Monday, March 24, 2014
Some of my friends and family know that when the boys were little, we used Elimination Communication (EC). They wore diapers, too, because we weren't that hard core, but they have both used the bathroom since infancy. People always laugh or roll their eyes about "infant potty training" but the thing is, it's not training, it's just noticing.
When M was about 2 months old, he would sometimes seem to cry for no reason. Eventually, after checking everything else off the list (not hungry, not sleepy, not wet...), I took off his clothes to make sure he wasn't being poked by anything or bitten by an ant or something. And as soon as I unstrapped his diaper, he let loose. And then he stopped crying. It didn't take a genius to figure it out. He had to go and didn't want to be stuck in a wet diaper. I just knew. And I was right. It's not like they never had wet diapers, but it became another part of taking care of them and making sure they were comfortable.
That wasn't the only time I "just knew".
When I stepped off the plane for my first three-week visit to Thailand, I knew I'd live here. It wasn't that I really, really wished I could, or that I wanted to (yet). I knew. It was a settled thing.
I knew M would be a thrill-seeker when he started rolling off my chest when I would lie back and lay him there to rest at just five weeks old. I was definitely right on that one.
I knew I was pregnant (both times) before I tested. And I knew I was having two little boys. Again, it wasn't a hunch or a hope, although I was thrilled and had always wanted two sons. I knew.
I paid a dollar to put my name in for the half court shot 50/50 raffle at a high school basketball game in sixth grade and knew they'd draw my name. They did. That wasn't the only time I'd ever put my name into a raffle... But that time I knew I would be chosen.
I knew there was something we could do about this, though I didn't know what it would be, at first.
And I knew I would love blogging and the community I would build here!
That's 10 things I just knew for this week's listicle!
Friday, March 21, 2014
Our swimsuits were all packed away and we had still hours left in our drive, but we decided to stop anyway.
We were on our way back to the city, away from the fresh air and the sea, and we knew the boys hadn't gotten enough of either of them. It's not as easy as I had hoped to sneak away to the beach when you're in town for a funeral.
One look at that neatly strapped, rainproof-tarped luggage rack and I knew we weren't getting their suits out.
I thought we could just let them play on the sand for a while, make sandcastles, maybe just hike up their shorts, but I was kidding myself. You can't just dip your toes in. It's the ocean!
The obvious answer would be to strip them down to their undies and let them loose, but I was hesitant. Ever since L started having seizures, I've been militant about having spare clothes for him whenever we go out in public. I never, ever want him to be humiliated, stuck in wet clothes because there was nothing to change into. A toddler wouldn't have cared much, true, but I didn't want to start habits of complacency on my part that could hurt him later on.
Likewise, though we've had to rely on his brother's shorts a few times in a pinch, it was always M who ended up in just boxers, not L. An older brother's noble sacrifice was easier for mom to stomach than poor, defenseless L without any proper clothes on.
I know preschoolers probably run around in public wearing underpants everyday, in every city of the world. But for me, in our situation, it has always represented letting him down.
In the end, we did it. I wasn't going to let my own hangup keep them from enjoying a morning in the sun. M ran off without a second thought, but L lingered, worried. "What will people say when they see my underwear?" he whispered. "They'll say 'What a lucky little boy, to swim in his underwear!'" I assured him. And off he went.
And that was it, just a completely uneventful day at the beach for two little boys swimming in their underwear. Until we stopped for lunch.
We ordered crab omlettes and washed the sand off with bottled water. We put their dry clothes back on and sat watching the gentle waves. A man in a tiny, white speedo and his wife came walking up the beach toward the restaurant. And just as they passed our table, L exclaimed:
All together now...
"What a lucky old man, to swim in his underwear!"
Thursday, March 20, 2014
The magic of a child learning to read is no less inspiring the second time around.
Today it finally clicked and M started reading Thai with fluency. I'm so proud of his effort. He stayed focused and wouldn't quit until he had read the whole thing. The book he chose? "A Walk With Papa". So appropriate for what this step will mean to their relationship.
Not-to-be-overlooked nugget of irony: school was cancelled today because of toxic smoke from a nearby landfill fire. Hmm...
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
I saw something online a while ago saying if you write letters to Disney characters, they'll send you postcards back in the mail. Cute, right? I filed the idea away for a rainy day, and finally brought it up this week.
I figured the boys would eat it up. At least, I loved getting mail as a kid (and still do!) I'm tempted to write Mickey myself!
Lennon decided to make a card for Lightning McQueen. I'm not sure he cared about the letter- I think he was just happy for a chance to talk about Cars without everyone suddenly remembering they had something else to do. Some of us have reached our saturation point on that particular topic.
M was supremely uninterested. "They aren't real, Mom." L reasoned that it's just for fun, but not even the prospect of a postcard of his very own in the mailbox could convince him.
He wanted to write a letter, just not to a Disney character. He settled on the editors of National Geographic. So nerdy. So awesome.
His letter read as follows:
Dear NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC,
I love NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. I'm M. I'm five years old. I read "The Truth About Black Holes." The sandboarding part was best. Will you write me back?
Love, M. J.
Please, oh please. May that letter reach a mom who will take 10 minutes to make a kid's day!
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
"Why do I have to be like this?"
He was crying, with his head in my lap. Whim had bought some innocent-looking berry-flavored "Rice-Os" cereal the day before from the health section. They were not ok, but we figured it out the hard way. We were in the middle of a long, rough day.
I stroked his hair, buying time. I knew where this was going, but what else could I say. "Like what?"
"Why did God make me to have reactions when I eat additives, but other kids don't?"
I don't hate that his diet can be hard. It's worth it.
I don't hate the reactions, even though they're unpleasant. We weather them.
I hate that he sees it as something wrong with himself rather than something wrong with the food industry.
Kids like M are canaries in coal mines. His reactions are a magnification of what crummy food does to all of us.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
It's no mystery how M turned out to be such a talker. He comes by it honestly. Whim's family all have the gift of gab, with Whim's mom and Whim himself coming in tied at the top of the list.
Now I love to talk, too. I just don't stand a chance in this crowd. It took me a few years to learn how to even elbow my way into the conversations when they're all together. Whim's dad, though, is more like me. Every time it's time to go somewhere as a family, it's impossible to ever get going.
Whim's dad always ends up "warming up the car" for an hour while everyone else talks about how we need to get going.
Whim's father passed away on Thursday.
His family is so strong. They are all remembering him joyfully and celebrating his life, rather than just mourning his passing. Our faith comforts us that the separation of death is only temporary, and that we'll be together again.
M is dealing with it in his typical fashion. No tears, but lots of questions.
The funeral service yesterday was such a clear snapshot of how he has grown and matured this year. I wish I had a picture of him sitting with his books for the whole afternoon while we waited for the evening service. Or one of the way his chest swelled with pride whenever anyone commented about well-behaved he has become. He lives for encouraging words.
L is devastated. Partly because he misses his grandpa, but mostly that Pupu went to heaven without him. I've never known anyone, young or old, who longs for heaven the way L does. I try not to think too hard about that one...
The outpouring of love from our community has been so heartwarming. There are so many people reaching out to show love and offer condolences that it's overwhelming.
And though we all miss him, there's something familiar about it. While everyone was talking last night after the first service, it was like he'd just gone to warm up the car.