Four Years

23 Feb

I wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it.

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Dear JP

Today you are four years old and I can hardly believe it. Your older brother was two and a half when you were born and he seemed like such a big boy. You are now four and, even though a new baby will be joining us in a few months, you still seem like my baby.

You love to give kisses and hugs and you continually tell us (me, dad, brother) how much you love us. You are quite capable of having (frequent) catastrophic meltdowns, but most of the time, you just smile and laugh and shower us with love.

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Your favourite things:
Creating huge involved complicated games with all your little toys and characters
Playing with your brother
Watching a show on Mommy’s iPad or daddy’s phone
Barbies
Polly pocket
Playmobil
Cars
Cheese
Junk food
Plain noodles
Going to see Gramma

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Your least favourite things:
Wearing mitts and a toque
Wearing underwear
Eating vegetables and fruits

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You’re trying so hard to understand things and make sense of the world around you:
You know the new baby is in mom’s uterus but you constantly ask if today is the day that I will be peeing, pooping, or barfing out the baby.
You always ask about people in our family and want to know how they fit in, “Do you have a dad? Who is your mom’s mom? How many sisters do you have?”
You’re completely confused by the concept of time and think every day (since August) is your birthday. You also wish us Merry Christmas and Happy New Year almost every night.
Everything is a race. Whether we are going upstairs or outside or to the car, you always yell, “I’m going to win!”
You are quite insistent on wiping your own bit and washing yourself in the bath. Ive been trying to explain that you don’t need to use an entire roll of toilet paper each time.
You love to dance and pose and constantly want me to take your picture.

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You’re adorable and hilarious and have a huge imagination, and I am loving this time at home win you, the last half year before Junior Kindergarten starts.

You have very little interest in letters or numbers. I go through periods of intense worry (older brother could say the whole alphabet and count perfectly to ten before he started school. He could also draw rudimentary pictures of people and write his name. You are still drawing lines and squiggles.) because I’m scared you’ll be really far behind when school starts in September. But then I feel immense guilt because all kids are different and I promised myself I wouldn’t compare the abilities and talents of my children.

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But what can I say? I do worry about you a bit, but I truly do believe that each child is different and should be celebrated according to his or her gifts. Please believe me when I say I actually don’t want you to be like your brother. You are so unique and wonderful and, despite my “mom worries” I don’t really want you to change. I want you to grow as a person but I want you to stay uniquely you.

Okay, I just told a little lie. There is one thing I would like to change about you and that is your eating habits. I would love it if you started eating a more balanced diet and if you would try new foods. Please take that into consideration, okay?

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Thanks for an amazing chaotic year. You’re full of love and full of adventure and I’m very blessed and lucky to be your mommy.

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Hurt Feelings

20 Feb

Lately RJ has been getting his feelings hurt a lot by younger brother JP.

JP loves being included in RJ’s games but sometimes he really wants to be left alone to play by himself.

In the first two years of school, RJ needed up to an hour to decompress and sit quietly after he got off the bus. Toddler JP was ecstatic to see him come home and would shriek excitedly and try to give hugs and initiate playing. He was rebuffed 99% of the time and often wound up in tears. It was pretty much impossible to explain to a 2 year old that his big brother needed to relax after a busy day at school.

Now, in grade one, it seems like RJ is adjusting to a busy school day and is growing to love the all-day social interaction with his classmates. He gets off the bus and wants to keep playing. He immediately wants to barge in on JP’s games or start new and very involved games. JP, who has been playing quietly for the last several hours, doesn’t like having his games interrupted. He tells RJ he needs alone time and time to decompress. He is repeating words I’ve said to him (about RJ) hundreds of times.

When RJ tries to play with JP after school and is turned down, he either collapses into tears, stomps up to his room, or angrily crosses his arms and sulks on the couch. He says, “JP, you are so mean!!” “Why do you always have to hurt my feelings?” “I can’t believe how mean you are!”

Now I find myself explaining (over and over) that “JP likes alone time just like you do. When you were a bit younger, you said the exact same things about wanting to be left alone.” Apparently the concept of other people’s alone time is just as difficult for a six year old to understand as it was for a two year old to understand.

I can’t wait until I get to explain to a toddler why his two amazing older brothers want to play Lego behind the baby gate…and far away from him!

