What's happening with the Hill family!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School

This morning was Connor's first day of school. We were all so excited and he absolutely couldn't wait for morning so he could go. Since his school starts a lot later than mine we decided that Matt would get the privilege of taking him to his first day. I was a little jealous of this but thought that it would be a good bonding experience for both of them.
So last night, we got the kids to sleep and then Matt and I sat down to go over my slightly detailed list of how I wanted things to go at the big drop off. Needless to say Matt was nervous (he comes by it naturally, I certainly don't encourage it). After shuffling through the giant stack of paperwork from meet the teacher night, we got to the must take photo list. Here is where Matt started to sweat. He is 100% not comfortable asking strangers to take pictures of him. Exhibit A: why we have no photos of the two of us together on our honeymoon. There's Melissa on the beach....and there's Matt on the beach. Who knows if it was the same beach. Knowing this fear, I really talked him up. It was crucial to me that Connor have a picture of him and his dad together in his classroom preferably next to his backpack hook with the apple nametag. Not that I am particular or anything. So, it was time for Matt to man up. If I couldn't be there, then I wanted photographic proof of every step that kid took in his brand new Nikes. Also, in our paperwork there was mention of a letter of the week snack sign up sheet to be made available in the hallway. I drilled Matt on getting in there and getting us signed up for an easy letter like C or A. I just knew that if he forgot to sign us up we would be stuck with something ridiculously hard like V. What would we send? Vienna sausages and veal Parmesan? That would really help our child make friends. Matt swore he would do his best and we called it a night.

Our morning started out with Connor bounding in at 6am dressed with backpack on, announcing, "Mommy, I'm all ready for school, except there's something wrong with my pants!" They were on backwards. Before I knew it the morning was gone in a flurry of getting ready, packing lunches (in his new eco-friendly bento-ware) and then it was time. Three quick pictures and my little boy was off to school.

Let me just say here that I owe an apology to every parent of every child I have ever taught over the past six years (not that any of you read this blog) but I cannot believe how I underestimated how hard it is to let your child go. I have had it made these last few years with Ms. Karen. She just felt like an extension of myself. Granted a much wiser, more patient extension, but going to her house felt like baby steps into the real world. Baby steps taken in soft, knitted with love, slippers. This morning, for me, felt like a big shove off a cliff. But let me tell you, my baby bird was ready. Matt, in our extensive, minute by minute breakdown of the drop off said he was so amazed because he couldn't help remembering how he felt on many of his own first days of school. Shy, nervous, scared, probably terrified that he would have to ask someone to take his picture (just kidding on that last one, but kind of not really). He said Connor acted like he was coming home. I couldn't have prayed harder for a better reaction.
So, now to the pictures. Obviously Matt was able to overcome his intense feelings of awkwardness and asked another mom to take their picture. Then as he was describing to me all the photos he took of Connor (I tell you friends, I am full on nuts) he says, "And you know what Melissa? After a while, I was looking around and saw a bunch of moms taking pictures of their kids by themselves and I started to feel bad that they weren't able to be in a picture with their kids so I just started offering to take everyone's pictures." Um, what? Excuse me, but who in blazes are you? My painfully shy husband, for some reason, became the class photographer. I couldn't believe it, so I then had to ask him if he also signed himself up to be room mom. I know I give him a hard time, but he really did a great job and no one had to drag him out after he collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor which is undoubtedly what would have happened if I had been there. It was really a great morning for the two of them.

After Matt called and gave me the run down, I tried so hard not to obsessively check his class schedule (which I made four copies of), but I couldn't help it. I had to know if he was in Math Centers or chapel or if it was time for a "gathering" (whatever the crap that is). Finally at 3:00, my Memommy dropped him off and he was so excited to tell me everything about his day. He had a giant sticker on his shirt that said "I did my best today!" Now, I'm sure they gave one to every kid, but I like to think my child really earned his (oh I am so annoying). After he answered a million questions and told me just as many stories, including the most detailed description of what he observed out of the upstairs bathroom window that leads me to believe he spent at least an hour in the bathroom, I finally asked him, "So did you make any new friends today?" He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Mom, not today! I was too busy learning!"
That's my boy :)

Meet the Teacher Night

I have decided to make Connor's first foray into the world of higher education two seperate blog posts for several reasons. First, it is a lot of story to tell all at once. Second, in retrospect, my emotions run the gamet from one extreme to another in such a scary way that it seems less insane when I break the story into two parts.

