Monday, May 20, 2013

FIVE.....

Dear Ben,

Five years ago today I was in a hospital room feeling terrified.  Terrified of labor and terrified because I had no idea how to be a mother.  Five years ago today I met you and held you for the very first time.  Five years ago today you took my heart and I fell in love with you in a way I have never known before. 

In the last five years you have taught me so much.  You taught me about pure love, complete joy, patience and understanding.  You taught me that I have magical powers - the power to make you feel better when you are sick, the power to make boo boos feel better, the power to have all the answers (here's a secret sometimes I have to look up the answers - mommy really does not know everything).

Five years ago I did not know that time can fly and that years really feel like months and months feel like days and days feel like seconds.  Five years ago I did not know how truly magical life as a mother can be.  Five years ago I did not know that one day I would have to start to let you go into the world and discover who you are.

You have grown so much and I am so proud of the little boy you have become.  You are kind, thoughtful, sensitive, incredibly funny, and so very sweet.  You are smart, stubborn and determined.  Managing your social life is similar to managing the press meetings for a formal presidential candidate - lucky for you mommy has experience in that from her former life.  Cooking your very specific meals may require a culinary degree but lucky for you mommy has learned to follow recipes and get incredibly creative sneaking certain foods into your meals.  Playing with you, showing you the world and seeing it through your eyes is the greatest gift anyone can have.

Five years ago I could not picture what life would be like with a five year old.  Today I cannot picture life without you.  I can close my eyes a dream about what you will be like at 10, 15, 20, 25, 55, 105.... Five years ago I did not understand what it would mean to feel so proud of someone - today I am proud of you every single day. 

Five years ago I did not know that my heart would be so full with love. You are my sunshine - you are my everything.  Happy Birthday my sweet baby boy - I love you so much!!!







Love,
Mommy

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Friday, September 14, 2012

First Day of School......

After a night of tossing and turning and preparing for the worst case scenario we woke up this morning put on our happy face and drove our son to school. There were tears, there was laughter and then more tears. Somehow I managed to walk away and leave my baby in the care of strangers while he looked at me through tears and tried to force a smile. I smiled back but inside my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

As I walked away from Ben's classroom this morning I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I physically ached with worry. We waited in the parking lot partly because we wanted to make sure he was ok and partly because we did not really know what to do with ourselves. Within minutes the director of the school came out to tell us that Ben cried for five minutes and was now happily playing.

Relief defined as the easing of a burden or distress - does not begin to describe what I felt. I was overjoyed. Overjoyed knowing that my baby stopped crying. But what the dictionary does not tell you is that with relief comes sadness, confusion and joy. Sadness because the realization that Ben would be in school from now on set in and the carefree days of the last four years have abruptly ended. Sadness because somehow time has flown by and I don't know where it all went. And finally joy - joy because somehow we did this parenting thing right - we managed to raise a confident, independent four year old who has conquered his fear and stopped crying.

Once we got over the shock of relief we had to decide what to do with ourselves for the next three hours. While three hours may not seem like a long time at 9:15 this morning it felt like an eternity. We decided to meet up with a friend and get a coffee that took less than an hour. The whole time we were in the coffee shop I kept looking around at the moms with their infants and wanted so much to tell them to slow down and inhale every precious moment because before they know it their infant will be off to school and they will never have this time back. I wanted to tell them that it's true what everyone says time goes by in a flash - but I didn't say a word.

John and I decided to go home. Once we were home you could not deny the silence of our house. We have never been home alone without Ben for more than an hour or so. The silence was deafening and the house seemed strangely empty. I felt like I was missing a limb. There was no one hanging on me, no one saying mommy, no noise whatsoever. We looked at baby pictures and laughed about the many funny things Ben does and then we rediscovered how to be a couple again. It was nice - really nice - for about an hour and 15 minutes after which John started pacing and looking at his watch saying that he was ready to pick up his son.

