E’s Notable Quotables

I’ve been taking a break from blogging for various reasons but I’m back for this drive-by post just so I can preserve precious moments.

I mean to write them all down in my journal but it seems like I am more willing to type it out if in blog form.

Both my boys crack me up daily.

Here are a couple notable quotables from the mouth of my nearly three-and-a-half year old Ellis:

Before hitting up the playground after school, the boys scootered as I chased after them to the Japanese market in our ‘hood so that we can pick up a few onigiri (rice balls in the shape of triangles, covered with dried seaweed).

When I noticed that only the spicy ones were still available that late afternoon, I announced to the boys that the non-spicy onigiri were all gone.

E’s round eyes got even bigger as his tulip mouth pursed seriously, and he exclaimed, “Call the police!”

Another:

Ellis started a bad habit only this week, of trying to stay up past their bedtime.  We did not want to give in so we started resorting to dirty tactics when we saw him trying to sneak out of their shared room right before our eyes.

“Hey, Daddy!  Let’s get ready to watch monsters on the TV.  In the DARK like a movie theater!” (me trying to prey on his current fears)

Ellis:  I know you guys are trying to trick me.  That is NOT nice.

One more:

On the way home from church, I was explaining to Micah:

“Being smart is so relative.  Some people are blessed to be smart in one way, while other people are smart in another way.  You should never feel bad because someone else, like a classmate, seems smarter than you, because you probably smarter than them in another way.

Also, you should never show off about your smarts, either, because in life, you will always meet people who are smarter than you.”

Ellis, from the carseat next to Big Brother’s:  “Like me.”

And that’s all for today.  I hope to stay awake for Grey’s Anatomy and ease on into weekend mode early on this Thursday night.

 

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Like a Baby in a Storm aka Wear Me, Lord!

We had just parted ways with our little buddies at the library. I was wearing Ellis in a baby carrier against my warm and plush torso so that he can fall asleep though overtired, way past his naptime. Mr. EZ Kim had graciously given up a proper nap in his crib yet again in order to accompany his big brother to his Wednesday activity. Secondborn’s lot in life.

On the way home, the raindrops that initially fell intermittently from the trees started coming down faster and even fatter. Micah was sitting in the double stroller, facing me, Ellis still on my body, his seat empty. I adjusted the raincover for their stroller accordingly but it was pouring so furiously that a pool of water was already gathering at the bottom of both seats.

Micah pleaded with me to take off the raincover as it was annoying him. This was going to be a long walk home.

I pleaded back with him to please please just be patient as we had many blocks to go.

I was carrying an umbrella, wearing Ellis, fidgeting with the wet, steamy raincover, trying to stroll as fast as I could when the front wheels started locking so that I could not maneuver them. Locking every other step I took. So I would have to crouch down, wearing Ellis, blinking through the rain, trying to figure out why it kept locking on us.

Thunder. Lightning. So loud that car alarms started going off in succession in the parking lot of a funeral home, and up and down Queens Blvd. Micah asked for snacks in the midst of all this. I pleaded with him again to please be patient as Mommy could not reach down and rummage through for a snack of his choice.

Toddlers are not too compassionate during a harried moment.

My stomach was grumbling from hunger.

Brakes locking repeatedly.

Passersby looked at me trying to get our little crew home safely as they waited under awnings. I thought about seeking refuge under a bodega awning or at the Chinese restaurant our friends are grossed out by due to the “C” grade, but I was nervous that Micah would get restless and demand to walk. I would rather deal with the storm than a tantrum. Drivers snug in their cars watched us, too, as we were quite a spectacle.

Because I was wearing Ellis and Micah was seated in the seat closest to me, it looked like I had three kids with me.

Ellis stirred awake. I was nervous that he would cry from hunger or from being startled by the elements. Instead, he looked around, looked up right at me and smiled a gummy smile. He sighed with content as he watched the outside world, hanging from my shoulders.

By looking at his serene face, you would not know that we were walking clumsily through a crazy storm. At that very moment, like J. Lo said about her second husband, Chris Judd, in an Oprah interview shortly before their divorce, he was my peace.

When I got home, I had to towel myself dry and catch my breath. Thankfully, the kids were dry and my phone had kept Micah from bombarding me with any more requests. I WAS FAMISHED but diapers don’t change themselves.

Micah proceeded to play with his toys all over the living room without picking up after himself. Of course, I tripped on them as I tried to rush and change Ellis’ diaper. Micah then chose that moment to get jealous. “Mommy, Hold me?! Hold meeeeee! Hold you!?”

I wanted to transport myself to the Grand Canyon to belt out all the stress of that moment, deep from within my gut. Not just that moment but other storms that have been raging within me for months now. I wanted to be as loud as that thunder and lightning we had just walked through. Set off car alarms.

