Feb 23, 2017

Why Not?

Last night my two year old son climbed into his baby brother's high chair as I snapped, "get down!" and turned to my husband Kyle and said, "he's always trying to climb in there."

Kyle looked at me and asked, "why is it that Lincoln can't get in Noah's chair?"

Now he didn't ask me this in front of Lincoln. He supported me and helped get Lincoln out of the baby chair. But he was honestly asking why. And you know what: I wasn't sure.

With the baby chair, I'm not sure if the chair will support my toddler. The chair is built in such a way that if he stands up the wrong way it could be a large fall. And if our 5 month old is in the chair and his two year old brother decides to climb in with him, well, it wouldn't go so well.

The decision is still that he cannot climb into the chair, but I woke up today thinking about my husband's question:

Why not?

See I'm a Type A Mom. I love order. I love structure. I believe kids do too to some extent, at least mine do. Order provides a type of security so that they know what to expect. We have the same nap time and bedtime routine each night and I honestly believe it helps Lincoln go to sleep easily.

But since Noah arrived on the scene I think I've gotten a little bit wrapped up in the order.

The first month with two under two was a whirlwind to say the least. Noah was born in Colorado in a small mountain town hospital where we brought him "home" to our cabin on camp, all while he was connected to a not-so-little rolling oxygen tank. We took our little newborn and his big brother home via airplane before Noah was even a week old and then we had about two weekdays in the first month of his life that we weren't at a doctor's appointment. For a healthy baby, I was one tired momma.

So I think in all the madness I needed some sort of order. I needed something to control. And honestly I think it's been my two year old.

Yes, we are training him and we should be. We are teaching him how to hug his brother without suffocating him and we are training him up to be a non-terrorist, but I think it went beyond that. I felt like all day I was telling this kid no.

"No, don't put your finger inside your sandwich. Roll your sleeves up. No, stop, wipe your hands off before you roll your sleeves up." (Because then I'd have to do laundry.)

"No. Stop. Lincoln! Don't open that cabinet." (Because of the possibility of thinking he was allowed to play inside the cabinet and then would make a mess when I wasn't looking).

"No, don't color with the yellow marker right on top of the blue. It'll turn the yellow blue..." (To "save" the yellow washable kids marker.)

"No, don't hold it that way...

"No, do it faster...

"No, walk slower...

"No, don't close that door, you'll wake up your bother." (When honestly he was sweetly closing the door to "help" brother sleep.)

So this morning I thought about my husband's question. And the answer to "why not?" was me. Because I want it to be easier. I want to be in control. I want to keep every plate spinning just perfectly so that we don't all fall apart.

No wonder my kid sneaks in disobedience every chance he gets.

So today we played.

I prayed that God would keep our day together. That God would keep the plates spinning or remind me that I don't need so many plates in the first place. I remembered that I'm kidding myself if I think that I am the one holding it all together anyway.

And as my kid poured a Gatorade bottle full of water on the back brick porch and my habitual tongue went to say "no! we don't pour out our water!" he giggled. He looked at the way the water splashed and the way the brick turned a different color as the little stream of water ran across it.

And I stopped.

Because why not?

So I got a pitcher and we refilled that Gatorade bottle with water over and over again. Because water dries. He splashed in the puddle and even sat in it and got his khaki shorts all muddy. Because clothes wash. When I went inside for a moment to put his baby brother down for a nap I returned to find his arms elbow deep in a flower pot full of mud as he stirred in weeds and grass and explained in his proud little voice, "I work Momma! I work hard!"

And I just laughed.

I helped him pull up his sleeves and I saw his little eyes look at me asking if he could keep going. He was waiting for me to say no. So I looked at him and smiled and said, "yes baby boy, you're working hard. Momma's proud of you!" and back to 'work' he went.

So we climbed trees today and I let him try to peel his own oranges even though that meant there was orange all over his face and all down his shorts. I let him explore our back yard for the longest time as he pushed his little mower and rode his little bike that he calls a "motorcycle."

We had messy sandwiches for lunch and when I asked him to help me clean up lunch he did it willingly. We had ice cream cones on the porch after nap time and I loved every minute of it.

