Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Miscellaneous Memories

I always plan on writing more blog posts than I actually do.  One of the kids will say something, do something, get involved with something and I think to myself, "I should write a post about that.  It was funny (or endearing, or aggravating), and would be fun to preserve it for future days when all this stuff will be long forgotten." 

And then "all this stuf"' gets in the way of sitting down to type and it is so quickly forgotten.  All my intentions of writing individual updates about the kids gets lost in the shuffle of life.  I've been meaning to write an 18 month update for B . . . who is now nearly 21 months old.  So I say forget the individual updates and just toss a whole lot of random things into one post, slap up some pretty pictures, and call it a day.  Ready, set, go!

K is not growing up too fast, which I love.  She still laughs at little kid cartoons (though she never chooses to put them on for herself).  She generates such fun adventures and games when she plays with her little siblings.  She enjoys getting out her collection of star wars figures or fairies (which are really more like elves with wings, but they're German so we just roll with it) and making up sweeping, epic-type stories. 

But she is growing up some, and has certainly passed through that maturity barrier where you learn how to subjigate your own desires in order to attend to another.  Which makes her a fabulous babysitter.  Yes, ha!  We have an in-house babysitter.  There are so many glowing things I could say about that, I hardly know where to start.  Suffice it to say that it is truly one of the greatest returns on my motherhood investment. 

A few weeks ago, Shaggy and I went out to dinner with a group of friends (one of whom came all the way from Guam!).  We left K in charge with S as her trusty assistant.  Together, they fed everybody dinner, played some games, got everybody ready for bed, brushed teeth, read stories, and tucked them snugly into bed.  It was so liberating knowing that the little ones were in good hands and that we didn't have to rush home to do the bedtime thing.  We even decided to go hang out with our friends after dinner and ended up staying out until nearly midnight.  Shocking, I know.  It's been so long since we had that kind of a night life.  But we did make sure to call our kids and ask permission to stay out that late.  :)

K is witty.  Which makes her enormously fun to talk to.  One of my favorite times during the week is Sunday afternoon when we come home from church.  It's a little hairy for a bit as we try to manage a hungry, exhausted, stubborn little toddler.  But once B is settled down for her nap, we are free to graze and talk and laugh.  We sit around the table and talk about church, and life, and silly things.  We tell jokes and make puns and laugh at the goofy things the younger kids have done lately.  We just enjoy being together when there's no rush to go anywhere or do anything.  Those are the moments that I which I could bottle and save for future, quieter years.

K loves to give us daily reports about all the interesting happenings in her life.  Track and Annie are going well.  I think this blog post made an impression on K, because she has really stepped up to the physical challenge of running and no longer has quite so many aches and pains.  She has tapped into a little of that vast reserve of internal fortitude.  I have yet to make it to a meet where I can actually take pictures, so that will have to wait for another post.  Annie rehearsals are getting slightly more frenzied as the performance dates approach.  I do not envy her drama coach.

S has quite the wide range of emotions.  She can go from ecstatic to "hrrrrrmmmmph!!" in a split second.  Though it's much slower going the other direction.  She squeals when something strikes her as particularly funny.  And hollers when someone upsets her delicate sense of justice.  She gets quite excited about upcoming events like field trips and birthdays and she chatters and asks endless questions about them for weeks beforehand.  She is excelling in school and, according to her teacher, has a "four point something else" GPA.

She is not a procrastinator.  Unless she's wrapped up in an exciting new dsi game, in which case all other concerns fly far from her mind.  Her flute skills are improving dramatically and she's looking forward to playing with the district's honor band this spring.  I love to hear her play.  She has internalized the fact that she is quite artistic and no longer resists art projects like she did last year.

S's bangs are always too long. And it always takes me weeks to get around to cutting them when they need it. I should just cut them super short, but because she already did that to herself many years ago, I just can't bring myself to do it and always err on the side of caution. Which probably explains why they're always too long.