With about a half an hour left we decided to get to school early to pick him up. We sat outside and waited for the doors to open and see our baby boy. And there he was walking outside with his class smiling from ear to ear running into our arms. "I had the best day at school mommy and daddy - I played, had fun and my favorite part was art and recess". And just like that we got out of our couple mode and held on tight to our baby and we were once again a family. A family with a son in school. And just like that we started to let go - except this time we weren't scared - this time we were so very proud! 


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Twas the night before Pre-School....

Twas the night before pre-school and all through the house - the baby was sleeping quite as a mouse. Daddy was working and mommy could not sleep because tomorrow morning we were all taking a HUGE leap. The leap to the first day of the rest of our lives. A day when Ben would start school and make strives.

It's finally here the day we have been looking forward to and dreading and looking forward to again. Tomorrow is the first day of pre-school and I am a wreck. Our experience last year was awful but this year feels so different. Last year we had options. We knew that if it did not work out we could hold off a year. This year he is four and this is it. There is no more holding off, no more holding on it is time to let go. Bu I don't want to - I am not ready. When I look at my son this is what I see:



An adorable baby with incredibly smart eyes waiting to see the world. An image of pure perfection. I have spent the last four years with this kid every single day. We have never left him for more than a few hours at a time. The thought of having him somewhere with strangers for three hours a day where I will not know what he is doing is terrifying.

And then there is Ben.... he is smart, sensitive, kind and totally scared of the unknown. He has never been in a day care setting and has absolutely no idea what to expect. I have spent this entire Summer pretending to be excited over him going to school. I have read him book after book about little boys, little racoons, and little bunnies and bears heading off to their first school adventure. I have tried to do everything possible to get him excited about this. 

In reality I am worried and nervous. Worried that he will fall and I won't be there to help him. Nervous that he will not stop crying once I leave. Scared that I will not be strong enough to leave him there day after day if he cries. But in my heart of hearts I know that he is four. I know that he is a great kid with an amazing sense of humor and a love of learning. I know that once we get passed the first week it will be ok. I know that in reality he really looks like this:

 
And I know I have to let go just a little........

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A year in review

It is sad and hard to believe that it has been over a year since my last post. Sad because there is so much that has happened in Ben's life that I want to remember and hard to believe because while so much has changed we seem to be in exactly the same place as we were a year ago when it comes to pre-school. Despite our hopes for the best our time at the Mother of all Montessori schools was very short lived last Fall (3 days to be exact). It was a disaster as far as first school experiences go. Ben hated it - I hated it - and we both hated the teachers and the school. The moral of that story is that "we" were simply not ready. Ben was not ready to be away from home. I was not ready to have him away from home and I was not ready to let him cry for a week or however long it may have been to "adjust". We made the best of it and filled our time with day trips and activities and I adjusted to working part time and being a mom and it is hard!!! We learned to poop and pee on the potty and slowly graduated to the toilet - Ben not me I had mastered this years ago. We re-evaluated our priorities and decided to take the plunge and move to the suburbs where schools are great, the grass is greener and the stars shine brighter and I have to say it has been fairly easy transition - but that is a separate post. So here we are again attempting to make our transition into pre-school again. This time choosing the right school was fairly easy - everything is easier in the burbs. We picked the school closest to our house that was recommended by our new neighbor who's daughter loves it - easy! And now we wait - wait for these last two weeks of Summer to pass so that we can start this new chapter in our lives. A chapter where I will not see my son for 3 hours a day for 5 days. A chapter where I will for the first time in four years be in the house alone for 3 hours a day. This time there is no trial period. This time I have to let him cry and stick it out. This time I cannot give in. This time he is a whole year older and I am whole year wiser. This time we will make it. This time we are ready!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twas the night before first day of camp and MAMA is freaking OUT!

A couple of months ago we entered a raffle at an event at Ben's school and surprise surprise we won. Our prize was a free week of Summer camp. Now please understand that we had absolutely no intention of sending Ben to camp but it was a free week and given the obscene price of tuition we were not going to turn down anything free this place is willing to offer us. Besides I told myself it would be great preparation for the first day of school - you know preparation for separation anxiety (mine not his).

