Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Closing … I’d Like to Thank the Little People

It seems like only yesterday that I wrote about not being the Summertime Super Mom and here we are, only a few short days before the kids go back to school.

As much as I’d like to be Saylah’s cheerleader to encourage her that she wants to go back to school, I get the melancholy and apprehension of starting a new school year. To some extent, my sentiments echo hers. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to the school year routine and hanging up my cape of summer superhero fun maker for the next 9 months. But I’ve kinda grown accustomed to these little creatures roaming my house and I rather like having them around. Well, that is until 7:30 bedtime … then, well, to be frank … I’m done.

All in all, I feel we’ve had an amazing summer and I am totally blessed that I got to spend this fun time with my 6, 4, and 1 year old.

I’ll admit; it started out a little wacky. Ben had a weird work schedule for a bit, then started a new job and has been crazy busy every since. We were supposed to go to Italy but due to said weird work schedule ... that got nixed. My work has taken off (Thank You God), so I’ve been an amazing juggler (if I do say so myself) between working and hanging with the kiddos. As summer progressed, we settled into a groove and have done some pretty fun things.

First, I’d like to brag that I did indeed accomplish my big tasks of having the kids read for 30 minutes every day and we did learn about a new family member every week. I will also admit however, I only got so far as buying the math and science activity books and doing a couple of pages over the summer days. I suppose I’ll have to re-goal that idea for next summer.

Beyond brain enhancement (or at least maintenance), we’ve played games, had a jammie party day with friends, visited with relatives, had a couple of sleepovers, practiced our posh talking during an impromptu tea party, trekked all the way to see Winter the tailless dolphin, indulged in popsicles galore, and enjoyed countless summer camps and water activities. No kid could want for a better summer … and no Mommy either.

Mostly I’ve re-realized how much fun it is to be around my kids. 

It’s not that I thought otherwise, but I do think I wasn’t really focusing on it. My kids inspire me.

In fact, when you stop and look at your kids, I bet they do as well. If you’ve got younger ones like I do, have you ever noticed just how happy they are? Like, I mean, nearly all the time. It’s like a little HappyLand utopia in their world. Sure, they have drama moments; temper fits and boo boos that cause a scene. But as only a kid can do, they cry one moment, pick themselves up, get a kiss from Mom, and are right back to their sun-shiny-state of being. It’s pretty cool.

I’m in awe of their ability to seize the time they have, be IN the moment, and enjoy the heck out of life. I’m sure as the school year begins, contrary to their apprehension, each one of them will make new friends and have even more fun than they did the year prior. I’m excited to watch them as they learn new things, are exposed to new environments, and have more great experiences.

Good luck to everyone as they begin their school year. I’m thinking I will first shed a few sniffles, then I’m going to go home, put Isaac down for a nap, and have myself a cup of coffee in sweet, sweet silence. (Hey, there’s always a silver lining, right?) ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Excuse me ... IS THIS THING ON?!?!

You may not have noticed this, but I’m a bit of a loud talker. Quite frankly, most of my family is. However, as I raise my three children and interact with other kids from families with siblings, I realize my loud-talking tendencies are simply not my fault.

It seems there is this propensity for the second born children of the world to talk REALLY LOUDLY.

Why do you think this is? Well, let me tell you … we’re trying to find our voice. I’m sure of it. Time and time again I find myself reminding Audrey for instance to stop yelling; that we can hear her. And when middles or seconds come over for a play date I often spend much of my time reminding them to stop yelling as well. In fact, just this morning, the sweetest little thing, dainty and blond, sitting quite cutely in my back seat, out of the blue, screamed at the top of her lungs, “Turn it to #2!”

After jumping a little and smiling to myself, I accommodated. She wasn’t being rude; she was just trying to be heard over the chattering of the older kids in the car.

