Category Archives: hannah

I wish I couldn’t relate

I remember.

Sitting on my mom’s bed as she got dressed for a night out. Her looking in the mirror, freshly showered, hair done, perfume spritzed, necklace clasped. Me quiet. And sad knowing she was heading out for the night. The doorbell would ring and the babysitter would enter. I’d hide quietly behind my mom’s legs dreading her walking out the door with my dad. I knew I had a night full of card games, dessert and TV ahead of me but I still ached with the knowledge that someone Else would be putting me to bed. Helping me brush my teeth. Reading me my goodnight book. Turning out my light.

Many nights I’d grasp onto my mom’s leg as she tried to pry herself away from me. But she’d end up leaving. No matter how many tears I cried. What excuses I gave. She ended up going. And although some nights I fought the babysitter’s attempts to get me to stay in bed and Go To Sleep, I was always ok. I survived. My parents got to enjoy their time away. Their Time Out. And I was no worse for the wear.

Some nights I’d wake in the the wee hours of the morning, missing my parents. Wishing I could crawl into bed with them. Feel their warm bodies next to me and share my mom’s soft, squishy pillow under my little head. But I knew that wasn’t allowed. The times I’d go into my parent’s room in the hours when the moon and stars still twinkled in the sky, my mom would sleepily walk me back to my bedroom, kiss me on the forehead and softly urge me to go back to sleep. And many nights, I’d take my own pillow and small blanket, place them on the floor in the hallway outside my parent’s bedroom door and sleep there. Content knowing they were close. Right behind that door. My mom would wake early as she always did, open her door and find me asleep. Curled against the doorframe. It was not ideal for either of us. My mom was sad with the knowledge that I had been frightened and lonely, overcome with the need to sleep on the hard cold floor. But she was able to get a fine night’s sleep, not knowing her little girl was suffering, however silly it may have been. And I was afraid of making my mom angry, yet too scared to stay alone. But I was satisfied with this compromise of sleeping close by. It worked for me . And I grew out of it, eventually.

Fast forward 33 years. I have this little girl. Suddenly suffering. Unable to let me leave the house, even leave the room. She is scared at night. Having nightmares. She is petrified of my not being there when she’ll need me. Afraid no one else will understand how to take care of her (outside of Tim and her grandparents).

She had gymnastics tryouts this week and I couldn’t leave the room.

She won’t leave my side when I’m in the bathroom, even if it’s to run down the hall to fetch some toiletpaper.

She scolds (yes scolds) me for sitting outside in my swing when she’s in bed. “You can’t leave your Children inside alone Mommy!”

And now she is making me a prisoner in my own house. And I’m at a loss. Sick for her. And pitying myself. She got herself so worked up with sadness with the babysitter on Tim and my anniversary that she ended up throwing up repeatedly and (sorry) pooping all over the floor. On the phone as I drove to the restaurant, I tried to talk her down but she insisted she Needed me immediately. And upon my arriving back home, she admitted she had just been nervous. Very nervous being left with the sitter.

I have not heard from that sitter again.

And last night, when I had a night of cocktails on the water with Tim and his brother and sister-in-law planned, she would not “let” me leave her with the new sitter. She was traumatized. Terrified. Shaking. Unable to be reasoned with. And for fear of another episode with this new babysitter, I again stayed home. Another night ruined. Beyond frustrated. But aching with sadness for my little girl.

Tim believes we should punish her. Not let her irrational behavior win. Not let her be rewarded with our staying home. But I truly believe this is a stage resulting from something deeper than “acting out”. That there is a true fear I need to alleviate. That I need to dig out the roots of this problem and help her heal.

Am I being the gullible, irrational one? Should I show tougher love? Have her find her own way of solving this problem, as I did by sleeping outside my mom’s room in my young scared years? Or do I lay beside her, the way I had only wished my mom would?

Because here I am, feeling tortured. Feeling bullied. Afraid of how long this will last. How far and long this stage will stretch. Will she not let me leave her at Kindergarten in 3 weeks? Will her new gymnastics program fail us as well? Will I never find a babysitter that I won’t worry Hannah will throw up on?

