Monday, February 13, 2017

Reflecting: Motherhood

I guess I'm finished counting the months I've been a mother.  It's no longer something I've been doing for a period of time. It's who I am.  I am mom. It's an un-changable state of being.

In the first few days after James was born, I had the shocking, confusing realization that I was still just me.  I didn't magically turn into a woman who is wise and capable.  I was just little old me with a baby. Completely out of my comfort zone. I'm not sure when the change took place, it's been gradual, but I'm not Tikla being a mom.  I'm Mom.  Still not as wise and capable as I assumed was prerequisite for the job, but more wise and more capable than I used to be.

 "Morning Mom, would you like a little foot scrub?"

I've let too much time slip by without blogging.  It's always harder to pull the pieces together and capture in a few paragraphs a snapshot of mothering right now when there is so much to cover.  I guess I won't even try.  We will just start with today.

Today is Sunday.  The best day.  Food, diaper change, shirts, pants, bowties, socks, (no matches k, just wear these ones) shoes (what happened to your shoe buckle?) Austin points out a huge chocolate stain on the back of my outfit.  New clothes for mommy. Snacks, diapers, forgot the wipes (eh, we'll be fine right?), Singing time stuff, paper for coloring, friend magazine, out the door,(don't step in the mud!) buckles, drive away.  Forgot phone, (oh well. won't have to remember to silence it.) EARLY!! See Austin on the stand and remember how handsome he is. Happy sigh.

anticipate the sacrament, (keep your shoes on please) here comes the bread. (just one please) here comes the water, (lift it up high enough they can't reach) two sips, two coughs and splutters, two wet spots. Cheerios, (oh, don't dump them!) "I need to go potty" "k, fold your arms!" "do you need any help?" "no!" wash. dry.

Now it's Monday, and I want to talk about my boys.

Isaac doesn't run, he bounces. Sometimes on his toes. If you were to freeze him mid run he would look like Mario hurtling a mushroom.  The most classic example of this is when he is jumping into a pool.  He just runs in, but since his run is already a jump he gets air without even trying.  While on a Sunday walk today, we watched him running down the sidewalk and Austin joked that he might actually be faster if he just walked since so much of his energy was propelling him up instead of forward. :)

This is the face of a boy having so much fun that stopping to say "cheese" for the camera was dead last on his priority list.  "I don't wanna take a picture" Then he scampered off. 

This guy on the other hand...

...he smiles so hard it hurts to watch.

Isaac loves hats.  I'm actually surprised we don't have more photos documenting that reality. 

He is becoming a talker, but he has a funny quirk.  He shortens almost every word to one syllable. For example,

Table: Tabe
Blanket: Blank
Snuggle: Snug
Napkin: Nack
James: Jame
Jammies: Jam
Diaper: Diap
Vacuum: Vac
Yogurt: Yog
Chocolate: Chock

Other favorites: 

"Nope" (emphasis on the "p" sound with those luscious lips of his)
"beep!" (If a timer in the kitchen goes off he will not rest until I have checked it)
"Phone!" (anytime my phone makes a sound)
"wash a hans" (this one could get it's own paragraph. He is obsessed with washing his hands. Ending his fun in the bathroom sink is the surest fire way to get a full blown kicking, screaming tatrum. "WASH A HAANS!!!!!!"  While we are are already talking about the bathroom I'll mention that he is obessed with going potty.  I've declared him not ready for full on potty training for one very important reason.  He doesn't stay seated.  He pops on and off checking to see if anything has come yet and invariably poops on the floor while checking and exclaiming with surprise, "ops nothing." Austin insists that that when they sing songs the entire time he stays put, but I'm going to give it a few more weeks at least. In the meantime he keeps begging and I'm probably missing a perfect window of opportunity.  Ah well.)

You're Welcome: Wehcome
Thank you: Ache you

Run: Yun
Sleep: Seep
Truck: chuck
Bear: Bear-bear
Pacifier: Pah-pah

Speaking of the beloved Pah-pah.  We'd been having a problem with James reattaching himself to Isaac's paci and the addiction was turning into a string of stealing and lying and hiding and scheming and climbing up on to really high things to retrieve the coveted pacifier.  

