January 23, 2012

Hats off to you, my son

You asked me for a hat to keep your head warm. It seemed a silly request considering that we live in warm, sunny San Diego but it’s been cold in the mornings lately (low 40′s!) and your little ears and head were feeling the brunt of the cold on our morning walks to the bus stop.

On my lunch break the other day, I stopped off at the local store and picked you and your sister up a knit hat for a whopping $4.01. Bargain. I was excited to bring it to you and you were equally excited to receive it. The first night, you slept with it on your cute little head and it was evident you were excited to wear your hat to school.

As I returned home from work after your first day at school with your new hat, I was eager to find out how the day had went. It was then that I received some news that made me hurt for you.

You tell me, “Some girls in my class made fun of my hat today, Daddy.”

I can see the sadness in your face and that you are struggling with the conflict between the love of your hat and the acceptance of your peers. I give you a hug and as I pull away I ask you if this made you sad. You nod yes with solemn eyes and I pull you close again, searching for a way to take away the hurt.

As I hold you in an embrace, I whisper into your ear, “Buddy, the important thing is that you love the hat. These girls are being mean and if you don’t wear this hat tomorrow to school, you are letting these girls – these haters – you are letting them win. It doesn’t matter what they think, buddy. We don’t make decisions based on what others think, okay?”

You pull away again and you nod. I’m not sure my talk has sunk in but we leave it be for the rest of the night. As I walk you to the bus the next morning, you carry the hat in your hand and I’m still unsure what you will do. As the bus comes, I lean down to give you a longer hug than usual and I whisper in your ear, “Don’t let the haters win.”

With that, you smile and turn to board the bus. As you walk on and find your seat I can see you sitting with your sister and your best friend. And as the bus pulls away I notice something that makes me smile.

You’re wearing the hat.

New Hats

January 15, 2012

The Evolution of a Blog Name

Back in the day, when this blog was very young, I naively called Swee’Pea and TheMonk by their real names. I never, in a million years, thought anyone outside of Grandparents would find what I had to say interesting. But they did. Before I knew it, I had strangers reading my blog and we knew then that we’d change their names on the blog. But to what? It came down to the nicknames that had organically come from us as we got to know the twins. Swee’Pea was one of the nicknames that Mommy used and TheMonk came from my nickname of Chunky Monkey as TheMonk was growing.

Fast forward six years and I knew that Baby #3 would need a blog name. So, rather than learn from the past, I attempted to create a name. M&M was used at first based on some letters in her name. But that didn’t sit with me. So then I used Special K – which was another nod to her name. But that wasn’t resonating with me either. And during this time, of course, organically derived nicknames began to emerge. And the one that seems to be used the most is Girly Girl. So, why fight it? From here on out, the baby will be known as GirlyGirl.

Unless, of course, we change our minds. ;-)

January 6, 2012

I believe…

Swee’Pea and TheMonk are struggling in their belief. As much as they want to believe in a higher power, they are confronted by peers who audaciously announce that to believe is to be a fool. But they want to believe. I can see it in their eyes and feel it in their hearts – they want to hold onto the notion that a higher power of benevolent good does exist. They want to believe and so they asked me, last night, over dinner, “Daddy, is Santa Claus real?”

I looked at them from across the table and a heaviness weighed on my heart as I struggled with how to answer this question. I glanced at their mother and she looked back at me with a look that said, “How are you going to answer this one?”

And so I told them the truth:

I believe.

And while I kept it short and neither confirmed or denied the existence of a fat man in a red suit, I affirmed that I believed in him and that was good enough to end the discussion. But as I sit here now, a day removed from the unexpected question, I feel the need to elaborate even further. Because no matter your age, 6 or 60, believing in something is important. So, years from now, as you read this, my little ones, I hope you still believe.

Because I do believe. I believe in a warm, genuine love that makes kids feel safe and wanted and adored. I believe in the magic of Christmas mornings and the anticipation of promises delivered. I believe in cookies with egg nog and carrots for reindeer and stockings hung by the chimney with care. I believe in fantastical stories of ’round the world trips and radar systems that track His every move. I believe in the power of Santa’s lap and the tears of terror and smiles of joy that accompany it. I believe in naughty and nice and a list that is checked twice – a list that holds such esteem that behavior is changed between Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I believe in the North Pole, Silver Bells and Reindeer Games. And I believe in the power of a man, real or imagined, that spreads joy to countless kids across the world. Yes, my children, I believe.

And I hope you always do too.

January 5, 2012

Change is hard

As I mentioned below, Swee’Pea and TheMonk are destined for their own rooms. We ordered loft-style beds for each and Swee’Pea’s came last week. This past weekend I mustered all of my furniture-assembly skills and built Swee’Pea’s princess bed.

And while Swee’Pea was clearly excited, she was also apprehensive. She has a history of being scared to try new things and this was no different. She shed a few tears and asked for her old bed back. TheMonk, also feeling vulnerable and unsure, did the same. It was heartbreaking to see the looks on their faces as they faced the great unknown that stretches before them. It was like they understood the significance of this moment – that they would be going their separate paths – and weren’t quite ready.

So we gave hugs and kisses and reassurances and on the first night in her new bed, Swee’Pea chose to sleep with TheMonk. Notice the holding of hands, even as they sleep. May they always have each other when they need it most.

Big Kids


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