Sunday, December 13, 2009

Almost Half-Way Through Chapter Four.

Have I mentioned how much I love my new laptop? I LOVE IT! I'm sitting on the couch next to my kids watching a second episode of Super Why (Abby's favorite!). We are all still in our pajamas and enjoying a lazy Sunday morning. I was inspired to write, because as I was zoned out reading the most recent issue of TIME magazine, Abby was trying to get my attention.

I've become very good at tuning out the world around me as I read, much to my husband's, and probably my children's, annoyance. But I'm pretty sure I've heard other mothers speak about this ability before. It's a survival tactic if any of us are expected to maintain our sanity amongst the squeals and screams of sibling rivalries, adolescent girls and/or the communication break-down that so often IS Autism. I was deeply engrossed in TIME's "Best of..." list for 2009, when I realized Abby was saying, "Mom, I want to talk with you!"

Whoa! No whine? No scream? A simple and straight-forward, "Mom, I want to talk with you." Amazing? Sure. But not what inspired this posting.

When she finally did get my attention, it was to tell me that she wanted to watch another Super Why as the first was ending. After I'd set up the initial episode to play from the DVR, she'd demanded, "Put the remote controls away!" I had joked, "Yes, Ma'am!" as I put the remote "away." When I reminded her of her sassy-pants instructions earlier, she smiled, wrinkled her nose and did a little sniff/half-laugh at herself.

She appeared so grown up to me as she enjoyed our little inside joke. I enjoyed it, too. Had the room been filled with other adults, it's likely that no one else would have understood our little joke. It wasn't really all that funny and deserved little more than the sniff/half-laugh that she bestowed it, but to me it spoke volumes.

It was the first time that she and I really connected on a more mature, inside-joke kind of level. My little girl is not a toddler anymore. For the most part she has shed the habits of a toddler and is now a small child. And I like it. I'm relieved.

I was reminded of something a friend said to me once a few years ago. Her daughter was just three and Abby was still a baby. I asked my friend, out of curiosity, if she planned to have any more kids. She answered, "No. I don't do so well with babies. I love them, but I'm better with kids." It struck a chord deep within me and I've thought of that often over the years.

I think it struck me, because at the time I was feeling guilty that while everyone around me was counseling me to "enjoy them while they are this little, because it goes by so fast," I was daydreaming about the day when I could have a conversation with Abby. I was longing for a little girl instead of a baby.

I was already keenly aware of how fast the time was flying, but I was grateful instead of sad. I knew what my friend meant. I adored my children as babies, but I'm happy to reminisce through pictures and memories, while making new ones. I might occasionally think warmly of Bean's tiny hand wrapped around my waist, tickling my skin as he nursed, but those memories are also accompanied by memories of sleep-deprived days when I was not at my parenting best. And while I might miss the feel of their tiny bodies in my arms, I do not miss those times when I felt downright "crazy". Not one bit.

I'm trying my best to enjoy these moments when my kids are small, because I know these moments are fleeting, but I'm so looking forward to inside jokes, hearing stories from my kids in addition to me telling stories to them and having real conversations with them.

It's the collective chapters that make a whole story. Like with every good book, I can hardly wait to get to the next chapter and in the end, as I finish the last chapter of our book, it will surely be bittersweet.

(All photos by Grandma Mary Johnson)


Jessica said...

I am another mom who finds the baby year(s) much better in hindsight. I just don't do well without sleep and it is a rough time for me. Nursing is such a gift but also puts an extreme amount of responsibility on Mom. I'm sad to say I feel lately like I hardly remember much of Ebin as a baby! And I had a lot more time at home with him. Life is sooo much easier when they start communicate (and really sweet when they start to joke!)

Honey said...

Excellent one Erin~!

Love Mary's pictures :)

Penny said...

Congrats on the forward movement you're seeing, Erin! Nice post, love the pics, too!

My name is Erin. said...

Jess- I sensed that my friend and I weren't the only parents out there who felt that way. I don't remember all that much about Bean being a baby either. It seems like it went by in about two weeks. Ha! Abby was a 2 year old with Autism. A double whammy! That was when she screamed instead of talked. We only made it 3 months with the nursing, because I felt pinned to the couch with a small child screaming at me from across the room. It was not a wonderful experience. But the couple of times a day that Bean and I were able to relax during nursing are beautiful memories that I'm really thankful for.

Honey- Thanks! And Mary did do a great job, didn't she? She is pretty good. She captured a couple of family ones that will be our Christmas card, so mission accomplished.

Penny- Thank you! It is truly something to celebrate. When I think of where Abby was in her development just a short one year ago, I'm absolutely amazed. She has progressed so much and I really thank God, because I wasn't sure it would happen.

kyungmee said...

HI! This Sunday afternoon, my husband took the kids out shopping and I had a chance to unwind alone..yeah! I can relate to your post..I try to to enjoy these moments with my children too..I look at them and see how quickly time goes by. My son is 4 1/2 yrs old now and he seems much older with wanting and needs to understand more of everything around him:) My daughter..tries to keep up with him and I see her growing so quickly as well. It's not easy in general raising toddlers and there are moments of craziness but I am always reminded in some way of how special our relationships are and how wonderful they are.. Thank you for sharing your story and the photos! She is precious!

paula said...

these photos are beyond precious! you can actually feel the joy.

My name is Erin. said...

Thank you, Kyungmee and Paula!