Differences; walking.

It amazes me sometimes how very different the girls have been.  From the very beginning, when R was born, I remember being amazed, wow, a baby CAN cry that loud?  She screamed and screamed.  E just kind of whined, and not very often at that.  R reminded me of a banshee.

Now, suddenly, R is walking — not just walking, but walking really, really well.  And in this, too, she is completely different from E.  E took her first little steps at 7 months, and was very persistent in those wobbly first steps: I caught her on video the very first day.  It took her ages to grow to proficiency, but she would try… and fall.  E was our child with the bumps and bruises and cuts on her face, the one who made us childproof our table corners and remove every possible obstacle from the house.  R, on the other hand… I’m not exactly sure when her “first” steps were, because she’d never repeat them more than once in a week or so.  And yet by 7 months or so we could “trick” her into taking steps; one time we counted no less than seven across my parents’ carpeted floor.  She clearly had better balance and coordination than E, but absolutely no daredevil streak at all.  So she didn’t really walk that anyone could see until last month (8 months)… and then she had a little fall, and that was the end of that for about three weeks.  Finally, one day this week, she literally just let go of the couch and by the end of the hour was walking all around the house (not really falling at all), climbing up stairs, climbing over obstacles… she’s like the little dream child, because we haven’t had to childproof things at all, but she doesn’t really ever get hurt.  And now today she’s half running down the hallway at church, enough to make Mommy terrified of the tile floor!

They’re such different children!


Hooray, self-sufficiency!

I love that our two-year-old–without a word from me–can get a carton of grapes out of the grocery bag, bring it to the counter beside the sink, drag a chair over to the sink so she can reach it, open the carton, detach a bunch of grapes, close the carton back up, wash the grapes, de-stem them, put them in a bowl, and share them with her sister.

Now if only she was strong enough to open the fridge, we’d be in business.


The Chronicles of Walking R

So the highlight of my day today was E helping R walk. She walked behind her, holding her hands, while R just plowed right along from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen.

The funny part about all this is that R weighs maybe half of what E does, so when R pitches forward uncontrollably, E is nearly pulled off her feet trying to stop her from falling. It’s a scary process. But oh so adorable.

I’m hoping that with #3, E will be a little more balanced herself. R would be walking so much better if someone had more time to spend helping her! As it is, she’s really started to take off. She stands by herself for a long time now, and takes a few hesitating steps. It’s kind of funny how different she is from E — R has much better balance than E did, but isn’t nearly as much of a daredevil, so she doesn’t try so much.


They say time flies.

It’s interesting, as R gets older, to see how my perceptions of her growing are different than they were from those of E.  I suppose I don’t have time to pay as much exclusive attention to her–and since I know now the general course of infancy and early toddlerhood, I’m less eager for it to speed on by–and so the Big Moments come more as a surprise.  One day R sat by herself without falling over; one day she could support her own weight; another day she cautiously let go of the couch to stand alone.  One day she sat in her walker, the next day she zoomed through the house, knocking down her sister in the process.  Everything is happening suddenly; my brain in perpetual distraction mode fails to notice the warning signs until, each day, R is suddenly that much older.  Somehow my newborn turned into an 8-month-old.

I never thought E was going to grow up.  It seemed like she sat in her walker for months (it can’t possibly have been that long) before she figured out how to do anything besides move backwards.

I love the fact that we have two girls so close in age.  They clearly adore each other–although they’re also learning now how to ignore each other and even get annoyed at each other (mainly E gets annoyed at R for the aforementioned running over in her walker, and R gets annoyed at E for trying to pick her up).  And I’m not really sorry that I’m missing the in-between moments of R’s early childhood–it comes with the territory, and I imagine it’s only going to get worse with (Lord willing) #3.

But I finally have some glimmer of understanding of what people mean when they say to treasure the moments before they’re gone–just because now there are such fewer moments that I even see.


Making R Giggle

One of the most precious things I’ve ever seen is the sight of E playing with R and successfully making her laugh.  R has a wonderful laugh–if I do say so myself–very giddy and infectious, but it is not particularly easy to make her laugh without tickling her.  But E manages to make her laugh quite often.  Usually this is just because R finds E quite entertaining, maybe because they’re both children and thus share that childhood connection, but sometimes it’s because E is actually trying to play with her and make her laugh.  Like playing peek-a-boo.

It’s one of my favorite things in the world to see.


learning new definitions

Julie / February 20, 2010

After I wrote yesterday’s post, I remembered a moment I’d had one day when E woke up from her nap–a good year ago, if not more.  And I thought at the time that there was no better definition for how I felt (which was tired, worn, and otherwise struggling) than poured out.  It fit so perfectly.  Parenthood is so often about giving and doing and going on when you have no energy to do any of those things, about realizing that you can’t but you must and so you do.  (Er, not to sound unremittingly negative–I only mean that sometimes there are moments like that.  They seem to be fewer now than they were at first.)

So there I was, feeling the full weight of the phrase “poured out” in a dramatic way that I’d never understood before.  Of course, the next second I realized that I had unwittingly used a Bible phrase in a non-Bible context–and then it hit me like a load of bricks: if this is what being poured out feels like, then that same sort of dire abandon, that extravagant consumption of me-ness, should rise out of being a believer, in even greater measure.

I never cease to be amazed at how much parenthood changes and informs me about things I should have known long before.  It is so gracious the way that God uses everyday, mundane circumstances to impact me eternally.

Moments, Pregnancy

Let Me Count the Ways

Julie / August 13, 2009

It’s funny how perceptions and fears can change over the course of a pregnancy.

At first, I was very trepidatious about how on earth I could ever love R as much as I love E.  E and I have had so many moments–so much time–that R and I won’t ever be able to have, because E was once an only child, if only for these short months.

But now I’ve grown to connect to R, much more than I did E before she was born.  (Because of E, I hasten to add; I was unfond of babies in general before her existence taught me what delightful little creatures they can be.  I know much more what to expect with R, and the lessened terror at her impending arrival certainly facilitates greater expectations!)  I’m wondering things about R that I didn’t wonder with E, and am much more excited to meet her and all her unique characteristics as opposed to the generalized excitement that accompanied E’s birth.

My fears, then, have changed.  I know the relationship between E and me is getting ready to change forever.  I know our quiet moments, our shared giggles, and our lonely little cuddles are all getting ready to disappear, forever altered by the arrival of a third to our little tea party.  What I fear, then, is that as this precious time with E is transitioning to a different time of sisterhood for her and increased motherness for me, that this intense, unabated, unrivaled love I have for E is going to change as well.

I love E in a way that is unlike the way I love anyone else.  It’s fierce and protective, condescending and cautious.  Until now, she has been the only person in the world to whom that type of love could apply.  Until now, she has been my favorite little girl, the best of her kind–because she was the only, there is no division or sharing.

Yet R is going to be the same.  I think I know enough of myself to know that I won’t ever love one “more” or “less,” even from the very beginning.  They are equally my responsibility and equally my blessings.  And I know, too, that a parent’s love doesn’t lessen because it includes more little bodies–it’s somehow a kind of division that takes nothing away from either side.  And yet.  My time will be split, forever; the moments of aloneness will fade; and so many things that E and I share will change.  I ache a little at that loss even as I rejoice in anticipation of R and all the new joys she will bring to me and S and even, especially, to E.  In balance we have no doubt that R is a good thing–a purposeful thing–

But as the weeks draw to a close, I still ache.  Even though what we gain is greater, this time has been so precious and heady and wonderful, and it is ending.