growin up

Currently

In some ways, I can’t help but feel our summer was stolen.  It was just starting to get magical with the birth of Sibby, N started summer break very shortly after she was born; he wrapped up his doctoral work for the summer, and then…

she became gravely ill. (and mercifully made a full recovery after a week-long hospital stay…story to come)

we went on vacation. (which was wonderful, we just started to realize while we were there it was the last time our family would all be together for a while, and that made it hard to fully relax and enjoy our remaining days)

N accepted a (very exciting) job in a new city and things got crazy really fast (more to the story to come as well)

This was the summer MG was supposed to learn how to swim without floaties, learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels, and firm up her letter writing for kindergarten.  Bea was supposed to take her first swim lessons, go to the zoo, and she’d been begging to ride ponies again.  To ourselves, we’d promised a drive-in movie, camping out, the summer reading program, a bountiful garden, VBS, and a trip to the Michigan beaches.

Instead, it was cut short and all family fun was regulated to the weekends.  It was condensed and concentrated all at the same time. Although I am very grateful for the new opportunities and excited about our future, the immediate part of me, the one who has to deal with the problems of today says, It’s not fair.

The thought of kindergarten is emotionally draining me. Having Sib around is especially poignant.  MG was her size just yesterday.  This week, I will release her to the state for the majority of her days.  I will come in second to her teacher as the person she spends the most time with during the day, and the rest of her years at home will be dictated by the school calendar.  It’s a pill I knew was coming, but still difficult to swallow.  Just as I lamented here, I still wish I could pilgrimage back to her nursery on the first day of school.  I would sit in the green rocker, smelling the clean smells of that house, and remembering the best moments we’ve had together the past 5.5 years.  But that nursery was three babies ago, and that house 4 moves ago.  So instead, I am immersing myself in shopping for school supplies and uniforms, educating myself on Angel and Skyward, praying over her teacher and classmates, and feeling intimidated over the car pickup line and setting an early alarm every single morning.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast.  They told me it would be quick but they didn’t adequately prepare me.  She went from gummy babe to knee socks and braids and loose teeth in 5 years that felt like 5 days.  It’s not fair.

We are anticipating a move in our near future.  We’d just started to feel settled in our new place and we were just getting the schoolhouse to where we loved it.  They warned me it would take about three years in this small town to begin to feel like you belong.  They were right.  We are on the cusp of three and the girls are just starting to dig into real friendships, myself as well.  We had put so much work in here and it’s getting painful to start the baby steps of walking away.  It’s not fair.

I wish I had more time with Sibby.  I wish she would let me rock her for hours and I had the time to do it without interruption.  I wish I didn’t have to feed her in between errands and rushed mornings and juggling the needs of two others at the same time. I don’t think she’s getting shortchanged at all, but I think I am.  It’s not fair.

No pain, no gain.  That’s where I am currently.

-smk

Three and a half

Another half year is behind us and six months of growth has definitely been noted.

 

For MG, 3 and a half means:

routine-oriented: MG has finally come to grasp (and embrace) the daily routine and her place in it.  She knows what day we go to the library and when we usually have friends over.  She knows that every day after lunch she has “quiet time” in her room  (because naps are no longer :()  She understands the different seasons and how they fall in the year.  She knows her birthday comes “after Daddy’s” and has a general sense of the way things work.  This makes life a lot easier for me because she knows what to expect and she trusts us to carry that out.  But it also leads to….

lots of questions: so, so many questions.  She is starting to ask questions even I don’t understand.  “Why is the oven on the other side?”  Things have gone from very concrete to very abstract.  My great aunt passed away last month and this along with lots of talk about Easter has brought about so many deep questions.  “Why do we have to die?  Where is Heaven?  But why does God want us to die?  Will you die first? Will you miss me when I die?   Why do our bodies stay buried in the ground?”  Sometimes my mind just reels at having to answer all of these (theologically) correct without confusing her (and myself) more.  The side-effect of the questions is…

strong comprehension.  I say this all the time but it amazing what she picks up on now.  Even spelling some words is taboo because she understands context clues.  A more beautiful side effect of this is her empathy.  When I am upset about something she says things (and even brings me things) to help me feel better.   I love seeing these traits being brought to the surface and pray that we can nurture them correctly

 

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and finally….

a big imagination: Naps may be no longer, but MG is content to have “quiet time” in her room for a few hours each day.  It didn’t start off very smoothly but we are at a great point with it now.  A large part of this is how her imagination has developed.  She has taught herself how to play independently.  It is lovely and so fun to listen to.  Dolls are still a big part of her imagination but lately she has really latched onto the story of Sleeping Beauty.  We introduced her to some of the songs a few months ago and then gave her this to listen to as an Easter gift.  She has the story and songs memorized and asks so many questions about it.  We have held off showing her the movie because I was afraid some of the darker scenes might frighten her, but I think she will be ready for it this summer.  I can’t wait to see her final reaction to it.  Here is a typical scene of her talking about the story while drawing with markers:

Can’t believe we are half way to four….just plain crazy.

