Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Monumentous Moments and Maternal Melancholy

As many of you already know, time is a major theme with me.  I probably sound like a broken record (messed up MP3 for you young'uns), as I'm constantly repeating things like "time is short", "time is fleeting" and "time is moving way too fast".  Sometimes I think that half the reason I blog is to capture some of the little moments with my family;  to freeze them much like the photographs I take, with the hopes that I may trigger a memory with them at some point.  It may seem melodramatic, but sadly that is the way things are from where I sit.  Life, health, comfort, happiness... my memory...  these are all tender and ephemeral things.  Perhaps it is my profession that makes me melancholy at times, I don't know.  I do know that my life has provided me with a profound ability to appreciate the smallest gestures and revel in the seemingly trivial.

I also seem to lead a charmed existence of sorts.  As I walk through my days, certain coincidences always seem to line up.  My last post was exactly like that:  a random late night conversation with new friends, a late night post from an old friend, an ensuing discussion with new friends, a quote researched for the white board, a conversation with the old friend when I got home, a random search for an image (that just happened to come from the school that the old friend and I attended).  Boom.  One post.  Is it fate?  Karma?  I have no idea what propels me along.  Things just come together sometimes and I have learned over time not to question it, rather just to go with it.  The ride is smoother and it is amazing what one can come across along the way.

Now that we've made it out of October and the 31 for 21, it's time to catch up on a few things with the kids that I touched on here and there.  It's hard to keep up with us normally for heavens sake, but with 31 entries in the same number days, our little triumphs were easily shaded out by the sheer volume of posts. 

Weeding out the clutter is still an ongoing battle.  Since The War on Time and Stuff, we've been continuing on with our organization projects and the disbursement of the kibble that is currently choking up our house.  I've continued to sort out the babies' clothes and lovingly put some things away for keepsakes and put the rest in bags to go to various places.  Logically, this is a necessary step as the twins' room has been overflowing with big bags full of tiny clothes for weeks.   There was a curious emotional side effect to this particular project however;  there were (more than) a couple of times that I found myself in tears holding some little article of clothing or another.  It seems silly, even at this writing, as we need to get rid of these things that we no longer have a use for.  However, before I took this project on, I did not realize how big of an event this was.  You see, after Quinn grew out of his baby clothes, I carefully packed everything up and put it away "for the next baby".  There are no next babies for us now... even if I had wanted more (and I do, as it turns out), that is no longer possible.  Although the clothes will go to keep other babies snug and warm, they will not be my babies.   This is quite possibly a little selfish, I agree.  However, it is a sad thing to realize that your babies are no longer babies, but children.  As wonderful and heartening and grateful as that makes me, I still cannot help but feel a little sad.  We will have many new adventures together, my children and I... but this part of my motherhood is rapidly coming to a close.

The "boy" and "neutral" clothing was passed on to an expectant friend last week.  Although our friends arrived shortly after the twins had finished demolishing the living room for the day, we had a good visit.  Her husband sat down on the floor and tried to interact with the twins; Zoe hid and cried a little, while Wyatt simply spun around and turned his back to him.  It was hilarious.  The twins did settle down a bit before they left, so they did get to see a little glimpse into our day with babies, plural.  After our little visit, we loaded the bags into the back of their SUV and I had another twang of sadness as we shut the hatch back.  I'm sure my friend had a little more than a twang however, as her new son arrived less than 24 hours later.   Now that he is here, in a way it makes it easier to part with these things.  I'm sure my friend will find herself in the same position sometime in the future.

The babies themselves are flourishing.  I had mentioned in September that they had finally become the same size again and were now wearing the 12-18 month size.  Shortly after I published that, Miss Z decided to have a growth spurt and is now approaching the 18-24 month size (that's growing somewhere around an inch in length in two months). I've moved the clothing in the organizer over as I said I would and I've dug out all the size appropriate bags and gotten the "next" clothes ready for the day I have to grab them in a blind panic.  It doesn't sound like much, but it involved a lot of sorting, measuring, washing and folding.  Took me most of a day in fact. The next thing of course, will be organizing all the winter gear.  In Canada, that's a big deal, especially with three kids.  It has to be warm, washable, waterproof and be able to withstand temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) to -30 °C (-22 °F).  The weather has been holding so I haven't been forced to face this reality... yet.
An equipment overhaul has been necessary too.  Although they are still little compared to their peers, they have outgrown their 'baby buckets'.  Sean spent a good part of today outside trying to figure out how to install the new forward facing car seats in the Whaaambulance.   It is almost as important to figure out where in the van the seats are going to go; this little issue presents it's own logic puzzle:  
"The Whaaambulance has two bench seats in the back that hold three people each. There is one ambulatory baby, one active six year old and a baby with DS who can't walk yet. Each baby has a new car seat and the six year old needs a booster seat.  The van only opens on one side, with two doors that open at 90 degree angles to the van.  Where do you put each seat so that Mommy can safely put the babies in and not aggravate her bad back? Where does the six year old sit to not feel left out?  Who needs to sit in the front seat more?  Please provide rationales for each."
I have no idea.  So far, we've got the baby seats sitting at the ends of both benches and the booster seat on the far side of the back bench.  Assumedly Wyatt is behind me and Zoe in the back with her brother.  This may all change by the weekend, but its the best we can think of right now.

