Talent Show.

Last night at Awana Club they had a talent show.  Last year, the Cubbies (William’s group) did not participate beyond watching from the audience. This year, they let them sing as a group.  William told me early on that he wanted to sing a song all by himself.  I told him that was called a solo.  Yes, he said, that’s what he wanted to do. This was about 2 months ago.

The teachers have been getting them to practice at every meeting, and at every meeting William proclaims practice to be boring.  If it’s insisted that he practice, he makes a big show of it and sings faster and louder than the other kids.  Except… a couple weeks ago there was some sort of turning point for him and he started accepting that practice is necessary.

Last night was the big night and he was, literally, beside himself with excitement. The practice time was perfect… I wish I had recorded that.  Alas, I did not.  But the actual performance ended up being pretty hilarious and cute.  He did great!  But it looked more like William and the Cubbettes as backup dancers.  But who cares?  Everyone was happy.  Oh, and you get to see a cameo of my backside… I’m the one in a blue shirt. ha

Click to watch

(Video credit goes to Tony)

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Sky Friends.

Earlier this evening, as I stood facing the pool, on my right there was a sunset visible between the branches of a tree laden with so many white blossoms that it looked like a popcorn tree.

On the other side of the pool, the moon was already in the sky behind a veil of fog. Sky friends that bring light and get glimpses of each other sometimes. I wonder if they’ll see each other again in the morning? 🙂

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Morning Goodbyes are Hard.

Leaving for work this morning, William clings to my hand and says, “I’m never letting you go, mommy.  You’re my mommy forever!”

I stroke his arm that is attached to the hand that is holding me.  In response he says, “If you leave, I will cry!”

I see the sadness in his eyes and so I stroke his forehead and say, “Why don’t you come out to the garage and hug me goodbye after I get in my car?”

He tentatively smiles and says, “OK!”  So we hold hands and head into the garage.  He stands on the step and waits for me to get in my car, buckle my seatbelt, open the garage, start up my car and pull it partially out of the garage.  Then I open my door and he runs to me, crawls in my lap and holds on tight to my neck.  He kisses me on my cheeks and my chin.  I feel his hands tangle gently into my hair.

I remind him, “I’ve got to get on the road now.”

He looks sad for a second and then says, “Can you call me on your phone?  When you close the garage door, can you call me on your phone?”

“Yes, I sure can!  What a great idea!”

He gives me one last kiss, hops out of the car and runs back inside to wait for my call.

I love how his brain works.

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Never Alone.

Yesterday I had a “William Day.”  He had a field trip with his preschool, a morning thing, and after it was done, we headed over to our little local zoo.  He was off in the playground and I was observing him play while eating my lunch.  The weather was chilly, and there weren’t that many people about.  And then I heard a noise behind me, but I hadn’t sensed a presence.  At least of the human persuasion.  I turned to see what it was and … I guess this little fellow wanted to share in my lunch.

Apparently, I’m not allowed to be without a critter nearby anywhere?

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Christmas Eve

This morning I decided to attend service at Saddleback Church.  I’ve never been to a Christmas service there, and it did not disappoint.  I enjoyed the message, and the carols their worship team sang accompanied by their orchestra (they don’t always have the orchestra, so that was a treat), and the candlelight portion of it while singing Silent Night was just lovely. For me, it was also a treat that the early service today was not packed with people like the rest of the services this week have been.  (Most likely because there was not childcare offered at that service.)
This has been an odd Christmas so far for us, as William came down with a fever Thursday, but it disappeared the next day, and then other symptoms showed up last night.  Everything we’d planned has been dumped and we’ve had to figure out new plans, but still make it special.

I am blessed to have quiet time with our family.  We are blessed to have presents to give each other.  Chicken pot pies make a great Christmas Eve dinner.  A movie (Moana) makes a wonderful “out of the house” treat on a chilly day. 

Consciously choosing joy… as the quote in my sidebar says (that I’ve had there for years now because I can’t seem to find something I like better) says, “You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.”

Merry Christmas.  

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Letter to our 5 year old

Dear William,

On December 8, 2016 you turned 5 years or 60 months old. You are 52 pounds, 47 1/2 inches tall, according to the doctor’s office measurements. However, you show as being 48 1/2 inches tall on all the theme park measuring signs, possibly due to your shoes? Your sizing is running as Boys Small in shirts. You are size 8 in pajamas. You are in between pants sizes, the Boys 4/5 size is too short, but the Boys 6/7 size is too long.

Things we did this month:

This past month has been a whirlwind of activities for us. It’s always this way for us the last two months of the year, because we have an obsession to go to theme parks and visit Santas.  Earlier this year, you were obsessed with finding out if Santa was real, and we bought a book that talked about the history of Santa and who he was, and yet now you tell me one day that he’s real and the next day you tell me he’s not.

