Tag Archives: Beek

I Knew I Shouldn’t

He was having trouble sleeping.

I knew I shouldn’t give in.

Most nights, I would quietly and firmly remind him that it was bedtime, remind him of stories read and songs sung, remind him that he had all his bedfriends and his Beek, that his glowy stars were perched on his headboard, watching over him, “like the eyes a mother leaves behind to guard her children.”

“Can you rock with me?” he asked.

I hesitated, and he took the opportunity. His voice was small in the dark.

“Please, Mama, can you rock with me in the chair?”

It was cold in his room, so we snuggled under the yellow blanket on the chair. He was warm and still, a quiet symphony of sleepy breaths, a slowing heartbeat, the little suckling noise he makes as he nuzzles Beek.

He’d taken a bath earlier, and his hair still smelled of Johnson & Johnson’s.

I knew I shouldn’t give in. He’s pushing his boundaries. An hour after bedtime, his voice hollering over the monitor like a tiny drill sergeant, “Mama! Hurry up here!” And upstairs I went, loins girded for battle with an unruly citizen.

He knows it’s past his bedtime. He knows I’m going to tuck him back in and saygoodnight without even turning on the light.

But when I arrived in his doorway, all the bluster was gone. He was my baby, sad and lonely and unable to sleep.

And for how much longer will I be able to rock him? For how much longer will he ask for me to rock him when he can’t sleep.

“Can you rock with me?” he asked.

And I gave in, even though I knew I shouldn’t.


Still My Baby at Bed Time

This post originally ran as part of Nichole’s Small Moments Mondays series at In These Small Moments. It was the first time I’d ever been asked to guest post, and to be asked by someone whose blog I admire, whose friendship means a great deal to me, and whose support as a fellow writer has been invaluable – well, to say I was honored is putting it mildly.

If you don’t read her already, take a moment to go over there. Her writing is excellent; her bravery, gratitude, grace and humor evident in every post.

For those of you who might have missed it the first time around, here it is as an end of the year treat. Enjoy!

Still My Baby At Bedtime

My son, Felix, and I are lying in his dark room, noses pressed together, the white noise machine buzzing quietly to cover the swoosh and rattle of traffic outside. We are counting the songs I will sing to him before I tuck him in and say goodnight.

“One… two… fwee…” he says to me, blowing the scent of bubble gum toothpaste and toddler breath into my nose, and holding up three fingers in the shadows.

I cannot bear to correct his lisp.

“Two. One, two,” I reply, tapping our fingertips together.


“Which two songs should I sing, lovey?” We could go around all night negotiating the number of stories and songs.

Shellabye an’ Hush L’il Baby.”

Shellabye… my heart swells up. He means “All the Pretty Little Horses,” as sung by the lovely Laurie Berkner, but when he was smaller and less verbal, somehow the hushabye became shellabye. Much like the little lisp, I am loathe to correct him.

So much of this baby sweetness will disappear soon.

He gathers up his Beek, the blue velvet fleece blanket who is his companion, and curls up like a prawn against me. Like he did when I was nursing him, his fingers play with the velvet fleece of my pink robe as I sing, and I am reminded why he loves Beek. His fingers remember the hours of rocking and nursing. He touches his mouth to the blanket for comfort, the shape of his lips and the peeking tip of his tongue reminiscent of a nursing infant. He still associates the texture of his beloved blanket with nourishment. His heart knows how much love there is here, curled up with his Mama.

I let the last note hover in silence.

Hush L’il Baby, Mama,” he reminds me. For all that he is my baby, he is weeks from his third birthday, and quite capable of reminding me of my bedtime obligations.

He sings this one along with me. He knows most of the words, and when he doesn’t, he uses mockingbird as a default lyric. I sing slowly, over pronouncing the words for him, striking the pitches a cleanly as I can, lying down with his head tucked under my chin, hoping that along with the love and comfort, he is taking away from this some of my musical gifts.

We finish the song together, and he rolls gleefully over, stretching out for the last part of bedtime. I shake Beek out to cool it off. He always searches out the cool side of the blanket the way I seek the cool spot on the pillow case. I lay it down over his pillow; this way they aren’t separated during the night.

