backyard camping

Harvey and Zion playing with the fire, Leah and Lijah looking on

fall warmth

This past Sunday we kept on enjoying the outdoors right into the evening. Inspired by our party last month I had the idea to fire up the grill for hot dogs, and then put some wood on to make a proper fire for warmth and marshmallows. While Leah was busy with Lijah, who was a little sick and fussy, the boys an I brought the full camping spirit to our own little backyard.

harvey and zion eating dinner on the grass

as disorganized as the real thing

Hot dogs are a treat themselves, and when I brought out juice boxes and pretzels (because camping!) they were delighted. We of course set up the tent, because it was part of the whole procedure, but there was some question whether we were actually going to sleep in it. There was no question, though, about the marshmallows. Pictured below is Harvey's second one catching fire.

the fire and a burning marshmallow--otherwise black

fires

In the event Zion decided to sleep inside in his bed, while Harvey and I braved the chill under a pile of blankets in the tent (it actually wasn't that cold—well above freezing!). Our bedtime story these days is The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, so as we turned off the headlamp we wondered if we were going to hear the howls of wolves around us during the night. While Harvey reports that it took him some time to fall asleep—longer than his usual 30 seconds, I suppose—he slept soundly once he did drift off, so he wasn't awakened by either of the two—two!—periods of coyote noise that I heard. Luckily we survived the night, and woke up cheerfully when the sun made its appearance. Which is at a very civilized hour, this time of year!

our tent the next morning

afterwards

We'll have to do it again soon.

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parenting right now. Which is to say, 5am.

It's a tough little season we're living through right now. I can tell from my frequency of peeing in the shower. This is to say that I've peed in the shower three times in the past two weeks, as compared to zero times in the previous entirety of the rest of my life. I guess I never entertained the thought before, never experienced a moment when I said to myself, "The distance between the shower and the toilet is too great to cover in my current state of exhaustion." When Zion was the age Elijah is now I dreaded my hair to better cope with the morning routine. While it doesn't have the same effect on my outward appearance, peeing in the shower is pretty much the eliminatory equivalent of dreading my hair.

Which is to say, if you think I'm gross you are probably right. And I can't really summon the energy to care.

Elijah isn't sleeping well. It's exiting the sphere of normal first-year tiredness and entering the realm of "behavior" that we need to make "decisions" about how to "influence." Which, you know, is always fun. No matter how many children I have I will never be a sage decision maker at two in the morning. Though I should say that in the daytime he's great. They're ALL great. Harvey is learning like gangbusters at homeschool. Zion is peeing in regular toilets. If only he wasn't openly crapping his pants twice a day or if I got three hours rest to string together I might be composing odes to my children.

A beautiful ray of hope during this intense time has been the Early Intervention developmental specialist who comes weekly to play with Elijah and coach me on my parenting. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have someone following his progress every week, giving me suggestions, and kindly supporting me in the effort it takes to care for a 30-pound seven-month-old who mostly wants to be held all the time. I have a friend who warns me that sharing about Elijah's delays will consign him to life of shame and teasing. Perhaps she's right, or perhaps the cyber bullies of the future will hone in on the more shaming revelation that his mother pees in the shower. It is an open question. His identity 15 years from now, the incredible young man he is to become, well, it's a thing to consider and wonder.

Because I know it will go by all too fast. Each day will be long, excruciatingly long, and I will wish for many nights to end sooner. I will have moments when I don't think I can make it another step, when I pee standing up because the toilet is too far. Somehow I will make it through a decade of these challenges and other challenges I haven't yet begun to imagine. One day I will look at my boys all grown up, my three beautiful gigantic babies, and I will cry over their lost littleness and wish I could do it all over again.

Time waits for no mama. They all grow older THANK GOD and also a little bit WAIT GOD, WHAT? Here is a little reflection I posted on facebook last night:


I'm holding in my hand Harvey's baby tooth, such a tiny little thing which, when he knocked it out of his mouth today while wrestling, he held out for me to take. This was the tooth that nipped at my breast when I was four months a mother and made me cry. And then Harvey cried and Dan offered to take him but I said, "No, this is our fight and I'm staying in it." And I vowed to love you, Harvey, even if it made me bleed. This is the same tooth that bled when it came out today, and Harvey held it out as if to say: Here Mama, put this somewhere. My babyhood. My tininess. Find a place for this; I don't need it anymore.

I will always be a safe place to store your baby teeth, Harvey, for they have bitten straight through to my heart.

All of them right now, Harvey with the blood and Zion with the poop and Elijah eliciting shower pee... I love every drop of my disgusting children with every drop of my disgusting self. Let that be added to their online record. My gross messy love, for all perpetuity.

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fall tropical

We've had a couple frosts here, so the big plants in the garden are pretty much done. The funny thing is that the very late stages of our growing season are the best time for harvesting warm climate crops like hot peppers and tomatillos. Not that they like the cold weather—they just need a long growing season to really get going, and now after three or four months they're finally hitting their stride, just in time to be killed by the cold weather. Oh well. It means that garden cleanup in October brings in a big pile of tropical Mexican produce!

brief riverine excursion

Harvey and Zion posing in front of the Old North Bridge

old north boys

We took a quick trip yesterday to the Old North Bridge.

the boys climbing on rocks by the river

mostly sure-footed

Even though the weather was in the process of turning colder, the water was an irresistible attraction for the boys. Sadly it was a little too deep to wade all the way under the bridge. While we big boys played, Mama and Lijah got some much-needed resting in, in recovery from a night of disputing nursing frequencies (and in preparation for another such).

Mama lying down by the river with Lijah sleeping on her stomach

restful

There was some disagreeable behavior leaving home, and more as we headed back to the car, but the hour we were at the riverbank was an entirely pleasant time: just what we needed!

Zion, with his hood up, smiling at the camera

good times

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this moment

Harvey and Zion picnicking on their tree house platform

new tree house? picnic!

A (belated) moment from the week.