Thursday, July 31, 2014


His name is Noah but I call him Tenders.

Or sometimes, Tenders Love.

It started when he was a wee chunk of a peanut and it just seemed to fit. He was so sweet and good-natured and oh so chock full of fatty rolls everywhere. Mmmmmm, sweet brown baby fat. Sweeter than the darkest molasses.

And now I cuddle him all day, cooing his nickname to him and play-biting his round pot-belly and little dinner-roll feet. As if he's still just 3 months old.

Judah loves it and adds his own little voice to the chant. O Tenders, Tenders Love, Judah sings.

Our Tenders Love is growing up too fast.

Two weeks ago, though we've said and done nothing to encourage him, he one day, out of the blue, just sat on the potty and pooped! Since then he's wanted to go on the potty incessantly, which we've indulged, but never again did his magic business there.

Of course we had to take a picture of his first (and apparently last) successful dump!

Noah is also acquiring new words at a frantic pace and learning how to really communicate verbally. I love to hear his little voice say "Yeah, or No" when I ask him questions. And he now devours books and loves to read almost as much as Judah did. Although, truly it's pretty hard to match Judah's inborn obsession with stories. Judah was sitting through multiple readings of the Lorax at age 7 months, whereas Noah just recently started to love it.

Mommy's dramatic reading of the Lorax, take # 526.

Nevertheless, all the signs are there for me to try to blatantly ignore. Noah is 18 months. A toddler. No longer a baby. I don't have a baby anymore. That sweet brown fat.

And I realize I don't want another baby. I want that baby back. That baby named Noah that I call my Tenders Love.

It's hard to watch him grow up, but God is merciful. At least he's short and chubby for his age so I can imagine he's still a little younger than he actually is.

Who you calling short and chubby? I'll cut you #$@%!

Judah I egged on to grow up as quickly as possible. But Noah, sweet Noah, dear Noah, little Noah, can not stay little long enough.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Particularly Bad Day

Sometimes, after a long day of unsuccessfully "parenting" the kids, I want to read about another mom that's struggled as much as I have.

I've been googling for a while and I can't find any.

But YOU'RE in luck if you're looking for a mom fail. Of course, by now, you know that this is THE place to go for tales of utter frustration and disturbing ambivalence in parenting. And you can hear someone confess (and amply demonstrate) that she doesn't know what the heck she's doing and has no qualifications whatsoever to have little people's lives and impressionable young hearts and minds placed in her hands.

Honestly, every day is a rough day.

But today was a REALLY rough day. I don't even know why. But you know it's going to be a bad day when you completely lose your sh*t at 10 am in the morning. Usually I can last a good 7+ hours before completely losing it with the kids, but today was some kind of special.

Noah wields the sword like a pro, but his real power is clinging to mommy. All. Day. Long.

Noah copies Judah's power stance. And his ability to make messes everywhere and at all times.

It's not like the kids were especially annoying or anything. It's just...kind of like a boiling pot that finally blows its lid. Like a volcano that suddenly erupts. The constant whining, fussing, crying, negotiating, line-crossing, grumpiness, quick-to-anger, quick-to-complain attitude, pouting, outright defiance and disobedience, and even innocent spills, messes, repetitive questions and non-stop interruptions, etc. just built up to the point of tipping me into raging b*tch mommy-land.

And, after some more processing, I realize I've been impatient lately. I've been itching to get stuff done. We moved into our house over 18 months ago and it's STILL not settled. I would say our lives move at a snail's pace, but that's just way too insulting to those lightening-quick snails. For example, we bought a tiny half-window curtain to hang up in our bathroom and it just sat there in a corner for FIVE MONTHS collecting dust. Five. Months. We FINALLY hung it up last week.

The garage is stacked with yet-to-be-opened boxes. And pictures that need hanging. And files to be sorted. And goodness knows what else.

Every time I step into the garage my skin crawls with an aching desire to sort and organize. Heck, every time I look around the house I can instantly spot 10 things I'd like to do or undo in any given room. And I know each thing will take FIVE MONTHS to finally happen. Okay, that's probably an exaggeration. OR IS IT?!?!

Anyway, I've rambled on too long and now it's how do I end this...?

Patience, patience, my friend.

Patience is a virtue.

Especially when you have little people.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

That Asian Soccer Mom

This month Judah started his first sport: soccer.

Little known facts: Captain America plays soccer and my preschooler has chiseled abs.

I signed him up for soccer because (1) it meets conveniently 5 minutes away from my house and (2) I'm hoping all the running around will make him melt like a pat of butter into his pillow at bedtime.

