Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ode to My Daughter

H is for your Hair. I love the way your hair curls ever so slightly when it is damp, it is even better when it is damp with sweat of a long nap and your cheeks are rosy and your eyes are bright. I run my hands through it and make your curls stand up and I imagine what you will look like when you are two, or entering Kindergarten, or yelling at me about your jerk boyfriend, or on your wedding day. Will it stay this blond? Will I know what to do with curly hair?

E is for Eating. You are not even a year old and a foodie already! There is not a food you won't try, and even if you dislike it at first you keep trying it. You eat as much as your three year old brother some days, and I never want to discourage your love of food. I never want you to see food as an enemy, or a friend. I hope you always retain your thirst for new flavors, textures and cultures as you grow and never deprive yourself of sustenance to fit in a mold.

N is for nursing. I love the way you enjoy nursing all of a sudden, just around the time I thought you were done forever. The way you bury your head into my chest and look up at me pleadingly, breaks my heart and makes me kiss your soft neck. I love that you will nurse in public for the first time since you were a newborn. Costco, the park, the movies, church, even during a 5K, it makes no difference to you as long as you are close to your mommy and have a tummy full of milk.

L is for your special language. Your words, though still jibberish is like sweet songs in my ears. Hearing you shriek and pout and babble and growl is wonderful, exciting and fulfilling. I never had a baby respond to my voice, to music and to reading the way you do - and it pleases me because you are the sort of daughter I always knew I wanted.

E is for your energy. You dance at all music (but prefer Big Band and "booty shaking" music) and clap your hands and shake your body. I love to watch you dance and laugh at your brother who is dancing with you. You also sing every time a tune catches your fancy. I can't wait to dry your hair and hear you humming along like I used to when I was a little girl.

Y is for Youth. You will never again be this little, and because every day that you grow older and bigger I must remember to savor your babyhood. One day I will be your mama, then your mommy, then your mom and some day you may even call me mother (right before I spank you for the first time). Our relationship will not always be this close, but my love for you will never waiver.

J is for jammies. I absolutely love you in your pajamas. When you are sweet smelling from your bath and softly rubbing your tired eyes against my shoulder and kicking your little feet in your feeties. I snuggle you down in our blankets, and kiss your eyelids and quietly sing to you as you nurse your way to dreamland. Some mornings I forget to get you dressed because I want for you to always be in that state of halfway between waking and sleeping.

A is for attention. You pay attention to everything around you, and everyone in your world. You hold people's faces close and study them as if to memorize them for next time you meet. Unlike most babies, toys hold your concentration and you learn to play easily, you play with toys far outside your age range and seem to know exactly what you are doing. No wonder you get so angry when your brother takes them away from you!

N is for nature, which you love. You are not so much a fan of the sun, but that is probably okay given your skin tone. But give you a pile of mud, a sandbox, some rocks, a few twigs and leaves and a big old puddle and you will play and splash and try to eat until your heart's content. Outside is one of your favorite places to be, to feel the world under your hands must make you feel so small and big at the same time. Like you are the first baby in history to see that particular leaf and the way the wind blows it from your hand by an unseen giant.

E is for Embrace. Every morning when you wake, you hug me so hard that it makes me happy to see another morning. I never knew a baby who hugged this early. Even though you slept right next to me all night, it is as if we had parted for months! I love that you miss me even though I was always right there, and love me no matter what. I love your hugs, never stop!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Christmas Revisited

I know, I know, Christmas was a month ago. But I am backed up and I know you people probably wanted to see pictures of the kids unwrapping gifts anyway. We had a great Christmas, made better by the fact that my entire family including in-laws were together celebrating. I am one of those nesting people who is just happier when everyone I love is in one place. Even my cousin Michael, who is in the Air force came from Alaska to be with us. The kids were royally spoiled, but then we all were!
My family is insane when it comes to gifts

and while they were showered with toys, books and clothes, these were the two favorites:

Oliver really "got" the whole Christmas thing this year, which was awesome to see. I made sure we emphisized giving as well as receiving, but that may take a few years to totally grasp. Another tradition that we started this year was "Boxing Day" which in our house is the day that you give all your old stuff (toys and clothes) away to make room for the new. Oliver was hesitant at first, but he doesn't really even notice the things are gone now and he was happy some other kids got to benefit from the toys he and his sister don't play with anymore.

So, though it be about a month late, MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Gosslings!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the day you were born

Three years ago today, I was holding and nursing my newborn son for the first time. Actually, at presicely this moment I may have been wolfing down a hamburger and trying not to let my overanxious father see my hootenany being stitched up while he tried get a first glance at the baby... but nevertheless, this day will forever mark the day I became a mom. I didn't become a good mom, or a hot mom, or a perfect mom (that came later) but I became Oliver's mom, and that is all I had to be.

Today, on our way to school, I told Oliver the story of his birth. This is a tradition I hope to carry on with both of my kids every year on the day of their birth. This is how it went.

