3.03.2011

watching & remembering...

Years ago, when I used to babysit quite frequently, I remember getting a kick out of noticing how similar kids were and also how different they were. Each family had their own quirks, traditions, ideas about things and rules. For me, seeing the differences was freeing. It was a fresh reminder, every time, that God has made us each so different from the other. And our differences put together is often what makes us more interesting. I remember I'd sit and watch some of the couples I babysat for and I'd think "He really compliments her intense personality." and "she kind of calms him down and soften him up in a sweet way." But what I always got a kick out of, was seeing the different things each set of kids liked to play and pretend and imagine. 

Now that I'm a Mom, I'm getting a huge kick out of doing the same thing with my kids. 
Watching them. 
Listening to the things they say. 
Trying to understand what's going on in their head :) 
laughing at the new games they think of.
Getting all teary eyed when they start playing games I used to play. 
I love that very little of playing and pretending has to be taught
We're born with amazing imaginations, I think. 
My feeling is, with TV and video games and dull parents, we can squelch that.
I'm trying not to squelch theirs. My personality can sometimes be way too OCD 
and way too boring {shocking, I know}. Sometimes I crave order too much and forget 
that in a little chaos comes a lot of fun. Sometimes. 

Ethan and Rachel are very close. They're close in age and in relationship to one another. Ethan often tells kids at the park "this is my sister Rachel - she's my best friend." They're 17 months apart and as Ethan says "I can't remember my days before Rachel." They love each other, but they know how to pick quick and frequent fights with each other at the same time. Ethan wants things done a certain way, Rachel enjoys foiling his plan. But then Ethan likes to be in complete control and Rachel is a good follower. 
This is where Kara comes into play. She isn't a good follower {we're working on that}. I'm glad she has a mind of her own, but I don't like that she choses left simply because you said right. Oddly enough, she's very sensitive. Sometimes I pretend to cry, just to see the very sensitive reaction I get from her {after she's been rude} Jason thinks I'm mean when I do it and I probably am. But I like the way it reminds her that she can be hurtful. She'll suddenly freeze and stare at my face with a horrified look on her face. 
Soon she's rubbing my shoulder and saying "you sad, Mommy?" Then I say something like "you're being very rude." And she drops her head, leans into my neck and then I hear "sorry Mommy, for bein' rude" She's very, very easy to break. We've commented on that several time, Jason and me. "wow! I thought that would be a huge battle." I think Kara puts up a tough, stubborn front, but underneath she's a softy. 

Then when you put the 3 of them together, its really funny to watch. Ethan and Rachel totally understand the games they play. They love them. They both pretend to be afraid of the garbage man {Kara thinks they're serious} So while they're having fun watching him and pretending what he's like, she's secretly shaking in her boots, terrified of the guy. They love to play legos together. Kara goes in with with them and throws the legos above her head, laughing. This doesn't make Ethan and Rachel laugh. They love turning our upstairs loft into a Starbucks drive-thru. Kara thinks that she should order coffee AND be paid by the barista for her coffee. This creates problems, since E&R know that the customer has to pay. But they all three love to play house. Ethan is usually the Dad. Rachel is a Mom, but not usually married to Ethan. Kara follows behind, dressed up as a ballerina - copying everything they do. They play "house" and "jungle adventures" quite well. Sometimes I can't hear them and then I can't find them. This is when I know they're in a closet somewhere, hiding from bad guys. The other day they were in our coat/vacuum closet. Its a huge closet and goes back, far underneath the stairs. We keep toys and puzzles and dress-ups in there. They took a night light and were hiding in there. Ethan said a war had broke out and he brought the girls to safety. Rachel was smiling, because she felt silly since they were making up this fun game. Kara had this completely worried look on her face and finally said 
"mommy! get in with us and close the door!" I love that its all so real to her right now. Sometimes she comes in the kitchen and says, "can I cook with you? I don't like Ethan's game. Its scary to me." 

Those are times when she admits she's the baby. Every other time, she's a "BIG girl, NOT a baby." 

When they're not fighting and not picking on each other all.day.long
I get the biggest kick out of listening and watching my kids. 
I love it. 
I love jotting down little notes in their journals; things I never want to forget 
and never want them to forget. 
These early years are going by in a flash. I can feel it. Can you? 
Looking back at baby pictures makes me cry. 
I always said it wouldn't, but it does. 
It scares me how much I've already forgotten. 
This time with them is going to be gone faster than I'd like to admit it. 
I loved being a kid and I hated growing up. 
I loved when my Mom made forts for us. 
I loved when she walked us to the grocery store in our wagon. 
I loved going to park days. 
Seeing all the Missions in Northern California. 
making play dough {and the edible peanut butter play dough} 
I love that she home schooled us. I love the memories we have in that. 
I remember when I was little, realizing how fast time was flying by. 
On my 10th birthday I actually felt sad because I had entered the 
world of double digits. I wasn't quite ready. 
I used to watch Dads and Moms and realize all the hard, constant work they did. 
I understood how much fun I was having as a kid. 
Made me sad to see other kids who were too busy running from one 
sporting event to the next, to really enjoy and soak in their childhood. 

I hope my kids enjoy their childhood. 
I hope growing up is bittersweet for them. 
Means they had lots of fun in these early years. 
I think I'll enjoy watching them pass this stuff onto their kids.
I love to turn on funky music and dance with my kids.
The other day I told Ethan I would do that with his kids when they come over.
He smiled and said "you're gonna be a great Nana, because you're the best Mommy." 

Those days are coming quicker than we realize.

7 {comments}:

mrs.macewen said...

This is so beautiful stef!!! I had to hold back tears because I know you are right. Those days of playing pretend seem so far away but I know if I blink to long I will be playing house and dancing with maggie. Thanks for writing this and reminding me to really treasure where I am. Love you!

Jessica said...

Totally a beautiful and sweet post!!! Can't WAIT for siblings!!!!!! ;)

p.s. I KNOW your kids are getting a complete kick out of their childhood!! And you are THE best mommy!!

Liz said...

Beautiful post! You are right! They grow up too fast and are such amazing blessings :)

Stef said...

thank you, ladies!

Emily said...

I really hope you get your blog printed in a book. Your kids are going to LOVE having this to read someday.

Stef said...

thank you, ladies!

Jessica said...

Totally a beautiful and sweet post!!! Can't WAIT for siblings!!!!!! ;)

p.s. I KNOW your kids are getting a complete kick out of their childhood!! And you are THE best mommy!!

 

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