snippets

Updates

The past few afternoons have been spent vetting preschools for Bea (for next year, though enrollment begins soon).  I was lamenting to N how I miss living in a small town and only having a few options to choose from.  He lovingly reminded me that I felt the opposite way when I lived in that small town.  Grass, greener.

Sibby’s suddenly reverted into a newborn and has me up and down every two hours consistently, for the past three nights.  Well it’s worse than a newborn really because she should be old enough to be through this by now and none of my newborns were EVER this bad with sleep.  (Bea was doing four-six hour stretches the night we brought her home and MG was not too far behind that).

I can’t nap though, not with school pickup in the middle of my day and a few precious moments of quiet time immediately proceeding. My body has gotten into the habit of it, and I’ve prayed that God would take my broken 6 hours of sleep and turn them into 8.  So I’m functioning through it, and find my linguistic skills are the most affected.  By the time 4pm rolls around, I can barely carry on a conversation without mumbling, losing my train of thought, or having a moment of panic where I can’t come up with the correct word.

In the evenings, I should go to bed at 8:30 after I put Sibby down.  I should.  But I don’t.  I stay up, sometimes as late as 11, just to show the clock who’s boss.  It’s the only time in my day where I control my hours, so it’s worth it to me, most nights. It makes me feel human.  And besides, I may as well stay up for one more feeding to get it behind me before my first nap of the night.

It’s winter here but it doesn’t much feel like it.  The temps have been hovering around 60-65, sometimes higher.  The trees in our backyard were vivid green, then scaled backwards through the rainbow, and now they are a morbid brown.  We have tipped back over to the waxing sunset, the one that appears a little later each day.  We are winter in looks but spring on the brain.

That is, until about 4pm, then we are winter in the brain too.

-smk

Three, then four

It’s not my typical lane to discuss my family planning with…well the entire Internet.  But as was my original preference anyway, it is only friends and family who read this and they are probably sick of my personal rhetoric on this subject by now.  Plus, when I turned the pages of this blog into the physical pages of a book, I realized how much I enjoyed reading my current feelings on topics weighing on me throughout the years.  So onward we tread…

I love my babies.  I love them especially when they are babies, when the love is unconditional and easy because they aren’t defiant and constantly need answers from you.

I loved MG instantly because she was the first.  We went through the change of the newness of pregnancy and motherhood together.  The love was a powerful elixir because it was so novel.

I loved Bea because we waited so long for her, and then she was perfect.  The sister friendship we hoped for, healthy and beautiful.  An easy, angel baby.

The love for Sibs came slow and steady, It was like a gradual flight of stairs, one step love, one step fear.  I think a had a premonition something scary was going to happen to her; I just didnt know if it was going to come when I was still pregnant, during her birth, or after she was born.  Thankfully those tremor causing fears have subsided and we have a very sweet and healthy relationship in the wake.

But what next?  More than ever, I find myself ready for the next phase. And while I love this sweet sugar baby, I am also excited for her to get older and be able to finally link arms with the sisterhood. It has been difficult to walk the line between three, separate phases: school-aged, pre-schooler, and infant.  Doing both school-aged and infant has been the most wearing from simply the schedule.  A lot of people have told me their third child never consistently napped because they were always been dragged around to older siblings’ recitals, practices, and car line drop-offs.  And now I totally get it.

Most days I feel like I am trying to decide who’s schedule can afford the most trimming from, and to be honest, most days it’s Bea’s.  (I know, I know, insert middle child joke here).  It seems like she has the least to lose these days so she is often the one who loses out.

I was spending some time reflecting this week and I found myself getting sad because I have not taken Bea to a play date, a park, or a story time in weeks.  One main reason is because all of those things seem to fall during Sibs’s morning nap (which is becoming her most consistent nap) and the other reason being that it just feels weird to do something like that without MG (and I think both she{Bea} and I feel that way).  (striving to rectify that immediately)

So where does that leave our little five person family?  Where do all the tallies fall in the pro-fourth, con-fourth scribbled up, scrap paper?  I think my heart is still where it was when I found out I was pregnant with Sibs; she is my last and I’m going to enjoy every moment of her babyhood while cheering her on to the sister room.

