Four Is

Four is parading to the curb in a rainstorm with a red pillow perched atop your head as a makeshift umbrella. It’s catching salamanders at the lake and picking your nose first thing each and every morning. It’s rocking on the front porch without a stitch of clothing and laughing about poops and toots and burps at every opportunity granted. 

Four is a nasally “whhhhy?” expelled after nearly every statement made. 
Go put some clothes on. Whhhhhyy?
We don’t pee off the front porch. Whhhhhy?
Dinner is ready. Whhhhhhy?
Help put all the dinosaurs away. Whhhhhy? Whhhhy? Whhhhhy? 

Four is cheeks that turn fiery red on summer days. It’s sweat soaked blonde hair and the musk of earth in your clothes. It’s long, lean legs racing down the sidewalk trying to keep up with big brother on a scooter. It’s playing so hard you fall asleep at 4:30 in the afternoon and don’t wake up until the next day.  

Four is an absence of the the letter “l.” It’s “wook at me” and “I wove you.” It’s cleaning the storm door while wearing a pair of swim goggles, and looking pretty darn cute as you go about your work. So what if most of the glass is still smudged. You gave it a hearty effort. 

Four is loving peanut butter sandwiches, applesauce, and ketchup. It’s sneaking into kitchen cabinets for cinnamon and baking soda so that you can do your own science “spearmint.” It’s spending time each day in a whirlwind of adventure, mischief and curiosity.

Four years ago, our eyes fell upon Parker James for the the very first time. It was just after one in the morning when his tiny frame was wrapped snugly into a blanket burrito and placed into my tired arms. He was soft and fresh and miraculous. Four years later, he is still quite soft, not nearly so fresh, but every bit as miraculous.

Happy fourth birthday, Parker! We love you so!


Bribery and 37 Weeks

In the last few months we’ve made some progress around the house as I’ve gone full tilt into nesting mode. We’ve purged a great deal of random stuff, organized cabinets and closets throughout the house, cleaned out the fridge for the first time since moving, and prepared a small room for our little one.  

But despite all this effort, it seems that every morning I awaken to a minefield of mess. It’s scattered across the floor and glaring at me from cups and dishes that haven’t yet made it to the dishwasher. I try to remember that yes, we do LIVE in this house, which means our house will look lived in. However, there’s a part of me that craves order and functional space.

Presently, exhaustion is my biggest enemy. I don’t recall this level of tiredness with either of my other pregnancies, though I was much younger and generally, a bit more pleasant back then. It’s a bone tired. A vacuuming-the-living-room-has-left-me-spent kind of tired. An I could fall asleep at a red light sort of exhaustion. A tired that makes taking a shower feel as difficult as running a marathon.  

So today, I needed to shower AND I needed the house cleaned up – a double whammy. I dragged myself off the sofa and explained to the boys that after I took my shower, we would all be cleaning up the downstairs. Then I had an epiphany. If they were good helpers, I’d let them spend a little bit of time playing some games on my iPad.  

I felt like a rockstar as I trudged upstairs. This is how amazing moms function at 37 weeks pregnant, I told myself. I got this. Bribery has some very real benefits and I planned to make use of them all during these final weeks.  

I showered and dried my hair and not surprisingly, felt unwell after such an undertaking. I don’t know if it’s the heat or the energy required to move 35 extra pounds everywhere I go, but it leaves me quite miserable. I came downstairs completely out of breath.

As I rounded the corner I heard feet stomping out of the kitchen and two voices whispering, “Here she comes! Here she comes!”

This usually means a disaster has occurred. I braced myself for the mess that usually accompanies one of their science “spearmints” gone bad. Cinnamon and baking soda would be scattered across the countertops. Or maybe instead, a weeks worth of applesauce pouches were consumed in thirty minutes. I walked into the living room and saw rug fibers unobscured by Mario figures, game cards and pieces picked up, blocks put away and two little boys smiling sheepishly.  

I collapsed on the sofa in joy. “Ohhhhh! You cleaned up! Thank you, boys.” I pulled them close and gave them each a bear hug.  

The room was certainly not Pinterest worthy. But it was good enough for today. And like life, the best of it isn’t often nestled in being perfect, but in being present. And presently, my three and five year old had given their exhausted, pregnant mother a room she could easily walk through, and they’d done it without requiring a hint of nagging on my part. Hallelujah!

“Can we get on the iPad now, Mama?” 

“Yes, yes you can, boys.” I spent the next twenty minutes plopped uncomfortably in a chair, still waiting for my breathing to return to normal. The boys took turns playing Subway Surfers, trading every 7 minutes, and as I watched them sitting hip to hip on the sofa, I knew I had much to be thankful for.