Posted in Mama Adventures

Koala Bear

Wesley Christopher Wilson. Your name sounds and reads so formal. But you, my sweet love, are pure silly. You are seven today and even though you have grown in so many ways, you are still the funny, outgoing, and affectionate boy you have been since day one. I hate the term “mama’s boy” and never thought I would have one. But you are in the best possible ways. You are always ready with a smile, a joke, a hug, or a kiss. You bring light to everybody you come into contact with because of your openness. You bring balance to our family of four every day.

Wesley cheese

You have many sayings in your roster of words and all of them crack me up. “I don’t forget everything, I’m not Dory” + eye roll. “I’m so conscious”-as we drive up the mountains (you meant nauseous). “Mom, if you’re my cousin can I marry you?” And my personal favorite because you say it in a silly voice: “I fart when I’m nervous (insert Beavis and Butthead laugh track).” You are loud, hot tempered, and impatient. But you are also enthusiastic about life and determined when you really want something. You love your sissy so much that it annoys her (don’t worry, she’ll come around). But you are like that with all your relationships. Your friends, teachers, and family all know much you care because you aren’t afraid to show it. That is my favorite part of you.

Wesley selfie

Your obsession with video games has only gotten stronger. You love Link, Mario, Minecraft, Pac-Man, etc., etc. You like to read the books Diary of A Wimpy Kid and The Zombie Chasers. You want everything to do with Five Nights at Freddy’s until you decide it’s too scary and then you want every light in the house on. Your go to movies are Lego Movie and Star Wars. You love to play tetherball and basketball. SpongeBob Squarepants is your new favorite cartoon but you also love Loud House and We Bare Bears.

You have become more adventurous with food this year and I am so excited. You are open to new stuff and even tried seafood. When you see something you haven’t tried before (which is usually on mom or dad’s plate), you ask, “Can I try that?” You have informed me that you are NOT a vegetarian and you like your meat. You love bacon, chicken tacos, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and chicken fingers. You don’t discriminate with sweets, you just want them.

Your best friend is Cyrus. You make friends so easily that I just imagine kids following you around on the black top because you know how to have a good time.

My hope for you this year is that you realize how smart you are and that you can do anything you want to. I hope you get to learn about coding more so you can become that video game creator/video game tester you say you’re going to be. Your light is what this world needs and I hope it just continues to get brighter. And please don’t ever stop giving me your koala bear hugs. We love you Wesley and couldn’t feel luckier to be your mom and dad.

Wesley wizard

Posted in Mama Adventures

Number 9

Today you are nine. Halfway to being an adult. You are already starting to show signs of the impending preteen years: A messy room, emotional outbursts, wanting privacy, and asking for a phone. Other days you want to sleep next to me because you don’t feel well. You hold my hand while we are out in public, giving my heart the biggest thrill.

Beautiful

You announced earlier this summer that you didn’t want to do sports until you were age 10. I told you that was fine but I was going to be on you about school, reading, and preparing for your school’s spelling bee. Your response was, “That’s fine. I like that stuff.” You continue to love reading, especially the Goosebumps series. And when filling out a 4th grade questionnaire for your new teacher, you put down that one of your goals for the school year was to read the first three Harry Potter books.

You idolize Rey and Princess Leia in Star Wars and love anything Disney Descendants. R5 is your favorite group and their lead singer Ross Lynch is your secret crush. Macaroni and cheese reigns supreme three years running as your go to meal. You have more lip glosses than me and asked for makeup for your birthday (still not going to happen). You found a new obsession this year and that was the Broadway musical Hamilton and its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. You know the words to all the songs and your favorite characters are Hamilton and Lafayette.

Scarlet Hamilton

You are inquisitive, asking questions about everything from events such as 9/11, to our current election season, to what trafficking is. I want to encourage your want of unlimited knowledge but also don’t want you to carry the burden of the world’s problems because of your sensitive soul. But with your sensitivity you also have strength. You are not easily swayed, standing up for yourself when you feel the need and know your worth in friendships.

I can’t wait to see what the upcoming year has in store for you. I truly believe you could the run world if you wanted to. Your dad and I are so proud of you. We love you, our Scarlet.

Scarlet donut

Posted in Mama Adventures

Sunshine

Anybody who knows you is aware of your endless energy (Ha! Understatement of the year). But when I think of you, I remember how you wake up in the morning.

You live in a house with three non-morning people. Dad doesn’t like to wake up. Sissy gives you the death stare every time you say something to her. I just like silence. But you are the pure sunshine to our cloudy day. Whether I come and wake you up for school during the week, or you come in my bedroom on the weekends, you always start with, “Good morning. How did you sleep?” You look at me with your adorable spattering of freckles and those sometimes green, sometimes brown, but-always-warm, eyes. You smile when we make eye contact. You lean into me. You give hugs and squeeze tight. And no matter how tired or grumpy I am, I always squeeze back, so glad that you are my boy.

