The Little Years

I wish I could freeze time and keep my kids little forever. But, alas, they grow. Mister Man turned 4 & 1/2 last month and his sister is now 2 plus three months. If I lie in bed and close my eyes, breathing slow and steady, I can remember what it was like when they were fresh bundles, smelling of baby powder and spit up. But those first twelve months passed by in the blink of an eye, really. Those were the times when they were so fragile and new and we didn’t have any clue what kind of personality they’d have. Now is the fun time, according to my husband.

I’d have to agree with him.

Our son has detailed discussions with his sister on what the various rooms in his Lego fire station contain. He says things like, “Vivi, people who are silver and stand still are called statues,” while we’re driving and my husband and I just look at each other and smile. He’s now tall enough to reach the kitchen sink and wash his hands without standing on a step stool.

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He writes his first and last name in capital letters and is working hard at learning the lower case ones. A few weeks ago we were playing Restaurant in his kitchen and he wrote out his very first menu, asking me how to spell things like Hamburger, Coffee and Cheese. Several times a day, he’ll hear a word he doesn’t know and will ask its meaning. I’m amazed and so proud of how inquisitive he is.

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My little man makes friends easily, but is stingy with sharing his beloved toys. He has a best buddy at preschool, but sometimes on the drive home when I ask him who he played with that day, he’ll say, “Nobody. I just played by myself.” Not in a sad way. He is just really good at independent play and can become immersed in his own little imaginary world which I love to watch. There are plenty of years of running around with friends ahead of him, I’m not concerned with his preference for solo playtime right now.

He wakes up every morning precisely at seven o’clock. The soft, baby blue security blanket he was so attached to for the first three years of his life has slowly moved to the bottom of his list of favorite toys. It’s now trucks and blocks and {gasp!} Legos that he spends his playtime with. The last exchange of our day used to be me singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” while snuggling him tight, tucking the covers around his little frame all curled up. Now, we simply read three books and give goodnight kisses before shutting off the light and sending him into sleepy dreamland. Just like that. My big boy.

His sister is turning into a big kid too, right before our eyes. Her four word strings must have been taking their vitamins because over the course of a week they grew into five word sentences and now six. Just yesterday the little princess amazed me with, “I want to go to the playground, Mommy!” Said like the true firecracker she has become.

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Our daughter literally turns into a fish on Saturday mornings at swim class. Bored of the same old songs and skills which she mastered several months ago, she makes her own fun now, much to her teacher’s chagrin. Climbing out to give Daddy a quick kiss, then swan diving back in and flipping underwater before surfacing are her show-off tricks. We’ve become used to a minimum of two other parents each week asking us how old she is and how long she’s been taking lessons.

I love hearing her baby doll voice, her inflections sticky sweet with a cherry on top sometimes, and other times the whine is so sharp I want to pull out some cheese and crackers to go with it. The little miss has a slight obsession with pink lately and when we read her book on colors {which I bought specifically so that I could teach her the rest of the colors of the rainbow} she turns straight to the two pages on pink saying, “I yike pink, Mommy.”

Art is a passion of hers, I can already tell. Both our kids are in their element when they’re creating, actually. Put a coloring book, some markers and crayons in front of them and I’ve easily bought an hour of quiet busy time. I can’t wait for summer when I’ll be able to put them on the deck with art supplies and their easel and small table to see what they crank out for display on the fridge.

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I know they won’t always be so small that I need to get down on my knees to wrap my arms all the way around them for hugs. I know there will come a time when I’ll no longer have to sort through their entire wardrobe twice a year to purge the outgrown stuff and replace it with new clothes the next size up. I know there will come a time when I’ll no longer have to prep and serve every single meal and snack.

I know there will come a time when I’ll have to let go. 

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But for now, I’ll grab hold of these moments that fly by so fast and I’ll do my best to engrave them on my memory for ever.

Precious baby moments

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“Up! Mama! Uuuppp!!!” came the wail from down by my knees.

