Mother's Day Weekend on the Isle of Sodor

There is a bird's nest in the tree just outside the side entrance to our house. The nest is only about six feet off the ground, so Isabella has been so excited to check on the mama bird sitting on her three blue eggs each day. She looks for the bird in the morning, because you can see the nest from my office window. She looks for it when we pull our car in and out of the driveway, since the tree is right next to it. The idea that baby birds would soon be born right outside her door was fascinating to her.

Yesterday, we had awful weather. Rain and extremely high, 50 mph winds all day long. Trees and powerlines were down all over the city. People lost power. We were gone for most of the day, but when we returned, we watched the mama bird sitting on those three eggs literally hanging on for dear life as she was pelted with rain while the branches swayed and the tree moved in the wind. If that's not motherlove, I don't know what is.

On Friday, we went to my fertility center's annual IVF celebration at our children's science museum. In previous years, the event was teaming with multiples. This year, I didn't notice as many (although there were certainly more sets of twins in one place than I've ever seen before).

It was a complimentary event, and it was great to be able to see for free the museum's temporary dinosaur exhibit that I had been warned against paying to see, since it was geared for kids older than Isabella (it was). She did enjoy the few moving "dinosaurs" though, and especially the dinosaur babies.

There was face painting (or hand-painting, in Isabella's case) balloons, clowns, and tons of food.

There was even an opportunity for kids to reenact their favorite movie scenes. Here's Nicholas performing one from American Beauty.

The event ran from 5-7 pm, not exactly the twins' favorite time of day. Fortunately, a steady stream of crackers kept them from tearing the place apart.

On Saturday, we left the twins with my mom who was in town for the weekend, and Isabella, the hubs, and I went to the "Day Out With Thomas the Train" event, which was taking place about an hour west of us. And I learned an important lesson about long car rides with preschoolers, and that is, don't take them. I packed a bag of snacks, books, and toys for Isabella to keep her occupied, and she still lost her shit about 30 minutes into the trip. And by "lost it," I mean complete, crying meltdown about wanting to get out of the car. Apparently, if we take the trip to Sesame Place (5 hours away) this summer, I will either need to pack a small DVD/tv player or some Valium.

Thomas was fun. It consisted of a 25-minute train ride, and then five or six tents filled with other activities: (more) face-painting, temporary tattoos, Play-doh, train tables, faux-sand tables, movies, and of course, a gigantic souvenir tent with every conceivable Thomas product ever imaginable. You could drop $200 in there in about 5 minutes. We gave her the usual "one-present limit" and she ended up picking out one of the least expensive things in there - a Thomas bubble set for $3.99. We relented when she also asked for a Thomas book. And we secretly bought her the "Isabella Train," which we didn't even know existed prior to a playdate at a friend's house a few weeks ago (thanks, Kelly!). We gave her the train in the car on the way home as a means to keep her quiet, and it worked. $15 well spent.

There were plenty of opportunities to see Thomas throughout the day. The train arrived and departed every 30 minutes or so, and each time Thomas returned, a woman would alert the crowd via a loudspeaker.

We had an 11am departure time.

Isabella's first train ride. All systems are a go.

The ride itself could have been a bit more entertaining. I don't know if I was expecting a Polar Express-like experience (I was so damn cold and wind-blown, perhaps I just wanted hot cocoa), but I thought they could have played some Thomas music (there was a recording playing in the train, but the volume was so low, we couldn't hear it), passed out Thomas coloring books, or something else.

All in all, it was worth the (somewhat high) ticket price for the day. Isabella had a great time (despite the awful weather and the conductor actually coming over the speaker while we were in the train to warn us about taking shelter in case a "wind emergency" was declared), and I can see us returning in two years with the twins, when they're three.

And earlier today, I hosted Mother's Day brunch for 15, as I do every year. This was my gift, which rocks, and which I can't wait to put to good use tomorrow in a long run. Isabella made me a pin in preschool, which I wore all day today, plus some potted flowers and a flower card. These were my favorite gifts, because she made them.

