Hiho Batik

On the weekends I try to get away with just Roan. I try to find something to do with him that’s fun. We both love movies, so we go often. We both love getting pedicures so we go often. And lucky me, Roan is a kid that loves to try new things. So when a reader named Robyn (who lives near me and has twins), got in touch to tell me about her shop I knew it had to be on the books for my boy and me.

Hiho Batik.

Hiho Batik is a shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn owned by Robyn and Julia. Now – I had never heard of “Batik” but everyone I’ve talked to about this place has, so maybe you too already know about it. If not – simply put, it’s decorating cloth, and in this case t-shirts, with wax and dye. (They also have hoodies, bags, long sleeves etc. available.) This was so completely up mine and Roan’s alley. Not so much because we’d be good at it, but because we do love to customize our little hearts out, in everything we do.

Bow + Arrow. Classic.

Roan and I invited our friends Lola and Javier to join us. This place is just awesome. The walls are lined with these cute T-shirts. I will happily admit that I’m a sucker for T’s. It’s basically my uniform. T-shirt, jeans. Original, no? But these are actually original. All one-of-a-kind. And the toys they sell there are carefully curated – none of them mass-produced. I had to spring for a bow and arrow set for the boys, because well…I mean. How could I not?

From this picture, I learned that I stick out my tongue when drawing. Good to know.

Ok – so the process. It’s superfun and even if you’re an artistic flub like me, you will not feel dumb. It’s easy and kind of mistake-proof because there’s not a definite defined look, really. I went for a star because it’s one of the three things I can draw. Roan went abstract, Lola went with a message and Jav went with a skull. After drawing the design and tracing it on the shirt, we line it in hot wax at a space-age underlit hot wax bar. Then comes the color – I sort of couldn’t stop myself. I kept mixing and adding until I was gently reminded by my son that sometimes we have to edit ourselves. He hears that on Project Runway a lot. He was not wrong.

Sketching a design. Never mind that this is the one I claim I drew.

Lola gets her hot wax on. Roan is impressed.

Roan gets his hot wax on. Javier is impressed.

Finally we choose what color we want our T-shirt to be dyed, then we say goodbye. The Hiho Batik elves work their magic and finish up the process over the next few days, and voilà! A T-shirt that is all my own. The results are great which is a testament to the ease of this process. Also, as a bonus the T comes to you super soft because it’s been washed seven-thousand times. Maybe less. But soft!

Using the dye, carefully.

Our four shirts, before being dyed.

All said, I am a huge fan of Hiho Batik. This was one of the funnest things Roan and I have done together. There’s a lot of interaction and conversation that can take place during the process. As much as we love doing things together, it is kind of rare to find something that we can collaborate on, or that keeps our conversation going. This did both for us. I have a feeling an adult group – birthday party, first date, team building – whatever – would be awesome here. So gold stars all around, and if you’re a Brooklynite or are in the area, go there with my full-on, highest, most emphatic recommendation.

[Update: Robyn from Hiho Batik has offered a discount to readers of Pistols + Popcorn. Through the rest of 2012, mention Pistols + Popcorn, and get 10% off.]

Roan's on the left, mine on the right.

Secrets About Being a Mother

Smitty, Me, Sheppy, Roan, Green Balloon

Maybe you are a dude, a dad. Or possibly a lady wondering if this mothering thing is up your alley. Perhaps you are a mother, trying to figure out if your normal is actually normal, or if you should start pretending a little harder. I’m writing for you, all of you. But be warned: I’m on day eight of an eleven day stretch of single-parenting this ship. Not only that, but two yes two of my three man-children are down with fevers. I’m Xena Warrior Princessing this family currently and am under a little distress.

What better time to break down what it is to be a mother? The stuff you don’t know. Start here:

  • Mothers are kind of mean. Mostly to ourselves.

Not including those jealous meanies in the playground who suck their teeth at how we encourage our little ones to successfully climb up the slide because really we are much too smart to even think we can win that battle of “stairs only” when obviously the slide is meant to be climbed, not including those meanies – we beat ourselves up in the most cutting of ways.

