Snapshot in time

I’m finding my stride again after a few months of stumbling through life with four children. I wrapped up my third parent teacher conference today. All three big kids are on track which makes me feel like I’ve earned a good report too. *exhale* Charlie skipped his nap today which resulted in an earlier bedtime and some unexpected quality time with the bigs. As we talked over dinner *ahem* popcorn, I savored the self portrait each child unknowingly created while talking.

Maura, now officially nine and one half! years old, stares at her iPod touch in boredom and pretends to ignore me and her brothers. She even feigns a lack of interest in the Christmas toy catalog her brother brought home from Target today. Her tell is her compulsion to correct the things the boys and I say while talking to each other in a conversation she’s not at all interested in. Eventually, she puts down her tiny screen and starts making a list like the boys. She excludes every item that isn’t clearly marked “ages 8 and up.” Her list is short, expensive and contains more glowing screens. She adds, “Mom, you know what else I really need? More books. We just don’t have enough.” I stifle my smile because I know it’s important to play it cool around 9 1/2 year olds. This girl reads through at least 5 books per week. Her love of reading is insatiable, and I love her so very much. iPod touch and all.

Griffin, almost 7, picks out a toy on every page of the catalog. He excludes “girl toys” and “toys for babies.” His list is so long that we stop writing toys down and continue flipping pages with giddy excitement. Griffin really wants a karaoke machine and new paint. This doesn’t surprise me at all since my husband and I refer to Griffin as The Artist. While the other kids take their turns looking at the catalog, Griffin returns to his drawings. Tonight he creates three — a birthday drawing for Paul (whose birthday is quickly approaching), a very romantic drawing of me and Daddy enjoying dinner at a table with beautiful flowers, and a drawing of several math facts. On the right he writes, “Adding two odds makes an even.” Smart. Before bed, he reminds me that numbers are infinite. I tell him that time and space are infinite too. This makes his eyes and grin grow wide. My heart swells too.

Paul, almost 5, wants every toy in the catalog. Including the girl toys and toys for babies. He wants it all. He justifies this by asking if he can make a Christmas list and a birthday list. He’s at that magical age when, like in the Lego movie, everything is awesome. He flips through the pages so quickly that he accidentally rips them saying, “Sorry Mom, it was just an accident.” As he points to each item he says, “We totally need this!” His joy and enthusiasm is contagious. Paul loves everyone he meets, and everyone who meets Paul loves him. I love how Paul cuddles into me and tells me he loves me every few minutes. I love you too sweet boy.

Charlie, 2, is fast asleep. He does not know or care that Christmas is coming. He still sleeps in a crib because my husband and I find comfort knowing he’s contained in the evening. Much like our dog, we tell him we love him and give him a treat, his beloved “eat” (pacifier) and “giggy” (stuffed pig), before lovingly placing him in his baby cage for the evening. When conscious, Charlie is our newest handful. He writes on walls and furniture, eats straight from the garbage can and dog bowl, and loves to point to poop we see outside and yell “Poo Poo!” He keeps me very busy. That’s two though. He also loves to read books while sitting on my lap, scale playground equipment to the highest precipice (leaving me breathless), and play in the dirt. I love when Charlie grabs my face and demands, “iss” (kiss) before smooching me repeatedly on the lips.