Friday, September 12, 2014

I Love You


"Drew!  You hold this end of the jump roap and I'll hold this end!" my oldest said as he climbed into the van after co-op.  "If you hold it, it means we are buddies!"
Drew grabbed ahold of the rope and a small smile passed over his lips.  Buddies.  He liked the sound of that. 
"Let's pretend it's a phone!  And we can talk to each other!  Even though I'm in the back seat!" my oldest continued.
"Okay Luke!"
"Okay Drew!  Let's try it!  I love you!" he said into the jump roap handle.
My little one paused for a moment.  "Oh, thank you Luke.  I love you too," he said tenderly.

They put on their headphones to listen to Curious George stories and finished the ride holding on to their buddy rope.  

Maybe they say "I love you" to each other because they hear it so often.  Maybe they said "I love you" because they missed each other during their co-op classes.  Or maybe it was just in their hearts at that very moment.  Whatever the reason, it was a reminder to me.  

It was a reminder to never forget the importance of telling someone I love them.  No matter what conflict life throws at us, or how busy we are or how much we have happening in our lives, we need to say I love you every day.  We just never know how much someone needs to hear it.

Who can you call today to say, "I love you"?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Can She Tuck Us In?

My sons adore their baby sister.  They spend most of their day vying for her attention by making silly faces, kissing her cheeks or dancing until she giggles.  She, in turn, adores them.  She cannot crawl but she will roll across the carpet as many times as it takes to get close to them.  As they talk, her eyes twinkle with delight.  They are perfect in her eyes.  And she can't seem to get enough of them.

I am sure she needs her afternoon nap around noon but she begs to differ.  Even though her eyes are red rimmed and she can't stop rubbing them, she fights her nap.  Each day I read to her then gently put her in her crib.  Her eyelids are heavy as she pulls her blanket up and rolls onto her side.  Then, without fail, one of the boys peaks in and says, "Mommy?"  The moment she hears their voices, it is over.  Her face lights up with a smile and she's ready to go again.

I have tried to remind her that it's night night time and replace the binky but her smile is too broad to hold it in her mouth.  If I leave, she protests loudly until I get her out of her crib and back with her boys.  I eventually give in and bring her out to read books with us and she will not settle with snuggles from Mommy.  She hurls herself off my lap to sit next to her brother of choice and leans against their chests as we read.  Even though she kicks the pages of the book and tries to eat their shirts, they indulge her.

When it's time to go to bed, they always ask if Rosie can tuck them in.  I lay her down in each of their beds so that they can have "special time" with her.  They hug her, kiss her and lately she has begun to hug and kiss them back.  They tell her she's cute and that they love her more than their brother.  And then, finally, everyone is ready to rest.

I take her back to her crib and she falls asleep with a gentle smile on her face.  She's sure that she isn't missing anything now.  She is sure that she is loved.

How do you see your children loving one another?  Is there anything more pure and sweet in the world?  I don't think so.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Not So Quiet Time

Quiet time is the invention of mothers like me who can't bear the thought of naps being over.  While the younger children sleep, it is my hope that my five year old will sit quietly on his own and read, draw pictures or even sleep.  This works well on most days.  Last week, it did not.

I put my daughter down for her nap and went downstairs to read for a bit.  I had gotten all of them to rest at the same time and I began celebrating my good fortune.  Anything was possible for the next hour!  And then I heard the thumping of little footsteps.  I let it go at first - One of them probably had to go the bathroom.  I went back to the book I'd been wanting to read.  A few minutes later I heard, "thump thump thump" again.  "They must be going right back to bed!" I thought and I silently praised myself for raising such well mannered children.  And then the thumping began again.

"Luke?  Drew?" I called up the stairs.  "Are you guys still up?"
"I just had to poop!" my oldest yelled down.
"Okay - You've been in there awhile.  Are you alright?" 
"No!  I got poop on my hands!!  I tried everything to get it off!" he said with frustration.  "It didn't even come off when I wiped it on the walls!"

Do you know those moments of parenthood where time stands still?  It starts with disbelief.  "Did he really just say he wiped poop on the walls??"  It moves to anger.  "I have to clean poop off the walls when I just wanted to read a book for ten minutes!!"  Then you end with acceptance.  "Let's get this over with."

