There have been moments, minutes, hours, ok days these past couple of weeks when I thought I might actually lose my mind if it wasn't for the impending start of school.
I love my kids so much. I am so thankful for them. Sometimes I even want more. (Don't worry, we are making sure that is not going to happen short of divine intervention ;)). But holy moly they can be overwhelming.
I remember thinking toward the end of last year....Aquaman just talks to much after school because he has been saving it up all day. In the summer time he will be home more and spread his talking out throughout the day.
Wrong. He wakes up talking a mile a minute. I point out that I have not yet had my coffee, or that I am working, or that he has morning breath so at least could he step back a few paces or go brush his teeth. He continues talking throughout the remainder of the day. At night, he talks during story time or game time, asking probing questions, pointing out irrelevant details. When I have prayed with him, hugged him, and headed down the stairs to make my evening tea, he comes out of his room with one more thing to say. When I am spending time with JT in our bedroom he knocks on the door to tell me the funny details of his latest book. I am listened out. I am tired. I have trouble finding the line to draw in asking him to stop talking. After all I am working 20 hours a week so that is 20 hours I cannot listen to him talk. So when he does talk during those nonworking hours I feel guilty not being available. Sometimes I do remind myself what the psychologist advised about when he is talking persistently about subjects that bore me to tears...it's in his best interest to remind him that not everyone wants to talk about what he wants to talk about, and sometimes he should find something that interests someone else and talk about that. But I am his mother. I truly want to be interested in what interests him. It's a fine line I tell you.
The Dude talks a lot too. He has zero concept about personal space, even though I try to tell him about hula hoop distance and asking before he touches people. So that means I get spit upon a lot. Sometimes because he is actually making sound effect spitting noises because he is a boy, and sometimes because he just spits when he talks, and he so darn close that it hits me every time. He gives me so many hugs, and I love hugs, but when I am right in the middle of cooking dinner and I don't KNOW that he is coming for a hug, and I just get blindsided by what actually feels like a tackle, sometimes I don't really love getting hugged. And once again there is guilt in that because I know he won't be 6 and hugging me every chance he gets forever. But sometimes...whoa...I just want a little notice. He craves attention. I mean, demands it. "Mom look at me. Hey mom, watch this! Mom, look what I made." Not 30 times a day, 300. And if I happen to be doing something like using the bathroom or getting him yet another snack and I don't immediately look, his feelings are shattered and he will probably do something like kick his 3 year old brother in the head.
Greystoke continues to be and probably will always be my easiest child. He was just born flexible and content. One of his favorite phrases is: "maybe we can do that tomorrow." He just goes with the flow for the most part. But right now he is 3, and 3 is a bit controlling and a bit emotional. When 3 is a boy who happens to have 2 older brothers and who also happens to think he is as big as said brothers, 3 gets hurt a lot and needs a lot of comforting. Mostly Greystoke just makes me feel guilty because I want to spend more time with him. He is so little.He is so sweet, and he gets so little of my undvided attention. I am looking forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays with him when school starts. I want to listen to his thoughts and ideas and let him pick things that he wants to do.
And then there is Scarlett, who turned 3 months old a week ago. I still don't get enough time to just stare at her, but I make an effort to stop and do it, often when I feel most overwhelmed. She is sleeping better this past week which helps. At her 3 month checkup we decided to go ahead and try Zantac for reflux, since she was waking up in the middle of the night and seeming uncomfortable and having trouble resettling. She really never screamed, and I often didn't even have to pick her up, I would just keep my hand on her and she would grab my hand and that seemed to comfort her. But she couldn't seem to sleep and that meant neither could I. And one thing I have learned from having 4 kids is that different kids respond different ways to things. Aquaman had reflux and was a miserable baby, but some of that was just his sensitive personality. He was much more dramatic about ear infections than Greystoke who had them constantly but barely seemed to notice them. Pain is a subjective experience. And Scarlett continues to have slow weight gain/ At her last appointment the pediatrician was much more encouraging about it, agreeing that she is obviously thriving despite her continued drop in weight percentiles. Her height is now up to the 95%. It is not because I am not making enough milk. She just spits up about 30% of it.
Anyway, whether it is the Zantac or not, she is sleeping now. She still wakes up twice to eat but goes right back to sleep. She has also stopped fighting her naps and falls asleep much more easily. Not sure if that was a stage or reflux related. Babies can be such mysteries.
She is so much to watch turn into a person though. She still smiles nonstop, she has begun "talking" more and makes a lot of grunting noises. But the biggest thing I have noticed is the laughter. She laughs all the time. Often at nothing in particular, just out of nowhere, shrieking laughter. It totally makes my day. Greystoke was a sunshine smiler like she is, but he still is hard to get to laugh. He is just so chill it takes a lot to make him cry or laugh. But she is a giggler. She thinks life is exciting. Her biggest laughs are right after something (or someone, let's just be honest here), startles her. I love her for that. She is so tiny and so resilient, and so beautiful.
I had hopes that her eyes were going to be like Daddy's. He has these green/amber/almost hazel eyes that I love and none of our children have had them, though Greystoke's do seem to be a greenish brown sometimes. But her eyes seem to be getting darker every day. Right now they are the color of the ocean on a cloudy day, a dark and rich green/gray, and I suspect she will also have greenish brown eyes of Greystoke. Her hair is still quite dark, and she gets an awesome tan. Which, when I picture someone with the name we gave her, those features are just what I picture, so I love that. It's hard to believe she could have a red haired, blue eyed freckled and fair skinned brother, and 2 brothers somewhere in between but it is so fun to have 4 such different kids.
Despite her nonexistent BMI, she has tiny little rolls on her legs and I love them. I kiss her all over and try not to think about the days when she will feel uncomfortable in her perfectly made imperfect body. I hope she will see it for the miracle it is, and not for all the things she wishes it was or thinks it should be. I hope when she looks in the mirror she will see the beauty inside of her shining through the eyes, whatever color they end up. That's what I hope.
I am feeling better right now. Grandma took the boys to the zoo this morning and ended up being gone for 6 hours...they are on their way home now. I worked for 2 hours and spent the rest enjoying the baby, enjoying JT who is off today, and enjoying the quiet.
When Scarlett got fussy, I packed her in the car and we took a long walk on the beach. That is my healing place. I told her I know we won't be just alike and that I look forward to getting to know who she is, and what is inside of her, but I told her I hope this is her healing place too. I hope to someday get back on a surfboard now that I am done having babies, but if even if I never do, I will always remember the way it felt to slide under and into the waves. To feel the wildness around me. To feel the hand of God.
God is everywhere. He's in the quiet house that is usually swarming with wild boys, in the soft firm grasping fingers of a baby girl, her squirms and cries when her belly hurts. In the neverending words, the hugs, the tears of little boys. He is in the hurt and struggle of the world and the people around me that sometimes weighs so heavily. But I feel Him most in the quiet. In smell of salt and the hint of past tropical storm swirling in the air.
"He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul."