Monday, June 22, 2015

thinking things through

This post isn't about the kids, or our family- it is about me. A week ago I received terrible news- a client who I had seen 5 days prior was dead. He had died Friday- less than 48 hours after he was in my office. My first thought was that it was suicide, but his brother, who delivered the news, said that he didn't think it was. They were doing an autopsy but didn't have the results.  I haven't heard anything more.  The funeral was Saturday (I found the obituary online; it didn't say anything about cause of death) and we were out of town, so I didn't go.

I don't know if I should contact his brother to ask about the cause of death or just assume that since I haven't heard, I don't need to know.  I have a fear that I will get to work to find some kind of subpoena or something suing me because it was suicide.  I worry his family will blame me because I blame myself.  If he was suicidal that day, how did I not know? How did I not stop him from walking out the door?  How did I not assure him of the fact that there were better days ahead?  I don't even know for sure if it was suicide, but I feel somehow responsible in his passing. He was sad when I saw him last, but many people are sad in my office.

I am also struggling with the fact that he is gone. Just gone. In the middle of a life that had so much potential.  He was someone I had worked with for over 2 years, and while I always felt that he was keeping a wall up to protect himself, I knew him well. I enjoyed our work together, and he seemed to be doing well, and looking toward the future. Did I read everything wrong?

Last week, during his scheduled appointment time, I kept waiting for him to come, even though I knew, rationally, that he would not. I even scheduled another client for that time but found myself with my attention divided; waiting to hear the front door of the office open, a knock at my door.  Of course he never came; instead, I found his obituary posted online immediately after that appointment.  How can it be?

As a result, I am having a hard time feeling enthusiastic about my work. I feel like I am a fraud who isn't actually helping anyone and I should just close up shop and move on. I hope that this isn't the truth, but I can feel myself getting anxious and dreading my work. I feel a reluctance to be there and an eagerness to be anywhere else, which I tried actively to work against last week, but nags me constantly outside of sessions.  I think, if only my clients knew how useless I am.  How can I take their money and give nothing in return?

My supervisor, who is no longer legally required to supervise me but still acts as my supervisor and mentor, said she thinks I am the best therapist in our practice. Part of what she considers good about me, and what I am fighting with right now, is that I care deeply for my clients.  They are important to me, what happens to them is important to me, how they feel is important to me.  I valued my client, and his life, and all that he had to offer the world with his intelligence and humor.  I feel his death as a personal loss, because although we weren't friends, he mattered to me.

So I sit with this, as I have for the past week. I no longer have the weight on my chest that I had for the first 24 hours, and enjoying my family over the weekend helped remind me that I am here, and life truly is good, and beautiful, and full of love.  But work looms tomorrow, and I am afraid to go.  For the first time in 4 1/2 years, I said I want to quit. Not because I think there is something better out there, but simply because I think I shouldn't do it anymore, because I'm not good at it like I thought I was, because what if everyone who comes to me ends this way?  Crazy and catastrophic, I know, but that is where my thoughts go.  I am hoping that the acute pain will fade with time, and that I can immerse myself in the wonderful aspects of my job and my work, but I can't feel them right now.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Weekend in our Paradise

We escaped (the whole family) for a long weekend on Cape Cod. We leave tomorrow- we'd hoped for a beautiful day where we could play all morning and drive home at night, but it looks like rain all day, so we're planning to leave earlier.

We all love it here. Asher cries every time we talk about leaving. My emotions are complicated when I'm here; I feel happiness at being in a place that brings me such pleasure and contains such warm, wonderful memories. I also feel some sadness when I think about my grandparents; knowing that they selected the items in the house, remembering how they used them, remembering how they used to be when they were independent and vibrant. It is amazing to me to be here with my own family when I first started coming here as a self-conscious teenager. I don't know if I could have envisioned what the future held if I had even tried!  I feel a great sense of nostalgia here, too, since there are so many things that remain unchanged over the past 20 years.