And now I'm embarrassed to admit I've become that mom. That soccer mom, to be exact. I can't help it. Whenever I see Judah dribbling on the field I just have to shout encouragements at him--Good job! Don't use your hands! Wrong goal! Go the other way!

Okay, so they're mostly instructions and not so much praises. So I guess I'm that Asian soccer mom.

Those over-sized jerseys just melt my heart.

But seriously, there is so much joy in watching your kid run around and learn new skills. And there's nothing like that look of pride in your kid's eyes when he knows he's accomplished something--even something as small as kicking the ball in between his partner's spread-eagle legs.

Me and Noah taking a break from our cheer-leading duties.

I can't imagine how thrilling it would be to see Judah score a goal one day (in the right goal, that is). Judah is the opposite of athletic so I'm pretty sure that will never happen. But either way, I'll probably be on the sidelines shouting myself hoarse.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Short but Sweet

It's been awhile since I've blogged so I'll just share a quick favorite memory before I unplug for the night.

Often Judah will randomly say "I love you mommy!" (He recently admitted that he does this because he doesn't know what else to say--Mommy, I just say that because I don't know what to say--and yet he still wants to fill the silence and feel some verbal/emotional connection to me. Man, that kid reminds me of me!)

Anyway, for the last 4 months or so, every time Judah says his little 'love tick' statement, I hear Noah's little voice pipe up: Mama!

I'd like to think Noah is saying "I love you mommy!" in his own little way. I mean, really, he says it with such a tone of affection and joy.

So this is what I hear about 20 times a day:
I love you mommy!

Best. Soundtrack. Ever.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This was meant to be light, oh well

Dear Diary,

I should be going to bed now but...I feel like talking to someone, so, yeah.

Unfortunately, you're not a real diary and this is a sorta public forum so I can't really spill all my uncensored guts, but I can tell you this.

I'm still not used to taking care of my kids all day. Being a stay-at-home mom is still hard. Noah still has times when he screams and cries the entire car trip home (for no apparent *good* reason). Judah has all kinds of ridiculous phobias that defy logic and strip me of sanity. And I still can barely hear myself think when the kids are around.

I fantasize about the day when Noah is 2.5. No more stranger anxiety. He can watch a video like his brother. They might even play together. And definitely no more nursing.

In fact I'm holding on to that bright and shining day like a beacon in the night. In a stormy night with pounding waves that toss me under like a rag doll before I can catch a breath.

Oh, and what else...

I've started drinking a giant mug of coffee in the middle of the day. It helps.

My kind and thoughtful friend lent me her double-jogging stroller this week. I jogged with it once. It was awesome.

My reward at the end of a long, hard day is listening to Chris Rice albums as I wash dishes and tidy the playroom. Not exactly putting my feet up but I'm starting to accept my role as a 16 hour a day menial house slave. I don't glower as much as I used to.

If ever there was a time I needed to practice being positive and grateful, it is now. Giving thanks is no longer something 'nice to do' for me. It is the difference between life and death. Between despair and hope. Between sinking and staying afloat. Because my goodness how the storms rage on.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


*Warning--this post is a little disgusting. If you really want to read it, maybe finish those chili nachos before reading.*

I spent the better part of July 4th weekend hunched over in nausea and pain. Noah gave me his stomach bug Thursday night and it's been...not pretty since then.

There's nothing that makes you hate life more than going diarrhea and then quickly realizing you need to vomit and not really having time to flush before you turn around and projectile vomit into that same befouled bowl. Splash.

I spent the better part of Thursday night not sleeping a wink due to my crampy bowels, and then took care of both kids by myself all Friday. It was a blur of pain, nausea, fatigue and a lot of "Mommy needs to lie down, Mommy's not feeling well, wipe your own butts today."

At one point in the afternoon I remember feeling so fatigued I felt myself magnetically drawn to the couch despite my best efforts. It just felt soooooo good to lie down.

Unfortunately, both kids were buzzing around me in fine form and kept trying to interact with me. I vaguely remembered saying things like "Go play by yourself. Mommy's going to take a little nap..."

And then periodically, I would feel the rude slap of different objects hitting my face.

WHAP! Judah! Don't hit me with your sword, Mommy's sleeping!

Whap! Noah, you want to read that book? Judah, go read your brother that book! I don't care if it's boring, your brother needs you!

Whap! Noah, don't play with that, that's Mommy's prescription pills. What are you doing with that? Ugh, thank God for child-proof lids.

Whap! Noah, you want that bottle of gummy-vites? Okay, you can have one. Just one! Judah, give your brother a gummy-vite.

Whap! Don't hit me with those saltine crackers! Yes, you can eat them. As many as you like. That's your snack for today.

