Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wave "bye bye" to Mama

Peek a Boo...Happy Boy
Today when I dropped my baby off at VitaKids, he went to Miss Anna and waved bye bye to me.  I almost didn't know what to do...but I smiled, laughed, and waved bye bye to my little boy. 

When I dropped him off the first day, I sat and read stories with him until he was ready.  It didn't take long..
It's been a bit of a struggle for me to accept daycare and leave my boy there all day.  I think/worry about him all day long, calling over there several times to check on his status, and today was the day that it was good from start to finish.  He loves his "teachers" Miss Anna and Miss Armandina, although he is still suspicious of new faces.  He loves to play with his buddies, Noah and Jack. 

Playing cards with the boys

Climibing after Noah

Noah likes Xavi too

Doing yoga...or holding buses/trucks while sitting on the yoga mat
Today when I picked him up at the end of the day, he was all hot and sweaty.  They had been running around playing with the bouncy balls.  He ate all of his food today and was starving for snacks all the way home.  He worked up quite an appetite.  He was happy to see me but seemed to know that he was safe and in a happy place...AND that I would come back to him as soon as I could.

Miss Dina showing Xavi snow...they played in it later since it was almost 50 degrees! 
Maybe our Llama llama stories and the one where little llama misses mama llama when he has to go to school has helped him understand that it's ok to let go of mama and have fun.  I'm thankful for those two loving women for taking such good care of my baby.  I'm learning to let go...but mostly of my guilt and fears.  He has fun.  He is safe.  He is learning.  He is happy.  Yay!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

California winter afternoons

We've had a very mild winter...today it was almost 80 degrees and sunny.  But even if it hasn't been quite that warm, most days are still so beautiful.  After Debbie leaves, Xavi and I go play outside until tubby time.  Today we walked all the way down our street to the church on the corner.  Xavi pushed his little motorcycle the whole way down...about a quarter of a mile.  Sometimes the motorcycle would go off "track" and he'd squall...can you say "help please?"  "Hep peas"  Sometimes I'd hold on too long and he'd yell some more. 

At one point, one shoe came off...so I took the other off. Oh boy, did I start something.  He alternated carrying them both and lifting up the seat to "store" them on his bike...every two steps.  Then he got distracted by the kids playing at the day care and tried to climb through the fence to get IN...guess he wanted to play.  Then about halfway home...mama carried Xavi the rest of the way. 

Our neighbors have these little solar lights along their driveway that Xavi loves to pull out of the ground and carrying around like swords.  Debbie has a heart attack when he does this and can successfully distract and give him something else...Me?  nope.  so I let him...and replace them after we are done playing.  But this week he also noticed something new...a frog.  He has been obsessed with it...walking up to it, pointing, kneeling down, then touching it's head.  At first he said, woof woof...but then after a few times of me saying "ribbit" and bouncing up and down ...he "jumps" now whenever he sees it.  Too cute...

Mario got home in time to play for a bit before bed time.  They raced cars and made lots of noises and of course, read books in papa's special way (never using the right words and saying funny stuff, where mama is too OCD and HAS to read it the right way...beginning to end...getting frustrated if we skip pages...yep, I'm trying to let go, ha!) We were doing family hug...and Xavi did something he's never done.  He kept pushing my head towards Mario...and making kissing noises.  So we got to kiss...a lot!  Of course that was great fun...

We are on our way to Wisconsin tomorrow for a week of work. I'm packed and "ready"...but never ready to leave.  I'm trying a new schedule of flying direct from LAX...this could either be genius or a total nightmare.  Pray for the former!  Peace...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday night sighs...

Today at the park, Xavi HAD to bring his book to the park with him on the bike...didn't I say he was hooked? 
He did drop it right in the sandbox and proceed to smash a little girl's sandcastle, so if you were worried...don't be!
It was a good weekend...but how could I not say that?  I have undistracted, quality time with my favorite little person.  For as long as I can remember, Sundays were always my least favorite day of the week.  Some of it might've had to do with the whole church ritual, which still exhausts me just thinking about it...I have been thinking about going again, but I really like the idea of a Saturday service?  We'll see...we're not there yet, since both services fall during nap or bedtime...oh darn (heehee).  Anyways, I always had this pit in my gut knowing that Monday was coming and it was a whole new week coming.  (I guess I'll take that as a sign that I hadn't found my "dream" j-o-b yet?).  It has gotten better in the last five years, but since having Xavi, I just dread the back to work and the back to kissing him bye bye. So, tonight I reminisce on our lovely two days together...AND look forward to this new week and ALL it will bring us!  We really didn't "do" anything spectacular, but those are my very favorite days.  I love having a "regular" routine on a special day...nowhere to go, nowhere to be, nothing to dress up for...no worries.  (The photos are from last weekend's birthday party...I was to busy just "being" to take any this time.)

