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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Surprises, Growing Up and Catching Up

I love surprises.  LOVE LOVE LOVE surprises.  Good ones, fun ones, cool ones,that is.  I love surprising and I love being surprised.  The hardest part when I am (part of) the "Surpriser" (as opposed to the "Surprisee" - spell check tells me there are no such terms known in the English language.  I say: "As of now there are") is to not let anything be known.  To the Surprisee that is.  Keeping my mouth shut is do-able.  [Strike that.  No, it's not.]  Not mentioning anything directly is do-able, not writing about it, or eluding to it is challenging.  Hence me not having written for a while.

We surprised David’s dad with a visit over Easter weekend.  David’s Stepmother had arranged for us to fly out to visit them, so my Father-in-Law was made to believe that family from Canada was coming.  Awesome surprise.  My in-laws had seen Ryder when he was just born.  The giant baby they got to spend time with during this visit was a completely different phenomenon than the (still substantial) infant they had met just over a year ago.  Kai was super excited about the prospect of flying.  He – on purpose – did not get to talk to his grandpa in the weeks preceding our trip as he was obsessed with the fact that he was “going to fly in an airplane to visit grandpa in Texas!”

With the California weather warming up and in anticipation of our trip, we decided that the moment had come.  The moment that Kai needed to get a big-boy haircut.  No more trimming attempts from Papa.  Real haircut.  The place where this momentous event was going to take place?  A salon called Little Rock Star.  I mean, c’mon, the name itself exudes confidence and coolness.  Perfect for my Little Dude.  My Little Dude who would enter as Little Dude and exit as Cool Rockstar.  The chairs are cool cars, and thus, perfect for toddler dudes.  Armed with a snack cup with Goldfish, David took Kai on his little make-over excursion.  Here’s what followed:

Before:

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Ready (not so much)...Set...
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Go!
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Finished:
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I will never forget the feeling that consumed me when he came running in and exclaimed:  “Mommy!  I have spikes!”  I cried.  Yes, I cried on the inside and I had a hard time holding back the tears.  My toddler had walked out the door earlier that afternoon and a boy returned.  I lovingly renamed him my Cool Rockstar Dude.

So, armed with spiky hair, his own suitcase and a painfully overpriced chocolate croissant, Kai was ready to conquer the sky.
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And he did.

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Ryder on the other hand...what shall I say...made me not want to return to Los Angeles.  The thought of taking him onto a plane again, without being able to make it understood that I will get him (pretty much) anything his heart desires if only he can make sure as to NOT to cry during the flight, was not something that appealed to me very much.  A 3-hour flight isn’t that long, but it is LOOOOOOONG if you have a very unhappy baby on your lap.  Let’s leave it at that.

We had a lovely time in Texas:

The kids got up to mischief

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Beautiful Sunsets

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Going for walks and being able to run without being worried about traffic

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Making new friends at the playground

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Going out for dinner and having a vat ‘o Margarita
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Going on an Easter Egg Hunt
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Opening Easter Eggs
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And lots of cuddles
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In other words, we had fun.

The way back...how do I put this?  The first 45 minutes were AWESOME:
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After that...let’s just say that we were "that" family.  Yes, the family that oh so many hate as they seem to be incapable of soothing their screaming baby.  Yes, that was us.  And to those people, I say: You obviously don’t have kids.

In other news:
Over the past few weeks Kai has been on an eating strike.  “I don’t like __________” was the evening catch phrase for several weeks.  Even to foods that until recently were categorized as “Favorite”.  I really try not to let it bother me, but for a foodie the “I don’t like _________” is like nails on a chalkboard.  Fast forward to last Thursday when some TV character ate an apple.  Don’t remember the God who consumed the precious fruit, but a God (s)he was.  From that moment on: apples, pears, bananas, blueberries, humus, broccoli and carrots.  The other day he just ate raw broccoli and carrots for dinner. Didn’t touch the meat and home baked sweet potato fries.  Just raw veggies, all the while announcing “I LOVE broccowee and cawods Mama!”  Now, I am seriously considering buying stock in local broccoli and carrot farms.  Happy Mama.

As far as Ryder and food are concerned: Match made in Heaven. Ryder just eats and eats and eats.  I already need a bigger fridge, simply to store the food, which that child consumes.  There is almost nothing that he won’t eat. (Except spinach and lettuce.)