And of course, it wouldn't be Mother's Day without the accompanying Holiday Photo Shoot of Futility.

This is the best of perhaps 50 shots. And once again, no, I'm not kidding.

When I got up this morning and went to my office, I peeked out the window and the mama bird was still sitting on her nest. The wind had died down some, but we were still experiencing some heavy gusts. I was so happy that she (and her eggs) had weathered the storm. Sometime between 6am and 1pm, something happened. The nest is now empty. There is a cracked egg in the flower bed beneath the tree. The other two eggs are gone. And the mama bird has disappeared.

We told Isabella the baby birds hatched and flew away. I couldn't bear to tell her that in all likelihood the wind had blown the eggs out of the nest. She was so looking forward to seeing those babies hatch. The mama bird lost her babies on Mother's Day.

Life is fleeting. There are millions of women for whom motherhood is elusive, difficult to achieve, or impossible to maintain. Not so long ago, I was one of them. Today, on Mother's Day, I'm thinking of my IF sisters.

For those of you fortunate enough to be mothers, I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day.

10 Responses to “Mother's Day Weekend on the Isle of Sodor”

  1. # Blogger Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy)

    Oh my word ... that is so heartbreaking about the mama bird and the eggs. The ending of this post has me in tears.

    As a former infertility patient myself, I can't help but think of the parallels (and irony?) of the eggs. Each one has so much hope, yet is so fragile, despite our very best efforts.

    Happy Mother's Day to you!  

  2. # Blogger Andrew

    Ugh, I knew the bird story wasn't going to end well.

    Happy Mother's Day. :)  

  3. # Blogger Sasha

    There are many people for whom mother's day is not a happy day. I am a mom, but have hated it for half my life and probably always will.  

  4. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Happy Mother's Day Kristi.

    Loved his Am. Beauty pose.  

  5. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    The American Beauty pose is just too much. I thought the same thing before I even read that sentence!
    Glad the Thomas thing was fun. My parents have made Little Elvis a Thomas fan, and I'm not happy about it. That stuff is so expensive!
    So sad about the bird, but I'm glad you had a great mother's day.  

  6. # Blogger Melissa

    Great post, Kristi. :-)  

  7. # Blogger In Due Time

    Looks like you all had fun. Happy (belated) Mother's Day.

    I hope the mama birdy is doing okay.  

  8. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    So sad about those little birds! I was hoping for a happy ending for them.

    Your Thomas event sounds similar to ours earlier this year. I know you don't like the kids to watch a lot of TV, but we always pack a portable DVD player and some shows (usually Thomas!) to keep my three-year-old happy on long car rides. The little one, thankfully, usually passes out in the car. At least for now, at his age.

    Just wondering if you, too, get to hear catchphrases from the show from your child at various times throughout the day, for no reason?  

  9. # Blogger Jamie

    Isabella looks like she had a great time seeing Thomas. Bo is OBSESSED with Thomas so we are definitely going to do this when the train is in our area this summer. What are your thoughts about taking the girls with us? Would that be totally crazy?  

  10. # Blogger Suzanne

    We've been to two Thomas events, both when my oldest two were little. The first was at Tweetsie Railroad in the NC mountains which was absolutely awesome. The Tweetsie train was an open-air train so it was a much more pleasant experience than the second which was at a train museum and more like the train you rode, enclosed and slow and pokey. Kind of a letdown.

    To comment on what Sasha said, I'm not a big fan of Mother's Day either. See, my birthday is May 11th which always falls around Mother's Day. So is my twin sister's. So is my husband's (yes, we have the same birthday). And my mother's, well, selfish when it comes to Mother's Day so my sister, my sister-in-law, and I have to do something for her, but we tend to get left out of the equation. Honestly, I've been a mother for nearly 9 years now, and I haven't had a happy Mother's Day yet.  

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