Wyatt has also graduated from a giant high chair to a booster seat, which puts him on par with his sister (and frees up more room around our kitchen table).  We have also made big strides with his self feeding.  I mentioned in To Sip or Not to Sip that I had a plan to get Wyatt to stop drinking from a bottle and drinking from either a straw or a cup.  The cup is still very much a work in progress;  he takes it right out of your hand and fiercely guards it from you as he gulps/pours the contents down his front.  He also likes making it rain milk, so we really only do the cup thing when we're just about ready to mop the floors.  All kidding aside, he aspirated some milk one afternoon and with him already having a virus, I was a little concerned about it going to full fledged pneumonia so I put a stop to the cup for a bit. He also can't quite get the idea of the special spoutless Avent cup, so his sister has gleefully taken those over for now.  What he has done is master the straw.  We had a straw sippy cup for each of them that was a little more flexible at the bottom that we could squeeze a bit up into the straw  (I was delighted to find them in our collection of sippy cups that I had picked up/been gifted at some point).  I had to squeeze the bottom only a few times before he grasped the concept.  He would initially only take an ounce or so (before getting tired) and I would have to put the rest in one of the other cups that he was proficient with.  After a week or so we switched to "straw boot camp" and he was only given one of the straw cups.  Much to our delight, he quickly became more proficient with it.  He still plays with it and chews the straw a bit.  Much like the other cups, he can also wing that sucker halfway across the room.  But, he's using the straw and preparing for proper speech sounds, which is the main thing (and I didn't have to resort to the bear bong).

Zoe's language has exploded in the last little while.  I swear, in the space of a week, she went from babbling to a mix of phrases and single words.  She can also count to six, which just about blew my mind when I heard it.  Sean, when doing up the snaps on their jammies, counts them out one by one.  It's a cool trick as it gives the kids something to concentrate on and eighty percent of the time it prevents you from wrestling with a toddler doing the 'gator-death-roll.   Wyatt's crib is by the light switch in the room; although he can't reach it, she certainly can when she is there.  One day Sean was changing Wyatt and Zoe was standing up in Wyatt's crib;  as the light clicked off, she said "un!".  She clicked it on again and said "tooo!".  Off and on the light went until she got to "sick!" and then she cheered and clapped her hands. It is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.

Wy is busy pulling himself up onto his knees whenever he can.  He is a determined little boy, of that I have no doubt.  I have opened the gate to the living room, half carried/half been dragged by Zoe to the table, buckled her in her seat and returned to find him halfway there.  Now, he easily pulls himself up to grab a toy off the table, to check for snacks, etc.  He's also demonstrated that he can cruise along the edge of the table on his knees, which is encouraging.  No one showed him how to do that, he just adapted on the fly (as he wanted a toy off the end).  The fact that he did it in front of his ICDSP worker made it all the more sweeter.  His speech has come a long way in the last month or so too... Mum-ma is still a little while off from being a regular occurance, but his sounds and interactions have increased exponentially.  He is now full-out babbling at times, has added just about all the consonant sounds and will get your attention any way he can think of.  If you manage to not pay attention to the "AYAH!" (his version of "HEY!"), or the screechlike babble that follows it or the waving/hand motions, he'll crawl over and pull on your pantleg.  If you still ignore him (as I pretended to do one day, wondering what he would do), he'll just flat out bite you.  After the inevidible yelp, you will look down at him gazing up solemnly at you as if to say "Well, I bloody well have your attention now, don't I?"

Tomorrow, they will be 21 months old.   I am mortified.  They are no longer babies, but toddlers.  It is a bittersweet time in all our lives.  Soon, Wyatt will be standing.  Soon, Zoe will be carrying on a full conversation.  Before we know it, they will be Quinn's age and in school (I am still having trouble comprehending that he is six).  In 3 months, they will be two.  The broken record (MP3) skips along in my head as I say this.  Where has the time gone?  ...Time... Time... 

I can't help but get a little wistful about it.  There are so many adventures ahead, this is true.  So many things to discover, so many skills to master, so many obstacles to overcome.  I will allow myself this small melancholia, tho'.  Within it's sad embrace lies a bigger oppourtunity, to reflect on how far we have all come.  Physically, mentally, emotionally... yes, even spiritually.  Our journey together has gone some places, man.  We have seen some things.  But for now, I will wax philosophical on the passage of time and yearn ever so slightly for the days when they were very little again.  For as they age, I do too, a fact that isn't completely lost on me.  I will sit and ponder this fact a little while before being distracted again;  for melancholy, like a cup of tea, never really gets finished in Motherhood.  I'm sure like most Moms, I'll warm it up again from time to time, only to be called away by something else.  Right now however, the cup is warm and I will savour it's draught.  It smells of bergimot... and baby shampoo and new beginnings.

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