He presents me with his bed friends for goodnight kisses, before snuggling down for his own kiss.

“Goodnight, Giraffe.”
“Goodnight, Bear.”
“Goodnight, Mr. Hello Kitty.”
“Goodnight, Domokun.”
“Goodnight, Pug Dog.”
“Goodnight, Piglet.”

“Goodnight, Boy.” Here I kiss him, he kisses me, and then a together kiss, a kiss on the lips.

I draw the comforter up over him, he wiggles in a little further.

“Goodnight, Baby. I love you. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams. I will see you in the morning.”

In my last glimpse of him as I close the door, his fingers play with the velvet fleece, his mouth moves against the fabric like a newborn at the breast.

He’s still my baby for one more bedtime.

I Just Hate That

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman desperately wanting to be on time for a coffee date, must forget her son’s Beek at work, and drive halfway home before her employers call to let her know she doesn’t have it.

Upon receiving this terrible news, I pulled a u-turn in the middle of a parking lot and flew back to the C.’s house, restored Beek to his rightful place with Felix, and turned again for home.

Turns out, I wasn’t late at all.

I’m that good.

On our way back to the C.’s, I explained the reason for our u-turn to Felix, who as of yet hadn’t noticed that Beek was missing.

“I don’t want to sleep without my Beek,” he says, voice small.

“You don’t have to, baby,” I say. “We’re going back to get him.” (yes, people, Beek is a him, not an it.)

“I just hate it,” he says, voice still small.

“What, honey?”

At this point, I’ll admit I am a little concerned. Hate? Where did he pick that up? I’m pretty careful about words like that in front of the kids.

“I just hate leaving my Beek at Betty’s house.”

“Oh, sweetheart. I understand. But it’s nicer to say ‘I don’t like leaving my Beek at Betty’s house,” I remind him. “And we’re going to get it right now.”

He is quiet for the rest of the ride.

With Beek retrieved, we’re on the final leg of this epic drive home, and I remind Felix, “Now, Daddy’s going to be in charge of bedtime tonight.”


“Mama’s going out for a little while.”

“Why are you goin’ out?”

“I’m going to see a friend.”

He is quiet for a while.

“I just hate that you’re going out.”



For Glory and Hershey’s Kisses

In the house where I work, there are two pottying locations for the preschoolers in the house, both of whom, as of last week, were digging in their heels at the idea of leaping into that brave new world of character branded undies.

The one on the second floor is a potty seat on the toilet in the kid’s bathroom. It’s from Baby Bjorn, and is trés cushy for their tiny tushie.  I know, ergonomically designed potty seats? Yes.

The one on the first floor is more the toddler chamber pot model, also from Baby Bjorn. Because I am basically a selfish creature, and am glad I live in a culture that flushes its waste, I am loathe to encourage its use.

Both kids have tried (and by tried? I mean sat their naked bottoms down for a glorified story hour) a couple of times, but at work? No one is having any success.

Felix has had a few moments of potty glory at home, but I refuse to turn this blog into a potty training diary, so I’ll gloss over that. Those successes, however, combined with the fact that at work the reward for producing on the potty is a Hershey’s Kiss, brings us to Friday’s sad tale.

It’s nearly time for naps, and Betty has secluded herself in a corner of the room, playing quietly with some of Felix’s cars. On her face, an expression best understood as Pooping Face. Felix is expending the last of his energy reserves running the fifty foot track around the oversized sectional. He is a ping-ponging particle of exhaustion in the pre-nap time super collider, and we are nowhere near miles under Geneva.

I am wise to all of this. I am about to suggest we go upstairs, change some Pull-Ups, and get these kids down for naps.

Mrs. C. catches on to the Pooping Face. “Betty, honey, are you pooping? Do you want to sit on the potty?”

A brief raise of Betty’s impressive brow, and then a casual, “Okay.”

Since she’s generally downright mulish about using the potty, Mrs. C. jumps at the opportunity.

Felix thinks ahead several moves, calculates the probability of chocolate, and announces he would like to pee on the potty as well. Of course, we are already moving, a parade of pottying, into the laundry-room-slash-bath on the first floor so that Betty can poop in the potty instead of in her Dora the Explorer Easy-Ups.

