Nighttime conversations about love

I’m trying to get the Boy out of his nighttime diaper. I’m very relaxed about it, but I’ve started taking the first steps: cutting down his liquid intake before bed, getting him out of proper diapers and into training diapers so he can go to the bathroom by himself at night, and generally discussing how he’s a big boy now and is allowed to and should start thinking about getting up and peeing in the toilet now. Though I’m not in any big rush these first simple steps have already garnered some results… the Boy now has an excuse to get up and walk around at night. This basically means that after I’ve whispered the last “good night, I love you miles and miles”, indication that it is, in fact, bedtime, he manages to get up between five and ten more times every single night. Half the time I have to tuck him back in. It’s pretty annoying. Most of the time.

Today he’d been complaining that I hadn’t cuddled him enough. He’s probably right, his sister demands cuddles, if I’m sitting down she’ll just climb into my lap pushing out of her way anything that could impede her progress, he, on the other hand, tends to keep to his own space. He’ll take cuddles when offered, but he rarely comes asking. And tonight he complained of this evident inequality between them, though I constantly try to keep things even.

These two things are related of course, the peeing and the cuddles, because tonight on one of the thousand trips to the bathroom he came by my room and stupidly I didn’t ask him to come lie in my bed for a couple of minutes, as I usually do, I sent him packing straight away. And so I heard grumbling all the way back to bed and felt guilty. Luckily.

I went to lie with him in his bed a few minutes. And as we snuggled I said to him, you know baby, you’re so special to me because you were my first, you made me a mama. I wasn’t a mama until you came. And he said: you weren’t a mama? With surprised wonder in his voice, because, how can one conceive of such a thing. And I said: I wasn’t a mama until you came, I waited for you such a long time, I was afraid you weren’t going to come and then you did and I was so happy. And then I kissed him, and left. And he fell asleep.

Some things you simply don’t want to forget.

The past few days have just flown by, I know, cliché but it’s my life theme, no time, no time, no time! The kids are getting so big, so big! (And yes, I’m getting so old, so old…) So I’m going to start doing something I had decided not to do on this blog: write monthly or weekly (or possibly daily) about my children. About how wonderfully wonderful they are, about all the things that tickle me and make me laugh and piss me off to high heaven.  Things I didn’t want to write about, not because I don’t think they belong on a blog, because they do, they absolutely do, I love bloggers that post letters to their kids, they make me happy. But me, well, I have a language problem, because you see half the cute (and infuriating) things my kids do are things they say and how do I do that when 99% of my readers are English-speaking and my kids do funny things in Italian and Portuguese and yes, sometimes, rarely, in English. I’m not showing off, I swear, this isn’t a – aren’t my children gifted and special because they speak three languages – post (they don’t actually even speak one language fully yet, though, you know). I know first-hand how easy it is and well, natural it is, to learn a language when from the day you come out into the world you’ve got people speaking to you in different languages. So really my kids aren’t all that special. (Even though they are, they so are).

But suddenly it’s more important for me to record, to indelibly imprint on what has somehow become the official archive, repository, library or what have you, of human… well, everything,  all the things I really, really don’t want to forget than it is to write posts that actually make sense to everybody out there. So, forgive me, in advance, but I’m sure you understand, the things they do, the everyday things, the magical, recordable things, must be preserved and my once impeccable penmanship has gone the way of the cassette player, I’ve given in to the fact that I’ll never write, legibly or illegibly, with pen on paper quite as fast as I can type with finger on keyboard. So there you have it, my childrens’ journals, elegant black journals, lie unopened under many inches of dust with only a few entries to their name.

On Wednesday afternoons I take my kids to baby basketball (for three to five-year olds) they play together, the Boy started it in the spring and the instructor told me I could bring the Girl in September even though she’s not quite three yet. So they play together, but the first lesson, now several weeks ago, I was on pins and needles the entire time because the girl was so obviously little compared to the other kids. She made a massive effort, chasing after the ball, trying to follow the directions, and generally having a grand old time, I, on the other hand, was mentally fixated on the fact that she ran so obviously like a toddler, slightly knock-kneed, with her feet off at an angle and her entire body rocking from side to side. It was so damn adorable I hate myself for not taking video of it. Now, less than four weeks later she runs like a big girl, it took no time at all, she grew up in such an obvious way in no time it all it blows my mind. And I almost missed it, I almost didn’t even notice that she changed the way she runs. I read this post today, go read it because it’s good, but it made me think that we never really do notice the lasts, we only notice the firsts, but the lasts are just as important.

