So, Katie starts preschool today. She is perfectly fine with it. I am the one who is a wreck!
I was tossing and turning all night fretting over the transition. Will it be too much, too sudden? Should we start in toddlers and then do afternoons in preschool? I bumped into her preschool teacher on Friday and Paivikki said to follow Katie's lead. So, I asked Katie which she preferred: eating breakfast in toddlers or in preschool. She chose preschool. So, Katie showed me her new cubby and we packed it up with her belongings. She hung up her coat on her new hook, and even made her way over to the breakfast room like it was a daily occurrence.
My heart ached. Katie will be fine. I just can't let go easily. How I wanted to stay with her for a while in the room, but I had to get to work. I managed to eek a few stolen minutes because Peter followed us to the center today and got Phillip situated. In fact, Peter was able to stay as I was leaving, so that was good. But not the same. I wanted to be there. I suppose I have to admit that my little girl is growing up.
As an educator, I am torn. I want to give her support, but I do not want to make the transition worse by hovering. Sometimes it is better to make a clean break. But I do not want her to feel alone or overwhelmed. Push, pull, push, pull. Such are the dynamics of parenting, especially at times of transition.
I follow several blogs, but I enjoy Jill's a lot. Sure, part of the reason is that she is a friend from "way back when". Sure, part of the reason is that I love following the home renovation. But, want to know a secret? She has posted some recipes that have answered, "What should I make tonight?"
I recently tried the cranberry chicken as I love, love, love cranberries. They are my favorite fruit. While the thought of Catalina dressing and onion soup mix was not appealing to me, I gave it a shot. The chicken came out moist, tender, and delicious. More importantly, it passed the dreaded husband test. You know, the third child of mine who comments if something is too dry, too saucy, too.... Well, he liked it! So, there you have it, folks. If Peter can eat it without comment, then it is worth trying. (ha, ha)
From left to right: Harry Reed (Peter's father), Jack Reed (Peter's uncle), and Henry Horace Reed (Peter's paternal grandfather)
It is funny how genes work. A couple of weeks ago, Harry and I were talking about family resemblances. I remarked (like everyone does, even strangers we come across on our outings) that Phillip is a clone of Peter and that Peter looks like Harry. I added that there is no denying that Peter and Tanya are siblings because they both take after Harry and could be fraternal twins. To me, they are pure Reed. Lynn, however, reminds me of their mother and appears all Hoffman, not a speck of Reed in her. Donna is a mixture. I can't quite say which parent she looks more like as she has features from both sides. Me, I am all Krause. I don't have one physical feature from my mother's side of the family.
Anyway, Harry, who is usually tight-lipped about his upbringing in England, casually commented, "Peter is the spitting image of my father." Since we did not have pictures of Peter's grandfather, I asked some relatives if they could send me one via a scanned attachment. Well, imagine our surprise when Katie opened her birthday card from Tracy Lawrence and family,and out fell the photo seen above! (BTW, each time I see an image of Tracy, I think I am looking at Tanya. Those genes at work again. wink)
Looking at the picture, my jaw dropped. It is like I was looking at Phillip from another era! I made a mental note that I must quickly - scratch that; immediately- schedule a portrait session so that I could capture three generations of Reed men: Harry, Peter, and Phillip. When I post it, you will notice that it is like looking at the same man from different stages of life.
On a related note, Katie was so thrilled that Eliza wrote her a note. And, it came complete with a card of pink and purple sparkly princess fairies magically making pink glitter cupcakes. What could be better! After I explained who Tracy, Neil, Eliza, and Harry were to Katie, she immediately started making plans to have Eliza over for tea and strawberries. "I am going to make purple valentine hearts for Eliza with pink roses. Pink roses for Eliza. She will say, 'Oh, how beautiful' and I will play princess with her. We will play catch with my pink ball. Come on, Mommy, get Eliza for me." Second mental note, take Katie to England sometime soon.
