Mother’s Day – The Things and the Stuff

This Mother’s Day marks my sixth as a mama. That fact alone holds so much beauty and pain…my breath catches and I remind myself…breathe. Oh this day, this beautiful day to honor our moms…it can be fraught with longing and sadness. And because of this…this mixed bag that is Mother’s Day, I though I’d share one of my favorite memories…the one that still makes me giggle…my very first Mother’s Day.

I’m a second born. And I had a bossy big sister. Oh, I love the woman. She is the one you want if ever things need to move along in a certain manner. She is the one who dots her i’s, crosses her t’s…and makes sure that yours are dotted and crossed…just right. God, I love her. Anyhoo, because of this glorious force of nature, I DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO. By anyone. Thank you, very much. I especially do not want to be told by a greeting card company that I MUST celebrate someone or something on a certain day. And so, entering into my first Mother’s Day, I boldly declared to my beloved Phil, “There will be no cards for me. Absolutely none. We will not do all the things and the stuff. That is ridiculous. You all love me well every day. We are skipping this whole crazy mess.”

And we did. Until about noon o’clock on Mother’s Day. We had gone to church in which mom’s were celebrated. And all the mama’s looked so happy. And then Face Book. Right? And then we stopped off at Phil’s “daughter’s” home to give her a Mother’s Day gift…and that was it.

We got back to the car, and I softly said, “Phil. I have made a terrible mistake. I want it. I want it all. I want all the things and the stuff.” And Phil watched me to see if I would laugh or cry. I did a bit of both. And I learned a valuable lesson: when it comes to motherhood, just go with it. There is a rhythm and a flow established by those FAR wiser than me…just roll with it.

This Mother’s Day, may you enjoy the things and the stuff.

 

 

Eden — Four and Nine

Eden is such an enchanting girl. The girls wears her heart proudly on her sleeve. Good thing her heart is so lovely. Well, except for when it’s not. Even then, I adore that she is authentic in all that she is…hides nothing. She’s a breath of fresh air in a weary world.image

At four years and nine months, Eden:

  • is not satisfied with a simple, “no” reply. Eden’s version = “No, ho, ho!!!”
  • has named the phenomenon in which one sneezes and toots at the same time. It is an achoo toot. Quite appropriate, I think.
  • has mastered the remote. And life will never be the same.
  • does her own laundry. Or more accurately, can do her own laundry. Joyfully. Because she’s only four. (Phil is da man behind any chore stuff…teaches the girls to do laundry, to sort laundry, and to put away laundry. THANK GOD for this man.)
  • has discovered the delights of the chicken leg. And she’s terribly sad that only two legs come with a bird. AND, she’s discovering where chicken legs come from…which, yes, gives me pause. It freaks her out a bit that chicken legs are…CHICKEN LEGS. We may have a future vegetarian on our hands. We’ll see.
  • enjoys pork chops, but believes them to be chicken. She even asked, “Is pork chop a way to say chicken in French?” Hmmmm. Not so much.
  • looks for the recycling symbol on all of our food containers. Thanks, Rocky from Paw Patrol! We love you, buddy.
  • has embraced the joy of our new compost bin. Fun science stuff!
  • loves to play “house” with Denver. There are exactly two roles in house = the mother and “the dear.” I love that the kid is “the dear.”
  • greeted me one day with, “Mom, you’re just the woman that I wanted to see.”
  • thinks it is pretty hilarious to say “vulva hiney, vulva hiney, vulva hiney.” Yep, that’s a good one, kiddo.
  • unleashes her fury upon me from time to time. This one will need guidance in taking a moment or two to calm down before speaking…as does her mother! And just like me, she almost immediately regrets the words that flow forth. Case in point:
    • Eden: “When I am older, I am leaving and I will NOT be in your family ANY MORE!”
    • Me: “Oh! I’ll miss you. But I understand.”
    • Eden: “Well, I’ll stay close…in the neighborhood. And I’ll visit. BUT when you are mean, I will leave to be with my roommate.”
    • Me: “Sounds like a good plan.”
    • Eden: “But I’ll miss you when I’m gone.”
  • blesses me beyond measure.

