Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mini-Me!

Nothing in this world could be quite as perfect as the smile on your face and twinkle in your eyes while everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to you at your party this weekend, buddy. Well, having my camera batteries not fail in that moment would have been a tad more perfect, but only a tad...

I had a blast splashing around in the backyard with you and your friends. I'll go ahead and apologize for doing the same thing ten years from now; you might want to start preparing yourself for the impending embarrassment. I also had fun testing my logic skills while expanding the GeoTown track layout for you and making sure there were no dead ends, even if most of the time I spent on it was after you'd already gone to bed. Whose birthday was it?

It's hard to believe that you're officially a 3.0-year-old now! I'm so proud of the little man you've become and I'm looking forward to watching you continue to grow and explore the world around you. I can't even imagine all the things you'll teach me; heck, I'm still reeling from the first three years of lessons.

Prior to hanging out with you, I never would have imagined that spraying sunscreen on a worm would bleach him, cause his skin to peel off and make his insides gush out. I mean your idea that he wouldn't want a sunburn while hanging out on our patio made total sense to me, too.

Without your help, I also never would have realized the true potential of my hand-eye coordination when it came time to catch projectiles, the fun of singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' before bed, the importance of knowing where all the local fire stations are so we can drive by and see if their doors are open any time we're out and about, or the pure joy found in seeing a mailman, 'UPS Man Guy', train, trash truck, balloon, or plane. You're the best teacher I've ever had!

I love you, buddy…Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No One Told You Parenting Was Gonna Be This Way

My heart broke recently.

I know parents aren't supposed to be their kids' best friend (I'm a high school English teacher and I've seen plenty of parents acting like their kids' friends to know how that can turn out), but I want to be there for my sons. I want them to like me and want to be around me.

That's why my heart shattered.

On a recent family adventure Mini-Me and I were chatting about friends:

"Who's your best friend?"

"My guitar…and mommy."

"Really! What about me?"

"No. Just my guitar...and mommy…and Abby (friend at the sitter's)…and Dave (Auntie K's boyfriend). But not you."


At least I'm not alone in my pain. On that same family adventure Mini-Me and his Auntie K got into a verbal sparring match over Dave. I'm not sure how it started, but this is how it ended (P.S. Auntie K's in her late twenties):

    "He's with me."

    "No, he's with me."

    "No! He's with me."

    "No, he's with me!"

    "He's my boyfriend and I can tell him to go!"

    "Dave. You're my friend. You can stay with me."

To make life as an Aunt worse for Karen, a few weeks later she and Dave were watching the boys while Rach and I enjoyed a night on the town. I bought Rach Berkeley Breathed's
Mars Needs Moms for Mother's Day. I highly recommend any book by Mr. Breathed, but this one is a favorite of ours. Before putting Mini-Me to bed, the gang was reading the final pages of this particular book and got to the line where the main character's mom looks at him and says, "I'll love you to the ends of the universe." At this point Mini-Me looked up from the colorful pages.

"I love you to the ends of the universe, Dave."

    "What about me?" asked Karen, hopefully.

    "No. Just Dave."

Always one to look for the positive, I'm glad my son knows what he wants. That's better than having the indecisive gene the rest of the family has. I hope that one's not contagious, actually.

Auntie K got a little victory today when Mini-Me didn't want us to drop her off after the trip to Wisconsin: "You can live in our basement!"

As for me, I never imagined it'd be my 2.11-year-old son who'd teach me how much love hurts. Here he is, though, breaking my heart, seemingly vying for the attention of everyone but me. I'd say at least there's The Wubster, but he's a hardcore momma's boy.

On the verge of hopelessness, I'm reminded of the days I take the boys to the sitter and am faced with the joy that comes from the pain of dropping off Mini-Me as he clings tightly to my neck and begs me to stay and play. He knows just how to claw at my heart and tell me that I still rate.