So here we are the night before camp and I am absolutely a mess. Hubby is away on a business trip and I am trying my hardest to do my happy camp dance for Ben - all the while I am trying to hold back the tears. Tell me somebody how the hell did this possibly happen so fast? Where did these last three years go? And how do these camp people possibly think he will be okay without me - are they nuts??

Let me back up - when we won this prize I spoke to the camp person and told him that since Ben would only be attending for a week I would clear my schedule and attend with him - no sense to make the transition when we would have to do it all over again in the Fall. Seems logical to me - anyway camp person called this weekend to let me know that I would not be able to stay with Ben the entire time because the other kids may want their mommies too! Hmmmm interesting twist - camp person did inform me that they have a "special" room for "special" parents who do not want to leave their kids where parents can stay in the building and have coffee and bagels. Okay so he is trying to calm me down with caffeine and carbs two of my favorite things but still seriously I am supposed leave him - alone - in a room without me - WHAT?!?!? In the interest of full disclosure Ben has been running around the house all night packing his back pack screaming "I am so excited about camp" all night - so this freak out is really mine and mine alone.

I would like to know where in the attachment parenting handbook is the chapter that explains how one is supposed to separate from their baby. You know the part where you are supposed to function independently of your child for 4 whole hours - where is that section? Because somehow I am supposed to do something tomorrow that I have never done before - leave my son in the care of someone I do not know with a bunch of other kids and happily go to the next room and drink coffee and eat bagels and be completely okay with this.

The truth is my heart will break as my little boy, this perfect human that John and I have created goes into his little camp room - but my heart will also at the very same time be filled with immense pride and happiness. And that's what this whole parenting thing is - a freakin emotional roller coaster of fear, love, joy and freak outs. As much as I want to keep him with me forever I want to see him go out into the world and be the happiest kid he can be and that is what tomorrow is all about.

Happy first day of camp Ben - mommy will try very hard to keep it together!


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Working while living with a 3 year old

Dear Ben,
One day when you are reading these stories about our life you may notice that mommy's blog posts have become much more scarce - well the reason for that dear son is not because our life has become dull quite the contrary - life with a 3 year old is so much fun - but because mommy has been working on her business more and mommy is not so good at multi tasking - I hope you do not inherit this trait.

While the guilt is getting to me I must tell you son that it is only two days a week and you have a great time with the nanny and if it ever becomes more than two days a week I promise that daddy will tweak his schedule so that you will always have one of us. I also promise that you will always come first and I will do everything in my power so that my schedule is always such that I am here for you - because nothing is more important than you my love.

Life with you since you have turned 3 has been ridiculously fun. You have found your ability to use logic and let me tell you my friend you are very good at it. You have reasoned that you will stay in diapers until you are ready to get rid of them and you promised to let me know when that it it -and true to your word you have been trying but that's a story all of its own. You sense of humor has really started to shine through - you are constantly "getting" me and daddy and you make us laugh at least 3 times a day.

You now fully understand things - which brings me back to the guilt of working. Oh you understand that sometimes mommy has to work and when I walk out of the house all dressed up for a meeting you are the first to give me a kiss and tell me that I look beautiful but you also tell me that you will miss me and to hurry back. You and I have a lot of growing to do in the next couple of months - you are about to start pre-school and mommy is about to work 5 days a week (1/2 days buddy will always come get you from school) and somehow we are going to have to get used to the idea of not being together for half the day every day. I hope that this will be harder on me than on you. But for now we don't have to worry about any of that - for now we will cherish this Summer because it is the last Summer of just "us" before the working and the school stuff gets in the way. So let's go out and play:)



Love,
Mommy


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Ben.........(last day of being 2)

Today marks the last day of Ben being 2 years old - tomorrow he will be 3 officially a big boy, a pre-schooler, an actual kid - not an infant, baby or toddler but kid - so I have decided to start a tradition - to write a letter to my son every year on the day before his birthday and since I am the author of this blog I can pretty much do whatever I want so there you have - new tradition - official!