Chick Pea — Twenty-Three Months!

Just one month shy of two, yet with the wit and wisdom of one MUCH older. This girl never ceases to amaze me with her fearless ambitions. I have rarely seen anyone move forward toward a goal with such unwavering faith that it will be accomplished. Whew. She keeps me on my toes!

At twenty-three months, Chick Pea:

  • loves to wipe up messes. This comes in handy around here. She’ll look at me, with a rag in hand, “Clean?” Oh yes, baby girl, you knock yourself out.
  • has caught the Paw Patrol frenzy that exists within our wall. Though it sounds like “Bubbles,” the girl is saying “Paw Patrol.” No doubt.
  • brushes her hair…just like the big girls. (I adore how proud she is to be just like Eden and Denver.)
  • says “Good night” with absolute clarity.
  • can count. It goes something like this, “two, free, bap!”
  • says “thank you,” of her own accord. Sweetie girl.
  • loves our new dog, Lady. Perhaps because Lady will let Chick Pea love on her…or more accurately, because I let her love on Lady. Sadly, I often find myself limiting Chick’s affections on others…cause girl likes to smother the baby…and poke at her eyes…so I’m forever saying, “Gentle, Chick Pea. Don’t hurt the baby.” But Lady is gentle enough, yet sturdy enough to happily endure Chick’s affections. Lady is going to be sooooo good for our girl.
  • throws the ball at the dogs to play fetch. It’s awfully cute.
  • likes to wear panties…over her clothes.
  • calls animal crackers “baubbs.” Funny how some words are crystal clear and others are garbled.
  • can sign so many words…I’ve lost count. Smarty pants can remember just about any sign she’s ever seen…even if only once. I would put her sign vocabulary right around 200 words. BOOM.

A Little Bit Crazy

Okay, on the whole, I’m pretty sane as human beings go. Oh, but there are moments…when I lose my natural mind. Lose it. And heaven help us all (the fam) when I do, cause there is no talking to crazy.

Here it is folks, this morning’s gentle shove…right over the edge:

imageI look at this photo now and I see color, order…a cute little kitchen. I see that now. But this morning? Sunday morning? At 8:05? I saw…failure. I saw…I never, ever, ever, ever, ever get a break. I saw…this is impossible. I cannot possibly live like this. I can’t keep on top of things. How does this happen? Wasn’t it just clean? I am going to throw out all the food, all the dishes, and all the people. Post haste.

I’m not kidding. Something inside me snaps…and anxiety takes over…and I hear things in my heart that hurt and make it hard to breathe.

Now, being 45 years old, and having lived with these freakish outbreaks of insanity my entire life, I’ve learned a few things: 1. my reality in this moment is warped, and 2. I need a moment to regroup and get perspective.

And so, I said, “Phil, please take the girls to church. I will follow.” Because I knew…I was dangerous. My mouth was dangerous. My thoughts were dangerous. And I just needed to breathe…so that “normal” could return.

Sure enough, by the time we got to church, I could breathe. I could laugh (a little) at how a sink full of dishes could undo me. Undo me. And I thought...hey, go home, take a picture, and share. Maybe, just maybe, there are other crazies out there…who need to know they are not alone.

So, crazy mama, you are not alone. And you’re not crazy. Okay…maybe a little crazy…but that just makes life more interesting, right? Seriously, sometimes the fear of…whatever…just gets too big. And the dirty dishes or the laundry or the diapers…they rise up. Yes. They rise up. But so do we. Do not suffer alone. Do not think you are the only one…cause I promise you…you are not alone. And, you are not crazy. Okay, maybe just a little.

Eden — Four and Five

Like her name, Eden is a garden rich in beauty and lush in bounty….giggles, wiggles, shouts of glee! She is blossoming as the eldest and my heart bursts with pride.