Me: Three years ago, on the day before you were born, you stopped moving around in my tummy so I went to the hospital to see if you were okay. The nurse said you were fine and that I could go home. I was glad you were okay, but I was sad that you weren't ready to come meet me yet. So Grandmommy...
Oliver: I like Grandmommy.
Me: Yea, me too
Oliver: She is nice.
Me: Yep! Can I continue?
Oliver: Yea
Me: Grandmommy and Granddad took daddy and I out for Mexican food...
Oliver: What Mehitan dood is?
Me: Its like tacos
Oliver: Oh.
Me: I was sad so they took me out for tacos and we went home still waiting for you to come. Daddy and I watched some TV and I took a bath because I was feeling uncomfortable because you were so big in my tummy. Then, we tried to go to sleep but I couldn't, and then, around 2am, I heard a big POP!
Oliver: Pop!
Me: Yea, like that! And I rushed to the bathroom and my water broke. You see, the baby lives in a bag of water that keeps him safe while he grows in the mommy's tummy, and when the baby gets big enough the bag breaks to let the baby out.
Oliver: Why the baby come out?
Me: He just gets too big to stay in any longer.
Oliver: Yay! Tell me dat story again!
Me: It isn't over yet.
Oliver: Oh.
Me: So when my water broke...
Oliver: With THAT baby (points to Henley)
Me: Yes my water broke with Henley too, remember?
Oliver: Yes!
Me: You kicked me in the tummy and my water broke right?
Oliver: (Laughs) yes.
Me: So when my water broke with you, I knew you were going to be here soon and so I told Daddy, "my water broke" and daddy was so fast getting ready, he was dressed in 20 seconds I think.
Oliver: WOA that fast!
Me: Yes, so we got into the car and went to the hospital where you were going to be born! But we stopped because daddy was having a tummy ache from the Mexican food.
Oliver: Tacos.
Me: Right! We got to the hospital and I told them I wanted to walk around to get you out, I wasn't ready to rest yet! The contractions hurt, but not too bad.
Oliver: What a taction?
Me: It is the word for what happens to a mommy's body when the baby tries to come out.
Oliver: Why the baby come out?
Me: Remember, you got too big to stay in any longer and you wanted to meet all of your family! So we went to the hospital and everyone who loved you was there. Big mama, Grandmommy, grandpa, Aunt Liz and Aunt Britty. They all wanted to be the first to love on you! After a long time, I was in a lot of pain and even though I wanted you to have the best start at life, I got some medication to make the pain go away at the last minute. I pushed and pushed and slowly slowly you came out and I was so happy and I held you and kissed you and you were so yucky and covered in goo. I nursed you for the first time and you loved to nurse, remember?
Oliver: I like boods!
Me: No kidding. Anyway, that was the way you were born, and you made me a mommy!
Oliver: Do we have raisins?

So for all of you fans of Oliver out there, here he is, retro style!

6 months

1 year old!

18 months old!

2 years old!

2 and a half (notice the scowl)

Halloween, nearly 3!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Being Present

Not so long ago, I was an addict. I ignored my kids, neglected my household duties, even forwent food and drink for this terrible drug of choice. It was, of course, my addiction to my computer. It didn't take an intervention to break me of this habit. In a moment of clarity and possibly frustration, while I was trying to type with one hand while entertaining a squirming baby with the other, bouncing her on my knee while trying to balance the laptop and all the while my son is sitting like a potato on the couch having his mind eaten away by cartoons, it hit me, this computer was taking over my life and my kids' lives. And then the computer hit the wall. Hard. It felt really really good.

I look back and realize how much it was my fault that my son didn't talk until he was two. How many moments I probably missed because I thought my opinion was so important to women I have never met and hardly knew. How many opportunities to teach my children that passed while I was busy trying to make my life seem funny and light, on a blog that only served to feed my own ego. I think about all this wasted time, all the snuggles that went unrequited, all the bonding time with my husband I took for granted, all the snubbing of affection I did because I had to get one more thought out. I think about all of these missed life memories and I want to scream.

I finally decided that I would rather be out making more memories with my kids rather than writing down all of the memories we did make. I don't want to fit my kids in when I have time, they deserve better than that! I want to be present for them, in the moment when they are showing me a new dance move or are THIS CLOSE to letting go of the table and walking into my arms. I want to play half games of Candyland until the cows come home and teach every single one of Oliver's dolls to use the potty. I want my daughter to know that she is worth me taking the time to teach her how to be a woman, I want my son to know that he is worth listening to.

So I am sorry, blog fans, if the posts are less and less. I am going to seriously try to post videos and pictures, but if I fall short of your expectations, find comfort in the fact that I am finally rising up to the expectations of my children.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Oliver: Will you get me something to lick mommy?
Me: Like what?
Oliver: Like a blue lollipop?
Me: We don't have any lollipops
Oliver: Okay. (sad face) I'll have an ice cream sandwich.