inaugural tribute to my children

As I was thinking recently about what scintillating topic my readers would next like me to tackle on Rocky Mountain Ruminations, two things occurred to me. One is that my readership consists of only about ten loyal family members and devoted friends. That realization was quickly followed by the thought that my goal in creating this blog was not to earn pseudo-fame on the worldwide web, but rather to document my life in terms of my ever-changing thoughts, beliefs and values as they pertain to a variety of subject matters. As I write these segments I often think how entertaining it will be to look back in 5, 10 or 20 years and see how much my views on life have changed.  In a word, this blog is for me and I simply choose to share it with the world (a.k.a. aforementioned 10 devotees). So it recently dawned on me that, above all else, the most dynamic things in my life are two little people named Kellan & Kathryn. And wouldn’t it be especially fascinating to look back on things I’ve written about them over the years? Especially fascinating to them, no doubt? And there it was, a decision I hope I can live up to as the years go by: an annual tribute to my children and a general assessment of who I perceive them to be at that precise moment in time.

Now that that’s all settled, let me just dig right in. Kellan is several different personalities all wrapped up into one very small little boy. Sometimes his emotional sensitivity and low level of pain tolerance (from us beating him, of course!) (you know that’s a joke, right??) make us wonder just how big of a target he’ll be as he gets older and the bullies start rearing their ugly heads. On the other hand, he can also be quite the daredevil when it comes to taking physical risks, like flinging himself from one piece of furniture to another, barreling down our rocky driveway on his Strider bike (read: no training wheels) at top speeds and making threatening comments like “Mommy, I’m going to do something dangerous” or “These are my dangerous shoes.” He loves going to the climbing gym with Daddy and isn’t afraid of taking any kind of physical challenge whatsoever, so our hope is that a certain fearlessness and/or athletic prowess may offset his sometimes wimpy side. He has been in preschool now for about six months and is still adjusting to the structure of a school day, to the point that his teachers recently implemented a “Happy/Straight/Sad Face” charting system to help straighten him out as he does not particularly like having decisions about how he spends his time made on his behalf. “I don’t want to” is an all-too-common expression these days. Find him in the right mood, though, and he can be simply joyful to be around. He’ll pick up his toys, brush his teeth, give back the iPad when time is up, all with no argument whatsoever. One area of concern, however, seems to be the getting dressed for school routine. Without fail, he hates the clothes I pick out and it wouldn’t be surprising to catch him in a full-blown meltdown over the camo pants he doesn’t want to wear. Fast forward 10 minutes to the car ride to school and I’ll get a “Mommy, I like these camo pants now.” Of course you do, Kellan, of course you do (she says as she quietly places the gun to her head). Maybe it’s just a thing he has with pants in general because one thing I’ve noticed he does the second he gets home from school is take his pants off. Right after the shoes go in the shoe bin, the pants come off and are left on the spot. Every day, like clockwork. I haven’t bothered to ask him why, mainly because I secretly think most people would go without pants if they had the choice and he’s just going with what feels good and who am I to make him overthink his choice? Good for him. One of my favorite things to sit back and admire is the way Kellan interacts with his little sister. On the rare occasions in the car that they aren’t having screaming contests, throwing shoes and socks into the front seat or otherwise trying to send us swerving off of the mountain, their chattering to each other always brings a smile to my face:

Kellan: “Kafwyn, say Kellan.”

Kathryn: “Kayno.”

Kellan: “Mommy, Kafwyn can say Kellan!!!”

I get to see daily examples of him taking on the big brother role and it is so incredible to watch it all happen. Like any siblings they fight, hit each other and hate sharing, but I get to see them have just as many sweet moments, like when Kellan is concerned that Kathryn is hurt or he takes her by the hand to lead her to their playroom. Like any parent, I want my children to be strong, independent, successful and happy, so there are times when I feel tough love is the answer, but I also know that soon my sweet little boy will be gone forever. For this reason I find myself being more lenient when it comes to things like letting him crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night or reading an extra book (or two) after we had already agreed upon “just one book.” Oh, and with Kellan we can’t ignore the food issue. With a husband who doesn’t eat any fruits or vegetables and describes the act of even trying one as “Fear Factor,” I was already set up to expect the same issues from his son. Every day has its challenges in this area and on just this past Friday I was informed by his teacher that she rarely sees him eating anything other than donuts or chips at school (so much for no news is good news). I will say this, though…he does eat a lot of things his father would rather die than eat – apple slices, green beans, watermelon, cucumber, to name a few. He gets his nutrition and extra calories (for he is quite small for a 3-year old) through things like peanut butter, milk and yogurt, so I’m not worried that he is malnourished, but I am overjoyed at the prospect of him one day being able to go to any restaurant or any stranger’s house and be able to eat what is put in front of him without any issue. Sean will attest to the fact that he hates the way he is with food and would never wish that upon anyone, so I feel like I’ve already won to some extent.

