Thursday, September 17, 2015

Caution and great speed(s)

Beautiful fall(ish) days beckon us outdoors. Today, we got my bike cleaned up and ready to roll, took our new (to us) bike trailer (the excitement was overwhelming!!!), for it's first spin. The big boys kept up a hearty speed on their new bikes (thank you Gumbum and Gumpai!), and 3 miles later, the smiles hadn't lessened. As the breeze rushed past us, Madigan (who was riding next to me) looked up and said, "Mama, this is super awesome". Paugie's bike is a smidge too big for him, and after a couple encounters with the dirt over the past week, his confidence was rattled a bit. However, he kept getting back on and today I saw him push himself, determinedly, to master "issues" - brake successfully, mount the bike without it tipping over, dismount the bike without it tipping over, traverse downhill with the naturally increasing speed (without panicking), and turn around on the trail while staying on the bike. Though exhausted, he could not wipe the smile off his face as we neared the end of our ride. When I queried him, he said, "Mama, I love riding my bike with you!" Awe, this tender heart with so much determination and thought governing his decisions and actions.

In extreme contrast I watched as Madigan pushed his bike to great speeds, often spinning out his back tire on the takeoff, skidding to dramatic halts, off-roading where permissible (or not), and even practicing falls in the grass alongside the trails. So much joy, energy and (w)reckless abandon to behold. When he placed his feet on his handle bars, I inhaled and started praying. :-)

In the meantime, my wee-est boys were waving their hands in the wind, laughing out loud, and eventually snuggling down in a peaceful trance as they sat in the little dream of a bike trailer. I foresee many happy fall days to come!

The littlest mister among us had a napping fail this afternoon, so I waited for him to disintegrate as the evening progressed. Much to my surprise he got happier and more cheerful, engaged in a relentless and boisterous game of chase with his brothers about the house. The incidents of hair pulling did, however, increase, much to everyone's chagrin. They all handle the exhaustion reality differently: Madigan becomes a very fast tiger with boundless energy and lack of control (wrestle him to the ground, give him a big kiss and tuck him swiftly into bed). Paugie starts crying - about everything (nothing a good snuggle can't cure). Jevy finds my lap (sometimes forcing me to sit down wherever I am standing), lays his head against my chest and pats me with his chubby paws (he won't fall asleep there, but he will stay put and laugh contentedly). Kelto gets ornery (apparently), seeing what possibilities are available, crossing lines he knows are clearly drawn (grab his yumminess, feed him a nice warm bottle of milk and get that human to bed, immediately, if not sooner).

Tiger tales, continue... 
"Mama, when we grow up to be humans, we'll rescue people and put out fires." I have no doubt. Really.

While the 4 brothers played trains, Madigan randomly stated: "Paugie, there are miserable people. We are happy because we have brothers." Paugie's response: "Yeah, and we love our brothers." I'm dying.

What every mother doesn't want to hear, and yet... "Mama, you and Daddy will die someday, but not until we're all four men. I'll stay here to take care of my brothers. And Paugie will help me." So, no worries, Mama - we got this.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Me, my selfie and I

As I resign myself to living in a "selfie" culture, I want to emphasize a few trifles before I officially rest my personal feelings on the matter. 

Enjoy your selfies while you're young (and I know you do - you all do), because once you're... 28ish years old like me, they are not as flattering (or enjoyable). 

Whoever decided that taking a self portrait up close, with the perceived notion that it would look good... I don't love my nose, so selfies don't make me feel empowered. 

Props help. But then, what wouldn't? 

Kiera Knightly, your pouty lips have inspired me!

Let me reassure you that my eyes are not that disproportionate with the rest of my face. 

So, here's to the next several hundred thousand selfies that I will see - and participate in.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Come Apart

As I darted around the kitchen, preparing dinner, I did my (subconscious) headcount, and noticed that the youngest member of our household was momentarily not in my line of sight. Since I can spot each of my boys in the house (anywhere that they SHOULD be) when I'm standing in the kitchen, I was immediately suspicious. When I saw the hallway gate latched but not "locked" I knew he was most likely in the bathroom, "cleaning" it for me. Previous history gave me foreknowledge of his likely activities.

When he heard my footsteps in the hallway, Kelton bolted out of the bathroom, toilet brush in hand, with pee and disintegrating toilet paper trailing behind him, he was a blur of motion (or possibly it was the tears instantly filling my eyes that were responsible for impairing my vision in that moment). The frustration and horror turned rapidly to anger. I removed the toilet brush and placed the little helper on the correct side of the gate. I then proceeded to rather harshly chastise my two eldest to be responsible and shut the gate every time they pass through it. I reminded them how much work it creates for Mama and did not need to remind them how irritable she can be. I knew, even in that moment, that my response was unwarranted - there is a correct way and an incorrect way to admonish and I chose the lower road.  

