Parker turns ONE this weekend.
How is that possible? I feel like I was just lying on the couch with Jackson, after weeks of contractions, feeling what turned out to be the real ones.
It’s hard to believe how fast this wonderfully wild year has gone, and while Gray’s first birthday was an exciting celebration, this time around I feel a bit more emotional.
Because Parker is, most likely, our last little babe, it feels like my baby is suddenly not a baby anymore. And though I’m so excited for every day that lies ahead, I can’t help but be a bit wistful looking backwards.
I love this little guy so much, and these months have truly flown by. Now he feeds himself (kind of, as evidenced by this Jackson photo from Notabli), is taking steps, wrestling with his brother, finding his words (‘Guuuuuooooohhh, Hiiiiiiiuuuhhh, Mama, Dad…’) and laughing at everything.
Happy almost birthday, sweet little ‘Bubba’. We feel so lucky that you’re in our lives.
If you have a toddler, had a toddler, or are entering into toddlerhood, these will (unfortunately) ring very true.
A few of my favorites below…
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST NIGHT AT FIGHT CLUB
With toddlers: pick your goddamn battles. I don’t mean literally — like, with sticks and Paintball or something? I mean every day spent with one of these tiny humans is filled with the infinite possibility of any number of battles. Battles over which toys will go in the tub, over where he will or will not put a sippy-cup, over whether or not he will hold still long enough to have one sock placed upon his karate-kicking foot. If you get into the mud and scrap over everything, you will drown in that mud. Because here’s the thing: once you start the battle? You have to win that shit. Have to, have to, have to. Losing one battle means losing the war. If they detect that they can win? They will always fight to win. You’re trying to outlast a guerilla force. You’re trying to outwit a tiny, diaper-clad version of the Joker. So: when you have picked a battle, that is always the hill you need to die on, whether it’s about what dinner she will or will not eat or if he should or should not try to stick his head up the dog’s butt.
1. Announce that it’s time to go to bed.
2. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.
3. Explain that bedtime is not a punishment.
4. Explain that bedtime is not a new concept.
5. Explain that, yes, bedtime will happen every night.
6. Console your toddler.
7. Announce that it’s still bedtime…
11. Can’t remember middle name.
12. Needs to know how come volcanoes errupt.
13. Foot hurts.
14. Back itches.
15. Wants to know what you’re watching on TV.
16. Wants to know why you’re allowed to watch TV at night and they aren’t.
17. Is wondering if they can watch a little TV with you.
18. Wants to know why you look mad.
22. Is wondering if this is a good time for you to teach her how to whistle.
23. Wants to know why the kitchen smells like personal pan pizzas.
24. Needs to know why your breath smells like Oreos.
As we reach the precipice of Gray’s waning days as a three-year old and his ability to fit into his ‘big-kid carseat’, we’re shopping around for the next big thing.
The booster seat.
We’ve heard great things about these two (and have really liked Britax ourselves):
Any suggestions for what’s worked for you and your family? Any Booster seats you’d highly recommend or steer away from? Advice is welcome, and I’ll report back here for anyone who’s also looking.
We recently had our p/t conference with Gray’s wonderful preschool teacher. (At our school, these conferences actually start with the babies, and it’s a great way to chat with your kids’ teachers and ask all the questions you want to ask but can’t in the madness of drop-off/pick-up.)
This was our first preschool conference, though, and given the curriculum and prep for kindergarten readiness it felt more serious.
I was so impressed with Gray’s teacher’s approach to his classroom and goals for Gray. His philosophy and approach to the time with he spends with these little wildlings is to create the foundation for a solid start to kindergarten. That means academic (writing, reading, adding and subtracting), but more importantly to him is the social abilities and confidence with peers, in the classroom, and their ability to handle all sorts of situations.
I couldn’t agree more.
Gray ‘reads’ stacks of books every day and comes from a family that values education and knowledge. But it’s the emotional intelligence to understand how his actions affect those around him that are so important to learn. I’m glad that with his ABCs, shapes and numbers is also coming this dedication to his emotional self.
And maybe that’ll help the inexplicably slow nighttime drama as well?
Jackson and I discovered something glorious this weekend.
The Day Date.
Now, mind you, drinks and dancing might be tough to come by, but having time together just the two of you for part of a Saturday is really wonderful.
With both a dishwasher and oven in sad disrepair, we were in need of a few hours to do some appliance shopping without chasing Gray around the store or having to hold a squirming little babe. My Mom graciously offered to give up her Saturday afternoon so that we could steal away to do our hands-on research, so after a quick transition we were off.
We stopped for coffee and then hit the ground running. And here’s the thing…it was so much fun.
You forget how great it is just to be in the car together without any chatter from the backseat. Uninterrupted time to talk, jump out of the car (with nary one carseat buckle to detach) and jump back in, in broad daylight…it was wonderful.
I often think that time together has to mean a date night. And while I love going out to dinner, a party, a movie, or just out for a drink with Jackson, there’s usually more timely pressure (back before 11p!) and costs (dinner AND babysitting) at night.
So while we discussed dishwashers we daydreamed of a time when we might steal away for a real Day Date. Breakfast out, and skiing/hiking/biking/yoga/anything together, during the day when we’re not exhausted and paying an arm and a leg to be out together.
The Day Date. I can’t recommend it enough.
I noticed something the other day when I looked in the mirror.
A few more smile/laughing lines around my mouth (which to me means a life well lived and laughed so far), and absolutely zero makeup.
Now, mind you, I’ve never been a big primper. Never spent hours in the bathroom doing my hair and make-up before I left the house.
But there was a time when I’d be sure to have some mascara on my blond little lashes, or some blush if I was feeling especially tired or pale (helllooo, Vermont winters).
But these days I literally don’t have time to do anything other than brush my teeth, and shampoo my hair IF I’m lucky!
So here’s the question…is this simply because I have zero minutes to myself, or because I’m growing up and feeling more comfortable in my skin?
Probably both, which is both refreshing and a bit sad. Sorry, Jackson.
My Dad sent me an idea for future Christmas presents that we’re going to try to stick to:
One they want
One they need
One they’ll read
We’re lucky to have enough space in our house for both Gray and Parker to have their own rooms.
But looking down the road, to when Parker (aka ‘Mr. Bubbles’) is out of his crib, we’re toying with the idea of letting them share a room.
Talking to a friend recently I was excited, as he said that though they didn’t need to, they put their sons in a room together and they LOVE it! They play more, stay in their room more, and seem generally closer.
Any tips, one way or the other? If we do it, what ages are ideal?