For Preston's 4th birthday party we celebrated at Noodles, his favorite restaurant. The guests included Gaga Cheryl and Papa Norm, Yuri, Kye, Will, Eva, Alex, Kira, Alexa and Claire. Preston's Art Box has turned him into a regular Picasso since receiving that! ;) His many other gifts have been much loved and appreciated, as well! After lunch, gift opening and cake, the kids headed outside to play trains with Yuri as conductor. As always, it was nice to be able to visit with friends and watch the kids play.
I feel like a single mother. It's not throwing Kyle under the bus to say that because I understand his job requires that he work 80+ hours a week right now. This has allowed me to think a lot about how difficult it is to be a stay at home parent to a 4yr4mo old and and a 2yr11mo old. My children are extremely active, like probably bordering on hyperactive. They could walk/run literal miles in a day and still have energy to be wild. I appreciate this quality in them as an idea but day in and day out, it is...rough? They are also very inquisitive (okay, likely most kids this age are and that's normal and great) but "why, what, who, where, when and how" are often the only things I am answering all day and night. For some months now, they are also both DEMANDING. Demanding as in, it's a real problem coming up with different ways to teach them patience, especially when I don't feel I'm very much a model of that virtue when often running on three days in a row of kids not seeing their father or any other loving, responsible adult for that matter. Three days with just the three of us would be bearable here and there but we're talking weeks/months. Preston and Claire don't go to daycare or preschool or have a nanny and they don't nap, so for 12-13 hours a day, I'm ON. I sometimes feel like I've lost myself. That I am only a mother to
Preston and Claire. No more working out (recovering from surgery partly
to blame there) and I haven't been able to pursue personal training or photography, two things that help keep me sane as well as a
person with interests other than being mom. I know I chose this and millions of other people have hard lives, too. It is my job, but most of the time, it's a pretty thankless job. Ah, yes, throwing out that platitude. Ha. It's true, though.
I promise this isn't a post just to say, my life is tough and I want to complain. I'm writing this with a bigger issue in mind. I think we parents often hurt each other. Why? Because not enough of us admit how difficult it is to be a mom/dad, at least some of the time. When someone asks, "How is it going?" referring to parenting, how many of us just simply say, "Oh, it's wonderful!" or "Everything has been awesome!"? Rare is the friend who will admit that little baby X woke up 8 times last night or toddler Z has been whining so much and I feel at my wits end and very alone and sometimes wonder if I was crazy to have another. These thoughts and feelings, even if fleeting aren't often said when asked about life with the wee one/s. Does it mean we don't love our children if we admit that sometimes life was easier with one OR none? Does it mean I would go back and not have had my lovies?...NO! It's not what I mean at all when I think the things I do. I love my children more than any other person. I'm doing it again...because when I say negative things, I feel like I have to explain or follow up with ten positive things to make sure the reader or friend or whatever understands fully that I love being a mom. This is it, though, I don't think I like that we have to do the follow up part. I KNOW that my friends love their kids and are happy and feel blessed and wouldn't change the fact that they had their little ones and I want it to just be understood without having to be said that I feel the same even if I admit to feeling crazy sometimes with my two.
I worry about whether or not I'm the only mom out there thinking these things from time to time because rare is the person who admits to the thoughts (at least in my experience). We all want to be calm and collected and look to have it all together...to be perfect moms with perfect children who never disobey us and who always say, please and thank you and smile at the nice stranger who is talking to us. Mine pretty much ignore the people they don't know well or hide behind my leg. My kids have taken to saying "no" a lot and I have taken to raising my voice more than I ever imagined I might. I feel like a bad bad mommy because I think I'm supposed to be perfect. Striving for this parenting perfection and always feeling like I'm falling way short, I think, is perpetuated by all of us when we never admit to the tough days or weeks. Is it really just me or am I onto something when I say I believe we might be hurting each other as parents by making things always seem like things are never very difficult?
On Preston's birthday, he chose to go to his favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, Gaga Duckie and Papa Damon came over with a very cool birthday cake and gifts for the birthday boy.
On the way to eat dinner, Claire had a little fall and scraped her knees. As I was about to put on a band-aid, Preston came over with his toy doctor shot and told Claire he was going to make her feel better.
One of Claire's favorite books is one called 'How High is the Sky?' Kyle is always happy to oblige her requests to read it, sometimes several times a day. I got a couple of pictures of the two of them reading together. It was a bit cramped so I didn't get any good shots with both of them in the frame.