Yes he was still a toddler and he had his moments. He still got mad at Battleship and threw the pieces everywhere. I still was my OCD self and made him sort the different colored pieces back into the coordinating bins. But he got to be a kid today.

I think I expected him to grow up the moment his baby brother arrived. I think I've set this expectation that he shouldn't run at the zoo and that he should use a napkin at all times and that he should every. single. time. say "thank you" to me so that at least someone somewhere is saying it.

But he's just a little boy.

He's a messy, fun, curious, hilarious little bouncing ball of joy.

And I get to be his mom.

So I can try my best to make him 'perfect' or I can let him explore the wonderful world God created and get a little dirty every once in a while. And yes, maybe I'll have to do a little more laundry, but I bet the kid will help me with the laundry anyway.

Mrs. Frizzle really knew what she was doing, "Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy." Today I loved both of my boys better than I have in a while and I got to love them rather than loving the organized tiny people I guess I thought they should be.

Here's to motherhood and learning as you go. Will tomorrow be even better? Why not?

Feb 7, 2017

Maybe They'll Even Mean Something

I am a perfectionist.

It's true.

I even took a personality quiz the other day that told me; so it must be true. It was on the internet.

I don't mean that I do everything perfectly, not anywhere near perfect. But I have a need for perfection or completion. If the dish pile is too large for me to finish it all then why even start. If I cannot completely clean my room then why even take the time to pick up a few things off the floor. If I cannot make the entire kitchen look the way I want it to, then why spend the time and money replacing the cabinet pulls to 'try' to help things.

Before kids I had more time. If I could go back and tell my 'busy' college self that I'm sure she wouldn't believe me, but I did have more time. I may have filled it with a million things but I was the one who decided how I would spend my time.

Now a kiddo will wake up a little earlier than expected and that pile of dishes I finally started gets stopped halfway through and it's like I never even touched it. So lately I find myself sweeping the floor more often and doing laundry much less. I can usually guarantee I have time to finish the floor, but the laundry 'I probably shouldn't even try to start.'

And to tell the truth, this is also the way I write.

I haven't posted anything here in quite some time. 

I sit down to write often, but often I am interrupted. I have many, many drafts saved but nothing finished. So many times I left things unfinished, that it became easier to not even sit down and write. "There's no way I'll get anything completed so I might as well do something else." And that was it.

Back in the old days of this blog I told stories about the time I thought I lost my camera at the Big 12 Championship and I rattled on about my thesis homework. Then Hannah came along and everything got a bit bigger. My words had more weight. Her story carried so much of God's truth to so many. So sometimes now I sit down to write about poopy diapers and it seems so much less significant. Why even write it?

So I decided a few nights ago that I was going to sit down and write something about not writing. I was going to make it official that I wouldn't be posting anything for a while. I'd give myself a good excuse like kids and lack of sleep and I'd be done.

But before I could write anything, today happened.

The morning was an avalanche of babies waking early and my toddler threw his milk cup at my face hard enough that I fell off of bed. My kid wouldn't stop whining while I was 'having fun' with him making cupcakes because I wouldn't let him drink the batter. I showered last night but I'm sure you wouldn't be able to tell and my five month old decided he would just stop napping altogether.

And then my husband sent me the best article about being a momma and it was perfect.

Not because it was perfectly written. Not because it used the best dollar words.

It was perfect for me because someone shared their story and I remembered that I was not the only one doing this mom thing. I was reminded that yep, these kids are going to grow up one day and I'm not going to have to get to hold them while they nap.

It reminded me that even if my story is not perfect that it's mine. It's the story that God has given me to share. Millions of people don't even have to love it to make it worth something. 

Sometimes only one person has to read it and be reminded of truth. And sometimes that person is me re-reading it a few hours or days or years later.

So I'm not "back" but I'm not "gone."

I'll be writing some time. Between the blessings and the blowouts, somehow the words will come out. And maybe, just maybe, if I've gotten more than four hours of consecutive sleep anytime in the last week, maybe they'll even mean something.
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