With Isaac turning 2 at the end of this month we thought, perhaps it was time to just call it quits on the plugs.  That would give us several months before the new baby came to adjust to paci-free living.  I explained to James that in three days it was paci day and we would be saying goodbye to all the pacifiers. We cried together and came up with a plan to go to Dizzy Castle afterwards to have a fun time as a family.  

He counted the days with dread and excitement.  On the fateful paci day, I bought a huge helium balloon and tied our stash to the end of it.  We took it outside and let it go.  James cried, but I cried harder. Being a parent is weird. Isaac was more sad about the balloon being gone, but that all changed in the evening when he said trembling,"pah-pah, bye bye, boon." over and over.  

It was a miserable week, but we are out of the woods and Isaac is finally sleeping through the night for the first time since...well I guess for the first time, consistently, in his life.  yikes! 

"bear-bear" waving hello to the camera

The picture below is a classic Isaac expression.  He is saying, "hmmmmmmm." Usually when we are looking for something, "hmmmmm, where could it be?"

Caught in the act, 
Trying to microwave a can of beans.

Caught in the act,
coloring under the table.

Caught in the act,
being totally adorable.

Isaac is a loving snuggler.  Sometimes it feels like he is trying to get inside of my skin. His little arms sneak all the way around my neck gluing my cheek to his. It is precious.  Except for the times when he is feeling affectionate annnd excited, because, close as possible + bouncing = broken mommy face.

Isaac actually has had a rather rough winter.  Lots of slow motion, PAINFUL, teething, a few colds and maybe growing pains, it's been so good to have his old self back for the last few weeks. 

These special moments in the morning are pure joy.  We wake up very similarly.  Up and happy, but need a little time before actually starting the day.  It works out best when the two of us wake up just a tad before James does so we can be sleepy and snuggly before Mr. James "what's-the-plan" and "why-are-you-not-coming" wakes up. 

His main goals in life seem to include the following:
Say "hi" to all the people,
Hug all the family,
Pop all the popcorn,
See all the birds, airplanes, cats, puppies, leaves, flowers, etc.
sit in all the baskets, buckets, baskets, etc,

Take off all the diapers, 
Eat all the chocolate,
Answer all the "knocks,"
Kiss all the owies,
Sing all the songs.

He is kind and tender.  He is spunky and easily excited.  He loves his big brother.  When daddy gets home he gets sandwich kisses between mom and dad and it might be the best part of his day.  He can open his own umbrella and kisses make everything better. 

  If you ever come over to our house for rice, you should probably know that the rice cooker pan has been on this head, and these feet. Now eat at your own risk.

What is my favorite part about motherhood right now?  It's watching these two boys become buddies.  James is teaching Isaac all the most important things in life:

Always stick out your tongue for pictures.
Curious George is awesome.
When you're hungry just go grab something from the fridge.
Hold hands when we cross the street.
Swings are the best part of the park.
Don't ride in the stroller when you could RUN instead!
Sharp knives are dangerous.
If you can, wrestle, always wrestle.

It's hard to believe we are going to have a third child.  A girl no less.  I'm about 70% excited and 30% in over my head. I guess it depends on the day.  Thursday of last week was a 100% in over my head kind of day.  I'm counting my lucky stars that baby girl Fife is coming in the summer!  We can live outside in their happy place.

James is wearing first draft Nephi Jammies!  More on that coming soon!

Speaking of wintertime, I built them a loft!  We needed some inside climbing space.  I think I might be a fun mom. :D 

Lots of buddy pictures!

