Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Date

Ainsley had 2.5 years to be an only child.  In that time I thought about how it must be so unfair for second, third, forth, etc, etc children.  They never get that absolute, undivided, long-term attention from Mom and Dad.

Even still, it always seems more convenient to be alone with Ainsley.  She has half days on Monday.  My aunt usually picks her up and she gets 2 whole hours of Ainsley time with Aunt Linda before I walk in the door with Freddie.  Or if I work from home, we have time to kill before starting our evening.

Maybe it's because the new baby's coming.  Maybe it's because I notice how attentive and responsive Freddie is when he has my full attention.  Maybe it's because I've been a huge sap lately.  For whatever reason, when I got out of work early last Friday I decided that Freddie and I needed a date.  Just the two of us.

I never pick him up early.  If I leave work early, he's in the middle of a nap.  But Friday, I just decided that the one on one time was more important than a 3 hour nap.  So I stood over his little cot and watched his sleepy eyes change from confusion to excitement as I came into focus.  He jumped up and into my arms and rested his head on my shoulder and said "Mommy, I yike you."

"I like you too Freddie.  Do you want to go do something fun?"

"Yeah," he shouted as he squirmed out of my arms and ran to get his jacket.

I got him in the car and asked what he wanted to do.  Golf...of course.

Not real golf, obviously I am not crazy.  But Freddie's favorite store is Dick's Sporting Goods.  And they have a putting green set up with tiny putters for little guys and gals.

So we went.  And while we were there we played soccer and badminton with a basketball.  We dressed in baseball gear and talked about lacrosse sticks. 

But mostly we golfed.

And when he was done with that he asked to go to the mall.  So we did.

And then he asked for a pretzel, so we had one.

Then I bought him a baseball hat because he's been asking for one for ages.

Then I had to hold him down for a picture of the two of us. 

Because even though he's much more cooperative when he has my full attention...he's still Freddie...still my crazy monster.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby Boy

Dear Baby Boy (with no name),

So you're a boy.  I am completely shocked.  Even a day later, I'm still not quite sure it's true.  You have been so much like your sister up to this point that I was almost positive you were a girl.  I have only been looking at girl names.  I have been thinking about the boxes of girl clothes I have that I can't wait to pull out and place in your drawers.  I have been browsing hair bows and girlie cloth diapers.  I have been thinking about how you and your sister would share a room when you're older, with canopy beds and ruffles and lace.

But, I'm now shifting my thoughts.  I looked at boy names for the first time this morning.  I made a list of names that were okay.  Nothing is grabbing me yet.  I'm thinking about how unorganized your brother's baby clothes are and how I'll  need to work on that in the coming months.  I'm imagining a little boy room with bunk beds and sports posters on the walls.  I'm picturing you and your brother rolling around on the floor.

My ideas will change.  By the time you're here I will be all kinds of boy ready.  Really I wanted to write you this first letter because I always feel more connected to the babies after I know the sex.  It helps me paint a more solid picture of who you'll be.  So yesterday, what was an ambiguous little being in my midsection has become, today, this real, live, little person.

And I wanted to tell you about your siblings and how amazing they are and how lucky you are to have them. 

Freddie was very unsure of the process yesterday.  He kept asking me where the dentist was.  I'm not sure why, since we never said we were going to the dentist and he has actually never been to see a dentist.  He said he couldn't see, even though he was right in front of the screen.  But when Daddy told him he was going to have a baby brother a little grin spread slowly across his face.  It was like he was coming to the realization of what that meant and imagining a little sidekick.  Seriously though, I'm going to need you to go ahead and let your brother be the crazy one. I'm not sure I can handle another little Freddie.  I love that kid to death, but he is hard to handle.  You just go ahead and take a step down from that, okay?  Great!

Ainsley has talked non stop about a little sister.  So I'm not going to lie, it breaks my heart a bit that she won't have one this time, or ever maybe. I was worried that she's melt down if you weren't a girl.  But, as she tends to do, she surprised me with her grace and love.  She sighed and rolled her eyes and said "Well okay then."  She tells me how she can't wait to hold you and touch your soft skin.  And how she'll take care of you if I need to take care of Freddie.  She is already an amazing big sister and now that she's bigger, when you arrive, she will be out of this world.

So here they are, in all their glory, telling the whole world about you.  Freddie refused to be on camera, but don't worry, you'll totally recognize him.  He'll be the wild 3 year old in the room with blond locks in his eyes and deep blue eyes.  You can't miss him.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I am 20 weeks pregnant.  Wow, this is going by really fast.  Especially now that I'm in the honeymoon part of the pregnancy.  I'm not sick anymore, but I'm not uncomfortable yet.