If I had been able to write this post immediately after that storm, I would’ve ended it here. Just a scene from our week. TGIF, whatever.

But today, as I nursed Ellis from the right boob while feeding Micah with my left hand and myself with my right hand (a rare occurrence, this terrible timing, but we were all so hungry at the same time), I realized that the most memorable part of that storm was 1) the entire walk home, including the end when we finally got to our building and someone who tried to help me push the stroller inside couldn’t do it because it was just too heavy. This was a scene that was so chaotic for 20 minutes but something I will tell the boys over and over again, how “when they were little,” we walked through a scary storm together and they were so brave and happy…

and

2) how they didn’t bat an eye through the loudest of storms because MOMMY WAS WITH THEM! Ellis looked like we were taking a stroll on a perfect day like today.

As Micah is prone to say, “Don’t cry Ellis! Mommy here!”

What a beautiful and innocent stage they are in. Nothing is troubling as long as Mommy is here!

I’m thankful for this new visual I can use when I pray to my Lord and Savior. I will conjure up Ellis’ face in the midst of that storm as I pray through my own struggles. To trust that I don’t have to be afraid.

superbowl (of ramen) saturday

Today was a Saturday not unlike other Saturdays since we’ve become a family of four.

But for some reason, today, I kept thinking, “This is my life.

Not when it gets easier or when I get thinner or when it gets warmer or when our home gets bigger.

When I am 62, I will look back at these moments with heartfelt longing. When I touch my grown sons’ stubbled cheeks, my mind will replay these mental pictures.”

Moments like:

Leaving the house at 9 am for Micah’s small soccer class. Packing double diapers, double stroller, double emergency outfits. Watching him grin bashfully as he learns his “squish-squash” toe-stop toddler soccer drills. His European coaches cheering “GOAL!” in encouragement.

Rushing to get both kids in the car as temperatures continue to drop (now ending with snow on the ground as I write this). “I got Micah, you get baby.” “Did you pack his juice?” “You sure you didn’t leave your wallet/phone/purse at soccer?”

Watching Micah play with his little church friends as we adults gather in our friends’ basement to discuss what Shalom in the City means. Amazed that he can now separate and stay with a babysitter. He started attending this Family Small Group when he was only a few months old and now here he is, in his huge soccer jersey, playing with puzzles and strumming a toy guitar, with a little brother in tow.

Driving from Long Island to Astoria to make it to a one year old’s birthday party. Just as we had planned, Micah konks out as soon as we belt him into his carseat. Nap, check. Relieved he won’t be dazed and looney at the party. We crack up as we see a European man in his black Escalade driving next to us with his stubble and sportcoat, eating an instant bowl of Shin Ramen! I do a double-take to make sure he really is eating ramen out of the styrofoam ramen bowl, not recycling and reusing it to fill with chips or peanuts. He has chopsticks in them so he is actually eating this as he drives! Amazing. Ballsy. Quirky.

Escalade Ramen Man inspires our lunch. We happen to drive by a Japanese ramen house once we get to Astoria so I run in to get our ramens to go, though Taco Bell or Subway would’ve been easier to eat. To Go means eating it in our car as Micah continues to sleep and passersby peer into our car, windows steaming from the marriage of hot broth and cold outside air. We have to assemble the contents of the hot ramen very delicately and cautiously in the front console, setting different bowls of food on the dashboard. We tagteam eat as Ellis has woken up and is seated in Daddy’s lap, just taking in his surroundings and grooving to Eminem’s new song (or what we think is his new song). While it took some juggling and it wasn’t as convenient as dining in at the restaurant, we are content, our bellies warm and nourished.

We get to the birthday party exactly on time, but Micah is still snoozing away so we leave him be. We find out there are two flights of stairs at the party so Daddy helps escort Ellis (in his heavy infant carseat) and me as our friend who we ran into while parking, stays with sleeping Micah.

Micah joins the party and explores the venue with his neighborhood friends. Friends he met when he was Ellis’ age. They are now climbing, jumping, calling each other by name, getting their pictures taken by at least three iPhones at once. All of us have second kids now.

The night gets colder. Snow is falling. Micah does his pre-bath routine of running around nekked then sprinting into my arms for a final bearhug before heading to the bathtub with Daddy. Ellis has developed a strange quirk in the past month, of nursing only while lying down, and only in the bedroom. Can’t bear to make him get hungry enough to break the habit. Today he takes lots of breaks even while lying down, blowing bubbles and making fart noises with his little lips, which he seems to have discovered anew. We put Micah to bed together, noting that his posse of stuffed animals needs to get capped off at six.

What a full, blessed day. No big milestones and not unlike others but sometimes the best days are when I can clearly see the extraordinary in the ordinary.