Thursday, November 17, 2011


When I was a little girl, I thought that if I had a little boy one day that I would name him Cody or Colton. If I had a little girl, her name would be Madison, and she would probably go by Maddie. When I grew up, I knew that if I had children, I would want them to have a name that was sounded beautiful, different, uncommon....yet not strange. Then when Cody and I discovered that I was with child, I called that precious heartbeat Ella. When I found out that the precious heartbeat was a boy heartbeat, I made lists of names: Everett, Rylan, Landon, Colin, Ryder, Lance, Dylan, Emmet,... (Then Cody eliminated most of the names on the list because he once knew someone who had a cousin who named his dog the name in consideration...or something nearly as complicated). After many lists and eliminations, we finally decide that we are going to be Ryder Luke's parents, and Jonie has his name written in thread on every bag and blanket she can find before he even arrives. And then it turns out that all that fuss over Ryder's name didn't matter very much, because he gets a little older and decides his name is Batman, or Robin, or Master Yoda, or most often lately, Captain America...but those are all other stories.

And now Ryder has named me. We encouraged our parents to decide on their grandparent names, but I never thought about what my name would be. It turns out that it didn't matter so much about that, since Ryder has his own ideas about my name, too. When he was learning to talk, and he started saying "mama," I didn't care that he might have been referring to me or to Aprilia, or to Cody, or the wall, I was amazed to hear my child say MY name after months of saying , "Not Dada. Mama. Maaaa-maaa." And not too long after he started saying Mama, he started to say it in the sweetest sentences, like "Love you, Mama," or "Thank you, Mama." And as he grew, he has called me Mom and Mama and Mommy, and there are no words to equal how right it is to hear your son call for his mom.

But now, my very big boy four year old, has abandoned those early names, and has named me Mother. When he talks to me or about me, he calls me Mother...a name that I would have thought sounded formal and uncomfortable, a word too big for a child who still will say he liked-ed that psketti, who loves being tickled, and will sit with me to be rocked and read a story. But when Ryder calls me Mother, it doesn't sound too formal at all, and although I share this name with so many other women, it is MINE, and it is ME, and it is PERFECT. I may be daughter, and sister, granddaughter and aunt, friend and wife, but in all those relationships, I am still Kristy. But only to Ryder is my relationship and my name all rolled up into one complete word- filled with images of arm hugs and growing boy, scents of No More Tears shampoo and bedtime lavendar lotion, sounds of giggles and eating noises, tastes of sun grown strawberries and front porch watermelon, and feelings of pure and innocent love-Mother. And I know that all the mothers who have been named by their children, share the same sense of identity as they hear their own name...whether it is Mom, or Momma, Ma, or Mother...when it is uttered in the voice of her child, that name is only for her, a secret code of memories and moments meant for noone else in all the world.

And while I love being Ryder's mother, sometimes I long to escape for a few moments from being Mother, and to be just Kristy. But the older Ryder gets, the more I realize that I will never be just Kristy again, because during those moments when I am away from my son, I know that I will return to him, waiting for Ryder's hug, for his naming as he tells me "Mother! I missed you!" And then I will say, "I missed you, too, Ryder...or Batman...or Captain America...or...."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where the Time Has Gone

On September 11th, it will be four years since we were in the hospital waitingforRyder to meet us all. And while the first year seemed that it would never end, these past few have passed so very quickly.

Where does the time go? ....But in this case, I know the answer to that:

To late nights and early mornings. To nursing and to first foods. To diaper changes and big boy underwear.To bedtime stories and to crackers and honey just before bed. To kissing hurt knees and sticky faces. To looking for Ws and to learning how to read. To playing with ToffeeToffeeYay! and to listening to Galbert (the stuffed llama) talk to us in his own voice. To Bible class and to making sure we have short hair so we won't get stuck in a tree. To play dough and cooking basanga. To baseball games and to many sword fights. To Santa Claus and to birthday cakes. To boat rides and to collecting chicken eggs. To visits to Granny's house to play with the ugly doll, to MaMaws house with the M&M cycle, and to Granny Bill's house to have crackers. To riding bikes and to sidewalk chalk Ws. To egg hunts with Camden and Carter to learning to share with Camden and Carter. To walks with Aprilia to commanding Rico to "Fooey." To answering many, many "Why"s and "What is..."s." To tickles and to wrestling and to hide and seek. To swimming and to climbing and to like sand. To prayers and to songs and to Bible verses. To becoming Batman, and RDtootieDtootie or to becoming Robin and Captain America. To horse shows and kayak watching. To visiting old friends and to making new friends. To rocking and to big boy beds. To pizza and to garden tomatoes. To the Portertown Gang and to practicing new manners. To arm hugs and to belly kisses. To reading books to a wiggly toddler in our laps to reading books to a wiggly big boy in our laps. To eating noises and to steeting (which is still a mystery to everyone but Ryder.) To dressing up and to making shields. To a most beautiful child who fills each day with fun and wonder. To new joys and to unexpected happinesses.

