Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

I count my blessings every day, and I try to live with as much gratefulness as I can muster. Thanksgiving comes easy to me, and it’s my favorite holiday. All the best food with no gifts.

This year, I am thankful for the small grins my daughter gives me when she’s privately delighted. I’m thankful for the wrinkle in her nose and the downcast eyes when she’s scolded and trying not to cry. I love the soft strawberry blonde curls that swirl around the nape of her neck, and I’m so grateful to have her in my life, healthy and happy.

My son continues to teach me humility and new ways to laugh every day, and for that I am appreciative. I’m thankful for his politeness (when he’s not kicking his sister) and his willingness to love openly and enthusiastically.

I can’t talk about thankfulness without acknowledging The Husband. He finds new ways to love me and value me every day of our life together. I’m grateful for the way he throws his whole heart into loving our children. I didn’t have an overly affectionate father, so it heals me to watch him with Ben and Anna.

So that’s about all the gooey, sentimental claptrap I can handle for one post. Here’s a brief rundown of a few of the other things I’m thankful for this year.

– Citizen Wausau and the Gang of Four lets me be a grown-up once in a while.
– Working part-time so I have time to be the anal-retentive control freak I really am.
– Owning our own house where I can paint the walls with color.
– Redemption and forgiveness and all of the other graces you can find around the corner.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the Run

Anna started walking when she was 13 months old. Really, she started just after her first birthday, but she didn't start walking on a regular basis until a couple days ago, when walking became her ideal mode of transportation. She quickly learned the value of walking upright and how it eclipses crawling both in speed and convenience.

My little girl. She's walking. She toddles along, straight legged and clumsy, falling often, but able to get up now without having to pull up on something.

When Shiloh was a baby, Angelina Jolie got a lot of flak for calling her a blob compared to the sparkling personalities of her other children who she didn't meet until they were older. She called her infant a blob? How terrible. Well... not really.

I loved Anna desperately even while she was still in utero. After she was born and began growing, I was delighted and enamored with every new squeak, every new gesture, every spark of the special personality developing. But honestly? It's not until these last couple months that she's less "my baby" and more "my Anna." She has distinct likes and dislikes. She calls me "Mama." She plays hide and go seek with her toys. She claps and giggles and loves petting the dog. And now she's walking everywhere, suddenly with much more access to mischief.

She's becoming fully formed now. It's so difficult for me to remember Ben when he was still a baby. He's come into his own now, and he's my buddy, my entertainer, my shadow. This is who he is, more himself now than when he was a wailing infant.

So I'm feeling like I'm getting to know a new friend now, as Anna throws her first tantrum when I won't let her play with my cell phone, as Anna runs to greet me at the door when I get home from work, as she yells, "Mama!", when she wants my help.

My brain is fuzzy in the mornings, my eyes bleary, after yet another night of frequent wakings. Her sleep apnea keeps us all up at night (or at least the two of us) as she's stirring awake every hour or two in a hacking cough. I barely wake up now when I'm summoned into the dining room to feed and cuddle her again. Every night, I consider sleep training again, night weaning, so I can share the burden and lighten my load. But nearly every time, my heart goes into protective mother mode, and I go hug her as she yells and cries for me. So I resolve that when she has a clean bill of health, when the doctor tells me that she's fine and there's no reason for her to not sleep through the night, that is when I will start sleep training again.

In other news, Molly survived her spay surgery on Thursday. She slept most of Friday and yesterday. She's very cuddly and sensitive, and I hope she's not in much pain. That first day and night that she was home, she had diarrhea, and there was much ... um ... "leakage" where she was lying down and sitting. It was horrendously stinky, but luckily that resolved quickly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Imagination Tempered With Toddler-ness

This morning, Ben had a temper tantrum for no less than 30 minutes in our bedroom while Anna and I peacefully ate breakfast in the kitchen. From what I can make out from his shrieks and rants, he was angry that I had changed his diaper on the right side of the bed. Apparently, he wished that it had occurred on the left side, but he hadn't known that until after the change was done. Eventually, he pulled off his pants and his diaper and wouldn't budge from the room until I started the process over again on the left side of the bed.

That crisis conquered, we proceeded on with our day.

While those temper flare-ups (for the stupidest, most asinine reasons ever) happen at least once a day, I'm still bemused by his burst of imagination activity.

Picture this: We're at the breakfast table. He has a PB&J on bread, cut into the shape of a dinosaur (his "roar bread"). I have PB&J on an English Muffin, cut in half. He asks from half of my muffin, announces that it's a lion, and starts the Great War of Dinosaur and Lion at our dining room table. The war raged on in his head as the two parties tackled and fought, shouting toddler-ese obscenities at each other.

Another time, he's narrating the actions of Scoop (of Bob the Builder fame) as he terrorizes a small city of matchbox cars. "Uh-oh! Crash!" as Scoop finally is plunged off of the blanket chest into the abyss below. The trains regularly make runs around the living room of Sodor as they bicker back and forth about Bulgy's errant behavior and Toby's slowness.

When my BFF Mary came over last weekend to take Anna's 1-year pictures, Ben wanted to be the star. Contrary to his behavior from his own photo shoot months ago when he refused to acknowledge the camera, he jumped in front of the lens and started hamming it up with various Vogue-ish poses and grins. My boy. Delightful. I love him dearly.