On 11/13, we hung out for a couple of hours after family breakfast with my friend, Lynne, and her son Joseph. You played with his toys and loved having a boy your age to hang out with.

On 11/14, you started attended pre-school two times a week. It’s really informal and is play based learning.

On 11/24, we visited your great aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. Both of your second cousins were there (Fiona and Griffin). You had a FABULOUS time exploring their house and playing with them. You have a bit of an issue with “play-roaring” and these guys are about half your size and a quarter of your age, so we were constantly reeling you back from roaring at them.

On 11/25, we visited the Queen Mary and participated in their Chill event.

On 11/26, we went to Sea World and had breakfast with Santa.

On the evening of 11/26, we went to LegoLand and stayed at their hotel, and the next day, Sunday, 11/27, we went to Legoland.

Classes:

Preschool:   You are the 8th child to join this little preschool group, and it’s almost as if they were waiting for you to complete them. You’ve changed their dynamics a bit and there’s been a few times the teacher has needed to correct one of the other children in the group on their attitude and handling anger.  There is only one other little boy in the group. I’m grateful for this opportunity and hope that things mesh for you and the other kids.  I think this is a necessary change for you.  Along with you beginning preschool, your interest in writing has soared. Your little train table that we bought you for your 2nd birthday has been used less and less, and it’s just been taking up space on the upper landing. You asked if you could convert it to a writing table. I said, “Sure.” You went to my desk and scoured the drawers for envelopes and paper and … I let you have a few envelopes, but then took you to Walmart and bought you your own box for $1. I gave you your own marker and pencil holder and gave you some notepads. We’ve now been finding letters everywhere, stuffed in envelopes. The writing is really long W’s and M’s, but there’s interest!

Also, when I was writing out Christmas cards over the weekend this past week, you said you wanted to sign your name in them. So, you sat yourself down, I gave you a choice of three colors to write with, you chose purple. You made an X and an O and put that at the top of the verse, then you drew a duck, either on land or in water, or for a select few, you drew a snowman.  As the finale, you wrote your name at the bottom. The first few you wrote, I reminded you of the order of the letters of your name, by the end, you were saying the order yourself. You have a little trouble with the “a” in your name, you write it like a square.  You’re also holding your pen (or pencil) more correctly, too.  I am so proud of you.

For the first class at preschool, you were not feeling “safe”, you would do your drawing and art, but check every few minutes to make sure grandma was still there. After a few times, you were OK with grandma leaving, however, you did tell me that you liked it better when grandma stayed.

At one of the classes, the teacher was reading a book about a mouse gathering food for winter. Children gave examples…corn, etc. You volunteered, “brussel sprouts!”

At one of the classes, the mom who was supposed to TA called in that her child was sick. So Grandma stayed and you were pleased about that. I got the following updates via text message, “William is playing in the sand & girls are doing a table activity….string beads. They did turkey songs earlier. One was real cute, I thought.” After a bit, “He’s doing the beads now. Guess he had to observe first.” And then, “William is giving tractor rides today. He’s pulling a ride-on tractor around the yard, giving a tour, the same tour for each rider, each girl taking turns.”

Awanas:  I brought the pumpkin pie for the “before Thanksgiving” class and tasked you with helping to serve the other students. You were happy to help serve and you were particularly excited about the whip cream.

Things I want to remember:

After our weekend in Big Bear, you started a game at home with your Grandma D. called “Hiking to Big Bear.” You drew a map and packed a bag. I got this text, “We hiked to Big Bear…his room. He brought one cheese stick & no water for our weekend here. But brought his bag of toys!”

Heading to dinner one night, we were driving past the fence in the center meridien, and you looked up from your book and drolly said, “Whoa! That fence is going very fast there!”

A conversation about your future went like this:
Me: When you grow up, you could be president.
William: No, thank you.
Me: No, thank you? Really?
William: I don’t want to be president when I grow up. People don’t like the president.

Your Grandma D. came over one Saturday afternoon and when she walked in the house, you got up from your play and grabbed her hand to escort her right back out the front door. You said, “No, Grandma! Don’t ruin my weekend!” Thankfully, your Grandma D. has a pretty good sense of humor, she just thought it was funny.

You woke up in the middle of the night one night and cried out for me. Concerned, I went to you and asked you what was wrong. You replied, “I’m sorry, but, uhhh, my neck is thirsty and I couldn’t find my water.”

After swimming one evening, we were getting our things together. You went over and waited by the gate to leave and I heard you saying, “I have two shadows, isn’t that strange. I have TWO shadows!” Sure enough, the way the lights were behind you, you did indeed have two shadows on the wall.