But there is still a tiny part of me that is holding open a tiny door, maybe even a tinier window that God will say, “hey, there is still one more I want you to love”, and I will eagerly say, “okay!”

I still can’t bring myself to give away the baby clothes.  But I am ready to reclaim my body back after seven years of devotion to three little ones I love more than life. My heart squeezes in a tangible, sad longing when I see a friend holding a freshly capped and swaddled baby in the hospital.  But I also know that sadness and longing may always exist, even if we do have another one someday.  I feel a little sad for Bea that she will be the true “middle child” and that she and Sibs will have a three year age gap.  But is that a justifiable reason for adding one more?  Seeing how much each girl has to sacrifice right now to accommodate a baby, a preschooler, and an elementary student, makes me want to move onward to the future and not hit this reset button again in 2-3 years.   But will I always feel like someone is missing from our family?

So that’s a little piece of my heart right now, friends.  I don’t really know how people come to make these decisions, though I’ve quizzed them mercilessly.  It seems a lot of my friends just seem to know when they are “done”.  I keep waiting for that definitive sign and yet it keeps eluding me.  But there is something pressing on me to know, to decide, to stop wondering, because it does affect my parenting and my relationships right now.

Just one of the little things keeping me up at night

(the other being Sibs)

-smk

Updates

MG: MG seems to have found her schooling niche.  Pre-K was fraught with a bit of anxiety, annoyances, and skepticism (by her), but kindergarten has been an exciting change for the better.  Her teacher told us this week that she is just now beginning to see some of her personality come out.  I’m not surprised that it took our quiet, not-quite-wallflower nearly three months to come out of her shell, but I’m so glad that she feels comfortable enough to be herself.

Each week I get so excited about what she’s learning and her academic growth.  She is teetering on the cusp of reading and it is so exciting to be this close.  I could cry when I think about all the good that that one milestone will bring to her life.

She is still ever-enthused with little Sib and seeks to mother her whenever possible. I love having her helpful and capable hands around in the afternoons and weekends.  Her personality adds a sweet dynamic to our family.  Her younger years saw a lot of ups and downs in her emotional aura but as she’s gotten older, and especially this year, she is still sensitive but not to her detriment.  

Bea:  I know I’ve said this before, but Bea and I have really become buds this year.  Our hands were some what forced into this, but it’s only been for the best.  Previously to this summer and the separation of our family, I admittedly only saw her in the shadow of her older sister.  Now I’ve been able to see her as more of an individual and her personality has been a sweet blessing during these turbulent times.  

With her older sister away at school most of the day, she has stepped in to be a great helper with Sibby and is pretty good at keeping her entertained when she’s crying and I can’t immediately tend to her.  But ultimately I think her bleeding heart will lean towards animals.  She is much more sympathetic to their cause.  

I’ve also been impressed with how well she has been able to entertain herself lately, as I find myself all too often feeding and rocking Sibby, among other household responsibilities.  It’s been good for her to learn how to play by herself, a quality most middle children probably don’t get much time to develop as they are often being interrupted by their bookends.  She has three favorite pastimes that she mostly rotates between: 1) puzzles 2) this cupcake game (she likes to play with the cupcakes not the actual game yet)  and 3) a cat play set that has 5 cat figurines and paraphernalia to go along with.  

It often seems that when one child is being “difficult”, the other child or children will inherently become easier.  This is especially true of us right now that Bea has become my saving grace with Sibby’s present difficulties.