Physical features are something, aren't they? And, they last through generations. Henry Horace to Harry to Peter to Phillip to..... The fun part, though, is seeing the personality and heart and soul develop as that is the most important feature.
Guilt – Responsibility for a wrong action; shame –Webster’s Dictionary
Guilt takes on so many forms, especially as we get older. My cousin sent me a poem about mothers of two children and there was this one line about guilt that struck a cord with me.
I remember when I was pregnant after Katie, but before Phillip. I was so weepy for most of the first trimester. I could not imagine sharing my relationship with Katie with another being. I feared that the child would - Dare I say it out loud?- intrude on my bond with Katherine. I was worried that Katie and I would become distant, that I would not be able to love another child as much as I love Katherine. Then I felt guilty for having such selfish thoughts and anxiety. Then almost overnight, I accepted that I was going to have another child, and even got excited.
Peace was fleeting. Around twelve weeks, I lost the child and I became inconsolable. I can still hear the hushed whispers in the hallways outside the ultrasound room. The quick gasp of the technician. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was asked to wait in the room farthest from all the other patients. The sound of the hands of the clock. The little voice scolding me for not appreciating the gift while I had it…
It was like my body knew my thoughts and it refused to release the fetus. Despite repeated counselings over the following weeks, I refused a D&C. The doctors kept telling me that intervention was necessary, that too much time had passed. I pushed their advice aside. I pushed Peter away. Guilt.
I don’t even remember driving my car there, but somehow I ended up at Father Palmer’s office. Upon crossing over the threshold, the tears I had been holding inside for weeks came flooding out. Deacon McManus was such a huge help. As the guilt that had been snaking its way through my heart unfurled at his feet, he slayed the shame and put me on my path towards acceptance.
A few months later, I was pregnant with Phillip. This time I was overjoyed and somehow all the anxiety I had before never reared its ugly head. Funny how things like that happen. When I learned that Phillip’s twin died, however, I felt guilt all over again; like a punishment for daring not appreciate the gift of motherhood way back when. When Phillip came eight weeks early due to a rupturing placenta, I felt guilty for working so hard even after I was told it was a high risk pregnancy.
Guilt can be a cross from which you never escape, if you let it. But I guess that is the lesson, isn’t it? Keep just enough to push you towards being a better person without letting it consume you. After all, we attract that which we put the most energy, so why not attract positivity and light into our lives.
Now I am at peace and enjoying every moment with BOTH my children. I make time for just Katherine, just Phillip, and time together. That is not to say there aren’t times when I feel guilty for feeling the way I once did, but I have accepted it. More importantly, I have moved on.
In the same conversation lasting about 10 minutes, Katie offered these nuggets:
"We went on a bear hunt today." "Really? Tell me more, honey." "We went into the cave and it was dark. I saw the tiny sparkly eyes and I got so excited, Mom." Mom?! Since when has she called me "Mom"? I have always been "Mommy" and "Mama". I do not know if I like "Mom" at this young age. I guess my little girl is growing up. I am - Sniff!- proud and -Sniff!- nostalgic at the same time. And we haven't even hit kindergarten yet! Peter better start buying stock in Kleenex (actually, I prefer the Puffs with Vicks) because I am going to be a big puddle by the time her wedding comes around, but I digress. "We saw a nice little bear. She was so cute! She had pink fur, darker pink. She had a pink dress and we danced. I was beside myself." Now she is sounding like me. A little while later...
"And we can pile into the car, Mom, and you can drive us to the beach. And we will make sand castles. I will put shells on my castle, but not a crab. Crabs have pinchers." She imitates a crab's claw with her hands.
It is fun to see her imagination grow even more. For instance, last night, one set of alphabet letters got arranged into a circle and she pretended it was a pond. She fished in her pond, but only caught pink fish. Daddy got the purple one, and Mommy got a sparkly fish. Katie could hear the ribbit of her purple frog and the quaking of her pink duck that asked for bread crumbs while perched on the side of her "pond".