One night after dinner at Red Robin, you were carrying your balloon around outside and spotted a bunny rabbit in the shrubs. You froze and stared at her. I took a picture, but couldn’t get the exposure right, so I took another one. You were still frozen, so I thought you were trying not to scare the rabbit away, that you were enjoying looking at the rabbit. So I just kept taking pictures, playing with my camera. I finally paused, and I heard you say in a voice laden with boredom, “Are you done taking your pictures yet?”

There was an amazing full moon this past month. The biggest ever, they said. It seems they always say that. But it was fun to make a big deal of it.  The first night, I packed a simple picnic and took you to the Awesome Park. We sat under the super moon and ate our fare. Then we climbed and played and ran a lap. You thought that was pretty fun to be out when everyone else was asleep (at 6:30 pm haha).

The next night, we decided to take our telescope to the park in the community next to us. Our telescope is in a backpack and you wanted to wear it. It was pretty big on you, even after I adjusted the straps. As we walked, I heard you saying something repeatedly, but I couldn’t hear you. I asked you what you were saying, you stopped and said, “The back pack is spanking my butt!!” With every step you took, it was smacking your behind, and you were saying, “Spanking my butt. Spanking my butt.” Hilarious!

You have been so affectionate this past month. Full of kisses and hugs and lots of, “I love you so much, mommy.” You have been very concerned about my “love bank” and making sure that it’s filled up.

In light of this new affection, you have also been a little more able to let me do my chores and you’re not so scared to let me out of your sight.  When you’re in the bathtub, after a few minutes, you will call out, “MommY?” I reply, “Yes, William.” You say, “I love you, mommy.” And that’s it. This is a lot less tethered than things have been the last couple of months. I’m glad you’re feeling safe again.

One day, I told you I’d bitten my lip three times that day and it was really sore. I showed you the inside of my lip where it was all bitten up. You were so sad for me. Later that evening you asked if I’d had a good day. I told you that I’d had a great day! You replied, “How did you have a great day if you bit your lip so many times?”

We’ve had a lot of fun the past couple months with the “mummy” and “mommy” word similarity. With Halloween having passed, you were saying, “That’s a mummy!” I would reply, “No, I’m your mommy.” You would so, “No!!! That’s a mummy!” I would say, “No, I’m your MOMMY!” And you would say, “NO! A mummy is wrapped in toilet paper!” or “A mummy has bandages.” It’s so funny to see you define the difference to me.

We went through some old photo albums this month. I was showing you pictures of our cats when they were kittens. In one of them, I was holding Tug. Surprised, you asked, “Is that young mommy?” I answered, “Yes, it is.” You looked at that picture, then you looked at me. You snuggled into my arm and said, “I like old mommy better.”

I felt a certain amount of success about shielding you from one of the hideous cartoons of all time. You saw a picture of Spongebob and said, “A cracker! Look it’s a cracker!”

One afternoon, you and I were hiking up the stairs. You had your hand drawn map and your hiking stick. We encountered a mountain lion (Snuggy) and a wild bird (Yoda, our parrotlet). Thankfully, we made it to Big Bear safely!

Driving away from our house to go to dinner one night, you were “reading” the comics in the newspaper. Your father asked, “Is that our porch light on or the neighbor’s?” I replied, “It’s the neighbor’s. Their porch light drives me crazy!” From behind your newspaper, I hear you say, “Me, too.”

One evening, your father was having issues with swallowing and kept coughing. Exasperated, your father said, “I need to figure out why I keep choking!” You replied, “OK, fine. We’ll take you to the hospital.”

We were getting ready to go to an all day event. You wandered in the kitchen and asked what I was doing. I replied, “I thought I’d pack you a lunch for today…” You replied, “Oh, instead of daddy spending money on something I don’t like?”

Watching Rudolph, with the snow monster, you said “That didn’t scare me because it’s not 3D.” (When we were at Legoland, you asked to see one of the Lego Movies there, but it’s a 4D experience. You were not thrilled.)

One morning, it was quite chilly and I asked you, “Can you warm up my hand?” You replied, “Of course! I can toast you!”

Placing our order at Sonic, we rolled down the window and you said, “Daddy is having a strawberry shake tonight and mommy is having s spinach shake.” I guess you think I eat healthy all the time, even for dessert. Then you revised the order to include you and you said, “Oh, OK, one candy cane shake for William and actually a butt shake for mommy.”

Watching the movie Elf and the raccoon scene comes on. You commented, “I don’t think that raccoon wanted a hug, he is kind of like Snug, grumpy!” Then after a bit you said, “I don’t think he got enough sleep.”

I put you in a pair of sweat pants for a chilly day. I noticed you were playing with the drawstrings, and commented, “I see you have your pant strings to play with?” You replied, “Yeah, they’re my pet snakes.”

