For the whole four years we lived up in MA, Will commuted down to NYC for work. He would leave Monday afternoon and we wouldn't see him again until Friday morning. He missed so much with the boys. I used to see my neighbors outside my window after dinner, riding bikes as a family, and I longed for that.
I always planned on raising my family up in MA. Near my family where I grew up. But things don't always work out the way you want them to. Life has a way of throwing you curve balls.
I remember one day we were at a friend's house for dinner. Her husband got home from work and her son who was just a little younger than Nathan got so excited. He started jumping up and down and yelled "Nathan, my daddy's home! My daddy's home!" I'll never forget that moment. When Nathan looked kind of confused and replied back "My daddy doesn't come home." It was that exact moment I knew we had to move back to the NY area.
We could have continued the long distance family thing but why would we? Why would we choose to live apart if we didn't have to? I missed my husband. My kids missed their dad. And Will missed his family.
It's been an adjustment moving down here. It doesn't quite feel like home and I'm not sure it ever will. But moments like this make it worth it. Will got home from work the other night and after dinner took the kids out into the backyard. As I washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, I could see them out the window. Just a random Tuesday night and my kids were able to hang out with their daddy.
No more waiting until the weekend. No more cramming a week's worth of family time into three days. We are together every night. And although we might not be exactly where I thought we would be, I know we are right where we belong.
It's hard to believe it but Ryan is three years old! Something about three just doesn't feel like a baby anymore.
In the past few weeks he has grown up a lot. We converted his crib into a bed. I was nervous about how he would react to the freedom but he's been doing great! It takes a few minutes longer to get him settled since he can now hop out and grab one more book off his bookshelf but other than that he stays in bed all night and waits for me to come get him in the morning. The naps were what I really worried about but those are good too, still giving me a solid 1 1/2 - 2 hours a day which has been great for this tired, giant, pregnant mama. His naps are my chance to lie down, rest and prepare for the afternoon when Nathan comes home and I'm chasing after two kids instead of one!
He is also potty trained!! We're not 100% but I'd say we're a strong 85-90% and I'll take that. He rarely has an accident and he even sleeps in underwear and stays dry. Given how difficult it was to get his big brother to give up the diapers I was hoping Ryan would be a little bit easier and he was. Thank God!
Finally we took away the nap time pacifier. That was one thing I was hanging onto desperately because he has never napped without one. But once he was in a big boy bed we told him big boys don't use pacifiers and that made sense to him. We had a few days where he asked for it and he whined when I said no but after a while he forgot about it all together.
Next up for this big kid is moving into his brothers room and getting his own twin bed. He's got three more months to be the baby and then he'll be a big
brother! He definitely seems excited about the new baby but I'm not sure how much he really understands what is about to happen. Recently he has been asking me to rock him like a baby at bedtime. We sing a little song and rock in the rocking chair and then he goes to bed fine so if that's what he needs to feel safe and secure right now I am happy to do that for him. Part of me is sad he will no longer be my baby so it's nice to have those few minutes to snuggle him like I did back when he was an infant.
The past three years flew by so fast. Ryan is, and always has been, opinionated and feisty. He challenges me more than I can handle at times and definitely tests my patience. But he is also sweet and kind. He shares his toys with other kids. He listens to his teachers at preschool. He tries to make people laugh. He keeps us on our toes and keeps life very interesting!!
These winter afternoons are cold. And dark. And long! We used to play at the playground everyday after school and by the time we got home it would be time to start getting dinner ready. But now with below freezing temperatures we are usually home by 3:20 and that leaves us a lot of time to kill before the dinner, bath, bed routine can start. I love my kids. I promise. But being stuck inside with a 2 year old and a 5 year old every single afternoon when they're tired and hungry gets old fast.
So today I decided to take the kids out for a treat after school. We drove 15 minutes to Dunkin Donuts. Why 15 minutes? Because that's our closest drive thru! When we first moved here I was slightly devastated to discover that DD drive thrus are few and far between around here. As a proper New Englander I was addicted to Dunkin Donuts and grabbing an afternoon coffee was part of my daily routine. But anyone with little kids knows how annoying it can be to get kids out of their car seats and through a parking lot then into the store then back through the parking lot then back into their car seats. Especially when one of those kids is a 2 1/2 year old who by nature hates his car seat and thinks it's a form of torture.
So I have to really want a coffee these days to drive that far for one. We rarely go anymore which makes it a very exciting adventure for the kids. So today, that was our after school adventure. We drove the 15 min. Ordered a coffee and a couple donuts. Got to the window. The man handed me the donuts which my kids immediately bit into. And that's the exact moment I remembered my wallet was back at the house.
So.... We drove 15 min home. I ran inside and grabbed my wallet. Drove 15 min back to the drive thru window. Paid the very patient and understanding Dunkin Donuts employee. Then drove 15 min back home again.
Our adventure started at 3:23 and ended at 4:18. In the end, the kids got their donuts so they were happy. By the time we got home I had just enough time to sit down on the couch and drink my coffee and then it was time to start getting dinner ready so I was happy. We are all snuggling on the couch now while we wait for dinner to be ready. And that's how we filled up our afternoon today. I wonder what we'll do tomorrow.
(If anyone wants to have an afternoon playdate, call me!!)
This morning we had Nathan's teacher conference. I was expecting a good report because I can see at home what a good reader he is and how smart he is. And he's just the sweetest boy but of course I'm biased being his mother. I couldn't be more proud of the report we got.
We were told he's above and beyond where he should be academically yet never bored, he always finds a way to stay engaged and keep busy. When she has to get something ready for the next activity she sometimes puts him in charge of class!!
He's responsible and compassionate and has lots of friends. He's always happy and a delight to have in the classroom.
I was so nervous that Nathan would have the hardest time adjusting to our move but he seems to be handling it the best out of all of us!
Nathan has always loved to draw. We keep a stack of coloring books and blank paper on the dining room table next to a giant tin of crayons and he can be found sitting there multiple times throughout the day coloring picture after picture.
Ever since kindergarten started he has been very focused on writing too. So each picture now comes with a very clear description letting you know what his drawing is which is great. Although most of his pictures are very literal and easy to identify there's always the occasional one that stumps me.
I think every parent has had that awkward moment where they have no idea what their kid drew which leads to the "Tell me about your picture" conversation. But Nathan's new love for titles eliminates that problem. Of course I can always tell when he draws me, it's like looking in a mirror!
Ryan and I just got home from running some errands and when we walked inside he threw his shoes against the wall. I asked him to pick them up and put them away nicely. Instead, he went up to his room and shut the door.
I had to get lunch ready so I welcomed the silence and let him stay upstairs. A few minutes later he came down, marched right up to me and said "I go timeout. I not happy with you. Put my shoes away. I sorry". Then he hugged me.
On one hand I'm kind of proud that he knew he did something wrong so he went to his room to "think about it" and then when the time was up, acknowledged his behavior and apologized.
On the other hand, I'm a little concerned that maybe I'm putting him in timeout too often. Is it normal for a two and a half year old to perfect the timeout routine and be able to execute it with no parental assistance??