Today we go to the 20 week ultrasound.  I'm feeling nervous.  I always feel nervous.  I am a worrier, so my mind goes to all those places that you don't want it to go when some one's running late, or my kid is out of sight for 5 seconds in a public place, or when I'm pregnant and about to have the big ultrasound that tells us if there are any issues.

But I also get nervous over the boy/girl thing.  I find it very silly, because really I just want a healthy baby.  And that is honest to God the absolute truth.  But with Ainsley, I was nervous because I was absolutely sure it was a girl and I didn't want to be wrong.  With Freddie, I was absolutely sure it wasn't a girl but afraid to admit it might be a boy and I didn't want to react badly.  This time, I'm fairly sure we'll be seeing pink in our future...but not as sure as I was with Ainsley.  So why am I nervous?

Well, most likely this is my last pregnancy.  Which means, this will be the baby of our family.  Anything can happen or change...but it's looking like this will be it for us and I'm not getting any younger, and neither are my ovaries.  And I have these two amazing children, one girl and one boy.  And if I could, I would relive their babyhood over a thousand times.  Ainsley so sweet and happy and passive.  Freddie so loud and passionate and fierce.

If we get a little sister, I will be ecstatic...but a bit sad that my baby boy is learning to dress himself and tell jokes.  If it's a little brother, I will be over the moon...but disappointed because my baby girl is in kindergarten and learning to read.

I know that this baby will be it's own person.  Maybe it will be a little girl that's loudest and craziest of all.  Or maybe a little boy that's shy and sweet and quiet.  Who knows, but I know that in all the happiness I'll experience today a part of my heart will be sad that this will be it and I'll never know that next little boy or girl.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I was just walking back to my desk after filling my water.  Minding my own business.  Not bothering or interrupting anyone.  Then I hear it, and I know it's coming.

"Good grief Jaime!"

I stopped in my tracks.  Please don't say it, just don't say it.

"When are you due?"

I shouldn't answer.  I should make some sarcastic remark and move right by, too busy to give her my time.  In my mind that's what I do.

"June," I reply.

"Goodness are you sure? Because you're huge."

"Yeah, well, I guess so.  But it's definitely June," and with that I walk away listening to her go on...

"Man, she is just so big...all out in front, I can't believe it's not twins...or triplets even..."

And then laughter, because obviously it is just freaking hilarious and absolutely appropriate to talk about some one's size - pregnant or not.

I sit down at my desk and I feel that burning in my eyes.  I will not cry, I will not let this stupid, bitch, woman push me over the edge. 

I should walk back to the elevator bay and give her a piece of my mind.  Has she ever even seen a woman pregnant with triplets?  Does she even realize how much I don't look like I'm carrying triplets?  Can she possibly understand how rude and unkind her remarks are?  Could it possibly cross her mind that I know what I look like?  That I look in the mirror every single day.  That I always show quickly and for goodness sakes this is BABY NUMBER 3!!!!

But suddenly, I am 12 again, back in the middle school hallway and the boys are calling me 2 x 4 and I am fragile and feeling broken.  So the tears start to push over the edge and I quickly wipe them away. 

I have always been sensitive.  Somewhere between my college years and now, I have learned to put that away.  Try and not let things get to me.  I always feel so awkward and embarrassed when I let those sensitivities show.  But this pregnancy has been rough on me emotionally.  I cried during the movie "Ted."  Last night I cried at the end of "The New Normal."  I've been taking things very personally.  Feeling like I'm being attacked.  My head knows that it's silly, but my heart feels betrayed.  A lot lately, I feel like I'm getting punched in the gut and I have no way to protect myself. 

I know this is all the pregnancy hormones.  I know I don't always feel this way.  But lately I have definitely been feeling like I can't control the emotions.  I can't wrap them up and put them in the closet and forget they're there.  I can't roll with the punches.  It's especially hard when the punch comes from thin air and I'm not expecting it.

So to the woman at the elevator, who I work with and see every single day, who has now mentioned how huge I am three times, who pretends to be so nice and loving and friendly, who preaches about God and being saved, who talks about everyone behind their backs, who manipulates and lies...I am sitting at my desk and flipping you the bird.  Because I know what you really are and even though the hormones have me a bit confused and tangled up right now, you won't break me.  I won't be that little girl again because of you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Ainsley is very social.  She doesn't get this from me...she probably doesn't get this from Clif either.  It's not that we don't have friends, we do.  We have lots of friends, but it's very hard for either of us to meet new people.  Our friends have been our friends for a long time.  We haven't made any new ones.