I’ve yet to meet a mother who does not mentally inventory her failures at the end of the day. We all process them differently. Sometimes it shows up as frustration towards the child, sometimes it comes out as anger towards a spouse, and sometimes it just manifests with a huffy breath and backwards fall onto a couch. But we all feel the potency of each disagreement, each mishandled and overreacted bump with our children x1000 at the end of the day. I usually am able to desperately reach for a few wins – maybe I made Smitty laugh more than usual, or maybe Sheppy shared with a stranger. Maybe Roan offered up a sliver of his day that was important to him. Those are wins. I try to bump out all the rain of messy things with those. But as a mother, we hold the responsibility of all wrong things on our shoulders. We teeter between feeling absolutely overwhelmed and wondering if we’re not quite grateful enough for what we have.

This is why we need time alone. Holding the weight of two or three or four or five people’s bad experiences on our shoulders gets heavy. And yeh, we signed up for this. And no, there’s not a lot you can do to help. Just recognize it, appreciate it, and give us a massage gift certificate. That’ll do.

A mother would consider her child eating raspberries in this fashion both gifted, and talented.

  • Mothers are ready to fix it.

Once a child is introduced into a persons life, the world becomes crazy large. Nothing is actually about the mom anymore. Sounds really gross and scary but it’s actually beautiful. A primal switch is flipped, and the center of the universe is no longer the same. Relationships are redefined and love becomes a huge tangible thing, and not an abstract weird smokey ghost.

Part of our power comes from knowing that we have this magical reserve. For instance, I do know that even if I am tired (I am), even if I am grumpy (I am), even if I’ve not had a break from my kids in eight days (I haven’t), I would be happy to have the chance to help anyone I love. And guess what? Mothers love a lot of people.

Ok, even I think I’m getting a little glittery here – what with the love and magic and whatever. And it’s not all sunshine and flower garlands. But the truth is I think my ability to actually love changed once I became a mom. It probably has something to do with that whole “I’m not the center of my world” thing. Getting out of the middle puts me in orbit with everyone else. It’s easier to connect there. There are an infinite amount of ways to get into that orbit, probably. But for me it took the massive change of having a child.

Obviously a version of the gifted and talented school of berry-eating.

  • Moms can smell their children’s fevers.

I’m not actually sure about this one. But I think it’s true for me. There’s probably a smart-guy science-y explanation for this but I can actually smell a change in my children before they get sick. Or right when they do. Pretty cool party trick, right? With Roan, I can actually feel it in his hands – when I hold his hand it feels different, and then BLAMM-O! Two hours later a fever breaks onto the scene.

You don’t have to believe me but it’s true.

And lest I make all the people who are not mothers mad by this post on magical motherhood, let me say that I think the mothering kind of love comes from a certain place in our heart. It’s quite close to the place where we love our animals, and almost shares a chamber with the place where we love the rest of our family. It also harbors a mean and malicious protective sniper that sometimes makes us behave in pretty crazy ways. All of us. Sometimes. And I’m sorry for that. On behalf of mothers everywhere, I’m sorry for when we believe you want to see another picture, watch another video, or hear another story about our precious. I’m also sorry for when we feel entitled to expect you to put our children’s needs/wants/desires in a place of special importance when actually, they are not your priority.

Mothers can be overbearing beasts, it’s true.

And while having a child can sometimes put things in perspective, if you’re a big jerk before you have a kid chances are you’ll be a big jerk after you have a kid right? But I have seen people change into who they really probably were their whole lives – just through the magic of  becoming a mother.

Ok ok ok – or becoming a father. Everything I wrote is for you too, ok?

  • Mothers really want everyone to be happy.

See above.

Frankenstorm Sandy. Looks Like We Made It.

Sheppard stepping out to survey the world post-hurricane

The high drama of big storms is something that we eat up. There’s a tension of excitement as we hope to hang on to power and water, a neurotic checking of battery power in our phones and computers. As Frankenstorm Sandy descended upon my family, we took the approach we always take – lazy preparation, with crossed fingers and secret enjoyment of the unpredictable weather and its consequences which were totally out of our hands.

Smitty riding through tree branches and leaves

It’s a little tricky to articulate in a way that makes sense, but I suspect it rings true for most people. It’s not that we enjoy a natural disaster, and I’m not unconcerned for my family’s safety. I’m all too aware of the suffering it’s caused, and had a sleepless night last night worrying about the hospital patients being evacuated from NYU Hospital, and all my favorite things on Coney Island being eaten up by the ocean.

After two days in-house, time to go out. Nevermind the Hurricane.

