As dreamy as this child is, she has been making me a little crazy lately. The push and pull of toddlerhood has me watching the clock starting mid-afternoon waiting for Jorge to stroll through the door so I can hand her off.
The crazy parts:
She wants me to hold her 90% of the day, but then she wants to be down, she's not sure which.
She has spent a serious amount of time perfecting her dumping skills. Especially when I'm cleaning up.
Some days I feel like I a spending my days with a foreign national as she talks all day so intently, sure I should know what she is saying.
She wants to nurse when she's bored, and twiddle, which sends me totally overboard, the twiddling, not the nursing.
She's got a tiny violent streak, the hitting thing is new for me as a parent.
She shares almost all her food with the dog and is obsessed with placing his food in his water bowl.
She climbs on every table known to man.
She is just old enough to give Lucy a run for her money and start the occasional girl fight.
Just when I'm almost exasperated...
She leans over and gives me a giant open mouth kiss, or hurls her entire body on top of me to hug me.
She starts to dance like nobody's business, this kid has some serious moves.
She brings a book to me and forces herself into my lap.
She leans in to let the dog lick her.
She finds a new game to play with one of her siblings and has a special laugh reserved for this level of fun.
She entices me to chase her and loves to be surprised.
She claps her hands wildly and cheers when Jorge walks through the door.
She "talks" to me all day long, like her best girlfriend.
She loves to get her coat on and always cooperates.
She looks right into my camera and shows me all of herself with the greatest confidence.
I realize after four kids, I am still learning. They continue to teach me over and over again that you can be all the things. Tired, happy, exasperated, proud, angry, loving, sometimes all at the same time. Just when I think I'm the only parent going crazy, I head back to read up on child development to discover, once again, that all of these things are completely normal. For some reason I forget every time, or maybe it is because each child is so different and I need a reminder.
So now when it's 4:00pm and she has cleared every single last book from the bookshelf, I smile and sigh.
Is there an age or stage that drives you a little crazy? Feel free to confess or give words of wisdom in the comments.
The babies have always stayed close to me, really close. Jorge took them to snuggle on his chest, change a diaper, or hold in the crook off his arm but I was still their primary source of nurture and nutrition. Around the age of one, the parenting worlds start to shift and the guy who was just around making goofy smiles becomes the parent of choice.
We went apple picking last weekend and I watched it happen before me. Lyra sat in his lap eating apples and playing flirty games all day. Her back stiffens and eyes light up when he walks through the door at the end of the day. She makes her way to him with a book in tow insisting that he reads the same page over and over because she keeps turning the pages back. He is thrilled to be coming in to his time, the time when she is now a papa's girl.
Nothing is more charming than a man and his baby. And I watch all the love and chant in my mind, "No more babies, no more babies, no more babies..."
It must be easy to try something new when you have so many to cheer you on and catch you if you fall. Lyra made her walking debut last weekend among lots of cousins and many adoring fans at the aquarium we were visiting. She was in complete joy of herself and her new skill.
It's all she knows really. She smiles, everyone cheers. She laughs, everyone cheers. She claps, everyone cheers. She stands, everyone cheers. She takes a step, the crowd goes wild. She is the delight of our family in a way I can't quite explain, just by breathing. I think this should be the life of all babies, all people really.
In two more seconds, she will decide it is time to get into everything and cause new havoc but today she is walking on top of the world.
We are having a bit of a sleep dilemma over here. It is 10:00 p.m. right now and I can hear the patter of little feet in the room above me. There was an incident involving a late afternoon nap that I normally would have not allowed, but I was tired myself. My friend asked if I was sure I wanted to let Nathan take a nap. I knew I shouldn't do it but I just couldn't take the talking or whining or shouting any more. I let him go to sleep.
Then I fell asleep. I must have been tired because I woke up two hours later. Three out of four of us slept for the whole two hours. Mason? His brothers had awakened him all morning and he couldn't find a decent enough piece of grass to sleep on when we were outside this afternoon. As a result, he fell asleep and he did it right.
With school starting soon, I know I should be getting into the right sleep routine with naps and bed times. I just can't do it this week. How are your pre-school schedules going?
It finally happened. I don't consider us true rule followers but we do try to roll with the norms. The pediatrician said we could feed Mason some cereal if we thought he was hungry even though he was not six months old yet.
I should be happy we made it to one day before his 5-month-old birthday before his father fed him for the first time. Maybe I should mention how his father tried to give him "ice cream" at the Tasty Freeze when he was a month old. It was as if I was a superhero as I threw my body in between the offending ice cream moving in slow motion toward my precious little newborn.
K: What are you DOING?
D: I think he wants some ice cream.
K: What makes you think that?
D: Look at his eyes. He wants it.
