Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hands Full

"Have you ever smelled spaghetti?  It smells difficult." - N

I left the Nugget dancing to a favorite cd while I took the babies upstairs to change them into pajamas.  Upon our return, we found him still dancing but stripped down to his underpants and using an umbrella as a prop!  It was quite the routine, I wish I'd had the camera handy to take a video, but the memory is burned in my brain.  When I asked why the wardrobe change, he stated, "Well I was so hot from all the dancing that I decided to take my shirt and pants off."

The 5.5 year old Nugget is the king of exaggeration.  A few examples:
-I can kick my leg as high as Mars.  Maybe even out of the solar system.
-Tater Tot pinched me, and it felt like a shot.
-I can see all the way to Belgium right now.
-I fell and got hurt and I don't think my heart is even beating anymore.
-When I'm running, sometimes I go as fast as an airplane.

After a recent stomach upset, the Nugget likes to horrify his emetophobic mother by recounting to everyone who will listen how many times he threw up and which objects received his vomit.  I keep telling him he doesn't need to talk about it, but he is convinced that inquiring minds want to know.

Spork is popping his final molar, so we're having a challenging week.  He has gone into full-on 18 month mode, which means the following:
-Lots of tantrums with high-decibel screaming
-Smacking at us and throwing things
-Shoving, grabbing from, and trying to knock down sibs.  Tater takes the brunt of it, but she is feisty and fearless in trying to get her property back, while the Nugget's current method of handling Spork attacks is to scream disciplinary phrases, "Spork, we do NOT push!!!," then burst into tears.

Luckily he likes the make-up cuddles, and when I feel his squishy cheek against mine as he relaxes into my lap with a story of his choosing, I remember that even though he's a big guy and likes to play the part, he is still has one foot very much planted in his babytown.  He needs love and cuddles and connection most when he acts like he doesn't want them.

Spork is exploding with exclamations and proclamations.  He does everything big.  He stomps instead of walking.  He screams instead of crying.  He yells instead of talking.  He is adorable, inventive, resourceful, calculating, and eager.  He often wakes in a foul disposition, but when his belly is full and there are adventures to be had, he is the picture of toddler delight.  He is most often a serious child, but sometimes he'll go into a slap-happy mood where he is spinning, laughing, and being silly.  I love both his serious and the silly sides, this boy who pushes me, challenges me, infuriates me, and melts my heart, makes me a better person.

Spork has new words almost daily:  more, thank you, bus, ball, book, dog, duck, quack, cow, I fell, blocks, poop, up, no, Mama, Daddy, Nugget, Tater, Doggie
Signs too:  more, please, all done, again, book, airplane, water, milk, eat, thank you

The Nugget and Grandpa have taken to calling Tater Tot, "The Ninja".  Stealth is her nature, and I find myself having to ignore the din of the boys to take a quick head count several times a day.  When The Ninja is missing, I'll find her in the bathroom unrolling toilet paper or in the office standing on her tiptoes to work the mouse.  We joke that someday she'll buy a jet ski online and we won't know until it's delivered.  In the space of 10 minutes, you could find her standing on the craft table, behind the couch, or in the pantry.

Like any 1yo, she's starting to practice throwing tantrums too.  Her strategy involves flipping herself backwards to the floor and writhing around in faux agony, then securely velcroing herself to an adult leg until you pick her up.  She is so tenacious that if you try to walk with her attached to your leg, she will HOLD ON and let herself be dragged across the floor.  Sometimes this makes her giggle and the tantrum is forgotten.  She has a lone tooth, at long last.  She is 18 pounds, 13 ounces at 15 months, which is about what her brothers weighed at 5 months old.  It's still trippy to see such a little peanut walking around, especially when we're out and about in the world which makes her seem smaller.  She still has a mighty "pinch and twist", so you have to beware if she's near your face, but she also can be gentle and likes to knead her fingers in your hair or the edge of your sleeve.  She adores Doggie and strokes her carefully about 50% of the time.

I can already picture her yelling, "Me too!" She always wants to be in the middle of the melee.  She is starting to feel frustrated that she can't yet climb up on the couch (but I have a feeling she'll soon jury rig a stepstool).  When the boys pull out a toy, she's right there, wanting to know what they're doing, demanding to be included.

She plays peekaboo like a champ, though she sometimes covers her cheeks instead of her eyes, which is among the cutest things I've ever seen.  She is clearly an extrovert and as long as I'm in view, she'll go introduce herself to strangers wherever we go.
I've noticed this phenomenon for parents with 3+ children.  "You have your hands full."  At first, I shrugged it off, strangers like to have some comment ready for parents and 3 makes for a "big" family these days.  Later, I started feeling annoyed by it, as if it were an implication that I wasn't handling my herd gracefully, that it was a insult that meant they were annoyed by a screaming Spork who didn't want to get in the grocery cart, put off by the stains on my sweater and my bedraggled ponytail.  Now I'm at peace with it, because simply put, it's the God's honest truth.  My hands are full.  My days are full.  My house is full.  My minivan is full.  My heart is full.  As busy, tired, bedraggled, and stressed as I can be sometimes, I do have this fullness because our family is complete.

I had a vision of Tater years ago while we were waiting for Lil' Sib (little did I know then that it was to be double trouble!); I was in the kitchen doing dishes and the Nugget was running back and forth in and out of the room.  And there was a little girl in footie pajamas watching me, I could only see the back of her head.  That vision comforted me when it seemed adoption would never happen for us, but I'd long forgotten it.  And it came true the other day, with a flash of deja vu and the prickling sensation of goosebumps all over my body.

I can pinpoint the restlessness I felt when I was a mama to "just" my dear Nugget; people would tell me to be grateful and just to stop because it would be easier.  And I was oh so grateful, yet through the heartache I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't right to stop trying.  And it's because they weren't together yet.  These little souls were meant to be together in our arms and under our roof.

I know I have adoption/foster followers, and if any of you out there are still waiting for that call, or if you've had disruptions that have broken your hearts beyond measure, I will never tell you to just give up, to just be happy with your marriage, your singleton, your two, your three, your ten.  Because if you have that restlessness, I believe it's because there's someone out there who is waiting to come home to you.

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