To childhood.

To waiting for Ryder.

And I am most blessed by where our time has gone.

Happy 4th birthday, Ryder!

(Bottom Photo: Ryder with his Captain America shield made by his Daddy. Photo by Skelton Photography.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mm-Mm Good!

I could easily convince myself that I'm the best cook ever. It wouldn't be hard. I would probably have to ignore that I generally burn the bread, that I rarely try new recipes, and that baby food got the same response that my gourmet meals do, but I'm pretty good at ignoring such trivial matters when I want to imagine myself a master chef...chefess?....hmmm...culinary genius.

At our house, we take eating seriously. Anyone who knows Cody, knows this. Meals are eaten at the table. (primarily...partly because I like the image of the family eating at the table...and partly because I'm too clumsy to handle a plate elsewhere.) I have probably dirtied more dishes than the dishwasher can hold in the cooking process, and I could very likely have fed several more people after we are finished (depending on the status of our dieting or failure to be dieting). So after the meal is prepared, the table is set, drinks are fixed, and we are finally all seated at the table, and Cody or Ryder (or Batman, Robin, Captain America, Guy from Swords, ect.) blesses the meal, and we begin to eat, and that is when my justification for thinking I am a wonderful meal preparer is evident. So whether this meal originated in Papa Bear and Gigis garden, or with Papa John, I know that I have fixed the best meal ever because the entire time Ryder eats, he ... hums?....sings?.....growls?......chews with the addition of an mmMMmmmMmm sound that we now refer to as his "eating noise."

Since his first can of pureed Gerber sweet potatoes, Ryder has swallowed food and hummed in unison. We moved to Cleveland just before he turned a year old, and for a few weeks, we thought he had left his eating noise in Columbia, but then one day there was food...and there was sound...and the eating noise has been with us ever since (except when he would eat snacks during worship services, of course.) As he's gotten older, we've noticed that on special random occasions, the eating noise will take the form of a familiar tune, such as "Hey, Soul Sister," or more commonly a nursery rhyme or a hymn. And the better the food is, the louder the sound, which is only to be expected :)

And since it is such a part of our meals, we forget about it, and have become oblivious to it. There have been a couple of situations where we have eaten with people new(ish) to Ryder, and we have been reminded that not everyone is used to a kid who hums while he eats. Our friend Johnny was eating with us, and he was concerned that he was hearing things since we were all talking and eating like nothing unusual was happening...because for us nothing unusual WAS happening since Ryder was humming as he ate his food. And Kyle and Kellee's niece, Hayley asked us if the eating noise ever stopped. I'm pretty sure it will have to stop if Ryder ever will have any hopes of impressing a girl :)

For the longest time, I didn't know if Ryder even realized he made an eating noise or if he realized that he was the ONLY ONE who made an eating noise. But a few months, he randomly tells me that he has a new eating noise. So, he goes from never discussing his eating noise, as he called it, to having a NEW one???(Luckily, the sound he made that he said was his new eating noise didn't was something between a hiccup and a cough and a gurgle that I'm pretty sure would be an impossible sound to make while eating without getting choked). And when Camden and Carter stay with Ryder, they will sometimes join Ryder in his eating noise song, or have very intellectual conversations about who makes eating noises and who doesn't. And I love that at this moment in his life, there is only acceptance between these beautiful little boys.

And although there are no real developments in the eating noise recently, it has gained a companion: the vacuuming noise. Ryder's chores includes using a little sweeper vac to clean the living room hardwood floor and the kitchen floor. And because the vacuum itself is apparently not loud enough on its own, Ryder joins it in making a vacuuming noise whenever he vacuums. And apparently the vacuum is not the only musical appliance in the house because he was very excited to tell me the other day that the "washer-disher (the washing machine) makes a light-saver song!!!"