This may be the perfect segue over to my darling daughter, Kathryn, who, like her mother, eats everything under the sun. If it’s in your hand and she thinks it might be food, she wants it. Now.  As a mother, I so far find raising my daughter to be so much easier than raising a son, but on the other hand I don’t really think there is too much to compare. She’s easier because she’s a mini-me or at the very least, she’s a little girl I’m trying to turn into a mini-me and who better to do that than me, right? Remember those things I want for my children – strength, independence, success, & happiness? Well Kathryn is already strong, independent and happy (no smiling required), so my only real challenge as a parent is the successful part which is more on her than it is on me. I can only gently guide her way into Stanford. Just a few weeks shy of her 2nd birthday, her verbal skills are really ramping up. I, for one, cannot wait for the day when I no longer have to rely on finger-pointing to decipher what exactly it is that this child of mine wants, because whatever it is, she wanted it yesterday and you better get your ass in gear before her temper rears up. Like her brother, she is fearless when it comes to jumping, sliding, swinging and launching herself in every direction. She’ll get down and dirty in the sand and rocks right alongside Kellan, but at the same time loves her “babies,” tutus and especially her socks and shoes. I just recently had to relocate her socks to a drawer she could reach because I was getting too lazy to lift her up and hold her for 5 minutes every morning while she thoroughly perused her collection. Of course I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to loving this quality; I feel fairly confident that mother/daughter shopping trips (here we come, Milan!) are on the horizon. A girly girl who can also hang with the boys; is my job as a mother done, or what? Oh wait, I still have those teenage years to worry about when everything good about her goes away in an instant and doesn’t come back until she’s out of our house. At least we’ve got a good foundation to work with here. Oh, and she’s gorgeous. Truthfully, both of my kids are pretty good-looking at this age and if we did a better job of keeping either one’s hair in check more often, it would probably be even more obvious. They both have these huge brown eyes and their father’s luscious lashes and perfect little noses (especially Kellan). Kellan’s head and overgrown hair are still a little large for his tiny body and Kathryn’s hair more often than not suggests that she’s homeless, but aside from that they truly are beautiful.

Some of Kellan’s favorite things: trains, cars, trucks, his straw sippy cups, the song “If So” by Atlas Genius, the shows “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Little Einsteins,” the stuffed dog that his sister picked out for him which he originally named “Piano” and has now been renamed “Closet”

Some of Kellan’s least favorite things: most food, pants, Mommy’s singing

Some of Kathryn’s favorite things: her Owl book, soy milk, boots, the same shows as Kellan, her Poppi

Some of Kathryn’s least favorite things: Mommy or Daddy (depending on the day), being told “No”

2 thoughts on “inaugural tribute to my children

  1. First, consider me a reader! I love reading these and smile the whole way through! A little tip I’ve learned along the way: letting your children make choices reduces conflict immensely and can be framed: “would you like the cargo pants or the green pants,” so that they feel they’re making the choice, but it’s still within an acceptable range. Works wonders for all kinds of situations. Also, making their environment such that they can be independent (like you’re moving Kathryn’s socks lower) does incredible things for childrens’ overall sense of themselves (and your personal sanity). I have always been the kind of mother that enjoys children’s independence….I don’t get intrinsic joy out of doing chores for them:) I don’t know if you’re interested, but we have found Montessori education to be absolutely incredible and valuing these things that I’m talking about. The primary program starts at age 3. You can usually go and “observe” by setting up an appointment, and, in some places, the 3 to 6 year olds will offer you tea….real, hot tea! Also, the book “The Science Behind the Genius” is a great book explaining why the method is so successful.

    • Hi Aura-
      I’m Kathryn and Kellan’s grandmother from Chicago. I am the admissions director at one of the finest montessori school’s in the area. I’ve been here for 17 years and you totally hit the nail on the head with your reply! In my opinion, there is nothing better than a montessori foundation – these are the most important years in their lives. If you found montessori, you are very lucky! Embrace it, it works!

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