Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh, boy!

Today Emerson turned three.  I had our whole morning planned out.  Starbucks, party supply shopping, Build-a-Bear, Auntie Anne's and a birthday cookie.

Emerson had plans to ride an elevator.  He failed to share those plans with me.

I was watching him.  My eyes never left his little body as he walked down the rows of shoes at Macy's.  When he ducked into an alcove, I watched until he popped back out and continued down the row.  When he got to the second doorway, I expected the same but he never popped back out.  I went after him thinking he would be hiding in the corner.  He wasn't there.   An elevator door stared back at me.  When the doors opened the revealed an empty shell.  My baby was gone.

The next ten minutes might as well have taken three days.  The Macy's managers and security team scrambled over the first and third floors searching for my boy.  I stood helpless in the hallway watching the elevator doors open and close with no sign of my baby.  Finally they call came that they had found him.  In the bathroom.  Downstairs.  Crying.  Back in my arms, sucking his thumb I asked him why.  "I wanted to ride the elevator." Oh, sweet boy!  How will I ever survive you!?! 

Last week Emerson put on the girls nail polish.......like it was lip gloss.

I guess nothing should surprise me with this little ninja.

We really did have a great day.  Other than that 10 minutes or so.

Starbucks.....

Build-a-Bear....

and Auntie Anne's

This little boy has stolen my heart.  I can not imagine spending my days without him.  As crazy and tired and stressed as he makes me, I wouldn't trade him for the world.  Emerson Neil, you are my favorite little buddy.  You are smart and funny and absolutely adorable.  If you are grown and reading this, go out and buy be a really nice and expensive present. You owe me.

Happy Birthday Crazy Boy!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Speaking His Language

I've mentioned before that my kids have different and distinct love languages.  Despite my intentions to read the book "5 Love Languages" I have not.  I do know the basic premise of the book (thanks to my mother) and can identify the tendencies in both Adam and I and our kids.  Paige made it clear early on that she was a quality time kid.  Sometime last year, we realized that Brooklyn's dependence on us is rooted in a need for service.  We speak to her through our acts of service.  Last week, it dawned on me that Emerson is a physical touch kid.  Go figure.  Like father like son. 

Every night, Emerson insists that I lay with him in bed while we read.  If I hurry bedtime, he cries for me to "hold him".  In the grocery store, he insists that I carry him while I push the cart (Which is nearly impossible when the cart is full and the aisles are crowded.)  This has lead to many a screaming fit.  He doesn't handle it well either.   The more I think, the more obvious it becomes that this kid thrives on physical touch.

The problem: his mama is NOT a touch kind of girl.  I admit this to you at the risk of sounding cold, harsh, and rigid because it's the truth.  Oh, I love to squeeze my babies.  I love to kiss them over and over until they fall to the ground giggling.  I love to cuddle them while we read a book or stroke their hair while talking about their day, but then I'm done.  I didn't carry my babies in slings against me, I put them in their seats.  I didn't hold my babies while they slept, I put them in their beds.  I love my kids, but I need my space.

Emerson does not feel the same.  There is never enough "holding" for him.  He wants me to be at his side all day long.  He follows me around the house crying for me to hold him more.  His love tank is going to be a hard one for me to fill.  I don't know if my little three year old boy will always need his mama's touch as much as he does today, but I do know that I wouldn't want anyone else filling him up.  These are LONG Chronos days, but I'm trusting that there will be Kairos moments that make it all worth the while.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I'm Learning

I have been struggling to write lately.  The desire is there but the subject matter eludes me.  Nothing has driven me to a place of inspiration.  I started watching my calories this week, but who wants to read a whole post about my issues with self-control?!  There have been some major things going on in the lives of those around me, but I don't express myself well when the wounds are raw, so those will have to wait.  It just so happens that a friend posted about the things her kids are teaching her and that inspired me to do the same. 

I am currently reading a book by Angela Thomas (who I LOVE) called "52 Things Kids Need from Their Mom".  It has inspired me to take a closer look at my relationship with my kids and to be more intentional with the little things I do everyday.  I plan to write more on that later, but this new awareness has only helped me pinpoint the ways my kids are teaching me.
At almost eight years old, Paige is teaching me how to parent at a new level.  She has always been my independent child, but now that she can read, write, make PB&J, and bath herself, she rarely "needs" me.  Our relationship is changing as she matures.  I can't depend on the "needs" of her day to keep us connected.  I have to be intentional.  She still wants me to tuck her in, make her lunch, and read her stories even if she doesn't "need" or ask me to.

Brooklyn is teaching me to be sensitive. I do not understand this child.  She can be heartbroken over the silliest things.  She sheds more tears than any person I know.  We spend many hours talking about controlling emotions and then we do it all again tomorrow.  I am not emotional like Brooklyn, but I know that simply forcing her to dry her tears will not serve her in the future.  Her gentle spirit is a gift.  I need to be sensitive to the things that hurt her heart.

Emerson may be the death of me.  How a little boy who melts my heart with his smile can cause such chaos in my life is beyond me!  I am learning patience with Emerson.  His days are full of screaming fits, potty training power struggles, and arm crossed pouting.  He is happy only if I am playing trains or holding him.  He hates his car seat and refuses to ride in a shopping cart quietly.  (I apologize in advance if you ever find yourself in Target or Meijer with us.)  I know I had these issues with his biggest sister, but I had forgotten what life was like 5 years ago.  Emerson has so graciously reminded me. 

These lessons are never going to end.  They will change and they may repeat, but they won't end.  I wont' let them. Every season of parenting teaches me more and more about who I am and who I need to become. All that I can ask of myself is that I learn from yesterday.   If I ever look back on a season of parenting and can't find something I should have done differently, I have failed.  Until then, I just pray God covers the lessons I have missed.