K: He just learned to focus on things further than 6 inches away from his face only 3 days ago. It's called focusing, not jones-ing for nonfat ice milk.
D: It won't hurt him.
K: At this rate we should stop at the store and get some non-organic milk for the boys to drink.
D: Okay. I won't give him any.
I don't think the universe is going to implode because we gave the baby cereal when he was five months old. I did probably ruin his chances of getting steak off his father's plate this week though. I hope.
After a week of everyone getting the stomach bug and it was a "four is more" moment for sure, I picked up Lyra yesterday and found a her left ear was draining a lovely shade of yellow. I knew right away it was a ruptured ear drum. I could list the minimal signs I saw through out the week but this was just one of those times you feel like a total parenting loser.
This poor child had probably been in terrible pain, with no words to tell me and relying on me to figure it out. I have been on a string of bad calls lately. Taking one kid in too soon or for something silly, waiting too long for another. I'm starting to question my mothering intuition when it comes to sickness. Not to mention the $1000 per month insurance premium and high deductible thrown into the mix, but don't get me started. Lyra, of course, was happy the instant it ruptured and is on the mend. Ears are always tricky and I am not a doctor.
Have you ever lost your parenting mojo? Whether it's health or discipline or school?
Tell me how you got it back in the comments. Even more interesting, what do you think of the cost of healthcare in our country, do you think universal healthcare would help our problems?
The funniest thing about babies is that a baby's specific size is just a comparison to something else. Yesterday I walked past a woman with a baby that looked to be a couple of weeks younger than Mason. The baby girl's head was proportionate to her body, not like Mason. She was a little baby and her head seemed so little. Her mother commented to someone else that the baby had grown so much. All I kept thinking was that Mason was never that little.
Then someone commented about how little Mason was. The woman asked what he weighed when he was born. "9 lbs, 3 oz." I replied. She was shocked. I then heard the familiar refrain. "What a big baby. I guess I had forgotten how little babies are when they are born."
My oldest is only four, but it seems that this never ends.
"He's so tall for his age."
"He's so skinny for his age."
And don't even get me started about comparisons WITHIN the family. Even I am slightly guilty of this (as in, "your brother could hike a mile when he was your age. Why do I have to carry you after 40 feet?").
My boys are who they are. I don't think they will be 30 years old, talking about how tall they were when they were 4. Maybe they will. I don't know. But sometimes I wonder if all the comparison conversation isn't just a waste of time. They grow up so fast. Maybe we should talk about it less and enjoy them more. What do you think?
Would you be up for having 5 kids? Do you get tired of people (like me) asking you how you manage with 4? I have two and still can't figure it out!
People ask me all the time if I think we'll have more children. I don't mind at all, although my answer usually reflects the kind of day I'm having. I think when you go past 3, people start to think you might be on your way to getting your own television show.
I had a light bulb moment about life the other day while heading to pick Lucy up from preschool. I looked at Lyra and thought, "Four times really isn't that many." Four times to have a newborn nuzzle your neck, or an infant be mesmerized by the ceiling fan, or a toddler construct funny 3 word sentences, or have a preschooler gift you a macaroni brooch. The time of being little is so short with each stage holding its own magic.
It also means long nights and tired days, more people who need part or sometimes all of you. Many days I feel stretched very thin in a way I haven't before. I wonder what it will be like when we have four teenagers, four college tuitions, four individuals finding their way to adulthood. While I think we could have more children, I imagine we will have to make a clear intentional decision to stop here.
I am soaking in all the "last" times of babyhood. Here is the game I play with Lyra (sometimes for 30 minutes straight) that I never want to forget:
If you are finished having kids, how did you know you were done? If you aren't finished, how many children do you plan on having?
This weekend I worked at a craft show. Since I have a three week old baby, he had to work the show too. I didn't think to ask him if he wanted to work. Maybe I should have. Either way, the entire weekend I had about a hundred people ask if they could buy the baby. It's funny how babies are such a crowd stopper. He was a champ but it took lots of juggling to be Suzy Sales AND feed a baby that has some nursing issues. Nursing issues such as a complete and utter lack of a desire to latch, which leads to lower weight gain and general baby drama.
I had to laugh because people kept asking if he was a good baby. As opposed to a bad baby? What makes a "bad" baby? Mason is certainly an easy baby if you get over that whole problem of trying to figure out how to sell shirts and pump milk every two hours. Maybe some people would think that makes him a "bad" baby. He was relatively easy to please and didn't cry too much. In fact, we were able to put him down in a crate of baby clothes for a few minutes and he slept. Well, he slept like a baby. After all the questions, I wished we could just refer to babies as "easy" or "not-so-easy" rather than bad or good. Because with faces like this, how could you ever think he was bad?