One day, we will sit down at the table and eat without an eating noise. That is almost hard to imagine. And sometimes I do think we might need to work on eating without an eating noise, but for is just. so. RYDER. And I love sharing a table with my cape adorned superhero beside a few invisible friends, eating noise in the background, and a moment in our lives to share with a little boy who is completely, happily, and so very wonderfully himself. So for now, we'll just be waitingforRyder to stop the eating noises on his own...and until then...I can just go on thinking that I'm pretty much the best cook ever :)

(Photo: So, since I didn't have a noisy photo, I used this one because: 1... Ryder is gorgeous, and the look of his face, I'm sure there was eating noises prior to this photo being taken at Granny Bill's birthday party last year :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

While he is Mine.

I am a mother;
I have been given a son to love, to teach, to learn from, to guide, to raise,
and then to give him the opportunity to make his own choices, to become his own man.
While he is mine to mold...

I will help my son make a card for someone who is sick,
but I can't make him be compassionate.
I will show him how to pick beans from the garden,
but I can't make him be thankful for his food.
I will remind him to pick up his toys,
but I can't make him be content with what he has.
I will teach my child to sound out his letters,
but I can't make him love to read.
I will instruct him to hold the door for an elderly person,
but I can't make him be conscientious of the needs of others.
I will require him to say "I'm sorry" when he has done wrong,
but I can't make him truly feel sorry for doing wrong.
I will encourage him to introduce himself to a new kid,
but I can't make him be friendly.
I will expect him to do his jobs around the house,
but I can't make him have a honest work ethic.
I will show my love and respect for his father,
but I can't make him value the gift of family.
I will share time with him planting flowers,
but I can't make him understand their beauty.
I will do my best to teach my child the truths of the Bible, the beauty of worship, and the power of prayer,
but I can't make Ryder a Christian.

I will be Ryder's mother always; teaching, encouraging, guiding, praising, correcting.
But I can't make him become a good man; that he must learn for himself.
I am so blessed to be Ryder's mother; to be given these moments of childhood that I can spend waiting for Ryder.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sounding It Out

Have you ever been in a bookstore and nudged your friend with you to take note of the strange person next to you in the aisle. The one who is lovingly caressing book after book, smiling at one title like she has just ran into an old friend, and wrinkling up her nose at another like it just told her that her favorite pink skirt makes her look fat? The person who is oblivious to a ringing phone or to a crying kid (perhaps even if the kid looks like her and continues to call her Mommy) or even to the funny look teenagers are giving her as she makes her way through the YA aisle. If so, go ahead and say hello because I'm sure I will be glad to meet long as you have a good book recommendation or you can help me with my valid dilemma of choosing between my current top twenty have-to-have-right-now books.

I can't remember not loving books, although I do remember not being able to read as I went to worship services as a little girl and longed to read the words to the songs on the page that mom helped me find....knowing that once those words made sense, I would have access to worlds and worlds of possibility. Recently, Ryder has been wanting me to find the pages in our songbooks for him, and although I remember that feeling of longing to know how to read, I still wonder what is it that keeps his interest in this pattern of letters that have yet to make words for him. I wonder why he cares if he's on the correct page since all the pages only hold random arrangements of letters for him right now (other than if he is looking through the pages to find Ws, of course :)

But tonight after services, I go home, and I bring down our dry erase boards, and we draw people and letters. We scribble and erase and draw again, and then I write c-a-t on the board and tell him to make the sounds, as we've worked on some before with the usual result being that he determines the letters c-a-t probably means pancake or some other unlikely answer, but this time....he pushes the sounds together to make a word, to make the right word...the one that other people who know the English language would agree that these letters actually spell...and he realizes what he's done....realizes that he has just read a word. So I write s-a-t on the board...and he again turns the sounds into a word. And so, of course, I write more combinations of letters on the board, changing beginning sounds and ending sounds and middle sounds over and over again, and he works to make the sounds and feel those sounds turn into words....and he just. gets. it. Not every time, of course. And there is some silliness and some guessing without thinking about it. (And by the way, C-A-R is tricky, because the A doesn't say "a" in this situation. Ryder sounded out the letters and came up with care...which is pretty good, although wrong...and so I helped with the A-R sounds) And I asked him several times if he was tired of playing because at this point, all I want is for this learning time to be fun for him-for him to love books and letters and reading. (Because he is only 3, and he hasn't figured out that learning is supposedly not fun). But he was astonished by the question. Why would he want to stop reading, when he's just learned he could do it??? Because there is some actual letters-turning-into-words, reading taking place. And there have been many mommy moments that I have been unprepared for, but to suddenly realize that Ryder can read? I had no idea just how powerful that moment would be. And I am amazed. And proud. And excited. I have been waitingforRyder to meet some of these old friends since he was born. He's already great friends with Sam-I-Am, and tonight I think I will introduce him to Amelia Bedelia :)

