I have spent much of this month thinking about all of the people who have enriched my life. people who have made a difference to me. through their words. or their actions. or simply by being themselves. and the truth is I am overwhelmed. completely bowled over with gratitude. I am who I am because of the influences of so many. and for all of them I am eternally grateful. everyday I get the chance to be someone I never imagined I would be. i get to be a mother. a mom to the three most incredible children in my world. i look at each of them and cannot believe how fortunate we have been. how lucky. how blessed. i am so very thankful for my family. and my life. i wouldn’t have it any other way.
a new breed of catalogs have made their way into our house in the massive surge of holiday mail intended to expose children to all possible things to ask santa/parents/family/the abominable snowman/etc. for. i remember catalogs coming to our house as a kid. not a lot of separate ones but big ones for service merchandise and sears and probably something else. (as an aside what ever happened to those huge catalogs?). i recall paging through them and circling items that seemed like they would be great. and that i had to have. we weren’t spoiled as kids. my parents did not have a ton of money but i never felt like we went without. i do recall asking for things and not getting them. and i think that was a good thing. at no time in life can we really get all that we ask for. it just doesn’t work that way. do i remember now what those things were? nope. but i do remember some of the gifts i received through the years because they were significant. and well thought out. not just purchased on a passing whim. because that wasn’t really possible.and that was a good thing.
and now we have our own kids. hook is at the point where he is a consumer. he is the sweet spot in the audience that commercials are geared toward. and he thinks almost everything is awesome. and a lot of it is. but just because it may be awesome does not mean we need it in our house. even before hook was born m and i had strong opinions about gifts and holidays and charity. we both partake in charitable events and volunteer on a regular basis. this is something that we want to instill in our children. giving is more important than receiving. helping those who are less fortunate is the right thing to do. this is so difficult to explain to a child. one of the ways we have done this (i must admit it has been on a somewhat inconsistent basis) is to have hook find a toy to donate for each toy he receives for his bday or xmas. so 5 news toys in, 5 old toys out. it is helpful when we make it happen. not only does it reinforce the idea that donating is good. but it also helps to minimize clutter. (this is a principle that would apply well in all areas of my life i think. at least with material goods. new shirt in. donate one out. i am trying to work on this.) all of this sounds good in theory. and it really is great in practice. but here is the rub. we have spoiled hook. as an only child for so long we definitely overindulged in his wants. we bought him too many toys. and clothes. we paid far too much for things. and in some ways he has come to expect it. this is not what we want. having things to play with is great. but really a bunch of cheaply made crud isn’t what he ends up playing with most days anyway. he loves his le.gos. and to draw pictures. and make books. and play games. these are the things that occupy more of his time than anything else (except when we let him watch too much tv). and yet we keep piling on unnecessary things. as does extended family. not living near family tends to make them think that gifts can fill the void of time together. it doesn’t. he doesn’t really know who sends him what. and much of it gets tossed to the wayside quickly after it arrives. this isn’t to say hook isn’t appreciative. because he is. he always thanks people. and talks about how generous they are. but i’m still not sure he gets it. he talks about giving some of his toys to the babies. or to other kids. but again because he really hasn’t had to want for much in his life it isn’t the easiest thing to impress upon him that some kids have no food at home. let alone books or toys. gah. so what is there to do? we have definitely cut back. not only because i am no longer gainfully employed and we have two extra mouths to feed. but because we are also refocusing our efforts on the important things in our lives. time together. experiences that will be remembered. spending time with family and friends. meals shared. laughing. going outside and playing. the wigglers have toys. and sometimes i have to stop myself from buying more. most of the ones they have are ones that i saved from when hook was little. and the wigglers certainly don’t care. they don’t know the difference. recently i sold off some of the baby gear we had and picked up a few things at a consignment shop. for the holidays. i gave them one thing and it is their new favorite toy. it cost $3. children don’t care about prices. they don’t need something new all the time. as i dive into xmas shopping i am trying to keep all of this in mind. the wigglers birthday is 9 days before xmas. 9 days. they don’t actually need anything right now. we have clothes. and books. and toys. but more importantly we have happiness. and laughter. and smiles. hook also has no need for anything so we are making a concerted effort to be conscious of this. and give him fewer things. things that he actually mentions more than once before we run out to the store to pick them up. that isn’t doing any of us any favors. this year we also adopted a family for the holidays. and we are getting hook involved in picking out items for the family members. what tops their lists? clothes. shirts. pants. socks. most kids would get those things and not be pleased. getting hook to see that is eye opening. and he is starting to get a better understanding of the true difference between needs and wants. as a parent i think i often fall into the trap of not wanting my child to have to “want” for anything. when really what they need are the things we are already giving them.
i’m not entirely sure what i am getting at. but i think i needed to get this all out as a reminder. to myself.