Now this boy.  James.  My determined, focused, good, resourceful, loyal, brilliant, little guy.  When I try to get advice from my mom about him she says, "I never had one like James!" I have a sister-in-law who was relieved when her baby was a girl because she "didn't think she could handle a James."  So much ripping, hammering, biting, squeezing, mixing, and scheming.  He is completely beyond age appropriate challenges and so he makes his own.  I recently installed key locking door knobs on the craft room and our bedroom because he had outsmarted the child locks.  Now he has figured out how to reach the "high place" where the keys were kept, determined that blue meant bedroom and pink meant scissors, sharpies, glue gun, and staples.  At least now there are a few steps before he has my hammer stashed under his pillow.

There is a bar of soap in the bathroom instead of liquid soap and the toothpaste and shampoo have been confiscated.  He was too tempted by the urge to mix the "gredients" to make "ketchup." We've brainstormed different consequences. The trouble? If he is told he can't, he sets out to prove that he can.  Not because he is trying to be naughty. He just doesn't take no for an answer.  If it can be done it must be done.  He is going to be a wildly successful adult.  We've found the best method is to give parameters to the things he does rather than telling him that he can't ever do something. Then he can learn within proper boundaries.  "We only use that with mommy's help," rather than "don't ever touch that again."  Even then, it's rough, but we are figuring it out.

The natural confidence he has in his abilities is so inspiring.

The other challenge is the constant pace at which he is getting things done.  If I don't start one step ahead in the morning, I never catch up.

Even after all that, he is just what I need.

If there is a project I'm procrastinating or haven't worked on for a while, he lets me know. Before bed each night he asks about the plan for the following day. He notices if we take a wrong turn on the way to a friends house.  I'm becoming a more tidy mom because if I don't clean up I'll never see those items in one piece again.

After interacting with James, you might assume that he is the type to act without thinking.  That actually couldn't be further from the truth.  Unless he is over-tired or over-excited with friends over, he is actually extraordinarily deliberate. In fact, he likes plenty of time to prepare for new experiences.  He is so much more at ease if he knows what is expected of him so he can be successful.  Sometimes if I haven't given him an idea of what he will be doing at a new place he will pack something along.

For example, when going to visit some friends he hasn't met before he will bring along his ukulele and inform me that when we get there he will sing one of his songs.  It's not because he is a performer, he's not. It's because he wants to know what he will be doing when we get there.  If I don't tell him, he will tell me.  A few weeks ago he was assigned to give the prayer in primary and flat out refused. Since then, every Sunday I watch him during the talks and prayers.  He watches intently taking in everything.  It won't be long now before he asks me if he can give a talk in primary because he finally has all the information he needs to be successful.   

I still sigh with relief when daddy comes home, somehow still fresh after a long day's work, ready to wrestle the trouble right out of this boy.  Did I mention Austin has taken over laundry duty? Um yeah. He's amazing.

I LOVE talking with James.  When he gets in the mood to sit on the couch and talk about the world, it's blissful.

When I help him accomplish his goals he feels loved.  When he wants to show love he folds towels with me, gives massages, smooshes his face into mine as hard as he can, offers a "big, big smooch."

Looking through pictures from the last few months has convinced me, we don't take enough pictures that include Austin and me.  I just forget to!  That needs to be remedied, because as fun as it is watching the boys be buddies the real best part about motherhood is watching Austin be a father.

The beauty of family love is perfect.  We are imperfect.  Our children are crazy and we lose our cool, but the concept of family, with a mommy and a daddy and children is perfect.  It's the ultimate experience.  It's hard to say that out loud all the time because not everyone has it, nor will everyone have it in this life.  Yet, I'm convinced it is what we all should be striving for.  It's the very pinnacle of fulfillment.  

To be able to watch our boys run off down the sidewalk while we push the empty stroller, laughing and talking.  Hearts bursting with love for those two little beings who call us mom and dad.  Swallowed up in love for each other.  Sacrificing constantly for each other.  Leaning on each other while we take turns having hard days.  And on the days when we both struggle we can pray together and commit to a better tomorrow.  Does it get better than that.  So when the days are long and there is just so much correcting, crashing, crying, and crazy I can step back and remember I am living the way people dream of living.  I have it all.  Right here in our red and white cottage with this family of mine. 

I'm so grateful. so. so. grateful.