But I do enjoy the community that rises to the surface. People make eye contact on the street, homes open up. Smiles are given out freely and people no longer seem to feel threatened by one another. The bigger threat – nature – brings us back to zero, I suppose. Us vs. the world. All of us versus something much more powerful than all of us.

The day the storm was blowing in, for a last Halloween pre-party hurrah in the park

And Twitter and Facebook. Social media outlets that I use sporadically became my lifeline and information go-to sources. With Internet and Cable out, the 4G on my phone was keeping me company last night. It’s funny peculiar that the pithy “I’m thinking of you in NYC” statements from celebrities and musicians and followers and strangers and far-away friends suddenly really mean something. One after another in my Twitter timeline, people saying “hang in there.” A status update I entered on Facebook saying “I’m Ok” gathered immediate attention from my friends and family, letting me know they were thinking about it too. Thinking about me.

That feels good, when the wind is knocking on the window in a fairly violent manner.

But here in Zone B, about 100 yards from the evacuation zone, we were right as rain. We kept our power on; flickering and threatening to give up on us, but kept it nonetheless. Our water stayed on and none of our windows gave way. Our walls held up and our roof stayed on and no huffing and puffing by Sandy brought us harm. Smitty and Shep ran around the house naked making windy noises with their mouths, and Roan celebrated the two (and counting) days off from school with friends, confetti, music videos, play-doh, food, movies and much tackling of his father.

Capes are actually awesome to wear in Hurricane weather. Very dramatic.

It’s not over yet but the worst part is done. I predict that tomorrow’s Halloween will bring more kids out-of-doors than ever. With parents ready to leave their four walls, and kids bursting with pent-up energy. And a hangover of community spirit that will hopefully stick around for a while.

Not All PR Pitches Are Whack

So I’ve been waffling lately, considering what it is I’m doing here on the Internet, why I’m doing it, and at times if I should even continue doing it. I wrote a post called “Un-branded: A Manifesto“, about feeling a little ambivalent about doing sponsored posts, and the feedback I got from my readers helped me clarify how I felt about that. Basically what it comes down to is this: I will not review products, services, movies, books or activities unless it really is interesting to me. Not just beneficial as in free stuff and big bucks, but I need it to actually be interesting.

Sounds basic, right? But JEEEEZ it took a long time to get there in my head. The funny thing is that since I’ve decided that, I’d say the PR pitches I receive have more than tripled. What the? Anyway. I’ve ignored most of them but there are perks to being a Pistol. The major main huge thing is that Roan feels pretty much like a cool guy when I get invited to go places that he actually wants to go. And when he’s proud of his mom, I levitate.

So we’ve got these two really fun activities lined up over this month through Pistols + Popcorn. First, this Sunday Roan and I are going with super-uber-fans Sachin and Ajay to watch the Harlem Globetrotters at the new Barclays Stadium here in sunny gorgeous Brooklyn. We’ve been invited to a meet and greet with the legends themselves at Jay-Z’s 40/40 club. Heh. You don’t hear that every day on the Mommy Blog circuit, no? Roan’s convinced the H-O-V will be there somewhere, putting dishes away or cutting limes or some such since he owns the club and who knows? I’ll get a picture with Jay if it comes up. Otherwise, expect some photos of Roan looking cool standing next to some Globetrotters next week. (By the way, their people told my people that if any of my readers want to attend, they can get discounted tickets here, by entering the code HGMOMMY for this Sunday’s game.)

Also in a few weeks, Roan and I will be traveling with our homies Lola and Javi to lovely Park Slope (an entire 3 subway stops away) to visit a new shop called Hiho Batik. This place looks BOMB. I’ll tell you all about it after I’ve done it, but if you want a sneak peak of what we’ll be doing checkitout here.

And now a toddler kissing his twin toddler brother:

kiss.

Running with My Son

This past weekend, I convinced Roan to go on a run with me. I have actually been waiting for this day forever. EVER. Normally I’m a person who likes to run alone. I like to listen to music and not have to keep up or slow down for anyone. I like the solitude of not speaking and not listening to anyone speak. I love being alone surrounded by New York City and her inhabitants, feeling like it’s me vs. them.

But I have been really wanting Roan to join me.

I’ve written about how much I love to run. I’ve always thought it would be a thing Roan would love too. But until yesterday, I didn’t realize he was ready. When he accepted my invitation I felt like Christmas candy. It felt that good. And when we actually went, it was even better.

