Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When you get to number three ...

Logan can't pronounce the letter "r' if it falls in the middle of a word. This results in the kind of kiddie speech impediment that I personally find rather charming under the age of 8 or so. I admit that this little quirk probably would have worried me to distraction if it was almost 5-yo Jo we were talking about ... but it isn't, and I freely admit that I apply a totally different set of standards to number three than I did to number one.

Which has made me wonder: how will I be when I am parenting numbers 4 and 5? If my expectations of parenting when I hopped on this roller coaster were mountains, I'm already slaloming somewhere mid-slope at this point. Can I really afford to let them slide any further?

More things that prove I am a mom of more than one:

1. I let my kids wear jeans with holes in the knees.
I remember seeing parents whose kids were wearing ratty clothes and thinking that they really could do better. This was, of course, when Jo was fully outfitted in the latest attire from very generous grandparents. Nowadays I calculate how long it is until the end of the season, divide that by the number of kids those clothes are going to serve over their lifetime in my house, and base any purchases on the final outcome of that equation.

2. My sons have cowlicks that run amok. And I don't even spray them down unless we're leaving the house. There. I've said it.

3. Our collection of Tonka trucks live on the back patio.
Was a day when I considered it time well spent hosing them off after each trip to the sandbox. After all, gotta keep those pricey little items looking sharp so that when the grandkids come to visit in 30 years, they're still in pristine shape. Now the poor things are blooming rust under our grill. Oh, well.

4. I read really simple storybooks to Logan when he asks for them.
((sigh)) Poor Jo. I can remember my own excitement to get to the chapter books I had so loved as a child. As a result, I pushed her into the "big girl" read-alouds probably waaay earlier than I should have. granted, she seems none the worse for the wear. But I do wonder how many times she would have rather heard "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" but took my suggestion of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" instead.

5. Jo is just now learning to braid her own hair.
I really have never taken the time to teach her. Frankly, it's always easier to just do it myself in between tying little brother's shoes and trying to brush my own teeth as we're heading out. I always thought that if I had a little girl, we'd be doing each other's hair from the time she was three.

6. All of our birthday party invitations say "no presents" ... and we mean it. I'm fairly certain that there's not a single toy out there that we need. Funny thing is, my dc are mostly convinced of this as well. While they look longingly at live animals (Jo), comic books (Atticus) and art supplies (Logan), they very, very rarely ask for anything toy-like. And I'm more than happy with that!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Homestudy ...

We had our first homestudy visit today. It went well. Really well. Our case worker is hoping to have the homestudy written by the time we leave for vacation in just three weeks. I can't tell you how exciting that is for a family that's walked the road of "how do we expand?" for over two years.

In just three weeks, our name goes into the hopper of consideration for little children who need a home. We will still be pursuing our foster license, in case that's the method the Lord chooses to use to bring more hearts into our forever family. That process should take about three months. But just knowing--knowing for the first time in this whole rocky road--that someone is actually actively searching for the children the Lord wants us to raise ... I can't even give words to it.

I'm walking on air this morning. Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to this place. I know that there will be rough moments and days ahead. But at this second, I am surrounded by the evidence of your goodness!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


I like to clean on New Year's Day. Something about a fresh year makes me go digging through closets and sweeping in the garage. Call it a fresh start.

This year as I did my annual "unearthing old stuff" clean-up, I found a plastic shoebox full of old pictures. Are you like me? Does a discovery like this turn your well-intentioned cleaning binge into an hour-long sobfest in which you relive every single memory? Things rarely make me sentimental ... but pictures can send me in a tailspin. Which is, of course, precisely what happened on New Year's Day.

Exhibit A: 23 year-old me holding 5 day-old Jo. Baby pictures usually make me weepy anyhow, but this one knowcked the wind out of me. First of all, I was just a baby ... what was I doing with one?!? I really don't remember being that young when Jo was born. We have a girl at church who teaches Sunday School who is 23. I can't even begin to picture her married, let alone with a baby. But there I am: sitting on the couch in my husband's baggy flannel pj bottoms, cute hair and bags under my eyes looking like I haven't slept in oh, five days or so. And Jo! I know she was a big baby (she weighed in at 10 lbs. 2 oz. at birth) but somehow I don't recall her being so round. She was a whopper. No wonder everyone who saw her thought she was two months old!