30 minutes later I wake up to a small-scale tornado aftermath in the family room. Paper, bottles, saltine cracker crumbs, and the entire contents of my purse were strewn across the floor. But what really bothered me was waking up to see Noah's little face come into focus, crammed full of gummy fish candy.

Instantly I registered that Judah had gotten into the drawer where I hid that ancient Halloween stash and he had given all the contraband to his brother.

Spit those out! I ordered Noah, who, to my utter amazement, complied. He loves gummy candy. How many did he already eat such that he was so tired of them he was willing to spit out an entire mouthful?!

The rest of the day dragged on until the Spouse was finally done with his workday. I thought, ahhh, relief at last! Maybe I can just sit down for a second, somewhere far, far away from the kids.

But of course not. Hahahaha. Why should anything be that easy? Of course.

Turns out the Spouse had been fighting the same bug all day and finally collapsed at the end of his workday, completely debilitated and unable to be vertical.

All of us passed out before the fireworks even began.

Which is not to say it ended badly. It ended the way every night ends--with huggles, snuggles, and lots of kissies.

So I suppose, despite everything...all's well.

Thursday, July 03, 2014


I've been sitting on this post for a very long time. I just don't know how to blog about such a ginormous part of my life...our lives. It seems too big for words and even too big for my feeble mind to grasp in its many-splendored metaphorical potential.

It is meta. Profound. Universal. SUPER.

On one hand, it's Judah's obsession with all-things super-hero. But on the other hand, it's really about mankind's obsession with all-things ubermensch, isn't it?

Judah, like any kid his age, is in the full swing of super-hero enthrallment now. A year ago he didn't know anything about super-heroes and now he knows everything about every member of the Justice League AND the Avengers (and it's been quite the learning curve for his completely oblivious mother too).

Now our house is littered with preschooler comic books (who knew that market even existed?!) and swords and capes. Judah loves dressing up like a super-hero and forces me to pretend that I don't know his secret identity (spoiler alert: it's really Judah). If I don't play along or accidentally call him "Judah" there are many hot angry tears.

Judah used to just stick with dressing up as Batman (thanks to an amazing costume he got for Christmas) but now he's invented so many other characters, I never know who I'm dealing with. He usually just stands in front of me with his "badass" face on and I have to say Whoah...uh, who are you?! How did you get here?

Meet some of the cast favorites: Night Ninja

Mere mortals have no idea who he really is because he's always wearing sunglasses.

Super Pirate, always appears fresh out of a bath.

And has a side-kick, Paunchy Pirate

Noah loves to copy his brother but fails to understand how teddy bears detract from the message.

And here's, regular ol' Super Judah (not to be confused with Judah in a hoodie).

If no capes or towels are readily available, a hoodie always saves the day.

Noah now honestly believes this is how you wear a hoodie jacket properly.

Then after telling me the name of his newly invented super-hero character, Judah then says something like, Where's Judah? I want to play with him.

We chat back and forth about Judah in the third person and how disappointed Judah is going to be because he missed this visit from Night Ninja / Super Pirate / Super Bat Ninja / Super Pirate Batman / [Insert newest dude here]. And the whole time Judah is calling me, Mom, uh, I mean, Ms. Christina because of course he's not Judah and I'm not his mother.

This kid can stay "in character" so long it starts to freak me out a, is this the beginning of me realizing that you're schizophrenic?

Anyway, all the super-hero impersonation has started to bleed into "real life" Judah. A couple weeks ago Judah's grandma visited and Judah had his "super-hero mean muggin" face on in almost every picture.

I can't explain Noah's face...I guess he's just really excited about his milk.

Apparently Judah feels like he no longer needs a costume to activate the badass within.

Don't mind the drool on my belly!

I still drool. You gotta problem with that punk?

All this obsession with being "tough" can get pretty ridiculous. We were at a birthday party last weekend and Judah got into a "tough-off" (my made up term) with another preschooler--each one picking up foam swords and guns trying to show the other that they were tougher.

At one point, Judah turns to me and says, Mommy, do I look tough?, striking his baddest, meanest tough-guy pose.
And I dutifully replied, Of course, Judah!
Which Judah proudly reported to his "tough-off" competitor--Mommy said I look tough!--as if that settled the matter.

Yeah, not so tough after that sentence...

Anyway, I wonder how long this phase will last. Probably his whole life. Heck, I see the exact same super-hero t-shirts and underwear in the men's clothing section as in the kid's section. It never ends, I suppose--the need to feel strong, powerful, competent.

And of course, as Judah gets older he will realize that he is not that strong, powerful, or competent. He is just a man. That's all.

But I hope he will always know that he is loved. Even more so for being just...human.