It’s fallen…can it get up?

Rocco’s hair, like the Berlin Wall, has fallen.  (I recaptioned these pictures because I got that much funnier today.)

We can brush it to the side…

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“Hey Mom, can I get a tweed suit with elbow patches to go with my hair?”

 

We can brush it straight…

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“Hey Mom, can I get that pocket protector to go with my hair?”

 

Or we can introduce him to the wonderful world of…Product.

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“Hey Mom, can I get a nipple ring to go with my hair?”

 

WHAT’S COOKIN ‘2NITE:
Pear and blue cheese pizza
Salad with apple and candied pecans
Roasted red pepper and tomato soup (from box, because a box of soup is just as good as a box of wine)

That’s deep.

I was trying to take a picture of Vincenzo deep in thought at a restaurant the other day.  Unfortunately, every attempt I made got photo bombed by some idiot in the background.

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Although on second thought, maybe the fact that Vincenzo obviously had no clue some creepy guy was doing all this just inches away from his face is a better indicator of just how deep in thought he was.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin
with maple mustard glaze
24-hour rolls
Some kind of salad

Back to life

Things I love about Kevin:

1.  How when Vincenzo brought him this shirt to wear to work this week, he left the house looking like this.

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2.  How I send him out to the garden to pick chives and he comes in with daffodil stems.

3.  How we finish each other’s sentences.

MrsMouthy: I was planning on giving you a backrub sometime before…
Kevin: The end of our marriage?

4.  And birth of the family totem pole.

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WHAT’S COOKIN ‘2NITE:
Spaghetti ‘n meatballs
Peas
Angel food cake and raspberry trifle

Thoughts on Angelo’s second birthday

We spoiled ourselves silly on Angelo’s birthday.  I always treat the day like a kid’s holiday because one thing Angelo did for us was make us cherish our living sons even more.  But despite all the glitter I sprinkle on the day, I can’t ignore the ache in my heart as babies and death get mixed up in my head all over again.  Sorry to hit you with two difficult posts to read in a row but I’m always trying to help people understand what it’s like for us.

On the eve of Angelo’s second birthday the sun set golden on our yard and lit up Angelo’s garden—the last corner of our yard to catch the sun rays every night. I took pictures of the beauty that has grown there these past couple years, especially of the angel statue on the bench who gazes at the lake and the sunset every night.

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Vincenzo and I walked and played in the woods afterwards and it felt like we were in a painting. One beautifully lit, golden spring evening that would last forever. By the time we got back it was nearly dark and I glimpsed the angel statue again, only now instead of being bathed in sunlight it was covered in shadows and seemed lonely instead of lovely. I wanted to bring it inside to give it the warmth of our house. Maybe to bring it into bed with me to give it my own warmth. But I knew I was as incapable of warming up that stone statue as I was at keeping Angelo’s body warm after he was born, so I left the statue outside. I took a fear of the dark to bed with me instead.

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I don’t understand this whole death thing. Sometimes I battle so much to get the fear of death and loneliness out of my head. On the good days I can convince myself that nothing about death will be lonely because Angelo is waiting in heaven for me. On the bad days I think that’s just B.S.  We die, the end. Most days I can at least convince myself that it doesn’t matter because when we’re dead we won’t be around to care.

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White bleeding heart from Angelo’s garden

But how I hope, how I pray that it does matter…that Angelo’s beautiful, beautiful soul lives in the rays of sun that light up his garden in the day, that turn it golden in the evening, that make the plants bloom and turn their heads toward the very lake where his ashes lay.  And when night covers Angelo’s garden with its unblinking face it doesn’t mean that death has set in, but rather that the sun is busy filling up the other half of the world with its joy. 

I imagine that Angelo’s life served a greater purpose than just to make me a deeper person—that his life changed the world in great ways. That even though his body was broken, his soul is flawless, is ageless, is with me now and will be with me forever, and that our reunion will be even brighter than the sun.