Playing with dad at a birthday party last weekend...
We had our first rainy Saturday and wow, was that tough.  We are usually outside from 8-10, nap, then again from 12:30-3:30 and maybe out again after I try to convince him to eat SOMETHING, please? We played puzzles, happy hippo, built towers and smashed them, threw balls, raced trucks, and then I put his raincoat on, walked outside with him, just to show him what rain felt like...and to get some fresh air.  We both felt better.  It cleared up by afternoon and so we were on schedule after nap...whew!  He's learned how to say MAMA...and he is using it all the time...usually at the top of his lungs.  Last night, dad came home and took over so mom could "rest"...by rest, I mean, finish re-organizing the storage room and take a shower.  My shower was interrupted by Xavi screaming and opening the shower curtain because it was "tubby time" and he wanted in NOW!  If it gets to be 5:30 and he isn't in the water...he is banging on the door.  Literally.  After I drag him out of the tub, or allow him to play in the dry tub until he is ready to get out himself...he runs around for another 30 minutes aka "wild rumpus" time.  Here he is playing "fetch" with mom...I missed his earlier yelling at the top of his lungs because I was quick trying to get dinner going...quick before he figures out I'm not paying full attention...

Xavi goes to the park every day (Pines Park)...it's just a mile and a half up the road from us and Debbie walks him there in the stroller everyday and I get to take him all the other times (unless we go to the beach or to the North Beach trail for a run and play).  We pack our basket with snacks, water, sand toys, and a ball.  Xavi picks what we do and it usually starts with a LOT of staring.  He watches kids so intently...studying them.  And he isn't really intimidated by anyone...even the big boys.  They were playing ball and Xavi watched from close by. THEN yelled "BOOM" as loud as he could when one of them kicked the ball...it was funny.  That's my boy...he'll be yelling "BOOM" someday when he scores his first goal.  And I'm pretty sure I'll be crying...stupid mom :) He stands his ground when someone tries to take his toys...boy oh boy, kids are so grabby???!?  And so selfish...MINE!!!!  Is this a learned behavior? or innate?  It sure seems like they all have it to some degree...some are way meaner than others.  But I am always close at hand to step in and help referree...usually just making sure to hand an extra toy to the loser.  I mean they can't settle this themselves at this age, can they?  I guess I also don't want any "mean" kid stealing my "baby's" innocence before it is time...like 21? hahaha

Our new favorite game?  hiking up the hill (and he can do it by himself..he is so strong!) and then running back down...I usually hold his sweatshirt from the back so if he falls and he always does, he doesn't face plant, but hovers over the grass...laughing and laughing.  We kick the ball against the wall, climb up the jungle gym and slide down the slide.  We make noises at the helicopters overhead (he just wiggles his tongue back and forth to try and imitate the sound) and blow raspberries at the cars passing by...his dad does that when they play cars.  Today, he said "please", "help", "bye bye", "hot" and helped me blow on my tea to cool it down (melts my heart...he says it like he is warning me...eyes all round and big:  "hot!  mama!  watch out!") He can sign "thank you", "more", "all done", "please", and of course "no!".  He still makes a "ssssss" sound when he pees on the floor...today he straddled his little potty, and I thought he was going to go...nope, just "sssss" and peed on the floor next to it.  Then made the "sssss" sound again and pointed at me to wipe up.  HAHAHAHAHA!

Why write about a regular ol' weekend?  I never want to forget these beautiful and special (and long!) days.  I want to write them on my heart and someday when he wants to be anywhere but at the park with mama, I will take it out to savor the memory.  How blessed am I? Everyday, I am becoming a more patient woman and by savoring these moments, and saving them for that someday, helps me today...to be a good and patient and loving mama.  Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Nest to Rest?

Maybe for a Monster Truck...

Earlier this week, Xavi took a three hour nap...surprised yet ecstatic, I wanted to know what was Debbie's technique this time.  You see, I'm obsessed with "helping" Xavi rest better, sleep more.  So when he does sleep well, I aim to mimic it in the hopes of recreating the magic.  This time, Debbie had made him a little nest on the floor after she remembered my reports and slight bitterness at Xavi's looong naps (2-3 hour) at daycare ON A COT!!!  End of story.  That night I pulled the mattress out of his crib, washed the sheets and bedding, and re-created a little nest for my little one.  He slept well...only waking after I'd gone to bed, which is still a victory in my book. 