We arrived here on Thursday afternoon after a rocky start (Asher was throwing up!), and made a quick trip to the beach, although it was too cold to swim. I ran to the beach to get some exercise, and Eric drove with the kids.
Trying to keep warm! 
Footprints in the sand
 We came back to the house and I cooked dinner for everyone, which we ate out on the deck (Asher's favorite place in the house). Then we rushed out for ice cream, of course!
 Friday was predicted to be rainy and cloudy all day, but after pouring rain at about 8:30, the skies cleared and we had a beautiful, warm day.  I packed our lunch and we went to our favorite pond, Great Pond. The kids played for hours, just entertaining themselves and enjoying the water.
Charlotte is "swimming"
 After we got home, the kids all took excellent naps. I ran around town running my mom's errands since she is in Paris, and then went to the rail trail for a run.  There was much debate over what we would have for dinner and where we would have it, and we ended up making a stop at one restaurant for mac & cheese to go, and another restaurant for seafood for the grown-ups.  I had a lobster roll, and Eric had a clam roll, and we shared a clam chowder.  Then soft serve for dessert- we were really cramming in all the favorites!

The view of the bay from the pier after dinner
My girl and me. Benjamin is hiding behind my legs.
 Today we woke to bright sunshine. We decided to go out for breakfast since tomorrow is Father's Day and we don't want to be in a restaurant!  We went to the Wicked Oyster, our favorite pancake place.  The boys were great; Charlotte's behavior left a lot to be desired.
He needed to sit on my lap before I had finished my meal
Then into our bathing suits and off to Long Pond.  We had the place to ourselves.  It was a little chilly because of the breeze, but it didn't seem to bother the kids. I have discovered that somehow, over the years, I have turned into a totally boring wimp of a person.  In my youth, nothing stopped me from getting into the water and swimming out and back, or splashing around for hours. Now I dip my toes in and think, "Eh. Too cold." I told Eric, I am so boring, I don't even want to get sandy and dirty with the kids. How did this happen?  I am hoping the kids haven't realized yet how un-fun I am, but it is probably only a matter of time.
The kids are playing and I am watching from the comfort of my chair
 The kids took great naps again in the afternoon, and then I cooked dinner at home.  We were going to go out for dessert, but instead went to walk on the beach and look for pebbles.
Two big guys
We did a pretty good job of cramming everything wonderful about Wellfleet into just over 2 days.  We balanced rest and relaxation with fun and exploration; eating at home with eating at our favorite restaurants.  We're lucky to have this piece of paradise at our disposal, and to get away from the craziness of our day-to-day lives. There will be tears when we leave tomorrow, but I am glad we took this chance to visit- the week at the end of the summer never feels like enough.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Asher: 5 years old

On the monkey bars, which he long ago mastered
 A very long overdue 5 year-old post for my Bear (Asher says he wants his REAL name to be Asher Bear; I'm giving it some time before I go change his birth certificate).
On the Ferris wheel with mommy
Asher is affectionate, loving, sensitive, and empathic. He is also bossy, competitive, and sometimes sneaky.  Fortunately we see more of the kind, sensitive Asher and less of the bossy and sneaky one. Asher is my snuggle bug- the other morning we spent several minutes just snuggled up together on the floor because we hadn't seen enough of each other during the week.  He has always had a way of fitting in my lap perfectly, no matter his size.  He loves to be held and kissed, and I love it- and greatly fear the day he thinks he is too old for it.  He is adventurous and interested, and sometimes shy.  He is athletic and strong, but doesn't want to play if he isn't going to win.

He loves to be helpful and feel like he is involved.  It gives him great pleasure to be a special helper both at school and at home.  He will help set the table, empty the dishwasher, and carry plates to the kitchen.  He always gets himself dressed in the morning right after breakfast (we eat breakfast in our pj's in case we spill food, which we often do!) and at night will brush his teeth and wash face and hands all by himself with no prompting.
Heading up the "ant annihilation" team
With his medal after running his 1/4 mile race
He is very curious; always wanting to know what I said, or about whom I am talking.  What's for dinner, what are we doing tomorrow, where is someone going?  And, most importantly, when are we having dessert??? He sometimes likes to lord his knowledge and abilities over others, namely Benjamin.  Benjamin had a near-accident with poop one day, and while I was helping him in the upstairs hall bath, with the door open, Asher paced back and forth in front of the door making unhelpful comments like, "Benjamin! You pooped in your pants? That's disgusting!" In a moment of poor parenting, I leaned out of the door and yelled, "Asher, shut up!"  While he is my most loving and affectionate child, he also brings out the worst in me.

