Eat, Play, Love

It’s official.  I now have a four-year-old.  I’m not sure if that means life’s about to get easier or it’s about to get much harder.  I’ve heard mixed reviews about this age.  One thing’s for sure – a 4-year-old is not hard to please when it comes to birthday parties.  The shape I cut her sandwich into?  Yes.  But birthday parties?  Nope.  Super low maintenance.

My daughter’s party with her little friends was this past Sunday.  Two mothers told me recently that a good rule of thumb is to invite the number of kids as the age they’re turning.  Which was perfect because that was exactly what I had already done in order to keep things simple.

Throw in some pizza, some cupcakes, a little dress-up time, some art, and a bit of jewelry making and you have a recipe for one happy birthday girl.  The afternoon was all about eating, playing and lots of laughter.  A pumpkin cocktail added to the mix for the moms didn’t hurt either, let’s be honest.

That night as my daughter and I laid in her bed talking before I tucked her in, she asked “Mom, do you ever wish you were a little girl?”  Those questions – sometimes it’s like she just knows.  It feels like we’re on the same wavelength so often, which I can only attribute to God speaking to me through my children.

I had just been thinking that I sometimes wish I was little or I could revisit parts of my childhood.  Thoughts I don’t think hardly ever.

I responded to her, “Yes…sometimes I do wish I could be a little girl like you again.”  When she asked why, I said that it would be nice to play all day and I love watching her brother and her learn about the world together.  I miss that childlike wonder of life and seeing things for the first time.  I can get so wrapped up in bills, doctor appointments, and the house that I don’t often take time to just ‘play.’

Lately I’ve been having dreams that let me know I’m neglecting my inner child.  So my dreams coupled with my daughter’s pondering confirmed that I needed to revisit that ‘little girl’ inside of me.  What this typically means is being a little more carefree and not so adult-like at times. It might be taking my daughter to the park and swinging with her side by side.  There is something so freeing about the act of swinging.  When do adults get to just let go and feel free like this?  Kids love to play.  They love to swing.  I think this is my number one way to check in and love on my little girl inside.

Nurturing my inner child also might mean playing in the sand with my little ones without making mental lists or picking up my phone.  Not just engaging with my children, but also with myself and my little girl on the inside.  Feeling the sand between my fingers, molding it into whatever shape I feel like making.  The release of knocking it down and rebuilding.  It’s in this place where I can reclaim that childlike wonder and just enjoy simple moments that might have become mundane to me as an adult.

As parents, it can feel like a double-edged sword because in some senses, it’s not always that ‘fun’ to sit and play with our children.  But to really get into the moment and on their level and enjoy it maybe even more than your little ones – that’s when you know you’re caring for your little child inside.

There are certain smells from childhood that can also take me back – cookies baking at holiday time, the smell of chlorine and sun-kissed skin and the feeling of air condition in the summer.  A certain sandwich I enjoyed as a kid.  When these moments come, I feel a wave of nostalgia wash over me and a certain lightness in the air.  Those freeing, fleeting days – how I miss them.

So I’ll make the sandwich, eat the freshly baked cookie, and read a book next to the A/C.  When I soak in those moments, taste the comforting morsels that take me back – I know it does my heart and soul good.  Nurturing the child I once was has become a powerful tool to be more present in my days and to take care of ‘adult’ me too.  After all, we are one in the same, right?

Eat, play, love, little girl.

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Mom Misconceptions Part 2

Another round of those moments I assumed would be different once I had children….

I recently saw this post and completely related to it – when did having kids get dropped off to birthday parties become a thing of the past?  Is this a generational thing?  When I made a list last year to have a party for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, the total was around 75 people and that did not include anyone under the age of 2.  There is no way to have all of those people in our house and where would they all park?

In the end, I had her pick 3 little girl friends to invite and I provided food, cupcakes, goody bags (and wine for the moms, who happened to be my friends).  The girls went outside, played dress-up together, colored and ate.  It was the perfect little party and in no way overwhelming for my child.  When I read the above-mentioned article, I was in complete agreement.  I am so down with the drop-off party!  I hope people start doing it as my daughter gets older.  Birthday parties seem to be every single weekend…does anyone else feel they’re a bit overrated??

