Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Playground Moments of the Heart

Last week the kids and I explored a new playground close to our home. Everything is new and sparkly and includes ropes course elements. The largest one was quite challenging so of course PJ bee-lined right for it. He conquered it like a pro, showing again his excellent balance and timing and showing off his instinctive feel for how to use the rope and his weight to be successful.

On his first attempt he managed one full loop on this course. Check this out: 

He even managed the balance ropes on his first try.

Awesome, right? I was one very proud momma, especially when he popped off the course and lit up with his thrilled, proud smile.

Naturally, what Big Brother can do, so can our little Bean. It took her a little while to warm up (like two minutes) and then she also started attacking a smaller rope ladder somewhat more her size.

This part led up to a short, metal slide. She needed a little bit of help at the start but by the third time she was racing up with confidence.

All was well. Between the sandbox and the swings and the ropes elements, the kids were happy and challenged. I was even able to exchange a few sentences with another mom friend.

Then it happened: both kids were climbing on the netting towards the slide (pictured above). Little Bean got to the top and then stood up between the netting and the slide a little too quickly. Suddenly, and silently, she was toppling backwards. Someone else at the playground let out a little screech and I was racing towards my falling baby.

Then suddenly she wasn't falling anymore.

In that awful moment, PJ leaned his body against the ropes and grasped her arm, yanking her towards him. Both of them draped over the ropes in precarious safety. Bean stared into her Big Brother's face; PJ yelled, "I have her!"

I was already there. I thanked PJ for being quick and helping his sister while I gathered Little Bean into my arms and comforted her past her fear. No injury, just fear. Because of her brother. Her Big Brother.

Faster than my heart could return to its normal resting pace, it was all over. Bean demanded "down!" and off they ran together. Watching them climbing again, my heart flipped only every other minute. 

The rest of the afternoon remained uneventful. The kids climbed and played and fought and tripped and were kids. 

I couldn't help but reflect on that moment. Now, a week later, I know I will carry that moment with me forever. The first time I ever saw my little ones reach out to each other for safety and security, knowing it was already there in each other.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dance Party & Security

Even though it's almost 100 degrees outside, we had a dance party! PJ definitely led the dance part. 

PJ has mad skills and he was really rocking the house when suddenly Bean decided it was just getting to wild. 

Good thing we've got our own security in house to keep us all in line while the Mr is away. 


Sunday, July 19, 2015

For the Record - Naptime

PJ can totally follow instructions. For Naptime they are:

You must stay in bed.
You must stay quiet. 

He did.  

He just moved his bed - while staying in it! - so he wouldn't miss any possible action. 


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mommy and Me Work Day

Recently PJ has been having a harder and harder time dealing with some attitudes and approaches of the German kindergarten system. It doesn't help that he is still having some challenges health wise that make him feel physically uncomfortable. Some days are good, most days are just average, and some days suck.

Last week was especially rough and on this past Tuesday he had an unusual and especially strong, negative reaction to entering his kindergarten group. He kicked, cried, clung to me. I tried to go but my parental intuition spoke up. Loudly. I got as far as my car, took some deep breaths, and turned around again. I secretly watched my little guy for a few moments and could see he felt sad, uncomfortable, awkward.

It is important that we all learn how to deal with uncomfortable feelings. It is important that we learn to adapt, to grow, to work through situations that cause us difficult feelings. We start developing those skills as soon as we are born and we continue developing them throughout our lives.

And sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes we need to be sheltered and cuddled and given space to not deal with the negative feelings.

So I picked up my almost-four-year old, held him extremely tight, told him how much I love him and that we were going to have an Exception Day together. Thankfully I work at a company that offers infrastructure for tight-moments. I could have worked from home - like I do more than half of the time anyways due to the global natural of my work - but I needed a printer.

So we went to the office and into the dedicated "Eltern-Kind Büro" (parent-child office) space for a few hours.
Side note: how awesome is it that that isn't yet another "mommy&me"?

I had never used the "Eltern-Kind Büro" before and was extremely pleasantly surprised that there is an entire playroom with tons of toys, books, and space. All of this was right next to a quiet, clean, tidy temporary office space with monitors, laptop docking stations, phones, charging units, and more. Actually it was much better stocked than the various office/desk spaces I use when I am in the office.
PJ was stoked. All those signs of sadness, uncomfortable-ness, and awkwardness dissipated. He was excited, proud, curious, active. Which is how I personally want to see my almost-four-year old.

It worked really well. I wrote, edited, and posted an internal blog. I updated a strategic presentation. I held two relatively informal meetings. PJ popped in and out but on the whole he was quiet and focused. Then suddenly I heard a very excited and extremely loud yell of excitement, followed by "Mommy! You have to come now and see what I did!"

This is what I found.

Look at that face. That excitement. That pride. We made the right decision. Everyone won.

The next day he walked into his kindergarten group, had a not-great-but-not-sucky day, and practiced learning how to deal with those uncomfortable moments. If only adults did the same.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Proud Fashion Girl

Our little lady loves to pick out her own outfits and her results are very fun.

Notice the fabulous hat and the brand new sandals with heart-shaped bindings.

This is a simple one-piece outfit. Its the confidence that makes it.

The hat really pulls it together.



Friday, June 26, 2015

Bedtime Silliness

"It is of critical importance that the family bedtime ritual is a stable, soothing set of steps to guide the childrens' transition from play to rest." - sleep experts

My kids totally disagree. They usually rile themselves and each other up right before bed. It is as if they held onto a slice of fuel throughout the day 'just in case', and now they have to burn it off as loudly and as quickly as possible.

These days, they usually do this by pretending to put themselves both to sleep in PJ's bed. They bounce and flop all over the bed, yanking on the blankets, and tossing around the pillows, all while loudly calling out "night, night" and booming with laughter.

It gets really loud and really wild. And they love it. 

Sometimes bedtime can be fun. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Castle Gardens with Spider-Man

Recently we went to the castle gardens for a short family outing. PJ wore his Spider-Man costume. 

At the start of our walk Bean grabbed his hand and they walked like this for a good while. 

Sometimes he looks so big, so grown up and then I see him from a distance: so small, so young, so full of what makes him, him. 

Things like proudly giving his sister a ride on the stroller

And showering her with love and pride. 

I have two special children. So special. 

And aren't they all?

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