I find these issues that I can relate so deeply to the hardest. Because I remember. I wore her shoes. I felt her pain. And now I’m crying her tears. And I know it’s not right but I’m at a loss for what to do.

Any tips Welcome!!

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Filed under ages and stages, babysitter, hannah, kindergarten, Me, Nature/Nurture, parenting

Firsts and Lasts

I ran through the school hallways today, Hannah grasping to one hand and her best friend grasping to the other in an effort to make it to “Group Sing” before it ended.

Hannah has spoken often of Group Sing.  Not in much detail, but enough for me to know it was something she looks forward to and enjoys each week at school.  I knew it was one of the only times during the week that the little preschoolers join with the Upper School big kids for an activity. We had arrived late to school today, as had her best friend, so we risked missing Group Sing which is why we bolted around other students and got strange glares from the teachers who normally preach “No running” to the children. I suppose my height and my “Don’t Mess with Me” look of desperation gave me a free pass this morning.

I had been told this was the Last Group Sing.  The last for the year.  And for Hannah, who will be entering public school Kindergarten this fall, the last Ever.

We ran into the room stuffed with 50 or so students ranging from age 3-12 all sitting on the floor singing unfamiliar songs (to me) while one student stood with a pointer at the front of the room tapping a large screen with the lyrics written out for those who could read.  I didn’t realize Overhead Projectors were still used.  It was refreshing to see they are.

Hannah and C found their classmates and joined right in with the other kids singing with delight.  I stood back.  Listening.  Watching.

They all knew the words.  They all had memorized the hand and arm motions that went with the lyrics. And when gestures weren’t required, they had their arms around each others shoulders and they rocked back and forth to the tune.  It reminded me of my camp days. Hannah glanced back at me over her arm resting on her friend’s shoulder and smiled.  Happy.  Comfortable. I smiled back. Tears welling in my eyes from the comfort I too felt with this Place she has been attending since infancy.

Her Last Group Sing. My First Group Sing.

Firsts and Lasts.  I realized in this moment as I listened to the older kids harmonize with one another, and the younger kids struggle to remember the words, that we always take note of the Firsts.  First steps.  First food. First words. First haircut. First visit to the emergency room (oh, is that just me?). First time riding a bike.  But we don’t as often memorialize the Lasts.  And the lasts really are so much more emotional.  Because you don’t get to witness the event again.  It’s over. Milestone reached. Goal attained.  Time to move on.  Sometimes you don’t even KNOW it’s the last and then the First is upon you without you even appreciating the climactic ending.  Last ride with training wheels.  Last night in a crib.  Last time wearing Pull Ups. Last day crawling.  Last meal of baby food.  Last day having fun at the playground.

And yes, the Lasts usually bring along a new First right behind it and we so quickly forget about that Last as we move on.  But sometimes it’s good to sit and take it in.  Remember it. Appreciate it.

This was Hannah’s Last Group Sing.  The last one with these friends.  Feeling comfortable giggling and laughing with her arms hugging her buddies. The last between these walls.  Singing these familiar songs. Being proud to be the oldest of the preschool kids and honored to be the welcomed as the youngest of the larger school.  In a few months she’ll have her First music class at her new school.  She’ll learn her First new song. She’ll have her First performance in front of an audience on stage.  She’ll make First friends.  And we’ll all remember these firsts but know we have more ahead of us.  And that’s so reassuring.  That firsts bring on more memories ahead of us.  And I don’t feel so desperate to hang onto the firsts knowing it’s not the end.

But the lasts? Oy. In a months time she’ll have her Last day of school.  Her last day with these friends. She’ll have her last popsicle out on the playground on which she first learned to slide down a slide, pump her legs on a swing and climb across the monkey bars. She’ll take her last nap on the cot where she first learned to make her own bed and learned how good it feels to help others make theirs.

The Firsts bring on Lasts and the Lasts bring new Firsts. I want to hold onto and cherish them all.  I want to imprint them in my brain and help Hannah do the same.

At my first group sing today I read the lyrics to their last song called “We all Have it Inside of Us”.  I don’t recall the exact words but the message is still very clear to me.