That day at basketball, was probably the last time she ran like a toddler and I noticed, and I’m so happy I did. So that’s why I’m going to make more of an effort to record what they do and you, dear reader, will just have to bear with me (or ignore me).

p.s. tonight we were talking about stink bugs, because we are surrounded by them, every year right before the first frosts, they set up camp outside and try their damnedest to come inside, where it’s nice and warm.  All day, I kill stink bugs. Tonight I had just about had it when a stupid bug made a beeline for my head (they love my hair for some reason) and so I yelled at the husband to come kill the stupid thing. The stupid bug is called Cimice in Italian and for half an hour after the fact the Girl walked around asking to see the cimida (rhymes with timid, shy, which it so is not!), where was the cimida, was it still in the toilet or did it go for a swim? She even took her brother to the bathroom to explore the toilet bowl in case it was still in there.

Did this little story make sense to anyone but me? Probably not, but I totally want to not forget it. So there.

(also, she says yayeio for aereo – airplane, I’m so going to miss this baby talk part of their lives, especially cause it’s sure to be followed, after only a brief respite, by the cursing is cool part of their lives).

Baby blues or I’ve got too much time on my hands

You may, or may not, have noticed that my posting has been erratic lately… well, I actually have a valid (ish) reason this time. My kids started preschool last week. Scuola Materna, is what it’s called in Italy (translates directly into maternal school, which I think is kind of cute), and, though not mandatory is still when most Italian kids start school. So it’s a very emotional time. Very emotional. It gets even more emotional when you’re set to get your period. I’m just saying. So, the Girl, who’s turning three in November, started Scuola Materna this year (the Boy started last year) and I officially don’t have any babies in the house any longer. Or such is the sentiment that’s been pervasive in my mind all week…

Kissing her brother goodbye

She was very grown up about it, on Monday and Tuesday she went by herself, then the “big kids”, her brother included, started on Wednesday. She only cried once, and she was very proud of her new school smock (which they wear over their clothes at Scuola Materna, so it’s kind of like a uniform, but not), and she was thrilled to go to “the big kid school”. I, on the other hand, have been sniffling all week.

walking to school

in the classroom with her smock on, looking a bit sad…

When I had the Girl I assumed we would have more babies, then the husband got sick and now we would have to be highly motivated to have more babies if we wanted them. We can’t have them the traditional way (wink, wink) anymore, and though we do have a vial of “material” sitting around in a sperm bank somewhere, we’re not sure any of us would survive me having to go through all the hormones that come with assisted fertilization. I can barely deal with the hormones my own body produces.

So the Girl starting preschool this year, made me face the fact that maybe we’re done with babies, and I’m not sure I want to be done with babies. Okay, so she hasn’t actually been a baby for a while, she was a toddler, but you know what I mean right? She’s started on the long road to independence from me, my mornings are free, they’re out of diapers (during the day), I can sell my strollers, I don’t have babies anymore. Am I ready not to have babies anymore?

both of them off to school on wednesday in their smocks

I would have liked to go through my last pregnancy knowing it was my last pregnancy… sounds ridiculous, I know. What with so many people not being able to have kids at all, and others with more kids than they can handle, I’m sitting here whining, when I already have two, and a boy and a girl at that. I’m pretty lucky.

I’m just not sure I’m ready to close up shop, by the same token though, I’m not a hundred percent sure I’m ready to start again, with the added hassle of ivf… how confusing. Of course, I had no guarantee of having more babies even if the husband hadn’t gotten ill, but now I know for certain I won’t be waking up one morning wondering why my period’s late, and that makes me a little sad. And yeah, maybe I’m being excessively self-indulgent, maybe I’m making it more complicated than it actually needs to be, but still, sometimes I feel like I’m mourning the babies I didn’t get to have.

Of grandfather-y things and such.

The premise: Sometimes my brain complicates things way more than is necessary

My mom and her husband are visiting from Houston and every time I see them together it feels a little uncomfortable, it raises a few issues for me. They had a whirlwind and rather disconcerting romance, they met and married within about four months. When they got married I hadn’t met him and I couldn’t attend their completely secret (as in only my brother and his daughter were present and nobody but a few very close people even knew they were getting married) wedding as I had just given birth to the Girl.  I finally met him a couple of months later, but by then the Husband had been diagnosed with leukemia and was spending his days in a sterile room in the hospital and frankly my mom’s new husband wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Also, he’s very reserved, so despite the fact that we spent two months in Houston at the beginning of the year I still don’t know him very well. Or at all really.

