“School”

I ask him who he made it for and he smiles from ear to ear. With a drawn out and happy “Maaaammmmaaaa!” Eyes squinted.

He’s so proud of the dried-noodle necklace he made for me at his “school.” Green, orange, and yellow. (Holden says “geen, oress, wewwow.”) His favorite colors of the week. He got to bring it home last Friday. I unhinged it hanging from his wooden clothespin beneath his cubicle. This is where all his art hangs to dry. I anticipate seeing what the clothespin displays every day I pick him up. A finger painting, a jelly-fish made with crate paper, a glittery hermit crab.

That noodle necklace though, that’s what got me. He’s so proud to show me that he made it for me. And I couldn’t be more proud either. Wore it the whole way home.

Normally I peep through the window and see how and what he’s doing before opening the door when I pick him up. I would pay to be a fly on that wall all day long. Watch him play, dance, share, paint. Interact with others, his “frens” he says.

I wanted to wait to write a post on Holden’s new school after he transitioned. I knew the first few weeks were an adjustment period, and I didn’t want to declare anything out of impulse- whether he likes it or not, whether or not I was doing the wrong thing. He’s been there now almost two months.

And he loves it.

This past year, Holden had been at a two-mornings-a-week Mother’s Day Out program. It was perfect for him, the age he was. The extent of which he could be away from me. (The extent of which I could be without him, rather.)

I was excited to be informed Holden got a spot into this school. As many schools go in our area, a baby hits the waiting list as an embryo. There was a spot open for him to begin in June, two months before I would begin graduate school. The best thing that could happen. He would have time to transition into this new routine before he absolutely had to go. (Before I needed him to go… Wah.)

That’s what I feel guilty about. No, he doesn’t need to be there right now. But I needed him to be happy there before I started school myself. Holden is and will always be my priority. His well-being is what the majority of my mind thinks about 24/7.

Holden has always done real well with a routine, ever since his infancy. As he suffered so badly from reflux, his routine was how I kept him the most sound. So it’s not surprising that an important routine in his life as a toddler usually delivers one happy boy. To know what to expect. We started a routine.

Holden wakes up. “Mama? Mama!” comes from his room. I already have his breakfast waiting on the coffee table. I open more his already-opened door. “Holden? Holdennn? Is there a Holden in here?” He’s hiding under his blanket. I check the closet, look in his drawers. Bend to look under his bed. Wait a few seconds. Attack him- usually in the thigh. “THERE HE IS!” He chuckles deeply. Gets him every time. And by every time I mean every.single.morning. Routine.

“Pup?” he asks. This means milk of course, my hand is already extended to give him his cup. We usually watch Elmo, chase the dogs around, eat a little breakfast and his orange vitamin before we hop in the car and head to school.

Pass by an apartment complex with its big Leasing sign outside. The street is usually decorated with balloons. Holden pauses from watching Elmo or Barney in the car so we can pass each balloon and say the colors.

Geeeen…

Boooo…

Weddd…

Orrreesss…

Puh-puh…

“All gone!” he concludes. Just a few streets away. At this point he tells me what color snoball he would prefer when I pick him up. The little prince. Another routine… I have to have a cup of milk and a snoball waiting for him in the car. A snoball in the mind of my two-and-a-half year old means that school is over for the day. It’s conditioned him to know that I will be there at the end of the day, when he tells me in the morning which color he wants then.

He has to open the fence gates himself as we make our way to his class room. If a teacher catches Holden opening the gate himself they will say, “No Holden. Only Mommies, teachers, and Daddies open gates, okay?” So I keep a look out for them, those teachers. The ones in red t-shirts. Let my baby open his gates. (Disclaimer: I love the teachers there.)

We get to his door and he shoots straight for the cubicle that holds the cell phones to play with (to put in his pocket for the whole day). If the kids aren’t all seated eating their morning snack that is. If that’s the case Holden sits himself down in his spot at the table and awaits a yummy treat.

One drop-off last week deemed disaster. Holden went to where the cell phones should have been when, unbeknownst to him the cell phones had a new location! He ran right back to me with an empty pocket on the shirt he demanded he needed to wear that day (for the pocket). His face turned bright red, frowned and started crying. “All gone?” he cried to me with his hand flipped up like there was nothing else to do about it. Then, his teacher showed him where the cell phones were and he was good to go from there.

It’s during the routined cell-phone search or snack that I sneak out the door. I wait outside and close my eyes. Make sure he’s not crying and screaming like the few weeks in a rows’ mornings leading up to his comfort in getting dropped off.  I know he’s going to have a great day. He’s going to be busy, he’s going to have fun.

It’s been harder on me than him, this new school. That’s for sure. I knew he would like it being the busy, physical, social boy he is. Not to mention, he’s not around other kids that much. And I’m definitely an advocate for him to be around other kids. Every child is different, and for Holden, school is a good thing. Time to be with other kids, time to share, time to listen, time to learn. And most importantly, time to play.

And time to make noodle-necklaces for his mommy. Something to give me for when I pick him up. He knows I will be back for him. I always will.

photo-4

Advertisements

Two and a half.

Never wake a sleeping baby. Ever heard of that saying? I’d like to extend it. Never wake a sleeping baby, especially if that baby has turned into a whopping 36-lb toddler boy. One that has recently picked up the nick-name “Bam-Bam” for obvious reasons.

The little big man of my life made two-and-a-half yesterday. And as a gift to me, he slept in this morning. Til 8:30. That’s…kindofabigdeal. Kind of a big deal when your normal sleeping in time is 7:00. Never woke that sleeping baby. So, let the dogs out. Even made myself a little coffee. Sat at the computer. And listened for the “Mama! Mama!” coming from Holden’s room that didn’t commence for the next hour and a half. I had all the time in the world.

