Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Year in Sam

Sam, my sweet.  This letter is late. I'm sorry.  We went to Austin for Thanksgiving and your birthday and then you got a stomach virus and John got strep and I got a cold and it just didn't work out.  But in the grand scheme of my life, baby, YOU are working out like everything I always imagined.

Except for the part about you hating your preschool teacher and hitting her more than 7x in one day.

Did that really happen, love?

Sam, you are THREE.  There have been 3 years of sweet baby Sam, but now the real YOU is coming out.  Not that it's anti-sweet ... it's just you and your youness, but it's not your baby self, or your toddler self ... it's  really YOU that is showing through now, as is normal for a 36 month old child.  I am almost 36 myself, and there are days when I think that we are equal in terms of patience and self-control.

Sam, you are definitely teaching me some lessons.  Like ...

  • Really, really, FOLLOW the golden rule, don't just talk about it.  
  • Make a counting lesson out of cutting fingernails.  Only 3 more ... !
  • Do something good after you've hurt the ones you love (like, poop in the potty for the first time after spitting at your preschool teacher, urinating on the floor, and telling her, "Shut your mouth.").  

Did that really happen, love?

  • Tell people when you did NOT do something bad (especially when your brother did).  
  • Explain all the "whys" away by saying, "Because I did."  
  • Hug everybody when you wake up.  
  • Notice when you look good and say, "Oh yeah, bay-beh."  
  • Say "Merry Christmas" everytime you see Christmas lights, just because they remind you of the season.  

I always wanted a Sam, and you are everything that I had in mind (and more). Way more, actually.  Which I think is what most people discover about their children, but we are not talking about other people's children. We are talking about YOU.

Here are some things that you say, ritually, that I think are grand:
  • "I don't know." (An answer to all sorts of philosophical questions.)
  • "Because I did." (A response to most questions that start with "why did you...")
  • "Ackshwawee."  (translation:  actually)
  • "You're my best." (see below)
  • "I wuvs you." (You can't say L's and you mark all verbs as if they are paired with a 3rd person subject)
  • "Mom, I didn't do dat."  (You always make note of things that you don't do, which usually your brother HAS done)
  • "I not a bad boe-ee."  (translation: "I'm not a bad boy.")
  • "Mom, you're my best." (translation. not. needed.)

Sam, you love to tell people that you like donuts and cheese.  And honestly, I think you could live off of just that.  Occasionally you will stomach applesauce, hummus, rice, pasta with dad's sauce, or some turkey, but otherwise, you just don't eat.  

Tonight I discovered that perhaps you are an introvert.  We talked for 30 minutes about your day today, which was better than yesterday, but still lacking in the successful-preschool-day department.  Finally, after half an hour, you began to really open up.  You told me that your teachers get mad.  That you get in trouble. That Cooper tells you all sorts of bad things (like, "Shut your mouth."). And then you hugged me and hugged me and hugged me in that way that only working moms can translate into, "You don't spend enough time with me."

So there it is.  That ugly bit of us or me or whatever.  That part that I want to hide under the couch cushions like mismatched socks.  

We working moms can find blame for ourselves around every corner (as can outsiders).  But tonight I felt like our 30 minutes of snuggle time before bed was more important and better, somehow, than 8 hours in a good day of would-be stay-home Mommydom with ME.  (This is where you say, "PHEW!  Thank goodness I never had to deal with that."  Really, Sam.  Trust me on this one.)

Or maybe I'm just humoring myself.

There is so much to love about you, Sam.  And so much to wonder about.  I wish that I could always just be curious instead of judgmental.  And I'm sorry about that last bit.  If it makes you feel better, please know that I do it to myself too.

Last year, I wrote all these similes and metaphors about you, and likened you to an algebraic equation.  This year, I think I'll compare you to a grammatical structure that is at the top level of acquisition.  The kind of structure that both first and second language learners grasp only in their very advanced stages.  I wish I was in that advance stage of motherhood, but I fear that I'm not. 

The problem is that I feel like I'm grasping it all AFTER the test.  Because I learn so much from the exams!  It's just ... can they please not all be pop quizzes?  

And so I'll end this letter with the same words that I end every night:

I wuvs you, Bams. And nothing you can ever say or do will stop that.  I hope you have sweet and long dreams.  I'll see you when you need me.  If you need me, call me, and I'll be right here.  


p.s.  You're my best too.
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One thing that we did over Thanksgiving break

Austin, TX Turkey Trot 2012.  You are looking at Brian, who placed #38 in the 35-45 division (out of 2,000+ runners, 5 miles in 40 minutes), ME, Amy, and two of the most acclaimed 1 mile Fun Run participants.  This was all before our trip to urgent care.  Yay active lifestyle and healthy eating!  p.s.  I have a sweatshirt around my waist, which accounts for the extra "padding," so quit speculating that I need to cut carbs.
More to come ... 
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Update on The Big Bad Wolf

John, age 8
 Today when I picked this one from school, he talked a blue streak all the way to piano lessons.  One of the tidbits I gleaned from this conversation was as follows:

"Mom.  Did you know that some scary monsters from stories are real and some are not?  Like, for instance, King Kong is totally not real, but the Big Bad Wolf ... like, you know, the one that went after the 3 little pigs? ... he's totally alive and well and living a retired life up in Canada."