Dear Ben,
It is so hard for me to believe that today is your last day or being two. This year flew by in a blink - it really seems that it was yesterday that you were in my belly kicking me and squeezing my bladder with your cute little hands making me run to the bathroom every 2 seconds. And then one day shy or three years ago the most amazing thing happened - you were born. I remember your first cry, the first time I held you and and how incredibly you smelled. I remember holding you in the hospital and saying "happy birthday" to you - it's so hard to believe that tomorrow your daddy and I will be saying happy birthday to you for the fourth time.

I look at you and am constantly in awe of what an incredible person you are - you are kind, sensitive, caring, so very smart and you have developed one hell of a sense of humor - kid you are hilarious! You also happen to have the world's best temperament - last year they all started warning me about the terrible twos - well they were all so wrong - you have never thrown a temper tantrum and you have never done any of the other really annoying things I see other 2 year olds do. You are willful but not defiant, you are stubborn but you can be reasoned with, you love instant gratification but you have learned patience - you are the greatest person I have ever known.

This year was HUGE - your vocabulary grew - as a matter of fact you sound more like a 5 year old than a 2 year old, we went through a very LONG process finding the perfect school for you for the Fall and you had a lot of input in our decision, you learned so many new things. And I have come to accept that you really do like the finer things in life like 5 star hotels, crab and kobe beef but why shouldn't you - you deserve the best. You are a mischievous little guy - always pulling pranks and finding ways to surprise me when I least expect it and always making me laugh.

Being your mother has been so easy and so wonderful because you are so very easy to love. I am so blessed to have you for a son. I love you more than I can ever say and I cannot wait to see what life is like with a 3 year old. Now of course all the same people who told me about the terrible twos are starting in saying that 3 is worst than two - and I say bring it on - because every minute of every day that I spend with you is nothing short of pure joy and because you are the greatest little boy in the world.

Mommy is so proud of you and cannot wait to see what's ahead for us. Happy Birthday dear sweet baby.

All my love,
Mama

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First F Bomb

Well it's happened - just a few weeks shy of his 3rd birthday my baby - my sweet little angel dropped his first F bomb. Now as with most things parenting related it was one of those moments where I was torn between two emotions - laughing hysterically or extreme worry that my child would be the potty mouth in pre-school next year - so I well laughed I had to it was so funny.

So there we were the three of having dinner like we do every night. John and I were talking about something - Ben was sitting at the head of the table holding his bread and attempting to spread butter on it (yes we let him use a butter knife - he has impressive hand eye coordination - very advanced for his age) and then we heard it. While spreading his butter a piece of it fell on Ben's shirt and he exclaims very loudly "F@@king Butter!" There was such anger in his tone and it was very clear that he meant it and then he said it a second time "F@@king Butter!"

So what's a parent to do?!?! Well I don't know what others do but I had to laugh - I couldn't help it - it was FUNNY!!! I also knew that if Ben saw me laugh then he would think that "F@@king" was the new funny and would say it over and over again...so I did what any logical person would do I walked over to the fridge pretended to get something and berried my head in the milk container and laughed (really really hard).

Once I was able to control myself (it took a little while) we had a very serious discussion about the "F@@king butter". John who did not think this was nearly as funny as I did wanted to know where Ben heard that word - I was the number one suspect but we decided to blame the tv. In fairness to me - I must admit that I have made a conscious effort to clean up the potty talk since becoming a mom but truth be told I have been known to slip but it was still the tv.

We calmly explained to Ben that this was not a nice word and although he did use it in the right context he should not say it. Ben wanted to know "why?" we told him it was a bad word and kids shouldn't use it - this did not seem to be an adequate explanation so we distracted him with a cookie - thank god that still works. I think the key here was to not make a big deal about it and hope that he does not say it again. But if I end up getting called into the headmaster's office next year because my baby said "F@@king butter" at lunch then so be it - it's pretty f@@king funny!


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Accepted!!!!!

We did it!! We got accepted into the mother of all Montessori schools - our first choice. The long, tedious and at times hilarious process was all worth it. Our baby boy got into the school of our choice - somehow we just knew from the first visit that this was the right place for him and we have been patiently (not really) waiting for then to send us their decision. While we were convinced that this was a great fit there was always the reality that there just may not be space (100 applicants for 3 spots) - very slim odds. But we beat the odds and we are officially going to pre-school in the Fall.