-smk

When I look

When I look at this photo, I see

 

-my baby turned girl. Walking with ease upstairs to bed

-her sleeping attire.  The nightgown she picked out to wear because she wanted to “sleep in a dress like Sleeping Beauty”

-the six sponge rollers that will curl all of her waify, wispy hair as she sleeps. “I want to have curly hair like Bea”.

-the hair that is still streaked with the golden strands of babyhood.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to cut it yet.

-a coy yet confident smile.  This one no longer elicited by cues or bribery.

-skinny, little legs that are hardened and bruised from the recent afternoons outdoors.  The pudgy limbs I endlessly kissed have disappeared forever.

-a little girl who is enchanted by the newly discovered ideals of beauty (curly hair, dresses, lipstick).  She has just begun her trajectory into the mystery of femininity.  May she walk away with innocence maintained and heart unscathed.

-a little baby, still clutching the hand of her beloved doll Stella.  I will fall to the ground and weep on the day she declares her independence from this childhood vestige.

Sweet, sweet MG.  May she have babies upon babies to care for one day.  May she cook pea snacks and pizza lunches in her large pink kitchen just like she does in her miniature one.  May all of her babies be soothed with the rocking and shushing she has perfected in her young life.  May she never run out of the pacis and lullabies and teether toys that her babies always seem to need.   May she be given at least one that loves babies the way she does so she may relive this joy all over again.

And may my heart always remember the way my house looked with little makeshift baby beds in every corner; little, balled up baby diapers in every bag; and empty, plastic baby bottles behind every piece of furniture.

And may Stella remain for many more days,

-smk

 

Saturday

What’s a Saturday if not for

sleeping in?

eating a hearty breakfast?

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(Bea’s first time to try “real” food.  She seemed to like the taste on her fingers but found the texture a little “shudder-worthy”.  We did our own version of Baby-Led-Weaning with MG and plan to do the same with Bea.  The cues that she’s been giving us are getting grabby around food, using her hands to bring objects to her mouth, and she doesn’t always seem completely full after nursing.  I know, just looking at those cheeks makes you think she’s probably half-starved, right?? :))

painting tiny finger and toes “I want PINK, Mommy!”

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crunching through piles of dried leaves while finding a brand new running route (and waving hello to some familiar faces….I love this town!)?

eating hot dogs at a football game (MG and Daddy)?

taking naps and catching up on computer work (Mommy and Bea)?

This is our first full Saturday in our new house and it’s been a while since we’ve had a true “lazy” Saturday.  We’ve got more family time on tap for tonight including a bonfire.  Can’t wait!  Feeling blessed to be settling into our new normal.

 

Four Months

-grasping things, clothes, hair with your little fingers.  It’s not uncommon for me to find long, blonde hairs entangling your fingers.

 

-smiles. so many smiles!

-you are so long.  You can fit into some 6-9 month clothes.  I packed away your 0-3’s….sniff, sniff

 

-when you wake up, you still don’t cry.  you let out a few bleats like a little lamb to let me know you are awake.

 

-you will still take a paci, but sometimes you try to suck on your thumb when you are really sleepy.  As long as you don’t need your paci throughout the night, I’m fine with whatever you choose

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-you are so strong and almost never stay on your back but immediately flip over.  Very impressive!  You are also scooting a little here and there.  You are almost never in the same spot I leave you.

 

-your hair is getting long and very blonde up top too.  It is such a pretty color, I’m sure one many women would pay good money for!  I love rubbing my face in it.

-you aren’t belly laughing yet, but you’ve given us a few giggles this month

-I love watching you interact with your sister.  She is getting on to you if you mess with her things :).  Also, she was doing “ring around the rosie” the other night and you watched intently.  Every time she “fell down” you would fake cry.  So funny to observe!

 

 

-You are an AMAZING sleeper.  I can’t even believe you are now sleeping through the night.  You are so easy to put down, I never worry about getting you to sleep.  You sleep on the go–cat napping in the morning if need be–then take a long afternoon nap and maybe another cat nap in the evening if you want.  I feel as though we escaped quite unscathed from the newborn stage and I am pinching myself.  You and I had literally two long nights together and that was just because you were AWAKE and not sleeping…not even crying!