To which I responded, "Well, universal healthcare does have a strong following."

Again, just a normal Thursday.
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Just Normal Thursday Stuff

Today an Egyptian woman wept in my office because in the college's official schedule, "M" stands for Monday, "T" stands for Tuesday, "W" stands for Wednesday, but ...

"R" stands for Thursday and that was just too much for her to bear.
 And after that I went to pick up Sam -- Sweet Sam -- who had a note from his teacher that said, "Sam had a pretty good day except for when he hit me. He played blocks and puzzles and took a good nap. Please remember to put a vegetable in his lunchbox and talk to him about using his words! Love, Ms. Laurie."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 2012 Update

In the Becker household, there is much news of the everyday, mundane sort.  There are lots of small happenings, slippery to the memory.  I struggle daily with whether it’s more important to document it or sleep.  As I get older, the sleep team seems to be having more and more winning seasons.
In particular, Sam is potty training.  This is a painful event for boys, by the way.  I kid you not when I say that it took me two solid years to potty train John.  So, I have been in no hurry to begin the process with Sam.  But one Wednesday night, he randomly came home from daycare with a strong desire to wear Spiderman underwear, so we humored him.  He immediately trained himself to pee every two hours or so, and we rewarded him with Hershey’s kisses.  But the child is terrified of actually sitting on the toilet, so #2 continues to evade him.  His preferred method lately has been to hide behind a piece of furniture, do his job, and then gyrate his little body until the poop escapes the underwear, slides down his pantsleg, and rockets out the bottom of his pants, staining his socks and shoes on its way out.  This does not bother me if he does it upstairs, where there is no carpet.  In fact, it is preferable to wiping a diaper-clad butt onto which the poop has been pressed and encrusted.  But there is only so much of this that one can take.

In other Sam news, he has recently been agreeing to take bites of vegetables.  Prior to now, he would absolutely refuse, go to bed hungry, and wake up famished.  Now he agrees to take a bite, which has TWICE.THIS.WEEK led to barfing on the table.  The first time it happened was when he ate a half of a sliver of a quarter of a lima bean, which I had used a paring knife to slice for him.  He barfed milk onto the table.  That was a few days ago.  Then tonight I tried again with a raw carrot, which I encouraged him to dip into hummus (his favorite snack).  He leaned over his chair and vomited turkey slices onto the floor. 

Yes, I know you did not want those details.  Neither did I. 
Our other child has been relatively easy to manage lately because his paternal grandmother bought him an iPod.  His maternal grandmother got him a $25 iTunes gift card, so he is set.  We have discovered that the combination of “Rockin Robin,” “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and some terrible Top 40 songs can occupy him for hours.  Between that and his remote control helicopter, I barely need to parent him.  Which is good, because I do not have a good track record with patient parenting.  He is getting immaculate grades at school though there has been a report of a "too competitive and possibly hostile" nature during recess. 

And now it’s 10:33 p.m., and I need sleep.  There may be unpleasant body fluids on the floor, but I cannot resist the urge to post an update.

Onward, upward, and sideways,
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chris is here!!!

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Johnna's Wedding

 Long ago in 2001 when we first moved to Nashville, Brian was teaching 8th grade and coaching co-ed soccer.  During that time, I was sort of a team helper -- especially when it came to the girls on the team.  It was then that we met John'na.  At the time she was a disorganized tween smart enough to be at a magnet school and tough enough to beat up the boys. 

She loved going to bookstores with me (even though she wouldn't admit it at the time and "can't remember" this now).  She and her brother would come over and swim in the pool at our apartment complex and play board games on our kitchen table.  She graduated high school, then college, and is now working on finishing her M.A. in social work.  A couple years ago, while we were driving west to visit family, she asked us to stop through Jackson, TN, where she lives, and meet a guy she was dating.  We stopped at the IHOP and met them and were blown away by how professional, smart, mature, and funny he was.  Darryl is an engineer and now -- according to some early marital feedback -- a fantastic, considerate, and fun husband. 

We got the boys all dressed up for the event, which -- in typical John'Na style -- was a little late in getting started.  It was during the "waiting period" that I snapped most of these photos.

We are so happy for them! Congratulations again, Mr. and Mrs. W!
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