Our little prince, snoozing at day care...they even put him down AWAKE, pat his back/bum for a few minutes, and BOOM.  2-3 hours later, he awakes refreshed and recharged.  Sigh...
The next day, he had a good nap again but it wasn't quite as long...just over an hour.  And last night?  He woke up every hour, hour and a half until I brought him into bed with me (an exhausting process).  Even then, I had to get out of my shower to help him go back to sleep.  Today, he had a decent nap but it was just an hour and a half.  Bedtime came and he fell asleep easily.  Putting him in his cozy nest, I went out to make my dinner.  Well, he woke up not long after and seemed to be refusing to go back to sleep...45 minutes later, I recreated his nest ON the floor with blankets and got him back to sleep on his tummy.  7 minutes later, he woke up crying and frustrated...I took him to my bed so that I could EAT and at this point, drink a beer ( i know, I know). 

This is his little nest...fun to play in...
But grrrr! This is not sustainable and I'm so frustrated.  I tell him "baby needs to rest so he can play hard again tomorrow AND because mommy needs to rest...so she can be a good and patient mommy.."...but apparently we aren't in agreement.  Maybe he misses Daddy, whose been gone for work the last few days.  Maybe he doesn't need much sleep...kind of like his papa.  (of all things mama needs most to stay happy?  sleep is #1, food is #2, hugs and a clean house are tied for #3)  Maybe this is MY lesson in letting go...

and race monster trucks...but sleep?  not so much.
My sister Rachel keeps a blog as well, and the last post she wrote was on my nephew's challenge with the water and swimming...these are very different examples, but she writes
"This was one lesson I had to learn about how I am not in control."
She goes on to say:
"It's not a contest."
Well, of course not...but I've spent a lot of time assessing my potential failings in this particular challenge AND I've heard plenty of people bragging about their children's sleep habits.  So, it must be something I'm doing OR not doing, right?  I must be able to "FIX" this, right?
And we are right back at "I am not in control!"
I'm glad to know that God has a plan and is molding US (me) into the people we (I) NEED to become in order to fulfill our purpose in this life...but I don't think I can repeat the conversation I had "with" God this evening.  There was a lot of "WHY?" and "Please Help!" and "Oh LORD, I am soo tired and hungry! Couldn't you help him sleep just this once?"  That being said, I've been able to step back and let go of "MY (haha) PLANS" for the evening.  I cooked a delicious meal, sat down to eat it without multi tasking, wrote this mind opening blog entry, and have just begun to miss my little man...always a good sign. 
But seriously, look at this beautiful face...how could I be upset?
I may or may not be able to "fix" this.  I will probably continue to search for the KEY to Xavi's long and happy slumber. But I will gain in patience, which isn't just defined as "waiting without being a spaz or having childish fits".  It's also about developing an endurance I evidently do not yet have and will likely need in the days, months, years ahead.  I will keep learning to LET GO of my plans, my schedule, my my me me...  And I will keep trusting that the Lord has a plan for all of us. 
PLUS...the best thing Debbie reminds  me of?  "This too shall pass!  It's only temporary!" 
Oops, gotta go..there he is again and I have to brush my teeth still.
My beautiful happy boy...sleep? Nawww

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa!

Friday was Mario's birthday...he had a long, full day at school and arrived home to a very busy boy and a very tired mama.  I had plans all day to welcome him home to a cooked meal, special dessert, and allow him to put his feet up...but Xavi had other plans and needs.  He was busy and moving fast.  I needed a little nap to muster the energy just to put him to bed; let alone cook, clean, and be a good wife to the birthday boy.   Papa time was just what Xavi needed.  I love to watch them play rough, laugh, and holler and eventually, I did succeed in getting him to bed... and food on the table!  Woo hoo!

I think a lot about why Mario and I got married in the first place.  Yes, he is handsome.  My heart still leaps when he walks in the door and I'm always proud to be on his arm.  Yes, he is smart and a much better student than I ever was.  He is logical and thoughtful and a good listener.  We have similar interests and love to keep moving...especially in and around water.  He is strong, passionate, and a man of integrity. 

