Project Optimism: Brothers

My children were little monsters today. From the moment they woke up, one of them was yelling about something. Most of it centered around the fact that they got new toys while up at my in-laws’ this weekend and Declan wanted the toy that Brady got; two mini, racing, Turbo (the movie) snails. 

Normally, I don’t give in to whining, screaming, and complaining. BUT Brady did get a cooler toy. It was something that Declan would have wanted. Declan did NOT get to pick his own toy. Declan’s birthday is on Saturday. Aaaaaannnnndddd I couldn’t TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

So while out running errands I looked for Turbo snails. NOBODY had the friggin Turbo snails. It became an obsession. So I called around to toy stores and I finally found them. HA! We walked down and bought Declan his very own Turbo racing snails. All was good. Right? Well, not so much. Brady decided that the Turbo Declan chose was cooler than the one he already owned and he wanted Declan’s Turbo instead. Commence Brady whining and complaining and flipping out. Yes, I realize that I reinforced this behavior by buying Declan the toy when he complained, but he is two while Brady is nearly six and he already had the damn things to begin with. 

So where is the optimism in this post you might ask. Well, once everyone was sufficiently rested and fed, they both calmed down and then this happened. (Please excuse the crappy photo.)



They raced their Turbos into their room.



Where they played in the Batcave together. (Of course.)

And when their snails were all raced out, they watched tv together like this.



Then my heart melted because they love each other and I (pretty much) forgave them for their earlier behavior. Awww, brothers.


The Way It Should Be

Two posts in one day….whatwhatWHAT?!?

I put a screaming Declan into bed early tonight since he REFUSED to nap today. We read to Brady and put him in bed a little bit later and Declan started yelling again. I chose to ignore it because he’s overtired and usually calms down pretty quickly. I got ready to get into the shower and when I stepped out into the hallway I heard:

“Ok, Declan, I’ll sing Thomas and you can listen to it. But after that, you have to go to sleep.” Then Brady proceeded to sing an adorable lullaby to Declan that went something like this, “Thomas, Thooooooooomas, rolling around, on his tracks. Thomas, Thoooooomas, with his cars…”

My heart melted. And Declan was silent. So despite their electronic-device-, sugary-treat-, mommy-catnap-filled afternoon, I must be doing something right. 

OK, that was the post I composed in the shower. Then I got out and Brady came out of his room and into ours.

Brady: Guys, I just did the most amazing thing. I sang to Declan and I got him to calm down and I got him to sleep.

Me: I know, I heard that. Thank you. You must really love your brother.

Brady: Well, really I just wanted him to stop yelling and I wanted him to go to sleep.

So maybe I should dial back the self-congratulations a bit. At least I’m teaching him that sleep is important. I guess.

Missing My Sister

Does anyone else remember that Julianna Hatfield song? Just me? Well, this is nothing as dark and dramatic as those lyrics, but I do miss my sister…terribly…horribly, terribly, awfully. Since I moved to NYC almost 12 years ago, I have missed my whole family. We talk on the phone. Often. Like several times a day often. It’s always been ok. I get small, concentrated doses of them and it’s good. That was, until my niece was born.

Now that my sister is a mother and there is whole new person in the world to whom I am related, it’s reached another level. Being so far away is now gut-wrenching in the truest sense of the word. I didn’t expect to love her THIS much. To feel such a connection with her just because she is my sister’s child. I honestly didn’t understand how difficult it must be for my mother and sister to be far from my kids until this. Children are such a living illustration of the passage of time. They change so quickly.

I will be lying in bed at night (over) thinking as I often do and mentally calculate how old my niece will be each time I’ll see her in the next year. I realize that the next time we’re together she might be sitting up on her own and then the time after that she might be walking and talking. It’s impossible to stop and it breaks my heart. I want to see all of these things. I want to be a part of her life.

