Month: November 2016

Six

Six.  This is a hard one for me.  N and I stayed up too late last night, both getting a little weepy at the thought of our little girl turning over another birthday leaf. It’s gone so fast.

“Let’s have another”, he said with misty eyes and swelling heart.  “Yeah, I definitely want another one.”, I agreed.

No sooner had the words exited my mouth when he exclaimed, “This is a terrible reason to have another baby.”  “Yeah!” I agreed heartily.  And we laughed.  It was the good kind of laughter; a mixture of comic relief and relief that you don’t have to follow through on your intense feelings because you realize how irrational they are.

It does and doesn’t help that we are parenting her mini twin, 5.5 years behind her.  It is good for both nostalgia and gut checks alike.

Here are some things this year has brought us:

-a new smile (due to her frenulum being snipped) (and I like this one even better!  I think it makes her look even prettier to see her lip pull up all the way now)

-she prefers cutting up paper into a million tiny pieces and markers to playing with toys right now, it seems

-she loves to play school with Bea, and be an extra set of hands for Sib

-great listener award at school.  It’s true!  She tries so hard to follow the rules at school, it’s precious to observe.

-No loose teeth yet.

-still loves Stella

-very little illness this year and has tolerated dairy in limited amounts very well (low lactose being key)

-she is a very loyal and loving friend.  It seems the key for her is to find someone with just a bit of a stronger personality than her and she is all in, hook, line, and sinker.

Six year olds can tell funny jokes, read simple stories, write out their feelings, hypothesize about the future, and are really well versed in delayed gratification (especially if they have younger siblings).  They are still very affectionate to adults and they have a very strong sense of justice/injustice.  I love my six year old!

 

But I miss her little blonde head and the way she would say words incorrectly and we would not correct her because we found it cute (like “oat-me-meal” and “brock-a-mole” {guacamole}).  My heart physically hurts a bit when I think about the phases we have ended now that I used to enjoy so much (first babies, then Elmo, Thomas the train,princesses). Thankfully Stella is still a part of her bed but it is a rare day when she puts on a princess dress up.  She used to spend her every waking moment in one!  (I consider it a small victory for childhood that she chose a princess cake this year, given all options.  Shopkins almost won, but princesses narrowly edged ahead at the last moment.  Victory)

I remember after we moved away from our first house, I used to look back a bit wistfully and with longing about the life we had there together.  I used to leave that house just about every morning with her, whether it be to a play date, story time, or the playground.  My whole day pretty much revolved around her.

Now I feel similarly about the schoolhouse. She really grew up in that house and I feel a squeeze of sadness wondering if I spent enough time with her and enjoyed her personality enough in those stages, seeing as how little of it I get with her now.  Will she even remember life in that house?

She has lived in four houses now.  Five, if you count the 8 weeks spent at my parents’ during the beginning of school.  The change hasn’t worn on her too much, so it seems.  She’s used to it now. I’ve been pleased with her ability to make friends and even more so with her kindness and nurturing heart towards them.  Today I visited her school to eat lunch with her and she was able to pick one friend to join us.  It was a tough decision because she has about 4 good friends and none is a favorite.  Right now they are all equals, in a sweet, innocent way of kindergartners.  She ended up choosing one that has a food allergy.  I think MG was pleased with herself because she had brought treats for the class and a special treat for this girl, V.

She loves to save the day, remind and help her friends to follow directions, and laugh.  She does NOT like to be the center of attention.  When she told me about the class tradition of the student with the birthday standing on a chair and the entire class singing to him or her, she ended it with, “I think I might cry.”  “Why?”, I said, “Because you’ll be so happy?”  “No”, she said, “because I’ll be so nervous.”

She did not cry.

But her daddy did watching it..

My dad reminded me at the beginning of school, though these moments of growth are hard on us parents, thank God that she is healthy enough to attend school and that she is physically here and growing, just as it should be.  Yes, thank you God.  These moments of sadness are quick and sharp, but they are there, especially around birthdays.  But good things are always hard to say goodbye to, and year 5-6 was a good one; no, a great one.  She stayed so healthy, grew tremendously in her academics, made new friends and adjusted to a totally new life, and became a big sister again.  One for the books!

And definitely one of my favorite ones so far,

-smk

 

 

Six Months

Six months, half a year, means…

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-your first cold.  This has greatly affected your sleep (what’s new?), much to everyone’s angst.  Easily forgiven though, as a congested nose seems a very rational and logical reason not to sleep, as opposed to last month’s mystery grab bag.

-sitting up…sort of.  If I prop you up, you can sit unassisted for just a few seconds!  You can also sit in my lap with little help and your stomach muscles are getting noticeably stronger.  Time to fatten them back up with avocado and oatmeal, I guess!

-playing with toys.  The best ones are the ones you can grab with your fingers and swing around.  Your favorite one seems to be a large Octopus that has also been a favorite for your sisters, too.  All of this finger work means that you can grab your pacifier (attached to its clip) and place it correctly in your mouth!  Win for both of us!

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-you are taking better naps…at least ones longer than 45 minutes.  I think we are somewhat starting to get on a good schedule.  Its certainly not the one nap in the morning, one nap in the afternoon schedule I’m used to of six month babies, but it is working, for now, for us.  So goes the third child they tell me!

 

-you are very aware of your surroundings now and will not let me rock you to sleep for naps anymore.  If there are people around you, you will not eat or sleep, either.  You will will yourself awake long past your bedtime to interact with the party.  Extrovert? or the rites of childhood?

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-you are probably ready for solids, if not for your mother dragging her feet.  You are now my latest to start (the other two began around 5.5 months).  Laziness on my part has delayed us, but I feel I have no more excuses after Thanksgiving.  Plus, sweet potatoes are on sale and very seasonably appropriate right now, yes?

-you are getting around with ease.  Rolling has become your M.O. and you can get to just about anything you set your mind to.  You are rolling over, both directions, with ease now.  You’ve lost the stiffness and frightened look about you when it was new.  And you’ve graduated from doing it constantly, as if you were afraid you were going to forget.  Now it come much more gracefully, but with purpose.

When I watch this video of you, I am instantly filled with your scent.  It’s the milky smell that always seems to linger on your cheeks, combined with the Dreft scent of your clothes, and the shampooed fragrence of your downy hair.  As I watch you roll on the floor, I want to kiss my favorite spot on your neck, in between folds, and pinch your doughy thighs.  I want to wiggle my fingers just above your face and feel your firm little fingers, with their sharp, little fingernails, wrap around them in satisfaction.  I want to push on your feet and trail your toenails back and forth across the back of my hand.  And then I want to blow on your belly and make you laugh until you’re out of it.  You are my baby, but you are not keeping the way you are supposed to.

Tis the season of Thanksgiving, and you are at the top of my list,

-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