Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why did you say I was on fire?

Bedtime around here can get interesting.  We have a general routine of dinner, baths, pjs, books, cuddles, sleep.   It usually goes pretty smoothly with both Oliver and Benton. 

Today, however, both of them are sick.  Benton is congested and Oliver had a fever of 104.1 this afternoon and slept for about 3-4 hours.   He doesn’t usually nap.

Tonight, Benton had a little routine going.  Toss around, then cuddle up to mom, move away from mom, throw the pillow off the bed then cry about pillow being on the floor, repeat.  After about 15 minutes of this, he finally fell asleep.  Could have been worse.

Meanwhile, Dan cuddled with Oliver for awhile then left him in his bed.  Now, it is almost 10 o’clock and Oliver is still awake in his bed.   So I walk by and hear him calling his Dad.  “Daaaaddy!  Daaaaaddy!”  I go in.  “Oh, hi mom.  Want to cuddle?”  Sure.  We cuddle.  He starts talking.  “I have a blanket ‘cause my legs were cold”  Then he talks about being sick.  “Why did you say I was on fire?”  Then who he loves.  Trust me, he said your name.  What day of the week it is.  What days Daddy works.  “How does it go”  He wants to know the order of the days.  He tries to remember.  “Why does Daddy have to work on Friday?”  I'm still not sure how to answer that.  I tell him I need to check something and I’ll be back in a little while.

Usually we are quiet when he starts this stream of conscious conversation at night, but I know he is not very tired so I chat with him.  It is funny to follow him in conversation.  I want to remember the funny phrases he says, but usually I forget them by the time I leave his room.

I have been gone about 5 minutes and I hear “Mommy,  Mommy!”  Dan turns to me and says “He likes you.  Tonight, he told me likes doing things with you.”  Lucky me.  So I go in.  

“I want to cuddle with you.  I just yell. yell. yell, and people come into my bedroom.  I yell Daddy, Mommy, Benton and you come in.”  He’s totally got us figured out.

“I love you so much Mommy.  Don’t go.  I still neeeeed you.”  He is pulling out all the stops now.  More kisses.  “I’ll come check on you in awhile.”

Five minutes later, “Mommy, Mommy!  I got hurt.  My skin and teeth came off.”  Ok.  Apparently, he pulled some dry skin off his lip.  He wants a bandaid.  After I explain that bandaids don’t work well on lips, he takes a sip of water, I give a few more kisses, and I leave again.

Ok, I think he is asleep. 

Most nights, he is asleep in minutes, but the nights when he is not, he is hard to resist.  He is so sweet.  He says thoughtful things and likes to cuddle and give out kisses.  I know some parents will think we are softies, but most nights our kids love bedtime because it means reading and cuddling with both me and Dan, goodnight hugs and kisses, talking about our day and our plans for tomorrow and both Benton and Oliver get to fall asleep next to someone they love.   Soon enough, they won’t want all those cuddles.  I decided while they were newborns that I would enjoy them while I can.   My hope is that when the cuddles are gone, they will still talk to me about their day.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Despite our upbringings, Dan and I are not particularly religious.   Without going into my religious beliefs in depth, I’ll just say this:  I have always felt closer to God while out hiking, camping, or exploring the outdoors, than I ever have in church.  

I waiver, but for the most part I am of the not-religious camp.  I ardently support the separation of church and state and truly believe that each person has the right to believe and practice whatever religion they choose.  As long as they don’t try to recruit me.

Easter was a big day to our family when we were kids.  We did all the fun stuff.  We woke up to Easter baskets and egg hunts, one of which was at church.    My mom made me a new Easter dress every year until I was probably 10.  She stayed up late finishing it almost every year too.

Now I’m the mom and I want to make as many special traditions for my kids as my mom did for me, but all the holidays are rooted in religion.  There’s the big one, Christmas, then Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, followed by a few not religious but very American holidays , then Halloween, and Thanksgiving.   Teaching in public schools taught me well about how to celebrate these holidays without any mention of the religion behind them.

It didn’t happen this year, but eventually one of my kids will ask why we celebrate Easter.  I suppose, we will tell them the Easter story, but they’ll have to decide on their own if it is true.  Dan and I don’t seem too eager to push the idea of the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, for that matter.    So, as far as I can tell, this family celebrates Easter because we can.  I wonder if there is anywhere else in the world where holidays are so commercialized that you don’t even have to be of a particular religion to celebrate it.  It is kind of weird.  I wonder what holidays I am missing out on.  Surely there is a market for another holiday with more candy, more cards, more stuffed toys, more, more, more.

Anyway, our kids woke to baskets filled with fun stuff and one tiny chocolate bunny sent from Gramma, which they promptly ate before breakfast.  I got them each several books, a toy train for Benton and a watch for Oliver (I was going to get it anyway, why not for Easter?). 

Maybe it is weird.  No church to go to, no loads of candy, no mention of the Easter Bunny.  The hard boiled eggs were pulled off the counter onto the floor days before the egg hunt. So, our egg hunt was with plastic eggs with organic bunny grahams inside.    Who hides the eggs, you ask?  Daddy does.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Many things happen in a day at home with my guys.  Here’s the first of many that will probably leave you wondering why I don’t pay more attention to my kids. 

After dinner, before Dan made it home tonight, I left the kitchen to check my email.  I was gone maybe 5 minutes.  “Mommmm, Mommmmmy! Mommy! I was finger painting!”  Oliver’s excitement left me with a bad feeling.  His arms and legs were covered in green paint.  His feet were leaving green footprints to and now from the office.  Benton was crying.  Apparently, he didn’t like having green paint on his pants. 

So I pick Benton up, tell Oliver to sit on a rug in the kitchen and assess the damage.  I wouldn’t have guessed there was that much paint left in the tube.  Oliver had really done his best to spread it around the kitchen. 

I was on the verge of being angry.  In that instant, when I got to decide how to react to the umpteenth issue of the day, I thought of Sonja, a friend from high school.  Last week she died of a heart attack.  She left behind her five year old daughter and husband.  I know she would have given anything to spend another day with them. 

Eh, green paint.  It wasn’t that bad.  I forced a little laugh that turned into a real one, got out the Hoover Floormate and put both boys in the tub.  It was almost bedtime anyway.