Saturday, July 28, 2012

the pictures lie.

Monday was a day for the memory books. And, it is rather humorous that it so closely followed my previous posts about the joys of this stage with my kiddos.

So, yes. Monday, both kids were up before 7. For me, life doesn't start until after 7. Anything before 7 is still "night". So, I stayed in bed and listened to them quietly playing in the playroom. I finally pulled myself out of bed and walked into the playroom, ready to congratulate Noah and Aleni on playing nicely together. I was stopped by the vision my eyes beheld.

They had emptied the entire (brand-new) box of carpet powder onto the floor in a heap, and were driving their little trucks and back-hoes thru the powder, extending the mess out into a wide circle around them.

"Look, mom!" Noah happily exclaimed, "I'm Scoop from Bob the Builder!" Oh, joy. So, since I still wasn't officially awake or useful to society, we left the pile as it was and headed downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast went along in typical fashion and the kids went back up to the powder pile to play.

About 4 minutes later, I heard Aleni screaming in real pain, so I rush up the stairs to find her holding her head, near her eye, which is now swollen and dripping blood. Apparently, she had annoyed Noah and Noah responded by chucking a wood block at her with great force. Clean up the girl, put the boy in time out. Force apologies. Continue on.

Try as I might to introduce fun things into the day, the kids were just in one of those sour moods where nothing goes right. Everything ended up broken, or with whining, or in a fight. I was pushing them on the swings, and Noah decided to jump off at the highest point. And, immediately learned why not to do that. With much drama.

In the middle of this glorious morning, I had to pack the kids into the car and head to the eye doctor for the I-don't-know-how-manynth time for my FOURTH fitting for a contact. I must indeed have very special eyes. I drag my bundles of perfection into the waiting room, then back to the doctor's room, and as soon as I open the package for the new contact, I can see it's not going to fit right. Seriously? Of course. So, a fifth contact was ordered and we headed back home.

I decided that I couldn't loose with a swim, so we did that. But, I found out... Yes, you can loose with a swim! The entire time they were in the pool, it was one conflict after another. It was so bad that even our dear, sweet neighbor was in hysterics. It was literally as though anything they weren't supposed to do, they wanted to do and would fight and tantrum for the right to do it.

Nap time to the rescue! I was living for naps that day, since it was a day that it just felt like we should've all gotten back into bed and tried a re-do. Naps--the almighty "reset" button.

Joyfully, both children fell asleep (Noah is averaging about one nap every 2 weeks). I collapsed into a chair and listened to the silence

Of course, Noah ended up having an accident. In our bed. On my new bedspread.

But, that's just because it was that kind of a day.

Ah, and just to show you that you can't believe everything you see in pictures.... I told my neighbor I would take some pictures of the "fun" we were having in the pool that day so everyone could envy the "perfection"!!

Noah, smiling from the "house" it took several tantrums to build.

Aleni, smiling serenely as she steps on the hose that cleans the water. 
Which she knows not to do.

See?? You can see my neighbor laughing. She knows. She was there.

Seeing, is this case, is not believing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

scattered thoughts on understanding...

Today, I was excited to be able to take the kiddos to this:

As soon as the show began, I found I was struggling to hold back the tears. Not only because my babies were so enthralled with the music and signing,

but because I saw children being understood. Valued. I saw parents--the vast majority young like me--being lifted and helped for an hour. I saw them holding up their deaf babies and maybe feeling as if they were being a little lifted.

And then, I wished that there was something like this for Noé. Perhaps there is, and I will be looking for it. That's the thing with Noé's struggles. They are often so hidden, so hard to pin down. Deafness, though a great challenge, seems that in some ways it would be so much easier to "treat". To know how to help, equip. I speak as one who knows nothing of raising a deaf child, just musing.

Another thing that pricked my eyes as I sat there was the feeling that a parent that has a child with any kind of challenge--be it physical, behavioral, emotional, mental--seems to automatically understand another parent in the same boat. Though the struggles may in a visual sense very different--there is a commonality there that seems to instantly bond you to another parent. You read their kids differently, exchange tired, knowing glances. Smile at behavior others may identify as strange or inappropriate.

On a flip side, I realized this concert was not really in synch with Noé's needs. Rey worked for several years at a deaf school as a single guy, and I remember being surprised (as nearly every other visitor) when I went to the school at how noisy it was. I guess I assumed that a school for deaf children would be... quiet! Full of children happily signing away. Quite to the contrary! The kids can't hear themselves, so the walls would literally be echoing with all kinds of shouting, squawking, grunts and whatever other kinds of noises the kiddos could make to express their excitement, sadness, frustration or need for attention.

That's how it was at the concert. Any time between songs, the noise and "crazy meter" was way up. There was constant shouting, talking, running and "odd" noises. Noé really needs noise to "make sense", be organized and on purpose, so by the end of the concert, he was very withdrawn. Pulling his blanket over his head and humming to himself. Pretty unresponsive to me... so we left a tad-bit early. (By the way--Aleni took the signing very seriously and worked hard to imitate correctly.) ;)

But, as soon as we got outside to the lovely silence of the outdoors, he perked right up.

Monday, July 16, 2012

caught lingering...

I can't really put it into words, these feelings of late. But, I have a feeling that there may be some other mommas who know what I am trying to say.

The measure of how much I love this stage is undefinable.

Noé-- sturdy, funny, four. Figuring out the world one "why" at a time. Laughing, throwing back his head in an full-bodied expression of joy that brings out the dimples in his cheeks and the twinkle in his eye. Noé, a gentleman. First to ask, "Are you ok?" or "Do you want to play with me?" Noé, firstborn. Thinks in black-and-white. Wants to know where the lines are and wants to enforce them. The planner, the thinker, the creator. Loving friends, loving structure, loving one-on-one time.

Aleni--independent, mischievous, determined, two-and-a-half. Her beauty takes my breath away, causes me to drink it in. The fierceness of her, the grace of her. I adore seeing traces of her heritage in her complexion, the shape of her nose, the long delicate fingers and frame. The way she seems to see herself as huge and invincible. The ways she seems to have no fear (Unless you throw costumed people, clowns, mascots, life-sized stuffed animals into the mix! Then you will see her most squeamish side. That's how I know she is my daughter.). These things both fascinate and frighten me. She is wild where Noé is cautious, impulsive where he is calculated. What a pair they make.

I feel as though I must somehow etch every moment of them into my memory, as into stone with a chisel. A sense of desperation--will I forget the way their deep chocolate brown eyes are filled with golden shining? Will I forget that cute thing he said... or the way Aleni loves to run full-speed ahead, head down and arms flung out straight behind her like a cape? Will the tender moments of play together, as they converse back-and-forth as only small children can, heads together, intensely focused--fade into shapeless shadows? Will I remember how hard they work to make us laugh, how much it means to them to be "a fam-ah-wee together"?

When Noé's boyish voice is lost in adolescence, will I cry? When Aleni looses the freedom of just being a kid--will it hurt my heart?

Somehow, with all the hard parts that come with raising preschoolers, I find myself desperately wishing to freeze time.

Perhaps, it is knowing that growing up is hard on a kid.

I think, though, the reality is I know that when this time is over, it's over. Yes, that will mean that I won't be wiping behinds and cleaning up puddles all day... but it also means loss. A loss of all those cute things that only little ones do, those who are virtually unaware of their bodies, expectations, and outside judgement. When they just purely are who they are.

My babies, I adore you just the way you are (and know my love will only grow).