We all have what it takes to be what we want to be. We just need to find it inside of us.

What perfect words for her to end her Last Group Sing.  And start her First days at her new school.  I hope she remembers these words.  I know I will.

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Filed under childhood friends, firsts, hannah, hopes and dreams, kindergarten, Me, memories, parenting, preschool

In Dreams

I fell asleep on the couch today.  The ceiling fan whirred over head. There were lawn mowers grooming the yard across the street.  My dog, in desperate need of a haircut in this heat, snored quietly by my side.  And after a few too many nights of interrupted sleep, I was in desperate need of a nap.  So when Luke slept, so did I.

And I dreamed.

So rarely do I dream.  I either don’t fall into a deep enough slumber for dreams to overtake my mind, or I’m in such a deep sleep that the dreams are shut out. Or worse, the dreams I DO have are the ones that I wake up in a cold sweat, having missed a semester of classes and in no way can pass the final, or I’m falling down an empty elevator shaft (I like to dream by the books.  With obvious interpretation.).

But today, I dreamed about an actual day dream.  I dreamed about something that recently I find myself pondering during the daylight hours, while my kids play in front of me, as I’m cooking dinner, and pulling weeds from my garden.  As I napped my mind took me to a place where one day I can only “dream” of being.  My dream took me to achieving something I wouldn’t even dare to admit I hope to achieve.  Because it’s not realistic.  It’s just a dream.

Which makes me wonder.  When are you allowed to consider a dream a possibility?  When is a dream something you can take from your subconscious mind, open your eyes and put it in front of you?

If you knew me in real life (which only a handful, a small handful, of you do), you’d know that I am a dreamer.  An idea person with Dreams.  I dream big but I execute small.  My dreams get squashed.  I either squash them with my own self deprecating internal voice or tiny voices that reside on my shoulders, whispering in my ears squash them.  And then I move on.  Often feeling defeated, but other times feeling as if reality simply shined brighter than my dream.

I want to stop this cycle.  This cycle of having a dream, making a plan and talking myself out of all I had hoped to see come true.  I want to silence the voices that tell me my dreams aren’t realistic.  That my time and energy could be better spent on the things that are already in my grasp.  I want to ignore the nay sayers and the eye-rollers (even if I’m one of them) and forge ahead.  Take a dive.  Take a risk.  Be COURAGEOUS.

My dream today on the couch felt REAL.  I woke up feeling foggy headed yet inspired.  I felt giddy in a just-woke-up-in-the-middle-of-the-day-and-have-no-idea-where-I-am sort of way.  And I told myself, I’m doing this.

I’m doing this for ME.  I’m doing this to prove to myself that I CAN be courageous and leap off a ledge that for all my life I’ve been told is too high for me. I’m doing this for Hannah and Luke. Because if I tell them every day of their young lives that they’ll never know if they can succeed unless they try,  then I need to do the same.  I need to tell myself that this dream CAN be reality.

And sorry guys, but I’m not leaking what my dream today was all about.   Because, if you were listening above, you know that this is for ME.  If I tell YOU then I’ll have all of you breathing down my neck, asking me how it’s going, asking for details, which I’m just not ready to talk about.  Maybe after a few glasses of wine at BlogHer… but not today.  But don’t worry.  You won’t see me on any stage doing stand-up comedy, applying for Project Runway, Survivor or The Amazing Race.  No, this dream is smaller.  Less public.  Less humiliating.

Right now, it’s just a dream. Something I’ve only seen in blurred forms and shades of grey.  But I’m going to figure out a way for it to breathe real life.

For Me.

Have you had dreams come true?  How do you try to make your dreams reality?  Does it make you nervous?  Are their dream squashers in your life?  Are you one of them?

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Filed under hannah, hopes and dreams, luke, Me, nap, parenting, wonders

A Loving Shove

Yesterday Luke climbed up onto the coffee table as he so often does, and I even more often tell him not to, and before I could lift him off, Hannah playfully/menacingly pushed him off.   He was fine.  I was not.  Tim told me he had never seen me so angry.  He said even at my most angry, he’d never seen my face turn so red so fast and seen such rage in my eyes.  Hannah knew she had crossed the line.  She didn’t even wait for my furious words to leave my mouth, she was up the stairs and behind her closed door before I had even chosen what words they’d be.

