Hey Milo! You Five! And other stuff…
So we’re weeks out from baby #3 being born… I’ve hardly written a single update about this pregnancy because oddly enough it’s really, really hard to find time to write absurdly long posts when you’ve got two little boys and a pregnant wife.
Oh who am I kidding, I’m just really lazy. But having kids is such a good excuse to not do things that I can’t help but use it every chance I get. Now if only I had a decent excuse to get a minute alone from the boys I’d be in business! I kid… but let’s not pretend that it isn’t the worst thing in the world to wake up to a toddler screaming at you to play legos upstairs. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing with Legos and I love playing with my kids, but I love not moving in the morning more. We’ve got a rule in the house: Mommy and Daddy don’t play until after they’ve had their coffee in the morning. Needless to say I sip mine VERY slowly.
Rachael and I are not morning people. Milo and Noli inherited that trait from us, but unfortunately they also inherited my stubbornness - so they just refuse to sleep in. Yeah, I know all kids wake up early and are miserable, but Noli literally wakes up growling and Milo always wakes up yelling “HEY!” like he dreamt about some goblin flicking him in the nose and then woke up too soon to flick him back. That’s what I imagine happens anyway. If they’re so mad about being awake, why not just stop being awake?? It’s not that hard, I do it all the time!
But whatever. They come out of their rooms, they fight over a lego, I pathetically and ineffectively shout at them from my recliner downstairs and then I drink my coffee and secretly daydream about drowning to death in it. Mornings with the Marianelli’s are a good old time. Even the unborn one wakes up cranky, he just awakens when Rachael is going to bed and kicks her in the ribs like a savage. Crap, I just realized I never posted his gender - well if you haven’t figured it out yet, he’s a boy. If anything I’m consistent.
We had the sonogram a week after my last post and boy oh boy the boy wasn’t shy about being a boy. Have I said boy enough yet? I know a sonogram isn’t actually a camera with a lens, but I swear, the moment they turned that device on he practically slapped it against the screen. No subtlety whatsoever.
There’s this awkward moment during a gender reveal where both parents are secretly hoping for different results (by secretly I mean me, Rachael was quite vocal about her hopes) - it’s like when you’re playing a board game with people and it’s maybe 10 rounds in and that competitiveness is starting to rear its ugly head and the laughter is becoming more and more forced with every round - and then you win for like, the 5th time in a row and you’re not quite sure what emotion to express so you just sort of downplay your own victory as dumb luck, but now everybody feels insulted that you’re pitying them… Yeah, that’s what it’s like to find out you’re having a third boy.
But for real, it’s better this way and we all know it.
I can’t tell if the sound of my voice makes the little stinker agitated or happy. He usually starts moving a lot when I talk to him (yeah I know, they can be startled by sound and it’s not technically me specifically that he’s responding to - but let me have this!), I think my proudest moment was when I placed my hand on Rachael’s belly and said “HIGH FIVE!” and he totally kicked my hand. He also likes to kick me in the head when I try listening to his heartbeat… They say you’re supposed to be able to hear the heartbeat without a stethoscope but I’m three kids in and it’s NEVER happened! I do, however, hear a lot of digestive sounds that I wish I could un-hear.
This pregnancy gives me a lot of memories of when Milo was still in the womb and he would stop Rachael dead in her tracks by roundhouse kicking her in the side. This little guy might actually be worse. There were a couple of weeks in the Autumn where we were convinced he was actually kicking Rachael in the spine. It would send shockwaves up her back and every time it happened I thought she either saw a giant spider or suffered an aneurysm. I’m not saying I wished for the latter, but I really hate spiders… Don’t judge me.
We’ve been trying to prepare Noli for the baby’s arrival. He can get pretty jealous. My brother came home one day with puppies and Noli got really sad that we were giving the puppies so much attention. It broke my heart a little. He’s a really sensitive kid - it’s a good quality, but it can be difficult. I have to discipline him almost entirely differently from how I discipline Milo because of it. To be honest I still don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to that with him. Some days I think I’ve cracked the code, but then the next day it’s an entirely different ball game. He’s been a little grumpy lately and we haven’t really figured out why outside of “Terrible 3’s” (terrible 2′s is a myth, 3′s suck).
I used to think I knew what a tantrum was… I was so wrong. On Christmas Eve Noli threw the most epic tantrum I have ever witnessed in the history parenting. It’s mostly a blur at this point, but it started when I tried making him put on a pair of pants after his bath and it ended with a full-on UFC-style showdown where I was literally grappling him on the floor so that he wouldn’t hurt himself. I ended up tapping out because nothing was working - Rachael finally managed to defuse the entire situation by simply pulling an ice-tray out of the freezer and showing it to him. Yup. Problem solved. All the shouting, bribing, begging, grappling and crying did absolutely nothing - a boring inanimate object from a mini-fridge tamed the beast. How Rachael thought to walk past a playroom full of toys and grab an unused ice-tray will forever be a mystery to me. Since being pregnant the girl can barely remember her own name, yet she knew exactly how to deal with a situation that neither of us had experienced - motherly instinct is truly the 8th wonder of the world.