(Pictures: 1) Ryder "reading" in his playroom. 2) Ryder at Deer Park. This pictures is rather unrelated to this post, but I wanted a recent one here, too :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being Brave is Easier if you have Short Hair

Ryder has faced and overcome many fears in the past couple of years. He is no longer afraid of sand, cats, or swimming pools. He is not afraid of all little dogs (although it took him a while to decide not to be afraid of Lyndsay and Jenna's poodle who was staying at Kyle and Kellee's house the other day). And, as far as I know, he isn't afraid of bunnies anymore, either. And not only is he no longer afraid of Santa, he looks forward to seeing him all year long.

All of these fears have been alleviated just by Ryder growing up (and lots of encouragement from Mommy, Daddy, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends about courage and bravery :) But Ryder has developed some new fears that were quite unexpected.

I was getting him ready to go get his hair cut (which Ryder is now okay with, but Mommy is a little afraid of since our wonderful hair stylist has moved far, far away), and I was talking to him while he was picking out his clothes. I like to ask him questions just to hear his answers, and there are many times the answer I expect is not the answer I get. This was most definitely one of those times. "Ryder, do you want short hair or long hair," I asked. He looked at me in horror and said, "I want short hair. If I have long hair it will get stuck in a tree and then I would die." Hmmm. I had never considered that point before. I wonder if Mothers and Fathers across the nation have ever considered using the story of Absalom from II Samuel 18 to convince their sons that having long hair is not just a fashion preference, but a real and deadly danger! I knew that Ryder's Wednesday night Bible class had been studying about David, but I was quite surprised to hear the application that Ryder put to the story of Absalom. So we went and got Ryder's hair cut. Short. No dangers of it getting stuck in a tree and less likely to stick up all over the place after sleeping on it.

But his fears regarding long hair apparently weren't over then.

I have been taking English style riding lessons at Bayview Farm for several weeks now with my friend April. And then Cody's mom started taking lessons, too. We love it, and it so much more fun that we are taking the lessons together. For Mother's Day, Cody ordered me a pink riding helmet (All on his own, as a surprise, and it was very sweet and perfect!). The helmet was delayed in shipping, but showed up the day of my next lesson. Cody had to go to work, so Gigi was going to keep Ryder with her after her lesson at the farm and watch as April and I rode. Ryder has never been scared of horses, and he was fine with his Gigi and his mom riding a horse. He is okay with the fact that they are bigger than we are, stronger than we are, and weigh more than we do (which is a good thing :) However, as we were leaving, he had a very serious concern regarding his mother riding a horse: "But Mommy, your hair is long and it could get stuck in a tree!" Now, I had been concerned about falling off or having my foot stepped on, but I had never stopped to think about the dangers of long hair. Luckily, I had just gotten my very own pink helmet, and I put it on and showed Ryder that my helmet would protect me from getting my hair stuck in a tree (which is what riding helmets are for after all, right?) . He is a big fan of helmets anyway, so the helmet solved all fears of Mommy riding a horse. And after my lesson, he even let my instructor put my helmet on him, and he rode from the arena to the barn.

I haven't heard anymore about the dangers of long hair lately, but it seems that I may have to step up my reasoning skills when Ryder is afraid of something. We were walking to our car the other night and it was dark (and Ryder had no headlamp, flashlight or even shiny shoes to help us see...although there were plenty of streetlamps, but apparently that doesn't count). Ryder told me he was scared of the dark. I started to tell him that he wasn't scared of the dark, but instead, I just asked him if he wanted his Daddy to carry him. He gave me a funny look, and said, "But it will still be dark." And he was right. His daddy carrying him would not solve the problem of it being dark. I am definitely going to need to work on my Mommy's solutions to scary situations.

