Thursday, September 26, 2013

Life Lessons Month of September: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Big Sister,

Tomorrow marks a special day in our family…

Life Lessons Learned #30: A mother’s heart is limitless and unconditional.

Your brother is being born tomorrow morning!  You are just as excited as your Dad and I and I am so happy that you don’t feel threatened or jealous.  Know that you have a special place in our family and in my heart.  You were the one who brought light into my life after Kyle, the one who makes me smile everyday, and the one who keeps me on my toes each minute.  You are going to be such a good big sister for this baby! 

After Kyle was born, I was just about sure my heart couldn’t feel any more love and affection (your Dad agreed, he told me after Kyle died that he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to love another as much as Kyle but you my Dear Girl taught us both that love is unbounded and vast if you have an open heart and mind).  And now your new brother is reinforcing that point… Love really is infinite.

Our family unit is complete now.  You and I have something in common, we both now have younger siblings!  I adore having a ‘little’ brother.  Yes, I bossed Uncle Ryan around relentlessly when we were kids but the bond we share is like no other.  And that’s what I want you to have with your brother… despite your three and half-year age gap.  I hope you support him, be patient with him, care for him and love him.  I am sure you will make him your student in your classroom, dress him up in your princess clothes, and make him sit through your restaurant games.  But I envision him idolizing you, my Dear Girl.  Yes, I know you will fight and argue as that is part of the territory (I have the bite mark scars on my arm from your Uncle Ryan to prove it) but accept your brother as someone who will be with you for life.

In these next few weeks as we adjust to our new life as a family of 4 (not to forget our angel Kyle watching us grow from above), be tolerant Ellie, as growing pains are often part of the process.  My love for you will change just as it always has (I love you deeper as each day passes.  Even though I continue to think it’s not possible to love you anymore than I already do, I am continually proven wrong).  You are my world Ellie- never forget that (I won’t let you).

Love you my Sweet Girl,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life Lessons Month of September: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie (I can’t say good morning as I am writing this blog late in the day.)! 

I’ve been procrastinating a bit as I have a doozy of a head cold, which is my excuse for not being able to focus for very long!  Anyway, I have two ideas to go with.  The first has to do with “connections” and will take some very deep thought… the second is about nonsensical giggling.  I think I am going to go with the second idea, as I know it will distract me from my annoying runny nose, which has been interfering with my “deep level thinking stage” all day! … Or so I would like to believe!   So here goes:

Life Lessons Learned #29:  There is always a time and a place to be silly!

As always my dear Ellie, it is you who inspires me.  After leaving church today your Mommy and I decided to stop at Pier 1 to do a quick power shopping venture.  On the way there, your Mommy was reminding me of some important ‘happenings’ that I should enter in my blog if I went with my first idea.   One of her suggestions was a brain-game that the three of us played during our sleepover (which I will share in my next blog).  But the quick mention of the word “cow” from the animal category in the brain-game triggered another memory for you that was in the form of a joke.  And you asked your Mommy to repeat it, which was then followed by a whole slew of silly anecdotes that each of us took turns asking the other.  The first one was of course told by your Mommy and went like this:

