I tucked Zack into bed, gave him a couple more (there’s always more than just one) hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and to have sweet dreams. He told me he loved me too and wished me sweet dreams. I turned out the light and went into the living room to grab Brayden. He was waddling around carrying a “choo-choo” book (Thomas the Tank Engine) and his little bunny, wearing the coziest blanket over his green, white and yellow fleece polka-dot jammies. I just wanted to snuggle him right up and never let go!
I carried him into the boys’ room, closed the door so only a crack of light seeped through, and sat down in the chair with him on my lap. I could faintly hear the lullabies playing in the living room over the sound of the humidifier and white noise machine. I took the “choo-choo” book from Brayden’s hand (much to his disliking), and right as his protest reached a peak, with stiff, arching body and wide, open-mouthed crying (it was a good thing Zack wasn’t quite asleep yet), I gently finessed the bottle of warm milk onto his lips, at which point he immediately ceased and calmed.
I could feel his body relaxing in my arms, as his head began to lean into me. I put my cheek to his forehead – so soft, so precious. I snuggled him as only I do, kissing him gently, holding the bottle as he rhythmically drank. We both drifted off to peacefulness, I, still awake but aware; Brayden becoming limp but also still awake. We were like one. One heartbeat, one soul, one being.
I began reminiscing about how tiny he was when he was first born, and how he used to hold my thumb as I nursed him. Just then, his hand slid onto mine, as if he knew my thoughts, and he reached to pull my fingers up to his heart. At that moment, I just wanted to hold him forever.
He finished his bottle (what he was going to drink of it) and gently pushed it away. I turned to set it on the table next to me, and then turned back to look at Brayden. He was getting so big, but he was still just a baby. I thought the same of Zack, how he was getting so big, but still so little and innocent, all tucked into bed with his footsie jammies and snowflake blankie.
I usually put Brayden right into his crib after he finishes his bottle, but tonight was different. I couldn’t let him go. I just wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to feel the soft skin of his cheek once more against mine. I wanted to hear the sound, smell the sweetness and feel the blow of his breath. I wanted to hold him until he slept. I wanted to hold him until I slept.
My conscience told me to “put him in his crib and let him put himself to sleep, like always.” And then my heart spoke back, “hold him as long as you want. You are his Mother, he is your baby. Love him, hold him, be one with him.” And so, I held Brayden as he rested his tired head on my shoulder and my arms cradled him off to sleep.
I sat there holding him for a while, until I knew he was dreaming of puppy dogs and horses and, of course, choo-choo trains. I don’t know exactly how long it was, and it didn’t matter. I knew I had poured my love into him tonight, and had filled my heart up at the same time. I did what I needed to do – I held my baby.
It’s a beautiful, fall day in Truckee, CA. Zackery and I thought it would be nice to go on a “nature hike.” Will suggests we go to the Donner Camp Picnic Area (literally just a few minutes from our house), so that Brayden can walk around too. We often go for walks there (or “nature hikes” as we call it) because it’s close to home, and it’s a nice, easy, level loop trail that is great for kids. It’s a mostly dirt/gravel trail, but the favorite part for Zackery is the wooden boardwalk that spans over the marshy meadow. He loves to run ahead, of course with a giant smile plastered on his face!
Brayden had a grande old time as well. He waddled as quickly as he could, trying to catch up with big brother who was cackling way up ahead. He stumbled a few times, but we brushed him off, wiped away his tears, and he was off on his own again. It was such a joy to see both of our boys enjoying themselves so much.
Being the camera-happy Mommy that I am, I was constantly snapping photos in hopes of getting just one “perfect” picture. I really wanted to get one of Zackery and Brayden holding hands. I had to get Will to help me convince Zackery to stop for just one minute – but I got my picture!
If you are ever in the area, the Donner Camp Picnic Area is a wonderful place to stop. There are picnic tables, restrooms, and an interpretive trail perfect for your own “nature hikes.” It’s located approximately 2.5 miles north of Truckee on Hwy 89, and is a major part of history for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, especially here in Truckee.