Stream of Consciousness: Part Six

10 Feb

Yesterday, JP was on a roll with some imaginative play. For some reason he was talking about Christmas…

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Stephanie Parker, those guys found Santa!

And they didn’t beat us!

Are you going to save Christmas?

Yeah!

I’m going to find a magic star to make you fly! It goes on your boot! Oh, here, it’s in the freezer!

It was in the freezer?

Ho ho ho!

Everyone, you better get to sleep!

You can have a sleepover, mom. One where you stay over.

Alright, that’s a good idea.

Mommy, I’m the driver of this thing!

Barbie! Paw Patrol is NOT on a role!

Hurry you better get to bed. Now I’m going to tuck you in!

Paw Patrol is on a role!

Midge! Other Midge! Ben! It’s time to sleep or Santa won’t give you presents! Even if you’re not on the naughty list.

Paw Patrol is on a role….to the hoooouuuuse!!!

Down you go! Down the chimney!

Uh…guys…I think we should move this Christmas tree outside.

Ok, well it’s time to go to the doctor anyway. My heart is telling me you’re sick. Krista, are you ready. Come here for your X-ray.

Why do I need an X-ray?

I see your heart and bones! It’s okay Krista, I’m a doctor!

Well thank you for making me feel better.

Call me Big Red!

Okay sure Krista. Hey, is it your birthday?

No, I’m sorry to say.

That’s ok. I’m going to make a cake for Monique because it’s her birthday today. Monique….Monique… Maaaaaaaaaaaa-neeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!

I’m right here.

Oh good. I’m making you a cake. It has pink and red and green and blue icing. Now where did Big Red go? She’s gone. But look Monique, your mom is here and your dad is here. This room is full of love.

*cough cough*

Big Red Krista, why are you sick again?

I don’t know.

Well I’m very sad. You need another x-Ray. Hop on, let’s look at your heart and bones.

Releasing some names into the Universe

31 Jan

Now that I know we’re not having a girl, I want to release the list of “girl names” we were considering in the first few months of my pregnancy.

When I say ‘we’ I do mean me. Jason liked some but hated others.

As you can see, we lean towards less common names and names affiliated with the natural world.

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Amethyst – obviously the beautiful purple gemstone, which is plentiful in Northwestern Ontario. Amy would be a good nickname. Then I found out it was Iggy Azalia’s real name and I lost interest. It’s still a great name though.

Amaryllis – the flower. Again, Amy would be a good nickname. Or Rilla.

Cascade – a great water-themed name that would go well with our boys’ names. Cassie or Cadie would be cute nicknames.

Cordelia – a water-themed name meaning lady of the lake. I’ve loved this name since Anne Shirley asked Marilla Cuthbert, “Could you call me Cordelia?” Cory, Cordy, and Delia would be good nicknames.

Dawn – self explanatory. Would have been used as a middle name to honour Grandpa Donny.

Delphinium – the flower. I love this because it’s so different. Del or Finn would be cute nicknames. Jason was horrified.

Echo – different and striking.

Evening – quite different. Eve or Evie would be good nicknames.

Ever – first heard this when celebrity Milla Jovovich named her daughter Ever. I thought it was awesome, plus it’s not like Milla would know if I used the name. Jason wasn’t on board.

Gaia – the mother of all nature names as Gaia was literally Mother Earth according to Greek mythology. A beautiful name.

Hazel – a great colour name.

Io – one of Jupiter’s moons. I’ve been stuck on this name since I found out about child-actor turned artist and activist Io Tillet Wright. It’s such an odd name and I just love it.

Ivy – beautiful. I’ve always loved ivy covered buildings.

Juniper – my favourite name of all time. June, Junie, or Juno would be great nicknames. I was never able to get Jason on board with this name…even though I asked him about 45 times.

Luna – meaning the moon. Also, Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series is one of my favourite literary characters. What scared me off of this name was the kids in the books who call her Loony.

Magnolia – beautiful flower, great nicknames.

Meadow – I love this but apparently it’s getting more common.

Onyx – I like that it’s a kind of rock/gemstone and it ends in an x. Plus Nyx (nickname) was the Greek goddess of darkness.

