4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
Tim found some old videos on his computer. What with hard-discs being full and switching from desktop dinosaurs to laptops and iPads and iPhones, we hadn’t seen these videos for awhile, if ever.
They were from that brief time when our oldest was an only child, then when the twins were awkward-looking preemies who laughed maniacally at each other and finally when everyone was running around in diapers except our youngest Cindy Lou Who lookalike, always half-forgotten in the red wagon somewhere lost in the garage.
In one video Tim had taken, Mica sat on his tricycle naked from the waist down, Jasper wordlessly circled the driveway pulling a wagon carrying a wide-eyed wobbly Cabot, and Reid streaked through the frame naked, followed by my lower body and my voice-over, “Did Mr. No-Pants tell you where he just peed?! And there’s poop in the Barbie box. Get inside!”
I always talk about how those days just flew by. I literally cannot quite recognize that woman with the exhausted voice, those tiny kids. What a spectacle we must have been…
What hit me most of all was that I haven’t taken any videos in eons, that these days which seem so much less fleeting on gossamer fairy wings, will in fact appear otherworldly in maybe another four years. Because sure, naps are over, diapers have blessedly left the premises and cribs are finally, finally a thing of the past.
But there is still something about now. The reading of books, the stuffed animals, the tenuous experience of their emotions as things swing from best to worst to adoration to fury to whimsy. (Although I’m well aware these mood swings will persist through puberty, but still. Different animal.)
So this was Valentine’s Day yesterday.
Tim left early to get some work done. I was awoken minutes later by children who wanted to crawl into my space, into my blankets, into me.
And when I got downstairs they’d taken out every toy in the house and were sitting at the table waiting to read their Valentine’s Day cards, to cuddle their new Beanie Babies, of which they each only have about 417. So there’s that.
They read hastily written notes about how we love their unique personalities, about how we celebrate their achievements, how we adore their spirits. (And if I can get my act together these cards will be tucked into their “special boxes” to be used as evidence for therapists 20 years hence that I did actually attempt to parent with love.)
Someone spilled their milk and just as I worked to swallow my frustration someone else spilled their milk. I stormed upstairs and made their beds.
We played Skipbo Junior (love this card game), and built things with the enormous building set we got. We straightened up and got dressed for snow adventures. And when we headed outside into the gorgeous snowy day we realized Dada had taken the sleds along with the minivan. So I tried to make sleds out of old boogie boards, trash bags and duct tape.
And because duct tape apparently does not glide across snow and this powder was not suitable for snow people we stood and threw ice clumps at the stop sign. For like an hour.
And sometimes I was gracious but mostly I was annoyed. Because pretty much at any given moment someone was saying it was too cold or they were too hot or they didn’t want to walk up the hill or her brother threw snow down her coat, again. At least one child declared this the worst Valentine’s Day ever and me the worst mom.
Then we went in for the eating of lunch and crafting of para cord bracelets (which turned out awesomely, by the way.) We baked cupcakes (gluten-free) and cake (gluten-full!) Tim returned home apologetic over the sleds, but bearing gifts and prosciutto, which made everything a bit better.
I stole away for a 30 minute yoga video on the bedroom floor and an overdue shower, and then we cooked dinner. And the kids decorated the cakes and broke the asparagus and when they became too annoying for even a glass of prosecco to ameliorate I sent them to the table to make me some Valentine’s Day cards. With loads of details. More details! Keep drawing!
Everyone loved the seafood and asparagus risotto and no one spilled their milk. We may have eaten some cake.
We definitely watched School of Rock. I read them a Chapter from the Wizard of Oz, turned out the lights, switched on the ceiling star night light, sang them each and every song about rainbows I could remember and kissed them each goodnight.
Sure this is a boring recount of the day.
Every day is pretty much a boring day. Every. Day. Because each day is filled with meaningless things like wiping butts and pulling splinters, picking up the damn Legos, matching mittens, braiding hair, celebrating something, explaining why you need to stop hitting your siblings no matter how annoying they are, fixing stuff with duct tape, teaching things, feeling their bodies bounce off me with gripping, pushing, sticky, seeking hands.
Do you hear it though in the monotonous drudgery of another day? There is an incremental tick forward. This will pass, this will pass, this beautiful moment has passsssssed.
Wishing you a happy belated Valentine’s Day, and hoping you found a moment to grab hold of at least one thing; a ticket stub, a dried flower, a ribbon, a photo, even a blog post or a video you may not see for years.
This is the thing to hold onto, something about today, something about right now.