Wesley dog reading

Now that you are six, you know what you like and make it known. Super Mario Bros and any of its inhabitants are your best friends, along with school friend Cyrus. Teen Titans, We Bare Bear, and Scooby Doo are your favorite cartoons. You are a great reader but reading from page one to the one that follows is not your strong suit. You read Shel Silverstein all summer because its silliness matches yours. You are hot tempered, impatient, determined, fun loving, and mischievous. You eat grilled cheeses and fries from In N’ Out and use as much “spread” as is allotted to you. You like to try new foods and even tried scallops before knowing what they were.

This past year included you starting school. I was terrified, wondering if your teacher would be able to control you. But not only did you have an awesome teacher, you showed me that you can thrive in a classroom. You were reading by Christmas and getting away with a lot because you never stop being the class clown. Here is one conversation we had in the first week of school:

Wesley, telling me about his day at school: “I farted in class today and they put my clip down (for bad behavior). But I still got a good day ticket.” Me, trying not to laugh: “How many times did you fart?” “Twice. And they were loud!”

Wesley Rockstar

You do everything at full speed and I have gotten used to holding my breath when you get on your bike, go on a trampoline, ride your scooter, or even crawl up a door way like Spiderman. You don’t let anything slow you down. You are a lover, not a fighter, and you wear your heart on your sleeve just like me. We share the same love for movies and you will watch anything as long as you have candy to munch on. I love sharing this with you because you cuddle up next to me, even holding my hand.

You have the same sweet smile when you go to bed at night. You burrow under your covers with your Minion and Buzz Lightyear dolls, listening to your Dad or I read you a story. Your look of contentment is one of the best parts of my day as I turn off your light and tell you sweet dreams. Thank you for being my sunshine, Baby Boy. Happy 6th birthday.

Wesley Palm Springs

Love,

Mom

Posted in Mama Adventures

Life Jacket

Last Saturday we took your brother and you to Soak City and Knotts Berry Farm as a last hurrah before school started up again. As your Dad and Wesley jetted off to Banzai Falls to race down the slides, you told me you wanted to go into Tidal Wave Bay. Tidal Wave Bay is your typical wave pool. It starts off shallow for the babies to splash around and at the end is for the bigger kids, going down to six feet deep. So with the soundtrack of my childhood blaring in the background (Paula Abdul, you will always be Straight Up to me) and the heat of the sun daring me to not go in the water, I looked at your sweet face and said, “Okay.”

8th birthday

This summer is the first time you have been tall enough to forgo a life jacket in the pool. You have semi-learned how to swim and found your inner fish. You light up every time you dive into the water and flash that rare grin when you come up for air, asking me, “Did you see that, Mom?” The more you swim, the more confident you become. And the farther you go out, the larger my panic is. You inch out and I say, “Not so far, Scarlet.” You move another foot, daring me to say no. I try not to say anything, letting the control slip through my fingers. I tell myself I don’t want you to get hurt and it’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s the people around you. I hold my breath when you jump with a wave and come out on top. I hold my breath when one knocks you over, waiting for you to emerge.

8th birthday 1

With each birthday you have, I marvel at how much you have grown. You are starting to assert yourself with your Dad and I, testing boundaries. You want to wear makeup but don’t care that “less is more.” You want more freedom on the internet but don’t understand how powerful it is. Sleepovers and friends are becoming a major part of your life. You are so free with your friends that I sit back and smile at how happy you are around them.

8th birthday 3

You are sensitive and won’t be pushed into doing anything, going at your own pace (I am currently building a bomb shelter for your teen years). “Oh snap!” is a new favorite phrase. You continue to love school, even earning the title “math wizard” at the end of second grade. Your love of reading is still there but a game on the Kindle is preferable. Macaroni and cheese is still your food of choice and you are relentless in your quest for sweets. Teen Beach Movie still holds a place in your heart but you have added Teen Beach 2 and Descendants to the library.

After 30 minutes in the wave pool, you decide you want to go on Sunset River, aka the Lazy River. Letting out a sigh of relief, I immediately agree. Taking a break from watching you go out further and further in the wave pool is fine by me. I know I can’t stop you from growing up, my Scarlet, but I am going to need a life jacket for just a little bit longer.

Happy Birthday my girl.

