I've been writing a lot lately. But it's all been in my head, and none on here. You go through seasons, ya know? Sometimes I am writing about whatever comes to my mind, not being picky at all, sometimes I just don't want to write unless it's something really profound. One of the reasons I started this blog was to try to be better at documenting life, so that one day I could go back and remember. So I might now have a whole lot of profound to say tonight, but there is a lot of remembering to be done.
I paused after I wrote that first paragraph and I just read this article. Oh. My. Goodness. Truth. Truth so profound I was laughing out loud relating to being ruled by the small army of children I created to feeling the tears roll down my cheeks thinking about how this stage is already going so fast and I don't want it to ever end. (you should read the article. then come back)
I tell people all the time, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, but if I could stay here forever I would do it. When Shaun comes home from work each day the relief that sweeps over me as I see his truck pull into the driveway is like a tangible force. The reinforcements are here. The back-up troops have arrived. Sweet Lord I made it to this point in the day.
This motherhood thing has been harder than usual lately. Drew hasn't napped in almost 2 years, and now Isaiah isn't napping every day anymore either. Jaden is hit or miss... he naps four hours one day and a half hour the next and I never know what kind of day it's going to be until it's happening. We are in a weird, no-routine funk and I don't have any moment of the day to myself anymore and we are all driving each other crazy (in the best and most loving of ways.) For the last week our house has been swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. And I'm just hanging onto the pendulum for dear life, trying to be some kind of anchor of stability, but my brain is so frazzled I literally can't remember what I should be doing next, then I remember I made a list, then I can't find my list. Then I think, oh well, who cares about the list, I just need to be the.... crap, what was the word?? That thing that is part of a ship? It holds it in place so it doesn't move??? Dang it what was the word? ANCHOR! Seriously, I lose my words all the time. (Besides telling people this is the hardest thing I've ever done, I also tell them I used to be smart.)
I totally digress.... Anyway, our house goes from well behaved little boys painting water color pictures at the counter all happy and content one minute, to three boys fighting and screaming in the living room the next. Usually the fighting starts because one boy was pretending to be a T-rex and attacking the other boy, saying that he is a long-neck, while the other boy screams that he's not a long neck and doesn't want to play dinosaurs, while the third boy just wants to be in the middle of all the action until he gets knocked down, then he glares at me from under his furrowed eyebrows while sitting on his squishy little bum like "how could you let this happen to me?!?!" And I don't know whether to deal with the boy who is screaming, the boy who is instigating, or the toddler/baby who is reaching to be in my arms first. (Speaking of instigating... they know and use the word "instigator" often... I think they think an instigator is a distant relative of an alligator, and they know that who ever is being the gator is being the bad one, and it cracks me up hearing a big word like that coming out of their little mouths...) Then sometimes, they are playing go-fish in the living room calmly and sweetly one minute, running into the kitchen to show me their favorite fish cards, giggling and talking together, and then, BAM. I still don't know what happened exactly, but I think one boy's foot brushed against another boy's card pile, and that boy is a little bit of a perfectionist, and the un-tidy card pile was apparently reason enough for a full body contact football tackle that caught the big-footed boy completely off guard. Then the boy with the feet retaliates by kicking the rest of the card pile clear across the living room floor, which leads to screaming on the part of both parties. And the littlest boy? He screams just to feel like he's part of the group. (I mean, you wouldn't want to be the only one not screaming when it's clearly the cool thing to do.... our poor neighbors.) Also a possible scenario... you send them all up the stairs to get ready for bed.... one is diligently changing into pajamas, one decides to go into the bathroom and steal his big brother's toothbrush, and one decides to neglect his pajama-changing duties altogether in favor of one more run down the hall way pushing his big tractor... only he is staring down at the tractor and his rapidly running feet so intently that he doesn't see the space heater looming in front of him, and he crashes into it with all his might square in the forehead, and within seconds he is absolutely wailing, and your husband is running downstairs to fetch a bag of frozen veggies for you to put on the big purple bump, and your oldest son is finding your youngest son sneakily using his toothbrush at the exact same time and now they are having a shrieking toothbrush stand-off and your head feels like it might explode too even though it wasn't your head that crashed the tractor into the space heater... (p.s. these are all real-life scenarios that have taken place within the last 24 hours in our home)
Welcome to my life, where things are not perfect.... I trust you can relate? Finally yesterday Shaun and I talked, we decided we have had enough of the screaming and chaos, and we developed a strategy. When the fighting breaks out, both Drew and Isaiah go to separate rooms for time outs, they can come back when they have a change in attitude. As for Jaden, he usually just picks a room and puts himself into time out with one of them even though he did nothing wrong (other than increasing the decibel levels). After all, if big brothers are in time out, it must be the place to be. Shaun encouraged me before he left today, "stay strong, this might be all you do all day, but you can do it." (It wasn't long after he got home today that I laid across our bed face down and mumbled that I was putting up my "out of office" away message...)
