Little Celebrations: an Update
Life has been humming along here for us five, which means I haven’t had a lot of time to post but have noticed lots of small moments of celebration that some of you (ahem, grandparent-ish figures) want to know about.
It has not been all hummingbirds and tulips, though our tulips have bloomed and are the bright spot in our unkempt yard. Potty usage was smooth sailing for a while, and there have been some regressions. Like, I do multiple loads of laundry per day. The washing machine is like my own personal spot for daily devotions. (There must be a patron saint of laundry, right? All those Catholic mamas with their large families must have spent time praying to someone as they scrubbed stains and washed and dried and folded.)
But my friend with twins a little older than our kids, whom I had not seen in like months even though she lives three blocks away (hi, K!), told me today that her kiddos have had similar potty issues, which makes me feel better that my kids are not abnormal.
There have also been some behavioral upheavals, including some very overtired and loopy or defiant children from our recent trip to Dallas. Mostly, the issue seemed to be saving face: “I don’t want to get in trouble but I don’t want to do what you say, so I’ll find a way to barely comply while not actually doing what you asked me to.”
Then there was the “it’s so funny to do exactly the opposite of what you say.” Hugely funny. That pushes my angry button every single time. But I have been working on my responses, so that’s another little celebration.
Some little celebrations to observe on the kids’ end:
- We spent Easter with Alan’s extended family in Texas. They are super-awesome, especially his aunt and uncle who are our kids’ Ooma and Oompa: another set of adoring grandparents.
- The kids got to meet my Aunt Rea and Alan’s Uncle John for the first time, which was also awesome.
- Theresa has some serious attention to detail. Alan’s uncle called her a “cautious observer.” She pointed out nails embedded in the sidewalk today on our ride to the park, and a mural on the upper wall of a food court that I would never have noticed otherwise, and bugs and flowers and so many tiny things that remind me to stop and really look at the world around me. At the aquarium on our special Theresa-mommy day, she asked about jellyfish: “Why don’t they have eyes?”, which the volunteer answered for her. She found almost every acorn cap in the entrance to the Children’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum. She delights in pill bugs. Callie tolerates–maybe even invites–her hugs. This may someday turn into my house becoming a menagerie. Also, she has decided to ride her balance bike after nine months of not wanting to, and is rocking it.
- Jamie’s biggest thrill of our trip was the ceiling fans at Ooma and Oompa’s house. There were seven. He liked turning them on and off, which became a problem when we realized that he would not stop, even after multiple instructions. He also learned “Hot Cross Buns” on Ooma’s piano. He also got several experiences with escalators and elevators, which probably led to him describing the following scenario yesterday: “There’s an escalator in my building and it goes up to my desk. I will take the escalator and you can take the elevator. And there are ceiling fans. It’s in Mont-Free Downtown.” He likes introducing his statements with “Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey.” One current interest is letters and sounds: he wants to know “How is your named spelled?” and tries sounding out words in books like we’ve showed him.
- Audrey has been practicing her own calm-down time: she gets really quiet when she’s upset, and either says, “I feel like crying, but that’s okay” [like when we left her backpack on the shuttle to the airport and a kind man on the shuttle had to run after us to give it back–including Munny inside], or sits down with arms around her knees, saying she needs space [like in the doorway of the bathroom at the Cameron Park Zoo]. She loves inventing life stories for her animals, often involving making them a birthday cake, feeding the animal, and helping them poop on the potty. She worried that our van was sad when we left, and gave it a hug when we returned. She continues to be an awesome helper, bringing her siblings ice when they’re hurt, helping Jamie put on his pants when he got frustrated, and saying things like, “I’m an activist. Activists are helpers.” She also delighted in being the spokesperson for our group, telling everyone about our trip: airline staff, other passengers, Ooma and Oompa’s friends…
- The kids like making up their own names for themselves and their animals. Theresa’s recent alter-egos are Kanika and Jackson Piaxon. Audrey makes up words that don’t sound like any other language on earth, then tells me she’s speaking Spanish or French.
- Audiobooks are a godsend. We listened to Small Pig by Arnold Lobel, Brave Irene, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and The Amazing Bone (read by the amazing John Lithgow) by William Steig, and Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit on the long ride back from Waco, and the kids were a) awake, and b) silent.
- They actually most of the time play well together–today they were even helping each other put together a puzzle. When things are going well, they look like this:
- Most of all, I’m grateful that they hit the grandparent jackpot. They love those adults who love them right back. (Audrey kept asking people in Texas, “Will you miss us?”–even people like Frieda whom she had just met but evidently bonded with.) I wish every kid had such a circle of grown-ups who lavish them with love because of who they are.