Friday, September 30, 2011

love according to andrew

a conversation

me, nursing the baby while andrew does homework at the kitchen table: "Porter always wants me to kiss the bottoms of his feet while I nurse him."

andrew, without looking up: "well, you love him, so why don't you just do it." and a nonchalant little shrug.

i have the most interesting conversations with a little boy who is just about to turn six.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

thoughts i keep coming back to

I keep a private blog of our family life, and was looking through it the other day when I found this post from early 2008. That was when I was in the throes of sleep training and heated sibling rivalry (one-sided, as Andrew had a hard time accepting his first little brother). I feel I have developed as a mother in many ways (though we never made much headway on the sleep issue; now it seems funny to me that i even seriously tried), mainly in that I am less anxious about some of the behaviors because I realize so much is just a stage rather than a personality disorder, but some of the thoughts still resonate with me so much. And some are even sadder now because the chapter has closed a bit on that phase of my parenting with Andrew, to whom these paragraphs were addressed. (Andrew, 11 mo on Middle East trip)

You have been repeating many of the things that i say. One thing I hear echoed back at me is: "Its too late. Too late!" I do say that to you when I give you a chance to comply and you don't until after I have already let that fateful "three!" fall from my lips. But I am also realizing that it applies to a lot more than just whether you get your LIghtnings back.

Soon it will be too late to have these days of a 2 1/2 year old boy who adores me and a tiny little baby back again. Too late to cuddle iwth you on the couch. Too late to have you want to sit in my lap and listen to stories. Too late to teach you gentleness through gentleness. Too late to show you that you are loved, that you are capable. Too late to enjoy our days together.

I realize that all is not lost and that I can (and do, I hope) show you that you are loved and are capable and that we are a happy family. But I also realize that these things will not automatically happen, that I can possibly waste teh days of my probation as a mom, that I can miss out on the chance to bond with you, to help you grow into a happy and productive adult, someone with confidence. It happens all the time, doesn't it? And no one intends for that to happen. We all go into this parenting thing so well-meaning.

You know, I really don't know what I am doing here, in this parenting thing. It is all a big experiment, every day, every struggle. I am guessing at what the correct method of handling a prescribed situation is, and I think you don't realize how lost I sometimes feel, how lucky and grateful I feel when something I have dreamed up seems to work.

It is still an experiment, and now that I have entered the Elementary School Phase of parenthood, I have a whole new curve to navigate. Back to School Night tonight was interesting for many reasons, one of them being the opportunity to see the different types of parents. I don't think I am much of a Tiger Mom, unless becoming grouchy counts. I just want my kids to be interested in the world, and confident in their ability to seek out and pursue the things they love. I am so glad to have the Gospel in our lives to help me in my efforts.

Despite all my mistakes and fumblings, we have had such a happy little time together. Remember?

Friday, September 09, 2011

september i remember babies once new have now grown old

Old enough for school, at least. Well, just Andrew. Will is doing a year of a home preschool co-op with some other moms, and I think it is going to be perfect. Andrew in his uniform, Porter in an outfit Andrew used to wear at that age. I bought it in Salt Lake City and it feels like 2 years ago.There actually was a really sweet moment just after I captured this one where the boys were all embracing one another, but this is what I have.
The water fountain is a big deal among these guys.
I think, despite how much I long to swipe his hair back off his forehead, that this photo really captures how he was feeling: excited and nervous.
We sneeked back to peek in on him. This is the back of his little head at his table.
I was so consumed with taking photos and being on time etc that I didn't feel my goodbye hug and kiss was meaningful enough. After he went in, I wanted to snatch him back for a big long tight squeeze. But it was too late. I cried on the drive home and avoided looking at the baby pictures of him around the basement. Three o'clock came surprisingly fast.