First Time Cursing

Dyl,

Well, it happened.  Your first curse word!  Your first INTENTIONAL curse word.  Not a mispronunciation of “truck”.  Your pal Kaden mispronouncing “dump trucks” and shouting “Look at all the dumb fucks outside” at the library will forever be awesome.  For a while now you’ve been saying “dang it” or sometimes “darn it” but i’m talking the TV-censored stuff.  What would your first curse word be? And in what context? Wait no more – because last Saturday we had a winner.  PS, yes, it is a little weird that I am this excited about this.  Let’s move on now and get back to the story.

We were about to get out of the car and you had a handful of trolls in your lap.  You couldn’t find Poppy and daddy saw it on the floor and handed it to you.  You were so excited and exclaimed, “oh shit, there it is!”  Daddy and I exchanged a look that said, “you heard that right? We shouldn’t say anything right??  If we do, he’ll only say it more right???”  It was the one and only.  There was not a repeat.  There wasn’t even a glance up from your end to check for a reaction.  And why would you – your context was spot on and there really was no other way to sum up the excitement of finding the Poppy troll.

Kind, Appreciative & Charitable

Dear loveys,

Watching people march chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” has been scary to say the least.  Watching others defend this as “freedom of speech” is a whole other level of scary.  Everyone is entitled to hate whatever and whoever they want and to profess it from the rooftops if that’s what they want to do.  You are free to.  There is power in this freedom and with any power comes responsibility.  Just as the 1st amendment doesn’t protect against yelling “fire” in a movie theater, it doesn’t protect against inciting violence and creating fear.  Like a tube of toothpaste, once those words are out they are very hard to take back.

You were both born to Jewish parents and a long lineage of Jewish relatives.  In my opinion, that doesn’t make you Jewish.  From my perspective, Judaism is a practice.  It’s a religion, and not an ethnicity.  If you don’t practice – you can’t claim to be Jewish.  That’s my opinion.  We have been trying to teach you the principles of what it means to be Jewish – to be kind, appreciative and charitable.  As you get older, we’ll formalize these teachings with Hebrew school and eventually your Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  As you get older, we’ll help you understand the significance of holidays, history and traditions.

Right now, you don’t understand.  After hearing the chanting and seeing the support, I decided we need to be more consistent in our education.  So, last Friday we had Shabbat.  We lit the candles and talked about the celebration that is Shabbat.  The celebration that starts without TV but with us being together.  We said the hamotzi, had challah and talked about how thankful we are to take an appreciative moment.  Next week, i’d like to incorporate donating the unfinished challah into our tradition.  As with every Friday, your friends came over and we continued our celebration and appreciated one another.

We are trying out best to equip you both with Jewish values and to find those reinforcement opportunities in our daily life.  The other day Dylan, you told me about a new friend in class.  You said he sits next to you and cries a lot when his mommy leaves.  I asked you what you do when he cries and you said, “I told him it’s going to be a good day.”  I’m proud of you.  If you decide one day to not practice Judaism anymore, i’ll understand.  The values and foundation are there.  Kind, appreciative and charitable.  That’s what’s important.  And if someone chooses to hate you for it, don’t change to appease their values.  Don’t let their hate and fear create hate and fear in yourselves.  Don’t remove the mezuzah from your door.  Don’t preach or try to explain yourselves.  Be yourselves, be kind, be appreciative and be charitable and you will rise above it.

 

 

You Start TK Tomorrow!

Dear Dyl,

Tomorrow you start TK.  I’m going to leave this here to let that sink in.

The transition started last Thursday when I picked you up from camp.  That was the last day I would walk into a pre-school to pick you up.  That was the day it started to feel real.  No longer am I going to get photos of you throughout the day.  Now the teacher to student ratio is up, the independence bar is raised and the daily routine – god, don’t get me started on the ROUTINE – of the day is much more strict.  I did what most Type A, highly organized, pro-planners would do.  I panicked.

enhanceM3L4F1YKI took Friday off.  Summer flew by and now here we were, left with a few days before school starts and we have an “absence count”.  We went to your school orientation in the morning.  I was fully prepared for you to be scared, nervous, anxious, etc.  You weren’t.  You were beyond excited.  “Look how big this school is mommy!”  “Everyone here is so big mommy!”  “Yay, I see some of my friends mommy!”  Then there was me.  I was crying at the “Par” in the Principal’s intro – “Welcome to TK/Kinder Orientations Parents!”  I wasn’t sobbing, don’t worry, just tearing…a few escaped my eye.  We walked around the school and found out your room assignment.

Then we had our Friday together.  We picked up a happy meal and went to the beach.  Just us.  A mommy-Dylan day.  A perfect day.  You wanted me to jump and kick waves with you.  No problem love. We saw 3 dolphins.  You named them Hayley, Poop and…I forget the name of the 3rd.  Hard to remember after Dolphin #2.  There was no sitting. enhance5G5SOICI Only playing – your rules, your way – the perfect day.  We went from the beach to go pick up Mia from camp.  You walked in very tall – you were proud to be the “big kid” going to the “big school” coming back (to the school that only a day ago you attended) to pick up your little sister.  We went to go get ice cream.  You told Mia about your school and how your friend has a sister just like you.  We walked down the shopping center and you asked if we could go to Alessios for pasta.  It’s our weekly go-to restaurant and you wanted to tell Alex, our waiter, about your day.  After your $18 plain pasta with parmesan cheese (I wish I was kidding) we headed home.  We watched a movie enhanceCK1HYA8Fcuddled up on the couch – you next to me and Mia on daddy.  You asked if we could watch another show.  I would normally say no but I didn’t want the day to end anymore than you did.  So we watched some PJ Mask shows and then went up for storytime.

