“Slo No Mo”

Noah, Luke and I arrived at the bakery soaking wet from the soggy, chilly weather we were given this morning for Noah’s 5th birthday party. The very sweet (elderly) bakery owner had made a cake for Noah which was nothing like what I had envisioned. It was a gigantic rectangle of blue frosting with Noah’s much too small Turbo the Snail cake topper placed off center and the phrase, “Slo No Mo, Happy 5th Birthday Noah!” scrawled across the top. I know she was trying to add an extra touch, but that wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind.

Of course the few people who have seen the movie, might know that it’s about a snail with a dream to move fast like a race car, who is then sucked into a car engine and comes out with the ability to move at lightning speed and starts calling himself “Turbo.” It wasn’t intentional, but it seemed to imply to those who have never seen the movie that Noah was no longer “slow” minus the “w.” Noah had been obsessed with the movie and requested a Turbo birthday cake so he didn’t mind. In fact, he liked that it was blue and had the Turbo action figure on the top. “Meh, good enough then,” I thought.


photo 3

The very sweet bakery owner also gave Luke a mylar balloon which he let float away into the rainy, gray yonder as we left and while the owner held the door open for us and of course watched as her gift turned into a speck in the sky. I offered my apologies and she just said with a slightly annoyed edge to her voice, “Boys will be boys.”

The second half of the morning went better. They both had a decent lunch of fruit and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Noah actually asked to take a nap before the party and they slept for two whole hours! I was able to make two giant trays of baked ziti, finished cleaning a few last minute things, and applied some much needed make-up. Scott ran to the store and bought ice cream, ice, and took back the pop cans to make room for many more.

Guests began to arrive around 3:00. In no time at all, our foyer was lined with presents. Noah was bouncing off the walls with excitement. It was really cute how enthusiastic he was with each friend’s arrival, “CARTER!” “JAMESON!” “VINCE!” His voice was a shriek. It made the week of cleaning and planning well worth it.

After dinner, we sang happy birthday to Noah. His “dinner” had been his blue cake, some ice cream, a cup of juice and just as he was taking a bite of a cookie, he started to gag. My mom was watching the whole scene and thinking quickly, grabbed Noah, dashed him to the bathroom where he quickly emptied his dinner of sugar into the toilet.

I had been in the kitchen cleaning up when all of this went down. But someone (I think my sister) came and found me to let me know Noah had just thrown up. I couldn’t tell you details because everything got blurry for me at that moment. One very important thing you need to know about me is that at the very top of ALL OF MY PHOBIAS is vomit. Vomit makes me go out-of-my-head-crazy. I quickly go into panic mode at the sight or even sound of someone tossing their cookies.

That being said, I gathered my nerves and ran to the bathroom to see if he was all right.

“I need to clean him up, but the water isn’t working,” my mom said looking a bit anxious but told me she was relieved that they’d made it to the bathroom. I grabbed a wash cloth to wipe Noah’s face and arm but the water was off, it finally registered that my mom had just said that. We had blown a fuse earlier that day and since we use well water, I thought maybe that had been the problem. Noah was also jittery and announced, “I threw up, Mommy! But I’m all better now. I want to go play.”

“We need to clean you up,” I said. “Mom, will you please find Scott and tell him the water isn’t working and I will try the upstairs bathroom to see if it’s working…?” I was reaching and not thinking clearly because I was so grossed out by the smudge of nastiness on Noah’s shirt and arm.

Finally, Scott found us and told me he had chosen that very moment to be changing out the filter on our water softener. Now, this is a perfect example of my husband’s uncanny ability to choose the days of major events hosted in our home to work on completely unrelated household projects. Obviously, that would be the perfect thing to do in the middle of a five-year-old’s birthday party when 40 people are in your house. Past projects have included cleaning out the garage or our unfinished basement (which no one ever sees or cares about) hours before major holiday celebrations. So for the sake of keeping the story rolling, we’ll just leave it there. The water was off because the water filter was being changed out.

He realized that I was freaking out and hurried back to the basement to turn the water back on. It was back on in a couple minutes. We cleaned up Noah and I looked at his hazel eyes.

“You ok, buddy?” I asked more calmly.

“Yeah. Mom?”


“Thank you for my party,” he smiled and hugged me un-phased by upchucking. I was so glad it hadn’t affected him too seriously. But it also made me feel like he was such a big boy.

“You’re welcome, sweetie. I love you,” I said and I kissed the top of his head forgetting the past ten minutes.

A little while later, we opened his presents. The pile of loot looked like an inventory check of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise at Wal-Mart. It was with a twinge of sadness that I eyed the stack remembering when it was a heap of Thomas the Train toys and more little-boy toys for past birthday celebrations. But he’s five now and I suppose Thomas might be a little babyish to him very soon.

It’s the age-old tale of the mommy who thinks, “My little baby is growing up. Where has the time gone?” It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I held his chunky little body in the crook of my arm and rocked him to sleep wondering what he’d be like. Time is speeding by swiftly. I can see him growing into a kind, empathetic, thoughtful boy. I can see his stubborn streak a mile wide. He is a natural leader. He can also be very bossy, but I have faith that with a little direction he can channel it into something very positive.

I see the wheels turning in his head every day. He sounds out words and tries to write sentences. Just a few days ago he wrote the letters, “I M TRNEN 5” without any help from me. I asked him what it said and he said, “I am turning 5.”

I am so proud of him. I am amazed that I have been blessed with such bright and wonderful kids. I am also aware at how true it is when people say time flies. It feels a little like a snail’s pace when you’re going through those baby/toddler years. But as we know, it’s really “slo no mo.”

