Monday, February 27, 2012

Bath Colors

I found a great use for those markers that get left in the easel tray with their lids off, destined to be tossed in the trash the next time their dried-out tips take a turn on the paper... give them a bath!  The pens turned instantly into fun water color pens and kept Elliot entertained for his whole bath (without dumping any water out onto the floor--a miracle!).  And since they were washable markers to begin with, the ink just washed right off the tub.  They did make the water a little murky, and I did have to give Ellie one last clean rinse before the bath time was officially over, but that's a small price to pay for a fun night in the tub.  And we got last hurrah out of that batch of markers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slowly Letting Go... Of Love Day

The Valentine mantel decorations have come down.  I'm no longer stamping everything we eat with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.  And I'm this close to finishing off the bag of pink foiled hershey kisses that's in the cupboard.  But this, my favorite holiday of the year, still lingers.  

This has been (another) good lesson in letting go.

On the monday night before Valentine's Day we ended up taking Elliot to the ER.  In the course of two hours he went from having a coughing fit brought on by being outside in the cold air, to laying limp and rosy-cheeked and breathing faster and more shallowly than any parent ever wants to see their small child breath.  Thankfully it turned into an uneventful night.  Turns out I overdosed him on albuterol... which made him a wild little monkey bouncing off the walls at eleven o'clock at night, but which also helped his lungs recover from his acute attack.  We left the ER, filled a prescription for antibiotics, and all snuggled down into our big bed at home at midnight.  Needless to say, Elliot stayed home the next day.  And so did his hand-made Valentines.  And the day after that, even though he went back to school, we were still too wiped out to take them.  And the night after that he puked all over everyone and everything.  Home again the next day.  Then back to school again after that.  And so it continues.  Four months after starting group childcare and Elliot is still getting bombarded with germs.  He is sick more than he is healthy.  And here his Valentine's sit.  

A lesson in staying present in the process, not the product. 
It happened at Christmas, too.  I had all of these hand-made ideas in mind for my sister-in-law (whose name I drew for gift-giving), but Elliot was hospitalized on December 19th for breathing treatments and we skipped the big family Christmas-eve party and before I knew it, Christmas was here and I hadn't made any of my gift ideas.  I've tried to make it up to her.  To myself.  Over time I've given a little of this.  Tried to make a little of that.  Nothing all too successful.  Nothing like I had imagined.  
Nothing like learning, again, to let go. 

Andrea's Valentine's present sits unfinished, too.  I don't know.  Maybe I've always been an un-finisher.  Someone with big ideas who doesn't complete any of them.  Or maybe I'm just tired.  This parenting stuff is seriously hard work.  And I feel like I am seriously tired. 

And so, as the sweet things on the mantel make way for new treasures.  And as the bag of Elliot's little love notes for his friends gets buried deeper and deeper below back packs and scarves and hats.  I say goodbye to my favorite holiday for this year.  And I take this as, yet another, lesson in learning to let go.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

He Wears His Heart On His Sleeve

He always has. 
His emotions are strong, wide and obvious.  And he's as interested in expressing his own emotions (I'm frust-erated!) as he is in figuring your's out ("Mumma, what's she feelin'?").  Sometimes he experiments with new feelings, like when he's suddenly "fraid" of the heater vent in his room.  And sometimes his feelings become so intense that he clearly gets overwhelmed, like when he gets so mad that he strikes out and hits one of us with a fierce look in his eye, then switches immediately into a heartbreaking wail.  He will cry and cry and want to snuggle into one of us, as closely and tightly as possible, until his crying stops.  Then he'll sit back, cock his head, and ask in his high-pitched little boy voice, "Mumma, why did I get so mad that I hit you?" 
Because, really, he doesn't know quite yet.  He is a feeling child.  It's lovely and tender and I wouldn't change it for the world, but it's hard.  His range of emotions are strong.  And wide.  And...
As always, I can't wait to see how this part of Elliot grows over the years.  What kind of feeling-teenager he will be?  What kind of feeling-man?  Will his emotions be difficult for him to regulate or will he always be able to take a deep breath and reflect on how he's feeling?  
On this Valentine's Day, I wish for him a lifetime of deep, wide emotions brought on by all of the pleasures our world has to offer.  Elliot, may you travel far, feel life deeply, and always love with every ounce of your being.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mr. Mustachio

This little cutie patutie cracks me up.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Zoo Train

Some of the fun, imaginative play that happened on New Year's day included the zoo I made for Elliot for Christmas last year and some new train tracks he got for Christmas this year.  We're not a huge train family.  We lived happily on just a single circle track for the last few years.  But adding a few more pieces, plus some new plain train cars, and Elliot's favorite toys of all times--his plastic animals--and we had one amazing Zoo Train.  The train could drive right through the zoo and see all of the animals.  Just a few simple toys, plus a playful and engaged Mumma (this is often key to getting good play time out of Elliot), and we had one happy little guy.  
PS... I'd love to take him on the real Zoo Train at the Portland Zoo.  So far he only knows of it as a game we play with his toys in our living room.  It would blow his mind to be on an actual Zoo Train!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Phew, I am so glad December is over. Although we had wonderful christmas and birthday celebrations and loved with lots of family from near and far, we also experienced a whole lot of sickness. Between the three of us there was strep throat, conjunctivitis, bronchiolitis, a nasal infection, four rounds of antibiotics, an inhaler, and even an overnight hospital stay for Elliot. Yeah, when I said a whole lot of sickness I meant a WHOLE lot of sickness. And while Elliot seems to be onto another bit of congestion, I hope so deeply that nothing ends up as bad as December. And, except for that bit of congestion, I am thankful to say that we are starting our New Year as a healthy family.  Well, at least the three of us are... a sad shout out to my mom who came for an innocent Christmas visit and ended up with ALL of our germs: strep, conjunctivitis, and bronchitis. She's not over it all yet, but I know she will be soon. Wish I could be there to make you tea, mom. I hope we didn't scare you off for good.

In addition to starting the year off healthy, we also spent our first day of 2012 doing all of the things that I hope to have in abundance as the year unfolds...
- lots and lots of fun, imaginative play
- baking
- messy art projects
- trying new delicious dinner recipes
- long naps
- Elliot putting himself to sleep for his nap! 
- time with family
- a hike under the trees and along the water (must get more nature into my days! it feels so good)
- mimosas for breakfast and wine for dinner (okay, maybe this one might be better in moderation than in abundance, but it's still a good one to have on the list :)
- and, finally, blogging

Oh, what a lucky lady I would be to have a year filled with such healthy, happy, and whole experiences as we've packed into this one wonderful day.  And while Andrea rolls her eyes at me when I tell her I was thinking about having this be "the year of no mayonnaise" (which was already shot by mid-morning when she came out with bacon for BLTs.  Who can eat a BLT with no mayo?!), I think maybe what would be best for me is to focus on just that.  A healthy, happy, and whole year.

So I raise my glass (filled only with water because, you know, enough's enough for one day) and set my sights on a New Year.  A 2012 that is healthy, happy, and whole.  Wishing you the same.  xoxo