Friday, May 1, 2015

One More Day

 Tomorrow my littlest baby boy turns 1 year old. Last year at this time, JT and I were drinking Tropical Smoothies in the car while The Dude slept. We had just come from the doctor, and I would be induced the next day. It's hard to even remember who I was before I met this guy.
Funny how one person can change you so much, even when he is not your first.
 Each of my children have forever changed who I am and will be. Each one has forever changed the way I look at the world, and how I respond to it.
 I've learned tolerance for things so different from me, that I've struggled to understand. And acceptance for things a little too like me that have been just as disconcerting.
 When my oldest was set, screaming, in my arms I knew the powerful love of a mother for the first time. When my middle boy was placed in my arms for the first time, crying but instantly quieted at my voice, I felt that same power. And when my baby boy, the 3rd boy, the boy I never wished would be a girl though so many think I should have, lay quietly and soberly in my arms for the first time it was as powerful and life changing as the first.
 That's just how God works because He's always working. With new beginnings and new hope and new life.
 Last year at this time, Greystoke's name meant very little when I said it. Sounded maybe even a little foreign and weird when I spelled it out for the nurse in the delivery room.
Now it is laced with meaning and emotion, and this strange, settling, sort of...calm. The kind of calm that he has brought to our family.
 Greystoke is changing a lot. He still prefers to be held. He still wants to nurse a lot, especially at night, and I'm a little afraid that he has another ear infection brewing because he's been stuffy for over a week, and grabbing them, but I'm hoping if he does he can just fight it off like he did the last one.

He is getting on his feet more and more, and yesterday, for the first time, he discovered how he could push a toy with wheels around the living room, though his front half was trying to go a little faster than his back half could go. 
He is crawling up the stairs now with ease, and remembers to turn around and go backward for a quick descent.
He is still very quiet. He doesn't make the same noise as the other 2 always have. Very few shrieks and squeals, less babbling. But he does have some true words. Ball, is quite consistent when he feels like it. Wooooow and Whooaa remain favorites when something crazy is happening, like bouncing up and down in the crib. Occasionally, he graces Daddy with a Dada. And, only when crying and looking for me, me with a Mama. I've heard him say "what" and "that" a few times.
I understand his quietness, and I appreciate it. I am quiet too. I love the quiet. It leaves me room to think and daydream, and just be. There is nothing more settling to me than a comfortable silence. And we have that a lot, my baby and I. 

 Playing on the beach last night, watching him point at the birds as they landed nearby, I had a sudden flashback to one year old Aquaman. "Bird" was one of his first words, and he said it like "a bir!" Later, when you would ask him his name, he responded the same way. I only realized later that he was actually saying his name, and not just telling me that he was a bird.
He used to laugh so hard with me, even though he didn't know the joke.

 Aquaman has had a difficult week. We missed a few of his reflux meds earlier in the week and he began complaining of stomach pain, but I figured it would go away. But by Tues night he had a low grade fever and was still complaining. There was brief concern for appendicitis, but I think that concern has passed. The temp is gone, the stomach ache hasn't. He hasn't eaten more than 2 bites of anything pretty much all week. Today I sent him back to school, because his fever was gone and I wasn't sure what else to do, though he was up again in the middle of the night sure he was going to throw up. I left a note for the nurse to let him come home if he gets too miserable. But I know my Aquaman and his sensitive conscience.
I've picked him up with a 103 fever and glassy eyed because since he knows how much he hates school, he figured he better not try to get out of it.
Sweet kid.
 But other than the belly issues, he is doing just awesome.
He lost another tooth last night, just pulled it right out of his mouth like it was nothing. I never thought he'd be so tough about such a thing.
He's got friends. He's trying really hard not to be bossy with them. They seem to get him. Most of them even have the same hair, funnily enough.
 His reading gets better every day. I still have to make him read most of the time, but sometimes I catch him when I am reading to The Dude, sneaking a book out of the bookcase. I'm trying to get interesting books at the library to dangle at him, without actually pushing them at him, because that's how Aquaman works- it has to be his idea. There are very few words he doesn't know during his reading time now. He reads one line and then he talks about the pictures for 10 minutes, and he wonders why it takes him so long to read a book.
He just likes to talk. He has a lot of ideas, and a lot of questions. He sees things most people would never see.
 We've been talking a lot. Talking about Jesus, talking about how to follow Him. I still read to them in the mornings, but sometimes it gets so crazy. I've found that the best way to minister to my children is simply to be there in the moment. To have time with Jesus myself before the craziness begins, so that when a moment comes when I have an opportunity to teach, I am ready myself. He always listens. For all the stubbornness he has, all the intensity, I have never seen a child more interested in hearing the word of God even when he is being corrected. God has placed a new heart in Aquaman. It awes me to see it.
 And The Dude- what can I say? His current favorite game is called "rough catch". It is best performed in the nude. I don't entirely understand the concept or rules, except that there are probably none short of that if the baby gets hold of the ball there will be no mercy.
There is a lot of bouncing around, quick falls, and occasional screams. There is usually a ball. Doesn't matter what size. He loves to play. His head is the size of an 8 year old's, and his bottom is the size of an 18 month old's.
 And his heart, well it can't even be measured. He is infuriatingly contrary, but he wants so much to please, especially his big brother. He and Aquaman have, as suddenly as they began fighting all the time, started really getting along again lately. They play chase games with Greystoke's "Lambie", much to his chagrin, as he huffs and puffs after them on one knee and a foot.
 But lately, Aquaman has been wanting to get down and play with Greystoke, who is increasingly more interesting and interested, and that breaks The Dude's heart. That's his Aquaman, after all.
 But he's doing ok. He loves to sing. This morning he played and very seriously sang and danced to every song on his "Big rock candy mountain guitar". He can't wait for his "end of the year performance" at preschool, and neither can I.
 Work is wild. There are a lot of bad and stressful things happening there. I have wondered if I should stay, but for now, God says stay.
It is the best place I know how to minister to the least of these. And if I help one person while I am there? That is enough for me. So I lay low, and do my best, and come home to an even more chaotic scene. And maybe someday God will move me somewhere else, and I get excited just not knowing where we'll be in 10 years, and what He'll do. And knowing that it doesn't even really matter what it is, as long as we're following where He goes.

I'm even starting to look forward to summer.
So much has changed since last summer. This year there can be long hot days at the inlet like we had the other day. It was amazingly relaxing.
 And messy picnics and lots and lots of water play.

 And rough catch. Teddy bears.

 Exploring the world through a one year old's eyes.

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