The first time Ryder watched Monsters, Inc. he sat in Cody's lap, and if Cody would move his arm from around him, he would pull it back down. And he loved to watch Rudolph, but he would crawl into my lap every time the snow monster appeared. Now, he wields his foam sword, and says, "Mommy, I'm protecting you." He thinks he's protecting me from dragons, and monsters, and General Grieve-e-us and all sorts of scary creatures. He has no idea that waitingforRyder's next new fear or his next show of bravery, either one displayed in such sweet childish innocence, is protection against so much that is wrong with the world.....Like boys with long hair, of course :)

(Pictures: 1)Ryder no like sand from our vacation in Destin. 2)Ryder getting his hair cut. This was from the time before when he went with Brody and Kyle and Kellee took pictures. 3) Ryder watching Gigi's riding lesson at BayView. 4) Ryder on Auditor with my new pink helmet that keeps my hair from getting tangled in trees :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Superhero Ryder

Ryder is a superhero. He is Batman, or Robin. Some days he is Master Yoda or Ironman. Occasionally, he is Dar Fight (the good guy version of Darth Vader :), and rarely, he is simply Ryder. But no matter who he is, he is a good guy.

I am not at all a Star Wars fan, but Ryder loves it. Without watching it, just from playing with Camden and Carter's toys, from a sticker book Daddy and Momma got him one day, from all these small things, Ryder has decided that "a star war" is his favorite toy. I have tried to ignore his love of Star Wars, to encourage Diego or Superwhy (which he still really likes, also), and just hope he would grow bored with Star Wars. But Jonie explained it to me one day. She said, "Kristy, they have swords. That glow." Mother of a little boy, lesson #1-If you don't want your little boy to like Star Wars, never let him see the glowing swords, because really, that is all. it. takes.

So, I gave in and Ryder now has a Star Wars shirt, some pajamas, and a couple of toys. He only knows about a few of the characters (taught to him by Camden). His favorite characters:
*Master Yoda (he's a good guy)
*General Griev-e-ous (he's a bad guy, but he has 5 light savers)
*RdtootieDtootie (sometimes he is also called CR)
*Darth Vader (who is a bad guy and a little scary, so he turns into Dar Fight, who looks just like Darth Vader, but he is a good guy.)

So Ryder loves Star Wars, and Batman, and Ironman, and Spiderman, along with the classic good versus evil story line. And while I may not care for droids and gadgets, the good versus evil storyline? That, I can totally appreciate. I'm just sad that Ryder doesn't remember his trip to the space center that featured the Star Wars exhibit, complete with him coming face to face with the Snow Monster (the one from Rudolph, that we had promised him was not real).

And if you haven't been introduced to Superhero Ryder.... well, he's a boy who loves Ws and has an eating noise. He wears capes and eyes holders and shiny shoes. He makes up stories and sings songs. When he runs, he moves his elbows as much as his feet. He's conquered great fears in his lifetime and his weakness is no longer sand or cats. He gives great arm hugs and has many friends who love him. But the most important thing to know about superhero Ryder is that he is most of all a good guy.

And his Daddy and Mommy love waiting for Superhero Ryder's next episode. It's always entertaining, often insightful, and always comes with cuddles for Mommy and wrestling for Daddy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It has come to my attention, that I have incorrectly spelled my child's name. Not only did I not name him Batman, or Robin, but in naming him Ryder, I apparently left out the W. So Ryder has taken it upon himself to respell his name. We were riding in the Jeep, when Ryder began this conversation:

Ryder: "Hey, mom. My name is like yours, M-O-M, but without the O."
Me: "Really. Then what is your name?"
Ryder: "M-M-A-T-W."
Me: "Why don't you spell your name R-Y-D-E-R?"
Ryder: "Because it doesn't have a W in it."
(Of course! Why didn't I think of that!!!)
Me: "Well, what does M-M-A-T-W spell?"
Ryder: "Just me."

