siblings · slice of life · technology

Naughty Moments

THE GIRL CHILD

This morning, I asked Isabelle to watch Ari while I went upstairs to brush my teeth. Whenever I’ve asked this of her in the past she has played with him. Today she had another idea.

On my way back downstairs I heard voices, but they weren’t my children’s voices. She turned on the TV! I was infuriated since I don’t allow TV before school. I thought about tiptoeing downstairs and catching her in the act, but I worried she would’ve heard my footsteps and turned it off before I walked into the room. So I called to her from the staircase, “I hear the TV and want to see what you’re watching.”

Isabelle looked so guilty when I entered our great room. Thankfully, she was only watching “The Cat in the Hat” with Ari who was standing right up against the TV screen, which is NOT a good thing if you’re in charge of your baby brother. (Reasons I don’t like her to watch TV when Ari is around.)

I punished her in a way that benefitted me. No KidzBop in the car this morning! (BTW: I listened to the Beatles Channel, which was delightful.)

THE BOY CHILD

Ari started climbing onto the couch a few days ago. Thing is, Ari doesn’t just sit on the couch like a normal kid. He walks back and forth on the sectional. Also, he likes to stand in place and wave the quilt, which hangs on the wall, in a way that makes me cringe every time.

Perhaps the funniest part of Ari standing up on the couch (to touch the quilt) is that he knows he shouldn’t be doing it. He smiles as he touches it, makes eye contact with me, and then says “no-no” as he grabs the material and gives it a shake.

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siblings · slice of life

Sunday Breakfast

Soon after Marc learned about my father’s tradition of taking me out to breakfast on Sunday mornings when I was a kid, he adopted a similar tradition with Isabelle. Every Sunday morning, when Marc isn’t on-call at the hospital, he takes Isabelle out for breakfast. Sometimes they take Ari, but most of the time it’s just the two of them.

In the past few months, Isabelle has gotten frustrated about missing “Sunday Breakfasts with Daddy” when he’s on-call. Therefore, I usually take her and Ari out for breakfast at Starbucks on one of the weekend days when Marc is working to make up for missing the special breakfast with Daddy.

This morning, I offered to take Isabelle to breakfast, but not to Starbucks. I wanted to change it up. (I always want to change it up, but she always wants to go to the same Starbucks so she can order a blueberry muffin and chocolate milk.) I looked Isabelle square in the eye and said, “I will take you and your brother out, but it has to be some place other than Starbucks.” She agreed so I checked a couple of menus and found a place that suited us (i.e., gluten-free options, pancakes, high chair, diaper changing table, reasonable prices). So I packed the kids up in the car — once Ari woke up — and drove to Tomato Pie Cafe.

When we arrived, we had to wait a few minutes for a table to open. Therefore, I set down the diaper bag, Isabelle’s art bag, and the coats on a chair. I stood in line while Isabelle said, “C’mon Ari, let’s walk!”

“Stay where I can see you,” I said while pointing to an area with couches.

Isabelle led Ari over to an area with a raised platform. Without my prompting or asking, she helped him up and down onto the platformed area — multiple times (Because nothing is more fun than doing something a gazillion times when you’re 18-months old!). When Ari looked like he wanted to sit on a couch, Isabelle gave him a boost. Every time he attempted to bolt away from her, she caught him and said, “Stay with me, Ari.”

I smiled from my perch at the hostess stand. There was no bitterness towards having to chase after her brother. No frustration that she was out with me and Ari — instead of Daddy — on a Sunday morning. She was content to help him, as many times as he needed, to stay safe. Good gosh, I thought, I am so lucky to have kids who adore each other (at least for now).

*****

Once we were seated, my phone vibrated in my pocket. It was Marc. He finished rounding earlier than expected so he could meet up with us! While he got there after we ordered, he managed to join us, which was an unexpected treat!

siblings · slice of life

Two Here. Two There.

Isabelle has known — for at least three months — I was going to drive to my parents’ house with Ari today. (One of my dearest friends from college is in North America, from Israel, this week so I’m traveling to NYC to see her.) Isabelle has known we’d be back on Tuesday afternoon. Despite this knowledge, she had a tough time separating from Ari this morning.

