I am still smiling at my post yesterday...I hope I didn't sound grumpy. I truly am getting used to this little germ warfare dance with these crazy upper respiratory bugs that seem to come our way. It does get slightly scary at times, I'll admit, but I am glad that it is something I am very familiar with and is dealt with easily enough. I do find it fascinating that we don't seem to catch any of the other bugs (knock on wood)- we've only caught the flu once in the last seven years. My kids don't get the stomach bugs hardly at all, and up until these crazy double ear infections with David, none of my kids had any ear problems either. I'd rather deal with the familiar wheeze and snotty nose than parcel out bowls and trash cans any day.
When I get "stuck" during these spells (and I say 'stuck' with an impish grin on my face), rocking and reading and kissing the little invalid (or two or three), there's not a whole lot I can do. Pray, read, and nap a little (ha! I wouldn't recommend that with under threes around), and (my personal favorite) watch the other children play. Sometimes I get stationed in such a way that I can see into the children's rooms, but the children aren't aware that I am close by and play and talk naturally. This can set me to giggling some times- the fantastic, outlandish, imaginative stories the boys concoct can get knee-slapping funny. (Which isn't good while holding a sleeping child, but I digress.)
If I watch close enough, I get to catch a glimpse of my children's personalities and their future selves. In this Advent season, I think of Mary and how "she treasured all these things in her heart" as she watched Jesus grow in wisdom and stature. These little peeks truly seem a gift to me, specially picked out by their heavenly Daddy. And heaven knows, it's these little peeks that carry me through the truly rough days.
David is truly becoming a little boy, and all the sweet baby chump is disappearing around his face: alas, my favorite part of wee little ones. Such an interesting time , watching them make the transition into childhood from babyhood: they don't need you so much anymore, although they are quick to come running with boo boos to be kissed still; they learn so much in such short spans of time that they (and you) get frustrated when their bodies can't keep up. And oh, how they bargain to get rid of the nap time they still desperately need! It is always both exciting and yet bittersweet. They will not pass this way again in their lifetimes. David's language acquisition is exponentially growing on a daily basis- it never ceases to amaze me what new word will spill forth that I can understand. I am quite partial to his lisped "I love you", and it is so nice to be able to understand what he wants instead of the fuss translation! I've glimpsed such a compassionate nature in him recently. He is the first to arrive "on scene" when a sibling is hurt, offering a gentle touch on shoulder or rubbing the baby's head. He's quite the companion- he doesn't push himself to the front, needing the attention. He'll gladly go along with whatever his siblings have cooked up for play. I've often seen him and Lorelei sitting side by side in the rocking chair, just smiling at each other. I feel that way about him too...he's my little buddy that often comes and sits with me while I am nursing or doing something, and we just smile away at each other! He definitely has a gift for "be"-ing with people. I've learned a lot from a little two year old guy.
Lorelei. My little song. (Lorelei is German, and transliterates as "fairy song".) She hums and sings most of the day long, usually about whatever she is doing at the moment, with made up melodies and harmonies. She is all princess. Where my boys are rough and tumble, she is dainty; where they are loud and boisterous, she is quiet and considerate. She has this thing that always tickles me to death when she does it- if she says something you didn't quite hear, and you ask her to repeat it, or get down on your knees to be closer (as I usually do), she whispers- as if that would make her easier to hear! She has an ability to bring out the best in her siblings and others- it's as if one stands a bit taller, walks a bit straighter, speaks a bit better around her, because they want to give her their best. She truly makes others shine, somehow, in her little magical way. She is also, very much, a little mama. She keeps those jumpy boys in line, and don't you know it! I think in some ways the boys are as much afraid of getting in trouble with her as they are with me...although she probably offers a lot more kisses and lovies to the offending party than I do. I have been finding her 'sugar and spice' approach works alot better than my yelling!
And Isaiah! The zest and sparkle and oomph to our days. For all his SPD struggles (which are more and more becoming speed bumps to coast over versus mountains to climb) which you might think at first glance would cause difficulty to engaging in relationship with others, Isaiah truly has the gift of encouragement. He has this little way of smiling that all but twinkles at you with his eyes and you immediately feel a bit better. He is so good at getting us to look on the bright side of things, and his delight in life is infectious. He is a hoot! Watching them play, you'll hear him say something like "Ben, you can do it! You can make a really tall tower! What a good job, David!" He isn't very skilled when it comes to hand-eye coordination, so watching Ben build a Lego tower is something that really makes him happy- especially if Ben lets him knock it down afterwards! I find a lesson in this- I would be/have been bitter about my limitations in the past. It's like Isaiah doesn't even recognize that he has a difficulty, and he truly rejoices in the accomplishments of others.
Ben. Ben-the-man. ( A lisped Isaiah pronunciation of Benjamin that stuck like glue!) A mechanical, linear mind that is always going, always making, and always asking, that one. Questions, morning, noon, and night! He is always thinking, thinking, thinking. I swear you could see wheels turn and smoke pour out the gears some days. He has the gift of leadership, definitely. It's his crazy schemes that his siblings get roped into. He is the go-to tent maker, block-builder, game-player. The kids would do anything for him! In conjunction with that, he has the ability to see problems and fix them. That is a rare gift- to be able to see the problem is half the battle! Most people have the ability to fix, but not necessarily the ability to realize what the issue is to begin with. I am fascinated by the boy-man he is becoming. I wonder what he'll pick for an occupation? He reminds me so much of my Uncle David, who is a chemist. I definitely think he'll be in something like that- he has such an analytical mind. An architect, a mathematician, who knows?
Cuddly little Josiah hasn't shown much of a personality yet, but I think he could compete with David on the smiling and Isaiah on the twinkling. We live to make that wee one giggle and smile! And he is so interested in all that they are doing. He hates being faced in such a way that he can't see what the kids or I are up to: I always have to turn the swing or bouncy so that he can see, and the tears evaporate into thin air.
I am so thankful for the gift of their company, short time though it may be; I can't wait to see what God has planned for their lives.