Elsie loves to sing. I love it when the other kids notice things about their siblings. Today Nadine said to me, “You’re right, mom! Elsie does like to sing!” Apparently she sings every night in bed after I go downstairs. Her current favorite is, “Zaccheus was a wee little man…” Except that she calls him “Ikea-us”. He used to be just “Ikea”, but that changed to “Ikea-us”. It’s too funny.
She also loves to sing, “A joyful heart is good medicine”… and she is truly good medicine. She is swiftly changing from a toddler to a big girl who loves to help me clean, change diapers, and cut onions. She still doesn’t like to go upstairs by herself, but she sure likes to roll up her pant legs by herself. She would prefer that I get her a drink of water, but when it comes to washing her hands, I take a step back. She is morphing into a beautiful butterfly and she loves her pretty wings. I treasure the moments when she’s still tucked in the cocoon of baby girl; when she barely folds onto my lap and we snuggle close. Her hair is almost never done, mostly because there is some sort of thing in my brain that doesn’t think that way. When I do dial in to the fact that it’s time to do something with her little mop she prances in front of the “mee-ya-your” to admire her “hair cut”. Sometimes she even has “two haircuts” or pony-tails.
We have funny little dialogues like this one: As I was looking at some zucchini and wondering what to do with it for supper, Elijah said, “It’s a pickle!” Elsie then said, “No, it’s an olive!” I chuckled with, “Actually, it’s a zucchini!” Of course, since it was funny at the time, it remained funny for the rest of the day and at supper Elijah declared that he didn’t like pickles. Sorry, mister!
Betty seems to know that she is going to be a big one-year-old soon, and is doing all sorts of big girl things. She loves to pull herself up on everything and grin, proudly showing off her three teeth. The second her diaper comes off, she crawls as fast as she can go. She loves to play with Elsie. They cook together with the play dishes and have a grand old time in the kitchen. In my kitchen, she loves to bang pots with wooden spoons. She also brushes her hair whenever she is holding a brush… just when do they figure these things out??
Jack learned how to read the book called, “Mat” this week. It was such a huge accomplishment for him. He looked like he won a thousand dollars when he got through it the first time. His desire to read is the strongest it’s ever been, and that encourages me so much. Most of the day is spent dueling bad guys and balancing mid-air between two chairs, but the moments he takes his time in his books, are fruitful moments. He challenges me so deeply, but he also tugs my heart so strongly. His bed is the one cozy spot in our house that gets sunshine, so I sometimes hide on his top bunk with a book when I need a few minutes alone. It remains my best-kept secret.
Nadine was recently given an early Christmas present of a bunny. She tends to it very carefully and thoughtfully. She is reading in bed every night, which is new for us. It’s exciting that she is starting to love to read. At a recent church function, she surprised us all by grabbing the mic and singing “Silent Night” solo and a capella! She does a very good job babysitting Betty while I make dinner, or if I need to do something. Whenever we get to hang out by ourselves, I will take a good look at her and feel like this little baby girl I used to know took flight, and a beautiful young lady is standing in her place.
Elijah is also reading up a storm. He would rather be on the computer, but we’re pretty strict with the time spent in front of screens, and encouraging time spent in front of pages! He is diligent when he sets his mind to it, and I love how his eyes light up whenever he learns something. He has a way of standing very close to me, multiple times a day, and clearing his throat and snapping his fingers right before he wants to ask me something that he’s pretty sure I’ll say no to anyway. His persistence is astounding. He is thrilled when he gets a chance to listen to the ipod, and he dances like no one’s business. Sometimes he’ll send me questions inside a paper airplane. He gets so tickled whenever Betty does something cute, and I’m constantly reminded of his babyhood when I see her grin.
These children are amazing gifts. I’m constantly figuring them out and discovering more about them. One thing that is consistently true for each one, though, is how much they love to spend time with me. Today it meant setting up the play kitchen in Betty’s room so Elsie & Betty could pretend together, and I had a few plastic sandwiches to eat. It also meant cleaning the boys’ room with Jack and guiding him through the process. He loved it. It means listening to them read, or actually looking at what they drew. It means sneaking up to their bed at night before they’re asleep and telling them they can go to the store with you all by themselves… in their PJ’s.
This mommy thing drains me to my very core, while filling me up to the brim. My energy might be gone at the end of each day, but my heart is full.