 But what I believe is our glue and will hold our family together...is that he is my soul's counterpart in the pursuit of an uncommon life, adventure, and big dreams.  I know that he will always push me to be better, he will never give up, and he will protect our family's dreams as well as our individual pursuits.  This is what I hold onto during the hard days and it gives me hope renewed.

But when I see my man with our son...I need nothing else.  I'm in love all over again. 
Happy Birthday Mario (Papa)!
Xavi and I are blessed to have you in our lives. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Renaissance Boy

Well, it looks like I have a little renaissance man on my hands...(I think that's the expression I am looking for).  Xavi loves to splash and play in the tub, smash things and growl like a boy, but he is also tender with animals, especially doggies, and he loves to read.  Not all rugged handsomeness and manly toughness in this tiny package...ladies (and mom!), watch out! 

This week Xavi started taking our angel Sasha for her morning walks down the street.  And he is serious business about it!  I've tried to "help" a few times and he's sent a loud and clear message that I am to be hands off MOM!  Sasha seems to like the attention and being able to participate in the "pack" exercise.  Her handler goes at just the right pace for her liking, too...she can sniff every blade of grass and distinguish all the different urine spots accurately now that mom isn't pulling on her to get moving. 
Xavi's phone was returned from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mark's house where we left it last...he had the hugest smile when I gave it to him and he promptly dropped both balls he was carrying around.  He called papa and texted gramma...a good sign that he'll be a son that will keep in touch?

  I mentioned that tubby time was back on...favorite new game?  filling the pitcher from the faucet and dumping it on the toys at the other end...I've tried to coax him to stay sitting, but have settled for no running in the tub...oh and when I avert my eyes for 5 precious seconds?  I return my gaze to see 5 pitchers of water dispersed on the floor...noiselessly.  Another reason to play vigilant lifeguard and not distracted mom.
 Aunt Kathy sent some fun new toys to play with...this one winds up and propels on the ground AND in the water. 
Xavi requesting that I wind it up again...

catching the boat as it motors around...

Not responding fast enough because I was trying to catch a photo...i think I see the family resemblance, hee hee...wait I don't make this face, do I? (scary)!
In the last few months, I have been reading to Xavi before bedtime. At first I was picking the book, the story, and he was a mostly willing participant. In the last month, he has become obsessed with books.  Like Mario said:  "Books are his new boob"...meaning he is very specific about when he wants to read, what he wants to read, and he wants you to sit down with him RIGHT NOW and READ.  He can be crying, even in the mode of "only mama will do", and if Mario holds him on his lap and begins to read, he stops and listens. Remarkable!  Of course I am the mama who has always LOVED to read and has always LOVED books...but I am a girl and thought this was more of a learned behavior for boys later on?  Shows you what I know...duh! 
Nothing melts our heart or makes us stop being busy faster than this little face holding a book up to you and asking you to sit with him and read.  He knows just where you should sit and where he will sit, too.  Mario even sat down with him in the tiny little kitchen to read him a story...have I mentioned that I am in love?  Of course, once I've read "Mr Brown can Moo" 5 times in a row, I do tell him to find another book for mama to read next.  I also ordered 8 new books from Amazon once I realized we were going to be re-reading over and over again...I think from now on we might start making trips to the library.  This is going to get expensive otherwise.  Donations accepted!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home (again)...New year, new fun

My favorite thing about being home is sleeping in our own bed...all together.  Even though lately it seems as if no one has been sleeping particularly well, I've been hard pressed to come up with an alternative solution..I haven't come up with anything that is better than hearing my little boy chirp awake, look for his papa, and kiss him on the mouth.  Or poke his little sweet finger in daddy's eye hole, or nose hole, or mouth.  Somehow that goes a long way in easing my brain fog and crusty eyes.  Occasionally it IS too early, and I try to convince him to go back to sleep for a bit longer.  I also keep telling myself that this is temporary...it won't be like this forever and he will sleep on his own, happily and all night...soon enough. 

Yesterday, I was out in the yard cleaning some toys and had a bucket of hot soapy water.  Xavi kept trying to dump it over, put things in it, play in the bucket...I kept him away for a little while, but then I turned my back and find him sitting IN the bucket.  Shirt, diaper, and boots ON.  I called Mario out to "help" and he just laughed.  Then I did too.  Then we took pictures.  Then I took off his clothes, refilled the bucket with clean warm water and he got back in. Wah-lah...hot tub! PS - have I mentioned that tubby time is back on?  Last week he decided that he couldn't wait to get into the tub again and has played every night since.  YAY!