During one of the earlier time outs of the day I was working in the kitchen, and Isaiah was sitting on the steps, and I could hear him talking... "I'm getting ready to be in a different attitude. I am almost done my bad attitude. Mommy, now it's my good attitude coming!" And I was cracking up. In the most un-likely of times these boys make me laugh hysterically. Sometimes against my will. When they would come out of time out I would make them show me their smile so I could see their good attitudes. Isaiah would give me this totally cheesy, squinty eyed, close lipped smile, Drew would be smiling genuinely, but trying to hide it behind his hands because he's not so open with his emotions, and the smile was getting the upper-hand despite his best efforts to stay serious.
Can I just say though, while the time-outs were innumerable, and at times I felt like I was stuck in a repeating loop over and over, I think maybe we got somewhere today? Shaun had worship practice tonight, so I was by myself for bed time routine, and after all three of their little bodies were changed into jammies, and their teeth were all brushed, and they were all tucked into covers, and Drew had chosen the bed time story of how Nehemiah re-builds the wall, and we read together and everyone relaxed into quiet, all three of them clinging to me in some way, Jaden nursing, Drew wanting my arm around him, Isaiah holding my hand and giving me kisses... Oh my word. These boys. I can't get enough of them. Someday I will have to let them go. As they were falling asleep I was praying for their future wives. It hurts so bad to think of giving them up, but I know it will be right when the time comes, and it only makes me all the more thankful for these days that I am the girl in their life. That they whisper that they love me, that they kiss my hands, that they come to me for their hugs and want to snuggle, the way I nuzzle my face into their soft little cheeks and necks more times in a day than I can count, that they are learning what love looks like, and that I get to be the one to show them their worth... it is more than I can handle. The preciousness of it all overwhelms my heart. What in the world was God thinking when he put these souls into our home, all together, and saw me fit to raise them up? He sees more in me than I know is there. Because somehow even when I feel like I am "out of office", all it takes is one little hand to reach for me and I just can't resist.
As I scan my memory and the details of the day flash in my eyes, I see so many sweet moments scattered in amongst the crazy. Drew waking up in our bed this morning, rolling over to see me watching him sleeping, his sweet little smile coming into his face as he looked back at me. Isaiah asking me to help him pick out his clothes, choosing the red shirt with the lion emblem on it, getting himself dressed and so proudly showing me he remembered to put underwear on today. Isaiah taking the juice cups to the breakfast table for everyone. Painting canvases at the counter together. Picking Jaden up and setting him down about a million times, shifting his baby weight onto my hip, the familiar feel of his little hands holding onto my arm. Drew's fruit-on-the-bottom cherry yogurt at lunch being turned into a volcano in his imagination. Holding them on my lap watching Peter Pan in the afternoon. The hundred smiles, their eyes looking into mine, their beautiful little faces so full of life.
I'd stay here forever if I could.