Letters to My Kids, Uncategorized

Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle — STOP.

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Dear Jack,

You really, really loved the cauliflower at dinner tonight. You gave it a “Iz good” and a thumbs up — this is your official stamp of approval.

You wear a Paw Patrol hat every (EVERY) day, usually backwards.

You are two and two months.

This week, you decided to be terrified of the vacuum. You scream and cry unless I will hold you while  I vacuum. So I do. You are heavy; this is difficult.

You have lots of new words, every day.

You run into things all day, every day.

We keep working hard on changing that.

You say “OH YEAH” and clap when we go through Dutch Bros, because you know you’re in for chocolate milk with whip cream on the straw.

You just started giving me free kisses. I waited a real long time for this, kid. Also, when you see Dad give me a smooch, you tell us, “I love you” in order to join in.

You are anything but the easy way. You are loud. You are fall-asleep-behind-your-bedroom-door.

You’re as tall as a four-year old.

You love the small shovel you stole from Dad. You drag it behind you from one end of the yard to the other. And you tell it “nigh-nigh” before bed — every day.

Your favorite color is red. (Of course it is.) You will start fights over wearing a red shirt, drinking out of a red cup. You get mean over red.

You love holding hands across the table when we say dinner prayers and saying Ay-men afterwards. But sometimes, you bend down to lick the food on your plate while we’re praying.

You love Miles and JoJo and Sean and all of your cousins. You can do a somersault on your own. You are enthusiastic over everything, whether it’s EW BOOGERS or MMM DEE-LISHUSH or STEEEENKY POOP GROSH DEES-‘GUSTING. You are big round eyes and crinkled nose and crookedy grin.

We have watched way too many YouTube videos of garbage trucks.

You are the keeper of the yard; no birds will land in the grass on your watch from behind the screen door.

You are belly laughs and ugly whines, crocodile tears and backseat dance parties. Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-STOP.

You make my heart beat faster, and not always because I’m chasing you.

I love you, Jack Michael.

Always.

Mom

 

Uncategorized

(Where I track how hard it is to type).

If it could just keep raining, I’d appreciate it.

Unlike rainy days as a teacher (where the teenagers howl at the moon), rainy days at home make for peace, especially during toddler naptimes and lazy lunchtimes and —

(One.)

— book-reading laptimes. It’s not that it’s free from interruption. It’s just that the house is a sort of almost quiet-ish where you can hear the hum of the dryer and the tapping of droplets on our porch and Carter’s breath in the chair next to mine.

(Two.)

The girls are four weeks old today. Their existence has given me a sense of something I can’t quite explain. One of those intangible somethings that I haven’t found any good words for. The closest thing I can come to is that I feel done, complete, and —

(Three.)

— full. Like I know I’m done with a part of my life, the pregnant/person-growing part of my life, and I know this is my family, my unit. Seeing into the future, just a tiny bit, has become that much more lucid for me.  This probably makes no sense. Does anyone, any parent, have better terminology for this? It’s a good feeling, a calm and solid, warm and gooey feeling. Of course I am frequently warm and gooey and wide-hearted anyways these days. New baby smell will do that to a person. It’s just that —

(Four.)

— I’ve got this husband and this marriage that I can wrap both arms around and never get enough. I have this sweet-souled six-year old with blue-blue eyes and two missing teeth. I have a deep-voiced two-year old with out-to-there lashes, the best kissin’ lips and humongous, ever-growing feet. And now I’ve got two tiny twins, each completely different and separately wonderful from the other —

(Five.)

Charlotte with her balding jet-black mop of hair, her round face and her crinkled ear. Her love for laying belly-down on Dad’s chest —

(Six.)

— and the funny way she clears her throat and grunts in her sleep. Her olive skin. Her bubble-blowing. Charlie. Char-Char Binks. Charmander.

Elizabeth? Prim and proper. Sleeps with her hands folded, tiny button nose in the air. Megan’s namesake and eerily-similar personality. Strawberry duck fluff; pursed lips. Tiniest peanut of a baby who still swims in newborn diapers. Mom-likes-Ellie-but-Dad-votes-Lizzie. Little Bit. Marmot. Squeaker.