Phillip thought this was amusing. He smiled and laughed and made loud (very loud) squeals throughout the experience. Did I mention he was l-o-u-d? He is certainly testing his voice these days!
This morning, during our drive to day care, Katie and I were talking as usual. This morning's topic? Birds that tweet, complete with "Katie Bird" tweeting. Phillip, however, interjected himself into the conversation at several times. We have no clue what he was babbling, but it was great and Mom played along. In fact, Phillip is the one who solved this morning's riddle. Katie just looked straight ahead. Sometimes she just does not know what to make of that baby bear sitting next to her...
Phillip is growing...and growing...and growing. Like a wee-uh-Reed! While we are still on the low end of the growth charts, he is growing.
However, he is sick yet again. This is the cold season that just won't quit. At least this time, we were able to avoid another hospital visit. Yes, day care is not helping the situation, but it is a very clean place compared to other locations I have seen. And, like the doctor said, Phillip is actually quickly building a strong immunity. There is the silver lining, I suppose.
At the same time, it is so hard to keep up with all these different nebulizer medications. I feel like a chemist at times! Mix this; don't mix that; wait so many minutes before administration.
Our little man is all smiles, though. And boy, what a smile it is! It perfectly compliments his big, round, blue eyes. I am so happy that he is happy baby. How blessed are we to have Katherine and Phillip!
Tomorrow is picture day at the center, so once we have the photos, we will post them. Katie has long since decided on her outfit as well as what Phillip ought to wear. She is quite cute about it. Even though she would deny it if you asked, you can tell that she thinks of Phillip as her "baby bear".
I cannot believe Katie is going to be 3 in a couple of weeks. Like last year, she is full of requests. Purple is out. Pink is in. Pink party hats, pink balloons, pink cake in the shape of a castle with pink roses and pink princesses and pink sparkles (Oh yeah, I am going to have fun creating that masterpiece for her!), and everyone is to wear pink that day, including Daddy. Being the animal lover, she would like a beaver, a cat, and another dog as presents. Yup. You heard correctly.
"I want a beaver. A nice beaver, not a mean one." "Katie, honey, I do not think you will get a beaver. They tend to cause floods." "He will live in a lodge in our pond, Mommy. He will use him teeth to chop down trees." "Yes, and then his lodge will make our back yard into a big, wet mess." "Grandpa likes to chop wood. The beaver chops trees. The beaver will be Grandpa's helper." "Nice thought, honey, but I don't think Grandpa would like a beaver. Grandpa is the only one who does wood." "Oh. Sorry, Mommy. I want a cat." "Oh?" "A nice cat, not a mean cat like Aunt Lynn's, but a nice cat. What will I name my cat, Mommy?" "I don't know, Katie. You have to pick out the name once you see the kitty. But, I do not think Daddy will like a cat around the house." "It will be a nice cat. Not a mean one; a nice one." "I hear you." "I want a dog." "Katie, you have a dog. Tucker. Remember?" "Yes, but I want another dog, too."
And so the conversation goes. I suppose my father is laughing from the spirit world. I used to adopt any stray animal I found (cats, a wood duck) and feed the animals -from my hands, no less!- as in raccoons, chickadees, and so on. Once when I was just a little bit older than Katie, Dad asked me what I wanted for a pet. Being an avid viewer of Wild Kingdom, I said a lion. Not just any lion, mind you. One with the fullest mane ever and a roar so loud that it rivals any sonic boom! Dad tried to explain why we could not have a lion in Redding, but after my arguing with him, he got fed up and said sternly, "Enough already! Let me know when you have decided on something other than a lion." Well, time passed. I came back and said, "Daddy, I know what I would like." "What, honey?" "A kangaroo."
So, here it is folks. We have finally started a blog. It is an experiment of sorts, but we hope it helps streamline our time. As much as we love to email, to phone, to Skype, to send notes through the post, life with little ones has sapped our energies. And so, without further ado, we present to you the Reed family blog.....a place to relax, catch your breath, and stay updated on the latest news in our lives. Feel free to comment, or not. Just come back often.