Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I need a new language.

When Caleb was first born, Teacher Man and I could talk about anything in front of him.  As Caleb got older, we quickly began realizing that he was soaking it all up.  I mean everything we said would be filed in his little brain and would then come out at interesting moments.  Like any good parents, we chose a code language.  Being not-so-creative and not-already-fluent in pig latin, we started spelling things out.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in trouble.  If we spell at a normal pace, Caleb can now translate and blab the information to his brother.  Key words translated tonight include tractor, party, and cookie.  If we spell faster, Teacher Man and I can't even understand each other.  My mother suggested we start using sign language.  One key problem: when Ben was struggling to communicate, we taught him sign language.  So now Caleb can spell and Ben understands sign language.  All our secret schemes will forever be foiled.  Guess it's time to learn pig latin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Most Amazing Feeling

My house was full today.  Full of children.  Two beautiful mom friends.  Noise.  While the older children ran around playing chase, dinosaurs, or some combination of the two; I held my friend's 6-week-old baby girl.  And as I held that little girl, my little daughter on the inside of my tummy started kicking my friend's baby on the outside.  At 23 weeks of life, my baby already recognizes a playmate.  And my heart was full.  Full of the promise that will be ours to hold in our arms in four months.  Full of the beauty that is a newborn baby girl.  Full of the happiness that only comes when your house is so trashed with toys and noise that you give up caring and just love on the souls that are inside the four walls.

The months ahead may be hard.  In fact, I know they will be.  Newborns are just hard.  Precious blessings.  Tons of work.  Family adjustments at every turn, but so worth it.  So thanks, friends, for bringing over your children and for reminding me of what's really important today!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where Happiness Goes.

Teacher Man and I took a rare opportunity Friday night.  Both boys went to bed on time.  The toys were picked up.  The kitchen was clean.  We sat and watched a movie, and both of us laughed like crazy (and, of course, I cried).  Is it possible for a pregnant woman to watch a movie and not cry?  Overall, we loved the message of the movie, but there was one line from a dad in the movie that's been eating at me.  As he was carrying his child in a baby carrier and pushing another child in a stroller, he told another man who was married without children that "This [meaning life with kids] is where happiness goes to die."

At first, I laughed.  Why?  Probably because some of the hardest moments in my life have come with raising my children.  Add to that the responsibility I feel to protect them, teach them, and love them well; and it just seems downright overwhelming.  I laughed at the actor's line because I'm sure in my own melodramatic way, I've thought something similar; but today it hit me.  It's not happiness that dies when your first child comes into the world.  It's selfishness.

One of my friends is an amazing mother to seven children.  I watch her and smile.  She just does life well.  One day I remember asking her how she's changed with the birth of each child, and she said with almost no hesitation, "With each child, I've become less selfish."  Can anyone out there relate?

Before my beautiful babies, happiness might be coffee for me, a date night for me, a cookie for me, extra sleep for me, a vacation for me.  Umm... are you noticing a pattern?  Now as I reflect on last week, my heart is full as I remember where happiness found its way into my life.  It was in a bowl of ice cream I shared with my boys that they didn't even ask for.  It was in an extra story read just because.  It was in saying "yes" to a tricycle ride and "no" to my agenda.  It was in staying up WAY past bedtime so that we could eat pizza, silly dance to oldies, and go swimming at the hotel pool.  It was watching my sons treat each other with respect and play nicely for the longest period ever.
Yep, selfishness may come here to die, but a new happiness has been born with each of my children.  It has little or nothing to do with me, and everything to do with having the privilege of loving them well and watching them learn to love others.  That's not to say that I'm not selfish... because I am.  I really am.  When I think about the birth of our daughter, I am already groaning that some of the things I claim as my own will be gone.  And I'm not even talking about her stealing my shoes one day.  I'm talking about quiet evenings where I choose my bedtime.  The ability to eat what I want and take medication when I get sick.  The ability to sleep uninterrupted.  The ability to have a shower every day and to be punctual.  Yep, selfishness is going to be dying a very painful death, but she is worth it.  Each of my children is completely worth it.  And I know God has used each of them in a different way to shave off more of me so that in me others will see more of Him.

That's what it's really all about, isn't it?  I haven't arrived.  And the day I start to feel smug will probably be the same day that the pregnancy test has two lines, reminding me that I'm not in control, that He is, and that there's a little more selfishness that needs to die because more happiness wants to live in my home.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brothers will be brothers

Lately, I feel like I'm breaking up more than a few friendly wrestling matches around my house.  The boys have hit the magical age where they have to do EVERYTHING together.  Caleb wakes up first in the morning and begs to run in and wake up his brother.  Sometimes I can distract the big brother with breakfast, but I have to be quick.  Ben always wakes up first from naps and asks, "Bruh-ver?  Tractors?"  Then I have to distract him for an hour while his sleepaholic brother finishes his snooze.
This is a daily scene at our house.  Both of them reading together but totally separately.

Every experiment (this one about making a boat float) must be done together

Even when Caleb and I are just reading a book, Ben has to be in on the action.

But I'm glad.  I'm glad they like each other, laugh with one another, encourage one another.  Just in case this is getting too rosy for anyone, they also pummel one another, grab toys from each other, and call for a referee multiple times a day too.

But there are moments like this one, where we come back from the library and they are just content to be with one another and a big pile of new books, when I realize how blessed they are to have one another for companions.  There are also evenings like tonight where they run around the house laughing and chasing each other, and I just know that I wouldn't trade the craziness for anything.

And moments like this one, where Caleb read to Ben for the very first time.  Having both of them just makes it sweeter.  

A baby girl will definitely rock their worlds, but they're ready for it.  They figured out how to be brothers to each other; now they're ready to be big brothers to a precious little sister.  Heaven help the first boy who tries to catch her eye.  I mentioned that my boys already know how to pummel, right?