Yesterday we went to an auction for the kids’ school. It was full of incredible things to buy and I found myself more than once getting caught up in the heart-pounding adventure of raising my little number and making eye contact with the auctioneer. A quick nod to stay in the running. Swifter and less complicated than figuring out if a credit card is facing the right way and much faster than signing my name. Then the words, “SOLD!” and a nod to my trembling little self as I REALLY hoped I followed the auctioneer’s sing-song voice correctly. Yes, I paid twenty dollars for two homemade pizzas. Not one-hundred and twenty. Big sigh of relief. A few times I wasn’t positive. Or I was sure the number was at fifteen when it in fact had soared to FIFTY. I didn’t walk away with a few of the items I had my eye on, but some delicious pizzas and a home-cooked chicken BBQ dinner to be picked up in a couple of weeks, were some of my claims. Harry fell asleep on my chest, lulled by the smooth cadence of the auctioneer’s voice. I found myself toe-tapping a few times because it was just that catchy.
Speaking of school, Nadine and Elijah absolutely love it. They are making friends and growing deeper in their own personal ways. It is a joy to watch. Their teachers are incredible and it’s very evident they love what they do. The bus comes bright and early for them, and that’s been a nice break for me to not have to drive them each morning, but I still pick them up occasionally, because it’s a consensus that the drive home is one of our favorite parts of school. To hear about their day, talk about deep teenager things and debrief about life. In a year someone will be practicing to get their driver’s license, and I know this job won’t be mine anymore. My stomach kind of does a weird flip flop when I think about that.
Nadine is playing junior varsity soccer after school every day. She is a fantastic babysitter on the weekends, and is an incredible big sister. She knows how to make her little sisters feel loved, whether it means asking Elsie to help her with her homework (which is her cup of sweet tea!) or reading Betty a story.
Elijah has a natural bent towards photography, and is enjoying taking a class about it in school. He is even acting as a pinch-hitter for the toothfairy… who kind of retired about five years ago. And he’s much more creative too, leaving teeny tiny fairy-sized notes. Last month we had the privilege of having my dear sweet childhood friend, Nadine, for a night. It was a joy-filled 24 hours.
Jack practices his math skills, then works on flips. He reads through his spelling list, then works on flips. He plays with legos, then works on flips. He eats an apple, then works on flips. About half of his day is spent in flipping motion. His hand is all healed from the last break, and he promptly did the trick which broke it in the first place. A living breathing example of not letting our fears of past failures paralyze us from action. Wrestling started up again, and it’s a privilege to have this one-on-one time with him when I drive him to practice. He has a favorite play list of songs and I can guess which ones he will pick for our drive. The other night he told me he wanted to treat me to a coffee after practice. So we drove through Starbucks and he bought me a drink with his own money. He’s practically my size, but how did it happen so fast? I’m sitting here on our living room couch with his baby blanket wrapped around my legs.
Elsie had her hair cut this week for the first time in a long while. She also got new specs, which make her look older. It’s hard to believe in only 6 months we will have FOUR children in double digits. Right now we’re sitting at half and half, but the ratios are changing and our tribe is maturing. Elsie keeps me inspired. She loves order and neatness and has always had an eye for design. She rearranges furniture like a pro, and I’m not sure between the two of us, who is more excited for our living room renovation to be completed.
Betty keeps our world going around, with her practical no-nonsense self and sage-like wisdom. She can’t be intimidated by a messy diaper, a blood-gushing wound, or a stomach bug. However, keep her up past her bedtime and things can unwind rather quickly. She cracks us up with her dry sense of humor. The other day I remarked about Elsie being my right hand girl, since she had been cleaning all day. Betty replied in her dry way, “She’s a lefty. I’m a righty.” I about died. She snaps her fingers too. This morning she woke up with a smudged rainbow sneaking out from under her bangs from the fair yesterday at school. She’s trying to “collect money” which is why she is “trying to loose teeth”.
Harry. Just saying his name makes me smile and chuckle and wonder what he will learn and pick up today. Every day it’s something different. He can communicate when he’s hungry, say please and thank you in sign language, and blows us kisses. When he says thank you, he swings his arm vigorously against his cheek or ear. He knows so many words! Banana, bath, ball, bus, hot, and can mimic everyone’s names… although most of them sound like “Elijah”. He is a huge fan of Alexa, the Amazon Bluetooth speaker. Sometimes he yells at it with a smile: “A-le-le!” and when we tell it to say, “Hello, Harry,” he can hardly contain himself. He loves to purse his lips and whistle. I’ve never had a baby who can whistle, and he surprises himself every time.
He loves to eat everything. Enchiladas, chili, curry, sweet potato pancakes, guacamole, African food, bagels, yogurt, kefir, crepes, fruit, peppers, lemons… he loves to eat.
And all the praise hands: he is sleeping through the night now, for about 11 hours. Not exactly sure how it happened, but about a month ago he just did. Right around the time when I started weaning him. He nurses once a day now.
Matthew’s work is going very well. He has had a lot of doctor’s visits as well. We’re actually excited about having another surgery at the end of October to dilate his epiglottis which will hopefully help his breathing improve! We had a lovely experience this month called Dîner en Blanc. It was a magical night in a cleared out section of someone’s backyard forest, with long wooden tables and white lights strung throughout the trees. Everyone brought a picnic supper and we shared our table with friends dressed in white. That’s not the only thing that’s white around here. As I type, Betty is brushing my hair. She keeps me humble with her honest chatter: “I just saw a GREY HAIR!”
I asked her: “What do you think about it?”
“Weird.” Then she yelled across the room: “Elsie! Mom’s growing white hair. What if dad is?? You’re both getting OLD!” It is our motto, after all. Grow old with me. Old and white-haired and better by the day. I’ll hold up my number to that every day, heart pounding, until my dying breath.