Sheridan has officially entered the Contrarian Era, commonly referred to as the Terrible Twos. Though still a couple months shy of the 24 month milestone, today she was crowned the Queen of Resistance, (You have to say it the French way “ree-zis-tawns” so it sounds like an enchanted kingdom vs. the tantrum-ridden power struggle that it really is).
Anyway, tonight she woke from her slumber with a cry at 10 p.m., and I went in to check on her. Below is a sampling of our dialogue:
M: “Oh, Dani, what’s wrong, do you need a hug?”
S: “NO HUG!”
M: “It’s time for night night. See it’s dark.”
S: “NO NIGHT NIGHT.”
M: “Do you want your blanket?”
S: “NO WANT BLANKIE!”
M: “Well, what do you want?”
S: “WANT MILK. WANT MILK.”
(I caved and gave her some milk).
M: “Ok, just one more sip of milk.”
S “NO NO ONE MORE SIP.”
M: “Dani, it’s time to lay down now and go back to sleep. I love you.”
S: “NO WUV YOU!” (I won’t take that personally).
M: “Night, night, darling.”
S: NO NO NIGHT NIGHT!!!!!
The funny thing is, during this whole discourse, I am not sure she was even fully awake. When it comes to saying “no”, she can apparently do it in her sleep.
It’s going to be one of those posts. The kind where I gush on and on about how much I love my kids, how blessed I am to be able to spend quality time with them, how wonderful it is to enjoy autumn in Maine, and how thankful I am for pumpkin spice lattes. I apologize in advance for the sappy sentiment.
Over the last few weeks, it appears the members of the media who cover the financial beat have been turning to their trusty thesaurus. It’s been two weeks straight of bad news, and they are running out of ways to say “down”. Dow tumbles! Market in free fall! Stocks plummet! Global panic spurs sell-off! I literally heard a news clip on MSNBC where the guy said “falling” about 100 times in 2 minutes. The only thing not mentioned as “falling” by this particular analyst was the sky. He deferred to Chicken Little on that one, but he was reluctant to rule it out as a possibility.
So with global panic as the backdrop on this lovely Friday morning, I packed up the kids and drove them out to Pumpkin Valley Farm. With peaking fall foliage, abundant sunshine, and a clear blue sky that wasn’t falling, it was just what we all needed. We met a bunch of our friends there, and tackled a corn maize together that had even the grown-ups a bit perplexed.
So somewhere in the rows and rows of corn, Sheridan just squatted down and started playing in the dirt. Then she looked up at me and cackled (pictured below).
And that’s when it all became clear. I have everything to be thankful for, and nothing to complain about. And while my 401(k) is most certainly down (falling, plummeting, potentially disappearing forever), my spirits are up (soaring, sky-rocketing, dancing in the heavens). Because what matters to me most cannot be lost during a bank run or a market crash. It can, however, be lost in a corn maize. So I cut my little epiphany short, hoisted Dani onto my hip, and hurried off to catch up with Caed!
We eventually made our way out of the maize, and tried out some of the other forms of farm fun--including a hay ride to the pumpkin patch. Dani and Caed each brought home a pumpkin, and I brought home a new perspective. You might say it is the kind of perspective that sees the pumpkin spice latte as half full, not half empty.
You probably know this is not an outlook I normally embrace. Larry would be the first to tell you that I’m no optimist. I am usually the first to complain, “I don’t think they put two shots in this!” or “This is skim milk...ughh, what’s the point of a PSL with SKIM milk?” But personality flaws aside, I don’t have to be an optimist to see the immeasurable blessings that surround me. And I saw ‘em bright and clear in the corn maize this morning.
This is my friend Kate. This is Kate after running six miles. No, not before. I said AFTER. I didn’t make her pee in a cup, but I’m pretty sure she did this drug-free. Not even coffee. That’s downright superhuman, if you ask me. She may very well be the only mom I know that has more energy than her preschool-aged children. I have no doubt that when her kids head off to elementary school in a few years, she will have a career as a personal trainer waiting for her. In fact, I believe NBC is already in talks about having her replace Jillian on The Biggest Loser.
Pictured below, Kate & Ryan, Meredith and yours truly. Meet Portland’s newest marathon relay team.