Last week was meet the Teacher night at Connor's pre-k. This was a night that we had been obsessing over weeks (dare I say months?) and this was my first experience in a classroom from the other side of the fence. This is real school people, with certified teachers and curriculum and a whole bunch of other stuff that I am intimidated by and we didn't want to blow it. I, having spent 6 years in elementary education, compiled a list of things parents do at these particular functions that I find supremely annoying and made a solemn vow that I will never commit any of these trangsressions to either one of my son's teachers. So, naturally, since I made it a solemn vow and all, I then proceeded to lose control of most of my mental faculties and became the parent I loathe the most. I could not control it, I tried. I really did. I completely bogarted his teacher's attention, asking questions that I knew in my heart would be answered in the welcome letter (they were) and became a woman obsessed with forcing her child to complete the entirely optional "welcome to our classroom" scavenger hunt. It wasn't pretty. Guess who's child had no interest in counting the blue chairs in the room or finding and taking a drink from the water fountain. No, my kid was ankle deep in the "imaginative play" center introducing Kenny to the "most incredible blocks" he had ever seen. So I did what I felt was necessary. I sent Matt to complete the scavenger hunt (what if really wasn't optional) and then wandered over through the sea of tiny people and their parents to observe my son at play with a soon to be classmate.

Connor and his new friend were playing nicely with the doll house (of course) and chatting occasionally about what furniture to put where and then the little boy said something about his little brother. Connor really perked up at that and I heard him say, "Do you know Joseph?" The boy shook his head no and so of course Connor went on, " Oh this boy named Joseph had a beautiful sparkle coat and his brothers were mad so they threw him in a hole." I was now about two steps away from intervening in what had to be in some record book as the most awkward first conversation of all time, but I decided to resist the urge to hover and let him go for it. The boy still hadn't said anything so Connor finished up his little story by letting him know that, " the mean brothers wanted to kill him. Dead. But Joseph lived and then he forgived them. I have a little brother and I wouldn't kill him even if he had a sparkle coat. I hope I get one for Christmas."

Well there you go. We didn't waste anytime did we. I told Matt later that as I was talking to his teachers and using a whole bunch of professional, teacher-y terms my whole heart was just screaming, "Love him! Love him! Love him! Please see how wonderful he is! Love him!" But of course, I would have undeniably outed myself as a lunatic if I had voiced that, so I just said more parent-y things and then we took our little evangalist home. It is so hard watching your kids put themselves out there in the world, the urge to protect them is overwhelming. But as my always wise husband put it, the only one that was trying hard to make anyone like us was me. Connor is never anything but himself and there is no one more excited about that than his weepy, insecure, overprotectice mother.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My little Momma

This is a long overdue post in recognition of our newest family members, Baby and Big Baby. If you are one of my facebook friends you will most definitely recognize their little plastic faces because I rarely get a photo of Hudson without including one of these two adorable (?) little babies.

Our first clue that Hudson had a baby obsession was when we went to see Toy Story 3, Hud's first real movie. I was worried that he wouldn't sit still the whole time, but one character got and held his attention for two solid hours. The baby, who for most of the movie was kind of a villain and looked pretty scary. Not to Hudson, whenever the screen cut away from the baby shot Hudson would yell out, "My baby! Where go?" At the end of the movie, Connor leaned over and said, "Mommy, I'm kind of scared of Hudson's baby he was mean." Hmmm that should have been a giant clue.

We got Baby at the beginning of the summer on a whim, we were shopping for a little girl birthday present for one of our friends and we ventured into the all pink baby doll aisle, a place totally foreign to my two sons. Connor showed a glancing interest but was much more into the superhero aisle. Hudson, however, fell in love. Matt and I watched in shock as he slowly made his way down the aisle kissing every box and baby he could get his lips on. So I turned to Matt, expecting resistance to my request to buy him a baby of his very own. But my husband never ceases to amaze me and readily agreed that we should get him his own little baby. Hudson has never been prouder, he cuddled her and forced strangers to look at her in the checkout. It was the most adorable thing ever. We kind of thought that he would forget about her after a few days because lets face it, a long attention span is not something Hudson is known for. But he was smitten. She started going everywhere with us. He smushed her down under the straps in his carseat, squealed whenever his brother dared touch her and threw her onesie at the washing machine repeatedly when he thought she was dirty. Whenever I rock Hudson at night, he spends several minutes arranging Baby on my other shoulder before he can settle down and relax. I know a lot of dads might not be thrilled with their little boys being obsessed with a pink clad baby doll but Matt is awesome about it. Every night at bedtime he is the first one in line to kiss that baby goodnight (Hudson requires that of his family). Nothing pleases Hudson Hill more than seeing his family love on his baby.