On the 4th, we celebrated Kate's birthday with cake, family, friends and downtown fireworks (oh, and many hundreds of mosquitos that ate Claire and me to shreds...they never get Preston or Kyle). Preston informed us before we left that he would not be interested in watching "fireworks" because they do those at the Cardinals baseball games and they are too loud. He would, however, be alright with "firecrackers." So as we sat at the RV campground where Kate's parents were staying on their summer visit to St. Louis, I asked Preston if he liked the fireworks by the Arch. He said he did like the firecrackers very much.
We were all very excited to attend Yuri and Kye's circus themed birthday party at the City Museum. Claire loved getting her face painted. Her request...a green car! Preston loved the indoor skate park that wasn't really being used with skateboards.
A very hot, indoor time kind of month for us. No pool pass, and so humid and uncomfortable that even the kids wanted to stay and play in the basement or just in the house. Here they are lazin' around on one of our 100 degree days.
June is so short on pictures. Probably not long on words here either, but the recap.
Before Kyle began residency, we took a weekend trip to visit family in B-town. The babies had so much fun playing with everyone and we were able to catch up some, too! I also got to eat from one of my favorite sandwich shops, POTBELLY'S! I forgot my camera! A VERY bad month for photography, indeed.
One night while I was working out, Kyle took the kids for a walk. On the way home, it was nearly dark and right before bedtime. Preston was running up some church steps when apparently he fell onto a wrought iron fence and hit the bottom of his chin. Saving the rest of the bloody details and of one very upset mommy, we waited until morning. Upon seeing the doctor, we were sent to Children's Hospital emergency room for stitches. Nightmare. Our child is absolutely terrified of being held down by doctors even though the physical pain wasn't there because of anesthesia, it was clear the psychological pain was fierce. I was crying, he was crying, and even Claire had a quivering lip. Kyle was working so he couldn't be there. My mom helped as much as she could but the little man only wanted his mommy. :( Glad it's over now.
Waiting with the numbing gel on his boo boo
We had four free tickets to the Cards game. It was a perfect night weather wise even though it was a Cardinals loss (no surprise now in August). The kids loved eating ballpark goodies, walking around and a small amount of actually watching the game.
A cheesing little boy named Preston.
Happy Hour with workout friends. Always some great laughs at those gatherings. Goodbye June.
We had a nasty hail storm AND a very special graduation this 2011 May. Kyle finished his medical school studies and at long last, graduated. He is officially in his residency and with that is one mean year of erratic schedules and little family time starting at the end of June. But, before that, Kyle had 6 full weeks of time off between med school and residency. It flew by so quickly it feels a bit odd writing this a couple of months later as he is into the full swing of the previously mentioned ugly hours.
We got the biggest laugh out of the supposed band aid on the cake that looked a little too much like something else...
Weather...hail, the largest, most jagged hail I have ever seen in my life so far. It started out like pellets and rapidly increased to the size of golf balls and nearly baseballs. The sound was incredible banging on the roof and windows. We stood at our front door as our car took a beating. No broken windows but some very big dents.
The trouble with trying to recap entire months backed up as far as December when it's already mid-July, is that I sadly forget many of the details. There are things about the kids that I mean to make note of that I just forget to do. But, we have Easter and pictures of a few random days.
We dyed eggs the night before Easter. In the morning, the kids had a blast following the trail of jelly beans out of their rooms to find their baskets full of goodies from the Easter Bunny. Then they had an indoor Easter egg hunt because it was cold and rainy outside. In the afternoon, my dad came down with baskets for the kids. We had lunch together here at the house and the kids enjoyed playing with Funny Grandpa. After naps, we headed to my mom's for dinner and MORE baskets of treats.
Waiting for the dye tablets to dissolve (Preston already had to touch it)
Doing their work
Daddy checking out the progress
Jelly beans leading to their baskets
New shades from funny grandpa
cheesing with the short lived glasses from FG
More cool things from Gaga Ducky and Papa Damon
It's not a usual occurence that the kids "play" with their food and I indulge them with laughs and pictures, to boot! However, on this particular night, the three of us were sitting at their "tiny table" eating grilled cheese and applesauce. They were both being so goofy that I took out my camera and took some pictures of the moment.
Grilled cheese and hugs
My silly boy
Then here we have Dr. Claire Jillian Eash going to take care of her guys. Preston is very likely going to take something of those instruments away from her because they always want what the other has. These two are growing up way fast.