I attempt an intervention, as his nap is coming up now, whereas (at the request of Mrs. C.) Betty’s nap is at least a half hour away. I figure if Felix can just hop on, try, succeed or fail, be rewarded if necessary, and then head off to bed, there will be ample time for Betty’s pooping shenanigans. Because with Betty? There are always shenanigans.

Fast forward twenty minutes. Mrs. C is reading stories, Betty’s still on the chamber pot, wee Elmer’s starting to fuss for a nap, and Felix is very quietly approaching critical mass.  He has a genuine desire, fueled by milk chocolate wrapped in silver foil, to pee on the potty. He has a fierce sense of justice. It. Is. His. Turn.

I suggest that we have only a few minutes before nap time, and his expression goes from imp to gargoyle faster than you can say “Hershey’s kiss.” He wants a turn, he wants a treat. He is really freaking tired.

I explain this to Mrs. C., whose myopia under certain circumstances is staggering.

Mrs. C, once the situation is clarified, decides she will take Betty upstairs to finish her poop session, leaving the downstairs chamber pot for Felix. I happily tell him to drop trou and take his turn for glory and Hershey’s Kisses.

And then? The proverbial poop hits the fan.

Felix begins to cry in earnest. Great, heaving, messy, snotty sobs, and hot tears. Like his mother, he is an ugly crier.

“But she says I can…”

“She said …. upstairs.”

“But she said… she said… I… I… upstairs!”

He’s screaming now, shaking with anger, and I’m frustrated with him, with Mrs. C., with the whole damn situation.

After several more attempts, I finally translate that he thinks he will have his turn upstairs, too.  I gently explain what Mrs. C. actually meant. Why, at this point, I tried to reason with him is beyond me. He’s beyond reason. And his screaming? Has set Elmer screaming, too.

So, I do what any end-of-her-tether parenting rockstar would do.

“That’s it! We’re all done. You need to go to bed!”

And I scooped Felix up, left the howling five month old in his bouncy seat, and hauled my son upstairs to the room where he sleeps when he’s at Betty & Elmer’s house. I deposited him on his bed with his Beek, and walked out. I left him there, sobbing and miserable, and ran downstairs to rescue sobbing and miserable little Elmer.

Who quite literally passed out cold on my shoulder. Poor guy just wanted to be held while he fell asleep.

I took sleeping Elmer upstairs, swaddled him and tucked him into his crib, then went to check in with Betty and Mrs C., who were still pooping. Or not pooping.  But sitting there. Attempting to poop. For nearly 40 minutes. While her mother gazed at her, doe eyed and proud. Of a few toddler farts and a whole lot of farting around.

Dismissed, I went in to check on Felix, who had, like wee Elmer, passed out cold.

Forgoing his chance for glory and Hershey’s kisses for some much needed sleep.

Straight to the Bite

My son is a curious animal.

He really likes the Popsicle Mighty Mini popsicles. The miniature ones with the gelatin, so they don’t melt so quickly? A stroke of genius, I tell you. They are soft enough to take cold bites, stable enough to savor. If you can savor a two inch popsicle. They are not an Otter Pop a perfect preschooler treat.

They are also hard to find. I have to drive to the Stop & Shop in the next town over to buy them, so when I do? I stock up.

Imagine my horror when, two weeks ago, I bought two big boxes of them, tucked them in my stay-cold reusable grocery bags, and proceeded to be stuck in two hours worth of Massachusetts Tax Free Weekend shopping mayhem!

Surprisingly, the popsicles more or less survived. They did, however, melt a little and re-freeze, which changed their consistency.

They’re not so easy to bite now. And my child? Goes straight to the bite.

He bites down, and meets rock hard frozen resistance.


Honey, I reply, in my reasonable, even-toned, maternal voice, why don’t you suck on it for a little, just ’til it softens up.


And he bites through. Triumphantly, he devours the rest in three bites.

It could have gone another way.


Honey, I reply, in my reasonable, even-toned, maternal voice, why don’t you suck on it for a little, just ’til it softens up.