I blame this attribute on the first borns of the world, actually. Yep, you oldest kids out there with your non-stop blabbering, “ helpful directing,” and flat out bossing around of us youngers has yielded a whole slew of siblings who speak at higher-than-normal decibel levels.

Being the middle child myself, I am intrigued as I watch the stereotypical dynamics of birth order play out in my home. For instance, it goes without surprise that Saylah is bossy as all get out … and knows practically everything. Correction … everything. Isaac is spoiled … yes, already. And Audrey … well, she’s a bit of a feisty little firecracker. Quick to yell, scream or cry whenever something goes awry, I often have to remind myself to resist the urge to strangle her after her latest tirade ensues. Remembering that she’s probably been bottling up things for a while, waiting to get her turn to be heard, and she’s now frustrated and conditioned to communicate LOUDLY.

There are other dynamics with #2 that are entertaining as well. For example, I enjoy being the fly on the wall as I watch Audrey watch Saylah as Say discovers how to be funny, dance or try some new trick. First there’s wonder, then awe, then shortly after I can be sure Audrey will be trying it out too. Thankfully, Saylah is a good kid and mostly teaches her good things. ;) I chuckle to myself when I see Audrey at her peak of tolerance for Saylah trying to tell her yet again the ways of the world. And it’s heart-warming when I see her try to pass down her own “wisdom” to Isaac.

Audrey’s sibling order is molding her into one of the most interesting, challenging and loveable people I’ve yet to encounter in my life. She is passionate, both positively so and negatively so. She is dynamic and even flexible from time to time – playing with Saylah one moment then switching gears to play with Isaac the next. She gets frustrated easily but her patience level sometimes is inspiring when yet again she’s interrupted and waits quietly until she can get her words in. 

I’m embarrassed to admit that as a baby I actually thought Audrey was a quiet child. Then one day (when jabber box Saylah wasn’t around) I actually got the opportunity to talk without interruption to her. Oh wow. It was like a flurry of words had been bottled up. Once uncorked, she was bubbling over with things to share. These days, I’ve realized that when I spend quality one-on-one time with Audrey, on a consistent basis, her spirit is calmer and more content. Which is really what any parent wants.

So, it goes without saying, it can be tough being the middle kid. I for one always complained that I always got the chores the older was too old to do and the younger was too young to do. But honestly, it’s not all bad being second in the sibling order of life.

Audrey gets to learn from the older and teach the younger. She always has the option to be “Switzerland” in the event of a trio argument. And if one is playing a game she’s not interested in, she can always go and try to convince the other to play her game. Being in the middle means she’s closer to relating with all of her siblings and she’ll rarely be bored. When life’s challenges arise as a grown up, she can dole out the task of telling “mom and dad the news that they aren’t coming home for Christmas” to her older sister and she can advise her younger brother to call his parents to wish them Happy Anniversary without them being the wiser that he forgot.

As she navigates her second-born-ness she’s certain to be strong, creative and loving. And without a doubt, there will be no stopping her when she decides it’s her turn to be heard.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus ...

I always thought it was rather corny all those “Christmas in July” marketing events. I just figured it was a cute little way to promote sales and get revenue up during the hot summer slump.

But lately, I’m starting to think it’s a cultural tendency.

I’ve not actually seen or heard a lot of “Christmas in July” advertisements this year. Which means, neither have my kids. But I can’t begin to tell you how many kids I’ve heard talking about Santa, Christmas lists and presents this last month.

Seriously, it’s really interesting. What is it that inadvertently inspires kids to start thinking about Santa in the middle of the summer? And it’s everywhere. My friend told me her son exclaimed out of the blue that there were only 6 months to Christmas just last week. I heard another little girl tell her mom what she was going to ask Santa to bring. And my own girls have been listing what they are going to put on their lists since some time around the 4th of July.

I wonder … is this because they are bored and thinking of new things to accumulate? Because, I’m certain it’s not because they’re worried whether they are on the naughty or nice list … that’s for sure.