-finally, you are slowing down a little in the growth department, which means you are just a little bigger than your 4 month old sister 🙂

 

 

First Day

Even though I knew this day was coming (since I willingly imposed it upon myself last spring), it hasn’t been any easier to face.

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Today is the first day of “school” for MG for the rest of her life.  Okay technically it’s only pre-school (or is it Mother’s Day Out?) and technically it’s only one day a week.  But still.  It feels monumental.

We’ve been prepping her for this big change for quite some time.  In fact, the main reason I want her to go is so she can become more independent & comfortable in group settings.  Developing a relationship with authority (other than ourselves) and with other children.  The main focus of the year for her little ten person class is playing with each other.  Brilliant.

But I will miss her.  Much.  My biggest fear is that I will look back on this year with regrets.  That I will regret the one morning a week that I willingly gave her up.  That I will wish this time back.  But then I look at little Bea and remember that she needs me too.  Being the good baby that she is and the second one at that, she rarely sees me other than to eat and cuddle these days.  We need a quiet morning with baby activities to enjoy together.  Especially now that she is getting on 4 months and about to start scooting (eep!).

It will be good, right?  For all of us, right?

Because it is the FIRST day and I am a huge, huge sucker for tradition  I couldn’t let today slip by unnoticed.   I carefully handcrafted her lunch, complete with a message on a napkin…of the artistic variety…because cats are her love language…

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At breakfast, I prayed a special blessing over her and for a great school year.  I held out her two little pro-biotic vitamins (because we narrowly escaped the Norovirus last year and I am quite certain it is knocking at our door this year) and let her choose which one she wanted.  The cat won again.

We drove to school and we practiced saying her teacher’s name and what to do if she needed to potty and how to handle a little boy that bothers her (you should hear her say “stop” in her “mean” voice).  Then she randomly brought up the time she had to get her “picture taken by the blue man”

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(i.e. her follow up x-ray for her broken collarbone).  Perhaps this was her way of emoting her fear–by bringing up another time she was afraid.

Once at school, she proudly placed her backpack and lunch in her designated cubby.

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I kissed her goodbye at the door and told her I was so proud of her.

 

I watched her through the picture windows to see how she would respond.

 

My little lone soldier went immediately to the slide (didn’t she learn anything from the blue man incident :)?)

And then she spotted IT

 

And I knew she would be okay.

Later, the preschool director sent me this:

 

All is well for my little student 🙂

And of course I couldn’t let this day get away without a video tribute. So here you go:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/73867871%5D

MG first day of school from Kate Miley on Vimeo.

 

Two and a Half

So much has changed in 6 months.

It is hard to know even where to start.

Our MG has blossomed into a big girl and big sister right before our eyes.

 

MG,

At two and a half years, you are long and lean…weighing in at 26 pounds and lengthening out at 36 inches.  You are agile and nimble (to my envy) and have energy that comes from a source I long to tap into.

Your personality has really started to become fixed.  I think I am finally starting to have a grasp on who you are and a glimpse into the beautiful way God created you.  Right now the three things that stand out about you most to me are: Introvert, Nurturer, & Feeler.

Your introvert-ism becomes very apparent to me when I drop you off at the nursery or childcare.  You walk in confidently, but slowly, taking in everything around you.  The other kids don’t seem to notice you, they are busy in their own worlds of make believe.  I long to know what you do after we leave and sometimes I stick around just to watch you.  I never stay long enough to see you integrate yourself and it makes me sad.  But whenever I come to pick you up, you are always happy and engaged. 

I’ve also noticed that you like to play independently here at home and you are quite good at it.  Your happy place (at least for a while) is re-charging in your bed at nap time. 

Being an introvert, however, has fit you well.  Though you are quiet, you are not shy.  You are not afraid to be a leader when no one else seems to be filling that role.  You also have an engaging personality that you are quite willing to share with anyone who seeks you out.  This will serve you very well in life.

It makes me both happy and sad that you have an introverted spirit.  It makes me sad because I know that us introverts have a harder time being known by those around us.  But it makes me extremely joyful too because I know introverts well and I think it makes us kindred spirits.

MG, I’ve known for a long time that you are a nurturer.  You have shown concern and care over babies since you could crawl.  This is a trait that I am thankful has not left you.  As you have grown, it has developed into a beautiful and admirable trait that is effective and far-reaching.  I pray often for you that you will one day be able to have children of your own, whether they are grown from your womb or provided to you another way.  You will be a remarkable mother.

