A room of their own

Pallete beds

We are all but finished with the boy’s room now. There is still some closet curtains to be sorted out and a question of dressers but the walls are painted and my dad has built some beautiful beds. We got new comfy mattresses with all new bedding because both boys had complained that their beds were not as cozy as ours. Last night after our weekly dinner with friends the adults spent some time talking while laying on the boys beds and we can all attest to their comfyness. A super cool large letter R sits in between the palette wood beds and each bed has the initial of its inhabitant.

Segundo is a big fan of his new bed and has to be bargained with to get him up in the morning. Primo loves his bed but he is still our alarm clock in the morning so our attempt to make it so comfortable he would sleep in has failed. The march of design is moving forward with all of the rooms on the right side of the house finished. It seems like the dinning room is next but that means wall paper and I am not ready for that project.

The methodic process of making it ours

Bedroom

 

We have two weeks of experience in our new house and the quirks and bumps in the night are starting to become familiar.  After the first weekend of painting and moving in the the next couple of weekends have been relatively quiet in comparison. Beautiful has started focusing her attention on individual rooms after a rough draft of furniture placement and design. Our bedroom was the jumping off point and you can see the results above. A new wall color, change in trim, and collection of paint by numbers compliment the head board she made. Part of the excitement of this new house is seeing what Beautiful will do with the space and as usual it turned out really great.

Bathroom

 

The next weekend we sent the boys to my parents house and got working on the bathroom. A cabinet mirror from the rebuilding center, paint colors re-used from other projects, and some new lighting and faucets had a big effect on this little space. I learned that I can do minor plumbing but not without major swearing, seriously some of the compounding of swear words was shocking in not only the vulgarity but the creativity. I did a little Face Time with my brother to get the electrical work down but lost him when I turned off the power to our router. I’m still learning this whole breaker cause and effect thing.

Another weekend coming up means our focus will turn to another room and I think the boys bedroom is on deck. The march is on to turn The Coxy Pario house into a home, but we are making huge strides one weekend at a time.

The Art of Baking Cookies

cookies

A Post by Beautiful -

Our boys are at an age where they are becoming exponentially more capable. They can make their own toast in the morning and bring a borrowed pan back to the neighbor’s house, they order their dinner at restaurants and can wink and say words like “dehydrated” or “dramatic” or “cattywompas” in a sentence correctly. I mostly feel like they could do anything and that James and I are merely observers to their ever-growing independence, occasionally reaching something out of their range or explaining the way something works, but mostly just supervising.

There are still a few things that my boys cannot do, though. Things that require patience and a certain art that comes from practice. This weekend I called my mom for her sugar cookie recipe and assembled the ingredients with the boys as my assistants. They added teaspoons of baking soda and vanilla and dumped cups full of flour into the bowl with careful precision. But then we rolled the cookies out on the dining room table and the boys pummeled their ball of dough, adding more and more flour until the cookie cutter-ed result on the baking sheet had the consistency of dried paper mache. I tried to guide the use of flour and explain that the cookies tasted better when the dough is soft. This had little effect.

I scooped a large hunk of dough out onto the floured table, rapidly rolled it out into a thick slab and cut cookies from the still soft dough.  I outpaced them with my cookies. As I did this, the memory of my mom doing this exact thing came to me. She would fill two pans with circle-shaped cookies cut with the rim of an inverted juice glass while we labored over a few intricate reindeer and angels. She let us participate and enjoy it while she knocked out the cookies we would eat later. We learned to make better, softer cookies as we grew up. I’m glad there are things that we learn this way. I’m glad everything doesn’t come from information or from ability. Some things come from a family recipe, and a feel for the dough and a mom who shows you the art of it until you know it yourself.

So It Goes

As James mentioned, this week our oldest got his shots, got his eyes checked, got his finger pricked, got new school shoes and got registered for kindergarten. And to me, this generally indicates that he has started the process of being grown up and leaving us. I could cry just thinking about it. In fact I fully expect to be sobbing silently by the time I finish writing this, wiping my snotty nose and my smeared mascara for the very sadness of the fact that kids who were little get big.

