Comparisons and Growth

Here they are, all three of them in the green pajamas, a bit unsteady on their feet but ready to venture off on their own into new space.  They all still loved to hold our hand, to be held close, to be rocked to sleep at this age.

greenPJs

Kai still loves holding my hand as I walk him to kindergarten in the morning or home in the afternoon. But he’s starting to drop it around his friends.

Seth is very into “Lookat, Mama!  Look at!”  It’s my favorite expression from him so far (that I can remember).  He is really in the best free association space that children have, since he understands so much and yet has only so much context.  Yesterday we were mixing dough for pizza and talking about ‘yeast’ when he said, “That’s like East Liberty!”  Awesome.

Ben is a joy.  He makes one syllable “grunts” most of the time: “Dash!” “Ahh”.  It feels like he says “Seth” a lot and he also clearly says “Dada” but not often Mama or Kai.  We know it’s coming.  I don’t have to be impatient.

We dug sweet potatoes from our backyard tonight, and picked two big beautiful green peppers.  Our popcorn turned out well, and we harvested many pounds of potatoes together a month or so ago.  Wish I had more sunny, flat ground.  Maybe someday….

aimless

Having trouble focusing today.  Spring, thoughts leftover from the board meeting last night and all the tasks asking for my attention combine to leave me in a state where I don’t know where to start.

My mom’s birthday was over the weekend and she was out of town so I didn’t get to talk to her.  I did make sure to express how I was feeling in a card that she had with her.  Contrary to what usually happens, I kept thinking about the things I wrote in the card over the weekend.  (Often, writing something down helps me release those thoughts).  She is someone who is makes people’s lives better on a daily basis, often by paying attention to the small things: a smile, a meal, cleaning up, helping out.  Her words of advice about the importance of getting out of the house daily with a child have been repeated by others as advice that I gave, but it came from her.  She helps me find the energy to carry on when the tasks of cleaning up and caring for three young boys makes me weary.

I’m trying to channel her again by writing this, obviously.  It’s also obvious to me that I needed the morning to process, reflect, be aimless a bit.

(also as I watch a large machine tear down three buildings for new development in East Liberty, I also miss Seth.  I may keep him out of school one day soon just to watch construction sites, because the joy it brings him is basically immeasurable!)

A brief moment in time

A fresh cream scone, hot out of the oven and a hot pot of coffee.  My shoes off and quiet reigns in suite 201, where I’m working right now.  My mind has peace and I have some hours to myself.  Those precious moments of life where I have a chance to breathe and focus on this body, this mind and what can come of them.

Pep Talk

These children, they do amaze me.  Ben’s starting to sit up and gives you belly laughs when you kiss his belly or smooch his neck.  Seth brings you books and says, “Mama, read about this.”  His cuddles at night are ever so precise in terms of which stuffed friend is where and how your hand needs to be on his.  He also insists that he is “Sweet Sethy, not salty Sethy!”  Kai is sooo long, barely fits on my lap, and can ask real questions about interesting things and carry on conversations almost like a friend.  He makes such amazing art and creates new games constantly for people to play.

And yet. I’m almost tipping over the edge into overwhelmed most of the time.  I get so little free time to myself.  I read a book last weekend: the first one I’ve read completely in six months.  I don’t know when I’ll finish another.  I’m contemplating ways that I can change this state of affairs, but I’m pretty entrenched in all the things I’m doing at the moment.  Six months or so until Kai starts school.  Then some days might be easier.  But yikes, that’s the beginning of another era too and this one will be over.

It’s sad that it feels like I’ll only get time to myself again once the children get bigger.  I don’t wish for them to grow up; I’m usually pretty good at living in the moment.  But my house is full of stuff that I’m ready to give away but the kids still use often enough that I shouldn’t.  So it feels cluttered.  And I can’t even do something that makes me feel alive and normal, like shoveling the front walk, without leaving the baby inside in his chair alone and hoping that the 2-year old’s hands don’t chap too badly because he refuses to wear mittens.  So I either don’t shovel and feel like a sloth or shovel (like I did today) at lightning speed hoping the baby doesn’t notice too badly that no one is inside with him (and doesn’t fall out of his seat while we are).  I can’t take my 5-year old sledding on these cold, snowy winter days because the baby and the 2-year old just can’t.  I can’t take my 2-year old swimming, like I did for the oldest and I’ll try to do for the youngest, because of the impossibility of that task.

Yesterday, shopping at the co-op with all 3 boys, I endured people I know and people I don’t know looking at me, feeling pity for the crazy adventure going grocery shopping is with 3 kids who are 5 and under.  Yes, I’m holding Ben in the ergo on my chest, pushing seth in the cart and hoping kai doesn’t wander too far away or into someone who is holding hot coffee or something fragile.  But this is a good day!  I ‘d only venture here at 5 pm if I thought we could manage it, and we did!  How to communicate that to the world?  It’s impossible.  How to communicate to any of my friends or family the way life is at the moment?  Also impossible.  Those with many kids who are older have forgotten.  Those with kids my age (but only 1 or 2) can’t imagine.  Those without my genes can’t imagine the stuff I attempt, because it’s in my nature.

So on a gray day, where snow is forecast and even colder temps are again imminent, I write this to help me cope.  To help me remember.  To justify why I forget to call friends or family, have no energy to finish everything I start, to help my ability to relate in some future, distant, far off day when my boys are grown and I have free time to read a book or veg out for a long stretch of time.

Lately

Ben is 20 weeks, almost 21 weeks old.  Round and chubby, he grins at everything but especially at Kai and Seth.

