Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"He is a talking machine" sayeth the older one.

I never thought another child could rival Noah’s talkativeness. At home he’s always chattering away – narrating some sort of story or show, asking deep questions or requesting a snack, a playmate, or just an ear to chatter at. However I do believe that Ray will be definitely as chatty if not more. The kid is completely conversational already. He understands what you are saying and he isn’t afraid to repeat ANYTHING. Sure sometimes even I have to take a second to figure out what the hell that was, but for the most part he’s pretty damn understandable. And he talks incessantly. At the moment is favorite word is “NOW.” As in “Go downstairs now,” “I want juice now,” “Watch TV now,” and “Outside to park now.” You get the general idea, that is if you magnify it to one hundred and don’t forget the vehemence. Ray turns two in less than a month. He remains true to his name, a ray of sunshine – warm, ebullient, vital and yet hot. I know - I've echoed that statement a million times. That is part of why I rarely blog anymore - I feel like I don't have a damn original thought in my head. One thing that has to be noted is how much he adores his brother. In the morning he’s typically up well before Noah and when we first hear Noah stir and about to come downstairs Ray lights up with pure joy. The other week I took Ray to a music performance while a friend took Noah on a different outing. I was sure Ray would have a blast because at the last one he and Noah danced up a storm. But this time there was no dancing. In fact he was down right mopey. I asked him why he wasn’t dancing and he said “Oah.” I said “You miss Noah?” And he said yes. And he would not dance. Shortly after the performance stopped Noah showed up and Ray said “Dance! Dance now!” Ray also loves my friend Janette’s one year old named Rendle. And by loves I mean also sort of hates. Ren has to endure Ray constantly taking things away from him and even yelling “mine!” if he looks in the direction of Ray while he is playing with something. And to make it more intriguing Rendle seems to enjoy screwing with Ray. He taunts him – showing him he has something with a big grin on his face or pointing at Ray’s dinner like he’s about to come over and take it from him. The two of them are hysterical. They are constantly squabbling. But when Ren isn’t here Ray says “Wish baby Ren Ren here.” Mark supposes he likes to have someone younger that he can assert his dominance over.

I wish I could say that Noah was just as effusive about his love for his brother – he isn’t. In fact he loves Baby Rendle too and tells me he wants me to have a little baby that he can play with because apparently Ray doesn’t fit the bill. Noah isn’t mean to Ray, in fact he’s never been an aggressive boy so we’ve never had to deal with much physical lashing out. But Noah is less patient with Ray than he is any other human being in the whole world. I wish so much that he was just a bit more affectionate to Ray. The only time he seems to dote on him is when he knows we are watching and is trying to win points. I hope he grows to appreciate him more. They have been getting better playing with each other but inevitably a dispute occurs. Ray is touching something Noah doesn’t want him to or Ray is angry because Noah won’t share something with him. The refereeing drives me a bit mad. If I need the two of them to agree on one thing like a TV show to watch they always want something different but if I have two different things to give out they both pick the same damn one. Gah! And of course the biggest dispute is over “My Mama TOO!” I guess that is what fulltime sibling relationships are like – having only ever had half and step siblings that I saw some of the time it wasn’t quite so damn competitive.

In other things Noah is fantastic. He really is growing up so much. He’s getting so smart and so tall. And I can hardly believe sometimes how incredibly social my once shy little boy has become. The boy I took to playgroup every week for a year and watched the other kids play while clinging to my leg – he’s now a frolicking chattery 4 year old who wants to run off with friends and not have me bother him. He’s seriously missing school – as am I. It’s hard work being Julie the cruise director every day of the damn week. Even those two three hour days were a day where the social agenda was just “SCHOOL DAY.” Now he wants a major outing or a playdate every damn day and if I dare to tell him it’s a quiet day on which we need to do errands he lambasts me about how “BORING” it is going to be. He starts a month long rec center summer program on July 7 with two of his best friends and we are both very excited for it.

