Thursday, April 24, 2014

Purple Shoes

Easter went without a hitch.

Somehow, I never caught whatever it was that made the boys sick. It actually only made them sick for a total of 3 hours, and then it was over just like that.

I bleached the whole house. I mean, hands and knees, used-up-all-the-spray-bleach cleaning, because The Dude, in all his 3 year old vomiting glory really made the rounds in those 3 hours. Still, I couldn't believe I was spared this time.

We missed the egg hunt, but had just as fun a one at home (probably more fun, Aquaman is not one for competition...).

We dyed our easter eggs,

made our resurrection rolls Easter morning,

and walked to the Easter service in the park.

We were late-ish and ended up in the front row. The electric guitar was screaming. Aquaman covered his ears. The Dude pressed himself halfway into me.
And somehow, the tears were rolling down my cheeks as our songs resounded across the park. "You called, and You shouted: broke through my deafness."

Pregnancy is an emotional time, and a preoccupied time for me. I still remember learning in "experiencing God" in the 7th grade that often God is quietest just before He does something profound in your life.
I have found that to be true of pregnancy. It is a deadened, tired time. A simplified time. And my prayers and study, though they remain constant, often feel static.
But on Easter morning, in the park, He called and He shouted to me. He broke through my deafness for a few moments.
There is something about loud praise music to me. It just makes me sure that is exactly what heaven will be like. This freedom that will lift up out of the muck and mire of my own tired thoughts and center on Him. Drowning out all the other noise. Leaving no room for distration.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard...what He has prepared for us."

And then there was Easter celebration with both sets of our parents at JT's parents' house.
The Dude had so much fun, and stimulation, that predictibly he had a one hour night terror a few hours after going to bed.
It was everything I had pictured Easter would be. I am grateful I wasn't sick, and that baby E stayed cooking just a little bit longer.

Now he need only stay in there for a few more days: enough for JT and I to fit in one more date on Friday evening. So far he has been very accomodating. I think he is going to fit right in here.

Last Friday night, I took Aquaman on a date. I've been wanting to do it, needing to do it. I don't get enough alone time with him. Some nights The Dude goes to bed before he does and we have about 30 minutes of get-ready-for-bed time, but often I am in a hurry, and exhausted and it is not the quality time it needs to be.

So when The Dude got up early and didn't take a nap, I put him to bed right at 7 and whisked Aquaman off to Moo's. He was glowing. So was I.

He asked me if this was "just a practice date, you know for the girl I'm really going to marry".
He confided that he knows he can't really marry me, but he wishes he could.
I told him, on the way, that Daddy opens the door for me on dates. And when we got there, he jumped out of the car so fast to open my door that I barely knew what was happening.
When I told him that lots of times Daddy and I hold hands on dates, he became suddenly shy when he put his hand in mine.
He told me he wasn't exactly sure who he was going to marry, because pretty much all the girls at school are nice. He confessed, matter-of-factly, that he was probably going to be a pretty good husband. And that he was definitely going to be a good big brother to baby E.

I agreed with both.

He couldn't believe I climbed on the motor operated teeter-totter with him. That he got to ride it "even though it cost money".

Or that I let him get chocolate AND sprinkles on his ice cream cone.

He would have sat with me out in the rain if that was what I wanted.

It was a very special night, and it only lasted an hour. I am definitely going to make more of an effort to do that with him.

He's changing and growing up so quickly. He wants privacy now when he takes a shower. His feet look so big next to his scrawny legs.

His "developmental" evaluation came back stating that developmentally he is exactly the same as his calandar age...meaning nothing about his intelligence but that he is not immature. Since we have requested he be held back for social reasons, Tk1 was recommended as a result of the developmental testing, and since he is also excelling in his school work and would be able to do 1st grade work and therefore "not get bored". But here's the catch...we'd have to apply for out of area and send him to a different school.

No thanks.

I had a moment of guilt for not wanting the inconvenience of it. And then I got over it.
In the grand scheme of Aquaman's education, whether he repeats kindergarten or goes to Tk1 seems pretty irrelevant. And uprooting him for his school for one year seems like a worse idea than letting him go be the smartest kid in his class (and make friends that he may actually be able to still see the year after).