Be careful.  They are words I say on average 100 times each day.

“Be careful.”  “Be careful with that.”  “Be careful with him.” “Are you being careful.”  “CAREFUL!”  If only I had a button I could push to say the words instead of wasting my breath.  Because honestly, the words hold no meaning.  If I’m saying them it’s usually too late.  Someone has already fallen, tripped or been shoved off of a coffee table.

Where is the happy part of this post you’re wondering (because as you recall I promised to list the top things that make me happy as part of receiving my Happy 101 award)?  Here it comes…

Normally, after Hannah does something to upset Luke, her apology to him is heartwarming.  She doesn’t care quite so much when I’M upset with her but if Luke is sad because of something she did, she’ll pull out all the stops to make him happy again.  I’m pretty certain that Luke didn’t even realize what had gone down as he was flung from the coffee table, and I’m even more certain he doesn’t hold a grudge, but when he heard her wailing from her room, feeling awful for what she had done, he pointed in the direction of her room and pitifully said, ” Ha Hah” (Hannah in Luke-speak).  He was aware of her sadness and she cried for his.  And this bond, this sibling attachment, makes me happy.

I went up to her room to make sure she was ok and understood why I had gotten so angry.  She snotted all over sniffled on my shirt and said she just felt so bad.  “I think that may have been the worst thing I’ve ever done mommy. I don’t know what came over me.  I think I was a little out of control.” (Where does she COME UP with this stuff?).  She apologized to me.  I forgave her.  End of story.

She asked me to leave her alone for a little bit so she could “work on something” for Luke.  I retreated down the stairs to find Luke standing again on the coffee table.  “TA DA!” he shouted as he raised his hands above his head, prideful that this time he had achieved his goal WITHOUT getting pushed to the ground.  (The “don’t-let-the-kids-climb-on-the-furniture” rule wasn’t sticking with daddy around).

Twenty minutes later, Hannah joined us in the family room and gave Luke an apologetic hug. She held his cheeks in each hand and said, “You need to know I did not mean to push you off the table.  Big sissy sometimes does things she shouldn’t.” And with that, she went off satisfied and I went off to put him to bed.

Tim and I went out last night for dinner.  When we returned home and went up to bed, I found this:

Before Hannah went to bed last night, she put a note in a little envelope outside his room.  It’s what she had worked on when I left her in her room after our talk.  She wanted it there for him when he woke up in the morning.  The picture inside the envelope was of a rainbow and Luke sitting under the rainbow.  I asked her why she drew it and she said,  “Because everyone is happy when they are under a rainbow mommy. So whenever Luke is sad, like if I shove him off a table again, he can look at this and think about sitting under a rainbow and his sad will go away.”

Words to live by in my book.  If  you’re sad, think about a rainbow.  Because a rainbow comes out when the rain has stopped.  And that means the Sad has gone away, only to be replaced with the Happy.

All I know, is that their love, their innocent, pure and simple love (even with the shoves thrown in there) makes ME happy.

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Filed under hannah, luke, siblings

A better birthday

Last year at this time, the night of her birthday party, I was sitting with Hannah with her head resting on the toilet bowl.  She had had a perfect, magical night dressed as Cinderella with 15 of her little girlfriends also dressed as their favorite princess.  She danced, jumped and twirled beside Sleeping Beauty, Tinkerbell, Snow White and Belle.  Her smile shined for two straight hours.  Until she got into the car to go home and told me she felt “funny”.  She said she couldn’t wait to get home and crawl into bed.  She didn’t want to open her presents.  I looked worriedly at Tim as he drove us home and as soon as we walked in the house we knew something was terribly wrong.

Hannah has food allergies.  We’ve known this since she was only a year old and consumed a small bite of baby food with egg in it and immediately started throwing up and becoming listless.  An emergency room visit and later a visit to the allergist confirmed her severe allergy to eggs.  At two years old she had a small amount of pesto on a bite of pasta and she suffered the same reaction.  A blood test at the allergist was positive – allergic to all nuts and eggs.