We still struggle with Asher and food.  He is very picky, and prefers carbs over everything else.  We did try several sessions of occupational therapy to try to get him to eat a wider variety of foods, but met with no success.  He continues to refuse all fruits except dried fruits and Trader Joe's freeze-dried banana chips. On his own, he has added back in eggs, applesauce, and Polly-O string cheese, which is great.  He likes carbs with sugar on top- peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, waffles with nutella, pancakes with maple syrup. Crackers with peanut butter are a favorite snack. He also loves crunchy textures, which has worked out since he will eat carrots and hummus as a snack.  Asher will also eat cereal, crackers of almost any kind, and pasta of almost any kind.  He does eat chicken, chicken meatballs, dumplings, hot dogs, and pork. And he likes almost all vegetables, thank goodness!  There is nothing he likes more than sweets and dessert. Asher thinks it is his right as a human being to have dessert at least once a day, and is pretty persistent in getting it.  We always laugh when he comes into the dining room about 10 minutes after he has finished dinner, because we know what he'll say next- "When are we going to have dessert?" Overall I do try to make sure he gets a fairly well-rounded diet and he is certainly growing up big and strong, with plenty of energy.  
In a hot pink squid hat my grandma Tenny gave him
Asher is a generally wonderful sleeper.  He still naps on the days that he is home.  I sent an email to the principal at their elementary school requesting he get morning kindergarten so that he can get his naps. Even with a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, he will sleep well at night for about 11 hours.  He is great at self-soothing with his thumb, which he sucks all the time.  

I don't know when that will stop, because it definitely won't happen voluntarily. We went to the dentist on Monday and she took X-rays- his adult teeth are coming in behind his baby teeth and they are HUGE. He will likely spend 6-7 years looking like a beaver with gigantic front teeth. And I spent Monday night fretting about the demise of my baby's adorable gap-toothed smile.
Beautiful smile, and proud of his very own library card
With a Lego creation
Asher loves art- he colors, paints, and draws all the time.  He likes books and being read to, and he likes to keep me company in the kitchen and help with baking (mainly because he likes the results of my baking).  He is adept with Legos and can put them together in no time.

Asher is incredibly loving and helpful with Charlotte, and I trust him to take care of her.  One evening Charlotte wanted to play outside while I cooked dinner, and Asher said he would take her out and watch her.  A few minutes later they came in and I heard him say, "Now, stay right there while I pee!" and stood her by the door to wait for him.  I was impressed with his thoughtfulness and care with her.  And she adores him- some nights when we ask who she wants to put her in her bed- mommy or daddy- her answer is "Asher!"  He calls her his "sweetie pie," which makes my heart skip a beat to hear.
Goofing around with his sweetie pie- photo by Benjamin
Sharing Daddy's birthday attention, and getting himself as close as possible to dessert
He is so expressive and funny in the way that he talks- gestures, facial expressions, and intonations.  I can't stop watching him when he is telling a story; he seems both adult and child-like at the same time.  He is 100% a parrot and will repeat back whatever Eric has said.  The other night Eric asked the kids to pick up their toys, and Benjamin and Charlotte were participating in their usual fashion (Benjamin: finds one toy to put away but instead becomes engrossed in playing with it and forgets that he was supposed to be cleaning up. Charlotte: takes out new toys and empties their contents on the floor.).  Asher was actually cleaning, but kept walking around saying, "Why am I the only one cleaning up around here?" He will often bargain with his siblings the way Eric tries to bargain with them in order to convince them to do something they don't want to do.  I don't know how much Eric likes his words when he hears them out of the mouth of his 5 year-old son!

