So. In no particular order ...
A little bit about Anna - my girl never ceases to amaze me. She remains whip smart, sassy and stubborn as they come, bossy as can be, but continues to show me the loving and nurturing side of her little heart. She still seems to live in the imaginary world - which tends to be the root of our problems. I finally convinced her to explain where she is when it seems she has wandered off to that special place in her brain - the place where her lips move in whispers and her eyes glaze over like a freakishly scary kid. The answer? To play Barbies in her head. That made no sense to me - so when I pressed the issue of what she meant by playing Barbies in her head - she explained that she thinks about a Barbie movie - except the girls do what she wants them to do - and wear the clothes she wants them to wear - basically coming to life for her. Excellent. She continues to astound me with her art - I need to scan or photograph some of it so I can share it with you. I'd wager a bet that you wouldn't think her work is from a seven-year old - but rather one much greater in age and instruction.
|My big girl - all dressed up for her daddy.|
A little bit about James - this boy is a hot mess. I love him desperately, and every day we share is filled with more giggles and silliness from his crazy personality. He finds humor in everything, and laughs with his whole heart. I've said it before - but I'll say it again - he lives life 110%. If ever there was a child who 'sucks out the marrow of life,' James is it. He seems to have caught his sister's artistic bug - and produces drawings and paintings that are simply amazing. And he's really coming along with his letters and numbers, and just the other day started sounding out words in an effort to start reading. Along with his energy and ability to live life fully comes the down side of sometimes too much energy. It's hard because he can sit still to do a project or draw a picture with no problem - but other times he can't to save his life. The biggest challenge right now, though, is his clothing. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so over dressing that child. About six months ago he started having serious issues with anything that he considered tight. Any pant leg or arm that touched his skin - he couldn't stand. And tags in collars? That would send him to a fit of hysterics. I wish I could say it's gotten better - if anything it's gotten worse. Every morning he gets dressed is a struggle. Every night after bath is a struggle. I told him just this morning I was going to send him off to Borneo or some other tropical island so he could live naked in the jungle. (Which really upset him - because he is VERY shy about taking his clothes off in front of anyone other than his family - and the thought of living naked was beyond his capability of reason.)
I wonder, though, if some of his issues with clothing stems from the fact that a lot of his clothes are indeed too tight. The poor boy went from a scrawny size 3T (as a four year old last year) to a size 6-7 right now. He's exploded in height and weight. It's insane. So we're forever trying to keep up with his growing size. Perhaps some of his issue with things touching his body come from a general feeling of discomfort at suddenly being so much bigger? I don't know. All I know is dressing the boy is a t-total nightmare.
I've struggled tremendously with his fifth birthday. It's such a rite of passage in my world - the closing of the pre-school era - the steps taken toward kindergarten and public school. I know I'm like every other mother who has ever raised a child when I say the age old words 'where did the time go?' But for James, out of my three children, I feel that awe the most. Of my three blessings, I've always felt the most distant, the most disengaged from James, from the day he turned 5 1/2 weeks old. The day of my mother's stroke. I was in such a fog for the first two years of his life - torn between trying to be a mother while trying to be a daughter in the absence of my own mother and best friend - that I honestly don't remember a whole lot about his babyhood. And that's a terrible thing to admit. But the truth is, I don't remember his first steps, I don't remember his first taste of baby food, and I don't remember his first word. I rest well at night knowing that he had a happy life as an infant and toddler (how else could he be the insanely happy boy he has become) but I lose sleep over knowing that I missed it. Yes, I was there in body - and I have pictures of myself standing next to him with a big smile to prove it - but clearly I wasn't there in mind or spirit. I can see that by the vacant look in my eyes.
The thing is, this whole time I've been telling myself 'there's always more time.' That there will be time to volunteer at his school and help with chaperoning class trips. That there will be time to be alone with him to really experience his joy and exuberance for life. And now that he's turned five - and is off to 'big kid' school in the fall - I feel that time slipping away. And that makes me sad - very, very sad.
And Jack - my sweet, sweet Jack. This little guy is the object of my affection. I tell him all the time that he is so sweet, I could eat him up with a spoon. He loves to cuddle and snuggle and give kisses - and as long as he's got Airplane Blanket and Pat the Bunny by his side - he's ready to take on the world. He's still at that golden age of nearly-three where he wants to please - wants to help - wants to do right. Oh, he'll challenge his brother and sister - and is learning the art of provoking - but really, he just wants to be happy. We've not yet hit the major independent streak (that always comes) where he protests authority and does exactly the opposite of what we want him to do. (And I'm not deluding myself - I know it's just around the corner.) So I'm doing my best to savor every drop of his sweetness - until he turns into the three-year old monster who tests the limits of my patience. He loves to help in the kitchen - and is still the first one to come running when he hears the clink of measuring cups and spoons - pulling his chair up to the counter to 'help you mama' with whatever it is I'm making. (He doesn't discriminate - he's happy just to be by my side.)
I'm thrilled beyond measure to say that he's 100% potty trained - and has been so for months (including night time.) Don't ask me how that happened - I can't tell you. He just seemed to be ready and did it - and I'm thankful it's over. But, like many mama's I know, the passing of diapers for big-boy-briefs is a tiny bit bittersweet. (But not that bittersweet - I can't say I'm missing purchasing diapers and wipes and having to change them.)
And a little bit about me - to be totally honest - I'm struggling. Struggling with my day-to-day life - trying to keep the kids and their activities and their homework in check while balancing with my career and professional organizations and volunteering and church. Daily I feel like I've failed - when I've succumbed to the stress and pressure and barked at my sweet children to just hurry up and put on shoes and get in the car. I hate the rushing - rushing to get to school, rushing to get to work, rushing to get to church. I hate the yelling and barking to get in their seats and buckle in. I hate the constant push to be somewhere - and like a good friend pointed out on her blog - I wonder what is so important about that somewhere. The other day I somehow got sucked into a documentary about the Amish people (while I was folding an enormous load of laundry) and thought to myself 'you know - it might not be so bad to be Amish - I bet I would be really good at that.' Is it sad that I'm craving a simple life - where I don't have to be responsible for cities who do stupid things and end up violating state and federal laws - where I don't feel guilty for not doing enough to support my community's civic organizations - where I don't feel the pressure to make sure my kids are in the right activities and engaging their brains enough - where they have more time to play and be a kid without being shuttled off to daycare or preschool or ballet or soccer or whatever place we're going?
Someday it will get easier - different, I'm told - but on some level easier. Right?