I dream. I want to believe my dreams. My life is overripe with desire.

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Picture of the star magnolia in Angelo’s garden

Thank you for being here for me on this sweet, sad day every year.  So many of you have shown that you really do understand, even though you claim you don’t.  I love you all for that.

Happy second birthday, Angelo.

Two years ago today we gave birth to our angel baby, Angelo.  His story is on my sidebar if you’re not familiar with it.  Someday I want to write a book about this beautiful boy who changed our lives so much—who is still changing our lives—and when I do, the first chapter will go something like this.  I wrote this when I was five months pregnant with Angelo.

It’s funny how the things you’re thankful for change over time. When I was a kid, I remember thanking God for my first pair of real stirrup pants. In high school I thanked God when I made varsity basketball.  In college I thanked God for my success. As an adult, I thank God for good health, for an amazing family, for a sunny day. And in the past month I have thanked God every day that I know my unborn son is going to die.

Not to be misunderstood, I am not thanking God that Angelo is going to die—although surprisingly I have thanked him for that once or twice as well—but I thank him that we are aware of it. That we have this time to love him, to build a garden for him and write poems to him, to teach our two-year-old as much about his baby brother while we still have physical evidence of his aliveness.

I sometimes imagine the delivery room if we hadn’t found out about Angelo’s Trisomy 13 at our 20-week ultrasound. I would have spent the next few months preparing the nursery, having baby showers, dreaming with Vincenzo about what his brother would be like.  I’d be joking about the dates he’d go on with my pregnant friends’ babies.

Then during labor, something would go wrong.  Maybe his heart beat would speed up and he’d be in distress. The doctor would call for an emergency C-section. I’d be scared. They’d remove the baby from my stomach and rush him to the ICU where he would be tested and treated for everything, the doctors knowing something wasn’t right. I’d be worried but I would trust that everything would be all right—it always is, isn’t it?  The doctors can fix it, the doctors can fix it…and then they’d return with my dead, blue, cold baby, shaking their heads and saying they’re sorry, and I would be thrown into such depths of anguish that it would take me years, years, to climb out.

Instead, at 26 weeks pregnant I am buying preemie outfits with angel wings on them and expensive, ultrasoft blankets to lay Angelo in, and I am imagining a delivery that, though sad, is also sweet and peaceful. No matter how Angelo is born, we will have time to love all over him all because we have some idea of what is coming.  And I am so thankful for that.

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Even though Angelo’s death was a tragedy on many levels, we wanted to make sure the world was a happier, lovelier place because of him rather than a drearier one.  Our friends and family continue to help us with that.  My friend had the perfect words for us in a card she sent this year: “We’ll celebrate Angelo’s birthday not in measuring milestones but in remembering the love-filled feelings that exist for someone who you know is special.” 

We love you Angelo.

Zoo ‘n poo

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, explaining to Rocco: “A lollipop is kind of like a toy you can eat.”
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We spent a day at the zoo this week.  Vincenzo spent a lot of time riding the “coyote…”

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…and the “swimming coyote.” (??)

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He also did what we thought was a great lion impersonation.

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The lion, unfortunately, didn’t have such a  great a lion impersonation.

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My sister took this great shot of a peacock.

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She also took this peacock butt shot that she tried to class up by name it a “behind-the-scenes” shot.  Butt as the saying goes, “A butt by any other name still smells as sweet.”

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I spent the whole day trying to get a picture of Rocco looking at the animals at the zoo for the first time.  The best I got is this picture of Rocco looking at the grass near some animals at the zoo for the first time.  I can’t explain his old-man, pants-above-the-belly-button jeans here.

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And because I am actually a 12-year-old boy, let’s play “spot the difference” between these pictures:

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Huh huh.  The only thing that would make this funnier is if it were a picture of one of my sons pooping at the zoo so when Kevin got home from work and asked what we did all day I could tell him, “We went to the zoo and shit.”