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Benny smiles with his whole body, arching his back as he smiles and it’s amazing.  He eats and is sleeping pretty well and we’re excited to watch him continue to grow.  He hasn’t rolled over yet, but I bet he can and just hasn’t had the chance.  He gets taken many places and seems to love looking around and learning about the world.

Seth at 2 is mostly fun; his language development continues to amaze me, mostly because it’s so different from how I remember it with Kai.  He and I just did some grocery shopping and he named almost everything in a few different aisles.  There are strong opinions that come out from time to time, and because he’s so big and with the baby, if he has a tantrum  at an inopportune time, it can make me feel helpless dealing with him.  But in general, he’s happy and fun and willing to try almost all food and all experiences.  I blogged more about Seth on Covey’s website here: http://www.coveymom.com/terrific-twos-sarah-seth

Kai at 5 is a wonder, a joy, and getting to the point where he hardly fits on my lap.  It’s shocking to think how far we’ve come.  We read chapter books together at night (he’s not reading yet).  Our house sometimes feels like it is drowning in his art, but it all comes from within him and I love his creative force.  He feels like he can create anything with paper, scissors, crayons, markers and glue.  (we go through soooo much tape that he got some for Christmas).  He makes up stories, characters and plots.  He has questions about everything (how do fireworks work, how to play a game, where is this country, why did someone do that yesterday, and on and on).  He is at swimming lessons as I’ writing.  He sleds, walks, runs, plays in the snow, shovels the front walk, carries things for me like the diaper bag, or helps haul the stroller.  He loves his brothers, especially Ben (probably because Ben can’t wreck his train track or hit him in the head).  He is flexible and friendly.  Still gets shy sometimes when I least expect it (took his harmonica to music class yesterday and got permission to play it, but then would only play it while hiding behind my back….)

Right now

Right now, it’s all feeling completely overwhelming. I can’t possibly do it all, and I feel like even the things I’m doing are all sort of half-way and so not completely satisfying to me or others either. There are moments almost everyday where I think to myself: I wish I were in the situation where I could sit down and talk with this person awhile longer. I wish I could stay here and keep doing this and not have to run off to the next thing. Gosh, this would be a time that a previous version of myself would really love to participate fully and I just can’t right now.

Is it all worth it? In the end, will I regret the choices I’m making right now? For instance, I’m making time to smell Ben’s 10-week old head and lounge with him in bed last night after he fell asleep. However, that meant that I didn’t respond on proofreading a report someone asked me to do. I didn’t get enough sleep. I didn’t read the book club book (haven’t for the last 5 months, or so, actually). Today I proofread a poster while watching three kids for the first time all day by myself. Did I miss something (surely)? Did the kids miss something while I was doing that (unknown, but probably not)? Tonight there are still things to do, but I wanted to try and capture this feeling. Wednesday is Demo Day for our little company, but I will not be able to go out to socialize with the other companies that made it through because I have to go to preschool pickup and get dinner together. So networking from this incredible opportunity has had to be dropped by the wayside. And socializing at preschool has too.

Argh. Kind of unsatisfying way to live life: when you can’t figure out what to say no to.

But yeah, today. With no help showing up midday, and J back at work from dawn to dusk, I managed three children by myself. We even went two places! We went to the Sq. Hill library for about an hour and we walked the short valley loop at Frick (veeeerrrry slowly on the way up, as I was carrying Ben, pushing Seth in the stroller and carrying Kai’s balance bike on the stroller. I did not allow Kai to ride up the hill, which meant we all got to hear some whining, but it only lasted maybe halfway up the hill). And we made it! To the top, and to bedtime.

Jeremy and I have been playing a game. So far, neither of us has been alone with all three children when all three were crying. We’ve had the three children crying at one time instance a few times, but we’ve always still been here together. I’m not sure if the first person for whom this happens will win or lose…..

We’re surviving. And probably thriving when we look back in hindsight. Not getting much time to ourselves, but doing the hard work to hopefully surround ourselves with three bright lights in the years to come. No promises on what you want from me for next week, though😉

Waiting for You

I’m intimidated by the concept of it: three boys. And I’m in love with the thought of meeting our youngest son and getting to know him. Discovering the ways in which he’ll be like Kai, similar to Seth, and yet his very own person. Watching the relationships between the brothers develop, and learning how he’ll relate to his father and to me.

I’ve learned now that each child forms a special relationship with a parent differently. That is not something that ever occurred to me when I was growing up with three other siblings and my parents. I guess I always just assumed that my siblings thought about my parents the very same way I did. And even though we all love them infinitely, I think each one of us does it in our very own way.

Seth takes to Jeremy in a way that I don’t remember Kai doing. His grins for Jeremy are so wide, so automatic, so filled with thrill and joy. I feel like they are more intense then they are for me, while simultaneously he reaches for me and wants my affection too. Kai still might have a small preference for me, but of course his relationship with Jeremy is something that nothing can come between and which continues to develop as their interests and experiences continue to grow. Soccer has become their latest thing and to watch them experience such joy in playing, running and discussing their games and the outcomes is fascinating. But at night, Kai is always begging for us to “switch it up,” which signifies that Dad puts Seth to bed and I put him to bed.

Anyway, back to this youngest one, who wiggles inside me, kicking, somersaulting, squirming and getting ready to emerge, to stretch out, to see the light and experience the likely overwhelming sensations of life on earth…. he’ll be his own person. His eyes will reflect light in a unique way. He’ll be drawn to different things. I hope he’s like the others in having an almost insatiable curiosity, a love of learning, a love of reading, a gentleness for me and for others. I hope he loves to sing, and move, pays attention to nature and values family. And I hope he’s courageous and brave enough to chart his own path in the world and to find happiness for himself and those around him.