Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Okay, so maybe we don't have any tigers, but we have the lions (mountain-variety) and now the bears. We knew it was inevitable.  I saw some bears playing all over the rock face on the mountain in front of our house.  Locals told us we'd see them -- up close and personal.  But, I was still surprised and a little speechless when I saw this bear stroll right by the kitchen window while I was clearing the dishes from the table.

{Sorry about the blurry photo above, but having a steady hand is a bit difficult when you are face-to-face with a bear.  At least this was my defense to my husband's criticism regarding the out-of-focus shot.  Plus, I was holding my 2 year old son in the other arm.  My dear husband countered that I was inside the house, and therefore, safe.  Thus, his expectation for a National Geographic-quality photo. I told him that I would be more than happy to place all future wildlife photo ops in his capable (and steady) hands.}

He (?) made a beeline to the suet cage that hangs in one of our trees for the birds.  After scoping out the situation for a second or two, he climbed that little aspen tree and snagged his snack.

Oh, that poor aspen! I thought the whole tree was going to give way with the weight of that massive bear.  And the claw marks that he left behind on the trunk -- amazing.
In the end, he left the unopened suet cage full of the suet cake.  I guess he wasn't hungry enough to fiddle around with it.  He promptly gave up and moseyed his way into the trees just beyond our driveway.  I was outside in a flash, taking down our hummingbird feeder and closing the garage (where we have a nearly full trash can).  Perhaps this Papa Bear was on the hunt for his own Father's Day treat?  Unfortunately, he went away empty-handed (empty-pawed?).  Hopefully Mama and Baby Bear had some porridge waiting for him back at the den.  Where I hope he will stay.  Is it hibernation time yet??

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A New Bedtime Ritual is Born

So, my little girl has been sleeping in her own bedroom for 10 days now.  Ten very long, lonely days.  For me, anyway.  She is loving her new found independence and privacy.  I guess I underestimated her need to have a space of her very own, apart from her parents and her (often extremely loud and tantrum-prone) baby brother.  On an almost daily basis, she'll wrap her arms around me and say, "I am still just loving my own room so, so much!" 

I, on the other hand, have been sleeping with one eye and one ear open for the last 10 days.  The first night (okay, and maybe a few additional nights since then), I sat in the hallway outside her bedroom door and just listened to her breathing.  One would presume that I have a difficult time letting go.  One could not be more right.  That sweet little girl has been sleeping right next to me or within arm's reach for five years.  {Unless you count the many months I was pregnant with her, then it's almost six years} 

But because I thought she might have some anxiety about sleeping alone in her big girl room, I made up a little jar of Angel Cream.  I jotted down the idea many years ago, before I had children of my own.  I'm just guessing, but I vaguely recall getting the idea for it from the website A Magical Childhood.  A website, I must add, that has so many good ideas and links it will make your head spin.

The idea is to take some sweet-smelling lotion and add some glitter to it (the original instructions called for sparkly eye shadow, but since it's not 1984 and I don't own sparkly eye shadow in a bright color, I went with extra-fine glitter).  Then add a label with a little poem to recite every night at bedtime:

Night is here, and it's time for bed,
But before you lay down your sleepy head,
On the back of your hand, rub some Angel Cream,
So the angels will watch over you as you dream.

My daughter is thoroughly delighted with this new little ritual.  We haven't skipped a single night's application.  After we read stories and say our prayers, I take the jar from her nightstand drawer (must hide these kind of things from her rascal brother), and she dips her finger into it.  While I recite the poem, she applies the magical cream.  The whole thing takes less than a minute, but the impact has been huge.  It's just an extra measure to ensure secure, happy feelings going into the nighttime hours.  Not that she needs it, as I've said, she's made it clear she was ready for this kind of transition into big girlhood.  Hmmm...maybe I'm the one who should be applying some Angel Cream. ;)

This post is part of Steady Mom's 30-Minute Blog Challenge.  Go check out some of the other quick reads!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You At Two...

Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet love!  My little boy is now fully entrenched in the toddler years. Although I'm quite certain we stepped foot into the challenging toddler years about a year ago!  So much has transpired in what is, really, such a short period of time in the grand scheme of life.  But, for our relationship as mama and son, it has been two years of growing, testing, understanding, learning, coping, and becoming more wrapped up in absolute love for one another.

Here are a few thoughts I have regarding you, living life at two, that I never want to forget:

*Your whole being is encased in a soft, sensitive, compassionate envelope.  I'm not sure if this is a trait that has been nurtured by spending so many hours in the company of your big sister (and best friend), or if this boundless kindheartedness is inborn.  Regardless, here are a few ways this admirable quality plays out in our everyday life:

             -When we are reading a book and the character is having
a rough day or is sad about  something, you ask me to stop reading mid-story so you can kiss and hug the character on the page.  It is a daily occurrence around our house to see you clasping an open book against your chest, eyes closed, and patting it gently.  Only after you have given it some love, can we continue with our story.