And that folks, is where it ends. I typed that first paragraph last month…while doing her April update. I took down May’s notes…and…and…well, maybe I fed them to a dog or a child. I have no idea. And funnier yet, with four littles now, I have no idea what I noted about Eden…which is why I take notes…but now even more so. So really, this update is a reality check. Not only has life changed for Eden, it has changed for me…and my quick glimpses of each precious life in my care…is even more dear. Life is going so quickly, that if I do not jot notes, beauty and growth happen…and I do not see it…nor remember it.

And so, to you, Darling Eden Tessier, know this, you have blessed your mama’s heart this past month. You have been such a helper! You have grown to embrace your new role beautifully. Thank you, sweet girl.

And remember this, one day you will lose something you value greatly…because life can get hectic. When it happens…and it will…be gentle with yourself. Embrace your frailty. Laugh. Breathe. Live.

Love,

Your adoring Mama

Chick Pea — Eighteen Months

Chick Pea! This one is something else. Such a bundle of joy and fear and delight and anguish. She came into our home on the night of Friday, March 4, and captured our hearts immediately…though she kept her distance from me until Monday. (Oh great. Another daddy’s girl!) Actually, the CPS investigators who brought her said that she stayed glued to the male investigator’s side all day. If he left the room, she fell apart. As a little “comfort” test, said male investigator left Chick Pea with Phil and went to the car. When he returned, he found Chick Pea, as happy as good be. Phil passed the test! And that delightful creature was left in our charge.

At eighteen months, Chick Pea:

  • is amazingly independent. This likely comes from needing to be independent. She can do her buckles for the car or the high chair; she can give the baby a bottle; she can get to anything she needs to get to…resourceful. I joke that it would not surprise me if she could change Sweet Pea’s diaper. Sad…but also fascinating.
  • has several words: sidder (sister), woof, cancy (Clancy), Two Two, amen, bubbles, good girl, outside, more, tee tee (milk), nana (food), MINE.
  • is picking up some signs. JOY oh joy! She can sign: milk, please, more.
  • is so very good with her baby sister! She shows such responsibility for the baby’s comfort. So sweet, yet breaks my heart.
  • gives open-mouth kisses. Mostly to the baby.
  • pinches and scratches and pulls hair…but is selective. Denver is her main target. Poor Denver is covered in pinch marks. Eden is the other target. Both Eden and Denver are amazingly patient…of course, more and more I let the girls display their dislike in their own way. Ahem.
  • has me wrapped around her finger…cause she’s so stinkin’ cute and sweet…around me. Likely, this is a defense mechanism…the ol’ “charm the one in charge” number. Eh. It’s working.
  • has the cutest dimples and the best smile. Her whole face lights up.
  • LOVES her tee-tee (milk).
  • slept through the night the first three or so nights. Likely, she was exhausted. Once she settled in a bit, she let her rip. Screaming four or so times a night. She’s down to one or two wakings…crying rather than screaming. Sometimes she even wakes up and quietly plays. Progress.
  • hugs my neck so sweetly when I get her out of her crib. Holds on for dear life. I hold on til she lets go.
  • watches me closely and does what I do. I tucked a flower behind my ear, so she stuffed some in her ear. Eh, close enough.
  • at church, someone asked her where mama was. She pointed to me. I could die. And cry.
  • dances! Loves to dance.
  • does table chores = empties plate into trash can, takes plate and utensils to sink.
  • loves to brush her teeth…especially after dipping her toothbrush in the toilet.
  • is starting to practice “gentle touch” with the girls.
  • makes us laugh. A lot. Every day.

Eden — Four and One

So, Eden is four-years-and-one-month old…which in my mind means she’s practically five. Yeah?

She is delicious, delightful, and oh so intense. In many ways, I feel like I’m raising a young Hester Sue…which is the most precious thing God could have done for me. If you don’t know, Hester Sue was…and is…my mom. She is my heartbeat…my inspiration. Any boldness or courage I possess comes from that fantastic woman with a temper…well…unmatched…until now. Yep, our girl is a firey one. She loves HARD. She cries HARD. She laughs HARD. She hugs HARD. And she hits…HARD. I have been almost knocked off my feet by an angry, charging Eden. I have also been almost knocked over by one of her hugs. Oh, but this fierce force of love…she is breathtaking. Such an honor and a thrill and a blast to raise her.