trying to have a rational conversation with a screaming magoo. who has been up 4x since his 7pm bedtime. while feeding Cindy Lou who. it’s not going so well. these are the times when I wish we had separate rooms for the babies. or noise canceling headphones. or a night nanny…
m has been at work for the past nearly 15 hours. and it has been a long day. with wigglers in high demand mode. and hook copping an attitude that only a seven year old can. but right now I am sitting in the baby’s room. reclining in the rocker. with magoo asleep on my chest. as cindy lou sweetly sighs across the room. and none of the nonsense seems to matter anymore. in these moments it all melts away. this is what I needed. this makes it all worth it.
before we had kids:
i slept a lot more.
i drove faster.
i loved less.
i went out to eat.
i returned phone calls in a more timely fashion.
i watched more television.
i worried a lot less.
i was more self-centered.
i was less aware of how children see things.
i sat down to eat my meals on a regular basis.
i gave less of myself.
i showered more frequently.
i would have never believed how easy it is to become accustomed to being covered in spit up.
i fretted over insignificant things.
i ironed my clothes.
i didn’t find myself singing along to kids music.
i never thought twice about staying out late.
i took fewer pictures.
i wrote more.
i was less content.
i thought i knew how my life was going to turn out.
i wanted for illusive things.
before i had kids there was a piece missing somewhere. and now it has been found.
so i clearly already failed at nanoblomo. but i figured that was bound to happen. and i’m okay with it. i guess i will just write when i write and that will be that. it seems like the wigglers are up to so much these days and i don’t think i have really discussed in much.
walking. er, running for magoo. and toddling for cindy lou who. throwing everything out of the play area. dancing. vocalizing a few words. playing with one another. generally being a little awesome humans. so i will take them one by one.
signing. we taught hook to sign when he was a baby. i can’t recall exactly when he picked up the signs but he had a lot of them. and it was so fun to watch. and so helpful to have some inkling of what he might possibly want. his favorite sign (or at least most common sign) was please. he did it all the time. perhaps he thought it meant something else. or he was just an overly polite infant/toddler. with the wigglers i have been signing to them since they were about 6 months old. mainly i focused on eat, more, and milk. the essentials if you will. but nothing. nothing. for so long. once in a while magoo would make some indication of more. but the past two weeks or so he is adamant. more. more. more. and he means now. yesterday we had friends over and one of them was eating candy that hook had given him. magoo walked over and stood in front of him signing eat. and more. over and over. he was clearly disappointed that he was not getting any of the candy. cindy lou has also come around to signing more. usually after you give her something and say more. they also both wave frantically. it is adorable.
locomotion. cindy lou has decided that walking might be an okay way of getting around. she is a bit more hesitant than magoo and takes tenative steps. she can walk across the room but is still more inclined to crawl to get somewhere quickly. magoo has been walking for over a month now. so clearly that is not enough. now he runs. all over. and likes to walk with his hands way up in the air.
tossing. if this were an olympic sport i would wager that cindy lou could be a competitor. our little lady likes to throw everything out of anywhere she is. toys in crib. out. bottle when she is done with it. gone. all around the baby corral are toys. i put them back in and out they go. sock tossing is another favorite pastime of hers.
dancing. our little man can shake his tail feather. any music gets him movin and groovin. he has a handheld toy where you press the button to play music. he loves to hold this and dance around in circles with it.
words. for months magoo has been saying what sounds like mama. we however were not so quick to believe he was saying this with any intention. until we noticed that he tends to say it when he wants to be picked up. or when he is crying. so it does seem purposeful… recently he seems to be saying more as well when he makes the sign. cindy lou loves to say hi when you say hi. and when she is waving. they clearly understand more than they say but it is fun to have them begin to really express themselves vocally as well.
playing together. sure sure they play together. i can imagine most people saying no way. but they do. not often but i swear they play tag. and peek a boo. and they make one another laugh. sometimes i will be sitting on the couch and they will both be playing over in the corner and i will hear shrills of laughter. and then cindy lou will come darting out and hide behind a table or put her face into the couch or floor. so cute. magoo also loves to steal toys from his sister. snatches them constantly. not sure how to make that stop…
so in a word the wigglers are: awesome. they are so. much. fun. we play. and eat. and laugh. they communicate. and kiss us. i like this age.
we are planning a birthday party. for the wigglers. a first birthday party. obviously they won’t remember any of it. but it still feels like something we should do. perhaps to celebrate getting through a year with twins. perhaps because we didn’t have a meet and greet soiree when the second parent adoption was complete like we had done with hook. so about a week before christmas we will be partying it up. with some friends. celebrating the babies. and the holidays. and our family. before they are old enough to potentially resent being born so very close to the holiday from retail hell. make sense? maybe. maybe not. but regardless apartying we will be.