All tantrums aside, Noli cracks me up. He’s making up his own superheroes now. His latest evil creation is “Play-Doh Butt”. His superpower? He shoots pink legos out of his butt. I’ve also learned a number of other characteristics that I wish I could forget. He’s apparently blue, wears no clothes, has no hair (anywhere) and is little. He’s straight out of a nightmare. There’s another superhero he’s working on that’s less fleshed out, and I truly hope it remains that way because I don’t need nor want any other details. His name is “Tater Tutt” and, in Noli’s own words, “he shoots poo-poo out of his hands at all the happy people”… I think that makes him a villain, but I’m not sure Noli sees the lack of virtue in flinging your poop at happy people. I’m sure there’s somebody out there who would derive joy from that experience, but it’s certainly not anybody I want hanging around my 3 year old.
I can’t bring myself to discourage his progressive line of superheroes, they’re more creative than anything I came up with at that age - my greatest childhood achievement was creating a superhero who controlled fire, and I named him “Flamer”. Just failure all around. One of these days I’ll get around to asking Noli to draw a picture of Play-Doh Butt for me just to see what monstrosity he puts to paper, but until then I’m totally satisfied just watching him draw Spider-Man… with chalk… on our walls. So glad we didn’t give him markers that day. For a 3 year old he’s a really good little artist - I’d say even for somebody older than him. His Spider-Man drawings are really cute and surprisingly stylized. Between the two of them, I think he’s the most handy with a drawing utensil, and it makes sense; Milo is very book smart, Noli is very creative. It makes a lot of sense to me, Milo is a spitting image of Rachael, so naturally he’s just gravitated towards books and math. Noli got my genes, hence, Play-Doh Butt and art.
He really is the sweetest little boy on the planet though. I slipped on the bottom step the other day like a bobo and fell down, Noli immediately ran over to me and kept trying to make sure I was okay… Milo, on the other hand, just yelled at me to get a toy for him that he got stuck under the television. I’ll be remembering that when it’s time to draft up wills. Anyway, the point is, the kid just has a kind, nurturing soul. He wants everyone to be happy…
He still can’t say his K’s.
What else… Oh, yeah, Milo turned 5! My baby is growing up and I’m both happy and miserably depressed over it. I feel like I’ve said this for other birthday posts, but it’s how I feel every time. I don’t sing Happy Birthday to the boys, I sing “Cats in the Cradle” and my tears put their candles out. Nobody likes growing up in our house.
I think he had a good day. This was the first birthday that he actually seemed aware of leading up to it. He was so excited he woke up at 5:30 in the morning and for the first time ever WASN’T cranky! I wanted to stick my head in a stove, but at least he was happy to be up before the sun. We had a Mario-themed birthday for him - correction, a LUIGI themed birthday for him; He prefers Luigi to Mario. He’s been playing a lot of Mario Run on his iPad… Probably too much, but mommy and daddy are literally the worst parents in the world when we’re feeling defeated so we throw iPads at the boys for distraction while we recharge our broken will. He’s actually really good at that game, he beat it before I did - and I’m awesome. I’m terrified to introduce him to the original Mario games, he hates losing, and that’s basically all you do with the old ones. You lose until you throw a controller at the wall, then you play DOOM for an hour to vent. We’re not there yet with the boys.
One of the reasons I was so excited for him to turn 5 was STAR WARS. It’s a movie I’ve always looked forward to watching with my kids, but wanted to wait until they were old enough to actually get what they’re watching and hopefully not get too scared. We have a media room upstairs that is 100% off limits to the kids, but I told Milo for his 5th birthday we’d get milkshakes and watch a big boy movie in the media room… He was a little bored by it, but he was happy to just be in our home’s ‘Forbidden Kingdom’ with junk food and some one on one time with Dad. I really loved it. When you have more than one kid, it’ hard to just enjoy them for their own uniqueness. They morph together into this wild entity that lives to argue with itself and bring chaos and exhaustion to your once stable, quiet household.
Milo is a brilliant boy. Every day he makes it a point to remind me how much of a genius he is. Whether it’s his ability to perform division in his head or how he reads at a 1st grade level (even more so I think) or the fact that he can build a set of Lincoln Logs exactly as they are on the box when I can barely make any sense of the vague directions they come with. He’s a sponge for knowledge. He also had a piano recital on his birthday and he nailed it. It probably doesn’t sound like much to an adult musician, but for a 5-year-old to play piano and without looking at the sheet music, know when he’s made a mistake and correct it by ear is wildly impressive. Like I said - brilliant.
Milo - I know I’m a month late writing this, but I’m just so amazingly proud of what a big boy you are. I love your face, I love your voice, I love your personality and your sense of humor, I just love everything about you. I can never find the right words to express it, but I’m just so filled with joy watching you grow up. You were the very answer to a prayer I had prayed almost every night since I was little - to be a Dad, to have a family of my own. Now I get to pray every night and thank God for a family I know I’ll never truly be worthy of. So yeah, just in case you ever doubted what you mean to me.
Happy Birthday, baby boy. I love you.
Anyway, this is turning into one of those super long posts that Rachael yells at me for writing, so I guess I’ll wrap it up… My next post will inevitably be another 2-part ‘Birth of Baby’ story (and hopefully my last), so be on the look-out! Or don’t. I don’t even know who’s reading this besides my wife, and she doesn’t much care for the amount of detail I go into regarding the births so I imagine I’ll just be reading the next post to myself. Good lord it’s late.
Auf Weidersehen, goodnight (why yes, I did have to Google that),