Saturday, August 25, 2012

10 years!

10 years ago today, I moved into my first NYC domicile and met a group of friends who would prove to be some of my best for years to come, and whom I still hold near even if we seldom see each other.  Chief among them was the boy who would become my husband, and I couldn't be more grateful to have him in my life.

James, I am so glad that we both so uncharacteristically acknowledged and pursued our interest in that first week, and I am amazed and humbled by the journey we have been on ever since.  We've experienced life together and on opposite sides of the ocean; we've gone through some really tough times and learned so much from them; we've gotten married, adopted our cats, pursued careers, and now we are expecting our third(!!!) child while being constantly amazed by the two we've got running circles around us already...Thank you for being my partner in all of this, my love, I am so grateful to have you, and to be able to grow with and around you, and I look forward to many more adventures in the years to come.

Happy 10 years, James!!

The first photo ever taken of the two of us. (Thanks Nilsa!) I think this was an hour or so before we officially started dating...8/30/2002

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic eye-opening

The girls have discovered synchronized swimming this morning, thanks to the combines two of their absolute favorite things ever:  Swimming, and Dancing. They are mesmerized.

Thinking that it's really cool doesn't stop the amusing imagery, though...Cadence's response to the first extended section where there where two performers suspended upside down in the water, kicking their legs above the surface was: "They look like a cow that's sinking in the water and stuck on its back!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Perfectionist's Lament

"I can't! I CAN'T I can't I can't I can't!" she shrieked, a heartbreaking refrain that I recognize all to well...

She was trying to draw a horse. She DREW a horse...a horse that I glanced toward and recognized instantly.

She is two years old, and here it was; this glorious, beautiful, actual HORSE drawn on the page in front of her, orange crayon somehow managing to do justice to the amazing animal and its power.


Some kids can't do any representational drawing until four.  And Here was my Hazel, at two years old, with this miracle horse that she had created; and then immediately lamented.

It wasn't -from her perspective - good enough.  It wasn't perfect.  It didn't look like the horse in her mind; the horse and the magic she wished to portray and to share with all of us; the beauty and strength and power it clearly represented to her tiny enormous heart...

And so she wailed, and shrieked, and hated her work, her abilities, herself.

My heart crumbles and dies each time I find myself in the trenches attempting to guide her through it. The pain and anguish and frustration is visceral and real...and I remember, so well, exactly what it feels like to wish you were capable of giving up.  To be ok with mediocre, to not notice or care about each screaming flaw...but she can't see herself, her work, her greatness through my eyes.

At two years old she hates herself for not being able to do it right - a 'right' which is a standard held only by her Self, and none other...I can't stand to see it.  It hurts me to the core because I do not want any of my children to ever hurt so deeply, especially from a self-inflicted wound.

My hopeful power and goal is to provide her with the tools she needs to navigate these dark woods before the dark of adolescence hits.  Before the depression that runs deep on both sides of her family can take hold of a vulnerable teenage brain and ruin her for herself, I want to teach her how to be ok and to love because of her heart, her dreams, her thoughtfulness, her deviousness, her spark, her flaws, her loves, her SELF - and not merely because of her superb little hands producing perfectly perfect "perfect."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Living with precocious kids

Yesterday, the 2 year old decided she wanted "more cookies!" and set off on an adventure to find some.  I didn't stop her, despite the fact that it was right before dinner and not a cookie-appropriate moment, since I knew there weren't any left.  She came in to report her findings to me with a cheerful "There's no more, Mama!  No More!  Guess I just have to eat the thing I see."  What was that, Hazel?  "What I see!  The thing that I see.  I just eat that, because there are no more cookies, we ate them all up." Oh,, what did you see?  At that moment my attention was called away, and Hazel snuck off to the kitchen.

A few moments later, Hazel began to shriek and she started shouting "No, Pepper, NO! Don't eat it, NO! PEPPER NO!!!"

Of course I jumped up and raced into the kitchen, where I came upon a scene that explained everything.  We had made a batch of 'home-made oreos' the day before to take to a dinner we were going to, and there had been some leftover filling which I'd left in the fridge overnight.  This had proved to be a mistake, as the fats solidified and the 'frosting' had turned into a rock, so I'd left it on the counter to warm up a bit and soften while I worked in the other room.  This enticing bowl of cookie filling is evidently "the thing" that Hazel saw, and she had dragged a step stool over to the counter to retrieve it. She'd set the (comically large) bowl down on the floor so she could climb down after it, and in the meantime, Pepper, seeing a giant bowl of buttery deliciousness in her territory, thought she'd hit the jackpot and had rushed over to gobble it up.  So this is the scene I walked into:  the two year old waving her arms in a panic while standing on a step stool watching the dog and a giant bowl of frosting she'd obviously meant to have for herself at her feet.

I couldn't help myself, and actually burst out laughing.  I was equally impressed, amused, and was so mischievous and cute of Hazel to quietly set about getting the sweet stuff without help (or permission) and such good problem solving in how to get at it, and so sad the way the plans had been foiled by the dog...and also sad for pepper, who didn't understand why she couldn't keep her prize (Good news:  I took it away, she's still alive!) was a classic moment, if I do say so myself.

Oh, and to top it all off, the 5 year old was in the other room at the time "writing a book.  It's a chapter book."  What's it called?  "The Nature of Science."

Aww, her first treatise!