S finds the most joy in playing with B.  She has successfully passed on her passion for stuffed animals to her baby sister, who will almost always de escalate from a tantrum in order to go find the "mew mow" or the "woo woo" with her.  And then B wanders around the house, fiercely hugging the little animal.  Or S plays hide and seek with her, or chases her, or swings her around.  I have some pictures of the two of them playing in the backyard that warm my heart because they capture so clearly the joy of their interactions.  I've been meaning to post them, but will likely never get to it.

She is a loyal friend and has a generous heart.  She has a strong sense of duty and is brave enough to not follow the crowd.  I worry sometimes that she doesn't really understand just how much she is loved.  Because she is very loved.  Surrounded by it, in fact.

J still gets trapped by interesting things.  He is too smart for his own good and always wants to figure out how things work.  Which often makes things stop working altogether.  He likes to draw, on occasion.  His latest masterpiece depicted a girl Martian with eyeball antannas who only had one finger on each hand because that's how the boy Martians are born and the girls want to make themselves look just like the boys.

He adores his baby sister, but has become overly fond of calling her "BAD baby" when she does something he doesn't approve of.  Which, to be honest, is usually something none of us approve of.  I am trying to quash the "bad" baby bit before it creates too many negative repercussuions.  I have thus far not been successful.

His greatest passion, currently, is riding his scooter.  He can really fly on that thing.  One of these days I should try to catch some shots of him in action.  We recently had to replace the wheels because he sped his old ones into oblivion.  His passion for scootering (I'm not sure that's an actual real word, but it is in our house.) is a beautiful thing.  He knows he can't go outside to scooter until his homework is done, so he settles in right away and finishes his homework with nary a nag from me.  Anything that makes nagging unnecessary is a beautiful thing.

The most surprising thing in J's recent life, is that he has become the charismatic center of a constantly shifting pack of neighborhood boys.  Plus R, who would probably swear up and down that she was a boy just so she could be included.  But, really, she earned her right to belong to this pack because she will always be J's first follower. 

So their afternoons are filled with the joys of sunshine and friendship and the mischief that comes with lax supervision.  They break rocks and dig holes and share snacks and bicker and invent magical instruments and scooter to their heart's content.  They have sword fights where J has to protect R from the little boy across the street.  I hope he never stops doing that.  I love that he has such a protective streak. 

These afternoons are making J's face darken and his freckles bloom.  And it makes my heart sing because not so very long ago I thought he would forever be too fearful of social interaction to make many friends.  He even smuggles his most prized posessions onto school grounds to show his friends.  And he plants apple seeds at recess with a girl from his class.  He is finally enjoying all the wonder that should come with childhood.  Or more of it, anyway.  He still sometimes needs my help to ask his friends to trade scooters for a while or to negotiate little squabbles.  I marvel at how very far he has come.

This little girl amazes me.  When I listen to her rambling stories, or notice how beautiful her long lashes look against her smooth skin, or see the twinkle in her eye when something has sparked her imagination, I find myself in awe that I get to be her mother.  I remember having this feeling of amazement with all of my kids at one time or another.  But I don't know that I took the time to relish it quite as much as I do with R.  Shame on me, I suppose.  But just like I wish I could bottle our Sunday afternoons, I wish I could bottle some of what is the essence of R.

She is kind and nurturing.  She'll often spontaneously kiss me on the cheek just because she thinks I am sick or in pain, somehow.  She loves to cuddle and curls up to fit perfectly in my lap.  And we enjoy it while we can because we both know that B will shortly come and say MOO! (move) or memu (excuse me) if she's feeling extra polite.  B does not like it when other kids sit on her mama's lap.

R is so excited by the simple things in life.  She also has a deep sense of appreciation for her worth.  One day she asked me, "Did God know how special a person he was making when He made me?"  When she prays, it takes a long while because she prays for every person that she can see through her squinty, half-closed eye.  She takes the time to think of something they might need help with and that's what she prays for.  And she always forgets what to say at the end, so she whispers loudly for help with that part.