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I’ve touched on this before, but I never realized the incessant talking – and more specifically, the talking in circles – that would take place with toddlers.  For example, this conversation happened on Saturday with my 3-year-old:

Her:  “Mom, why am I taking a break from Sunday school?”

Me:   “You’re not.  You went the past 3 weekends.”

Her:  “No, it was the past 5 weekends.”  (5 is her go-to number)

Me:  “Oh, ok.”

Her:  “Well, can I take a break from Sunday school?”

Me:  “I guess, if you want to.”

Her:  “No, I really don’t want to take a break.”

Well, that really solved a lot.  Sometimes I have no idea where anything is going in conversations with her…these seem to happen quite a bit lately!  They leave me very, very puzzled.

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The idea that two of your own littles ones close in age will play (or play well) together.  When, if ever, does this happen?  I know mine are still pretty small, but I am constantly intervening.  It’s almost worse than if it was just one of them playing independently.  Inevitably, one will hurt the other on accident (or on purpose, let’s be honest) and I must stop what I’m doing for the hundredth time.  I guess I thought they would be happy to have each other.  There are glimpses of this at times, so I’ll keep hoping it gets better in the future.

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Back to the sleep issue (mentioned in my other Mom Misconceptions post) – my baby, bless him, has been sleeping like a dream for 5 straight months now.  No wake-ups that whole stretch except one, ironically, on Saturday night (darn eye teeth, I think).  My nearly 4-year-old who has dropped her nap will now crash out before 7, but going to sleep that early means a wake-up may possibly happen in the night.  To inform me she has to potty (just do it – no need to wake me!) or like the other night, to say, “Aubrey told me today that I can’t do a cartwheel.  But I can.”  Is she really wanting to discuss gymnastics and friends at midnight?  When do they ever continuously sleep – or when is it that us parents get to sleep, I should say.  I hear we will worry when they’re teens and out at night, so really, I guess once you’re a parent, sleep is for the birds.

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I never knew driving would feel so tumultuous at times.  Tantrums and meltdowns in the car are no fun.  I feel like I may lose my mind.  When I’m trying to navigate to a new place, that makes it even worse.  I’m attempting to hear Siri, but the cries or screams make it near-impossible.  Luckily, these episodes don’t happen too often, but when they do – Lord have mercy on  us all.  Sometimes, all you can do is laugh and that is what I often find myself doing!

 

 

About a Boy

Once upon a time, about seven years ago, I met a little boy who stole my heart.  A 4-year-old adorable little munchkin who said the funniest things and loved his daddy and ate every food imaginable.

“Boy,” as his dad affectionately called him, was the most easy-going little guy there was.  The first time I ever met him we bonded instantly over sushi, mochi, and Super Mario Brothers.  He was impressed with my ability to conquer Bowser and remember where all the warps were.  Days spent with him were easy and the 3 of us went on adventures on the weekends as his dad and I dated.

A few years later I was blessed to become Boy’s stepmom.  No evil stepmother/disenchanted stepchild stories here.  He makes life so much better.  He’s my partner in crime with the little kids and helps me immensely when he’s here (often without even being asked).

This summer has been so great having him with us more.  Boy and I exchange glances and share similar sentiments when things are a bit hectic or stressful with the little ones.  It’s nice having someone to share my days with who understands things and has the ability to reason.  We have meaningful conversations and laugh at the same things.

He is passionate about art, baseball, music and tae kwon do.  He loves any and all seafood, video games, reading, legos, and Star Wars.

He has so much empathy for others and is constantly buying small gifts for his little sister and brother.  He thinks of others besides himself, and I think every friend we have has commented on what a great kid he is.  He’s the best big brother imaginable, and such an easy kid to love.

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Today he turns 11.  I don’t know where the time has gone.  What I do know is when he’s with us and our family of 5 is together, all feels right in the world again.

Happy Birthday, Boy!  We love you beyond measure and we’re so incredibly proud of the amazing young man you have become.