Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Ryan's language (both expressive and receptive) continues to develop at lightning speed, and thus, the words and phrases he says have grown more and more complex and "adult-like." Sometimes he makes me stop in my tracks and laugh or in many cases try hard not to laugh. Other times he makes my heart melt. Thus, there have been many snippets lately that I just don't want to forget, and that will be forever remembered here. Apologies in advance if these little snippets aren't particularly entertaining to the "rest" of you. They are however, treasures for me.

The other day I was putting Ryan into his car seat, and out of the blue he said to me, "I love you, Mama!" (Yup, he used "I" correctly, something he frequently confuses. As in, when he wants me to pick him up he says, "Mama, hold you, pease!" instead of "Mama, hold me, please." These are the things that will make me sad when he does finally say them correctly. But, back to the "I love you" moment.) I responded and said, "I love you too, Buddy!" He paused for a second, and then said, "I love Daddy, too!" He thinks about and asks for his Daddy frequently throughout the day. He loves him to pieces. Of course a text message with the details of this exchange was quickly sent off to Matt. And Matt's heart ached for his little boy even more than normal for the rest of his work day.

Last night I was giving Ryan his bath. He takes great pleasure in blowing bubbles in the tub, and he was vigorously doing so last night. After he finished he said, "Mama, you blow bubbles!?" And I said, "Buddy, I don't think Mama can get her head down there to blow bubbles." (We don't fill the tub with too much water). Ryan looked at me and said, "Mama can try!!!!" And, try, and succeed I did. Sometimes I wonder if there is anything I won't do for that boy.

Ryan is currently having a love affair with Ice Cream, Farms, and Dunkin' Donuts, and he will make his wishes known. (Disclaimer: Yes, we treat Ryan to Ice Cream and a donut on occasion, but he does not have them as often as he would make it seem!) My parents watch Ryan every Friday. On Thursdays I tell him that "You'll get to spend the day with Nee-Nee and Pop Pop tomorrow!" Previously he would respond by saying, "See Nee-nee, Pop Pop todaaaaaay???" And I would say, "No, tomorrow. After you go to sleep tonight." Well, now he responds by developing plans of what he and Nee-Nee and Pop Pop will do. Recently he said, "Get yeh-yeh (yellow) ice ceam with Nee-Nee! Go Faaaaam (yes, sometimes he sounds like he's from Boston) with Pop Pop!" This boy dreams big! Well this past Friday, my parents did take Ryan to the Farm (they did not get ice cream...they had done that the week before). Ryan had a blast. He fed the goats and chickens, he played in the Nursery Rhyme section of the fields, he watched the ponies. When I came home my Mom said, "Tell Mommy what we did today." Ryan said, "We go Dunkin' Donuts!" ...Only in your dreams, Buddy, only in your dreams.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment so I know you're checking out my blog. I am more likely to put more "reader friendly" content and less "all Ryan all the time" if I know I actually have readers :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What about the Tigon Mom?

Recently Emily Rapp wrote a beautiful piece in the New York Times called, "Notes from a Dragon Mom." (You can find it here). In it she talks about the heartbreaking and yet immensely love filled experience of parenting her son Ronan who was born with Tay-Sachs disease. A disease for which there is no cure, and which nearly guarantees a slow deterioration resulting in eventual death by the age of the three.

Ms. Rapp calls herself a "Dragon Mom," distinguishing herself from the much publicized and talked about "Tiger Moms" that stem from Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" in which she outlines a prescription for raising a highly competitive and successful child. Ms. Rapp explains that because her son will not have a future in which he will go to college, get a job, and be an upstanding adult that she is freed from the pressure of setting limits and worrying about every decision she makes and whether or not it will affect Ronan’s ability to get into Harvard.  In Ms. Rapp's words, "He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and ... healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words."

The entire time I read this moving and powerful article, and for many days since, I have been unable to stop thinking about the many parents I know who are neither Tiger moms nor Dragon moms. Rather, they are the mothers to children who have a life-limiting illness with no clear life expectancy. They parent very sick kids, who have had numerous surgeries, dozens of hospitalizations, and more pokes and prods than anyone should have in a lifetime, much less a life of a few years. These children could live to be 2 years, 10 years, 20 years, or 80 years. No one knows. 

And so, these parents are stuck in the awful place of feeling the need to set limits and create high expectations so that, if they do live a long life (as every parent prays their child will) they will be upstanding and responsible citizens. Yet, they always have in the back of their mind that they do not know how much time they have with their child, and thus, they want to give in to their wants and allow them to experience joy and happiness above all else, because they may not be here tomorrow, in a year, in 10 years.  These moms are not Tiger Moms. They are not Dragon Moms. They are Tigon moms. And they, like Ms. Rapp, are an inspiration to all mothers and fathers. The Tigon moms (and dads) who effectively find this balance between limit setting and living life to the fullest every day, so as to never (or at least rarely) look back with regret show us all how to be better parents. Tigon parents have clearer, and yes, I would go so far as to say better, priorities than some of us parents who are not faced every day with our child’s mortality. We can learn so much from them. There are many "Tigon" moms who I know personally, all of whom have made me a better mom. Some of them may read this blog. Others will not. But they all deserve to know what a difference they have made in the lives of those who know them. So, to Christy, Sandy, Sara, Kim, Leighann, Sarah, Yolanda, Mercedes, Amy, Dina, Candy, Kelly, Kisha, Zuleyma, Beverly, Leticia, and so many others,  THANK YOU! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mommy Competition

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted an update that said, "Good Lord! 18 month olds are exhausting!" 

