And so it was that this charming young man, on our first encounter, truly wanted nothing to do with his baby sister. It happens. Mama had expressed that her dream pictures were of the kiddos together and I tried my best to fulfill the request. We tried just about every way we could think of to coax him into the same frame or even in the background of the photo. No dice. A forced toddler will only turn ugly, quickly. Fortunately we had the opportunity to meet up once more and by the grace of the photography gods, our little man was more than obliging! A different day = a different child! He sat and cuddled like a champ and we were handsomely rewarded- pun intended! Enjoy Mama, I hope we got what you were after!
I was SO excited after this shoot that I actually plugged into the laptop and was downloading the images off my camera on the drive home! The only problem with this idea is that I crested the back road coming back towards Fort Hood, driving into a gorgeous tangerine and cotton candy sunset, and a blackhawk helicopter rose up out of the trees in silhouette right in front of me and I had no camera to get the shot! What does Homer Simpson say? "Dope!"This incredibly laid back family had not one, but two major hams competing for the lens. I mentioned to their mother that I've been wanting to do a shoot out at Belton Lake and she was quick to accept. The day was perfect. There was a cool breeze off the lake, evening sunshine, comfortable warm weather for bare toes and shoulders. The little man was VERY gracious for the camera, oodles of smiles and easy to please. Sweet baby girl was in love with the grass, the quilt, the tiny pebbles on the playground, and chocked full of gummy toothless grins. Thank you for inviting me to share in the joys that have been bestowed upon your family! Enjoy your sneak peek!
Today was The Boy's first day of "preschool". I suppose we used to call it "the first day of school" when one started Kindergarten. In Germany you only celebrate the first day of "school" once, but in a high style that rivals Christmas. But as I have learned through casual observation, "school" is now a term used loosely to define any sort of regular daycare that one attends. I have a friend whose son has attended "school" since he was an infant. So by now he must be enrolling in AP classes... The Boy has started a two day program, but it's the same two days every week with the same schedule and it follows a "wee-learn" curriculum (no, they don't teach potty training), so by golly, we're calling it "school"!
I've dropped off and collected plenty of other people's children in my nanny days, but this is the first day that I dropped off my own son. To my surprise, there were no tears welling up in my eyes; ah shucks, I had to stifle the urge to sailor skip and click my heels as I departed down the corridor from the classroom- and boy would I have gotten some air if I had as I was pushing The Baby in the stroller! It's not that I don't love The Boy with all my heart and soul. It's not that we didn't have a fantastic summer filled with exciting outtings, picnics, and adventures. It's not that I don't still believe in the importance of my role as "stay at home mother". The little man has grown exponentially in his abilities to actually be helpful from time to time. But over the summer, as his daring/reckless/curious nature began to show itself, climbing to the top of the sofa for a better bounce, playing derby cars with the laundry basket and baby brother as the "driver", it became more and more clear that maybe it was time for The Boy to learn how to hold hands, how to walk in a line, how to eat lunch with his peers, and most importantly: how to appreciate his Mommy. Being ever so sensitive to the "big day" I spent the whole evening prior cutting his most favorite fruits into bite sized pieces, locking the cheese and turkey bites into little reusable, eco friendly, snap-and-go containers that he loves so much (the opening and closing of them more than what is inside). I packed two extra sets of undies and shorts, just in case. I stuffed it all, security blanket included, into his new construction truck backpack, and set it by the door. To my delight he emerged from the kitchen this morning announcing "The Boy's going hiking! Yeah!"
The Baby didn't follow the plan so well however (he was supposed to go to daycare too, giving me an entire morning alone), waking in the night with a green snotty nose, evident in his portrait, and a cough that would have made me look like a total jerk for leaving him in daycare. So The Baby tagged along for the adventure and thankfully, was a doll.
At first we were all systems go, arriving just a moment early to oggle at the playground and talk about our cool backpack. When someone else's child began crying we did waiver for a moment, The Boy's eyes brimmed with tears as I gave him a quick smooch and excused myself from the classroom. A good friend, also dropping her daughter for the first time, confirmed that those tears were just for show as two minutes later, when executing her own drop off, The Boy was happily playing and tearless!
When all was said and done, I got my wish; a quick and painless goodbye, an hour of girl talk and breakfast out. I lingered for an hour of peace and quiet in the city's new Barnes & Noble with The Baby slumbering in the stroller. I ate lunch in total silence at my kitchen table, I chewed and TASTED every bite. I posted this blog well before midnight. Perfection!
Perhaps the most special part of the day for me was to watch my Dad teach my son how to fish. Now, I'm no sissy, I can hook a worm with the best of them. And as the fish continued to evade capture and steal worms from my Dad's eager line I surprised even myself and fought back the urge to show the boys how a fish is really caught. Instead, I hid behind my camera and let my son have his "dude time" with his GrandBob. I grew up in a very outdoorsman kind of family and to see our family traditions of fishing, hiking, cookouts, campfires, camping, all being passed onto my children with the loving and attentive help of my parents is truly a gift to my heart.
The Boy will no doubt be wanting to adorn every dish at every meal from now on with candles, since tonight we celebrated my Dad's birthday as well, and he will probably be asking if Santa uses a GPS system too since we hid Dad's birthday presents out in the woods and made him use his retirement gift, a GPS system, to go find them... I definitely see "geo-cache'ing" in the future with the boys. This is just a glimpse of the very special memories made this weekend as our family embarks on another chapter of our lives - "Dad's retired... Now we can go tent camping in the rain ANY day of the week!"
One final milestone, I've always wondered when The Boy, the mockingbird, would mimic breastfeeding, afterall, he mimics everything else that I do, the good and the bad... I'm simultaneously embarrased and proud that he knows how to assemble a breastpump. Well, it happened. Monday night after dinner he climbed up into one of the porch chairs with my boppy pillow around his waist and says to his Grandmother: "Memom, help baby!" My mother obliged him and put The Baby in The Boy's lap. The Boy lifted his shirt for The Baby and says "Boy feed baby nipples, baby bite it off!" Who needs a show like Last Comic Standing when you could just move in with a talking toddler!
This little man has a special place in my heart. Cyrus's Mommy, Caitlin, and I used to live just doors apart. We used to spend the summers in my family pool, or riding bikes up to the corner store to buy popsicles and loads of candy. She taught me how to do manicures. We caught lightning bugs and watched Kevin Costner's Robin Hood until the VHS tape broke apart from over use. Caitlin married another dear friend of mine and Cyrus is their first born. I am rarely in the upstate area until autumn. I flew into town the day before Cyrus was born. What a surprise and a blessing to share this special new addition in Caitlin's life; such a treasure to lend her my own experiences as a mother as she embarks on this marvelous journey of raising a son. Thank you for sharing your precious bundle! Enjoy!
The second session happened to be a dear friend of mine with whom I attended grades K-12, one of the very few classmates I keep in touch with throughout my many moves across the world. I was blessed to have the oportunity to visit with this very proud new mother in the hospital the day after her first son was born. We may not have gotten maternity photos, but here is a sneak peek at Cyrus John's first moments in this fantastic world!