So, in the last few weeks, Ryder's name has been spelled many ways...the only constant is that the arrangement of letters he chooses ends with a W. Yesterday, his name was spelled R-Y-D-E-R-W. I suppose it may really be part of human nature to want what we don't have. If we have curly hair we want straight hair; if we have a toy fire engine, we want a toy motorcycle, and if our name is spelled with two R's, we like W's instead. And while I very much want Ryder to be content and not to always be longing for what he does not have, I love waitingforRyder's next W story.

(If you don't know about Ryder and the letter W, more information can be found in these earlier posts: and )

(Photo: Ryder from the W Christmas, 2010)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In Small Packages

Our mail carrier is a little like Santa. Fortunately for her, she is not round with a large fluffy white beard, but rather is Santa-like in that she frequently brings presents (small, mailbox sized presents). My favorite presents are generally the Imagination Library books that come once a month. But she brings an assortment of goodies for the family in the form of coupons and product samples or letters from friends.

A couple of months ago, I opened a rather uninteresting large envelope at the table. Tylenol had sent a booklet of coupons for Tylenol PM, a CD of soothing, sleep-inducing songs (I suppose, I haven't listened to it yet), and a sleep mask. Ryder was playing in the kitchen while I opened the mail, and he saw me pull out the sleep mask, and said, "Mama! You have eyes holders! Whose are those!" Eyes holders? So anyway, of course I gave him the eyes holders, and he was very happy. So happy that he wore them for a day and a half....and then a strap broke, so I sewed it back together. I know my quilting skills would be very important someday. And then he wore it for about a week, before he lost it. All the time. He wore it playing, and eating, and going out. He Oddly enough, the only time he didn't wear them was when he slept, because I was paranoid that the straps could choke him. So at night, they hung safely on a knob on his dresser.But other than that, the eyes holders were as essential to being dressed as his shirt or socks. They eyes holders are worn mostly pushed up on his forehead, like a headband (but a very boyish headband, of course). And I decided that wearing the eyes holders everywhere shouldn't include Bible class, but when he took it off, his hair was sticking up so horribly that I decided the eyes holders were less distracting than his hairstyle for the evening. The eyes holders go through cycles of being worn all the time, getting lost, and then found again, so they are still very much in our vocabulary.

A month ago, our little friend Hannah Kate became impatient for her due date to arrive and decided to join her Mommy and Daddy early, despite what the family, her doctors, or anyone else had to say about that choice. Shortly after her arrival, she was placed under a light for treatment. And Hannah Kate, sweet, tiny, little baby, was given her first pair of eyes holders! When I got back home from the hospital, I told Ryder about Hannah Kate's eyes holders, and he said respectfully, "She had little, bitty, tiny eyes holders!" I think he was pretty impressed with her! As are we all, but probably not so much because of the eyes holders :)

So, the Tylenol sleep mask is still a popular toy, and maybe even more so, since Cody cut these weird little triangle eyes holes in them. Ryder doesn't keep it down over his eyes very much, but his favorite times are when he gets to wear his Batman shirt with the cape, his Batman pants, his shiny shoes, and his eyes holders. And the great thing about being a kid is that we are now on the lookout for sleep masks for Camden and Carter...because instead of ridiculing him for wearing a sleep mask with crazy cut out holes that give you bad hair, they instead are ready to join right in. So while we don't exactly sit at the window, waiting for the mail carrier, it's always exciting to see Ryder's excitement at the small packages that come in the mail, whether books or a little lego car, or a sleep mask saved from the trash by becoming eyes holders for a very special little super hero.

Photo: (Ryder with Brody, after getting haircuts. Ryder is wearing his eyes holders, and Brody is very happy while eating his hand. Fun times!)

General Update: (Hannah Kate is one month old, still in the NICU at Vanderbilt, but doing very well. She is precious in lots of pink and flowers, and we get to see her pretty eyes instead of the eyes holders :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

That's Just What Boys Do

According to Ryder, the following items are "just what boys do."