I’m still very unsettled about the whole situation, even though they’ve been together for three years now. Actually, one could say it’s rather unsettling to even be unsettled by a widowed parent’s remarriage as an adult.

Of course, on the one hand I’m thrilled that my mother has found someone, I never would have wanted her to be alone, but on the other hand, I didn’t expect her and my relationship with her to change quite so much.

Also, and rather more to the point, I’m not quite sure how to handle his relationship with my children. They don’t have a maternal grandfather figure. Or rather, he’s their maternal grandfather figure. And he really likes them, he actually acts like a grandfather, he plays with them and talks to them and watches over them when we’re at the park. He’s more grandparent-y than my mother is, as she’s not all that comfortable around, nor interested in, children.

Although, on a side note, she did manage to spend all of yesterday morning on the beach playing with them in the sand, which is probably the most she’s played with them this year.

But all this grandfatherish behavior makes me very uncomfortable. My kids, especially the boy, seek him out, they ask about him, he gets naturally paired with Nana when they ask about her and Houston. Of course, I get their perspective, he’s the guy they associate with a grandfather on my side of their family. He gets paired with Nana cause that’s all they know and an abstract grandpa who’s “in Heaven with the angels” looking over them just doesn’t make much real sense to them.

I guess I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that they’re so comfortable with a person with whom I’m so uncomfortable. He’s a virtual stranger to me, but he’s their grandfather figure.

I am happy that they have him, because it’s one extra person to love them, because they won’t miss out on having a full set of grandparents, because he’s a good guy and their lives will be the better for having him in them. But it still breaks my heart a little.

Right now they call him by his first name, but pretty soon, I’m sure, they’re going to start calling him grandpa or pappy or whatever they decide, and it breaks my heart that that person, that grandfather-y person in their hearts, won’t be my dad. It’s some guy my mother married and none of us really know.

My dad was such a huge catalyst force in my family, so many of our customs and traditions come from him, from his side of the family, that it feels like a betrayal of who we are, of who I am, of what my family is.

It’s so strange to have such conflicting and contrasting feelings. On the one hand I’m happy my mother isn’t alone, I’m glad my kids have two grandfather figures, I like him and his children, but I’m sad that my dad isn’t here to fulfill his role, I have a hard time adjusting to the meshing of the families.

I’m going to have to find a way to make it work, to not make my kids feel guilty for loving him, while keeping the memory of my father alive. I’m sure I’ll slowly become more comfortable around him, I’ll get to know him better, but it will never, it can never, be the same again so I guess in a way I’m happy for them, but I’m sad for me and what could have been.

Linking up today with Shell for Pour your heart out at Things I can’t say.

I’ll marry you

The other day I had the following conversation with the Boy as he was sitting on my lap cuddling before bed:

Mama what’s in that box?

It’s Sister’s christening outfit, you have one too.

Oh… what’s christening?

Long explanation here, which I won’t relay cause frankly I can’t remember anything other than the fact that we seem to be stuck on religion lately and I ended with: then there’s your first communion and your confirmation if you decide to do it and then you can get married and these are the sacraments (yes, I decided to leave the last sacrament out of the conversation with a four-year old).

Get married?

Yes one day when you’re old like daddy you could fall in love and decide to get married (notice what I did there?)

Okay, well, I’m going to marry sister.

Oh, baby, you can’t marry your sister.

Why not? (indignantly)

Because you can’t. (please don’t make me explain this!)

Okay, then I’ll marry you, Mama.

I’ll marry you, Mama…. How many little boys have said this in all innocence to their mothers, and how many of them have actually ended up marrying their mothers?

Oh, don’t be gross! Of course I meant women who were very similar to their mothers! I’m thinking just as many as girls who realized well into their marriages that they have, indeed, married their fathers. Life is a cliché sometimes, isn’t it? And yet my heart melted just a little bit at those words because for now, for just a short time, I’m still the center of his universe (after Sister, of course).

Linking up with Bits of Bee today for Quotable bits.

Motherhood unplugged

Mama, you smell delicious!

I love you miles and miles

Mama, I’m lonely, will you lie in my bed?

I’m not friends anymore!

Mama changes!

Mama bottle!

Mama kissy!

Mama, I’m sad can I have a Spiderman band-aid?

Mama, lap?

Mama, read!

Mama, sing!

Mama, I’m done!

Goodnight mama, I wuv you

Mama, pee-pee, run!

Mama, why’s your belly so big? Because I eat too much. No, Mama it’s because I lived there and so did sister.