I've been a little too busy neglecting my children to write recently. But there are these scenes from the past few months that are lodged in my brain and need to be recorded. There is no graceful way to get them out at this point they've been rattling around a little too long and are starting to pile up. So I'm going to just try to plow through and share them as quickly as possible.
The Boy was sick a while back. He got the mild version, which meant he woke up in the middle of the night and projectile vomited all over the bathroom, including the wall behind the toilet a few times, but was feeling much better by the next morning. (Except for the diarrhea that plagued him for a week or so.) He wisely put himself back to bed however that first morning and slept for another few hours. I was watching my friend's 13 month old that day, and she loves the Boy. I hope I never forget the moment when he woke up.
The babies are playing quietly. They babble at each other and pat each other's face and head and clothes. They hug and kiss, and the Baby every so often is determined to prevent her friend from getting something and so holds it over her head as high as possible as she is chased around in a miniature game of keep away. The bedroom door opens and he walks out, blinking a little bit. They both notice at the same time and run to meet him, babbling his name excitedly as they go. A grin splits his still pale and drawn face as they cluster around him, reaching up for him, yelling his name, well, their version of his name. His pleasure at their greeting is written in every line of his face. He sits on a chair and watches as these two little girls reach and giggle and play with him. HE IS SO BIG. He is tall, his back is straight, his limbs are long and lean, his face is chiseled even as his eyes dance with laughter. HE IS SO BIG. HE IS SO MATURE. HE IS A BIG BOY. And I can see the man to come lingering beneath the lines of his face. I've dreaded this moment. I've felt my heart nearly rip out of me at the thought of his getting older. And here it is in front of me, and I am full of pride instead. THIS BEAUTIFUL BOY IS MY SON.
The Boy and the Girl are sitting at the table. He is doing school. She has recently started to get out her workbook, or some item from her prepared closet and sit down opposite him "to do her school work too." It's a good day. The Boy is concentrating, the Girl is too. The Baby wants in on the fun. Only she is too little to be allowed to get at all of the fun stuff on the table. She will throw everything into confusion. She is a whirling dervish of destruction, a one year old cyclone.
She is also very frustrated because I keep dragging her away from the other kids. It's time to play.
I get out the blocks and start setting up towers.
She knocks them all down laughing.
I set them up again.
She knocks them all over again.
A few more times.
And then she starts to pick them back up and put them together again.
At first she just hands me blocks while making commanding noises. [translation- Here slave, put this where I want you to so I can knock it down again. Now this one. Faster, faster, faster. If you can't keep up I shall just have to find myself a new slave.]
But then she starts stacking them herself.
And they don't fall down right away.
So she does it a few more times.
She is confident. She reaches for the exact block she wants, and puts it on the other immediately, with straight, strong, efficient movements. And then, she starts to clap. She places a block. She stands up. She surveys. She applauds. And then she repeats it all over again.
All three of my children are at work mastering a new skill, all at once. It is indeed a good day.
This happened months ago but it still disturbs me.
We are at the pool with a little boy we know, C, the Boy's best friend. His mom and step dad are there too. They've arranged a play date. Usually we play with him when he's staying at his dad and step mom's house during the summer and on weekends, so we don't see much of his mom and step dad.
His step dad suddenly starts jumping up and down in the pool and calling out, "Look at me, look at me. Did you see that? Did I do good?"
I shoot a quizzical glance at his mom and she laughs and says, "We're trying to show him how annoying it is when he does that kind of thing so that he'll quit it."
It happened at least 3 more times that hour, and I didn't say anything. But to this day I continue to be bothered by that image of a grown man mocking a 5 year old for acting his age.
The Boy wakes up very early when his bed is wet. I think it helps him to feel a little bit more in control to take care of it himself. He takes himself into the shower and rinses his pajamas and gets dressed and strips his bed before I even surface. He comes in to the bedroom. "Mommy, I'm already dressed. What can I have for breakfast?"
This is all whispered, because he knows not to wake his sisters.
"I made muffins last night bud, they're on the table. You may have two and an orange or apple."
"Oh thanks mom."
He goes out quietly. And I drift back to sleep.
His stage whispering startles me awake once more.
"What time are you going to get up?"
I can't see the clock in the morning with my sleep bleary nearly blind without my contacts eyes.
"What time does the clock read honey."
"It says 7:26."
"Well, I think I'll get up at 7:45. I'd like to sleep a few extra minutes today. Will you tell me when it's 7:45?"
He seats himself in front of the clock. I hear him whispering to himself and fidgeting with his hands.
I am almost asleep again when I hear, "Mom, it's 7:29."
"Boy, the whole point of my staying in bed is so I can sleep. If you keep waking me to tell me the time I won't get any more sleep. Why don't you go and find something to do until it's 7:45?"
I wake up 15 minutes later. He is standing next to me holding out a muffin and still whispering, "It's 7:45 mom. I'm waking you up."
I look at this child of mine and down at the two little girls on either side of me still sleeping snuggled close and I feel myself settle into an awareness of just how blessed I am to be their mother.
And then I ask him to put the muffin down because I hate eating in bed and I need to put my eyes in first so I can see him.