Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Preschool just let out for the summer. I had thought you would be sad and slightly out of sorts, what with the change in weekly routine and seeing some of your friends, but you were actually excited. I asked you why, and you stated simply that you liked spending time with me more. Can that never change???! Ever?! It's really and truly the only payment I need, you actually wanting to be with me. Last summer was... brutal. Just, not good. The temps were triple digits for several months straight, and your sister was at maximum-handful stage, needing very very regular naptimes to keep an even keel. You needed a nap still too, no doubt. So going out in the mornings (the only time of day that was remotely bearable) and being back by naptime was difficult at best. I swore on a thousand bibles that I wouldn't go down like that, this summer. I swore that I would enroll you two in class after class, activities galore, just to keep everyone occupied. Ask me if that has happened yet. Nope! Activities cost actual money, did you know this?! You will know this, when dance class for your future child costs several thousand dollars per semester. And the free stuff, like Vacation Bible School, only start for graduating Kindergarteners. But, I am optimistic. While your sister still plots my doom on a daily basis, it's getting way more manageable. And you, you are simply amazing. You have discovered Legos. And I mean the small stuff that breaks the skin when stepped on. No Duplos for you! The kind that breaks a mothers' weak nails, when you inevitably need help prying a minuscule headlight from another minuscule block. You want to build things, but in privacy, so that Avery doesn't destroy. You very politely tell me you'll be in your room, with the door closed, if I need you. Some days I don't even see your face for an hour.. you're just building away, in peaceful serene quiet! Selfishly, if I need to accomplish important things, I'll ask you to put the Legos on hold for a bit, because when you're off doing that, Avery is ALL up on me. I cannot do a thing. So I once more abuse your responsible age and nature to get things done around the house. 
Recently, on weekends, your Daddy takes you out to practice 2-wheel bike riding. You have totally mastered it in general, but the starting off on your own/stopping on your own needs some practice. This past weekend, you guys were out for a long time, during Avery's naptime, and your father called me, saying you fell and it was pretty bad, and you'd need washing up when ya'll got home. I was mentally prepped for gore. When you got home, you were sweating buckets, and I lifted up your shorts leg and saw the cutest, most unassuming scrapes and cuts ever.. despite your sobbing. I couldn't even stop myself from giggling, given how your father described it. I calmed you down, cleaned you up, and told you that getting skinned knees was a sign that you were trying new things, and that's always good! And that it's a sign you're being the way a big kid should be! And you gave me this totally condescending look, and said 'I was a big kid before I skinned my knees, Mommy.' True, and point taken. To further push my point, when we were doing our highs-and-lows later that day, I said my high was seeing those skinned knees because it meant you were trying your best and that you got back on the bike afterwards, which was the greatest thing...   yet another condescending glare, 'That was not your high, you are definitely kidding me.'
You call Avery 'baby'. Like, all the time, as if it were her God-given name. Your Grandpa noticed this, last time we saw him, and he asked about it.. if you call her that ALL the time, and it was kind of the first time I noticed myself. I have never thought to correct it, because it's pretty damn cute. You are constantly redirecting her, so I hear 'Baby! Baby! Baby, come over here...' all day long. Or rather, a lot of 'No Baby! Baby! No!!' 
She just loves you, she gets THE most excited to see you in the mornings. I am chump change, basically. I'll come in to her room, and she won't even stand up in her crib. She'll be wide awake, talking, but NOT getting up. I'll ask her if she wants to get up and go eat and she'll yell NO! But as soon as you walk in, she absolutely scrambles to her feet, screaming HI BROTHER!, wanting a hug on either side of the crib.. resting her bedhead on your shoulder, you patting her back til she pulls away. When you're both watching sometime on TV, you always ask her if she wants to lay on you, she always says yes. You'll pull a blanket up on your lap, and she'll lay sideways on it. You always help her with taking her shoes off, when we come from outside. You help hoist her onto things she's too short to reach, if she's struggling, asking her 'Do ya need help, baby?' You help her find objects she's looking for and having no luck finding. You're awesome.