And he chucked the popsicle across the room and sulked his way out of his chair. Stormed into the family room, and curled up with his Beek to contemplate the destruction of the Popsicle plant.

He approaches this fork in the road with every challenge in his life. I can never predict with any accuracy which path he will choose.

The Thomas Wooden Railway trains derail. Will he put them back together or shove the whole mess off the table onto the floor? A Matchbox car rolls off the edge of the media cabinet. Will he pick it up and laugh or launch it like a missile, straight at Daddy’s flatscreen? Operating both his scooter and his tricycle have eluded him for months because he hauls off and knocks them over when they won’t do his bidding.

In this instance, I patiently explained why the popsicles are of a different texture, that they will be better the next time. In this instance, he is gracious in triumph.

But it could have gone another way.

Dear Mama: Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Mama's Losin' ItThis week’s post is inspired by Prompt #1: Dear Mommy and/or Daddy… write a letter to yourself from one of your children. (inspired by Denise from Laughing With Spoons). In lieu of something sentimental, I chose to write the letter my nearly three-year old would dictate, right now, if he were here. Enjoy!


Actually I got my new phone at the building over the train tracks in the new town but it didn’t work so the man fixed it and I took my new phone home and we went to Betty’s house and I want to go super fast on the see-saw swing can we go on the sun-porch and play with the bubble lawn mower? my dad has a push lawn mower so anyway I have a new phone and we got a mini-van it’s red these are the points where Thomas and Toby and James on are the tracks I talked to Gramma on the phone so anyway Gramma said “gobble gobble” to the turkeys and we went to the WalMart and I got a new car last night we went to Betty’s house and we played on the playground can we go to the library tomorrow and get some new books? my pug dog is naughty outside are there any peas in the garden? do I have to wash my hair in the bath? what is that truck? why are we going this way? who’s that guy? is my Dad at home? can I watch a show? will you spread my Beek out on the table? I’m hungry can I have pasta? can I have some juice?

Bye Mama!

I Will Sing to You

I’m a big believer in routines. A good routine gives a child a sense of security, an understanding of their place in the world. A well established routine also gives a child the delicious chance to change it up, then return to the familiar, having expanded their horizons in some small, safe way.

Our bedtime routine has been in place since Felix moved out of our room at four months old. It’s evolved as he’s grown, but the core remains unchanged. Upstairs at bedtime. Pajamas, brushing teeth, stories, songs, tucking in, sleeping. These days, we go upstairs, change the Pull-Up, put on the jammies, brush teeth, wash his face and hands, and then Daddy flies the “rocket ship” from bedroom door to rocking chair, where I read stories, before tucking him in with Beek. Most nights, I snuggle in his bed for five minutes and sing him a few songs. I rub his back, and kiss him goodnight. The whole routine takes about a half hour from start to finish.

Wednesday night, I got Felix into his bed, smoothed Beek out over his pillow, and curled up next to him to sing three songs and rub his back.

“No, Mama,” he says. “I will sing to you.”

He told me to get a pillow for myself, and he patted Beek down on my pillow. He laid down next to me and sang me his wobbly ABC’s, interspersed with snippets of other songs he knows. Then he patted my back, and kissed me.

“Good night, Mama.”

I laid still, in the night-lit dark, while he snuggled up against me. After a few minutes, I offered to sing to him, and to spread Beek out on his pillow. He sleepily agreed.

It was a small enough change, but he was proud of himself.

And the tender little display of affection towards his Mama? Appreciated beyond measure.

Toy Story 3!!!

This evening we put on our parenting super-capes and took a two year old to the movies.

And it was AWESOME!

We smuggled in Honey Nut Cheerios, dried cherries, & apple juice (’cause we’re freaking crazy like that), and let him bring Beek. In the event he got overwhelmed by the bigness and loudness.

Did you know they had booster seats at the movies? I didn’t.

He sat in the seat for half the movie, then split the rest between us. He didn’t talk too much, made it through the “scary” parts like a charm. He even sat through dinner at CPK later.

Clearly, this was our last trip to the movies. It will never go this well again.

First Week Back on the Job

It has come. It has gone. I am employed. I have returned to the workforce.

I am, once more, a nanny.

