Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love’s Rhythm

Sway left. Sway Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. 

Gently pat, pat, pat, pat. 

Nestled perfectly on my chest. 

Deep breath in, deep breath out. In. Out. In. Out. 

Arms tucked under him. Head resting peacefully. 

Sway left. Sway Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. 

Gently pat, pat, pat, pat. 

Mama’s arms wrapped around him. Strong, but soft.

Breathing in his smell. Feeling the weight of his body in my arms. Savoring the moment.  

Hearts beating to the same steady rhythm. 

Love’s rhythm. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

It Has a Name and I'm Calling It FOUR

About a week and a half ago Henry started getting fussy. He wasn’t laying down for naps like normal. And when he did, they were considerably shorter than normal. He was still mostly his happy little self outside of naps, but each day that passed seemed to get worse than the day before. 

I assumed his teeth were bugging him because he had no other symptoms, but then last night happened.

You see, Henry is normally a very predictable little guy. I can pretty much guess exactly how the day is going to go based on when he wakes up in the morning and the sounds he makes when he wakes up. Does he wake up at 7 a.m. screaming? Your day is going to be hairy. Does he wake up at 9 softly cooing? Your day is looking good. 

But even on the hairy days, I can almost (and when I say almost, I mean 99%) always count on him going to bed at night around the same time without assistance. Even when he got his first two teeth. 

So, last night when he refused to go to sleep on his own. And then refused to let me lay him in bed after I rocked him to sleep. And then refused to let Scott lay him in bed after HE rocked him back to sleep, I wondered if we were dealing with more than just a pesky tooth. 

This morning he woke up at 7 a.m. screaming and I knew today was going to be hairy. He would cry every time I put him down. He would cry every time I tried to hold him sitting down. And he would cry every time I stopped walking around the house. 

So, we went to see the doctor. She went through all the typical questions. Fever? No. Vomiting? No. Trouble eating? Not really. Tugging at his ears? No. He had no visible signs of anything being wrong other than being extremely fussy. 

She checked him out and then looked in his mouth. I was right — we were dealing with more than just a pesky tooth. He has FOUR upper teeth coming in. FOUR. She said one looked like it had just broke through this morning, and the rest are close behind. 

The good news is that I can put a name to all the fussy. I’m calling it FOUR. In all caps. The bad news is we have three more to go. 

And then, of course, the other 14 that have yet to make an appearance. 

Keep me in your thoughts. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, Loves

A very belated, yet extremely heartfelt happy birthday to my sugar and spice. 


Dear Grace-
Oh my Gracie girl. My spirit. My spice. My girl on fire. 

How is it possible you are six already? I am quite sure I will never stop being surprised at how fast time flies. One day you’re going about your business, living life each day and then boom — all of the sudden, your baby is doing math problems and talking to you about which boy she likes at school. And although I do miss you as a baby and a toddler and a sweet little preschooler, I am adoring this stage, too. Watching you start school and navigate all the ups and downs that go with that has been one of my greatest joys. 

This past year you have grown so much. You love school and learning and yes, boys. We’re not ready for that last one, but you aren’t really yet either, so it’s OK for now. You have a natural talent for math and are working so hard with your letters and reading. I couldn’t be more proud of how hard you work. Keep that up, sweet dear, and the sky is the limit. 

I have also loved watching you with your little brother. You have had to share since you were in utero, so I worried that adding another baby would make you and Claire feel resentful. I knew what little one-on-one time you had would shrink once Henry arrived. And it did. But you just rolled with it. Never once getting mad at Henry for me needing to take a nap or having to skip a trip to the movies or just generally being grumpy. He’s still the cutest and sweetest little guy you’ve ever seen and you still argue with you sister over who has had more Henry time. 