And these were the responses, which I have copied exactly: 

Person 1: Wait 'til she turns 3. Just sayin'....

Person 2: ha! I was going to say wait until they are 2.5! LOL

Person 3: hahahaha.... try two of them, of the male variety.

Person 4: they never stop being exhausting.... 4 years and almost 7... I am exhausted, thank goodness for school! lol

Person 5: It never ends mama. If you are a mom, you are exhausted. LOL

Person 6:  All the exploring is fun :) just wait till she's 6 and has an opinion about *everything*. I get a break when he's at school, but good grief, weekends are rough. By Sunday, 2pm, I'm ready for a shot. Rofl!

 I read these responses and I thought, "What the *&%$?"  This is not the first time I have been turned off by the responses of mothers to each other. 

Why as Moms do we not support each other when such comments are made? Instead of saying, "Oh just wait till...." (Which does nothing except invalidate the experience of the person who isn't yet at that stage with their child) why don't we say, "Yes, it’s very hard! But it will get better! I promise!" Because as the mom of a 21 month old, I can say that Ryan is easier right now than he was 3 months ago. Sure every kid is different. But for the most part, the hardest parts of parenting come in waves, and it does get better, if even for a brief period of time. 

It seems like as Moms we always have to compete with each other over "who has it worse" which is a terrible thing, given that being a mom is probably the best thing most of us will ever do! It is hard, it is exhausting, and there are days all of us just wish we could take off completely, but we can't. But it is an amazing experience indeed that most of us would not trade for anything. So, why do we feel a need to point out the hard parts all the time? I mean, people even do it to pregnant moms. They say things like, "Oh, you just wait!" This is so NOT helpful!

And yet, immediately after a baby is born, when it is REALLY, REALLY hard, and overwhelming, and exhausting, when we want to hear that we are not the only mom that has thought, "Put him back in!" the only things we hear are comments like, "Enjoy every moment?" and "Isn't it amazing?" and "It goes by so fast." And it is in this life-altering, exhausted state when we do actually want to hear that everyone finds it difficult and challenging to make the switch form a happily married couple without kids to a hopefully will stay happily married couple with a crying, screaming, eating, bundle of "joy." 

It seems that as moms we never give each other what we really need. When we need someone to commiserate with us,  instead we are told to "enjoy every moment" and when we want to be bolstered up and given hope we are told, "You just wait until...." 

I am from here on out making it a goal of mine to be helpful to my fellow Moms out there and to give you what you want to hear. So, if you need commiserating or bolstering, you let me know! 

Summer Fun Recap (in photos)

(I started writing this post WEEKS ago, and Blogger has been a pain in terms of uploading the pictures I want to upload. I have tried 4 or 5 times and some just consistently have errors. So, there are some key pictures missing here. But I figure I better get this posted before I have to post a recap of our Fall 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

 September 20, 2011

As I've mentioned in previous posts, this past summer (yes, it is almost officially past!) was filled with lots of fun outings. While I don't fully have time to detail them all, I don't want them to be forgotten. So, here they are documented through pictures:

We went to Clark's Elioak Farm. And it was here that you first fell in love with goats! You also had your first Pony Ride and sat on a Tractor with Pop-pop. 

You had a blast playing with your water table throughout the summer: 

 And you ate your first Freeze Pop. You LOVED it! 

We went to the Catonsville 4th of July Parade: 

We spent the day at Dutch Wonderland with our friends Neal, Christa, Josh, & Tyler: 

 You especially lovedthe water park. You would have stayed there all day if we had let you!

More fun with the hose and water table: 

We went to Ocean City with Uncle John, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Mark, Auntie Catharine, Caitlin, & Julia. We had so much fun! 

We went to your first baseball game: A Bowie Baysox game. You were less than interested in the game. You just wanted to play the games and bounce in the moon bounce (which you did ALL BY YOURSELF, despite Mommy's nervousness.) You did great! 

And we also went to the Howard County Fair. But those pictures won't load for some reason. You LOVED looking at all the animals and going down the "BIIIIIIG slide!" You also had your first funnel cake, which you thoroughly enjoyed. Mommy loves this special treat too, and I have a feeling we will be sharing one each year at the Fair. I can't wait!

We had an amazing summer! And soon, I will be posting a "Fall Festivities" Recap. Fall is my favorite time of year and it has not disappointed this year! 

The Cam Fam has been Published on:

Scary Mommy