We each got our headphones and playlists. I listened to a runners mix from my friend Toby, and Roan listened to – what else – Korean pop. (For the record, he was into K-Pop way before Psy and Gangam Style came crashing through.) I had gone running the day before, so I felt good about going nice and slow for Roan’s sake. Ha. I had to ask the boy to slow down more than once. Old mom.

Found this mural - not shown is the other twin from the "Shining" as well as Jack Nicholson's character. Creepy. Cool.

We ran along the sidewalks of a not all that pretty part of Brooklyn. I let Roan choose our path and we happened upon some great buildings and creepy murals I’ve never noticed before. Anytime Roan (I) needed a break we’d walk for a block, pull out our earphones, and talk. If he wanted to catch his breath for longer, he’d really talk to me. About things that were interesting to him. And that just captivated me. He’d put his music back on, find a favorite song and shoot off ahead of me running like he meant it.

At the end of our run we went and found Anson at the park, playing with Sheppy + Smitty. This day – a perfect gorgeous Autumn day – just couldn’t have been any better. Roan said he’d like to go running with me every weekend. I do believe I have a new running partner, world. So now it’s Roan + Me vs. NYC. Watchout.

Mystery, Starlux, School, Project Runway, Mondo, Breathe.

You know when that somewhat histrionic friend of yours posts vague status updates on whatever media outlet they’re addicted to? The ones that hint at something great, terrible, impending, or happening, but they won’t just come out and say, “Yo. This is what happened. It made me feel this way.”? And it bugs you, partly because the Human Being inside yours naturally curious about things that are unclear, but also because it’s pretty lame to post something and then clarify that you just actually cannot post about it.

I never do that.

Except now, I’m going to do that.

There’s a project I’m working on and due to the nature of the project, I really can’t talk about it in a public way. So normally I’d just work on it, and leave my Pistols and my Popcorn out of it, but I want to shout from the rooftops now that “Yo! I’m working on something! And it makes me feel really good and happy and productive! And it has nothing repeat nothing to do with children, parenting, me, or my family!” And that’s basically all I can say due to the dangerous nature of me being involved with it. Ok ok just kidding about the danger. But, yeh. I just thought you should know. And I’m sorry that I’ve just become that guy that does that one thing. But I hope we can still be friends.

Moving right along.

Roan - Wild

Epic past few weeks. Epic has become the most overused and totally annoying word in the jibberjabber world of teenagers and pop culture but too bad because I’m an adult, and I’m using it correctly. The end of the summer has happened, and so did our last BANG BOOM POP WOW chronology of events.

Hotel balcony, fake palm tree. Love.

First – as a family, we actually left the eight-block radius we rarely travel outside of (though we stayed in the Tri-State Area). We went on a vacation with my sister Lori and her family, to Wildwood, NJ. Now – full disclosure – at no point did I ever trade, barter, influence or hint at any type of potential review for this hotel we stayed at so our experience there is likely to be exactly the same as yours would be.

Wildwood Boardwalk

And it was totally epic. HAHAH – kidding – it was totally awesome. (Awesome is back, right?) We stayed at a place called the Starlux Hotel. It was lovely. A clean and surprisingly warm pool. A bubbly hot tub. A cool hotel suite (2 bedrooms, kitchenette, balcony, living room) for $135/night (off-season, FYI). They set up cribs for the tiny twin tyrant masters, they had free bicycles to cruise along the boardwalk with, they provided shovels, pails, and boogie boards for the beach, and even have a complimentary washer/dryer. The staff could not have been any more friendly or helpful. One morning they opened the pool early because Boone and Roan asked them to. Seriously. They gave my sister a stamp to mail her rent check. They doted on the twin boys. And always had coffee ready for us in the morning.

Delux Starlux

You’re in NYC looking for a quick beach weekend getaway? This is the jam.

Summit Street Gang, First Day of School 2012

The tragic ending is that the night we came home was the first school night of the year. Roan started fourth grade the next day. (Actually, Roan is a bit square and loves school, loves his friends at school, and was probably ready to get away from the park circuit I had him on during the summer. But still. He likes to pretend that starting school is a drag so I go ahead and help him spin his little fiction.)

Heidi Klum literally glows. She is from a different planet, here is the proof. Tell a friend.

The upswing is that Roan missed the second day of school to attend the Project Runway Season 10 finale taping at Fashion Week. Oh man my son and I love going to this thing. It’s just a little crazy to be a few rows behind Harvey Weinstein, Michael Kors, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Debra Messing and Jennifer Hudson. Like, I totally could have nailed any one of those people in the head with a grape, had I chosen to do so. How many people can say that?