**** It is now over a month later, I wrote all of the above and saved it in draft. Why can't I just finish a simple post?! SINCE THEN, we have sold our house and moved. (perhaps that is why I cannot finish a simple post) It was really a process for the record books. We had been casually looking for a new house for well over a year..  we had VERY narrow criteria, given that we wanted to stay within a mile or so of where we were. It's a densely populated area though, so maybe it wasn't TOO narrow a criteria. We loved our school we were zoned to, so that was never an issue. And we knew the schools around us were excellent, too. We just knew we had outgrown this house. A few houses popped up, but none really tugged at us. And yes, we were doing it completely ass-backwards, buying before selling because we were blessed to be able to do so, financially.. and because of our very particular criteria for a new house (not a good thing if you've sold your house and waiting around in an apartment!).. and because we flat-out did not want to have to rent anything in the interim for any period of time. The dense fog of curry that engulfed me when living in college-campus apartments still haunts me to this day. We also knew how incredibly hot the market was, and given the small area we were looking in, didn't want to have to settle on something just because it was there. We wanted to have the chance to jump on the perfect house when we saw it, and luckily that is exactly what happened.  Anyways. Interest rates were hitting alltime record lows, the market was really hopping, Andrew was yet to start Kindergarten, we knew the time was nigh! We saw 2 listings pop up and we scheduled viewings with our realtor. Actually - backtrack - ONE listing caught my eye (not this house) and I scheduled the viewing. THIS house listing caught Pablo's eye but I didn't give it a second look because it was above our price bracket..  I simply never looked at things I thought we couldn't have. Why get our hopes up?! Pablo requested that we view this house and I remember whining, asking whhhhy... but we went anyway. We went to the first house... and CURRY. Everywhere. The location was awesome, I loved how it was situated on the street and I loved the actual street (it was one of my favorites from day one).. but CURRY. That shit does not come out. Other things were not ideal about it either. Plus the neighbors were probably certifiable, so. That's something that can never be changed! We went on to THIS house.. and.. love. Head over heels love. Loooooove. We kind of knew the instant we went in. It was love. Our house. All those sappy annoying things. Put in an offer the day after and they accepted. Fast forward...  put OUR house for sale on the market 2 weeks later (after putting my blood, sweat, and tears into staging that sucker) and it sold in 1 day. Was not prepared for on onslaught of showings, so thankfully a friend let us bum at her house with 2 cranky kids while the house kept getting shown. 13 showings on Day 1 alone. 7 offers, 3 of which were straight cash. Took the safest bet of them all, and that was that. Had the showing service decline showings after Day 2, because we were done and the showings continued to pour in. We were shell-shocked. Our realtor didn't seem to be though, saying if a home is priced appropriately, this is what happens. I tend to agree, but I'm also giving due props to this crazy house market and my ridiculous staging efforts. (no one would know I returned 95% of those ridiculous things! kids would break them anyway) In a nutshell, though I know it's too late for nutshells at this point, it was an amazingly smooth process. Not without stress, oh no. Buying/selling with 2 small kids could never be without stress, regardless of how quick it happens. But damn. The whole process was one for the books. We are beyond grateful.

Now that that has been documented! Back to you two little stinkers.
Avery, you are my first ever two year old!!!! Oh sure, your brother was once two. But he was a 70 year old man, trapped in a 2 year olds body. Full of wisdom and respect for nature and other elderly and always showing a soothing calm tone. I never really understood the phrase 'terrible twos'. I was bewildered. (but well, the 3's came and that pretty much kicked my ass and is not relevant to this two-year-old tangent) You have shown me, Avery! You have taken my bewilderment and squeezed it in your strong sticky hands and smashed it against a freshly mopped kitchen floor.
Example, the first: Lollipops. They are your drug of choice. Given only on rare occasions, lest the obsession manifest itself further. They are rationed with the best of intentions. You see one, you want, you rage. It's amusing, I won't lie. You'll have just sat down in your highchair for a meal, pushing food around, not eating what is before you, and you'll request 'Lollipop peeeease!' as if it was the most normal, most standard thing to receive after having rejected your meal. And I very calmly, very neutrally say 'No.' And then you wail. And loudly request again, IT'S SO CUTE that your mind thinks I will have just changed my decision just now. I can't get over it. I say no again, telling you that you have food on your tray. More wailing, more kicking, more unrest over what surely seems like the worst injustice ever to you. It is hard not to laugh right in front of you.