You may be wondering what on earth I am doing in this picture. Yes, this is the same girl who got lapped (twice) when running the 2-miler in high school, only about 20 years older. Less than 9 months ago, I could barely finish a two mile jog in 20 minutes.
But there is something about being surrounded by people who push themselves to go farther and faster that makes me willing to do the same. So yesterday, I ran the 5.2 mile leg of the marathon relay. It was the shortest and final leg of the relay, and I began my run alongside people who were already on mile 21 of their “regular” marathon. I never imagined how exhilarating it could be to pass people like they are standing still. I am usually the one being passed, so it is a thrill I have never experienced firsthand, until yesterday. And yes, I do feel a bit guilty for being invigorated at the expense of the exhausted marathon martyrs.
But not so guilty that I didn’t imagine myself to be part of some kind of triumphant sports movie scene. And it only added to my delusional thoughts of grandeur that the Shuffle I borrowed from Ryan was perfectly choreographing my run, interspersing Eye of the Tiger as I hit the bridge toward Back Bay, and Going the Distance as I hit the last mile.
Anyway, we finished the race in 3 hours, 53 minutes. Not too shabby for first-timers, although I don’t think the Boston Marathon organizers will be imploring us to register anytime soon. The thing that has me so pumped is that this was a personal best for me--not just in terms of time and distance--but in the sense that I enjoyed the run itself more than any run I’ve ever done. I think I have crossed over into the crazytown of people who say they “love to run”. And when I finally arrived in this exercise-induced crazytown, Kate came bounding up and said, “What took you so long??”
We were in the middle of breakfast when Caed announced he needed to “go poopy” and scurried off the chair and around the corner to the bathroom. Thirty seconds later he was back, shouting, “Emergency! There’s a ‘mergency! C’mon, mommy, I need to get my firefighter gear.”
Not knowing whether this was imaginary play or a legitimate cause for concern, I asked Caed if it was a real emergency, or just pretend. He emphatically communicated that this grave and imminent danger of which he spoke was REAL and lurking in the bathroom.
So I sent him off to grab his emergency gear while I checked out the scene. Sure enough, the toilet was on the verge of overflowing, threatening to flood the floor at any moment with a potentially toxic combination of sewage. A minute later, Caed came charging back into the bathroom, this time sporting his full fireman attire. “See, I told you it was a ‘mergency, Mom. You better get that stick thing so we can fix it.” (He was referring to the plunger.)
So, I grabbed a plunger, and we carefully made our way toward the toilet. As we moved in toward the fiery throne, Caed took off his fireman hat, reached for the plunger, and said, “Here, Mom, hold my hat.”
My brave, brave boy. A hero for sure. But today would not be the day that he would operate a plunger for the first time. Soon enough, my son. Soon enough.
So I told him to keep his hat on, and stand back. Waaaaay back. And I plunged our way to safety from the sewage.
After all the excitement, Caed only had one thing to say. “Can I actually go poopy now?”
This morning we joined friends from play group on a trip out to Snell’s Family Farm for some autumn apple picking. The weather was gorgeous, and the apples were easily harvested (and frequently sampled by Caed the fruit connoisseur). Below are some fun photos from this beautiful fall morning:
Every time Larry goes back to his “regular” schedule after having a month without call, the whole family goes into withdrawal. Larry has worked every day (yes, Saturday and Sunday included) and a few nights since he returned home from his Georgetown elective. And most of those days have been 15+ hour days, meaning the kids don’t see him in the morning or the evening. So this morning, right after he woke up, Caed told me he was going downstairs to see what Daddy was doing.
I relayed the bad news that Daddy was already at work, and Caed quickly replied, “But he was already at work all night, and all week, and he can’t keep working like this! Because he needs his rest, and I need to PLAY WITH HIM!”
I have no comprehension of how tough it must be for Larry to work day and night, in a high stress, high stakes environment, where there is always work hanging over his head, waiting to sabotage even his infrequent days off. But I have to go on record saying that if I was in his shoes, I doubt I would be able to do what he does when he walks in the door after a 30+ hour shift. He builds with legos. He plays hide and seek. He teems with excitement about the kids “surprises” (scribbled art work) and listens with rapt attention as they reveal big news of the day ( I got a lollipop today because I ate all my dinner!).
Caed and Dani are immeasurably blessed to have a Daddy who gives so much of himself even when he is completely spent. So thanks, Larry, and hang in there!