Exhibit B: Me holding 3 month-old Jo on the carousel at DisneyWorld. Talk about an alert baby. There's Jo in the Baby Bjørn, peeking over the layers of blankets and somehow looking directly at the camera as we whirled by. We're going to Disney for the first time since that trip in just a few weeks. And guess who has decided that she absolutely must get an almost identical shot with her little girl? Yes, that would be me.

Exhibit C: Was Atticus the cutest baby ever or what? All of my kids are cute ... even the ones I don't have yet. I know this because I am inherently biased toward my own children. But Atticus ... this kid was cuteness personified from the second he slid from the womb. The picture I found on New Year's shows him sitting on the floor chomping on a teething biscuit. His hair is red and curly, his cheeks are plump and pink and his eyes are big blue lakes. Man, is he cute.

Exhibit D: Too many couples have split up since my wedding. I found no less than five photos of couples who are no longer married in that box. It broke my heart to see them together, frozen in the happy moments. Each one of them married with the intention of being together forever, and yet somewhere along the line the promises fell apart. I know most of their stories--who did what and who hurt who, who hung in there and who just walked away. Looking in those faces was hard. I couldn't put the photos aside without praying over them.

Exhibit E: Logan was once Mr. Sedate. I forget this all the time. There was once a day when that boy sat on my hip from sun up to sun down, and took no interest in getting anywhere. Really. He was a calm, quiet people-watcher with no desire to do anything else. Really. No, really.

I realized as I looked at the photos that in another ten years, I wouldn't be able to have these moments of happy discovery. Thanks to the blessing of technology, all of my memories are stored on my computer. While I love the convenience of having them all on hand, I don't have hard copies of most of them. There are no doubles to put aside and forget until a later date. No image is ever really that far away; if I stay away from the computer long enough, they will begin to randomly flash across my screen, reminding me of moments from five years ago or five days ago.

And that's probably for the best. Because nothing puts an end to a good cleaning rampage better than memories.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

At what point do you say it's an issue?

Three different children, three different learning styles. Three differing sets of interests.

Why, oh why, can't they all follow the same path?

Of course, I'm joking. I wouldn't want to live in a cookie-cutter world any more than I'd want my own children to be carbon copies of one another. Or, heaven forbid, carbon copies of me.

But it does keep things interesting, the way they all have their own methods and madness, doesn't it?

Today I am worrying over Logan in particular. He's 4--more than half-way to 5, at this point. Now, please don't take this as a comparison, but he is nothing like my other two children when it comes to learning.

As he is in everything he does, Logan hears his own drummer and marches along oblivious to the cajolings of a certain well-meaning mommy. I don't know why homeschooling would be anything different.

I honestly don't have a problem with that. He is my third (thank you, Lord), not my first, so I am not fretting over the things that drove me insane with Jo. If he wants to sit for two hours and snip the edges off of bird cutouts, so be it. Plenty of time for phonics instruction in his future, KWIM? I suggest things, and if he goes along, great. If he doesn't, that's o.k. too. Sometimes, to show his lack of interest (or just as his interest wanes), he'll start this game that I like to think of as "I'm Not Invested In This, Mom." In other words, he will slowly tune out. As his interest goes, so does his attention. Normal 4 yo stuff.

But this is where it gets a bit more tricky: Logan shows some of the "classic" signs of dyslexia and dysgraphia. There's a family history involved here, too--so my Mommyradar is going bonkers.I've got a boy who constantly writes in mirror-image, who tries to read backwards, who forgets things he learned a week ago ...

Which is not that unusual in a 4 yo, right?

I just don't know. Here it is--I'll be Bad Mommy and say it: Jo and Atticus never did this.

And I admit I am flummoxed. Is it normal stuff, or is it a learning issue? Am I being a nutcase, worrying over a child this young?

I just don't know.