That is a little about Asher, but of course there is more.  He is a love bug, a snuggle bug, a sweet-a-saurus.  I love to see his face first thing every morning, and to kiss him goodnight each night at bedtime.  I love that boy, and the joy he brings me is boundless.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Preschool Graduation

Yesterday the boys "graduated" from preschool, and all 3 kids had their last day of school.
Charlotte with her teacher, Miss Karen
Their teachers held a small ceremony at the school complete with little gifts for the parents, some songs, and individual attention on each child.  It began with the announcing of each child, and they came in and handed us our little gifts.  The kids were wearing t-shirts stamped with their classmates' hands and names.
Asher with a rose for mommy and a birdhouse for daddy
Then the class assembled, sang some songs, and showed self-portraits they had drawn at the beginning of the year and at the end to show how their artistic skills had improved over the year.
Most of the kids' class, with Benjamin picking his nose
Each child received a diploma and a hug from the teachers.
Asher with Miss Carol and Miss Marsha
Benjamin with Miss Carol and Miss Marsha 
I held it together completely, I think because I was preoccupied with getting as many pictures as I could, despite the fact that I was in the 4th row and am only 5'2". I had also rushed there after working in the morning, then finishing the teachers' gifts (I was the one and only room mom) with only 10 minutes to spare.

After the ceremony there was a little reception with banana bread and pumpkin bread and ice cream for the graduates.  Benjamin came up to me with a sad look on his face, grabbed me for a big hug, and then started sobbing.  So that's when I started to cry.  I totally get it- I am also terrible with endings, goodbyes, and changes.  I had forgotten that Benjamin is, too, since he is usually so calm and go-with-the-flow.  It was the first time that I remember him getting so upset about something emotional- a big milestone on a milestone day.  My smart, sweet, caring boy.  I covered his face with kisses and he told me he was sad because he was going to miss his teachers and he wasn't ready to go to kindergarten.  He was able to recover, eat ice cream, and enjoy his friends' company.
Benjamin and Asher with their friend Valerie. Valerie's mommy and I grew up around the corner from each other and used to play together when we were our kids' age.
Both boys with Miss Carol 
Both boys with Miss Marsha
We were very lucky- both boys ended up having a wonderful year and a great preschool experience overall. I think they are more than ready for kindergarten in the fall, and could even be reading before then if they wanted to.  Despite whatever social challenges arose this year (mainly Asher's sensitivity to other classmates' behavior), they finished on a high note.  Miss Carol's end of year evaluations indicated that they had both met their mid-year goals and made improvements.  Watching them sit with their classmates as the ceremony went on, I was impressed with their behavior (except for Benjamin's nose-picking!) and maturity.  I get very accustomed to how reliably good-natured they are, and it was nice to be reminded that they are very well-behaved for their age.

The ceremony was over by 2:20, and even though the kids were allowed to stay at school until 5, they both asked to come home.  Asher went right to bed to take a nap, and Benjamin watched the ipad on the couch while I went out for a run (Eric was home working!).  Then Benjamin and I went to pick up Charlotte and collect all of the extra clothes we'd left in their cubbies.
Benjamin and Charlotte tucked in the empty cubbies
We celebrated graduation the way my parents used to celebrate with me when I was a kid- a hibachi dinner!  We'd never been to hibachi, and the kids had a great time watching the chef do theatrics while he cooked our food.  We went with another family whose older son was in the boys' class and whose younger son was in Charlotte's class.  
Benjamin is pleased by the chef's skills
Now it is time for it to sink in that it is summer vacation- even though the weather is making me think it is still March.  I have been sleeping poorly for the past week or so, I think because I have anxiety about the milestones we've reached and how quickly we got here.  I love my boys, and how wonderfully they are growing up, and the people they are becoming. I hope I made their special day special for them.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

We just finished Memorial Day weekend, where we tried to cram as much fun and excitement into the weekend as we could.  I didn't take many pictures (supposedly that is good, since it means I was busy enjoying myself), but wanted to write down some of my thoughts and memories of the weekend.

