Friday, May 29, 2009


Sam has this funny habit of jauntily repeating phrases that I've told him regarding how the world works hours, days or sometimes weeks after I've told them to him, seemingly out of the blue. Things like, "Flowers wilt after we CUT them!!" or "It's rude to pick your NOSE!"

His latest one is, "When fish die, we EAT them!!" Which is a little different from my original statement, something about how we eat fish, which happen to be dead. His version sort of makes it sound like dead fish are popping up in the lake, and we gather them up and start munching. Anyway, a few days ago, we were revisiting the topic of his dead pet fish from last year and how he is in heaven now. There was a pause, and then, "When fish die, we EAT them!! Another pause while the wheels turned, and then: "Did Jesus eat our fish?"

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Dear Sam,

Yesterday you turned three. It's hard to believe that three years ago I was holding you in the hospital, wondering what the heck I was going to do now with this lovely little person who needed me so, so much. So, we took you home, and we loved you. And now here you are, this bold, energetic boy who knows his own opinions and isn't afraid to share them...often loudly.

I know that this has been a challenging year for you, and I've felt every single growing pain right along with you. I've seen you go through learning how to share (especially how to share me), how to sing, how to dance ballet, how to use the potty, how to manage disappontment, how to fall asleep in your own bed and how to sleep through the night in your own room. Suddenly, there exists a little space between us during the day that wasn't there last year. It's not bad, it just is. Now, you sometimes go to your room by yourself, or want to lay on the couch and look at a book on your own, or you disappear up the stairs to use the potty and come back down five minutes later with your underwear on inside-out. I watch you nervously, but I try really, really hard to let you have that space. I know how that feels to need that, and I think that for all of your extroversion, you need it just like I do. Rather than an appendage, you often feel like a little satellite now, hovering around me. There has been so much going on in your little world this year, and sometimes you let it spill over and make a mess out of you and everyone around you. We've butted heads this year more than last, without a doubt. But I know that you're trying, and that you're learning. And I know that this phase, just like all the others, won't be forever. Remember, I love you no matter how you feel.

Mostly I've been so, so proud to see you take on your new role - big brother. Just today, Caroline was crying in her little carrier on the floor while I got ready to leave the house, and you went over and did a funny little dance in front of her, making her giggle and chortle. You ate it up, of course. She loves you so much, and I am so grateful that you want to make her laugh, want to hold her hand, and want to have her lay next to you when you go to sleep at night. She is so lucky to have you.

Thank you, sweet Sam, for another wonderful, exciting year. I can't wait to see what adventures the next one brings.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sam and Caroline

Caroline has started to gurgle, coo, and make other funny noises, much to Sam's amusement. Today in the car we heard:

Caroline: "Gah-groo? Awugh!"
Sam: "Noooo, Caroline! You can't have licorice! You don't have any teeth!"
Caroline: "Augh!"
Sam, giggling: "Caroline, I'm going to take you to bed to go to sleep with me! You'll be mine!"

Sure enough, he wanted me to keep Caroline upstairs with him while he went to sleep, and the last thing he asked for before falling to sleep was to kiss her one more time.

Lest this post sound like all is sunshine and bliss around the Leen household, I should assure you that these types of episodes mostly make up for the other kind - the screaming, tantruming, pant-wetting, time-out-inducing, unreasonable and intractable kind, which we're having a lot of. I really do try to remember that Sam has gone through so many adjustments in the last few months, most of which he's completed like a pro. He's done so much that I've asked of him, and he never, ever directs any anger toward Caroline. We have yet to hear any sort of "put her back" request. I find that responding to his needs promptly when I can, especially his requests to nurse, does wonders for his disposition (I did need to put a slight cap on that last part, so he gets 10 star stickers to redeem for nursing sessions each day), and that sometimes he just needs some alone time away from both of us to cool off when things get overwhelming. It's so easy to look at him and just see how big he is compared to her. A few nights ago I was putting him to sleep while Mark was downstairs with Caroline, and when I had that rare alone time with him I was suddenly struck by how small he still is. His little back was facing me as I lay next to him, and his little feet were tucked into my knees. His body takes up so little of his twin bed. I suddenly had the urge to hug him to my chest and nestle my nose into his hair, an urge that I indulged while he snoozed away. And I lay there thinking about how fast he's grown, how good he's doing, and how proud I am of him. And I got a little teary, as mommies sometimes do.

And Caroline...oh, Caroline. I am so in love with my little girl. She is just so sweet. I loved Sam at that age because he was curious and demanding and even funny. Caroline is sweet and mild and snuggly. She wants nothing more than to nurse and make eyes at me, and when she's done, to sit up on my lap and just be a part of whatever it is I'm doing - eating, playing with Sam, typing on the computer. And when she's had enough, I rock her in my arms and off she goes. She sleeps for long stretches at night snuggled up against me. She will sleep in the co-sleeper for shorter stretches, but I don't really want her to. She feels like my teddy bear, my security blanket. Her breath is sweet and warm, and her little body feels relaxed and safe. During the day I can tell already that she is completely in love with Sam, and Sam is eating it up. I can see forward years and years, as Sam bends over backward to make her laugh, and she obliges. What a great match of siblings.