8th birthday 4

Love,

Mom

Posted in Mama Adventures

Penisgate

     As I drove the back road to Curls and Red’s school, the inside of the car was quiet other than an alternative band singing their newest single. Red sat in the backseat directly behind me. After a few minutes of silence I asked him, “Everything okay, Buddy?” He said evenly, “Yep.” I stopped at the four way stop sign and asked him, “What are we not going to talk about at school today?” I could barely hear him answer, “Penis.” I spoke up and said, “Not just penis, Buddy. Anything Mom and Dad read to you from It’s Not the Stork. Okay?” A little louder this time he replied, “Yes.” To make sure he didn’t feel bad, I told him, “You’re not in trouble Baby. Your dad and I just don’t want you to get in trouble for trying to talk to your friends about it. They need to talk to their parents if they have the same questions you had.” I didn’t get any other response and didn’t want to make it a bigger deal than it was, so I dropped it. He seemed satisfied with that so I parked the car once we arrived at our destination. With a kiss and a hug I walked him up to the gate and hoped that Penisgate was still in the back of his head.

     About a month ago Red started asking questions about where babies come from. He knew that his sister and him were in my belly before they were born but that was the extent of it. When he started asking questions, I explained to him I wasn’t ready for that conversation. But when he became more persistent and Curls would lean in every time he asked, I knew I couldn’t avoid having a conversation with them. Just a few examples of his line of questioning:

  1. Cannibal: “Did you eat me to get me in your belly?”

  2. Crafty: “Did you use paint?”

  3. Dr. Frankenstein: “Did you go to the cemetery, dig up some bones, and put me together?”

     My husband mentioned that he had heard/read about a book called It’s Not the Stork and that I should look it up. I brought it up on Amazon, read some reviews, most notably this one. If it was good enough for an R.N., it was good enough for me. I requested it from the library and picked it up when it was ready.

     The book opens with a bird and a bee going to the zoo. A family of hippos prompt the bird to ask where babies come from. That leads the book to say that asking questions is a great way to start and then transitions into boys and girls can be alike in many ways. So far, so good. We then hit giggle territory when we started reading about boys and girls and their different body parts. I kept a straight face and forged ahead all the way to Chapter 11: The Big Swim. My husband was left to read that to the kids, bless his heart. This happened over a span of a few days. Curls didn’t have any questions and Red just walked around the house laughing and saying, “Penis. Vagina.” And my personal favorite: “The vagina of doooooom.” I knew this would happen as he is only five and it was even hard for me not to laugh (I call it the Beavis and Butthead effect). Curtis and I explained to both the kids that there was nothing wrong with the information that we were giving them and they were all the correct terms. But we told them that we didn’t want them discussing it at school. We wanted their friends to get that information from their parents and not them. I could feel this not registering with my son as I looked at the glazed face staring back at me. 

     Fast forward to Veterans Day. All the children on our street are playing, hooping and hollering. At one point in the afternoon Red ran past my husband, my girlfriend, and myself as we sat on the driveway, into the garage, and hid behind one of the cars. I asked him if he was okay and he didn’t answer. I went back to check and he was clearly upset. I bent down and asked him what was wrong. He looked up at me in tears and said, “****”s grandpa yelled at me to go home.” Mama Bear kicked in, I picked him up, and started marching up the street. My husband asked, “Where are you going?” I turned around without breaking stride and answered, “To have a discussion with ****’s grandpa.”

     As we headed toward the end of the street and Red was wrapped around me like a koala bear, the kids started running towards me, trying to let me know what had happened. My Red had run up to some of the kids and asked, “Hey guys, do you know what a penis is?!” I know my Red. He is mischievous and likes attention. I wasn’t thrilled that he had asked that but he is 5 and boys will be boys. He hadn’t said a bad word like dick or many others like it.

     When I came face to face with grandpa, it was clear that he was not interested in what I had to say. To start, he got in my face to the point where I had to ask him to back up. I then introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked him what the problem was. He informed me that he had told my son to go home because he was saying inappropriate things around his granddaughter. I told him that if he has a problem in the future with either of my children he is to come to me and not speak to them. He then decided to advise that he thinks Red’s parents need to tell him that he shouldn’t talk like that. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I snapped back that we had already told him that we didn’t want him educating his friends about body parts but that what he said was the correct term for it. And because I can’t let sleeping dogs lie, I told him that Red isn’t going to be shamed for saying penis. It is the correct biological term. At this point Grandpa’s wife decided to pipe in and tell me that she and Grandpa are both retired teachers and that Red would get written up at school if he said that. I directed my death stare at her and let her know that it isn’t 1953 and saying penis is not bad. She retorted, “Well, good luck to your kids in school.” I could feel the steam coming out of ears, my body shaking, and the tears threatening to take over my face.

     That is when my wonderful, awesome, and amazing husband came up the street. Grandpa decided he was going to give him his side of the story because clearly I am a crazed woman and won’t listen to reason. And my feminist (did I mention awesome?) of a husband put his hand up as Grandpa started to speak. “You don’t need to tell me anything. You have spoken to my wife and that is all I need to know.” I could feel my shoulders relax and used that as a cue to go. I can’t remember if anything else was said but I knew I had said my piece and even though I didn’t need rescuing, Curtis knew exactly what to do. 10 minutes later Grandpa and his wife drove down our street and I waved as they thankfully left.