Mommy:  Where do cows go on date night?
Ellie:  The barn?
Mimi:  The pasture?
Mommy:  Nope.  The MOOvies!
Ellie and Mimi: Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ellie’s turn.
Ellie: Knock knock.
Mommy and Mimi:  Who’s there?
Ellie: Shut the door!
Mommy, Mimi and Ellie: Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Mimi’s turn.
Mimi:  Knock knock.
Ellie and Mommy: Who’s there?
Mimi: Queen.
Ellie and Mommy: Queen who?
Mimi: Queen the dishes please!
Ellie and Mommy:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ellie’s turn.
Ellie:  What am I… the good witch?
Mommy:  I give up.
Mimi:  I give up too.
Ellie: I’m Glenda!
Mommy, Mimi and Ellie:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Mommy’s Turn.
Mommy: What did the sad ghost say?
Mimi: Waa, Waa?
Ellie:  Boo Hoo?
Mommy:  Yeahhhhh…. Ellie you are right!
Mimi and Ellie:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ellie’s turn.
Ellie:  Do you have a frigerator?
Mommy and Mimi:  Yes I do.
Ellie:  Is your frigerator running?
Mommy and Mimi:  Yes it is.
Ellie:  Better catch it!
Mommy, Mimi and Ellie:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Mimi’s Turn.
Mimi:  What did the bird say on Halloween?
Mommy:  Chirp, chirp?
Ellie:  I don’t know.
Mimi:  Trick or Tweet!
Mommy and Ellie:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ellie’s Turn.
Ellie:  What am I… the bad witch?
Mommy:  Glenda?
Ellie:  Nope.
Mimi:  The wicked witch of the West?
Ellie:  pause … pause some more
Ellie:  YESSSSS Mimi… you’re right!
Mommy, Mimi and Ellie:  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ellie…  upon arriving at Pier 1 we thought it best to put these silly jokes on hold while we shopped, but we quickly resumed them per your request as soon as we got back into the car.  And the more we told, the sillier they got as we drove home.  The Lesson Learned here? … Nonsensical giggling is not only the best medicine for distractions of such things like the common cold, but nonsensical giggling can also start your day out on a perfect note!  Thanks El!   A dose of you makes my whole day happy even when I am not feeling my best!

I love you my little Lucille Ball!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Life Lessons Month of September: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie Bean,

Getting this close to your brother’s birth is making me think back to Kyle’s delivery and yours Ellie and how grateful I was to have your Mimi stay with me a few weeks after each of you.

My Mom was such a big help but in the quietest way.  She cooked dinners every night, did our laundry, cleaned the house, drove me where I needed to be after my C-section, and never once tried to take the baby from us unless we asked her to (and she would softly retreat to her room to work, read, or make phone calls so that Justin and I could bond privately with the baby).  I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that.  So for you Ellie, use this list I’ve compiled when you have a baby for you to politely tell people how to respect your boundaries.

Life Lessons Learned #28: Be honest and tell people how you feel after you have a baby.

Here’s a list that I’ve generated that I hope family and friends will honor:

1.     Please remember to give attention to my oldest child too.  In fact, before approaching the baby, acknowledge Ellie.  She is feeling new emotions and figuring out her new place- help her feel wanted, included, and loved.
2.     Please don’t try to take the baby out of my arms so I can “get things done.”  If you are offering help, please let me bond with my baby and think of something that might need tending to.    
3.     Please don’t stay too long, newborns' sleep patterns are exhausting and we need to adjust to our new schedule and routine.
4.     Please don’t just pop in unannounced.  Showers and the condition of my house are not quite up to par after having a baby so some notice is appreciated.
5.     Ask me what it is that I need, don’t assume.
6.     If you are on your way to the grocery store, call me and ask if I need anything.  I will pay you back but not being able to drive for two weeks after a C-section makes it difficult to stay prepared.
7.     Maternity leave can be isolating so please think of us in the weeks after the birth.

Ellie, giving birth is an exciting time but it can also be stressful.  Maintain open and honest relationships with family and friends in those days and weeks after (particularly when sleep deprivation can bring out the not so good in all of us!).

I love you Ellie!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Life Lesson Month of September: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hello my precious Ellie, with all of your Ellie-isms!

Not only do I love to play with you each and every day, I also love to just sit and chat with you.  It is during these imaginative conversations, serious conversations, sweet conversations and our question and answer seeking conversations that you have ‘Wowed me,’ ‘Delighted me,’ ‘Surprised me,’ and yes… ‘Stumped me’ at times too!  And I particularly enjoy how you have created your own version of certain word pronunciations, which are quite unique I might add!  Ellie, that led me to thinking of how different the English language is translated not only by children, but also by people of all ages located in different regions of the United States.  I thought it would be fun to write about words that you have created as well as words that your Poppy (who is a native of Philadelphia, Pa.) pronounces and also myself (being a native of the Midwest – Wisconsin.)  So here goes:

Life Lesson Learned #27: It is normal for most people to “tweak” the English language now and then, but what is important is that we understand the “tweaking.

