I compose imaginary blog posts in my mind pretty much every day, going about my normal routine and reflecting on the ordinary wonders. But for months on end, these fantasy blog posts are as far as I've gotten. It's just hard to get to the computer and get them in. I'm not going to bore you with the details of my mundane routine, and I'm not complaining about them either. Somewhere along the way I decided it was more important to be with my kiddos than to write about it. I hope the writing will find its way back in, little by little.
There are a zillion other things I should be doing right now. Making Roan's lunch. Organizing my posse of yearbook volunteers (I'm the senior yearbook advisor at Roan's school). Slinging code for the big project at work with the looming deadline. Cleaning up the mess of papers and yarn and odds and ends on my desk. I cringe at the thank you notes that have gone unwritten, the birthday and sympathy cards unsent. And just like on the Appalachian Trail, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, optimistic that somehow it'll all get done if I keep moving forward.
But I just had to pick up the pen, er, keyboard. We are closing in on a year with Maddox now and I am aghast at how the time has gone. I look at him and am in wonder how my helpless little monster baby has grown into a toothy, toddling little bruiser. And I think about where Roan is at now, making sense of the world and her place in it, and how this time with her has raced by so fast. And how I spent most of that time so freaked out about being a first time mom I'm not sure how much I was able to just relax and be in the moment.
That's something I've really been working on. Being in the moment. Being intentional with what I do and say. Surrendering to the overwhelming tide of What Is and letting go of What Should Be. And I think I'm getting better at it. Leave it to me to add "Chill out" to my To Do list, and then strategize about how best to accomplish that.
It amazes me how much kids cause you to reflect on and learn about yourself. Take your kids' nearly constant onslaught of wants and needs and combine that with school's and society's and the Jones' expectations about what you should and should not be doing as a parent. That little pressure cooker is like a crucible burning off all the fluff and distractions and distilling it all down to a core of truths about you as a person. I am relishing this experience.
But we all know you don't come here for my pithy witticisms about the condition of parenthood. You come here for pictures, right?! Here's what the kids are up to.
I guess the big news is Roan learned how to ride a bike, and Maddox is walking. See for yourself!
Roan is in her second year of preschool, in a mixed age classroom with 3, 4 and 5 year olds. (She's 4.) After stunning us by learning to read right off the bat last year as a 3 year old, she has grown progressively more resistant to reading at home. At the end of last school year she declared, "Reading every day is exhausting!" to which I wanted to reply "Good use of vocabulary!" I thought having the summer off would be enough of a break, but this fall she remained recalcitrant. I tried the tough guy approach, and watched it fail utterly. She began saying things like "I hate reading," which totally freaked me out. I unsuccessfully tried to Google a solution. And I was reluctant to talk to anyone about it because I thought people would be like, "Oh poor you, your 4 year old doesn't want to read. Whatever shall you do?!" But when I did finally talk to some other moms, one of them a school psychologist, they basically told me I needed to back off totally. Which is also, for the record, what Arwen told me as well, and naturally I was completely deaf to it coming from him.
So I took this advice. I apologized to Roan and let her know that I don't want her to read to me unless she wants to. And literally THE VERY NEXT DAY she made a total 180. After testing the waters of course. She wanted to see what I'd say when she resisted. And then, spontaneously, she read her book to me because she wanted to. Be tough, go easy on them, geez it's hard to know which card to play when.
She seems to be going through something though, breaking through to a new stage or something. She's very mercurial lately. One minute happy and fun and the next minute falling apart because she can't button her coat. Really. She got so upset about the coat and its nonconforming button that I couldn't drop her off at school this morning. We had to wait a half an hour for her to chill out. And then it was like a cloud had just cleared the sky, and she was herself again. I'm not sure what this is about. But I am noticing she seems to be somehow more mature and more capable, and I am dimly aware of my constant tendency to underestimate her. Periodically a readjustment of expectations is needed, and I think that's where we're at.
As for Maddox, oh my sweet little boy. There I go tearing up again. He is so wonderful. And I feel really badly that I have kept him all to myself, and I haven't shared him with you at all. Because he is a really lovely little person. So funny. So full of joy. He absolutely lights up a room. He's charmed all the gals at his daycare. Ugh, it's hard letting go of him.
I know, it's not exactly like he's headed off to college just yet. But the end of his first year is upon me, and that really is the end of something special. I have so enjoyed cuddling up with him, being close with him. And lord knows we've had a lot of those times, especially at 2, 3 and 4 in the morning. And as much as I do love a full night's sleep, I will miss those times in the night, holding him close.
He is still a big, chubby boy. Still has the double chin and chipmunk cheeks he was born with. And the fat little sausage toes I love so much. Still has his daddy's hairline. That cowlick can look rather dapper though. He's remained in the 95th percentile on height and weight. At 9 months (almost a month ago) he was 25 pounds and 30 inches. So far he's thrown himself at everything in life with all he's got. He's an enthusiastic eater (you knew that), crawler, banger of noisy toys, puller of dangly earrings, and even when he's hungry or sad it doesn't take much to get him to laugh. He's babbling lots of sounds now. A few times he's said "dada" and "mama" and meant it. He is curious about the way things work- likes to open them up, tump them over, make the wheels go. He doesn't like to stay still or be confined. Unless Mama is holding him. And then he doesn't want to be put down.
Ah, I love my little boy so. I look at him and think back to his 20 week ultrasound, when I felt so bewildered at the prospect of being a mother to a boy. Hard to believe I had a care in the world about that, given how natural he's made it all seem.
In other news, fall is beautiful here in Colorado. I'm always a little sad to say goodbye to summer. This was a great one. Camping trips, working in the garden, picnics, pools, even a cross country road trip to visit the Horrocks family farm in Utah.
We've had some lovely visits recently with Lolli & G-Pop, Feefa & Bubby and Gramps & K.
And of course we're looking forward to some spooky Halloween fun right around the corner.
I leave you with a couple more videos of the kids together.
And just one more of Roan on her bike, because I still can't get over it.