I trudged up the stairs, still in the anger phase.  "Luke!  Tell me why you thought it was a good idea to wipe the poop on the walls!"  I asked.  Seeing my intense displeasure, he began working his defense. "I tried everything, Mommy!  Toilet paper and wipes and everything!" he exclaimed.
"Lay down while I clean this up.  I love you but I'm very mad about this mess."  I said

As I scrubbed the wall that was literally covered in poo, I began to move to acceptance.  I didn't want to clean it up but this is part of the job. He was trying to solve a problem even if it was a terrible way to do it.  I walked out to the living room where he was pretend sleeping on the couch.  "Hey buddy," I began.  "Next time that happens, try washing your hands in the sink okay?" 
"Oh that's a great idea!" he exclaimed.  "I probably should do that now...Look, there's a little more right there."  

Parenthood is gross.  No two ways about it.  But it is also hilarious.  This story will forever live in our family and I guarantee that it will always give us the giggles.  

What are some of your funniest/grossest moments of parenthood?  Share them tonight (after dinner, of course) and have a little laugh together.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

First Day of Co-op

We were all ready for our first day of co-op.  I had gotten all their supplies and the t-shirts they needed to wear.  I had gotten up early to make sure their backpacks were packed and their snacks were ready to go.  I tucked my lesson plan under my arm and grabbed my bagful of preschool books and games to load into the car and we were off.  Kind of.

The moment we entered the highway, I noticed that traffic was a little more dense that usual.  I figured it was rush hour and I was glad I had left an extra 15 minutes to get there.  But then traffic stopped completely.  The cars were not moving at all.  "Why did we stop, Mommy?" my oldest asked.  "Aren't we on the highway?  Shouldn't we be going fast?  Are we going to be late, Mommy?  Can you just go around?" he continued.  
"I'm not sure what's going on, love," I said hoping that he would give me just a minute to think.  No dice.  
"What are we going to do, Mommy?  Oh look! There's a car transporter!  Drew, did you see the car transporter?  I have to pee, Mommy.  I have to pee really really bad," he said.
Of course, there was nothing I could do.  As the minutes ticked by, my anxiety increased.  The thoughts rushed through my head - "I was supposed to be teaching these kids!  I needed to be there early!  I can't let them down!  Will this child please stop talking for the LOVE OF GOD!" I thought.  
"I really really really have to pee!" my five year old persisted.  
"I need to peepee too, Mama," my three year old said.
I said a quick thank you that I had left the baby with my mom.  She probably would've needed a diaper change.
"Okay, guys.  I will get off the highway as soon as I can.  I can't do anything about it right now," I told them.  I grabbed my phone to text the administrator and the other preschool teacher so they knew I would be late.  We had already been in the car for 45 minutes.

As we inched along, I checked the reason for the traffic.  Apparently a tractor trailer driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and crossed three lanes of traffic.  The highway was closed and all traffic was being redirected to back roads.  I stopped in my tracks for a minute.  I was so stressed about being on time that I forgot to think about the people that may have been hurt in an accident bad enough to close a highway.  I said to the boys, "Let's pray for the people that may have been hurt in the accident."
"Okay.  Then can I pee?" my oldest asked.  Nice.

We finally made it to co-op a full hours after we left home.  I'm proud to report that both boys made it there without peeing their pants and I managed to keep my sanity.  They loved their classes and I loved mine.  And mostly, I got a big reminder that some things are just out of my control.  

We can control what time we leave, what supplies they have in their backpacks and what they have for snack but there are a million other things that are way out of our control. All we can do is be patient, take deep breaths and know that our only move is to roll with the punches with a lot of grace.  And if you mess that up?  It's okay to take a little grace, too.

Has anthing happened this week that made you feel out of control?  How do you get yourself back to center?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dada

Our little lady is very very verbal.  She tells entire cooing stories when I tuck her into bed at night complete with hand gestures and facial expressions.  She grabs the phone out of my hand to tell her Aunt Tess everything that is on her mind.  And she complains loudly when I try to feed her something she finds unpalatable like carrots or peas.  But she had yet to say her first word.  At least until yesterday.