Speaking of your sister, let’s talk about her. Your relationship has weathered some storms this year. Since you were babies, you have had your ups and downs. She used to steal your toys and you used to scream at her. That same friction has existed over the years, but this year, the friction was more verbal — more cutting. It didn’t happen often, but it was hard to listen to when it did — you tearing each other down tore at my heart. I worried at times that things were getting too callous, but then I’d find you playing together and just giggling at some silly thing. I grew up with siblings, so I know the love/hate cycle, but I want you to — I need you to — remember something. You will never find another person in this world that loves you like Claire does. Sisters, especially twins, are special. You will have moments of white-hot fury. Moments that you think you can’t stand another minute of her. But her heart and your heart fit together like a perfect puzzle. You are the yin to her yang. Always remember that. Be her strength when she has none. Be her joy when she’s down. Be her confidence when hers is lacking. I know you can’t see it yet, but that sister of yours is one of your greatest gifts in this life. 

Gracie girl, I love you so much. I love your joy and your fury and your sadness. I love your crazy curls and the freckles that dance across your nose. I love your mismatched clothes and the sassy way you wear them. I love the way you want to hold my hand on our way downstairs each morning. I love how much you remind me of myself. I love how you’re still your very own. And I’m confident you’re going to take Six by storm. 

Go get ‘em, girl. 

Love you, 

Dear Claire,
My sweetest, loving, softhearted little girl. 

You are six now!!! Each year I find it difficult to put into words our year together. It was full of so many moments. So many emotions. So many hugs, laughs, tears. How could I ever possibly fit all of that into a handful of paragraphs? I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I’ll give it a try. 

This year you experienced many milestones. You finished preschool and left the only teachers you had ever known. You welcomed a baby brother with open arms and smothered him with love and kisses. You started Kindergarten and braved a new world without Grace. And you stayed just as sweet as you have always been. You still like to snuggle. And you love fiercely. 

You are excelling at school — with an aptitude for letters and reading. I could watch you learn to read all day long. And a part of me doesn’t want you to ever learn how to spell. What will I do when I stop getting these notes that are perfectly sounded out, yet hilariously misspelled? They truly brighten my day. 

You are still exceptionally sweet — just the other day I was reading a rather emotional book to you and as the tears started to fall down my face, you turned to see why I paused the book and gently wiped away my tears. You are sad when others are sad and happy when they are happy. The depth of your empathy never ceases to amaze me.  

You are, however, still very, very determined. And by determined, I mean stubborn. And by stubborn, I mean completely inflexible when presented with something contrary to your preferences. We’re working on it. Multiple times a day. And I have fingers and toes crossed that you will learn flexibility. Hopefully soon. 

You love to be silly and easily make friends. You are a master at physical comedy: falling out of your chair, pretending to slip on the wood floors, fake falling out of bed. We’re pretty sure you would love the Three Stooges. 

You love your brother to the moon and back and back again. Six months in, you still light up every time you see his face. You also love your sister, but that relationship is more complex (for obvious reasons). You enjoy pushing her buttons and watching the subsequent meltdown (she’s very dramatic, so I can see how this might be entertaining). But for my and your father’s sanity, I wish you’d push them less often. You two can be arguing about the most ludicrous, meaningless topic and then an hour later, be giggling together over something silly. I know this relationship will be headed for many, many ups and downs. There will be moments you can’t stand her. And moments you don’t know how you’d survive without her. So, please indulge me on this small piece of advice: forget the annoying moments. Or, better yet, remember them for later in life. They’ll make good stories. But cherish every single minute of the good times. She will become your best friend, your confidant, your co-conspirator, your sounding board, your shoulder to cry on. She will pick you up when you fall, hug you when you’re sad and, knowing Grace, tell on you when you need told on. She’s your other half. The salt to your pepper. The mustard to your ketchup. The spice to your sugar. Don’t ever forget it. 

Dear, sweet girl of mine, I love you more than I can ever fully express in words. You are truly the sunshine on my cloudy day. I love your snuggles and your whole-body hugs. I love your sweet soul and empathy. I love the way you climb into my lap and curl up like it’s home. Because it is. 

In this next year, I hope you stay your sweet, kind, loving self. I hope you loosen that inflexible nature. I hope you stay true to Claire. Do that and Six will be one of the best yet.    

Love you,