Y’all it’s been crazy over here.
I like to say “y’all” a lot now. I feel it is my right to use this word freely due to the fact that we now live in the country. Please don’t give me a hard time about it. At least I haven’t pulled a Madonna and adopted a fake accent.
It’s the small victories, right?
Speaking of small victories, I can unashamedly tell you that for the first time since I can even remember I am having a free day.
My biggest concern right now is what to make for dinner, and I am relishing that fact. Little One is feverish and sick and laying next to me on the couch snoring softly. Bigger One is off at school and I am sitting here in my favorite leggings, left with a real and true moment of quiet.
What is happening.
Life has felt so busy, and so nonstop, and so many big and little changes have taken place that I don’t even know what end is up lately.
But first things first: WE MOVED!
The Forever House is done and complete and we actually for reals live in it.
This still makes me giddy, even 6 weeks later. There is something about the views and the quietness of the country that does something good for the soul.
We are happy here.
However, moving is the worst, and I never want to do it again. That is all I’m going to say about that.
But having this as our backyard makes it all worth it!
Seriously. This never gets old. I do a lot of staring out windows lately.
There are still a few boxes to be unpacked but I have become quite good at walking past them until I no longer register that they’re even there. What can I say, it’s my gift.
Boxes aside, I am having a free day and that almost made me a little panicky. I forgot what to do with a free day! So I sat on the couch and listened to Little One’s snores for a solid 17 minutes and then freaked out because I had already wasted 17 minutes of my free day.
Then I decided that those staring-off-into-space minutes were actually quite productive and maybe even good for my soul, which immediately made me feel better…despite the fact that I haven’t even put on real shoes once today. Not even when I drove Bigger One to school this morning. That is the real state of affairs up in here.
I should tell you that days like this are rare but that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. (Confession: I love to say “foregone conclusion”. I heard it years ago while watching The Thomas Crown Affair and ever since then I’ve been looking for ways to sneak it into a conversation. What can I say? Something about Pierce Brosnan’s tufts of chest hair blowing in the beach breeze really imprinted that scene in my mind…whether I liked it or not.)
These days I feel like I have entered a new phase of life. A strange, new, busy season where my schedule, my brain, and my home are all constantly full. This often results in a full heart as well- yet in all this busyness, somewhere in the recesses of my mind and the corners of my heart I know enough to know that something is slipping away. And being replaced by something new. I think that “something” is my littles being little.
The boy, the baby, turned 5 last month and I sense with some amount of finality that this was the end of an era. My littles are becoming bigs.
Gone are the diapers and chubby thighs. Gone is all manner of baby gear and toddler gear and binkies and wipes. All that’s left is the ghost of a carseat. Okay fine, it’s a real carseat. Slow your roll. The children are safe.
Gone are the endless morning snuggles, and setting up breakfast as a formal tea party at 9 am because why not?
Gone are the days of free schedules and going to the grocery store at whatever time I of day I darn well please. Gone are the days of simply being with my little people all day.
Gone are the naps.
Did you hear me?
Gone are the naps!
Naps don’t call. They don’t send flowers. They didn’t even have the guts to tell me to my face they were leaving. They just snuck out the back door, never to return. Naps are dead to me.
It’s a bittersweet moment to realize that life is happening quickly, and that you’ve grown out of one phase and into another. It’s bitter because I sometimes miss the baby stage in all it’s scary, new, sleepless glory- and I will never get it back. It’s sweet because I daresay we have entered the actual “sweet spot” of child rearing. (By the way, can we just stop for a minute and acknowledge how offputting that term is?! It’s like in the movie Knocked Up where the guy and his buddies are all sitting in the waiting room waiting for the baby to be born, and one freind pipes in with his heartfelt mission to stand by his freind and help “rear” the child. Immediately followed by “Hey! Stay away from THIS GUY! He wants to help rear your children” jokes.)
Ah, but I digress…
The sweet spot! Yes! I think I may have just arrived!
It’s that place where both of my kids at ages 8 and 5 are both big enough to eat whatever, sleep wherever, communicate their feelings, brush their own teeth, play independantly (on a good day), handle their own bathroom business, and even socialize like a regular person. They are old enough to be somewhat independant but little enough to still openly want my affection and believe whatever I tell them.
Most importantly, they are still a safe distance away from Puberty.
I don’t know much, but I am fairly certain that by the time Puberty comes knocking, The Sweet Spot of parenting will have snuck out the back door with Naps. They’ll have run away together and they’ll be drinking Coronas on a beach somewhere, laughing at me as they watch the sun set.
Luckily not all nuances of littledom have left. The boy still runs around dangerously close to nude at all times, dragging his favorite blankie behind him. He really has a low tolerance for clothes in general. He is fully convinced he can go on living life in his chonies. To his credit, so far he has gotten away with it. He still basically wants to cuddle me at any time of day. The beauty of that is not lost on me. I feel the full precious weight of it every time I feel the weight on his little head on my shoulder.
As for the girl…
Where to start?
I am chuckling right now as my sister’s words ring in my ears. She used to always say something about the age of 8….
Oh yes, that it’s the most annoying age ever!
Her kids are 18 and 13 now so naturally I take her at her word. She has raised a whole person, after all. One whole kid. That kid turned out pretty cool. I should have been taking notes! I should have asked more questions! Because now I have an 8 year old and I think I get it.
It’s like their bodies are big so you are tricked into expecting them to be mature, or at least civilized most of the time. But inside they are still quite immature. They are starting to become more self aware, but not enough to escape being awkward.
It’s a strange time for us all.
She shows off now. She’s realized she is capable of getting a laugh, and they she likes this very much, so now she often goes slightly too far to get that laugh.
I catch her performing in the mirror. To herself. She is a pretty big fan of herself these days. She sings and dances and makes faces in the mirror..or dishwasher, or car window, or any reflective surface she can find. It’s actually one of my favorite things about this age. She is convinced that singing is her special talent and no one call tell her otherwise. I love her confidence.
She talks a lot. And really fast.
I find this to be most true at bedtime- that equally precious and heinous hour of night when you’re torn between wanting to tenderly snuggle your children and wanting to turn off their lights, toss them a cup of water, and bolt for the door before they can stall any longer. My kids are professional stallers.
I try to create time and space for them to say what’s in their little hearts, and sometimes whispering it in the darkness of their bedrooms while I scratch their backs is the easiest way for them to do so. I cherish these times.
Except, somewhere along the way, Bigger One has realized that this is her moment – and she pounces on it.
She senses when the prayers and songs and conversations about the day are about to die down and before I can easy myself off the bed she bursts out with something along the lines of “Something-happened-on-the-playground-and-I-want-to-talk-to-you-about-it!” in one breath.
My mom radar is instantly up and on and making that BEEDOO! BEEDOO! minion sound.
I sit back down and hold my breath because we all know that all the bad things happen on the playground or the bus. Right? Is this an irrational fear?
Then I watch her mind race to think of something to say. Which is often ranging from “Bryce farted!” followed by giggles, to some benign tale about how she snagged her tights on the jungle gym and how she was just “so mortified.”
Real groundbreaking stuff.
I will say this for her 8 yr old self: her heart is tender and open and bigger than her growing body. She prays with a thankfulness that rips my heart right open.
They are both generous with their affection and they openly openly want mine. They covet my time, my attention, and my approval- and I will sorely miss it the day that they don’t.
They may be full of it most days, but my little people are getting big so Cheers to the Sweet Spot of Parenting!
If there is such a thing.. I don’t know…maybe I made it up?