Bu-dump-BANG!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pan-seared scallops with lentils, bacon, and cider vinaigrette
Steamed asparagus

Food hell

I meant to thank you all for your advice on helping Vincenzo be a loser.  I’m taking all of it, it was so good.  I will try my hardest not to read straight from the computer screen when we sit down with Vincenzo.

And now for me to smack-talk some advice on “feeding your toddler” that Parents Magazine recommends this month.  Keep in mind the first and second page of this article are separated by a full-page add for POP-TARTS (filling made with 10% fruit!!).

Here’s a menu the lay out for a 4-year-old:

BREAKFAST:
Mini whole-grain bagel
1Tbs peanut butter
5 strawberries
3/4 cup milk

SNACK:
6 baby carrots
1/2 cup broccoli
2Tbs low-fat ranch dip
Water

LUNCH:
Turkey cheese sandwich
1/2 cup apple slices
Water

SNACK:
2Tbs hummus
5 whole-grain crackers
Water

DINNER:
2oz grilled chicken
10 sweet-potato fries
Dinner roll
1/2 cup grapes
3/4 cup milk

DESSERT:
Mini piece of chocolate

Fellow parents, do you notice anything missing from this?  Like Goldfish crackers?  Go-gurt?  Handi-snacks?  Juice boxes?  And not even one little shout-out to Pop Tarts?!

I am tempted to try this menu plan with to Vincenzo tomorrow just to hear the conversations that would take place.  At snack he might ask, “Mommy, can I have another baby carrot please?  I’m so hungry,” and I’ll say, “Oh, I’m sorry honey, but that will blow your diet.  Here—have another glass of water.  I think that’s in the plan…”

Or I’ll say, “Snack time!  Here are your two tablespoons of hummus and five crackers.  I got you the special no-salt, whole grain, sprouted-wheat ones I know you love so much.”

And at dinner, if Vincenzo asks for butter on his roll, I’ll just tell him to cut a grape in half and rub it on the roll instead.  We’ll talk about how icky butter is and puzzle over why anyone would eat McDonald’s fries when sweet potato fries are so totally more delicious and satisfying.

Anyway.  I decided to write down everything my son actually did eat today:

Breakfast:
Grilled cheese sandwich
Half an Asian pear the size of his head
Raspberries (sorry—my measuring cups were busy so I’m not sure how much he ate)
Milk with coffee.  So sue me.

Snack:
Goldfish crackers, straight from the bag
PB&Chocolate granola bar (he asks for one whenever he sees me eating one)
Milk

Lunch:
Storebought pasta salad that he asked me to cover with another layer of noodles, then a thick layer of cheese, then microwave—but I don’t know if it counts because he didn’t eat it after all that
The other half of the head-sized Asian pear
Lollipop

Snack:
PB&Chocolate granola bar (They’re sooooo good)
Trail mix—the good kind with m&m’s.  I told him he had to eat the nuts and raisins in it, too, and I thought he did…until later in the day when he brought me his suitcase and said it  had a present for me in it.  Surprise!  Nuts and raisins!

Second snack:
1 piece buttered toast
1 piece toast with peanut butter
1 piece cinnamon sugar toast
Milk

Dinner:
Nothing

Snack:
PB&Chocolate granola bar (What?!  I’m a nursing mother!)

In my defense, he was also served but did not eat: yogurt, carrots, peas, tiropita*, asparagus soup, and eggplant ragu.  I also kind of exaggerated the whole granola bar thing.  I eat most of them while I’m hidden behind cabinets and whatnot because I don’t like sharing them.

If you have a minute I’d love to see what your kid eats for a day vs. what he/she is served.  If you do post it let me know in my comments and I’ll make sure to pop by your blog.  If you haven’t noticed, pretty much the only blog I’ve been reading lately is the same one you’re reading right now.  I plan on catching up…someday.

WHAT’S COOKIN ‘2NITE:
Toast, apparently

*If you read my “What’s Cookin’” section, I made a last-minute menu change due to lack of lump crabmeat at QFC.