Roan + Mondo

Most importantly, Roan got to talk with Mondo, our favorite Project Runway celebrity. That guy is a supercool dude. He took a nervous 8-year-old boy and put him at ease, showing the greatest interest in the pillows that Roan has been designing. I want to fold Mondo up, put him in my pocket, and bring him with me everywhere I go.

But that’s probably illegal so I will not.

Right? So. Now it’s time to breathe, eat some goldfish crackers, watch a little Yo! Gabba! Gabba! and ask Fall….whatchu got to compete with this Summer finale, hmmmmm?

End of Summer Roan

Walking to the park this morning, Roan said he felt like we were walking to school. School hasn’t started here yet, we don’t get there until September 6. So we have one week and one day left of Summer vacation. But today the air didn’t feel as hot and the air didn’t feel as wet. It was hinting that Fall could be somewhere near – but only if you really really listen. And Roan loves his school, and is an avid learner. Still, that kid isn’t ready to say goodbye yet to this Summer.

Neither is his mama.

The Life

I’m the same as everyone else, really – I love time to myself and a good routine that carves out quiet moments that I can count on. Roan being in school will make those times more frequent which is great. But  not as great as having him around. When Sheppy and Smitty take their nap during the day (which totally is rocking my world by the way – three hours every day. Yowza.) Roan and I get some time together that isn’t centered around keeping these little firecrackers from killing each other, themselves, or us. Everything becomes quiet and calm, with the air conditioner playing a sweet ballad of white noise. Roan and I use this time to work on things. I write, he will do a math worksheet. Then we eat lunch and watch a Korean TV show together.

There's always a park in our future

Regarding this Korean fascination happening. I don’t know. The shows we watch are subtitled and so I can claim that it’s a great exercise in reading comprehension for my boy. We just finished one called “Playful Kiss” which had the worst message on the planet. Essentially if you love someone enough, they can be awful to you and then you just keep loving them and then one day, maybe in the final episode, they’ll say something nice. Still – we were captivated. We were both appalled, and we were both captivated. There’s a lot to talk about – cultural differences, colloquialisms, fashion, love. Now we’re watching one called “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho”. A Gumiho is a nine-tailed fox. And this guy’s girlfriend is a Gumiho. In human form.

Whatever. I’m just glad we’re not watching Dora the Explorer, you know? Can’t stand her shoes.

Time for a haircut?

And when our little twin friends are awake, we all get around this neighborhood together. We hit ice cream parlors, we hit parks, we sometimes just park our bodies on a footbridge over a busy expressway and listen to Shepz + Smitty scream ‘TRUCK!! CAR!! TAXI!! TRUCK!! AIRPLANE!! HUMMUS!” at rapid-fire rate (Sheppy loves Hummus more than anything and demands it pretty much all the time. He has garlic breath.) It’s funny and probably a little boring for my 8-year-old to spend an hour watching traffic but he’s not a big complainer, and usually tolerates and even sometimes enjoys these little non-climactic outings.

Finding fun

I just absolutely love having Roan around, to share all these things with; to share in the delight of his brothers learning, to share in the boredom and the excitement of every single day. When he heads back to school, probably some of my guilt will be lifted – the feeling that he’s not getting enough attention, or that he’s held back by having to do things for these little ones. When school starts, he will be surrounded by his friends and have all the proper academic stimuli around and not my homemade math worksheets and Korean television reading drama episodes.

When school starts, Roan gets to be his social self, which I’m learning is different from his home self, which I suppose is actually true for everyone. He becomes slightly aloof and cool. He taps his toe, rather than busting out his highly choreographed dance skills. He smiles more than he laughs. He holds a bit more emotion closer inside. He keeps himself a little guarded.

And I like that Roan protects himself because he needs to be protected. But I hate that he protects himself because I want this world to be safer.

I’ve worked with Roan this summer on finding his voice. He is cautious about expressing opinions, even ones that don’t seem hard to take. He is slow to express preferences about what to do with his friends, and will never ever say he likes one person more than another. Roan is cautious, in the extreme, about sharing information about anyone other than himself and is quick to say he doesn’t like gossip. So much so that I worry about him being able to tell me if things go wrong, with a friend or someone who isn’t a friend. So I’ve made him list things to me this summer. What are three things you don’t like to talk about? That went over horribly. He literally could not even say the words of the topics he doesn’t like to talk about. (Sex, swearing, and talking about things he doesn’t like to talk about). It took almost an hour to get these three things from my boy.