Sibs:  Whoa months four and five have been rough, with little sleep and a lot of strong tears (on her end).  I can’t help but wonder if she’ll be my “little girl who has a little curl”.  When she’s easy, she an angel, but when she’s difficult, she’ll keep you up all night.  We’ll get in our groove soon, I can feel it.  But in the meantime, I’m just trying to hang on and catch sleep whenever I can.  My sanity breaks have been making clothes for her in the afternoon while Bea is having her rest time.  It’s good for me to have a creative outlet that only takes “a naptime or two to complete” and stretches my brain a bit.  

Me:  The lack of sleep has set me back quite a bit. I’m normally a very routined, scheduled person, and this baby has thrown all that out the past two months.  It’s hard not to feel like everything else is reeling because of it.  But I know as soon as we get back into a good rhythm, I will feel so much better about life again.  I guess that’s a benefit you get being a third-time mom.  A bit of perspective that I definitely did not have on baby one.  

In the meantime, out the window with my sleep has gone: the ability to write (I’ve thought of a lot of good blog posts just at very inconvenient times and then when I sit down to write them, the words won’t form), reading (there are so many books I want to get to right now but at this stage in life, reading has become my ultimate luxury, afforded only when everything is balanced just so), some responsibility (thankfully N has been a huge help with planning and cooking meals, and cleaning). I’m also feeling a bit socially inept.  I have good intentions of getting plugged in down here, but right now getting my baby to sleep feels like the ultimate priority.  I’m trying to tow the line between: this is my last baby so I want to fully enjoy this stage and be a hermit, and time’s a wasting to develop real friendships.  Losing sleep always makes me notice how I become a bad conversationalist, how incoherent I am, and consequently how I become socially stunted without even trying.  So I guess this timing is for the best.

House:  We’ve done one successful house project: adding a fence!  All others have been placed on hold until more time is afforded.  As far as little things such as hanging pictures, we only have two more left to put up!  And we finally hung the curtains last weekend and I think my enjoyment of the house went up at least 10%.  It just made the house feel so much homier.  

It is so crazy to me to think about it this way, but three years ago yesterday, we were still living in our very first house.  Yes, that means we have moved three times in three years (to the bat house, to the schoolhouse, to Nashville).  

In many ways, I feel like I am still in triage from all the complications of those.  Trying to fit all of the decorations for one house into a new one, a new one, a new one.  I’m kind of tired of trying to re-think whole rooms.  Tired of picturing how to paint a whole house.  Tired of re-working a big girl room over and over and over.  I am anxious to get and FEEL settled but I am also tired.  Physically and creatively.  I think that’s why sewing has been such a retreat for me lately.  Quick and compact.  

So are the effects of transition, but better that than boredom, I guess!

-smk

Things I forget

There are things I forget in between and around the entrance of babies.

I forget that the lack of sleep causes me to forget words often and not remember the punch lines to jokes.  This morning I struggled with the difference between sale and sell and yesterday I wrote “he was a welcome sign” rather than sight.

I forget about the feeling of waking up to feed her, only to fall back asleep before I do and in the midst, dreaming that I already have.

I forget that I am very plugged in to social media right now, as I spend a lot of time sitting in a rocker, nursing.  As the evening progresses, however, I try to stock pile Instagram and blog checks for the 3am feeding.

I forget that I have a lot of time to read right now(in about 7 minute increments), also rocking in this chair.  Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been a companion to nursing one of my babies.

I forget that I feel burdened by constantly putting her needs above everything else but if I’m away from her for too long, my arms begin to ache for her.

And I forget that if she’s’ not in them, I walk around, with a constant nagging suspicion that i’m forgetting something.

-smk

The Introverted Mama

Every once in a while, the Myers-Briggs test weaves its way back into my life.  The results have followed me around like an old, faithful dog as well; I have never not received the same result: INFJ.

The way my personality has impacted me, however, has changed in different seasons of life.  Being an introverted, stay at home mama has its own set of unique challenges and virtues.

I’ve talked before about how important it is for me to have order and rhythm to my day and to me, it serves dual purposes. Not only does a rhythm help me feel calm and peaceful during the day but it also protects me from the one o’clock meltdown…. And I’m not talking about the girls.