All things considered, after a week, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Mr. & Mrs. C have been very gracious and welcoming to both Felix and I, and Betty and Felix are on the road to being good friends.

Elmer is just a delicious bowl of baby smell and gummy smiles. He totally has a little old man face, and I am just a teeny bit smitten. Given the smiles and the sleeping on my chest in the Bjorn, I’m sure he’s smitten, too.

We had our hiccups. Two two-year olds, both bright and confident, are going to butt heats; especially when one is a well-socialized pre-school alumna and the other is wild animal stay-at-home only child. Felix has a very hard time sharing. He is fiercely protective of things he views as his. Betty is far more open to compromise. She’s also accustomed to having a third-party authority figure in her life, which made transitioning from teachers to a nanny super easy.

On my end, I’m learning my way around a new family dynamic, creating the database of information crucial to my survival once Mrs. C. goes back to work. Examples? where the extra toilet paper is, what the “getting ready for the day” routine is. Where Betty’s hair elastics are, and how she likes her scrambled eggs. Adapting to practices to which I might not subscribe at home, such as cleaning produce with commercially prepared vegetable wash, and feet washing in the morning. It’s the details and the routines that separate a nanny from a babysitter. Okay, and the hours. And the commitment. And hopefully, once day, the love!

It took three days to get Felix comfortable with his new napping arrangement. He’s been given one of the empty guest rooms in the new house, and I’ve set up a “nest” for him to nap in. Essentially, it’s a crib mattress with sheets and a pillow, tucked into one corner of the room. In theory, to achieve nap success, just add Beek! Not so much until Thursday. I’ve brought in a light blocking curtain and his trusty white noise machine, and now he’s napping nicely. Let me tell you, though, those three napless days SUCKED.

I’ve got all kinds of ideas to keep us busy this summer, and I’ve started looking seriously at cars that can handle three car seats–which I’ll have for more than a few years, with Felix, Betty & Elmer all driving around with me. I’m optimistic about next week.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been optimistic about being back at work.

Because I can, I’m going to end on a non-sequitur. As I type, Felix is watching Cars, and let me tell you, Doc’s solo lap around Willy’s Butte still gives me chills. Every time.

Gut Full of Raving Butterflies

Twenty four hours from now I’ll be at my new job.

I haven’t been at a new job since January of 2005. While I’m not, in essence, a worrier, I do get nearly debilitating nausea in anticipation of situations I can’t control. Right now, I’m typing, but my fingers are this close to being shaky, and I’m skipping from thought to thought, between fretting at chores that aren’t done to what Felix and will need to bring to work, to what outfit would best suit the first day. Oh, and what’s the weather supposed to be like tomorrow?

Is that weird?

So, I have laundry to fold, lunches to pack, the compost to take out, dishes to do, closets and drawers than need tidying, but before I sat down to this post, I was organizing some pictures from college. I’ll be going back to that project periodically throughout the day.

Can you say, “steeping myself in warm, fuzzy nostalgia, so as to avoid having the gut full of raving butterflies I’ve recently acquired spill up my gullet to freedom?”

Ah, yes. Procrastination. Avoidance.

A friend asked two nights ago whether I was ready for Monday. I replied, “Not remotely.”

She said, “Perfect! You’ll be great.”

That’s usually how I operate. I hold my stress butterflies quietly in my belly, go about my business looking a little green, confess my nauseated misery to Mark after we’ve turned out the lights at night, and keep calm and carry on, right into the fray. I’m good under pressure.

So, tomorrow morning, I will pack Felix’s Beek, our lunches, changes of clothes, and some other stuff, and head out to spend my first day with the Concords. It’s very likely it will be funny and frustrating day.

And once I get a paycheck used to the idea that I’m not a Stay at Home anymore, I think it will be nice to be back into a working routine again.

And a baby! A new baby to smell and snuggle. And not have to get up in the night to feed. I do love this line of work.

header 150x150This post is participating in a new word game, blog hoppy thing, Word Up, Yo! hosted by KLZ of Taming Insanity, and some blogger friends of hers. Since I like words and stuff, you may see this button  from time to time. Feel free to check out some of the other posts. I’m looking forward to it, myself.