At the marriage conference we went to a few weeks ago, we learned about very simplified "personality types": The Beaver, The Golden Retriever, The Lion, and The Otter.
JT and I are both definitely Golden Retrievers. We're easy going, we seek to please, we are loyal best friends. It's hard to say about The Dude being only 3, but I think it's pretty likely he's a Golden Retriever too.
But Aquaman...Aquaman is most definitely a lion. He wants to take charge, and he cares deeply about a lot of things. "But it matters to ME!" is his frequent wail when I break down in frustration and try to minimize his feelings.

Knowing that this is just who he is, and that it is not my job to try to make him into someone that he is not (it seems sooo much easier to be a golden retriever...I just want him to be happy!), has really helped me to be more patient and respectful of him.

For Easter, Gramma gave him purple shoes. He loves purple. They are very cool shoes. When he wore them to school for the first time, he said only one little girl commented on them, and that was to say: "I have those same shoes!" He was unfazed.

I read somewhere that having a persistent favorite color in early childhood is a sign of a very strong sense of self. Aquaman has liked purple since he was old enough to say purple. I like that. He is a boy who knows who he is.

I love his purple shoes.

 I don't know how it happened that I am now less than a week away from my due date, but here we are. It's hard to believe that by this time during my pregnancy with The Dude, I was dying to be induced, and was in fact scheduling my induction for the next day. (Of course, the anxiety of my twin sister's rapidly approaching wedding had a lot to do with that, I think).

With each of my pregnancies, right around this time, I enter a period of extreme ambivalence.
It's almost like a less intense stretched out version of the transitional phase of labor (not that I have ever experienced this stage, THANK you epidural!). A "what have I done?!" mindset. Perhaps even a shred of denial. This third time around, I am less intimidated by it. I am less offended by it in my husband, who experiences it along with me (and thanks me for not screaming "what have YOU done?" at him). I am not bothered by the fact that most people at this stage are moaning about much they "just want to meet their baby", or how they stare in delight at all of their baby things and spend all of their extra time imagining who he will be.

I'm not that mother.

I have purple shoes.

It's no offense against baby E. I felt the same as I lay in bed, a week overdue with Aquaman.
The baby things were piled up high all over the house. The clothes were neatly folded. The little tiny diapers, the baby swing and crib all set up in the corner of our 1 bedroom condo.
Was it too soon? Just barely a year of marriage, and we were about to be parents.

I cried on the way to my scheduled induction with The Dude.
It was so hard to say goodbye to Aquaman. Was I really ready to be the mother of 2 boys? JT was scared to death. The night before the delivery his friend had called and told him "how much worse" it was to have 2.

The first time, I felt guilty about this ambivalence. The second time I felt heart broken.

And then they were suddenly real.

Not that they weren't always real. I am passionate about the sanctity of life. I am committed during pregnancy to take care of my body and my baby.

But when that first peachy orange head made its appearance. When I heard the slightly strangled cry. When I saw JT's face fall as he tried to snap a picture and was pushed out of the way by doctor and nursing rushing to deep suction the meconium from a wide-eyed 6 pound 15 ounces of our baby boy....there was only love. Only the knowledge that this was forever meant to be from the moment the first pages of history were written.

And when I first spied The Dude's head, emerging in the birth mirror. When they lay him on my stomach and his eyes met mine. And a hearty cry that stopped immediately and turned to my voice. When the nurses left us alone for a full hour to just be.

And when Aquaman shyly entered the room, saying "he's cute. he's really cute", it was all so right.

So this time, I have been able to laugh at the rising panic in my throat about whether 3 is going to really be my tipping point.

It will.

And it won't.

My heart will grow one size bigger, and he'll slide his way into it, in his own baby E way. Different from Aquaman who struggled so to adjust to the outside world and brought out in me a desperate need to protect and love him through it. Different from The Dude who so comfortably in my arms and into life.

Just him.

Melding right into our purple shoed family. Right where he was always meant to be.

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