On Friday night, we took a picnic dinner to Chanticleer, which is an old house with extensive gardens.  On Friday nights in the summer, you can take dinner and eat on the lawn and walk the grounds.  We always set our blankets at the top of the hill, and the kids run up and down the hill all evening.  At the bottom of the hill is a koi pond, which they love to visit and look at the fish.  Asher is very independent and will explore as much as we let him; Benjamin is more conservative and sticks by my side.  Benjamin also gets worried if we don't see Asher for an extended period of time, and was grabbing my arm and saying, "I don't see Asher!  ASHER! ASHER!"  It's endearing and sweet- they are so aware of each other.

Saturday I took the 3 kids to Sesame Place while Eric went on a very long bike ride.  As I got on the highway, I noticed that the van was on E and was telling me it had 7 miles to empty- not even close to getting us to Sesame Place!  I had to pull of the highway in North Philadelphia, and on the exit ramp, a homeless man was asking for money.  His sign said he needed a meal, so when I told the kids he was hungry, they wanted to give him food. I bought him a granola bar at the gas station while I filled up, and then we drove back to give it to him- our mitzvah for the day.  I have to say that he didn't seem overly excited at my choice of food vs money, but, as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers!
Acting like rock stars
With Ernie, and their friends Noah and Maddie
Watching a show
We had a great day at Sesame Place.  This year, the boys are over 42" tall and can ride many of the rides by themselves without an "adult companion."  And Charlotte is over 36" tall and so is able to go on rides where she wasn't tall enough to ride at all last year.  This made the whole experience easier, since the boys could ride together and I could ride with Charlotte.  All 3 kids were wonderfully behaved, until the end, when Charlotte lost her mind and lay in the middle of the crosswalk back to the parking lot, screaming.  In a panic I yanked her up and carried her to the car- and I am pretty sure I pulled her elbow out of the socket.  I have to pat myself on the back and say I didn't panic about any of it, just popped her elbow back in and made sure she could use her arm before buckling her in her seat and going on our way.

Saturday night, after naps (although only Charlotte slept, oh my goodness), we met friends at a playground for another picnic dinner.  We ordered pizza and sat outside eating while the kids ran around and played.  There was actually some time for the grown ups to have conversation!  Then we went and got ice cream for dessert.  Charlotte and Asher insist on getting rainbow ice cream, which looks to me like play-doh and has a ton of food coloring in it.  But they love it.  Benjamin will vary his choices a little- he had birthday cake this time.  Again the kids were pleasant to be around and I was very proud of their choices and behavior.

On Sunday we had plans to drive to the Jersey Shore as a family, but Benjamin woke up with a stomach ache and threw up.  So it was decided that I would go with Charlotte and Asher while Daddy stayed home with Benjamin.  The long ride to the beach (2 hours) included Charlotte asking question after question, and when Asher would answer her, she would say, "I'm not talkin' a you, Asher!" or "Asher! No talkin'! Only Mommy talk!"  Asher asked constantly how many minutes until we were there.  Then he said, "I have to go pee NOW!" and I had to pull over so he could pee in some trees. Thank goodness for boys!  Then, Charlotte changed her mind about going to the beach (we were about 1.5 hours in at this point) and told me, "I don't want to go to the beach! I don't want to see Papa Nick and Meema!"  Of course as soon as we parked and she saw them she was happy as can be.

Asher and Charlotte played for hours on the beach.  They played together, they played alone, they played with Papa Nick and Uncle Ed.  Asher walked and looked for sea shells, and Charlotte dug in the sand.  It was a chilly day with a lot of wind, so they kept coming to me for snuggles and to warm up, but they were so low-needs that I even got to read some of my book!
Playing together
Buckets of water
Charlotte with Uncle Ed
We drove home in the late afternoon and they both slept the whole way home.  We got home in time to have dinner with Daddy and Benjamin, who was feeling much better, and then an early bedtime.

Today, I went on a long run- 11 miles.  I have a few weeks until my half-marathon, which I am now dreading.  13 miles, really? It felt hard enough to finish the 11 I did today.  Although, what is 2 more miles after 11, right?  I have just a few more weeks to sell myself on the idea.