For more information, read below and check out the following links:
Donner Camp Picnic Area (taken from the website: www.GORP.com (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages))
At this site on Alder Creek near Prosser Reservoir the George and Jacob Donner families were snowbound during the winter of 1846. The Donner Party had earlier decided to take a shortcut through the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, which Lansford Hastings had written about in his guidebook “Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California.” The trail was rocky and portions were impassable for their wagons. The “Hasting’s Cutoff” caused the Donner Party to become three weeks behind the rest of the wagon train they had originally started west with. When they finally reached Truckee Meadows (Reno), the party made the fatal mistake of resting for a week before going over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Donner families were forced to stay behind at what is now known as Donner Camps Day Use Area to repair a wagon axle while the others in the Donner Party went ahead. Both groups of emigrants were caught in early winter snows. The party that went ahead made it six miles farther to the site of the Donner Memorial State Historic Park before the snow stopped them.
Three U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are nearby. Annie McCloud Campground, Lakeside Campground, and Prosser Campground are located on the west shore of Prosser Reservoir.
The Donner Camp Picnic Area is located 2.5 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89.
I am a lucky Mom to have two happy, loving, wonderful little boys. Even luckier is that I am able to stay home. What comes with staying home is that I am the one who inevitably gets to wipe the poopy bottom (hey let’s just jump right in!). And, inevitably, my call to duty always comes at dinner time. Now I’m not talking about my younger son, Brayden. He’s still in diapers and can’t really control the “timing” of things. Zackery, on the other hand, is fully potty trained.
We’ve had the discussion about “going” before dinner (so that he doesn’t have to sit and wait for me to come tend to his bottom; he hasn’t quite got the wiping himself down yet). Every day, as I’m about to start dinner, I ask him “do you have to go potty?” And every time, he responds with “No Mom, I’m okay. I’ll go poop after dinner.” “Are you sure?” I ask him. “Yes, I’m fine,” he assures me.
I could go on and on about the wonderfully (in)appropriate dinner conversation, but instead fast forward to Monday at 3:30pm. Music class starts at 4:00pm – it’s 10 min away. The car is warming up, Brayden has a clean diaper, I’m getting my shoes on, and I ask Zackery to go potty before we leave. He does his business (number one – sorry if this is TMI…), we wash hands, get his jacket on and hop into the car.
We arrive at music class in plenty of time, but the teacher is not there yet. We hear that he is on his way (he had a sick kid right as he was getting ready to leave – we’ve all been there), and to just please wait patiently. That in itself is hard with a room full of kids, but they all did great playing with the music sticks, bells and scarves.
About 10 min later, Zackery tells me he has to go potty. I find it odd, given that he just went at home, but I took him to the bathroom anyway. Of course there was no kid-sized toilet (and I didn’t see the step stool until we turned around to wash our hands), so I pick him up, squeezing his bare little bottom between my legs to help keep him steady, aim him at the toilet, and tell him to go. Mission accomplished.
Back in the music class room, just as the teacher finally shows up, “Mommy, I have to go poop.” In a state of shock, knowing this day would once come, I gather myself and my plan of attack. I ask a friend to again keep an eye on Brayden (luckily he’s still pretty content just sitting in one spot), and armed with the wipes from the diaper bag, Zackery and I head once again to the rest room. This time we go into the handicap stall – I need room to maneuver. I grab the step stool and have a quick talk with Zackery – telling him this is a big toilet, not like his little potty seat at home, and that he can’t sit all the way back or he’ll fall in (how scary is that thought!).
With fear in his eyes, standing on the step stool with pants pulled down, he turns his little bottom around, prepared to sit down on the paper shroud I created over the toilet seat. “Mommy, hold my hands!” I gripped him tightly as he lowered into position, then slowly I put one hand behind his back so he wouldn’t lean too far back and fall into the dreadful abyss. Phase one – complete!
Lucky for me it was a quick release (I really don’t know how else to say this). We then resumed normal routine: stand up, bend over, wipe bottom, flush toilet, pull pants up, wash hands. Proud of Zackery and proud of myself, we both let out a big sigh of relief as we headed back to class. Once again, mission accomplished!
As much as I love holding hands with my husband and children as we go for walks or while crossing the street, it makes me laugh every time I think about Zack’s panic (and mine!) in the rest room. Whether it’s “mommy duty” or just for a little love, either way I am always happy to hold his hand.