I think the hard part is mostly that we have been slowly losing control as he grows up and has other influences and gets more capable and independent. The start of public school education marks a significant jump in this lack of control. He will be away from our home for somewhere around 7 hours a day where he will be interacting with other kids and taught by other adults. I realize this is inevitable and healthy. And I also realize that it is inherently irrational that I would be counting the hours he is away from home when I work away from the home for more hours than he will be gone.

But I read a blog post recently where this woman described this same feeling, this “empty-lapped” feeling where you start to notice that these kids have started to be busy with other things than holding onto your leg vice-style while you stand at the sink doing the dishes or driving matchbox cars over the stretchmarks on your belly while you lay on the couch trying to read Entertainment Weekly or pepper you with “8942-hundred” questions while you try to follow the google map instructions to a friend’s house. And it feels a little lonely, knowing that they will gradually have more and more things that have nothing to do with us.

That same blog post, she mentions how she has always felt about getting in bed at the end of the day with her husband, how it feels a little like touching down in a plane, home at the end of a trip. That feeling of relief that we all made it and we are back. I couldn’t agree more. And the kids have become a part of that. The routine at the end of the day, the finding of jammies and reading of books—it’s all a part of returning again, of touching down.

I know I have a lot of years still where the kids will be part of that touch down at the end of the day. And a lot of years of them running out to my car in the morning, demanding that I give them a kiss out the car window as I leave for work, of holding my hand a little too tightly on the escalator, of hiding behind my legs when there are new people to meet.

But it has started. The Growing up. Or I guess the better thing to say is: it continues, the growing up. And I can’t say I’m entirely thrilled to watch these landmarks pass. He’ll do great in kindergarten and I’m proud of him. But I ache a little for his chubby little baby legs, his mispronunciations, his dependence.

When we compete for attention from the same person

5:30 is anticipated in this house like nothing else. There are other important times in the day that have more weight with the boys like lunch and nap time. When we need to leave for school, or to go back and pick Primo up is another closely watched time but 5:30 is when Beautiful comes home. That is the time that it is no longer me against the kids. I have an advocate, a team mate, a colleague, and they do too. When mommy comes home they get a brand new audience for the tricks and stories that I have long grown tired of and the boys get a shot of adrenaline.

There are days, like yesterday, when Beautiful coming through that door means more to me than others. Days when it has been exhausting or hard and I need my partner, my wife. The irony is those are the days the boys are particularly glad to have their mommy home. Yesterday the boys were both feeling sick and their whining and fighting were at all time highs. I was worn out from trying to be patient, and feeling powerless to make them feel better. Those two feeling mixing together into a powerful parental cocktail of failure and shame. They are sick and I resent them for it. There is no bigger picture in that moment when you telescope into that damning truth.

Coming home into that atmosphere Beautiful comes to the rescue for the boys. She loves on them and takes care of them and makes them feel better in a way that, sometimes, only mom can do. They swell from her love like sad party ballons given new life with a shot of helium and while I am happy for the break I can’t help feeling jealous. It is that jealousy that makes me feel even worse. I mean what kind of person gets jealous of their kids for the time they get with their spouse? Most of us do I would guess. We may not admit it very often or even recognize the feelings when they arise but I bet this is common. It is common here anyway and yesterday it was on full display.

I soon came to terms with my own feelings and realized that, at this moment, the boys needed their mom more than I needed my wife. Soon they would go to bed and I would have her to myself and seeing them revived helped squash those selfish feelings. Mostly parenting is a process of squashing the selfishness that is inherent in all of us and embracing our nobler nature. Some days we are more successful than others but in raising and teaching kids we learn just as much through the process.

This was originally posted at DadRevolution where I write, along with other dads, about fatherhood, kids, and what ever else we can think of.