After my run, we packed up yet another picnic (Thank you, Pat, for the insulated picnic cooler, I am definitely getting your money's worth!) and went to the outdoor pool at the kids' school.  We were the first people there and got the seats in the shade, but the kids spent the whole time in and out of the kiddie pool.  Around 11:30, classmates of Charlotte's started to show up, so she was excited to see them and play with them a little.  Then we found out there were free ice cream sundaes at 1 o'clock! After hours in the sun and a little ice cream, we went home for naps.
Charlotte with her classmate enjoying their sundaes
Tonight we had dinner at our friends' house to celebrate their daughter's 5th birthday.  The kids definitely have their favorite toys there and rush into the house to start playing.  Benjamin was in a police man costume the second we were in the door!  We had a nice evening and an early dinner, leaving us time to get home and get the kids into bed to rest up for school tomorrow.  Asher said his favorite parts of the weekend were Chanticleer and playing at the pool.  I think we are all excited about the beginning of summer and the many activities we will get to do over the coming months.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Benjamin: 5 years old

Big, serious eyes on that sweet little face
My little Boo Buddy (how much longer will he let me call him that?).  Right now, Benjamin is my easiest child.  He very infrequently makes trouble.  At many points, he was the trouble-maker- I remember him kicking all night long in his crib, he is always the first to drop a nap or cut back on sleep, and he had trouble with potty training and transitions.  Right now, Benjamin is easy going.  He often seems unfazed by things (maybe because he doesn't actually notice them?  He is often out to lunch!), and will take care of himself.  I know there were times where he was more temperamental, but I can't think of any recent incidents where he has acted out or been trouble for me.  He is showing such maturity for a little guy- he is good at negotiating and sharing and just seems content with the way things go.

He never makes a big deal or a scene (unlike his siblings).  One night we were out at dinner and the kids got a scoop of ice cream with their meal. Benjamin ordered Mint Oreo ice cream and Charlotte ordered strawberry. After Benjamin tasted Charlotte's strawberry ice cream, he started to cry. Not loudly, not saying a word, just tears running down his cheeks. It turned out he liked strawberry and not mint and had changed his mind.  Such sweetness- the waiter got him a scoop of strawberry right away.
Selfie by Benjamin
Benjamin loves to read to himself and to be read to. He will often bring a book and sit on my lap so that we read together. He easily plays with Legos or cars by himself.  Like his daddy, Benjamin is interested in video games and will play Minecraft or Angry Birds on the iPad if I let him. He's good company and will stay with me in the kitchen if I cook, and loves to go on walks and to the playground.  His favorite thing to ask is "Where does (insert item here) come from?  How is (insert item here) made?" Most of the time I don't actually know the answer, but I love his curiosity. He is also interested in which animal his meat came from, which gives me pangs of guilt when I tell him.

We both love all food, and Benjamin has a great appetite.  He asked for artichoke for dinner the other night!  He eats pretty much everything we feed him, and will almost always eat what he has asked for, and then some.  He is slow and methodical in his eating, but I get such a kick out of watching him work his way through a plate full of food.  Despite the fact that he eats more than twice what his brother and sister eat, he is fairly small and slight.  He told me yesterday that he is smaller than Asher because he doesn't nap, and that nap time helps Asher grow bigger.

Benjamin's brain always seems to be working, and he has a good memory.  He is still having trouble with his pronunciation- he usually leaves off the "s" at the beginning of a word if it is followed by a consonant, meaning "stop" becomes "top."  He also leaves out the "r" that follows a consonant, so "treat" becomes "teat" and "gray" becomes "gay."  Yes, Eric and I are completely immature and got hysterical when Benjamin came downstairs in gray sweatpants and a gray t-shirt and said, "My outfit is so gay!"  Eric and I try hard to correct him, and Benjamin has learned to talk around the words he mispronounces, or to use synonyms.  For example, when Benjamin called a tree a "tee," Eric tried to get him to say the r, by slowly saying "Tuh-ree, Benjamin.  Tuh-ree."  So Benjamin said, "bush!" Since I told Benjamin that his friends in kindergarten will have a hard time understanding him if he doesn't say his words correctly, I have noticed him making a more concerted effort to pronounce things more clearly.
Monkey on the monkey bars
I am assuming the boys will be separated when they get to kindergarten, which is hard on me.  I asked Benjamin if he wanted to be in the same class as Asher, or a different one, and he said, "Different!  Asher is so bossy!" but then quickly changed his mind.  I'm planning to do whatever the school recommends, and Benjamin will find a way to speak for himself, I am sure.  At home, Asher often bosses him around and tells him what to do.  Benjamin generally ignores him and keeps doing whatever he wants, but he will sometimes tell Asher to stop telling him what to do.