One afternoon after we’d been sick but getting better, I took you to the pool. It had been windy that weekend and we swam for 35 minutes, and made a game of diving for leaves  You were pretty proud of yourself when I turned around and saw you under the water pretty deep, diving for leaves. You said, “You were surprised, you didn’t know I could do that, did you?” We had used my kickboard like a hauling boat for the leaves and grouped all the leaves together in one spot. When we were done, we noticed that they kind of looked like a Christmas tree, so you asked to take a picture with our pile of leaves.

That apparently inspired you to have your father haul out our Christmas tree. Your father had been sick that weekend, and I felt bad about asking him to get stuff out from the storage area, but you had no issue with it. We had a bit of a false run with it, because we thought you wanted to get a real tree, but after we all got dressed and ready to go, you said you didn’t want to go anywhere, you just wanted the fake tree again. So, we hauled out the fake tree and I let you decorate it. Saved some money and some time, I guess.

You’ve been owning your age this past month… it used to be that when people would ask you how old you are, you would either say, “I don’t know” and walk away, or just say, “I’m two!” And grin like a goofball.  Now you answer correctly.  Along with that, however, has come a concern from you asking me, “Am I still a kid?”  Or, “Am I still a little boy?”  I’ve never seen a kid so concerned about staying a child as you.  I’m not sure why that is, because as a kid, I remember wanting to be grown-up!

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It’s so strange looking at the amazing boy you’ve become and to remember those early days when you were a newborn. Leaks everywhere, milk (mine), poops (yours), spit-up (yours), snot from a cold (mine), other stuff (mine) and then the odd sleep schedule and for those first months I remember joking to your father that I was going to write a book entitled, “Walking William to Sleep” because the number of times that we walked the neighborhood with you in the carrier, tucked into a giant jacket, so that you would fall asleep was innumerable! People would tell me how small you were and I remember thinking how huge you were (for a newborn) but now I understand what they were trying to say. Even though you were a big baby, you were a newborn, a new life, the smallest YOU would ever be. Five seemed so far off, even 4 seemed like such a big boy. Although I feel like I remember every single moment of those newborn days, how loud you were when you nursed, and every single moment of you learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, saying your words, signing your words, how delighted you were to be able to communicate, how happy you are inside and how full of smiles and laughter you always were and still are. You’re just a happy soul. How when I sat down to be with you I realized what a tall world we live in … and then, we kept so busy making memories, going places, doing things, and being sure to take pictures and videos, and in retrospect, I’m so glad we did. You grew and grew and now you’re tall enough to ride the “big” rides at theme parks. In the last 5 years, you have more than doubled in height and quadrupled in weight! And it wasn’t all that long ago that you were hanging onto your daddy’s leg, giggling, saying, “I captured daddy!” with utter delight and joy. You see, when you’re an adult, 5 years isn’t really all that long. We still look the same, we pass time at our jobs or hobbies or our causes and we take pictures and nothing really changes except our clothes. But when you’re a little person, well, your brain grows, your body gets longer and you learn to do more stuff and it all seems much more dramatic than an adult’s Ecclesiastical life.

I distinctly remember looking at your newborn face and searching your tiny features for the face you’d have as a child, knowing that when you grew into the child’s face of the future, I would be searching for the newborn face that you grew out of. Parenthood is such a journey. It heals, because the choices we can make raising you can be different than those our parents chose. It teaches, because I find that I’m learning how to navigate situations I’ve never addressed before. It humbles, because there are things I never thought I’d have to face, and I seek thoughts and guidance from those that I trust. It stretches, because there are things that I know, but find that I have to find a way to explain them. It yields wisdom, thoughtfulness, kindness, openness, vulnerability and a certain amount of fear. I find myself praying repeatedly for you, your safety and your future. I also hold you close when you fall asleep at night, still, because I know you’re as safe as you’ll ever be at that moment, and I listen to you breathe, with your little fist knotted up clenched around your favorite corner of your Froggy, placed gently on my chest, your knees curled up against my legs, and you whisper to me, “I love you so much…”

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We love you so much, too, sweet boy.

Love you forever,

Mommy and Daddy

More photos from this month can be found here: Link

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Our Little Planner.

This morning when William woke up, the first thing he said was, “Do you wanna know what I’m going to be for Halloween next year?”

Interested, I replied, “What?”

“Next year, I’m going to be Frank (from Cars movie).  And I’m going to scare EVERYONE at your work and then you’ll get a day off.  Like the Joker did.”

“Oh, I see.  You’re going to compete in my company’s Halloween costume contest with a Frank costume?”  I clarified.

“Yes, and then you’ll win and get a day off from work to spend with me.  And you can be Scary Sally and daddy can be Scary Lightning.”  William replied.

“Is that what you were dreaming about last night?  Is your Halloween costume for next year?”

“Yes, and you winning and getting a day off.”  He said.

This child.  My heart.

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