Poppy – such a happy sounding name, but it does have “grandfather” overtones.

Raven – I loved this as a name because ravens (and crows) are my favourite birds. Plus they’re super intelligent. I would feel uncomfortable using this unless I could guarantee that my child wouldn’t be blond. It just doesn’t seem like a good name for a little blondie.

Reverie – I love this. A dream. But the nicknames Revi or Rev are way too close to JP’s real name.

Robin – such an adorable name, after the adorable bird at hops around your yard and rainy spring days.

September – a nice strong name for a baby born in…September. Ember would be a great nickname.

Summer – a great name for a baby born in summer. When I was in Grade 3 my reading buddy’s name was Summer. But I’m hoping for a Spring baby!

Sunshine – I’ve been stuck on this name since high school. Such a happy name and Sunny is a great nickname.

Winter – a great name for a baby born in Winter, but that isn’t happening with me. Winnie is a cute nickname, reminds me of the Wonder Years.

Wren – a cute bird name. Sounds good with my boys’ names.

Zephyr – means the west wind. It’s different and pretty. Jason was not on board.

Zinnia – a cute flower name.

If you like any of those names, please give them a home!

I’m not releasing the name we actually chose for a daughter, just in case there is a weird fluke and that wasn’t an actual penis the tech saw on the scan.

I mean, I’m sure it’s going to be a boy, but I’m not ready to officially release our chosen name yet!

We are now working on names for our third son. The lack of names is one of the reasons I was hoping for a girl. It’s a silly reason, yes, but I used my two favourite names for my two sons.

Obviously there are millions of names to choose from, but I hate them all. Not really, but nothing has grabbed me the way my children’s names did.

Jason’s XY sperm cells don’t care about my naming dilemmas though.

In other news, we made it to 20 weeks. I know I shouldn’t hope for an early delivery, but if history repeats itself (I love saying that), we’re more than halfway there!

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JP Says: January 2015

30 Jan

It’s been a busy month around here, at least in terms of the weird and funny things my kid says.

When you go to the hospital, you’ll be able to rest your toe nipples.
Toe nipples?
Yeah (pointing to ankles)
Do you mean ankles?
Ankles and toe nipples are the same things.

I crumble up the disco..and that’s just what I do!

It wasn’t me!
It was you!
Oh yeah…

Gramma took my wive.
What’s a wive?
I don’t know, she just took it.
What is she going to do with it?
I don’t know.
What do you do with a wive?
It goes into your throat and down into your body and it just stays there. It doesn’t come out of your bum or penis.
So it stays in your body forever?
No, Gramma took it.
How did she take it?
She just grabbed it!

I don’t get sunburns, but sometimes I get moon burns. Like when I go outside at night.

I need to be beautiful for when I see daddy at the university!

I’m not going to fart when I grow up. I’m not going to yawn either.

When I’m a grown up, I’m moving into your bedroom. Me and daddy are going to sleep there all by ourselves. And you can take your jewelry with you when you leave!

I can’t believe I have to go pee again. I just peed yesterday!!

Oh no, the necklace broke! I better tell Gramma. *sigh* I’m just really not looking forward to telling her the bad news.

Our toy unicorn is named Horny. Horny’s mom’s purse is named Duck.

I sure hope my new baby sister has a penis!

I hate it when monsters pick me up and carry me.

You know what? Pee is possible!

Hey, I just found Monkey Land! Monkey Land is such a familiar place…

The Shape of a Mother

26 Jan

In the fall, I wrote about my friend Jessica’s ongoing photography project called The Mother’s Look.

Jessica has set up a beautiful safe space in her basement where women can come pose for intimate yet fun portraits and show the reality of what bodies look like after being touched by motherhood.

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The portraits can include children or be solo and can also include meaningful props. All women touched by motherhood are welcome to participate whether or not they have living children and whether or not they have birthed biologically.

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When I read about her project, I wanted to participate. I wasn’t quite sure why because I’ve never been a person to show off a lot of skin. Even when I was 90 pounds in high school, my swim suit of choice was a tshirt and shorts.