Since Benjamin is my least-demanding child, I worry I will lose him in the shuffle, so I try to make a point to seek him out and give him my attention.  We do get our one-on-one time while his siblings nap, and I do give him hugs and kisses as often as he'll let me.  I also compliment him on his exemplary behavior frequently.  Which has resulted in him looking for rewards and asking, "So what do I get for making good choices?"
Helping me bake while his siblings napped
I just re-read my post about Benjamin from when he turned 4, and so little has changed!  It is nice, in a way, to see that my children are developing consistent personalities.  Especially because I like their personalities so much!  Benjamin is a wonderful child.  He seems to care about his family and friends, and enjoys their company, but is also able to be by himself without anyone entertaining him.

Here are the things I love about Benjamin: the way he always tries to sit on my lap or Eric's lap when we eat even if he starts out in his own chair; his little lips when he eats and talks; his beautiful smile; his big, serious eyes; his quiet consistency; the way he always surprises me by knowing something I had no idea he knew anything about; his little hands and fingers and the way he is so steady and strong in using them; the fact that he still sings the 4 questions despite not singing a single one at seder.  I am so impressed with the boy he is becoming, and I am so lucky that my son is such a sweet, smart boy.

Here is what I said to Benjamin tonight: "How did you get so wonderful? You are such a wonderful, smart, kind, loving little boy. I love you so much, do you know that?" To which he wrapped his little spaghetti arms around my neck and gave me a big hug.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Two days

Here are pictures from the past two days, in an effort to capture the kids, their personalities, their beauty, and the fun we have.

Friday ice cream treat after a picnic lunch at the playground:
Benjamin, slow and steady, with an ice cream goatee

Asher finished his cone in no time with no mess, then hopped on my back like a monkey

Asked after this, "Mommy, I have a little ice cream on my face?"
 Friday night, after dinner at our friends', we went to the carnival.
Waiting for the first ride- a roller coaster!

Strapped in and ready to go

The boys are in the middle, you can see Asher's white shirt
 It was a success! They smiled and had a great time- so different from when we came 3 years ago.  Then Asher and I rode the Ferris wheel. Charlotte said she wanted to ride with us, and waited patiently for a long time. Then the second her tush hit the seat, she bounced up and said, "I don't want to ride the Ferris wheel!"
Daddy and Charlotte waving to us from below

Mommy and Bear high in the sky
 Charlotte finally got on a ride- little cars. She is on a pink car, and her friend Reid is behind her, with the boys behind him.

Today I took the kids to the zoo while Eric went on a bike ride.  It was perfect weather- overcast but not cold.  We barely saw any animals and mostly stood in place and ate snacks, or posed on statues.
Benjamin looks pretty hip here. Asher picked out his own outfit

Love my pink lady
Tonight we went to a neighbor's birthday party and sat outside in the beautiful weather. We read books before bed, all 3 kids piled on to my lap, slipping off and climbing back on.  Last night I cried- after seeing the teenagers at the fair, I panicked at the idea of my babies growing up, becoming awkward, preferring a night out with their friends to a night home in my lap.  Preferring to seek out the kiss of a romantic interest instead of my maternal love.  It's all flying by, going so fast.  I get such pleasure from their achievements and their steady development, but please, don't let them grow up too quickly.  Their precious little bodies, their soft skin, their high-pitched voices, their trust in me and belief in good- I want it all to last.  I'm heartbroken that it won't.  I only hope that they always know how much I love them.