Summer Roan

I’m sure he’ll be relieved that his teachers will not be taking this approach with him. Ah – mothers – crazy, each one of us.

Summer is saying good-bye, it’s true. As uneventful as this one has been, it has also been one of my favorites, ever. The change in the air makes me sad even though it feels good. Having so much time to try to figure out who my son is, this is a true luxury. He’s crazy complicated and super sweet. My Roan. It does feel like we’re walking to school.

I Ain’t Missing You at All

Anson is out of town now, for a long two-week stretch in Minneapolis. I do wish that I could report that he was meeting with Prince, revisiting the Purple Rain days, but alas Anson is too young to appreciate the historical significance of the land where Morris Day, Appolonia and Prince created the most tragic of all love triangles. Instead he is likely riding a Sponge Bob roller coaster in the Mall of America.

Abhorrent, my young child-groom.

Three Boys

It was a pretty awful farewell, though. I’d love to report that his walking out the door went smoothly but there were tears. And stuttered sobbing. And then more tears. All three of our sons were wailing at the same time after he left and I almost ran away because for the first time, ice-cream couldn’t fix it. Can I just repeat that? Ice-cream couldn’t fix it. That scares me. I still kind of need a hug.

Bad Food

I think the gut wrenching sadness was mostly caused by the extremely fun-filled days preceding Anson’s goodbye. First of all, grandparents were in town. Anson’s parents, Duane and Tamra came to Brooklyn to visit, so Anson took days off work, which freed up all sorts of possibilities. There was major Dad face time for all the sons. Happiness like that, multiplied by major face time with grandparents simultaneously is pretty impactful. Out of the two of us, Anson is the most fun and the most lenient (I know, shocking.) Good (bad) food flows, nap times are pushed, hygiene is ignored, and clean floors are abolished. And obviously, with grandparents around? It’s just ridiculously awesome. (Although I must interject that my mother-in-law made my heart sing with joy because she cleaned my house. I know I shouldn’t let her, but sheesh. What a treat.)

Shepz+Smitty, Grandpa+Grandma

On top of that, Roan’s favorite band, 2NE1 (a Korean girl pop group) was performing in New Jersey on Friday night and we had the best seats in the house (once again my friend Kaskade pulled some magical rock star strings. I’m beginning to owe that guy.) This concert led to possibly my happiest moment ever with Roan, when he let go of his collected and calm persona and rocked his gorgeous little heart out. Fist to the sky, belting out who-knows-what-they-mean lyrics in Korean, and having kisses blown to him by his most revered icons, there was something I’ve never seen in my boys eyes. It was light shining straight out of them. He was lit from within, flourescently happy. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

2NE1!

This day was followed by a Roan + Me spa luxury day with two of our best friends, Issey and Jen. The four of us spent the entire day at Spa Castle which is  four-story Korean sauna/bath/pool/massage/restaurant experience. Intensely perfect in every way, we got home water-logged and relaxed to our cores.

Video games, pizza, soda, movies, board games, walks, runs, scooter time, BBQ, Chinatown, shopping, did I mention eating? I’m just saying there was a lot, a whole real big huge bunch of fun packed into a five-day span. And then…

It was time for Anson to leave, with his parents out the door about five minutes later.

It’s hard not to be sad about that much fun and family time ending. Roan and I have decided we have it alright though, because we have each other and well…poor Dad. He’s working early in the morning, with hotel food and the Mall of America his only comforts. I’m guessing it probably is pretty tough on him to leave us behind. So much so that I’ve stopped telling him how Smitty + Shepz couldn’t wrap their little heads around him not being here this morning. “A Dada?” over and over. And how Roan is counting the days until he’s home.

And there’s me. Luckily I have to smile and keep trucking for these boys because otherwise I just may notice how much I miss that guy as well. Two weeks he’ll be gone, and I know – it could be worse, and we’ve gone longer stretches without him around. But he’s an amazing dad and an amazing husband. Makes it sad when he’s gone. I guess that’s a great thing. It will feel so much greater, in retrospect, after he’s home.

