The moments

by Rebecca on March 4, 2015

I walked into our bedroom to see Emma (3) doing a little dance. She was wrapped head-to-toe in her towel after a bath, and everybody knows there’s nothing cuter than a kid wrapped in a towel after a bath. Ryan was kneeling down in front of her, still taller than her even on his knees, copying her dance moves. They were giggling, and everybody knows there’s nothing cuter than a kid giggling.

I had just put the baby down for a nap. He still likes his legs to be wrapped in a swaddle blanket, which makes him look like a glowworm. Everybody knows there’s nothing cuter than a baby who looks like a bug.

Rex, 2015 1

The baby wasn’t sleeping, and everybody knows there’s nothing more frustrating than a baby who won’t sleep when he’s supposed to. If he didn’t take that nap, he wouldn’t take his second nap because we would be in church. He hadn’t slept well the night before. I was beginning to panic at the domino effect he was putting into place.

Lest you think I’m a crazy over-reactor, just know: I’m a crazy over-reactor. But this was not crazy overreacting. This baby’s weight is closely monitored. One change in his routine, and he’s losing weight. We’ve had a few fantastic weeks of weight gain, but I still scare easily. The last time we had a few fantastic weeks of weight gain, he had a crazy vomiting episode that sent us on an ambulance ride, followed by an overnight admittance to the hospital. Consequently, I’m just a little on edge, even when he’s doing well.

But he was babbling. The video monitor showed him having an intense tug-of-war with his feet, which he had somehow managed to kick out of his swaddle blanket. So instead of staying freaked out about the lack of sleep, I smiled. Everybody knows there’s nothing cuter than a baby trying to take his footie pajamas off his toes.

I knelt and helped Emma get dressed while she talked to me without pausing about her favorite My Little Pony character. She told me which character I’m allowed to like (Twilight Sparkle — she’s purple, my favorite color), and decided which villain she preferred (Discord – He turns nice. Sort of.). After her dress was on, she wrapped her still-chubby arms around me and I melted. Everybody knows there’s nothing better than a chubby-armed hug from a 3-year-old.

Emma and Rebecca, Feb 2015

Rex and Emma, 2015

I sat her in my lap on the floor and combed her long hair until it was smooth. Ryan was in the shower, Lydia (7) was heading down the hall towards me for her turn to have her hair combed, and the baby was still babbling away through the monitor. My Little Ponies littered the floor of our master bedroom, baby toys were mixed in with the pillows on our unmade bed, and there was a bag of diapers in the hall that needed to be thrown in the outside trash. We needed to leave for church in just a few minutes, but I still needed to do my makeup and hair, and Ryan still had steps to take for the Sunday dinner he had begun to prepare.

And I wished so bad that I could freeze that moment.

I’m not one to get nostalgic about my babies growing up — not too nostalgic anyway. I love watching them grow and progress, and I really don’t enjoy the constant care they need when they’re so little. Each new stage they encounter, each new talent or skill they develop, is so fun for me. People tell me I’ll miss this stage, and I probably will. But I also very much enjoy watching their lives unfold as they grow up.

Rex and Lydia, 2015 Lydia and Emma, 2015

But in that moment, I was nostalgic. Everything was perfect, from the messy floor to my damp hair that was beginning to dry funky.

It’s funny; the moments I would freeze at this point in my life.

It’s not the moment I kissed my husband at the top of the Eiffel Tower, although that’s a moment I’d love to go back to. It’s not even the moment when we kissed for the first time as husband and wife, although that may have been the most perfect moment ever. Those are the big moments; the moments I sometimes believe are the moments I’m living for.

No, the moments I would freeze seem to be the moments that are so routine, I may not even notice they’re moments until they’re gone. It’s the moments when things are a little bit chaotic; when there are just arms and legs and smiles and hugs and kisses and babbling and chatter; the moments when these little human beings and my husband and I are all together doing our little family thing that has become OUR family thing without us even noticing it.

Lydia, Emma, Rex, 2015

If I could freeze a moment, it would be that one — that moment of combing my middle child’s hair; that moment when the running shower, the 7-year-old’s footsteps down the hall, the 3-year-old’s running monologue, and the baby’s stories in his own language were the music of our house.

Everybody knows there’s nothing cuter than happy children noise.

Very, very soon we were making the mad dash out the door, rushing to church late — again. Ryan was buckling the baby in the van, and Lydia was buckling Emma while I was locking the doors and tripping over toys left behind.

Our little family has worked itself into clusters of routines, you see. It’s chaotic and maddening at times. But it’s also perfect. If I could freeze a moment, maybe I’d freeze that one — when everyone was busily helping everyone.

Or maybe I’d freeze the moment when I nursed the baby while Ryan put the girls to bed. Or maybe the moment when Emma wandered downstairs the next morning, rubbing her eyes while Lydia ate her cereal and the baby pounded his highchair tray.

