Sibling Love

There is nothing I love more than watching the little moments between Chris and Leah that show how much they love one another. Lately it is like they have their own way of communicating with each other just with looks. It melts my heart.

We recently went on vacation to the ocean, and we stayed in a room where Dave and I shared one pull out sofa at one end of the room, Leah was on another at the other end of the room, and Chris was in a pack n play in between us. On our first night there he went to sleep with no problem, being that he was exhausted from the trip. At around 2am, however, he awoke. And that is when he realized what the sleeping arrangements were. First he stood and looked at me and Dave and giggled. Then he walked to the other side and saw Leah. For the next hour he stood there calling “Yeeyah!” while she slept on, oblivious!

During our trip, we ate tons of good food. We had lunch at a place that overlooked the beach and the entire restaurant was open to the sea air. I was sharing a delicious snack of cheddar chips with Dave and enjoying a glass of sangria all while taking in the view, when I happened to glance over at my children. They were sharing an order of chicken fingers and fries, but I had given the little cup of ketchup to Leah. Christopher was silently handing Leah his fries. She would dip the fry in ketchup and hand it back. He smiled and nodded slightly, shoving his dipped fry into his mouth. It was an unspoken agreement between them, and just one of those tiny moments in time that made my smile on the inside and on the outside. It was a moment that although small, I will never forget.

Where, Oh Where, is Leah?

I am one of those moms who lives for school vacations, now that Leah is in school. I can’t wait for her to have the summer off and be home with me every day. I know someone else that is really looking forward to Leah being home as well.

Lately, Christopher has taken to walking around the house all day long, yelling at the top of his lungs- “Yeeyah!!! Yeeyah!!!” He starts outside of her bedroom door, but when she fails to appear he wanders around looking for her in other places and yells out her name. The other day I saw him open up a cabinet, peer inside, and yell for his sister.

It reminds me of that scene near the end of The Graduate where Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman, is standing there banging on the glass at the back of the church and desperately yelling out “Elaine!!!”

I love how much by babies love one another, and I can’t wait for vacation to get here so that they can be together every day. And then, when Christopher yells “Yeeyah!”, she will appear, and he will giggle with joy.

Christopher

Have you ever heard the saying “Little boys are made of snakes, and snails, and puppy dog tails?”

Well, it isn’t true.

Little boys are rough and tumble. They are curious. They eat weird things, like mouthfuls of sand, and rocks. They climb because their intense curiosity gives them a need to see things from all perspectives. They can make any ordinary object into a toy, complete with sound effects. They will do anything for a laugh, and will laugh at anything. They love to smile at ladies in the grocery store, and those smiles are infectious. They put their heart and soul into temper tantrums because they want whatever they are throwing the tantrum over with their whole heart and soul. They are easily forgiving. They love their mamas with the deepest affections, and will always stop what they are doing to give a hug or a kiss. They turn the bathwater gray and at at the end of a summer’s day, their hair smells like sunshine.

Little boys need love and cuddles just as much as girls. They like to be rocked while they breath in the scent of their mothers. They love their sisters fiercely, but they love to torture them just as much.

Little boys are sweet, and funny, and kind.

Those are the things I have learned from my son.

Where Did All the Angles Go?

Leah has always been delicate. Her limbs were so skinny that I was always afraid to hug her too hard lest I accidentally break one of her bird-like bones. Her shoulder blades jutted out of her back, and her legs looked like the most adorable sticks I have ever seen. Overnight, it seems, she has begun to change.

I picked her up for a hug the other day and realized she felt different. She feels strong and solid now, and I squeezed her hard without worrying about damaging her delicate features. She has not gotten chubby or gained any weight, she is just muscular and… well, I don’t know how else to describe it. Her sweet baby features are gone and replaced by those of a kid.

My dainty baby girl is now a fiercely beautiful, strong, solid young lady.

I am in awe of her beauty, and yet I mourn how fast children change.

Squeezed In

My Mom and Stepdad have a big house, and it’s one that kids love to play in. The layout allows for lots of running, plenty of room to spread out with toys, and lots of places to hide. They are also very laid back grandparents and there isn’t much in the house that is off limits.

Last Sunday we were over for dinner. After the dishes were done I had to put a spaghetti covered CW into the tub (seriously, I opened up his diaper and spaghetti went everywhere!) When I had a clean baby, I wandered out of the bathroom and Leah had disappeared with my mom. Eventually, my Stepdad brought me upstairs to show me their “hideout”. In the guest bedroom there is a neat closet that has two doors. Leah had apparently discovered it that day and had brought in a comforter and some pillows. We found her in nestled under the eaves in the closet with my mom. So, what else could JC and I do but crawl into the closet with them? Leah even gave each of us our own pillows.