Of course it's pretty easy when you're in Kindergarten and everyone is new and you're just so thrilled with everyday things.  You become more jaded and cynical as you get older.  Ainsley also thinks she is amazing.  She has so much confidence.  She can't imagine why anyone wouldn't like her.  I don't have that anymore, I'm not sure I ever had it at the level she does.

No, I think Ainsley gets her social confidence from her aunts and uncles.  My sister, Clif's brother and sister...they're so outgoing, always making new friends.

I'm glad Ainsley has this.  It's hard to be 35 and unable to make new friends.  Because none of my friends live remotely near me.  Plus we all have kids and our own lives.  And I guess that happens anyway when you have kids, but it would be a whole lot easier if I could become best buds with a neighbor.  What I don't love about Ainsley's social ease...playdates. 

I mean, I love that she has friends and wants to play with them.  My dislike of playdates is totally selfish.  I'm so uncomfortable reaching out to these moms, sitting on their sofas, offering them drinks at my house.

It took me a month to approach a mom at the bus stop who's daughter is in Ainsley's class.  And really I only did it because Ainsley cornered me into it.  It's taken me over 2 weeks to find a contact address and actually email the mom of another girl that Ainsley talks about daily.  Then I poured over the 5 line email like it was a blog post.

I just have no confidence in my ability to befriend people.  And then the thought of hanging out with this new mom while our girls run around and giggle...terrifying.

I wish I could take some lessons from Ainsley.  I wish I could walk into a room and see nothing but new friends, instead of judging eyes and smirky grins.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Playtime Can't Wait

Seven years ago I was planning my wedding.  We had just bought a house.  We had a puppy.  I thought I was terribly busy.  I mean, I barely had time to cook with all the TV I needed to watch.  We ordered take out or went out most nights.

Now I laugh at that 28 year old girl.  I wish I could go back and say "You have no clue what it means to be busy."

These days, by the time I am home from work and have both kids in the car, I have roughly 3.5 hours before bedtime to do homework, feed snacks, make dinner, straighten the house, have a family sit-down meal together, bathe children, read books, brush teeth.  Then I have about an hour to do something for myself make lunches, pack backpacks/diaper bags, lay out clothes, do laundry before I just need to collapse in bed.  Or usually it's vegging out in front of the TV because I'm too tired to even think about brushing my teeth.

I don't get to play with my kids a lot. On my drive home from work, I'm ticking through my list of to do's when I get home.  Playtime is tough to fit in.  Because all those things above are must do's.  They aren't save for later's.  Every night those things have to be done.  I can always put playtime off for another time.

Except when I can't.  Except when it's January 10th and it's 52 degrees outside.  So last night - even though I still have a disastrous house full of Christmas gifts I have no room for, even though I have 6 loads of clean laundry that need put away, even though we haven't looked at Ainsley's January homework sheet yet, even though the diapers aren't clean and I may have to send disposables in to daycare - I said screw it.  Screw the house, and the diapers, and homework.  52 degrees in January just does not present itself that often.

Instead we plotted tricks against mommy,

and slid,

and swang,

and posed,

and giggled.

Sometimes all that is worth a messy house and a quicky dinner.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gender Schmender

I believe there are differences between boys and girls.  I have a girl and I have a boy and I see these differences clearly.  I don't want to make them the same.  I want Ainsley to feel feminine and I want Freddie to know manhood.

However, I do my best to not push any preconceived notions of what is woman and what is man on them.  It's hard sometimes, I have been molded by society.  But Clif and I are very diligent about trying to make our children feel loved and accepted no matter what feminine and masculine means to them.

Although I see the differences, they are not steadfast.  For instance, Ainsley could spend her own world pretending to be a princess and talking to dashing princes and evil queens.  She dances and spins and leaps like a ballerina.  To truly win her heart, buy her a dress she can twirl in.  That doesn't mean she won't drop that for a moment to play trains with Freddie. 

On the flip side, Freddie knows the shape, color, and texture of every type of ball.  I never taught this to him, but he's obsessed with all things sports.  If it has a ball and some kind of instrument to hit said ball with, he is all about it.  He also can name every type of truck on the road.  He is also fascinated by ladders.  But he sure does love it when Ainsley puts makeup on him and dresses him in fairy wings.

My point is, that Clif and I sometimes catch heat from others about allowing - especially Freddie - to bend his gender.  Personally, I don't think at 2 you're bending're just 2!  But I swear that I will never let it stop me from painting his adorable little toes.  I will never let it stop me from throwing a ball with my daughter.  Because I want them to be who they were meant to be.  I don't want to say no because your friends will laugh at you, because society won't get you.  Right now, they don't care that much.  They have plenty of time to be judged for who they become, and be hurt by it.