She has a driving need to produce art.  Which is nothing like the art any of my other children produced at this age.  Though she is now beginning to branch out a bit and draw things that actually look like what she means them to be.  And her pictures always tell a story, even if it is one that only she can understand.

She makes friends wherever she goes. There is a boy at preschool who loves her, she says.  She knows this because he follows her all around and gives her lots of hugs.  Out of all the kids, she has the least number of inhibitions. And she's pretty tough. Cuts and bruises don't get her down for very long. Her faith in her body's ability to heal itself is unshakable. 
She is generally pretty even tempered, and easygoing.  She has fun doing whatever, with whomever.  But sometimes she flips out over little things like the fact that her cup is blue (even though she has used that same cup about a thousand times before), or that B is trying to look at one of her own books that R happens to be hoarding.  It's good that she does this once in a while because I would otherwise be tempted to think that she was not a real child.

This child is a whirlwind.  Shaggy and I often look at each other and just laugh (in a "is this child for real?" sort of way) at the frenzied pace with which she tries to satisfy her curiosity.  While we are busy washing her hands or brushing her teeth, she is busy trying to hook the glass pan with her toe to see if she can make the water it's filled with do anything interesting. 

She hates her high chair.  And always climbs out of her booster seat onto the table to see what she can get her hands on.  She makes a beeline to her big sister's room when they fail to close the door.  She knows there is a world of amazing (read off-limits) things in there to explore.  She doesn't entertain herself very well.  Which is driving me nuts because all of her older siblings learned to do that at a relatively young age.  The only time she is content to do her own thing is when it's something she shouldn't be doing in the first place.  When she is quiet and unaccounted for, that's when we have to sound the alarm and hunt her down.  Something her siblings take great delight in doing.

She is a mama's girl, through and through.  Which is also a first for me.  All her sisters were complete daddy's girls and would toss me aside in an instant in order to spend a little more time with him.  Not B.  She adores her daddy and dashes to bear hug his knees when he comes home, but her affection for him is short-lived, especially when put to the mommy vs. daddy test.  She clings to me more than I would like, but I do appreciate how sweet her adoration is.  I know this "favorite person in all the world" status won't last forever. 

She was not born affectionate, but she has learned to be.  She is surrounded by people who give her so much positive feedback for her sweet hugs and kisses.  She is always ready to play with someone, especially me.  But she is a hard taskmaster.  

She does not allow me to use the computer when she is awake and has access to the computer room.  Whenever she catches me trying to sneak in a little keyboard time, she marches in and pushes the keyboard drawer closed and tells me firmly, "OFF!  OFF!"  She loves to steal my cell phone and has placed numerous calls.  She has taken countless photos with it and saved some to my online album, which I didn't even know I had.  She has even added some new numbers to my phone book.  This one is the most memorable:  855-555-555555555555555555555555555255555.  I laughed and laughed at how long it took to scroll across my screen when I discovered it.

Her language acquisition is coming along, but some of her pronunciation could use a little work.  Every day she stands at the window, waving to her daddy who is leaving for work, and she tells him, "Die!  Die!"   And her beloved baby doll is a "daydy," even though her milk-filled sippy cup is a baba and has been for months and months.  Animals are known for their sound effects rather than their names.  And she likes to count imaginary things with imaginary sounding numbers, after which everyone in the room must clap and cheer.

For better or worse, she is the focal point of our family.  She can quiet any squabble with her amusing antics, elicit a laugh from even the grumpiest of audience members, and erase the frustrations of the most exasperated caregivers with her beautiful baby voice and bright blue eyes.  I know she will not always be the focal point of our family.  She will get older and lose her baby charm and her power to draw us all together, to bind us fast in adoration of her.  But for now, she is here, at the center of things.  Just as she should be.  How can she grow up and learn that the world does not revolve around her if she hasn't spent any time at the center of things with the world revolving around her?

How blessed I am in my children.  I sure hope I don't ruin them.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights about the kids! You just made my day!!!