Ellie, the other day when you and I were spending time playing school at your house, I had to stop for a moment and wash something in the upstairs bathroom sink.  You followed me in and asked if you could help me.  Normally I would say yes but this time I hesitated, because I knew you were too short to reach the spickets and I couldn’t find anything nearby that would give you a boost (silly me for not realizing that you were already one step ahead of me!).  As I began answering you with a, “How about next time El?”… You responded with, “Wait Mimi, I can help.  I’ll go get my stoodle,” and off you ran.  You got me there Ellie.  Completely perplexed I answered you with, “Your what???”  And that fast you returned with a big smile on your face and a response of, “My stoodle.  It’s right here!”  Sure enough, you carried into the bathroom what looked to be like a little black plastic box.  You quickly opened it wide so that its legs snapped into place and set it down in front of the sink so that you could step onto your stool like a big girl to help me out.  Ahhhhhhhh… the stoodle… I should have known! 

On another day while I was hanging pictures in the master bathroom, you came in with a mouthful of pink bubblegum.  Not wanting to chew it anymore, you asked me if it could be thrown out in the wastebasket.  I answered you with a “Sure El, but place it in a tissue first so that it does not stick to the sides or the bottom of the can.”  So you walked over to the far wall and asked me if you could use a piece of the paper-toilet to wrap it in instead.   Ellie, I tried to stifle a giggle on that one but you caught me and asked me what I was laughing at.  Not wanting to hurt your feelings I diverted the conversation by telling you that the pictures I just hung were crooked and looked silly!  And thankfully my answer satisfied you for you agreed!  Now you would think that since you call toilet-paper paper-toilet, then you would call paper-towel paper-towel.  Nope.  You flip-flopped that word too and call it towel-paper!  You also call earphones phone-ears and Piano pinano!  El, all of your Ellie-isms (and there are many) are truly endearing!  To my ears they are becoming your Signature words.

As for Poppy, coming from Philadelphia he pronounces the words water and wash with an added ‘r’, changing them slightly to warter and warsh!  He also says ‘hoagie’ (for the meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato on a roll sandwich) instead of Hero Sandwich or Sub!  Another play on words from the northeast verses the Midwest are what Poppy and I call a carbonated drink.  He will refer to it as Soda, and I have used the term Pop.  El, Philadelphians also call running shoes Sneakers.  Us Midwesterners refer to them as Tennies, which is short for Tennis shoes!  Now remember Ellie, I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and Wisconsinites call that thing you drink from in a public place a Bubbler because the water “bubbles” forth from the fountain in an arch when you turn the nob!  I am pretty sure that everyone else in the United States calls it a water fountain (go figure!).  When I pronounce the word ‘root’ and ‘roof’ they rhyme with foot and woof.  When Poppy says them, they rhyme with boot and goof.  Changing the pronunciation of one simple word can really stump a person!  That is what happened one time when I was a passenger in Pop Russell’s car.  He parked next to a curb with a tree stump preventing my car door to open.  When he asked me why I wasn’t getting out, I told him that there was a root (like in foot) in the way.  Do you know what his response was Ellie?  Yep.  With a contorted and confused look on his face, he answered with, “A what????”  Sound familiar?  I had to explain by giving the definition of the word that was blocking my way and said, “You know Dad, the bottom part of the tree that is usually hidden underground!”  Pop just laughed and said, “Oh, you mean a root!” (Like boot).  Ellie… those types of words may not be Mimi-isms or Poppy-isms… but if I were to be honest with you, I do have one that was my Signature word for a long time.  And that would be the word ‘kindergarten’, the place you are anxiously waiting to go to, but still have 2 years to wait!  Anyway, for many, many years I pronounced it kidneygarden!  Can you believe it?  And no one ever corrected me on it until about 10 years ago!  I am guessing that they stifled a giggle more than once before that and that’s ok.   Now looking back, I too giggle because I realize that I massacred the word.  Instead of referencing children entering into their first year of education… I apparently was referencing a bean, or rather many beans, growing out of a patch of ground!  Yikes!

So I guess the lesson to be learned here Ellie is that the English language has been challenged, revised, and tweaked many times since its beginning.  What is important is never to abuse it, but rather respect it.  If something does not sound right, question it.  If something doesn’t make sense, question it.  The love of reading and the love of conversing with others will increase your vocabulary tenfold El, and if you accidentally ‘tweak’ a word now and then… well, it just becomes one of your character traits that make you who you are.  Bright, Beautiful, and the Best!

I love you my little Linguist!