It’s not to say life is perfect. Life is loud and messy, and we’re flying by the seat of our pants.

If I were to point out insecurities in the hopes of recording the grittier parts of reality, I’d write about how I’m still scared of having four kids. How that seems like too many. I’d write about how soft and squishy my midsection is; how it feels like puppy skin, and how this both makes me feel proud and daunted. I’d talk about —

(Seven.)

— my struggle with breastfeeding, and how small that makes me feel sometimes.

(Eight.)

I’d talk about losing my temper/mind at 3:30 in the morning, about worrying about medical bills and trying to figure out how I’m going to run this roost solo once Jesse goes back to work in two days.

We’ve got newborn twins — double blessings that keep us up all night and tethered to an insane feeding cycle during the day. Jack’s a walking accident with proprioceptive sensory issues. He’s also two with a powerful set of lungs and an Irish temper. Carter wants to play computer games with pixelated blood and is all of a sudden preoccupied with natural disasters: volcanoes, tornados, tsunamis, acid rain.

It’s a never ending juggling act around here.

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(Nine.)

In wrapping things up, I’ve got to sing praises to all of my meal-makers, my conversation-keepers, my coffee-deliverers. My neighbors, my family, my friends; my people.

When I’m about to pull out my hair — with fists, from the roots — I try to think about how undeniably joyful my life is. I think about how beautiful it all is, despite my always-sticky floors and full hampers and all the other things that don’t matter.

Hey look at that — we got through this post without a tenth interruption.

(Ten.)

Almost.

Uncategorized

Jack, Jack. He’s our man.

Hey, Jack.

You are one. A whole year has passed. You are tall and strawberry-blonde and sensitive-skinned. You are eyebrows and thighs and sock-free feet. The church nursery refers to you as “Jack the Bear” (you growl). Carter calls you “Chumby-saurus” and “Chum-bacca”. Grandma calls you “Sprout”. Papa calls you “Happy”. You are my Jack, the apple of my eye. You are my right-hip attachment, the weight that keeps me in the moment. I’m in love with you.

On the night before your first birthday, you slept through the night. All the way through until 7:30am. It was a birthday miracle. You, sir, have been no picnic when it comes to the middle of the night. It’s taken you an entire year to figure out that the buffet closes after dark.

Your first word? “No.” But you’ve got others these days — “Uh-Oh”, “Hi”, and a singsong “I love you” (ayyyyluhhhou) top the list, though I’m almost positive you’ve also got “Hey Dad” down as well.

You’d like us to let you live in the tub. You escape and climb in as fast as your little-big butt can crawl to it. You splash and blow bubbles and stretch out and simply cannot be bothered to get out. The tub is your happy place. Mine, too. I get it.

You are a foodie. And by foodie, I mean that you are not picky at all, as long as we keep the munchin’ coming. Grammie made banana bread, and today you ate nearly an entire loaf — plus a green apple, some Cheerios, yogurt, noodles, and a full banana — for lunch.

Here’s where I must state, for the record, that you are the king of diaper blowouts. This is not an understatement. I know many, many babies. You, Jack Michael, take the cake. An average day is 3 #2 diapers (more like #7, 47, and 156) and at least one full outfit change. It’s come out the top of your onesies on more than one (or 10) occasions.

You are a mover and a shaker, a linebacker and an expert tackler. At one-year old, you are cruising from one piece of furniture to the next, but not walking just yet. You are very fast and very loud.

You love your brother the very most, and you always want his toys. Somehow, they are the most desirable household items — second only to Dad’s electronics. Keeping you out of Carter’s room and Dad’s office is a full time job.

It must be said that you are the biggest of flirts. I think you’ve got more game than your father. You love grocery shopping. It’s your practice field.

Your father and I have a theory that parents are given the sort of kid that will help them grow where they need it most. I thought I was patient, Jack. I thought I was flexible. I thought I was organized. I commended myself on these traits.

“No.”

You keep me on my toes. You’ve made me appreciate luxurious 6-hour stretches of sleep. You make my arms strong from holding you, my legs quick from chasing you, and you’ve necessitated an on-hand supply of ibuprofen.

And I love you more than life itself.