Example, the second: Public Outings. Sure, we don't have to take you anywhere. But, life. It must happen. And much of that is outside of our home. One of which, recently, was the pit of parental despair called furniture shopping. Thankfully, the good people at the furniture knew my face since I had been in browsing so many times over the past 6 months... so decisions were made fairly quickly. But mercy. You were not keen to eat a snack in your stroller. Or to not yell so loud we had to check our ears for trickles of blood. Restaurants are also fun. You are either in performing mode, meaning you acknowledge every person within spitting distance, loudly, until they (loudly) acknowledge you back. Which is cute, the first 30 times. This mode isn't SO bad.. but it's usually quickly followed by impatient non-hungry table-crawler toddler beast mode. No amount of pre-restaurant starvation could cajole you into eating what is put in front of you. No amount of handheld device distractions could tempt you to not want to exit your highchair and run across the street for a 6-pack. This sitting and eating and being civilized thing is simply not yet formed in your being yet. So we do a lot of curbside pickup. And our grocery bill is astronomical.
Example, the third: Curiosity. Did you not hear about what it did to the cat? I know I know. I shouldn't complain about this one. It's a good thing, a great thing.. a thing that I was very very grateful was somewhat stunted in your brother for a long while. If you see a hole, some part of your body goes into it. No matter how bacteria-infested or pungent or sharp that hole is. You go to it. When you are redirected from curiosity that might have dangerous consequences, you mostly are receptive, for 10 seconds. You say 'ooooooohh! ok!' So nice! So obedient! So short-lived. You have quite the short-term memory, so unless that thing you just did ACTUALLY caused you pain (to remember it by), you go there again. I don't ever let you walk independently on bridges with room to fall off of, no matter the height. Because no. You are not trusted! I'm not sure when this trust will come, but I'll be carrying/strapping in your curious behind for a while, I'm thinking.
Example, the fourth: Independence. Your brother had the true spirit of a seasoned adult, when it came to independence. Why put your own shoes on if someone is offering to do it for you? Why button your own shirt if there's a shirt-buttoner available? Makes perfect sense. Not to you, however. You are adamant on scaling your highchair and seating yourself. If I so much as touch you during this process of grunting and maneuvering, you scream NO I GOT IT!!! And go back to the floor to start from scratch, so it can be all you. If I help you on your changing pad, you scream NO I GOT IT and get down (even if you are 99% on the pad) and start from square one. If I were to calculate time-lost to actually helping you and you starting over and watching you struggle your way through it all yourself, it's probably just the slightest bit more time-efficient to watch you struggle. I'm slowly learning to absorb this memo, be patient with me.
You scream 'I'm thirsty!!! I'm thiiiirstyyyy!!!!' And ask me where your water is. Ask me. Do it. It's inches from your person. Every. Time. We'll tell you to drink something if you are thirsty, but each time we say this, it only furthers your rage.
You see me give your brother a piece of bread at a meal, so you naturally ask for some too. I give you a piece, because I live to meet your needs. You shove it back at me, screaming 'I DON'T WANT IT!' So I take it. Calmly. I know this routine. I know what will come next... you screaming 'I WANT BREAD!!!' at the top of your strong pink lungs. I do not give you the bread. I go into the pantry to breathe deeply.
I'm recording these things because it is true, how easily we forget. I won't remember these things years from now, unless I read this. I'll yearn so hard for these toddler-years, I totally know this. So really, it's to make me laugh. To remember the day to day frustrations and how it really was.
These toddler things are countered by all the cute, believe it or not. So much of it. Even when you are dishing out the sass at warp speed, it is pretty damn cute. You recently have taken to thumping your chest like a misguided gorilla child when you say something that requires emphasis. I asked you to pick up some socks the other day that you dumped out everywhere, before you went along to something else. And you thumped your chest, pursed your lips and said, very sassily 'Don't say that to me!' Just over and over, thumping that chest. Do you see? Frustratingly cute. It sustains us all.

All in all, this summer if shaping up gloriously. New house, new memories, new hurdles of toddler rage and big kid deep conversations. It's pretty nice.

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