-When your sister does something less than kind to you (and, thankfully, this is rare and usually extremely mild, like giving you a light shove or taking a toy from you), and I reprimand her, she usually ends up crying.  {And it's not that I'm yelling or being harsh, she's just extremely sensitive to criticism or having her behavior corrected}  Anyway, even though you are the one who has been wronged in some way, you always stop crying and begin to comfort your sister because now she's the one crying.  I've actually witnessed blood dripping from your lip (after your dear sister pushed you flat onto your face), while you take the time to pat your sister's arm and stroke her face in order to cheer her (the instigator in the event) up.  You never hold a grudge.  You give love no matter what, even if the situation would dictate otherwise.

-If you hear (or even sense) that someone wants something, you go to any length to get it for them.  Often when coloring, your sister will say, "I wish I had a black crayon to color with."  You, holding the black crayon, immediately stop drawing and hand it over to her gladly.

The other day, I was standing in the living room, and I said under my breath, "Now what did I do with that measuring tape??"  You were sitting half a room away, playing with your cars and trucks.  I noticed you get up and walk past me.  You went downstairs.  I could hear you rummaging through the craft room/playroom, talking to yourself.  A couple of minutes later, you appeared at my side, holding the measuring tape in your chubby little hand.  My smile was the only reward you needed.  You LOVE being helpful.  And you have an incredible memory.  How you could remember that you had seen the measuring tape in that crowded, overstuffed craft room/playroom is a mystery to me.

- When we are out on the swing set, every time I give your swing a push, you immediately say, "Sistah, too!  Sistah! Push sistah!" (sistah means "sister").  Meaning, you want me to give your sister a push too.  You can't stand the thought of your sister being left out of anything, so concerned you are for her welfare and happiness!

-Three days ago, when I was couch-ridden with a terrible cold, you squeezed yourself onto the couch next to me and stayed there for the next three hours while I rested.  You only got up a couple of times to get a new toy to hold.  This speaks volumes, as normally you never. stop. moving. Ever. Never. 

-In the middle of the horse quilt that Grandma made for me, there is a quilt square with a puppy dog.  Since you have a soft spot for puppies, you lean over and kiss the puppy's face.  Every day.  Several times per day.  I have pictures of you laying on your tummy, your nose pressed up against the quilt on our bed.

*Speaking of hugging and kissing, when you give anyone a kiss, you use your nose.  Ever so gently, you lean in and touch the other person (of stuffed animal or book) with the tip of your nose.  It's precious.

*When one of your toys is asleep, you go around the house tapping your nose with your index finger, saying, "Shhh...shhh....Seep-een."  Seep-een meaning "sleeping" in this scenario.  Instead of bringing your index finger to your lips as most people do when they want someone to hush, you tap the end of your nose 5 or 6 times.  I'm not sure why.  You seem to like using your nose for what the average person relies on their lips.  You're quirky and cute.  It's one of the many reasons I love you.

*Your voice is so varied.  Sometimes it's high and chipmunk-y.  But usually it's deep and husky.  Almost raspy, like you have a cold, even though you don't.  Your Daddy and I mimic your voice a lot when we talk to each other because it makes us giggle. 

*You wave backward: with your palm facing your face, rather than your palm facing outward from your body.

*Saying sorry (pronounced "Saw-eee") comes very easily for you.  You say it over and over again whenever you make more work for me (as in spilling your milk or tipping over your bowl of food).  Let's hope you're still able to admit it so readily when you are a grown man! ;)

*You are sly and sneaky and clever.  Very often, we should be annoyed or frustrated by your relentless efforts to defy us, but I find myself frequently amused by your resourcefulness and persistence.  Especially when I see that sparkle in your blue eyes and that dimpled smirk spread across your face. 

*You love to get my attention when it's clear I am trying to concentrate on a given task.  When I am leaning over you, trimming your tiny nails, trying to concentrate on not clipping your skin in the process, you lean your head way down next to mine, and nose your face right in front of my line of vision. Instead of having a clear view of your fingernail, I see your goofy smile about 1/4" from my face.  It never fails to send me into gales of laughter.

*And speaking of laughter, we joke that you are our little comedian.  You love to get the laughs from your adoring audience.  I think this is more for our benefit than yours.  I genuinely think that you just love making the people you love happy.  At the tender age of two, you have already learned one of life's greatest secrets: tis better to give than receive. 

Sweet boy, you have given us so very much in such a short period of time.  Thank you!  We love you more than you know.