About 20 minutes before I departed, the good-byes began. Isabelle smothered Ari with kisses on his cheeks and enveloped him in more hugs than I could count. It seemed a little over the top, so Marc loaded Ari into his car seat. Isabelle followed “to keep him company” while I finished loading the car.

A few minutes later, I opened the back door and noticed Isabelle perched in the space between their car seats. She was facing backwards — just like her under-two-year-old brother — reading to him. That’s right. SHE WAS READING BOARD BOOKS TO HIM. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Isabelle loves being read to, but struggles with independent reading due to ocular motor dysfunction.)

“Can you give us some privacy?” she asked as I appeared at the door.

“In a second. I have to put some things back here.” I replied.

She continued reading Hair by Leslie Patricelli to Ari — a book we’d practiced several months ago — quite fluently. I stopped what I was doing and retrieved my iPhone from my back pocket. I pulled it out to take a video, but Isabelle glared at me. Therefore, I snapped a candid photo and gave her the privacy she requested.

* * * * *

Ari fell asleep for an hour once we were 15 minutes into our road trip. All I could think, as I glanced in the backseat, was how it didn’t seem right to have two of us on our way out of town with two family members at home. This isn’t how it ever works. Sometimes I travel for work. Sometimes Marc travels for work. Sometimes Marc and I go out of town together. However, there’s always a set of grandparents at home with the kids. This time, we were split in half and it felt — for lack of a better word — weird.

* * * * *

When Ari awoke from his nap, he babbled in the backseat for a few minutes. However, he suddenly cried “Idd-ee” (That’s how he says “Izzy,” which is what he calls Isabelle.) over and over again. He must’ve noticed he was alone in the backseat so he let his displeasure be known. Therefore, the final 43 miles of our trip were spent with him in tears crying out “Idd-ee” and “lun-shhh” over and over again. Once we got to my parents’ house, my dad had lunch waiting for Ari. Afterwards, Ari found some framed photographs of Isabelle and all was right with his world again.

siblings · slice of life

Hugs, Kisses, and Tickles Good-Bye

I drop Isabelle off at school at least once a week. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll remember to give me a kiss good-bye. I usually have to say, “let me give you a kiss” once she unbuckles are seatbelt.

There’s someone else in the car who never has to ask for a kiss good-bye.

Ari.

Ari gets smothered with hugs, kisses, and tickles before she grabs her bag and steps out of the minivan. If he’s sleepy, then she gives him a quick kiss before leaving. But today, Ari was wide-awake. The good-byes took much longer than usual. (THINK: Two minutes until I finally said, “You have to go to school!”)

In the midst of the sibling love fest, I turned around to snap a picture. All I could think was they are 17 months into their relationship and she adores him as much as the day he was born. How lucky am I?

Caught in the middle of a game of peek-a-boo.

siblings · slice of life

The Saddest Time of the Day

Isabelle dons her socks and shoes. Next, she puts on her coat, scarf, and hat. Then, she plays with Ari — while bundled up — as I watch for the school bus from the sidelights of our front door.

As soon as her bus rounds the bend of our street, I call, “Your bus is here!”

She stops what she’s doing (if I’m lucky), puts on her backpack, gets a kiss on the head from me, and then heads out the door, down the driveway, and boards the school bus.

But there’s something else happening in the hustle of that moment. Ari stands there, waving, and repeatedly says, “Bye-bye! Bye-bye, Iz! Bye-bye!”

Once Isabelle sits down, she faces us and waves good-bye. This morning, kisses were blown back and forth as the bus pulled away.

Then, Ari stands there — silently staring as the bus pulls away — with the saddest look on his face. It happens daily and it doesn’t get easier to watch.

I remind him, “Izzy will be home this afternoon & you’ll get to play with her.”