Mario's birthday is coming up and I gave him an early birthday present...a remote controlled monster truck for them to play with together.  We tried it out...too cute.  Boys are boys...even at just 14 months.

The surf has been great this past week...although I haven't been out in it, I look forward to another thing that we will do again in the near future - spend more time at the beach and ME in the water, on the waves again. Right now, those occasions are rare but I know that this too is temporary and soon enough, we will all be on the water together.  So much to look forward to!  In the meantime, I can still scout the swell from my vacant lot on the bluff, live through Mario's sessions, and remember fondly my favorite sessions b.M.  (before Meep).  And everyday, I tell Xavi all about it, while holding him tight...knowing that someday he will be pushing me away.  Sigh...enjoying this moment, this stage.  In the end, it's all worthwhile. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

December 2011 catch up - Merry Christmas!

Two weeks after we got back from a difficult trip to Wisconsin, we headed back for one more week of work, the office Christmas party, and the holidays with family. 

Here we go again...

We always forget to take photos together...so we finally have a nice family one and one of the two of us. 

This is Angela...people are always mistaking us for each other...we had to take a photo to see.  Well?
We were hoping for a white Christmas and although we got a dusting the day we arrived, it was a green/brown holiday.  But there was enough to take out the Flexible Flyer...getting dressed was the majority of the battle.

This child HATES getting dressed, so to add the requisite winter layers?...NIGHTMARE!

A little "chichi" makes everything better

The good news for me/us?  Mario would join us after he attended a friend's wedding reception in Portland.  I know he missed some good surfing days being in Wisconsin, but I loved having him there with us and I know Xavi did too. Mornings he spent at VitaKids and after his nap, he got to play with Papa.  I loved coming home to my boys...who were both happy to see me, and that always feels good.

Naked boy on a mission...take dirt out of Gramma's plants and put in this canister...without mom seeing.  I vaccuumed 3-4 times but was unsuccessful in distracting him from this intiguing task.

The Regers and Gramma Mimi joined us and for Christmas eve, Mario treated us all to delicious tamales and pasole.  He had some help in the kitchen preparing the goodies and we all ate a ton.  Mario was careful to ask about spices and if everyone could handle the ingredients.  We all love hot, flavorful, spicy foods and loved every bite.  At around 3 am, every non-Hispanic person  in the house had to very quickly find a toilet as the meal was apparently time released to cause simulatenous diarrhea. I thought it was just me and the person that was in the downstairs toilet at the very moment that I was sprinting for it...and my dad, who asked if I was having "movement" while I used their bathroom.  Ugh, how embarrassing.  Anyway, once we figured out it was everyone but Mario...we laughed and I even had more later that day...without incident.   

The kids couldn't wait to open presents so I guess Rachel fixed it so "Santa" would come on Christmas eve in the afternoon instead.  Too fun...mom asked what to put in Xavi's stocking...paper?  balls?  He was a bit oblivious to it all and he got another fever after we went for a brisk walk.  I broke down and gave him some medicine to lower his temperature, at least so he could enjoy some cousin play time.  The visits are always way too short and suddenly, it was time to say good bye. 
Gabby and Xavi looking at the tree lights

Uncle Rog taking a turn...he says he's the master of getting kids to sleep...to be continued..

Gabby and Xavi waiting for Grampa's pancakes

Gramma Mimi saying good bye...

Rachie, Xavi, and I... too short, as always

Gramma's favorite thing...surrounded by grandkids
  We got in the car ourselves and headed up to Appleton and Uncle Mark's house.  He gave us the Christmas day tickets for the Bears/Packers AND babysat for Xavi while we went.  It was a blast and not cold at all...we did have 8,000 layers on and got really lucky with the weather...but it was surely a once in a lifetime experience.  Thanks Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy...we owe you! 
Bundled up...ready for battle at Lambeau Field

optimistic Bears fan

only at Lambeau

not as optimistic..."son of a ..."

Good sport...fun times!
We headed home a few days later and there is a reason it's called "home sweet home".  It was warm, sunny, and well, home. 

My handsome happy traveling boy...on our way home

picking up chics in his "ride" at DFW
Sasha was very happy to see us...she had a few scary days when we first left.  It seems as if she's gotten "old" all of a sudden, and it hurts my heart to think that she won't be around forever.  But we've had some good talks...and she knows how much I love her.  We're starting out 12th year together, and boy, have we been through some stuff.  She's seen it all and has seen me through it all.  Thanks for hanging on Sasha, my angel.