1. Say "yes ma'am and no sir" and use good manners.

2. Love their mommies.

3. Give hugs and kisses to their mommies and wrestle with their daddies.

If I tell Ryder thank you for any of these things, he shrugs and says in a sweet voice, "That's just what boys do." I'm not waitingforRyder to learn what the world thinks boys "just do." I think his current list is pretty perfect. (Of course, we are working on adding cleaning up his toys to the list :)
***Photo: Ryder, Carter, and Camden, our sweet boys!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Growing Pains

I don't know of an adult who hasn't at some point envied the briefest moment of the peace and bliss that exists in childhood. We regret that we didn't enjoy the absence of responsibility, the adoration of those around us, the ability to eat mac n cheese as an entire meal with no worries of calories or carbs when we were kids, and now that time in our lives is forever over. We get up to go to work, pay the bills, clean the house, mow the yard, and do all sorts of unfun things over and over again. As we grow older, we start having to work for the adoration of others. Wearing multiple layers of swim clothes backwards, or eyes holders, or headlamps begin to lose the coolness as friends look at us strangely instead of seeing them and instantly squealing, "My turn! My turn!" And I have never seen an adult wearing shiny shoes. We eat tiny amounts of bland food, feeling guilty at ordering mac-n-cheese even as a side, and count the calories that we gain in even looking at Baskin Robbins as we drive by. I suppose that we love children so much because we do get to experience and enjoy the perks and fun of childhood through them, to re-experience it with their joy coupled with our wisdom of how brief and wondorous the time is.

My eyes holders wearing, pancake eating, ouchie saying, eating-noise making, shiny shoed three year old, however, spent time yesterday being SAD that he is no longer a BABY! Ryder is the very essence of childhood joy. He plays all day, he runs with his arms all flailing about, his friends don't ridicule him for playing with imaginary toys-they just play with them, too. He sings and talks to himself, and makes his eating noise when he eats....and all this oddness is CUTE (for now). He has grandparents and family and friends who adore him, and a mom and dad who think he is the coolest kid ever (and would never, ever, ever wish to trade in this amazing personality for the sweet and adorable, yet silent and unfunny baby).

Yesterday, he asked me "Mommy, where are my baby clothes?" Apparently, my child is more sentimental than I am because I sell his outgrown clothes in consignment sales, and buy clothes that fit him, and therefore, spend very little money on clothes (which I'm sure he will appreciate one day). One of his baby outfits, we shared with Brody. I have his Mule Day t shirt, his first birthday T shirt, and another button up shirt.....and that is all of his baby clothes that I still have. I explain this to him, only to have him panic and ask, "But what will I wear when I am a baby again?" And so I must explain the aging process to my 3 year old. I explain that he will only get older, and will never be a baby again. (Which has it's good points, because when Kyle and Kellee were getting ready to have Brody, Ryder told me he didn't want to go back in my belly again.) I tell him that babies can't eat candy, or run, or wear eyes holders. Babies have to wear diapers and they can't talk to tell their Mommies what they want. In talking about what babies can't do that three year olds can do, he seemed to see the superiority of being a big boy over being a baby again.

However, he did ask me to finish feeding him his lunch of vegetable beef soup. And when we were at Cracker Barrell for supper, he did ask me to hold him before his pankcake came, and then when we got home, he insisted that just try to put on his baby clothes. I brought down the two Tshirts (both from when he was about a year old) and he tugged, and wriggled, and pulled, and finally got the 12 month sized Mule Day T shirt over his head. He was very proud to be wearing his baby clothes, ignoring the fact that the shirt showed half his belly and barely fit over his head.
He finally traded in his baby shirt for his Batman shirt and cape, and wrestled with Daddy and Aprilia before bedtime. So perhaps it's just human nature to feel a nostalgic longing for the past, no matter how old we are. I know one day, I will be looking back on these days when I was waitingforRyder to ask if he could wear his swim clothes and his cape to quilting, with a nostalgic longing to have me be able to heal all his hurts with a kiss and remembering how wonderful it feels to have an arm hug from the boy who will always be my baby.

***1st photo: Camden (ab 10 months) and Ryder (about 2 months); photo taken by Denise Skelton (
2nd photo: Ryder at about 6 months in Columbia
3rd photo: Ryder at 3 (Feb. 9, 2011) in his baby clothes :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Ryder's Pocket

Right now, Ryder's clothing has two criteria for being wearable:

1. It should have no tag.

2. It needs pockets.

And there are huge bonuses for any clothing that also has a cape, like his new Batman pajamas. Bonuses also exist for his two favorite T shirts: the Ry Ry no like sand shirt, created by Andy Sneed for the ToffeeToffeeYay and Nerniesingers Spring Formal band of 2010, and the Rico shirt, which Cody brought back a year ago from K9 training school with Rico (and is still WAY too big :) And the most recent clothing bonuses go to anything Granny Bill has sent to Ryder (as in the yellow jacket that is way too small, but that Ryder insisted on wearing everywhere...INCLUDING the bath tub when I thought he was taking a potty break. It is still wet, and he is still asking if he can wear it).