I was getting ready to take the boys upstairs for a bath and she was having special time with her Daddy. This usually consists of watching baseball or football while she snuggles on his knee.  Every few minutes or so he will pick her up and kiss her to make her giggle.  Last night was a bit different.  He laid her on the floor to talk to her while she kicked and he started coaching.  "Dada...Say Dada, Rosie Rose.  Da....Da," I heard him say over and over.  Smiling inwardly, I walked into the bathroom and started the water.

A few minutes later, my husband walked in with his iPhone.  "Watch this," he said.  And there it was - Her first word.  Dada.  He was beaming.  "I think I love her even more than I did five minutes ago," he said.  "I can't stop watching it.  She's so cute!" he gushed. I had to agree.

Both of our boys said, "Mama" first so it's only fair that his little girl said, "Dada" first.  I wouldn't have traded the happiness on his face for anything in the world.

What was your baby's first word?  Think back to that moment for a minute and hold it in your heart.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Impromtu Picnic

My babysitter decided at the very last minute to go away to college.  She had been accepted; I knew it was a possibility.  But I wasn't quite ready to hear that she was actually going away.  I've been rather spoiled, you see.  I've had a sitter watching my kids one day a week for quite a long time and I've gotten used to that time.  I love being able to do a million things (who knew that Target runs only take 20 minutes when you don't have three small children with you!) and I love doing absolutely nothing (Taking time to think is very underrated these days).  Today marked my first day without this free time and so I said a quick prayer that I would enjoy my children and still have some time on my own.

We piled into the car after a bit of school work and headed to Target for a few odds and ends.  I repeated the prayer - Help me enjoy my kids - then started up the car.  As we cruised the aisles, my oldest found everything interesting.  "Oh my gosh, Mommy! They make Despicable Me JAMMIES!  Did you know that?!" he exclaimed.  My middle happily ate his goldfish while wearing his sunglasses and got more than a few, "Aren't you a cool guy?" comments from old ladies.  My daughter rode on my hip in her sling and cooed and smiled at everyone she passed. Our two items turned into ten and the 20 minute run took an hour and a half but we really did have fun together.

I grabbed the boys some lunch when we got home then headed upstairs to put the baby down for a nap.  When I came downstairs, the house was completely silent.  I called the boys names but they didn't answer.  Worried that they had gone outside, I opened the garage door and found them sitting there eating their lunch.  "We're having a picnic, Mama!" my three year old announced.  
"I see that!" I said.  Did you get yourselves drinks and everything?" I asked.  
"Yep," my oldest answered.  "And we got towels for a picnic blanket!  Grab a towel and some lunch!" he said.  And so I did.

As I ate my cold slice of pizza, I thought about how lucky I am to be a part of these moments.  Although there are times that I wish my house had an escape hatch, I am incredibly grateful to be there for impromtu picnics and Target discoveries and invitations to play.  It won't last forever so I'm going to do my best to enjoy them while they happen.  

Do you ever have days that you wish you were alone instead of with your kids?  How do you get yourself back on track to enjoying their company?

P.S.
All three of them are sleeping now - A true rarity.  I have time to write and think and rest.  Who says that God doesn't answer our prayers?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daddy's Girl


"My arm is going to fall off," my husband said as he carried our daughter around like a football.  He had tried everything to put her down to no avail.  Our little six month old is not quite talking but she voices her discontent by saying, "uh uh" as in, "no way - uh uh - don't even try it."  Play mats, exersaucers, blankets with toys and swings had all been rejected.  I even tried to hold her the same way that he had but the "uh uh's" only increased in intensity.  And each time I would get her within grabbing distance of her daddy, she would lunge toward him with a big gummy smile.

"She adores you," I told my husband as I tried again to take her from his arms.  He rolled his eyes and smiled inwardly.  He was eating it up.  "The boys were not like this, were they?" I asked him.  
"No!" he said.  "Luke only wanted you and Drew was my buddy but nothing like this."
As he talked, her face lit up with smiles and coos.  I started to walk away with her and her little hand reached out to stroke his back.  "I think someone loves you as much as I do," I told him.

She is truly her Daddy's girl and I can't even begin to tell you how it delights me.  I can't think of a better man to model how a man should love a woman.  I can't think of a better man to show her how much love she deserves.  Those are things she can only learn from him.  And if it gives me a break from carrying her around?  Bonus.

Have you noticed a difference in how your daughters are with their dad?  What could you, as a dad, teach your daughter that her mother never could?


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