Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes

The moment is seared in my mind, like parenting moments often are. 

It came during a dinner party with three other couples. Two of the couples were still childless, and the other had one child. We were sitting pretty at three kids then.

We landed on the topic of family size, and one of the childless guests said, I would never have more than two kids.

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fashionista

I remember how much I looked forward to wandering through shops filled with pint-sized clothing. Our road to parenthood was much bumpier than I imagined it would be, and being able to touch and ooh and ahh over onsies was one of the tangible signs that we'd made it. 

As we've added more children to our family, hand-me-downs have taken precedence over new purchases. But still, I've always loved the thrill of choosing miniature outfits. 

Our firstborn is the most fashion-forward in our family. And not just because she's about to become a tween (whaaaaaaaaaat? already?????????)—she's just always had a good eye. 

Nellscarf

MoccasinsShe puts together the most delightful and bohemian-esque ensembles and offers her dear, old mom great advice when it's time to get dressed up. She also inspires her two younger sisters—who are doing their best to follow in her blue, suede moccasins. 

Her birthday is this week, so we've been gathering a few gifts from her wish list.

This year, she asked for a very specific and reasonably-priced hoodie that can only be found in a certain teen-centred store. 

The littlest one and I went there last week for the first time. 

Store
When I caught sight of my three-year-old dancing in front of a row of mirrors to the Justin Beiber that was pumping out of the overhead speakers, I felt something strange.

I felt sad.

There were no pint-sized sections in the store. In fact, the smallest sizes would be slightly big for the girl who sent me there. 

And I thought, how am I already here?

Yesterday, JB decided to spend an afternoon with our girl, so they could choose a couple of things for her birthday. We both believe in the value of having her dad weigh in on what is and isn't acceptable attire at this age—even though she's given us no reason to fret so far. 

They went on their own, without the distraction of mom or siblings, and he sent humorous photos and texts of their adventures. 

Jeggings{These jean cut-off-jeggings were a NO!!!}

Together, they chose some really nice, parent-approved pieces. They had a lot of fun and came home with stories of loud music, stinky perfume, and having to squint in the dark to read price tags.

Later, after the kids were in bed and we were lying in bed, he told me how nice it was to spend that time with her. 

The space between us got quiet after that, but I know we were connected by the same thought.

How are we already here?

 

 

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REPEATER: back to the river

You guys know how I feel about my kids taking music lessons and expressing themselves creatively. 

I'm all tiger mom about it—because I believe, no, I know, it's good for their growing hearts. 

It doesn't matter where the lessons and the practices take them. We don't push them to move at any pace other than their own. 

But, sometimes, they surprise us.

Last summer, when our daughter was only five, she clomped onto a stage in too-big sandals and stood in front of a room of moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, at the year-end performance. She'd started piano lessons earlier that year, because big sister was taking them, too.

She was only just starting to read, so we found a teacher who could split the lessons in half: piano and voice. They dabbled in familiar songs, because without being able to read, they were more likely to stick.

I was wrestling a fidgety toddler when I watched her step up to the microphone. And I had a last minute thought that I should try to grab a clip on my phone. 

This clip is short and wobbly. I wish it wasn't.

She made strangers cry. She made her teachers cry. She made us cry.

She got a standing ovation. 

She brought her heart onto that stage and threw it to us, knowing we would catch it.

I remember glancing at my husband and knowing what he was thinking, We never could have done this.

 

I'll often see or hear my kids piled up on the piano bench, plunking out made-up songs. Even the littlest one will stand on her tippy toes to reach the keys.

Is it too big a wish that I hope they never stop?

Lilyandmadeleine

Photo credit: from Asthmatic Kitty

This sister duo, Lily and Madeleine, landed in my inbox a few days ago.  

When I watch this, I think about them piled on piano benches and standing on tippy toes. And I wonder if their parents thought the same things I do now.

Keep playing. Keep throwing your heart out.

You can download their five-song EP on itunes. And you can find acoustic versions (LOVE) of three of their tracks on Bandcamp

Enjoy!

 

************* 

This is not a promotional post, it's just me flogging you with beautiful sounds.  

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