Right around one o’clock each afternoon, I begin to feel myself start to unravel.

The morning itself starts off as a fat, tightly wound ball of yarn, full of promise, that naturally unwinds as the day progresses.  Through out the morning, it is a leisurely but purposeful roll, that rings of the promise of a beautiful creation. By one o’clock, it is unrolling so fast it’s as if someone has held onto the loose end while the fat ball rolls willy nilly, growing skinnier by the second.  (side note: it should come as no surprise that there’s something very unsettling I find about a wayward ball of yarn)

Right around this time I also find myself getting “touched out”.  I go through the routine of lullabies, kisses, and books before nap (for Bea) and quiet time (for MG).  But I don’t really enjoy them, not like I should, anyway.  I try to slow down and read every single word but sometimes I skip a few words, and then sentences, and sometimes even pages.

And then as soon as this duty is done, I curl myself up in a quiet corner and slowly rewind a portion of the ball.  Sometimes, if it is an especially crazy morning, I will purposely save MG’s “screen time” for the beginning of this quiet hour to ensure that I will get at least an hour of solid, uninterrupted time.  (though to her credit, she handles her quiet time very well, even when no movies are involved. and I have a theory that she needs this alone time as much as I  do)

As the minutes melt into an hour, I slowly find myself coming back into my own.  My thoughts are cohesive and I begin to relax.  Unwinding again, very slowly and purposefully.

Towards the end of Bea’s nap time (she is giving me great, 3 hour naps these days-bless!), MG and I have developed a little bit of a routine.  With my permission, she cleans up her room early and then joins me for whatever project I am working on.  She exclaims, “yes!” when she sees me working in the sewing room.  She retrieves my tiny blue embroidery scissors and pulls scraps of fabric from the trashcan.  She cuts these scraps into miniscule pieces and sometimes fashions bandages or headbands for Stella (secured with a straight pin, of course).

She turns off her princess CD’s and turns on Winnie the Pooh for us to listen to (she somehow got the impression that that one was my favorite!).  And she sings and dances for me while she busily cuts with her hands.  Often we both become engrossed in our projects and she quietly tells stories or shares secret dialogue that is only gifted when you don’t think you have an eavesdropper.

Sometimes I am still not recovered from a crazy morning and I ask her not to ask me any questions so I can fully concentrate on my project.  She obediently says, “okay, I understand.” And she tries very hard, but unknowingly and sweetly limits her questions to every fifteen minutes or so.

If I am instead working downstairs on a drawing or painting, she brings down her special notebook and fills it up with colorful notes for daddy.  Sometimes she will ask me how to spell certain words, other times she will just write in her own secret language and read it to me as the following:

“Dear Daddy, I love you and I miss you and I always miss mommy but I never miss her at Grandma’s house. And I hope Lexi {the dog} doesn’t tear my beautiful dress or Stella’s.  And I always forgive you when you lie to Mommy.  Amen.”

(you just gotta laugh at that one)

 

In the sewing room we use the space heater to keep warm on drafty days and she parks herself in front of it.  Downstairs in the kitchen, I make tea to keep us warm with extra almond milk and honey so she finds it very palatable.

Yesterday, she developed a small tear in a notebook page and asked for some tape to repair.  She spent thirty minutes carefully covering the page in masking tape, thrilled with the responsibility of using both real scissors and tape.

I have to admit, I love these late afternoons with my little buddy.  (after I’ve had my own space, of course).  It feels special and set apart and a space in which to grow our own relationship.  Plus there is something that feels very holy about creating with someone.  Of course our creations have very different end results but we both have a deep admiration for the others work.

When they told me I was having a girl, this is exactly what I envisioned.  Quiet afternoons at home, sharing ideas and secrets, materials and songs.  A little blonde friend who I adore, and a pooh bear melody between us.

-smk