Right now, and for as long as they will let me, I will provide a safe place for them to be.  To be a kid.  To be a princess.  To be a quarterback.  To be a firefighting, diva, jock.

To Just Be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Freddie Speaks - Museum

Clif spent the last few months working on a project for the National Children's Museum.  Sesame Street has partnered with them, so the theme is Sesame Street and all it's characters.  It's located at the National Harbor and the Friday before Christmas we took my mom and Charles there to have dinner, see the huge Christmas tree, listen to Christmas carols, and watch the fireworks.

When we were all done, Clif suggested we walk by the museum so the kids could see all the Sesame Street Characters all around the building.  They were very excited as we talked about seeing a life size version of Big Bird.

When Big Bird came into sight the kids ran and started climbing all over him.  Then we walked around the corner to see Abby Cadabby hanging from a light pole and Cookie Monster leaning against the wall.

At the very end was Elmo.  Ainsley wanted a picture, so my mom took one.

"Freddie," mom says.  "Who's that?" She asks pointing at Elmo.
"Who?" Freddie asks.
"Right here, who is this that Ainsley is standing next too?"

He leans to the left to get a better view.

He gasps, "Dat Elmo!"
"That is Elmo," I say from behind him.

He turns to look at me, "Mommy, dat Elmo!  Him at da Mazooum!"

According to Ainsley - Ravishing!

We are in the pharmacy section of the grocery store.  It is right next to the bathroom.  If Ainsley sees a public restroom, she must use it.

Ainsley: "Mommy, I have to pee!"

She goes into the stall while I lean against the wall.

Ainsley: "Mommy, I have a great idea!"
Me: "What's that?"
Ainsley: "When I am done, I will stand outside the bathroom and everyone will walk by me and say 'You are so beautiful.'"
Me: "Really?  People will just walk up to you and say that?"
Ainsley: "Yes, because I am so beautiful.  They will say 'Wow, you are so beautiful.  And stabbishing.'"
Me: "Stabbishing?"
Ainsley: "Yes, stabbishing."

I hear a chuckle from the far stall and Ainsley finishes up and flushes the toilet.

Me: "So what is stabbishing?"
Ainsley (looks at me and shrugs like I'm insane): "So, so, so, soooooo beautiful."

The woman walks out as Ainsley washes her hands.

Woman: "Little girl, I have to say, you are so beautiful and absolutely stabbishing."

Ainsley grins shyly and says "Thank you."

The woman walks out of the bathroom as we dry our hands and gather our things.

Me: "So Ainsley, do you think maybe you mean ravishing?"
Ainsley: "What?"
Me: "You said you wanted people to tell you you're stabbishing.  Do you mean ravishing?"
Ainsley (shrugs): "They will say I am beautiful and stabbishing and ravishing."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Party Like It's 19...2012

Sometimes I forget I had a life before my kids.  I hear about other people going to the movies or to a fancy party and I think "Wow, that must be fun," like I never did it.

There were lots of movies.  There were too many parties with too many drinks.  In 1999 I rang in the new year at a friend's house in Charlottesville.  We drank...a lot, and then danced for hours in the living room to Prince singing "Party Like It's 1999" over and over again.

But when I think about that, it's almost like I'm watching someone elses home movies.  I still know and try to keep in touch with most of the people who were at that party.  But that young girl is so far removed from what I am now.

Now, I am lucky to stay up to see the ball drop, let alone dance for hours afterwards.

Our holidays were very low key this year.  We decided to only shop for the kids.  Due to shrinking paychecks, rental homes that won't quit until we are completely bled dry, and an expanding family we decided not to buy gifts for anyone else.  We stayed home, no travel.  We let everyone come to us.  We spent days in our PJs just playing with new toys.  My house is still a disaster.

It was great.  I loved it.

New Year's was no different.  It was just the four of us.  We thought about doing fondue, but decided it was too much work for our lazy attitudes and I really can't trust Freddie near an open flame.  Maybe next year.

Instead, we built, cooked and ate our own pizzas.

My kids were extremely excited about trying their first ever banana splits.

We had an early toast with sparkling grape juice in plastic champagne flutes at 10 o'clock.

We planned a sleepover in the living room.

Ainsley made it to her first New Year's midnight.  Freddie still has a long way to go.

Then we went to bed and all slept in until NINE O'CLOCK the next day.

So yes, life has the last 13 years.  But honestly, I could not keep up with that girl now if I tried.

Happy New Year!

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