I scooped up my squishy, paci-sucking baby girl and swung her around so we both faced the mirror hanging in the hallway.

She clutched her pink and white lovie blankie in her chubby fist, blonde curls now reaching down past her shoulders, and I smiled at our reflection, seeing more wrinkles around my eyes and mouth than I had remembered being there last time I checked. Not a bad thing, I told myself. Means I smile and laugh a lot. I like that.

My precious daughter seemed to notice me studying the lines on my face. She took my cheeks in her pudgy little hands and turned me to look at her. We were nose to nose.

“Boo eyes, Mama. Boo eyes.”

“You’re right, Sweetie. Mommy does have blue eyes,” I whispered with a proud smile.

I gave her a quick dip backwards and swung her back up to kiss her bright red lips. She giggled so sweetly as I took a long breath of her curls to take in her baby scent and remember the moment.

Moments like these are going by so fast lately. When I realize I’m experiencing one of these beautiful little moments, I try my hardest to make it last as long as possible.

But I know in my heart that they’ll forever live in my memory.

Just Write

She just hasn’t been herself lately. Her bubbly, sweet as a fresh, juicy strawberry personality has all but disappeared and in its place has left a cranky, clingy, super sad toddler.

This has been going on for two days now. The piles of dishes on my kitchen counter are evidence to all of the cuddling we’ve been doing. It is so much more important to me than the housework right now. My baby’s tears make my heart sink. I cannot stand seeing her in pain. The first dose of infant pain medicine took effect after twenty minutes, but it’s now wearing off again. And we’re right back where we started this day: lots of crying and even more comforting. Big brother and I do everything we can to distract her. We try playing with the wooden toy food and plastic plates on the fuzzy new family room carpet. That helps for a few minutes, but before we know it she’s crying again, asking to be picked up by her mama.

We head upstairs so I can get a shower and get us all dressed for the day. I plop her in the portable playpen that has been stationed in our master bedroom for us to be able to accomplish tasks like showering and dressing, as her brother assumes his position next to it with the ipad in front of him. He chooses a fire truck show and I turn on the water full blast.

Five minutes later, as I’m blow drying my naturally curly hair straight, I peek over to find my footie-pajama-clad baby girl laying on her tummy clutching her lovie {paci in her mouth, of course}, fast asleep while her brother’s noisy video blares two feet away from her.

Sleep, sweet baby. Rest and let those stubborn new teeth break through your swollen gums so that you’re back to my bouncing bundle of trouble and giggles again.

I miss you, Sweetie.

Just Write

Yesterday morning both kids were completely quiet on the monitor as I tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes enough to drag myself out of bed. I took a quick peek at the screen to see my little man sound asleep in his bed, laying on his side towards the wall, and my baby girl silently tracing her cheek with the knotted corner of her super soft lovie blanket. I was excited at the chance to get her up and fed {if I was lucky} before her big brother woke up. He needed the extra sleep since he missed his naps over the weekend.

I tip-toed into her room and peered over the rail at the front of her crib. She lay flat on her back, paci securely in her mouth, with her lovie tucked under her arm and its head in her chubby little grip. I smiled and said my usual “Good Morning, my love!” to which she replied with a happy grunt and a quick flip over onto her belly. She popped her bottom in the air and pretended to not want to be picked up.

I snuck out of her room as she was lying face down, and waited a few seconds for her to notice I was missing. She started to whine and I peeked my head into the doorway so she could see me. Instant smiles.

I picked up my little bundle who was zipped up in her sleep blanket, and placed her gently on her changing table. I asked her if she “had a good sleep?” as I normally do. The corners of her pouty mouth crept up slowly into a warm grin {paci still in her mouth} as she pointed to her chin and said, “Mama”.

I had spent months watching her point to her head and say, “Dada” ~ her own unique way to use baby sign language to ask for her Daddy.

But today was my day. And I couldn’t think of a more fitting day than the day after Mother’s Day. I’ll treasure that moment forever.