     I understand that a lot of parents don’t want to talk to their kids about sex until they are a certain age. But I will be damned if somebody is going to shame my child when he says something as simple as penis. Red’s question didn’t come from a sexual place or any ill will. He wanted to laugh about his new found knowledge and maybe show off a little in the process. And hopefully Penisgate has shown him that there is a time and place for certain kinds of conversation. Either way, I will be right there, ready to defend him.

Posted in Mama Adventures

Team Wesley

Oh, My Wesley. My energizer bunny, my clock that never stops ticking. You are “on” all day long and the Wesley Show is a traveling one. You make everybody laugh wherever we go because your lack of inhibition makes you an adorable goofball. I am still learning how to handle you, even as you enter your fifth year, and feeling like this summer has made me grow as a mother. You are my love bug but your determination to get into anything and everything that causes trouble is a daily struggle. We are working through it and I know we will eventually come out on the other side.

Only Legos and movies will sustain you for a period of time past five minutes. Scooby Doo, Lego Movie, Coraline, Despicable Me, and Toy Story (four years and counting) are all current favorites.

You have a perfectly placed freckle on the tip of your nose that I want to kiss over and over. I call it Bob and even though you wanted to call it Buzz Lightyear in the beginning, you agree the perfect name is Bob.

You became quick tempered when you turned 4 so we have learned together to take deep breaths and count to 10. A recent shopping trip to the grocery store involved me getting upset with your sister. You could see that and your response was: “Let’s turn that frown upside down! Just breathe Mom.”

Your love of the ladies has just gotten bigger and bigger. You always want to say hi to the female cashiers in the Starbucks drive thru. You are full of compliments. You catch me checking myself out in a bathroom mirror and inform me: “You don’t need to look Mom. You look beautiful!”

Your determination fills me with joy. When you decided you wanted to learn to ride your bike earlier this year, you got on it, and told yourself, “I got this! I can do it!” Three tries later and you were gone with the wind. My hope for you is that you never lose this. Your belief in yourself and ambition will get you the furthest.

Yes, my hair will be all the way gray sooner rather than later because of you. But I will always be Wile E. Coyote to your Roadrunner. I love you Wesley. Happy birthday my little devil.

Favorites:

Color: Blue

Ice Cream: Oreo

Movie: Toy Story

Song: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

TV Show: Adventure Time

Superhero: Spiderman (because he has webs)

Wesley birthday

Posted in Mama Adventures

My Girl

My beautiful Scarlet. I can’t believe today is your seventh birthday. I still remember the first month after you were born and how you cried and screamed pretty much 24/7. I felt hopeless, exhausted, and terrified that I was doing a terrible job as your mother. Seven years later I still have days like that but I do know one thing: You will grow up and be fine.

You are Miss Independent, wanting to do everything yourself. I love the mornings when you wake up and tell me that you have made your bed, cleaned your room, and gotten yourself dressed. Or when I go to check on you and you’re organizing your drawers, folding everything just the way you like it. And even though I cringe when you are pouring your milk for breakfast and I am waiting for the mess that may or may not follow, I know it gives you such pleasure to do it.

As much as you fight with your brother, I am 100% positive that you will always look out for him. You are an amazing big sister, always taking the time to sit down and teach him new stuff. This could be words, books, or counting. Just last week you asked me to find The Giving Tree because you wanted to teach Wesley how to read and this book had small and easy words. A couple of days ago you were waiting at the gate as I dropped him off at school. My heart gets a little fuller with each of these moments.

You go through chapter books in just a couple of days with current favorites being Junie B. Jones, Ramona, and anything with fairies. When you requested to start reading the Ramona books I stood up a little straighter that day because those books were my loves when I was a little girl.  We have started multiplication and you are picking it up lightning quick, practicing while you brush your teeth. And I am pretty sure you can spell any word in the English language if we spell it out for you just once.

With your smarts comes the heart of an artist. You have discovered Rainbow Loom like every little girl your age, making bracelets for everybody because of your generous spirit. All you need to be occupied for an afternoon is paint, crayons, glue, and construction paper. You have made many things with this inventory, even paper dolls and outfits for them.

You are the girliest of girls, still loving the color pink. You also love Barbie, Hello Kitty, and Lego Friends. Headbands, lipgloss, and bracelets litter every nook and cranny of our house.

Happy birthday My Scarlet. I love you with every ounce of my being and love watching you become your own person. You are fabulous and I am lucky to be your mama.

Favorites:

Ice Cream: Pink bubblegum

Movie: Teen Beach Movie

Song: “Oxygen” from Teen Beach Movie

TV Show: Full House

Book: NeverGirls from the Mist

Superhero: Wonder Woman

Scarlet birthday