I read a post tonight at Trains Tutus and Twizzlers where Corinne so accurately described how difficult, how devastating, it is to have a child with food allergies.  Unless you have a child with severe food allergies, it’s impossible to describe the fear, the panic I live with on so many days. I’m lucky to have an extremely verbal and aware child who is petrified of getting sick and wouldn’t even consider trying a food without consulting me first.  But I live in fear.  I am a food label maniac.  I read every ingredient of every package of food twelve times every time I buy it just to be sure.  I hate going to new restaurants.  I worry people don’t understand.

And last year, when I ordered Hannah’s eggless cake, the woman obviously Did Not Understand.  She promised me, swore to me, that the cake was made eggless and that all utensils used had been cleaned thoroughly.  She lied.  Hannah happily, confidently, scarfed down a big piece of that cake and then became violently ill.  We were confused.  Dismayed.  Petrified.  And when we called the bakery the next day… she denied it.  We called the pizzeria who made the pizza and the guy told us, “maybe” the pizza, may have had some egg in the dough.  We blamed it on that.  We had NEVER heard of pizza dough with egg but we added it to our list of things to be careful of.  It wasn’t until TWO months later when Tim (who has the same egg allergy) had a piece of the frozen birthday cake and also got horrendously ill, that we found out the truth.  We called the bakery again and the owner told us, “My partner, who no longer works here, lied.  Yes, that cake did have eggs.”  She went on with other words that I didn’t hear.  I only heard that some woman who didn’t care, almost killed my daughter.  Some woman, who I probably could have strangled with my own two hands was responsible for a night of misery that should have been a night of magic.

I felt so betrayed.  As a mom of a child with allergies like this, all I can do is ask the right questions, stress the importance and urgency of care and Trust people hear me.  What am I to do when I lose this trust?  I cannot stay behind the doors of my house with Hannah for the rest of her life.  I MUST learn to trust.  So I do.  But I hold my breath when she takes a bite of something from a restaurant.  I do not show on my face my wariness, but I feel it every day.  I carry Benadryl and an Epi Pen every time we leave the house and pray I won’t have to use them.  And I hope.  I hope that she’ll grow out of these allergies.

Tonight was Hannah’s fifth birthday party.  She had that same smile on her face that she had last year during her party.  But this time it lasted.  It lasted through her cupcake that mommy handmade for her this year (and recall… mommy is NOT creative or artsy- but I tried).  It lasted right up until her eyes shut and she drifted off into her dreams.  And I’m STILL smiling tonight at the joy we all shared at her party.  And that even if the memory of last year is still so clear in my mind… I’m pretty sure it’s gone from hers.

Make A Wish!

A happy princess

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Rock"it"



Hannah is newly obsessed with being a rock star.  I mean she always liked to sing,  but the term “Rock star” is pretty new.   And it’s only recently that she declared she wants to be a rock star for Halloween this year.  It might have something to do with my infatuation with American Idol- she knows it’s the one show on the TiVo list that is there for me.  The other 40 recorded shows are hers – all hers.  We watched one of the earlier episodes together and she talked about ‘Lil as her favorite for many weeks after that.  She would always ask on Thursday if ‘Lil was still on the show.  She actually spoke of ‘Lil as if she was a real friend of hers (and I say that as I have just finished telling Tim that I feel like Ryan Seacrest is my friend since we “tweet”).  Last week we watched some of the finale together.  Her favorite song to sing at the top of her lungs is Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie and when I saw Fergie was going to sing on American Idol I knew Hannah would be thrilled.  And that she was – 23 Big Girls Don’t Cry’s later and having memorized every booty shake and lyric… Hannah was satisfied to move onto the next act of the show.  Half way through the finale she announced she wants to be an American Idol so being the supportive mommy that I am I said, “Ok Hannah we can work on that” and she said, “I want to be THAT one” pointing at Alexis Grace.  I tried to explain that if she is on American Idol she’d be herself but she just kept saying if she’s on the show, that’s the one she wants to be.  It was one of those going nowhere conversations where I finally just said, “ok, you can be that one”.   Tonight as I was putting her to bed she said, “mommy, did you know that Rock Stars have an attitude?”  (I think I have Bebe (Tim’s mom) to thank for that one… ) and laughing I said, “yes, Hannah most Rock Stars do have an attitude”.  