I pick him up and hug him. Ari continues to look outside at the space where the bus once stood. He doesn’t cry, but continues to look sad and perplexed since the bus takes his favorite playmate away for the day.

raising boys · siblings · slice of life

On the Move

Nearly every Tuesday morning, I find myself in the same predicament. How do I entertain Ari while Isabelle has speech therapy? I used to be able to keep him in his stroller or hold him and listen to Isabelle’s sessions through the one-way mirror.

Not anymore.

Ari is mobile now! He will sit in his stroller when we are in motion, but not for a 45-minute appointment. Therefore, I’ve allowed him to walk around the hallways and through the gym in the therapy services office for the past few weeks.

Last week, as we trolled the halls, I named everything Ari touched. We passed so many doors during our 45-minute jaunt that he said his first word: door!

Today, Ari wanted to explore the gym where the adult physical therapy patients work with their therapists. While everyone is happy to see a baby roaming around, I always stay a couple of steps behind him so he doesn’t topple over a frail patient or climb on any of the equipment.

This morning, one of the therapy assistants couldn’t get over how much Ari had grown since she last saw him so she was happy to let him assist her pushing her cart around the gym as she refilled each station with clean sheets. The two of them were beyond cute walking around the gym with each together:

Finally, it was time to go back and check in on Isabelle at the end of her session. In case you need proof as to why we can’t observe her sessions, this photo of Ari on the other side of the one-way mirror says it all:

You can’t be a clandestine observer when someone is pounding on the mirror!

family · siblings · slice of life

Someone wants his mama…

We are not a co-sleeping family. Despite the “back to sleep campaign,” it never occurred to me to have my kids sleep with me since I always slept in my own bed as a kid unless I was sick or there was a terrible thunderstorm.

I hesitated about bringing Ari into our bed when he was up screaming in the wee hours of Monday morning. However, I was tired and wanted to go back to bed (and Ari wanted no part of my husband rocking him back to sleep).

The same thing happened last night around 1:00 a.m. Ari settled down when I was the one rocking him or sitting close by. When Marc tried to take over Ari screamed. Flattered as I am that my son wants me, I’d rather not be this wanted. I value my sleep!

After an hour up with Ari, Marc took over for me so I could go back to sleep. However, I couldn’t take the baby screaming from down the hall so I texted Marc.

Five minutes after Marc thought Ari would lay down, the two of them appeared in our bedroom.

“This is how bad habits start,” I muttered to him. “But I don’t care. We have to get back to sleep.”

And sleep we did.

In fact, I slept until a little before 7 when Marc had to leave for work. But that’s when I encountered a new problem: a big sister who wanted to play with her baby brother. Isabelle tried to stay quiet by laying near him, but eventually the giggles started… and she woke him.

And so another day begins. Thankfully, coffee exists.

siblings · slice of life · travel

The Empty Seat

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I’ll be honest with you. It’s strange to have only one child in the backseat again. Much as I will enjoy a few days with Ari, I miss having both of my children at home with us.

They are seriously in love. It is a love filled with silly noises, hugs, tickles, nonsensical conversations, and kisses. Lots of kisses.

They’ve been together every day for the past ten-and-a-half months. However, the long good-bye happened yesterday when Isabelle separated from Ari for the first time since he returned from the hospital at two days old. (Marc and I were taking Ari back to Pennsylvania while Isabelle was heading off to Connecticut to spend a few days with my in-laws.) Isabelle seemed fine about saying good-bye to us, but she didn’t want to let Ari go. Eventually, I put him in the stroller and a few more kisses later she departed.
Ari isn’t talking yet, but his actions showed that he missed Isabelle yesterday afternoon. For instance, he woke up from his car nap and cried. As the front-seat passenger, I was able to turn around to see what was wrong. I found him crying while staring aimlessly at the space to his left. Rather than seeing his sister’s smiling face in her car seat, he saw shopping bags. Despite my attempts to soothe him, it took me sitting in Isabelle’s seat for the remainder of the ride home so he wouldn’t cry.
This morning, I noticed Ari staring towards the place where Isabelle sits again. This time, I needed to be the driver so I couldn’t do much other than to say, “She’ll be back on Thursday.”
Thankfully, he didn’t cry during today’s car ride.