I cleaned the floor, using my tears. I wiped the toilet paper from the walls, the baby's crib, the door handles, the sink, and the dresser. Then, I disinfected - while still sobbing. As I worked, I overheard Madigan herding the bros outside, despite much resistance from the smaller people. He said, "I know you don't want to go outside, but we need to give Mama space." In that moment... 

As I walked onto the porch to invite them back indoors, Madigan looked hopefully into my eyes, with not a trace of disappointment (in me) and said, "Mama, have you come to apologize?" How did he know?! 

This week has held it's own share of challenges: 
  • Found a (doll) wagon in the washing machine
  • Lost my keys, as we headed out the door to the zoo. Thought to myself: "What would Kelton do?" Immediately looked inside the cement mixer (toy) and found them! No time lost. 
  • Retrieved an entire pan of mac-n-cheese off the kitchen floor and served it to the kids for dinner. Some mishaps have better endings than others. We lovingly refer to dinner as "hairball pasta". 
  • Got poked in the eye with a toothbrush. 
  • Got my lip split by an accidental head bash from the youngest. 
  • Wiped Paugie's tears when he fell and split open his lip. 
But it has, nevertheless, been a fabulous birthday week, shared with my very-much-loved mom who has been able to visit us (FINALLY) and 5 fabulous guys. I'm blessed and I know it. 

As I traipsed to bed at 1:00 AM yesterday, I was startled when I reminded myself that I am turning 27 years old. Wait... Oh my gosh, no... 28 years old! How is that possible. Wait... how tired am I?  I'm 28 + 10 years old. Gulp. 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Smug bug

I heard laughing in Jevy's room at 2:00 AM. Not an unusual occurrence... this boy laughs all the time and finds joy in so much of life. He quietly observes everything around him, often taking several minutes to fully absorb his surroundings (and assess the people who fill those surroundings). He then throws his whole heart into figuring out what activities are to be had, what experiments can be conducted, what resources are available for entertainment (chairs, counter tops, tables, pots/pans, telephones, water, to name a few). 

I sat down on the floor and he came casually strolling by, with that distinct swagger that is his alone. He paused, looked into my eyes, giggled and threw himself onto me. He wrapped his lanky arms around my neck and pressed his lips against my face in his "kiss". He has a crushing hug and when he wants to love on you, it is a fully body, whole heart experience. I savor every minute of it. 

As I was putting him to bed last night, and prepared to leave, he reached for me and said, "Uh, uh. No, no." I replied, "Uh, huh, yes, yes." He started to whine and I said, "Bug, I need to go make dinner for Daddy because he is hungry and hasn't eaten yet." Jevy gave me one last body hug extraordinaire and then happily let me go. Anything for Daddy, you know. 

I watch people encounter this quiet boy and readily misunderstand him - he has no personal need to win them over, earn their respect or be understood. He is wholly confident, curious, and constantly investigative. He is so extremely his father's son. Watching his life unfold is akin to watching a masterpiece take shape.  

He offers me some of my greatest challenges as I endeavor to communicate with him - luckily, I've been married to his dad for almost 15 years. 

He brings me rampant delight. He is a gentle giant of a lad with an inquisitive mind and a loyal, tender heart that loves severely. 

And he sleeps like a yoga master. :-) 

And he's super helpful - especially with the laundry... And the dishwasher... And the toilet cleaning... And the trash removal... 

And cleaning the light fixtures above the kitchen table. 

You, dear boy, are one in a million and you've stolen my heart completely. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

... so the vegetarians can keep up

As the boys tirelessly worked at building their dam in the creek, I overheard some of Madigan's commentary on the event:

"We are nearly able to enjoy the fruit of our efforts."

"Paugie, we need to work slowly to help the vegetarians keep up."

"We are impressive boys, Mama will have to admit."

As we traversed (rather slowly) back to the car for some much-needed lunch, Madigan said: "Mama, you are faster than you look!" Considering how fast we were moving...


Gumbum's coming tomorrow so Madigan and Declan have set about the house "decorating"! Too much cute, though I might have started to panic when I asked Madigan why he was counting the decorations: "We are going to put up 100 decorations so that Gumbum will just love being here!" So, now you'll understand if you find a steam roller in the tea canister when you come to visit.