“Mommy, what’s an attitude?”  
“It’s when you think you’re the “shnizzzy””.  (Not sure where I came up with that word but it sounded good at the moment).
“What’s the shnizzzy?”
“It’s when you think you’re the best thing ever.  It’s not good to have an attitude because people might not like you if you think you’re the best thing ever”.
“Well, when I’m a rockstar, I won’t have an attitude…. but I MIGHT be the shnizzzy – a NICE shnizzzy”.
Watch out American Idol 2021.

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Filed under American idol, attitude, halloween, hannah, rock star

Let the games begin!

We went to our first carnival of the carnival season yesterday (and I think it’s going to be a LONG carnival season).  We had 75 minutes total for the carnival experience which included drive time to and from Bedford.   I prepped Hannah by explaining Luke needed to get home in time for his nap but promised her 3 rides and cotton candy.  Honestly, I think we could have gotten away with just the cotton candy and she would have been happy.  We ran into the carnival and the first thing Hannah had to do was… the bathroom.  There went 15 minutes especially because the bathroom was inside the school and she needed to look around (in the hallways, in the classrooms, at all the artwork, etc).  Now we really had to run from one ride to the next.  It’s not easy for a 4 year old to stay focused with all of the games, food, people, rides, music, etc.  But she did great.  First ride – little cars.  She got to ride her car alone which was fun but it was too slow, “boring” she said.  Next ride, dinosaur spinning ride.  Made me want to vomit watching her and Tim on this one but at least she didn’t look like she was going to fall asleep.  Third ride – elephant flying ride.  I did this one with her.  Up and down, round and round.  I’m still spinning.   Last ride – ferris wheel.  I. Was. Terrified.  I had to pretend I wasn’t nervous so she would stay calm but holy shit… we were HIGH!  Couldn’t have ended soon enough for me… I think I might have actually screamed at one point since the kids in front of us (below us) looked up at me like whose the lame mommy…  thank god, time was up.  We sprinted to the cotton candy station, picked up the goods and were out of there.  And we had one sticky faced, blue mouthed, HAPPY little girl.

 Quote of the day: “Mommy I really like Kid Rock because I’m a kid and I like to rock and roll!”.  

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Swimming with the Fishies


You know that mom who you see watching their kid and you just have to roll your eyes over how worked up and animated they get over their kid?  Because really, you just don’t care so much about any other kid… only your own, right (or is that just me?)  So I was that mom today.  Hannah has been struggling with building up enough confidence to swim on her own.  We all have known she CAN do it but she just wouldn’t.  And we’re desperate for her to learn to swim.  The thought of chasing both kids around our pool all summer, frantic over them falling in just doesn’t sound appealing.  (I swear I’ll have them both wearing swim vests from the second they get up in the morning until the moment they go to bed.  It won’t matter if they are in the kitchen eating lunch, napping, riding their bikes in the driveway or blowing bubbles in the yard.  Because you just never know when a strong force wind will come and blow them into the pool.) Hannah’s excuse recently has been, “mommy I just don’t think I’ve eaten enough green vegetables so I’m not strong enough”.  She kept saying, “when I’m ready, I’ll do it”.  Can’t argue with that logic.  The past 2 weeks she’s cried and cried during class, grasping onto the edge of the pool.  I’d see her little mouth mouthing, “Mommy, I don’t want to, Mommy tell her I’m not ready”.  It was heartbreaking.  But today, some burst of confidence must have overtaken her because she did it!  She swam about 20 feet a number of times ON. HER. OWN!  And I was the crazy mommy jumping up and down, yelling “YEAH HANNAH!” and looking around for everyone else to applaud right along with me.  But for some reason they were watching their own children and didn’t seem to care much about mine.   

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