This had gone on for quite a while and Baby has really lived a lifetime of adventure in just a few short months. She had been to libraries, waterparks and the home depot. Any adventure Hudson embarked on, he was sure to take her along for the ride. It was all such an interesting and unexpected thing to watch. Hud is about the most rough and tumble boy I have ever come across and he is always diving head first into danger (or a mud puddle). His legs are always bruised and scraped and he has a perma-knot on his forehead that is always rewounded before it completely heals. Yet, he is gentle and kind to a little baby doll. He sings little nonsense songs to her and puts her in the bath every night and by bath I sometimes mean toilet. I love it. I don't understand it, but I love it. Matt says it is because he wants to be like a big brother (no you sly devils....he will never be a big brother). But Baby is his oppurtunity to love the crap out of something and unlike real babies (which he also loves) Baby doesn't squack when he tickle scratches her or kisses her directly on the eyeball (sorry about that one baby Paige).
Enter onto the scene, Big Baby. My mother, for reasons unknown, felt like she wasn't strong enough to resist the fit Hudson threw when he spotted Big Baby at the store. So after spending one night with Mimi, Hudson came home a father of two. Big Baby is just that, big. He is almost as tall as Hudson and comes with his own accessories. We are in absolute heaven. Like most parents, there might have been a moment where we didn't know if we had enough love for two babies, that one might get the proverbial shaft affection-wise. But no, there is enough Hudson love to go around to both baby dolls. In that tiny boy's body, I dare say, he has enough love for 1000 babies. Now, Big baby kind of freaks Matt and I out. He has pearcing, unnatural blue eyes and eyelids that open and close. Or at least they are supposed to, one is kind of wonky so he always looks like he is giving you the stink eye. This freaky imperfection is beautiful to Hudson, his parents just try and avoid direct eye contact.

I can't imagine how long this love affair with odd looking babies will go on at our house, but I just want to say I am all for it. I love the glimpses of compassion and tenderness I see in my little boy. He is always too busy running and climbing now to sit and snuggle for any amount of time with his mommy, and certainly not the hours I would like to spend every day, so it is a special treat for us to see him be so sweet and nurturing to those crazy babies. Every night Hudson prays a seemingly endless prayer of gibberish, with his chubby little hands tightly clasped. But every night I can always make out the following words, Mommy, Daddy, Connie and Baby. Oh and boat, but I have no idea about that one :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is The Lord's Wii Fit Age?

Yesterday morning was our first "real" day back at work and that meant that it was the boy's first day back at Ms. Karen's. Everyone was really excited but of course being the first morning in 10 weeks that we had to get somewhere dressed and on time we ran into some chaos. It definitely wasn't the one morning I would pick to have one of the most important conversations of my life as a mother thus far, but if I have learned nothing else in my almost five years of motherhood it is that God's timing is not my own and so the short trip from our house to the babysitter was when Connor wanted to talk about some things that had been on his mind.

We always drive over the lake on our way to school and it never fails that Connor comments on how beautiful it looks. And it absolutely is. Yesterday, seeing the sun come up over the water for some reason made him want to ask me about heaven and what I thought of it. This wasn't a new conversation and so we chatted for a minute about the usual things, what we think heaven looks like and how wonderful it will be to get there. But this time he told me that he didn't want to go to heaven after he got really old and died. That was new and so, of course, I asked him why he didn't want to go to heaven. He told me that he was scared. This kind of threw me because he has never mentioned this before, so I asked him if it was dying that he was scared of because I wanted to reassure him that as a four year old he doesn't need to be worried about dying. This is what he told me, "No, Mom. I am not scared to die but I am afraid to go to heaven to live with God and Jesus because I've never seen them and so I won't know them. I am scared of people I don't know and what if they don't know me?"

So at this point, I am driving down the road crying like an idiot because I could tell he had put a lot of thought into this and was really worried. He thought that he would feel scared because he wouldn't recognize God and he thought God wouldn't recognize him. So here we are at a red light with Hudson singing a wiggles song in one carseat and my old soul four year old in another waiting on his mom to clear up the issue of heaven for him. His mother who was now calmly and collectively weeping silently. I just felt in my heart that it was one of those moments as a mom that you absolutely don't want to screw up. So this is what I told him. I told him that God has known him since before he was even born and that he made him so he knew everything about him from the top of his head to the ends of his ridiculously long legs. That when he got to heaven it wouldn't matter if he had never seen God before, God knows knows his face and his heart and he could never be a stranger. I told him God even knows exactly how many hairs are on top of his head, something that even his mommy doesn't know.

He was quiet for a minute (as I circled Ms. Karen's neighborhood) and then finally said, "So he knows everything? Even everything about me?" Yep. Then he said, "Good, I have a bunch of stuff to ask him when I see him." So friends, family, random blog readers what would my son ask God when he got to heaven?

"Mommy, the first thing I am going to ask him is what in the world is wrong with Hudson's hair and then I am going to ask him if he has a Wii."

There you go, we aren't scared anymore. We just want to play Wii with Jesus.