I spent my time re-reading over many of my previous blog posts. I reminisced. Let my mind wander. It was then I realized I had started up this blog a little over a year ago, when I became strong enough to share my story. That story that had just begun when I decided to leave my marriage the year before that. When Holden was only five-months-old. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone right? Couldn’t be truer with my own story. Hence an early post, Let Life Begin.

Like this morning, and time again when I get a few extra minutes here and there I do the same thing. Re-read over earlier posts. Remind myself where I had been. Where I was and where I am now. This blog has become my journal. My public diary per say. I had originally been given the advice to write things down way back when. During my depression, my Dark Ages. I’m so glad I did. Though I thought it would be at least therapeutic for me, it became so much more than that as time moved along. It’s become an outlet for writers and readers alike. People alike. People who I knew or didn’t, hadn’t heard from in years, or was hearing from for the first time. To know my own story, my own experiences were touching those around, was something I had hoped for but didn’t expect. In all sorts of ways I didn’t expect. This blog has given my story more reason as to why things have happened the way they did more than I had figured out on my own before writing it. Does that make sense? Probably not. But you get the picture. Maybe. Hopefully.

Where I am now is different from where I was when I began my blog a year ago. And where I was when I began it sure as all get out wasn’t where I was the year before that. What I know now about being a parent, what I know now about life, and what I know now about love surely couldn’t have become known until I was ready for it. By no means am I perfect, by no means am I the best mom, sister, daughter, friend, or girlfriend. But what I am is raw, really trying at this game of life, utilizing what I’ve learned to help myself, and ultimately and hopefully, help others too. Kind of like the general purpose of this blog right?

What I’d like to do with the blog from here on out is just move forward, leave the rest behind. Leave the long and winding journey behind. Write in the now. My life is full of joy. I know that has a lot to do with choosing happiness, which is one choice I believe we all have power in making. Sometimes it just takes that long and winding road to figure out how to choose it.

One day I’m going to give my writings to Holden. Somehow compile them. Along with the messages, notes, emails from my readers. Show him what his story has done for others, how he had affected others before he could even say a word. Yep. I’ll do this one day. When he’s at a good age, maybe even a day when he’s interested in what Mama has to say. I can’t imagine that’s any time soon. Probably thirty years from now. When he’s 32 and a half.

9a275e59cdf68ab45a8cc365f1d3faa0

The pantry

I lost my voice over the weekend due to a cold.

Have you ever taken care of a toddler with no voice? Not the easiest thing to do.

Yet again, taking care of a toddler isn’t the easiest thing to do. (But the best thing in the world.)

Nevertheless, I whispered to Holden all weekend long. He kept looking at me like I was crazy. Couldn’t figure out if I was playing.

So finally, I explain in whisper, Mommy lost her voice…

All gone? He asked. I could tell he understood. Sort of.

To which I smiled and responded, Yes baby. Do you know where it went?

O-There! He responded enthusiastically. Pointing to the pantry. Where most of his two-and-a-half-year-old problems can usually be resolved… Of course it would be in the pantry.

photo

Girls, Girls, Girls.

Couldn’t believe what she was telling me, but I could believe it at the same time. My mind was swirling. Couldn’t believe it because of his age: two and a half. But could believe it because I had seen the signs for some time now.

Holden has a ‘girlfriend’. His teacher told me. He holds her hand in school… the school he’s been at for the past few weeks. Follows her around, plays toys with her. Smiles when the teacher calls her name. He’s next to her most of the day. Mama’s first heartbreak.

My boy just loves the girls. Already?

Yep.

Though he seems rather young for one to take a love interest, Holden’s fascination with the opposite sex began long before now. I believe this is attributed to the fact that he is and has been surrounded by women. No really, all the time. Loud, bright, entertaining women at that.

Exhibit A:

IMG_1384 2

Re-visit this picture every day for the past 2 and a half years. And you get Holden’s life. Women are, for the majority, all he knows (aside from baseball). Being around ‘us’ is what feels like home to him, where he’s comfortable. When he’s not with me, he asks for me non-stop. And when he’s not with my mom, he asks for “Ooh-ah” (Lula) non-stop.

Kids model, that’s what they do. He loves to play with makeup, push his mini-shopping cart with a baby in the seat. He likes to do many things which are, generally, described as female-oriented behaviors. All because he sees me do these things, but I’ll blame Lula for his lipgloss infatuation.

Somewhere along those lines of comfort, he took to fascination, flirtation. Decided that girls are, in fact, what he likes.

Exhibit B:

IMG_4867

Just look at his face. Sheer happiness, undeniably. And those googley eyes he’s giving. Lord help me.

I stand there listening to his teacher go on. The sound of her voice fades as my mind fast forwards fifteen years. Imagining his first girlfriend, maybe his first broken heart. I won’t be able to protect him, build that invisible shield I keep around him daily. Experiences I know will make him better, happier in the long run. But he won’t know this. Not in that moment. He will take it hard, feel a new kind of pain. Something mommy probably can’t make better with a popsicle or a bag of cheese-its and an Elmo movie.

As for now, I’m happy with him perusing through my makeup drawer and trying on my shoes. I can keep that all he knows right now. Pull that invisible shield back up.

So… it’s no surprise that he has found himself a little comfort in taking to another girl while he’s at school. A sense of home, what he’s used to. Where he can be happy. Where he can do what he knows how to do. Show affection, feel affection.

What also didn’t surprise me when I picked him up that day, was that he was pushing a stroller and wearing a purse on his arm.

IMG_5217

Holden and his best buddy, Cayden, both 2 at the time. Enjoying their two favorite things: baseball games and girls.