More than that though, I want to be a part of that life with my sister. She said to me once that if we lived close to each other, we could both work part time and then watch all of our kids part time. It struck me that it is absolutely true. Now I know that it sounds very simple when just mentioned over the phone and the real-life implementation of such a plan would most likely not be that smooth. We will have differences in our parenting styles. Our husbands will see things in different ways. We would probably argue and sometimes fight. But still, I would love to live a life like that. 

Since Brady was born and I felt so alone and so overwhelmed, I have longed for some sort of “village” to raise my children. In some ways, I have found this with the friends I’ve made here, but I’d still love to have family closer. Once upon a time, and still in some parts of the world, women do raise children together. My ancestors most likely relied on their mothers and sisters and aunts to help them give birth and raise their children. My mom and her sister did this to a degree with my sister, my cousin, and I. But I live in today’s world where I went to college and met a man who wasn’t from the same place as me and so I ended up far away. And so I miss my sister. 

I don’t know that I have a point here. I’m just sharing an emotion. I feel very lucky to have a family that I miss so much. I know people who have families that just don’t work on many levels. I certainly have my problems with mine, but at the core we love each other very, very much. We need each other and I like it that way. I’m hoping I’m raising children that will miss each other. 





Waiting for Buster


I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate. I jump every time the phone rings. I’m desperately waiting to get the call. That would be the one where my sister says “I’m in labor.”

I am one of two children, both of us girls, almost three and a half years apart. While we have certainly had our fair share of fights, as any good siblings should, we are also the best of best friends. I now have a better appreciation for how my dear sister felt as I was in the final weeks of my pregnancies. My sister is due in 6 days with her first baby, a girl, my niece, whom we have already nicknamed Buster.

See, early on in her pregnancy my husband had a dream that the baby was a girl and that my sister and brother-in-law named her Buster. So Buster she is, whether they like it or not. My husband is convinced that he will forever be known as “my weird uncle who calls me Buster” and I think he loves it.

Back to the waiting game. Waiting for my sister’s baby is nearly as difficult as waiting for my own babies was. The not-knowing, the lack of control, the excitement and anticipation. I can’t wait for my sister to experience labor and delivery and the thrill of the moment you first see and hold your very own baby. I can’t wait for her to feel that rush you get when you realize that you actually created a real human being. I’m excited to meet my first niece, the first baby in my family other than my own, and to be her aunt and love her to pieces.

I had bet on Groundhog’s Day back in the beginning so I’m hoping she makes her appearance tomorrow. Come on baby! Get out here! We’re all waiting for you!

I Have a Baby Sleep Secret…

and his name is Brady. We recently bit the bullet and decided that we needed to sleep train the baby (or cry him out or torture him or whatever your preferred terminology is.) This is a more difficult task when said baby shares a room with an older sibling. The first two nights we let Brady go to sleep in our bed when we put Declan into his crib so that it wouldn’t disturb him. Declan cried and then we checked him and then he cried and then we checked him and he eventually passed out and we moved Brady back into his bed. But it didn’t work quite as well as when we did it with Brady. Instead of magically sleeping through the night after screaming, he was up earlier wailing for ‘mama’.

The third night when we brought Declan in, Brady said he wanted to stay and that he would ignore him. Declan started screaming, we listened at the door, and then suddenly, quiet. About 15 minutes later, Brady came out to pee. We asked him how the baby quieted down and he said “I went ‘shhh shhhh shhhh shhhh’ for a long time and then ‘boom’ he was out of crying.” It was one of the sweetest, cutest, most amazing things I had ever heard. And then to make it more amazing, the baby slept, nearly the whole night, in his crib. Things have been up and down since. But the nights we get him into his crib awake and Brady shushes him to sleep, he sleeps amazingly well. We like to think it’s because he knows his brother is there to keep him safe. Last night Brady told me he sang him “an extra-long lullaby so he would sleep extra long” and it totally worked!

Next step, getting me to sleep too. I’m still up at all the times the baby normally wakes up. I could really use a solid stretch. Maybe I should get Brady to sing me a lullaby.

Hopefully I haven’t jinxed the whole thing by writing this post. I’ll knock wood now.


What good brothers!