I’m amazed in this era of life how quickly the seasons of survival, chaos, figuring, norming, and thriving cycle through and change. Right now we are bouncing around the norming phase on our way to thriving (I hope!). I’ve jumped headlong into a huge list of projects and Andrew has stepped in to help make things happen. Usually I’m pretty good about starting one thing and seeing it through before starting something new, but I had so many months in bed scheming away that once I got out of the starting gate I began everything at once. The result is a living space that has turned into a pretty impressive workshop (largely because we moved Nathan into the office where we used to house all of our projects). We have wood, sewing, coding, and design supplies all taking up space on the dining room table. Miraculously, during this season we have managed to keep the actual kitchen quite clean with a few organizational and habit adjustments. When things become a little too crazy I just walk in and look at the clean counters.
Emily has become a busy, creative player and I’m constantly impressed with her ideas which I discover after getting Nathan settled in for his nap. Yesterday I wandered downstairs to find Emily outside on our back patio (she has figured out how to open the doors all by herself recently which has opened a new wave of nightmares) with all of her cups and water bottle. She laid them all out and was filling them with water and pouring it into other cups. She has made a little space that she digs in the dirt and makes a big pile or fills all sorts of containers with dirt that she gathers from around the house. One day last week she dragged out the box of kitchen toys and was baking bread in the garden. She goes shoeless 85% of the time and I love her dirty hands and feet that are a sign of a happy childhood outside. She aged about ten years in the last week and is fiercely independent, wanting to do everything (almost) herself. I’m rapidly learning to adjust all the ways we used to do things together to give her a bit more autonomy and space.
She has been wearing the swimsuit we got her at 9 months old all winter and it was starting to cause pain that she was determined to endure. I snuck the swimsuit out of her drawer a few weeks ago and bought a new one last week. We made it until this morning before she asked for her swimsuit and so I told her I had a surprise for her. I pulled it out and once she had it on and the tags were removed she looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you mom for getting me a pink swimsuit.” I was happy to get the swimsuit for her, but it felt really good to be thanked sincerely.
Nathan is entering a phase of serious exploration. He scoots, wiggles, rolls, and planks himself around the room in this quest and is very adept at grabbing his target. I anticipated this growth; what took me off guard a little was how Emily would need to adjust to his new development too. She is super quick to take everything away to “keep him safe”. Now we are trying to restructure to give him room to grow too. Our somber boy is starting to let a few giggles slip out. On Sunday, Emily was jumping on a friend’s trampoline for the first time. That was a super exciting experience for her, and Nathan joined in with huge belly laughs as he watched from the side. Monday night Nathan had scooted himself partway under the teepee and was laughing when the sheet moved. Emily jumped inside and then would jump out with a “peek-a-boo” and Nathan was hysterical. We all joined him when Emily grabbed him by the legs to drag him all the way inside so they could play together. The fun with these kids is just beginning.
This phase of motherhood is wonderful for all the problem solving opportunities it provides. I feel like I’m constantly learning, growing, and changing to stay on par with my learning, growing, and changing family. I’ve also never had a job where I get so much real, immediate feedback. My behavior, mood, words, and actions are reflected right back at me which provides good insight on what I am doing well and what needs some tweaking. This season I’m full of gratitude for Andrew, Nathan, and Emily, and for creativity and learning.
I am not thrilled, however, about Emily not taking naps and waking Nathan up…