sing like Ariel from The Little Mermaid and it’s the CUTEST THING EVER. And let’s not forget your love of dancing - anytime we hear music you MUST stop what you are doing and start dancing, even if it means we are in the aisle ways of Trader Joe’s. 
You are silly and clever and wonderful and I love you more than all the stars in the sky and the water in the ocean. 

Love, 

Momma