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Our beloved Annie.
Our beloved Annie.

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At four years and one month, Eden:

  • still pronounces “thank you” as “stank you.” I find this utterly adorable.
  • still says “I oat it” for “I ate it.” Nope. We do not correct this. Cause we love it.
  • discovered Tom and Jerry. When I asked her what it was about (after several episodes), she proclaimed, “There’s this cat and mouse, Mom. The cat just keeps trying to catch the mouse. It’s funny.” Hmm. I find it interesting that it holds her attention…there is no dialogue, you know? Still, it engages her imagination. Score!
  • is becoming such a little mama. She delights in correcting her sister…and parents…and strangers. As Denver is going through a boundary-pushing stage, Eden has ample opportunity to try to correct her before I counter with, “Sweetie, let me be the mama. I will take care of it.”
  • told Denver, “Sissy, you should not tell Daddy, no!” (see above)
  • has sort of Benjamin Button view of life. She keeps talking about how one day she will be a big girl and I’ll be a little girl…and she’ll be my mama…like this is how she thinks we grow and change throughout life. Hmmm. She never fails to surprise.
  • chewed the tips off the brush bristles…and lodged one in the side of her mouth. Not sure if she ever got around to brushing her hair.
  • really got into Christmas this year. We wisely decided to NOT put any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve…cause Eden is one of those. You know the ones…MUST, MUST, MUST peek…or just open all together.
  • asked in early December if Santa was bringing presents. Hmmm. Well, we do not do Santa in the traditional sense…Mom and Dad bring the gifts to celebrate Jesus’ birthday…but we do enjoy Santa…we treat him like Rainbow Dash. You know, fun stuff. Anyhoo, we have never said, “Hey, Santa brings gifts…” but…’Merica. You know? So, I gently reminded, “Ummm. Nope. Mom and Dad…Jesus…you know.” (And yes, I wonder all the time if I’m cheating her out of a traditional American childhood. Oh, and if you don’t want Eden to ruin it for your angels, best steer clear of the Tessiers during December. Eden might just spill the beans!)
  • fell in love with a sweet neighborhood girl. Shoot, we all fell in love with her. We’ll call her Annie. She’s seven, and for all intents and purposes, is a bit of a street urchin. Back in my day, she would simply have been a latchkey kid…cept that girl did not stay home. Once school was out, she went door-to-door…knocking…looking to play. Well, she came to the right place. Heck, we barely let her leave. For two delicious weeks, we brought her in, played with her, fed her, and got her home. Sigh. I need to write a whole post about Annie. Her mom moved during Christmas break. We miss her every day!
  • performed on stage for a Christmas pageant…and loved it. The girl is a natural performer.
  • enjoyed the zoo lights GREATLY. She was so exuberant…we lost her a few times…as she took off…chasing her feet…and the lights.
  • wrote the letter E. I cried. She can write “E”???? So fast. This is going so fast!
  • seems scared of ants. Weird. Anyhoo, scared of ants.
  • wants me to “drive faster” all the time. Grrr.
  • is starting to use her imagination…and knows it. She was talking about riding a horse and describing the horse to me. I asked, “Do you see it in your head?” “No, Mom. It’s in my imagination!”
  • has decided that “Marshmallows are kinda like clouds.” Indeed.
  • uses a pulley system to get toys up to the top bunk of her bed. Thanks, Phil.
  • calls hummus “moss.” Boy, does she like moss.
  • likes to make up rules…like “No bags or sanitizers at the table!”
  • can identify songs by tune along…we hum a song, and she identifies it. We think she’s brilliant…and beautiful…and perfect.
  • has a wandering spirit. Sigh. She comes by this quite naturally. (On more than one occasion, I walked out the front door and was often found miles away from home…by the age of three. Sigh.) Girl follows her feet. Just like her mama…and her Grandma Hester Sue!