We were spending the afternoon packing for our annual family vacation when out of nowhere John walked into the room holding a LARGE envelope with a huge smile on his face. The man was beaming with pride and then he just looked at me and said "we got in". My reaction was typical for me - I grabbed the envelope from his hand read the letter (well really just the first paragraph which starts with 'Congratulations and welcome') and proceeded to jump up and down.

I felt such pride and such joy - I am so proud of my baby boy he just continues to amaze me every single day. And while I know that come September this is not going to be an easy transition I am thrilled that he will be going to the best pre-school in our area and getting an incredible education.

I realize that to some I sound like a total loon. I am jumping up and down at a pre-school acceptance letter but this is a big deal. It is Ben's first educational experience and I think it is so important that it's a positive experience. If he is going to be going to school I want it to be a place where he will thrive and this school is definitely that place. And yes I know that it's pre-school and not college but it is the first step towards college - our first step.

I now know the pride my parents must have felt when I was accepted to college and then graduate school. As a parent the accomplishment feels like it's ours too - our genes, our nurturing, our teaching all those things have shaped my son into a smart, caring and happy boy. John and I were so scared to mess this parenting thing up - we realized we were given perfection and tried really hard not to screw it up and guess what people we are actually doing it right. Hard to believe I am the proud parent of a pre-schooler but it's true.

So now the fun begins - planning for the first day, first school play, first parent teacher conference and oh god do I even dare say it the first time Ben and I will be separated for more than 3 hours.............we'll be okay - I hope.

This is a shot of John walking Ben to his interview at the school - there will be many more walks like this in our future.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Pre-School Interviews Complete -now we wait

We have been busy the last couple of months. We have completed our round of interviews to the two pre-schools we selected out of the 12 we looked at. My amazing, brilliant, incredible son did better than I could have ever dreamed at both interviews. I am so proud of him but this next step is going to be so very hard.

The Montessori interview process is what I expected it to be - the child is expected to choose toys from a shelf play with them, demonstrate that he has an attention span higher than a gnat, clean up after himself and then put the toy back and choose another. The parent is expected to demonstrate some sort of understanding of the Montessori principles, show that they too have an attention span higher than a gnat, and that they understand the value of an education.

I think that all three of us nailed both interviews. Ben is much more advanced than the average 2 1/2 year old, he is more verbal, he is smarter and let's be honest way cuter than any other child I have ever seen. And John and I are well awesome!!! Who wouldn't want us as part of there school?!?! I will admit that with all our preparation, all our research, our many discussions about pre-school both with Ben and with each other I was completely unprepared for what I saw.

Ben did everything he was supposed to and beyond - he chose his toys from the shelf, he played with them for a significant amount of time and he impressed both us and the interview lady by showing off his skills and naming shapes we did not know he knew and counting higher than we thought he could (I credit these secret learning skills to Diego and Caillou - yes I believe in letting your child watch tv). But what amazed me most of all - what I was so completely unprepared for was how independent my son really is. He LOVES school - did not want to leave either interview -asked if he could stay longer and go back the next day. He played independently and followed instructions and never looked back at me or John not once.

And at every interview my heart broke into a million pieces. Now I know that this is a good thing - it's good that he LOVES school, it's good that he is comfortable with other adults and it's great that he wants to learn. But what I was forced to realize was that my baby, my little tiny baby is now a pre-schooler. It means that somehow we did this parenting thing right, it means that he is a well adjusted kid, it means that he is growing up. Everyone told us to enjoy the baby time it flies by - but you never really know what that means until you wake up one day 27 months after giving birth to this perfect creature realize that you are no longer the parent of a baby you now have an actual kid. You never realize that those months which seemed so long while they were happening actually went by in seconds.

I find myself so incredibly grateful that I have been home with Ben to experience every moment but I wish I savored it more because it all just passes so very fast. So now here we are - the proud parents of a pre-schooler and now we wait for the letters to arrive to see which one of these schools is going to be lucky enough to be in the presence of the greatness that is Ben.....



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