And then there was Mother’s Day.  Ever since 2008, when he missed the fact that his wife was now a mother too, 3 months after she gave birth to Kai, David has been on it with every single Mother’s Day, making up for this mistake that (nonetheless)  will haunt him for the rest of his life.  (Mama will make sure of that.)  This year was no different (no, I didn’t bring up the 2008 Mother’s Day.  HE did!).  It started out with sleeping in.  A 10am “Happy Mother’s Day MAMA!!!” wish and a big hug and kiss from Kai, followed by a beautiful breakfast in bed.  A drawing from Kai contained an iPod and accessories for Mama’s new car!  A beautifully wrapped gift from David contained a gorgeous necklace to go with a new dress that I had bought.  2 hours later I left the house to go for a 1-1/2 hour massage.  1-hour massages I am familiar with (OH YES, I AM), but I had never had a 1-1/2 hour massage and it was awesome.  Now that I have drank the 1-1/2 hour massage “Koolaid”, I am hooked.  Seriously, that was indulgence.  The rest of the day was spent with hugs and kisses from all my boys.  An easy and lovely dinner finished the day.

Unfortunately, that night the boys (the little ones) decided that since it was past Midnight, Mother’s Day was over and Mama could resume her duties.  Kai was up from midnight – 3pm with “growing pains” in his legs.  Massage and cuddles helped him.  Me, not so much.  I have decided that the child needs a bigger bed, so that I can fit in it on nights like these.  At 3:30 Ryder decided that sleeping during the night was severely overrated.  He was up and decided to let us know.  Somehow I ended up with him falling asleep on my chest in the glider.  Lovely at first, truly, but after a while my body started to get sore and stiff.  As comfortable as the glider is, it’s not an ideal sleeping location.  I snoozed on and off for an hour with Ryder in my arms, until I woke up at 5am, in desperate need of another 1-1/2 hour massage.  Ryder relocated to the crib (and slept through the relocation) and mama tiptoed to her bed, where I was able to catch 1 hour of sleep, before my alarm went off at 6am.  Seriously, I vote for a Mother’s Day at least every quarter.

In the last week Kai came down with his first ear infection.  Both kids battled a cold that lingered around for a good 2 weeks.  They are both over it, Kai is done with his antibiotics and it seems like we can move on again.  I suspect that Ryder is doing some serious Molar-Growing as the fussiness levels have reached insane heights over the past few days.  Did I mention that it should be Mother’s Day more often?  All I say is Mommy Timeout is a good thing!  It’d be nicer if it came with a cocktail and a shoulder rub, but I will take any timeout I can get.

All of Ryder’s eating has allowed him to outgrow his changing table.  The boy is 15 months old and he is longer than his changing table is wide.  Combine that with his strong dislike of getting his diaper changed and it makes for sometimes frustrating and sometimes amusing scenarios.  When it was time for the inevitable diaper change (you know, the one that happens approximately 8 times/day), this afternoon, he wasn’t having it.  Kicking, thrashing and kicking.  Did I mention kicking?  Unfortunately for him, Mama (for now) is still stronger and wins the battle, so on the changing table he goes.  He gets mad.  Kicks in the air and in his movement down hits the wooden end of the changing table with his heel.  Screams.  Gets mad.  Puts his heels against the end of the changing table.  Pushes.  Pushes so hard that he pushes himself up and hits his head on the (other) wooden end of the table.  Gets madder.  Wants toy.  Gets toy.  Doesn’t want toy and throws toy.  Toy obeys the laws of gravity and comes sailing down as mama is unable to catch it in between wiping butt and changing diaper.  Toy lands on chin.  Baby now livid.  Takes toy and angrily starts waving it around – to teach damn toy a lesson.  Waves so hard that knuckles hit the side of the changing table and toy, once again, follows gravity and falls to the ground.  Baby madder than mad.  Wants other toy.  Gets other toy.  Doesn’t want THAT toy.  Yes, does want THAT toy.  No.  Yes.  No.  Yes.  Aaaaah, we’re done.  Finally.

So, that’s where we’re at in this house full of testosterone.  We’re happy.  We’re blessed.  We’re fed.  And...exhausted, but, we go on and try to enjoy each step of the way.  Yes, I said we “try”.  I just need to remind myself of that at 4 o’clock in the morning.
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