Finally, you are a passionate feeler.  You feel often and deeply.  You comment on the feelings of others “that dog is sad?”  “the baby is crying because he misses his mommy and daddy.”  “she is hurt?”.  I find myself attempting to reassure you often that you do not need to be concerned about me.  One of the tender moments I shared with you recently was at the chiropractor.  You didn’t understand why I was laying on the strange table with the strange lady pressing into my back.  I could sense your presence near me and hear your quiet breathing.  I reached out and you took my hand, all the while, I’m sure your eyes were fixed on me.  I looked up momentarily at you and you leaned your head into me and said, “I miss you, Mommy”. And then you planted a kiss on my lips.  We share many moments like this throughout our time together.  You observe and wonder and care about others’ emotions.

Sometimes your emotion wells up so deeply from within you that you do not know how to communicate it to us.  This is our greatest source of friction and an area that I passionately pray for you to resolve and understand. 

Your feelings are strong and deep and powerful .  They can and will be used for both good and evil.  I urge you to use them for good.  The good they have done so far in your short life have touched many souls…the least of which being your Daddy’s and mine.

We have spent two and a half years observing you and learning about you and there is still so much we don’t know.  We are so thankful that God gave us such a remarkable, sweet, tender, and passionate girl.  There is nothing about you that could make us love you any more or any less than we do right now. 

Continue on this gifted path with confidence and strength of that knowledge pushing you forward,

 

MGisms

So you might not enjoy this post as much unless you are related to me (hi, Granny!) but I wanted to capture some of my favorite things about my eldest because time is fleeting and things I love about her one day are quickly being replaced by something new the next.

-she has started singing now (on her own) and by request.  Her favorite songs are mostly nursery rhymes (twinkle, twinkle, rockabye baby, monkeys on the bed) and songs with motion (hokey pokey, ring around the rosie–even better if she gets to make a dramatic “fall” at the end).  Her voice is so sweet and pure.  She also loves to request music and ever since Christmas she will say, “Uncle sing!” because we have a CD of Uncle J singing Christmas music.

-she loves to count to 10 every time she sees a number (on the elevator, putting away blocks, etc.)  The best part is that each number gets increasingly high pitched.  If she starts off high to begin with–whoa–ten reaches octaves I rarely hear.

-the other night I wasn’t feeling well (Mayby) and didn’t make it down to dinner.  Daddy must have told her why/where I was and when I came down, she ran over to me and pointed to my stomach.  “Mommy tummy hurt?” And then she proceeded to kiss it over and over.  The best medicine in the world.

-if she wants to ask you a question, or rather, if she is imitating you asking her a question (like we are playing in her kitchen and she wants to know if I want a snack) she will first try to get your attention by getting in your line of vision and making eye contact.  Then in a very small, very high pitched voice, she will ask, “Nack?”.  I dare you to refuse a request like that 🙂

-she now remembers elements about her day so when Daddy quizzes her on it when he comes home from work, we both get to enjoy her take on it.   I do have to say, talking to her is like talking to a brain injury victim.  Sometimes she skips way back in time and adds in those details.   Other times she focuses on the same thing over and over for days.  You can tell that her brain is still processing and making connections with her surroundings.

-some days still see a “nap strike” in the house, but I love peeking in on her to see what’s keeping her awake.  Last week, baby Stella was eating my birthday cake, and later she was scolding her dog for getting into “the balls”.

-she can recite book lines by memory now.  Some of her favorites being the Sandra Boyton rhyming books.  “Hey, Wake up!” is her current favorite and she loves to say, “broccoli stew—eww!”  Her memory really impresses me, maybe because I’ve underestimated all she’s been paying attention to these years.

-she still becomes very enthusiastic over little things, but now she wants to make sure we join in with that excitement.  Big inhale, “Look, Mommy, LOOK…BLUE TRUCK!!”  Along those lines, trash truck Tuesdays are a highlight around here and it doesn’t matter what we are doing…as soon as she hears those squeaky brakes, we drop everything to go watch.

 

-she has become quite the opinionated dresser.  We almost always let her pick: her shoes, socks, underwear, and jammies with input on her outfit sometimes too.  But she also loves to help us pick out OUR clothes with a strong gravitation to pink, orange, and purple things.

 

And finally, a small guide in translation:

-“pem-mase”: excuse me. No idea why this one sounds so far from the original, but very cute.

-“help me”: can I help?  One of my personal faves.

-“big girl, uh BIG GIRL”: the first greeting given to anyone who acknowledges her. What can I say, she’s a proud one!

-“bun-in”: bunny.  AKA the bunny she received for dropping her paci.

-“NO assa-dents, NO ASSA-DENTS” = no accidents (potty training).  I try to get her to say it often simply because it makes me laugh.

 

Keep the MGisms coming, girl.  We love you!