Noah’s fascinations haven’t changed – it’s still all music, spies and circus around here. I guess a new development has been movies. Noah’s first theater film was Wall-E and since then he saw Desperaux, Disney’s Earth and Up. He adored them all. And we also didn’t watch much in the way of movies at home up until the last couple of months. And now we’ve been taking out movie after movie from the library. I still have to be a might careful about things that may be scary as he did not enjoy Nemo because it was too fast paced with fishes constantly on the brink of death. But oddly enough he isn’t scared by books. He’s been really enjoying the Spiderwick Chronicles series which is all scary mythical beasts, evil spells and parental abductions. Somehow that stuff doesn’t phase him. When he talks about being scared of a monster it is still of the Mouse King from the Nutcracker Ballet.

We are keeping ever busy here as usual, the Master demands it. Monday we went to Ocean City for the Day. Tuesday we went to Smith House and Franklin Square. Today we went to a local playground and library. Tomorrow we go out to breakfast and then to Sesame Place. Friday we go swimming at Grandma’s. Saturday we go see Nana and Pop Pop but have to hurry home in time to see the fireworks from our hood. And Sunday isn’t planned YET. And then 4th of July hoopla, followed by Ray’s birthday party, and then a week at Ocean City beach with my Mom. Fast forward to August. Or hell – Noah’s high school graduation is damn near around the corner. Maybe sometime between now and then I’ll get around to mopping the damn kitchen floor.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's marriage. And it's hard.

One night last week after all the kids were in bed my friend Janette was sitting on the couch next to me and she said she’d be happy to move if I wanted to cuddle up to Mark. Both Mark and I chuckled awkwardly and Mark said that he could hardly believe that there were times before we had kids that he secretly wished I’d give him a tiny bit more personal space and stop fawning over him every second. Of course nowadays he’s lucky to get a quick hug and a peck.

Confession: I am not good at balancing my roles as wife and mother. I’m a much better mother than I am a wife. There is a lot of talk about how doing things for ones self and ones marriage is of incredibly importance for the adults and the children and I understand that. Unfortunately that isn’t who I am. Motherhood consumes me. It is ALL of me. And I don’t know how to do it any other way. It is how I mother – naturally.

Reverend Beverly married Mark and I. She was recommended by a close friend of mine because she was incredibly open minded and yet not just a phone it in celebrant to lead the ceremony. I’m not conventionally religious and I wanted to make sure that our ceremony had a message but that it wasn’t specific to one God. Rev Bev said she would be happy to talk about LOVE rather than A God and that pleased me. But before she could do the ceremony we had to have 2 premarital sessions with her to talk about our families, our relationship and our marriage. I am a true believer in counseling and so we were happy to go. After hearing our family histories and the intricate details of who we were apart and who we were together she told us something that I think about regularly. She said that we were a pretty codependent couple. That Mark very much wanted mothering and I very much needed to mother and it worked perfectly for us, for the time being. But that there would come a time in the future when we had a family and Mark would be frustrated that he wasn’t getting the attention and mothering he once had and I would resent his neediness when I had others for whom I needed to care. Needless to say Rev Bev hit the nail on the head. This is exactly where we’ve been since the kids have been born.

Our message to Reverend Beverly during those counseling sessions were that we had both come from broken homes and had seen more than our fair share of failed marriages. We understood that marriage was WORK. And we were willing to work. For us. For the family that we wanted to have. For forever.

Luckily at the heart of our marriage we like each other. We have similar interests, similar politics, similar passions, and the same vision for our future. We share our goals and work towards them.

I love my crazy all consuming motherhood. I fear my children growing up and not needing me. The thought of it just makes m want to have more and more, a steady stream of cuddly wee ones. However I do look forward to a time when Mark and I get to really reconnect. When I can focus more on Mark – on doing things for him and getting to know him even better. And until then I just hope he hangs in there and waits for me. That though he may be feeling a bit jilted at the attention he no longer gets that he respects how I am mothering and why I am like this.

This weekend Mark is going to his 20th high school reunion alone. I still can’t be away from Ray overnight. Crazy? Maybe. But it’s me. I struggled with just leaving him with the in-laws and knowing he’d survive but I know myself and I know I’d be too consumed by it that I’d be a horrible date. And I want Mark to have a good time – so he’s going stag. I hope he’ll have fun. But I trust that it won’t be TOO much fun. And maybe he’ll miss me? A bit.