|Little boingy, dirty foot up in the air. Gorgeous.|
|Mornings with just Tadi.|
|Lillie's smile when she knows I'm watching.|
|Her deliciousness when she doesn't think I'm around.|
|I mean, those lips. Am-I-right? Get out of town, Lillie.|
|Sittin' on the dock of the bay....|
|The "Dream Team", or better: "Cheech and Chong".|
|Holding my babies by the light of the morning.|
|Hot day, no air. But we have a TV! And removable cushions.|
Ah.... How does one sit down and congregate a billion thoughts, catch 'em while they're swimming and quilt them into something coherent? It's tough. But I miss this. Writing, recording, recalling the little things.
First off, I'd like to announce Grace's movement into adulthood. She talks like one, moves like one and jokes like one. She talks to other moms like she is one. She does that knowing laugh, like she has extensive life experience and is about to offer it to a 35-year old friend of mine. She "gets it". She holds other people's babies. She knows what "kids can be like" with an eye-roll and a snicker and quickly finds common ground with a minutes-new friend. It's amazing and magic. She'll even do it with other Dads. She does not fear people. She engages them so smoothly they are off-put that a girl could be so friendly and I like to watch them recover from the unexpected.
She needs me, that Graciegirl. Every day. And I love it. She fits perfectly under my chin. We cheer together for her triumphs (all the multiplication problems done in under 5 minutes! Trying new food!). In the short time she's been at school she has reported to me that she is quite good at handball, she's overcoming her fear of jumping into a game of basketball and she has made many loving friends. Things are going well for her.
I was walking the girls home from school the other day and for the second time in a week, this gorgeous little boy tapped Ruby on the shoulder and said, "See you tomorrow, Ruby!", his brown eyes all lit up with charisma. Asked Dubies his name and she had absolutely no clue. Clearly, this boy adores her and she doesn't even know his name. That's our Rube.
Today I taped up paper for the girls and a couple friends to paint. Eagerly, each girl got started with their own pallet of colors and ideas. Over some time, Grace and her 9 year old friends were done painting their first pieces (a cupcake, sunset and peace signs). Ruby's project was still under way and we all walked over to observe over her shoulder a detailed portrait of a blue mccaw perched on the branch of a tree, with a radiant sun shining on its feathers. Beautiful and full of shape and precision, our little arty girl was deep in the throws of creation. I love her beyond the sky.
Lillie and I have a more understanding and appreciative relationship than we ever have. We've been through the ringer. I've had times in the spring when I was so wrought with despair over her that I'd just break down completely, unable to see a way to improve the situation. She is difficult but I failed for a long time to see that I could change and do better. When I was finally humble enough to change, the difference was immediate. I think Lillie sensed that I opened myself up more to her. I listened, stayed calmer (I still get frustrated, only a bit less now) and made a huge effort to take the time to let her brain run its course.
We still have our hard days but that little Lillie is still teaching me things, just as she did on the very day she was born. I was terrified that day and I still am, but am determined to be calmer and try harder. She is in love with preschool and having that for her has been a major improvement in her demeanor. I have noticed it has also changed how she interacts with other kids at the park as well. She introduces herself now and I can see her maturing daily. If I can just break her addiction to wheat thins I might feel better about her diet.
Oh, my dearest Tada. I try not to gush unequally about my little ones, but seriously Tada is my treat, a squishy little chocolate truffle that has major trouble with consonants. She is delicious in every way and I have a hard time saying no to her. We have time alone now a couple of days a week and it is delightful! She is fun and exciting to hang out with. Every dog she sees is like Mickey Mouse dressed up and is being led by a leash down the street! DODDY!!!!!!!!! Wanna PET DODDY MOMMY!
When she gets out of the car she is in a dreaded routine where she wants to do everything by herself and it really peeves me because she is my last baby, and I don't need her to be independent. It's not becoming! So I BEG her as I open the car door if I can carry her. She appeases me rarely but when she does, she closes her eyes and smiles against my chest as I cradle her into the house. Makes my day. She has me and Daddy in a corner and she knows it, we know it. That's the truth and I'm not ashamed.
So here we are, a family of girls working toward the good of the world and the good of each other.
There are days when I don't think I can do it all. Like, every day.
It is the strangest thing to move from one moment to another, having completely opposite emotions regarding motherhood. One moment, wanting to run out the door, down the street, jump onto a boat and sail away for awhile, with the silence and gentle tossing of the ocean as my rhythm.
The next moment, I lie on the couch clutching one of my babies in my arms, knowing... KNOWING FOR CERTAIN that having this family is all I've ever wanted.
|Tadi putting back half-eaten apples.|
|Painting with friends. If you're the youngest, you get to paint your body instead of the paper.|
|Little sister follows.|
|Look! Tadi's boarding!|
|Out to breakfast.|
|Put on Lillie's "Mimmuit" and wants to go "mimming".|
|Show and tell, ecstatic!|
|Had to take this spoiled thing to McDonald's upon request. "Wanna go McDonalshh ree bad!"|
|Waiting for a wave to come in on a calm night. Jake and his friend Greg.|
|Loves it there!|
|Your neighborhood nightmare. The noisy "shoes optional", "loud music dance party whenever", "parents yell a lot at bedtime", "girls will peek in your open garage" family.|