Perhaps it was because my mom told me horror stories from her university days of wearing bikinis and tube tops and then suffering later with atrocious sunburns (I inherited her sensitive skin as well as her dislike for hot temperatures). Perhaps it was because we didn’t have a lot of money and most of my clothes were hand-me-downs and there were never any appropriate bathing suits amongst the cast-offs. Perhaps it was because I always felt weird in my own skin. I also hated swimming (because I was bad at it) so why would I want to wear swim clothes?

Or maybe it was a combination. Regardless, I’ve never felt comfortable showing skin. But as I get older, I find myself not caring as much. Like, my brain is so full of family and household worries that I just have less energy to give to my body insecurities. I still care, but not nearly as much as I used to.

So I wanted to participate in Jessica’s project as a way of stepping out of my comfort zone.

My boys and I posed for Jessica towards the end of October and it was really fun. After the photos with the boys were done, Jason took them upstairs to distract them with Lego. Then I did some solo shots.

I think Jessica was hoping to have the pictures edited before Christmas but life got in the way. It was last week when I finally got a peek at one of the photos. I hope to see some more in he next little while, but I understand that Jessica is a busy mom with a full time job (and a part time photography business)!

So here is an un-retouched photo that Jessica named as one of her favourites!

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My first thought upon finally seeing it was, “Holy crap I’m pale!” Also, “Man, I really need more tattoos, my skin is just way too blank!”

For the most part though, I like it. In this picture, I’m 40 pounds heavier than my high school days and I was feeling self conscious about the fact that I had very recently gotten a positive pregnancy test and my stomach popped out overnight.

It was also the first day that I started feeling truly horrible with pregnancy symptoms. I held it together pretty well and Jessica does a great job making her models laugh and feel at ease.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so positive about this picture if my stretch-marked and pale baby belly was on display. Or maybe it would make me feel proud because of all the hard time I’ve done, throwing up in the name of motherhood.

In the end, I’m very glad I could participate. I truly believe people need to be aware that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Stretch marks and saggy skin and changing shapes are often part of a woman’s body, whether she is a mother or not. Projects such as Jessica’s help combat society’s saturation of airbrushed perfection.

Thank you to my amazing husband who tells me I’m beautiful every day. We are both real people with real flaws and imperfections and I like it that way. When we got together, we signed up for reality, not fantasy and it’s been a grand adventure!

And thank you Jessica, for this terrific and important project!

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If you’d like to participate in The Mother’s Look, please email Jessica (jessica.l.wyatt@gmail.com) for more information and she can tell you about future sessions.
Visit Jessica on Facebook or her personal website.

The Reveal

22 Jan

On Monday, I had to get blood tests done.

On Tuesday, I had to go get my blood pressure checked (it’s back down to a normal number thanks to the medicine).

On Wednesday, the whole family bundled into the car at 7:30 in the morning while it was still dark. It was time to find out if the boys were going to get their much desired baby sister.

Hello, fetus friend! I wish you would have put your arms down for one second to allow us a better view.

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The ultrasound technician checked everything out, then Jason took the boys out to the car to wait. Then the technician found the genitals without the boys seeing because I wanted to do a fun little reveal with them later on.

When RJ got home from school, we put my plan into action.

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And the moment of truth…

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He looks excited, right?

Wait…he realized what he just read…

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JP was just happy to be included in our little performance. I don’t think he quite understood what we were doing. RJ, on the other hand, was quite disappointed.

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As you can see, my kids aren’t the best at posing. It’s definitely not the professional photo shoot that I had booked but had to cancel. I think the pictures turned out fine though, despite being unfocused. They do a good job of capturing a historic moment for our little family…disappointment and all.

Later at bedtime, I told RJ it’s totally ok to feel a bit sad and disappointed. I told him I was a bit disappointed too because I wanted him to get a sister and I was really hoping to use the girl name we picked out.

He seemed to be much happier about it this morning while waiting for the school bus. He was talking to my belly and saying, “Hey sweet brother, I’m going to school! You don’t even know what school is because you’re safe and warm inside Mommy’s guts.”

So poetic.

Disappointment is just a natural part of life. I did want a daughter for a variety of reasons. But I do believe that God and the universe have brought me the children I’m supposed to have. There is a greater plan for these little lives and it’s such an honour to have been chosen as their earthly caretaker.

The world needs strong and compassionate feminist men; I believe Jason and I are up to the task.

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