Too Fast

Ro + Me

I was laying down next to Roan last night and realized that his body is the same size, basically, as mine. Our heads hit the same place on the pillows and our feet land at the same place under the covers. My hand holds his same-size hand, and his eight-year-old self hogs the covers with about the same strength and voracity that I do.

Why is this happening to me?

I mean I suppose it doesn’t only happen to me. Children grow up all over the world as I hear it. It’s not uncommon. But as I settle in with the whiplash that the speed of time is giving me, I am realizing that those days of hoping Monday will quickly turn into Friday are g-o-n-e. I just would like everything to slow down.

As lazy as this summer has been – by design I under planned it – it too has betrayed me. I didn’t enroll Roan in any classes, and scheduled no trips. I thought by doing this we could spend the days how I used to spend them in my young summers. Sitting on grass, looking for dandelions, going down slides, watching a few clouds and murdering mosquitoes. I wanted to see if we could just spend time together. Without grand plans and big adventures. Just three boys and me, going to parks and playing in a backyard. And it’s been a sweet slow summer. But even now, with it all of these lazy days behind us I feel like it too has gained momentum. We’ve started talking about school and what he needs.

This time is ending.

I keep learning this lesson over and over. These kids of mine aren’t mine for long. And it drives me bananas that I can see (yes, even at their young ages) the possibility that they just might maybe choose to grow up and have their own lives. I don’t know why they would choose to do something like that but all signs point to them being like that.

Bad kids.

Around the campfire

I fear that tomorrow Roan will be taller than me and my twin monkeys will learn that the word is “open” not “omen”. I look at parents who have been there – who made the mistake of letting their children grow up and am in awe that they’re still walking and talking. I understand that I’ll be able to reclaim my own life in full, and revisit the independence of having time on my hands and to myself. It sounds lovely but also sad. I suppose like everything, you have to grow into it. Maybe that’s why children leaving home is immediately preceded by adolescence, so the parents don’t miss them so much? (Ha, I kid.) (Or do I?)

But for now – I’ll just take millions of pictures and try to remember everything they do. I’ll write their stories and tell them to friends. It’s all I can do. I love these three sons like mad.

I Gotcher Coxsackie Right Here, Mr.

A week ago Monday started out with a hot bang which may sound kind of sexy but nay. NAY. Sheppard started burning up with fever, and we all watched with love and doted on him. As you can see in the video above, Smitty was all up in that bidness (my new favorite thing on the planet is the “Hi. Hi Shep. HEY.”) …..which led to Tuesday.

When Smitty (shockingly) started burning up with fever. The rest of us showered the boys in love and Baby Advil, suggesting they eat popsicles and applesauce. Babies get particularly cute if the illness is right. Their cheeks are rosy, they’re very cuddly, and in Smitty’s case, they drool. What? That’s cute to me don’t judge.

Not the best pic of Anson.

Wednesday rolled around and it looked like we might be on an upswing when Anson showed up at home in the middle of the day, fevered and somewhat green. Thirty-five year old men when they’re sick? Not so much cute but still lovable in a sort of…”go ahead and retreat to the basement and come back up when you’re better” kind of way. I knew it was a matter of time before….

Friday, when Roan returned from a playdate with a 103 degree fever and an inability to keep anything – anything - down, at all. But that’s Roan. It doesn’t matter what the illness is, he’s going to vomit. I love him like crazy but that child of mine was built with the most ridiculously delicate stomach of anyone I know. This is somehow contradicted by his amazing ability to ride any roller coaster or spinny ride and beg to do it again. And again. Etc. I don’t know. I just built him, I cannot explain him.

We made it through the week of burning hot fevers, nausea, general malaise, blisters (yeh, the babies blistered up. I believe they had Coxsackie which causes general hysteria around these Brooklyn parts but I must just go on record to say, “Meh.” It was just the same as any other illness, really. Fever, cuddle, sleep. Whatever.) And guess who the last man standing is?

Popsicles Fix Everything

Me! I won! I didn’t get sick at all, in fact I feel strong enough to accept my award to recognize my superhuman care taking of Coxsuckie (heh, see what I did there?), general malaise, vomitus excretus, (whatever, I also won the right to make up my own Latin words), and grown-up-man-who-is-sick-and-wants-to-be-taken-care-of-but-has-to -get-in-line-behind-three-children assuaging. Just wondering if anyone can direct me to where those prizes are given out? I’m wearing lipstick and high heels for the occasion! Anyone? hello…?