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

photo 4


I Have a Dream

In that foggy, hazy mist of life that exists roughly between the hours of 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., when my eyes refuse to open completely and my manners are still hitting snooze and I’m pretty sure I should be forced to wear some sort of a muzzle before speaking to anyone until my brain is running on all cylinders, I indulge myself in a daydream…

It’s a fantasy of waking up on my own, when my body actually says, “I’m ready for you to begin your day now, Christine.” Maybe that time on the clock will be only 8:00 a.m. but I know it will be my will rather than the will of a three or four year old announcing, from the living room aglow with the dim flicker or Dora the Explorer, “MOM! I want juice…PLEASE!”


I know all you wise parents of teens or twenty-year-olds will be quick to remind me that these days are so brief and will be over before I know it. I know you will also tell me that these are actually the “easy” years. And believe me, I know I will think the same thing when a mom with little ones laments over lack of sleep when I am older and my kids want almost nothing to do with me. I will want these days back of shagging sippy cups and dry cereal in little plastic bowls when the sun hasn’t even made an appearance yet.

But for now I just want a long, uninterrupted snooze; one that I awake from when it suits me and one that I can adjust to slowly so I can brush my teeth, shower, and eat food of my own before having to speak to anyone else.

So now that I am awake, I have shared with you my inner most yearnings for the day, I will get up and change my daughter’s diaper which I just heard her fill from across the room. And I will remember this moment as a gift I was once given ten years from now.

Happy Thursday.

Hopes for Grace

I haven’t written very much about our daughter besides her birth story. But I guess it’s mostly because we haven’t gotten to the tough stuff yet. She’s our third kid and most of the stuff the first few months is strictly survival. We aren’t dealing with temper tantrums or disobedience. Since she’s not our first, this part feels like a piece of cake most days!

But I wanted to take an opportunity to write down some of my hopes and concerns about having a daughter because they are a little different than the things I think about with my sons.

New Year’s Eve, 2012:

Scott and I stood on either side of a large box which had been stuffed with balloons and streamers. The color of the decorations would be blue or pink. I wore a simple black maternity dress as a statement that no matter what color balloons flew out of that box, I felt very neutral with the outcome. I did not have a feeling one way or the other as to what that baby would be. We’d had the ultrasound that morning and when I saw all of the chambers of the heart beating strong, the perfect curve of the spine and working limbs and organs, I felt relieved and blessed. We had two healthy boys and a third boy would be wonderful. If we were given a girl, I was prepared to learn even more and also ecstatic to know the joys of raising both genders.

The ultrasound technician had written the gender for us on a piece of paper. Without peeking at it, I gave it to my brother-in-law in the strictest of confidence and he took it to have the box filled with balloons at a local Party City. Then he brought the box to a restaurant where were had a delicious Italian dinner with our parents and siblings and of course our boys. The after-dinner surprise was the gender reveal for our baby.

Together, Scott and I pulled the lid off the box. It was all in slow motion to me when a bunch of pink and purple balloons burst out of the box and floated to the ceiling. Everyone squealed with excitement and hugged and congratulated us and each other. I cried. I hugged Scott who said, “You did it! Good job!” This still makes me laugh because his genetic material actually determined the gender. But it was sweet anyway.

The party was over and we were driving home with the boys. I looked back at their sleepy little heads resting on their car seats. I smiled imagining a little girl in the back completing the view from the rear view mirror. “She will be a cool little girl,” I told myself. I had always wanted an older brother, but I am the oldest. I already felt that my little girl would be so lucky to have not one, but two older brothers! She will probably like good music, know about sports, not feel horribly awkward around boys since she will grow up with them. She will have two protectors when she goes to school even if she ends up being a pathetic nerd like her mom.

Suddenly I was in a state of mild panic that, quite honestly, I am still battling. I know many of the challenges that Grace will have to face. I will have to have “the talk” with her about the birds and bees. I will have to help her shave her legs, and good God, if she’s hairy like me, we might have to start her in first grade! I will have to teach her about self-worth and not look to others to help her determine what that is. I will need to be the bad guy for when she’s in her teens and “all of her friends can do it so why can’t she?” I will have to hug her and find the right words when she gets her heart broken for the first time. I will have to be her non-overbearing (event-planner to the core) mom biting my tongue when she plans her wedding (Meadow Brook Hall is the perfect venue, Grace. I’m already saving up if you want to have it there!)

And if I do all of those things right and she still wants me around when the dust settles, then maybe she will want me to be there for the other big real-life stuff. Because no one ever really appreciates their mom until they are about to become one.

It will be my job to help her during pregnancy and cook her meals if she has horrible morning sickness and I will have to watch her suffer through it, reassuring her that she will forget most of it when she’s holding her baby in her arms. I will be the one she calls when she suddenly realizes how much her life has changed after the baby is born. I will have to remind her that she’s doing a great job and screw what everyone else thinks! No, it doesn’t matter how much chocolate you put in your kid’s chocolate milk, Gracie! You go ahead and put six tablespoons in if it means he’ll drink it! When she second guesses herself at every turn, I will be the one to remind her that if you have your kid’s best interest at heart, you are doing it right.

When I look at her face, I feel as if I am looking over an edge of something so immense and boundless. She can be anything from this point on. She is as nearly close to perfect as a person can be because she doesn’t know about greed or selfishness. She doesn’t feel hate or revenge. She only knows love and trust. I don’t know if she knows what i am saying yet. I’d like to think she does. But I tell her every day she is smart and strong and brave and kind and beautiful. Maybe if I start now, she’ll believe it later.