So Bennett has started taking soccer classes. And if you know my dad, you'll know why I needed to find him a tiny Manchester United jersey.
I didn't have much luck getting Bennett to post for photos in his shirt, but he genuinely does love his soccer practice. He loves reciting "No hands!" when you ask him if he likes soccer. Orelia always wishes him good luck and asks whether he scored or whether his team "won." I don't have the heart to tell her that they definitely aren't keeping score and he isn't likely to be getting it very close to a goal anyway. Keep up the good work, Bennett, and you might find yourself at Old Trafford yet.
I take photos of the highlights of life, there's no question.
I feel no desire to break out my camera and snap a photo of a tantrum or a child whining.
I don't want to commemorate an epic mess and the cleanup I end up doing with very little help by the primary mess-makers.
I very rarely capture their daily iPad fests.
And I definitely don't have a picture of the screams of "one more minute!!!" when I say it's finally time to turn the iPads off.
There's little beauty to me in a dirty laundry pile or the dried shredded cheese ground into my carpet.
I do have plenty of photos of scowls in my direction, but I rarely save those photos.
The photos I like are the ones where my kids are happy.
Orelia doesn't even want to try to pretend smile, so she generally needs to be laughing in order for the photo to land in my favorites pile.
A friend of mine jokingly pointed out that my blog is all about these amazing happy times whereas she feels her life consists of her child watching Elmo or whining about wanting to watch Elmo.
I don't want my blog to seem fake and portray a sugar-coated life of sunshine and rainbows where my kids are always perfectly behaved, never fight, eat all their vegetables, and crawl into bed at the end of the day without a peep.
My kids gets plenty of iPad time every day, and I am very grateful for it.
We have an amazing nanny who comes every morning to help me out and takes Bennett to all of his classes and activities (except for school with me).
My kids eat Happy Meals and have had plenty of Oreos and Doritos in their day. Orelia's favorite food is probably plain white rice with a glass of water.
Bennett still has his aggressive days and last week we left preschool ten minutes into class because he pushed someone (and I had told him that morning if he pushed we would leave school).
In fact, that morning before Bennett was hastily removed from class, Orelia pushed Bennett back for the first time (he's pushed her many times in the past). They went at it for a bit before I screamed at Orelia to walk away. The first of many battles I'm sure.
Bennett has been dealing with some separation issues for one of the first times in his life (opposed to his sister who has always been reluctant to say goodbye). He's been doing some crying when Daddy leaves for work and when Mommy leaves to take Orelia to school. He's sad when I have a night meeting for preschool and can't put him to bed. He's fine, but he isn't pleased about separation these days.
Basically, there is a disconnect between my photos of the happiest part of our days and the "down in the trenches" feel of the harder parts of parenthood. So for the most part I don't write about the hard parts, but we have them just like every other family.
The job of raising children is filled with some of the highest highs life has to offer (that tight hug after preschool, holding a hand crossing the street, laughing about ice cream dripping down the cone, being handed a wildflower bouquet picked at the park, and giggling while running through a sprinkler) and some of the lowest lows (a fever that won't go away, not being able to fix what your child wants fixed, the shame of screaming at your child, and seeing your child hurt another child).
It's a roller coaster, and mainly I'll stick to the highlights here, especially as they relate to my photos.
But please don't doubt we have lowlights (daily tantrums, trust me), and everything in between.
These years are going by so quickly, so I will try to go to sleep every night thinking of the highlights, and I hope my kids do too.
The day before Mother's Day, I was headed out to dinner with some friends, and I asked John to take a photo of me and the kids before he took them out to dinner.
I love these photos for many reasons, but especially because they so accurately reflect my kids right now. Bennett is carrying a large trash truck AND trash can that he plans to take with him to dinner. He's wearing jeans because it's a weekend and he wants to match Daddy. Orelia is wearing a bathing suit which she reluctantly covered with a maxi skirt (and at the last minute a sweater, which I insisted upon, because, moms). She's wearing a bunny backpack filled with trinkets and probably a magnifying glass. Her hair is in a day-old ponytail and contains a foam Hawaiian flower she got at school a week ago and has only taken out for baths. Right after these photos we almost fell over when the tickling I was doing caused a bit too much laughter.