Meanwhile, my mom had found some old photos and my baby book , so we began to look through it while Leah sang us a song about being the Ninja Queen. After about twenty minutes, there was a knock at the closet door. It swung open, and there stood Dave holding CW, who giggled with glee to see us all crammed into the closet. He held out his arms to me and then nestled into my lap on my pillow. Dave went around to the other door and found a spot for himself in the closet hideout.

With the huge expanse of the house all around and below us, four adults, one Ninja Queen, and one toddler were squeezed into a cozy closet in the guestroom. We stayed that way for quite some time, laughing at the leather jacket JC still had from the 70’s, singing Leah’s ninja song, and passing around my baby book. It then occurred to us that we had an entire house to spread out in, and so we did. But, I have to say that I love my family and I love the fact that we can all be squeezed into a closet/ninja hideout together and still have a great time. And I love my daughter, who brings us together in a way that only a child could ever dream of.

Lessons on Love

I have been working a lot lately, and Leah was starting to really miss me. So, yesterday afternoon I saw an opportunity for a mommy-daughter date and seized it. She had been dying to go see the new Cinderella movie in theaters and it happened to be playing in the afternoon, after she got off the bus.

On the way to the movies we were listening to her favorite Taylor Swift CD when the song “Love Story” came on. Leah asked me about the song’s references to Romeo and Juliet, and so I explained to her that it is a famous story about two young people who fell in love, but that their families hated one another. I left out the tragic ending, for now, but I told her that it was a sad story.

After the movie was over, I asked Leah what her favorite part was, and she told me that it was when Ella married the king and became a queen.

It got me thinking, fairy tales are such unrealistic pictures of love. Both Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella are stories where the lovers fall in love after only one meeting. In real life, it is not all that common for love to lead to such dramatic tragedy as in Shakespeare’s tale, nor is it realistic to think that some man is going to sweep you off your feet and make you a queen.

Don’t get me wrong- I love fairy tales. However, as a mom I have to be sure that my daughter understands that these are just stories, meant to entertain us. Real love can feel magical, too, but I want her to have realistic expectations. And in reality, most of us fall somewhere between the tragic ending and the happily ever after ending.

I want my daughter to know that it is okay if it takes time to fall in love with someone. You should know that person inside and out before determining if they are your soul mate. I want her to know that not every day will be perfect. Love is messy and couples fight, and not only is that okay, but it is healthy. I want her to know that it’s not a partner’s job to save your life and fix all of your problems. Real love is about working together to build a life, even when you are struggling.

I saw a quote once, probably on Pinterest, that said something along the lines of, “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other”. I think that the old-fashioned wedding vows were onto something; “In richer or in poorer, in sickness and in health…” True love, out here in the real world, is not finding the perfect person. It is finding the person whose imperfections you can live with because you love them anyway. And the person who you can be happy with in both the good times and the bad.

That is a lesson that I want my daughter to know about love. I hope that I am showing her by example.

Mrs. Sippy

“What can daddies fix?” My Dad used to ask me, as he popped a head back onto a Barbie doll.

“Anything!” I would scream enthusiastically.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager, bummed out from the end of a high school romance, heartbroken by the death of a loved one, or disappointed in myself for a not so great grade, that my Dad confessed something to me. He couldn’t really fix EVERYTHING. Give him a toy, any toy, and he could repair it with super glue. But a broken heart? Not so much.

As parents we want to fix everything for our children, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Earlier this week Leah came to me and told me that her best friend in the whole world is moving away.

“She’s moving really far,” Leah said, her eyes welling up. “They are staying with some lady her Daddy knows named Mrs. Sippy.”

I swallowed back my chuckle at her misunderstanding that they are actually moving to Mississippi and hugged my daughter. It was Tuesday morning and they were leaving on Friday. I didn’t know what to do. Was it best to fill the week with playdates so that she could savor these last few moments with her first best friend, or would it be better to distract her with other things?

I decided that play dates were the way to go, and my week has therefore been filled with the sounds of little girl laughter and Taylor Swift drifting out of Leah’s bedroom, paining teeny tiny little finger nails, and watching as the girls ran around the house screaming, as my husband was chasing them around with our remote control flying shark.

Today will be the little girl’s last day at school, and tonight they leave for their new home. My heart is broken, but probably not as much as Leah’s. I have done the best I can to cheer her up, but nothing I can do will really make it better.

Over the course of Kindergarten I have had the pleasure of meeting several of Leah’s friends, but out of all of them, little ‘M’ and her sister were such a pleasure to have playing at my house. They are sweet and polite, and they all had a great time playing together. I am sure that Leah will have many friends that will come and go, but I truly hope that she will never forget her first “bestie”.