I can understand the no tag condition; they are itchy and annoying. And perhaps wearing a shirt with a picture of yourself would be consider narcissistic, however since the child is in his Ryder Cry, I'm pretty sure that is not a "one of my proudest moments" type situation to cause any sort of bragging. A shirt with your dog is pretty special, especially since Daddy and Mommy have a shirt just like it, and perhaps Ryder is starting with sentimental attachments early with wanting to wear all his Granny Bill clothes at once, which is how he wanted to dress this week: "I want to wear all the clothes that Granny Bill got me." And it's quite obvious that any clothes with a cape should qualify in the favorite clothes category for a three year old. But of all clothing requirements, I think we would all benefit from wearing clothing that has Ryder's pockets; for in his pockets, he has everything he could want or need.

In Ryder's pocket, he carries friendship. Mannienewt, the pocket squirrel, shared adventures and troubles with Ryder. We still see (or don't see) Mannienewt, but not as much as we used to. I miss the fun little squirrel, and I hope that he stays in Ryder's pockets, even as his friendships grow more.....visible.

In Ryder's pockets, he carries sweetness. He came to me a few weeks ago, and handed me a piece of Superman candy from his pocket. I thanked him, and put it in my mouth, only to hear a horrified 3 year old save me from my mistake, "NO Mommy! It has paper on it!" I took the paper off the candy, and it really did taste much better afterwards. And it's fat free and calorie free :) After repeating the same episode with Cody, he gave Gigi a piece of the candy at our request, but before she tried to eat it, he cautioned her about the paper. We went to play with Camden and Carter the next day, and Jonie asked for a piece of Superman candy, but Ry said he didn't have any more because Papa Bear ate it all. Luckily, he had some Batman candy, and as he handed it to Jonie, he told her about the paper. I'm very happy that he only carries wrapped candy in his pockets because otherwise, it would probably have pocket lint all over it and be very messy. I hope that Ryder will always carry sweetness in his pockets that he will be able to share with his friends.

In Ryder's pockets, he carries compromises. All three boys were at the Verizon store, and Jonie was holding Carter, who was holding a toy that Ryder wanted. Ryder reached into his pockets and pulled out some "monies" that he offered to trade Carter for his toy. Carter has a fine appreciation for tangible items, and was not interested in Ryder's proposed trade. Really, even if Ryder had pulled out spendable coins, I think the value of the toy in the hand would far outweigh the value of any amount of coins to any sensible two year old. I hope that Ryder will always carry an attitude of compromise with him to help him solve his problems. I also hope he gets a little better at it :)

In Ryder's pockets, he carries time. Ryder really wanted a watch before Christmas, and we told him that Christmas was coming, and he could ask Santa for a watch. A few days later, Ryder shows us the watch on his wrist, and he used it to help us plan our day. At 9-4 we would go to bed. At 24 we would play games. I hope that Ryder always remembers there is time to be happy with what we have, instead of wishing for what we don't.

In Ryder's pockets, he carries contentment and possibilities. Whatever Ryder needs or wants, he can find it in his pockets. Toys, money, friends, snacks,'s all there because Ryder has learned to be satisfied with what he has. Many adults carry versions of these items in their pockets or their purses, versions that other people can see and touch, and yet, they fail to realize the possibilities that they carry with them. We live in a world where we have so much STUFF, and we still fail to realize we have everything we need, right at our fingertips. There is a great chance that I'm going to rip a tag out of my clothing before wearing it, and while I'm waitingforRyder to decide what he's going to wear for the day, I hope I learn to fill my pockets with friendship and sweetness, compromise and time, contentment and possibilities because it is up to me to see my many blessings that I carry with me each day.

******************************************* I don't generally recommend actually carrying tangible, visible friends in your pockets. However, some people DO carry little dogs or animals in their pockets, but I did think about changing that point. Jonie and I carried a sugar glider in his special pocket into many places that probably would not have appreciated our friend if he were made visible. Wow! I just realized that I had a real pocket squirrel that Ryder doesn't even know about. Perhaps that's best due to the grisly fate of that friend.