From that point on, the whole weekend was filled with little reminders that you are getting older.  We went to a birthday party and you ran to me sad saying a girl told you to “shut up.”  I asked if you told her that you don’t like being talked to like that and you hadn’t.  You ran to mommy, your safety.  And trust me, I wanted to tell that girl a few things myself.  I wanted to jump in and solve the problem.  But I can’t.  I won’t be there every time a kid says something to you.  It’s not fair to you for me to step in each time and handle it.  So instead of me marching over to the little mouthy brat, I asked you to go tell her and that if she still doesn’t listen, to tell mommy or an adult.  You did just that.  We went to your TK/Kinder picnic and got to chat more with your teacher. enhance you seemed a little nervous this time around, another sign that this is getting real.  You seemed much better once the fire truck arrived.  Another sign, this time for mommy, that you’ll be okay.

Now tomorrow, you start.  You’ve already picked out the shirt you want to wear and have picked out what you want in your lunch.  The school is having a “boo hoo, woo hoo breakfast” for parents after drop-off.  I think i’m going to go around the corner to look for the “sobbing uncontrollably but so happy for you” brunch.  Might be more my speed…

 

Going to Work to Succeed at my Job

Dear Loveys,

This work trip has been a harder one.  Probably because I thought that us spending a full week together on vacation would have made it easier that I didn’t really think about it or “prepare” my mind.

I was set to leave early Monday morning, before you both would wake up.  So the night before, I did storytime and casually explained that I was going on a trip and wouldn’t see you in the morning.  I don’t travel a lot for work.  And when I have traveled, this statement to you is usually met with “okay mommy.”  This time, you both cried.  Dylan, you sadly responded “I don’t want you to go mommy.”  I wasn’t prepared for that.  I didn’t think you even fully understood my statement but once again, I was reminded of the reality of you being an almost-5-year-old and now much more perceptive of everything happening.  You stopped crying but there was an obvious sadness in your eyes and nothing I tried seemed to take it away.  Extra stories, extra snuggle time, extra kisses…your eyes looked sad.

I talked about it with daddy and he promised to go the extra mile to help change the expression of your eyes.  And Mia – you were more easily pacified.  You were happy with the extra bedtime routine time.  This made me happy but also made me aware of how much younger you are than Dylan.

During the week, we facetimed.  Dylan, your eyes seemed happy again.  So excited to tell me something fun from your day and to wave at me.  Mia.  You were not happy.  You seemed frustrated that I was in the phone.  The longer the conversation, the more territorial over holding the phone you became.  Not wanting to share it with Dylan.  Actually, not wanting to share mommy with Dylan.

I’m on the plane now and so excited to see you both.  I’m going to travel for work again.  And I look forward to it – I enjoy spending time with my NY team and I enjoy working.  No, i’m not following it with a “but.”  I love what I do.  You don’t realize it now, but my job is one of the variables that makes me a good mommy.  It’s important for every mommy to take time for herself.  For me, that’s my job.  Challenging my mind, being curious, developing ideas, collaborating with a team and talking with like-minded professionals is how I take time for me.  Going to work is the variable that enables me to be the best at my only job – my 24-hour job as “mommy.”

Our New Sleep Routine

Dear Mia,

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About 2 months ago, we said “bye” to the crib and got you a big girl bed.  And I do mean, big girl bed – it’s a full size bed.  In the crib, you looked enormous.  Like a 30 year old sleeping in a crib.  Now, in the bed, it looks like a put a 5 month old to sleep in it.  It’s a big bed.  Needless to say, Dylan is jealous.

You love your bed – no training necessary.  You finally had room for all your babies.  And I do mean all your babies.  You would line each up, read them stories, whisper goodnight to them and give them kisses.  Throughout the evening we would hear you wake up slightly to pretend-change their diaper or ask for the pretend bottle for your babies.  The last few weeks though you’ve wanted the babies to lay on the floor and you want 50 books spread out over half the bed for you to browse through.  It sort of made me sad.  I love that you want to look at your books and I love overhearing you make-up the words on the page and create your own story.  But you suddenly seemed older.  And it felt like it was happening too fast – not for you – for me.

Right as I was feeling that way, the routine changed again.  Each morning you would wake up and browse through your books waiting for us to come into your room.  This morning was different.  At around 7am, you opened your door, walked into my room, crawled into my bed and curled up into me.  It was what I needed in that moment and I didn’t mind it one bit.  Then you did it again the next morning.  And the morning after that.  And for each morning 3 weeks after.  Sometimes it’s at 7, sometimes 6, once (thank god) at 4:30.  I’ve done nothing to try to break this habit.  And have no desire too.  It works.