Actually, I can’t decide which moment I’d freeze. And everybody knows that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

 

 

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7-year-old Lydia

by Rebecca on February 20, 2015

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Ever since Lydia turned 1, we’ve been taking her picture with her favorite stuffed animal at every birthday. I knew I was going to love the tradition when I started it seven years ago, and I always have. This year, it’s making me all sorts of weepy. SEVEN?

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I feel like this is the year when we’re starting to really get to know this girl. Of course she’s had character traits that have been there from the beginning, but this is the year that she’s turning those character traits into who she is. Eh… I don’t think that really describes what I’m feeling very accurately. I just feel like all the little pieces of her are combining right now to create… HER. I’m excited to see this human development phenomenon continue, because I’m sure we’re only seeing the beginnings of whatever it is I’m trying to describe.

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 Lydia is fierce. She will stick to her guns through a hurricane. But she’s also very meek. If there’s an audience, she stands back. Take that audience away, however, and there’s no stopping this girl and her intentions.

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She’s silly, as all 7-year-olds are. And like all 7-year-olds, she’s still learning how to understand when it’s time to turn the silly off. But she’s developing a funny sense of humor. We’re loving this phase — we laugh at her jokes not because she’s a cute toddler, but because they’re actually funny (sometimes). It’s a whole new way to relate to her, and I’m thoroughly enjoying this development.

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She’s kind, oh so kind. She has a soft heart for her brother and sister, and will do almost anything to help them feel happy. She rarely gets upset if I ask her to help with a sibling. She loves to write love notes to the members of the family. I have a whole binder of “Dear Mom, I love you” notes.

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She’s smart. She understands academic things so quickly, and she loves school. This year, she started a Spanish program at school, and we’ve watched in awe as she’s had tiny conversations with Spanish speakers. She loves to read, and hasn’t met a book topic she doesn’t like.

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She’s creative. Any item that comes into her possession soon serves some other purpose as she remakes it into something it was never intended to be. Sometimes this drives me crazy as it means her dresser is always littered with trash, but most of the time I love her creativity and zest for changing things into what she wants them to be. I hope she’ll only develop that talent, and I hope she’ll learn to apply that to herself; that she’ll see her own potential and do what is necessary to allow herself to reach it.

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6-year-old LydiaLydia, 6 years old 4

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1-year-old Lydia

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The gods must be angry — or not

January 14, 2015

“Do you think Rex is extra… strong? Or extra… smart? Or something?” I tentatively asked my husband a few weeks ago. We’re pretty gaga over our kids, and tend to think they’re geniuses at everything they do. But I was really wondering if the strength and intelligence I see in our 6-month-old was the same as […]

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It’s somebody’s fault

October 29, 2014

Two nights ago, I dreamed I was looking at the pile of unmatched socks I keep on my laundry room counter. I thought to myself how unattractive that pile looked, and wished I only had a drawer underneath the counter where I could stash them. Suddenly a drawer appeared, and I was giddy as I […]

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Moms have to grow up too

September 5, 2014

  I thought sending my oldest to kindergarten was hard, but it was nothing compared to sending her to 1st grade. Oh, the worries. How can she be away from me for the whole day? How will she figure out how to eat lunch in the cafeteria? How will she remember to take a snack outside […]

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3-year-old Emma

August 29, 2014

         Emma turned 3 a few weeks ago, and we kept with our tradition of taking her picture with her favorite stuffed animal, Dino. The idea is for her to still be taking pictures with Dino when she’s a teenager, but with all the loving Dino gets, I’m not sure the little animal will make it […]

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Rex’s blessing day

August 29, 2014

My parents’ 1-year mission as employment specialists to Detroit for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ended just a little bit after baby Rex was born. It was perfect timing because by the time they made their way to Utah on their way home to California, Baby Rex was 6 weeks old, and I was […]

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Emma’s third birthday party

August 21, 2014

Having a baby just one month before your daughter’s third birthday means you have no energy to do anything for said daughter’s third birthday. Thank goodness for a summer birthday that could be held at a park, and thank goodness for friends and family members who are willing to step in when Mama is a […]

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Baby Rex’s birth story: Part 1

August 9, 2014

This is a long birth story. I thought about cutting out major parts (and believe it or not, I actually did cut out quite a bit), but ultimately decided to keep it all for my posterity’s sake. I won’t be mad atcha if you don’t read the whole thing. Part 2 here Part 3 here […]

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Baby Rex’s birth story: Part 2

August 9, 2014

Part 1 here I paced the delivery room. Each time I had a contraction, I signaled to my husband and he would come near to rub my shoulders and neck while reminding me how to relax. That’s what I loved about hypnobirthing: it taught me how to trust my body and work with it, and […]

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