Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Book Entry 6: mid-2012 edition

June 11, 2012
(Posterity, this is for your sake. Written slowly in the month of August of 2012) 

My dear children,
I last wrote specifically to update you on your growth, change, and ever-so-interesting personalities all in one place back in December of 2011.  According to my own dumb goals, I hoped to pull off about two or three of these posts a year. Yet, here we are at the end of August and I'm willing to admit this year we may only have this one post on record.There is no room for legalism with what we're juggling so I won't even bother to fake regret. I have been living life with you and have shared your goony quotes and adorable observations other places as we go along, and now I will try to recall as much as I can about the last eight months and especially about the summer of 2012.

I've never wanted to lump you together as one unit of kids  -  I really TRULY want to notice and celebrate the ways you're all wired differently and have unique characteristics and gifts you bring to our family.

In the middle of 2012, this is what I have to say to you about you:

In no particular order ....

Phoebe Joy - 5.75 y.o. right now
When I write about you, it strikes me how difficult you are to describe.  You're quiet, but not without things to say. You're silly, but in a coy, back-door sort of way. You're all four seasons in one day. Sometimes when you're angry at us you let us know with crayons on walls.  There is a part of us that thinks because you're so quiet, maybe you color on walls to be heard.  Really, it isn't even that you're quiet -- it is more that you don't waste words. You're not going to chit chat non stop without saying anything (like a certain big brother) but you'll say what you need to say in a succinct less wordy way. As I typed this I asked you, "What do you like to do most right now?"  You replied, "I like playing cars and dolls with Lydia, 'cept when she annoys me and 'bes' rude, but I still love her."  Compared to 9 months ago, you and Lydia get along much more frequently. Sometimes you make it entire days without fighting. We like the sweet days where you are buddies and you walk around pretending to be pregnant together.  In less than two weeks you will officially be a kindergartner. My guess is that you'll be able to do the work of Kindergarten and some of 1st grade this year because you seem like a quick study to me. You know your letters and how to write your name. You'll go to school five days a week. That's a big change after so many years at home. I feel like your personality puts you in the background sometimes, that makes me sad. I am glad you get to go to school and shine. Maybe we won't forget this particular fact when we are old, but I will note it just in case: The worst day you can imagine is a day having your hair braided. You truly hate having your hair done.
What makes you different: mysterious and coy personality

Britt and Chris - 22 and 26 y.o.-
Again, how do adults get a "baby"-book entry?
Like this -when I include them. That's how.
I watch you from a thousand plus miles away and I see that you're all self sufficient and I am super proud and not really even a tiny bit surprised. Oldest children you are. (textbook!) Waco, TX is constantly in my thoughts and by Waco, TX  -I mean both of you.  I am excited that this calendar year I will get to be on your turf two times. Britt, I loved following your training and seeing you accomplish your goal of running 26.2 miles. In less than a year you'll both hold graduate school degrees and you'll take your fancy selves onto the next big adventure. We eagerly watch from here and pray for you both. Thank you for letting us try to get out of our thirties before you give us a new title that starts with the letter G.  -  Praying for that little person in advance of his or her existence and always cheering you on from a distance.
What makes you different: driven, perfectionist, planners

Paige - 17 and constantly reminding me of how few weeks there are until you are 18 -
2012 is the year of health challenges for you. We spent April feeling afraid and figuring it out with lots of appointments and specialists. Thankfully things are under control and you're attitude is so upbeat that you've weathered the storm well. We managed 7 weeks of separation this summer.  We did just fine all things considered.  I think this means we're doing okay at preparing for our future lives in different countries. You spent your summer riding horses, making deep friendships, and proving you know how to drive a car in America. Not gonna lie, that driving part surprised me. People wrote me to tell me how you blessed them over the summer. Now, that didn't surprise me. I nodded and smiled as I read the words about you. One person said: "She has only begun to bless our planet.".  I agree. You've been digging on the same boy for a year now. We approve and adore him almost as much as you do. As we watch your relationship grow we worry about protecting you from the judgment you'll face and feel as an interracial couple, but you've assured us that you're up for that battle - because we know you are an overcomer, we know that you are indeed up for it. You'll begin your senior year of high school in just a few days. (tears flowing) You'll be applying to college(s) in the coming months. (don't go!) Things happening now are "lasts" in Haiti for you and us. The grieving happening now isn't even considered "early" grieving anymore. This stuff just got real. You are a source of the light in our household. We're glad we get this last year with you before we launch you into your next exciting adventure.
What makes you different: funny, compassionate, wise beyond your years

Isaac - "I am going to be a palindrome in less than a month Mom!" (soon 11)
My first son. You are a trip.  Oh my goodness you make us laugh. This summer you took questions and wrote answers to publish on your own personal blog. We think it will be very fun to read those to your kids some day. We keep waiting for the world to teach you that happy, bouncy, peace-filled, loving optimism isn't the way to go - and hoping you won't believe it. We're grateful you refuse to care about any other expectation or reality - but to just be who God made you and nothing less or more. Someone said, "I don't think he'd fight or stand up to someone that came against him."  We agreed. You're more likely to say something like, "Hey, I know you hate me but can't we just enjoy this beautiful wonderful day together?" We love seeing the unique spirit of peace you've been given and we celebrate it. You love learning. You ask us questions like, "What is the difference between schism and chasm?" You're entering the fifth grade. Last year I noticed that as you left school you said, "Thank you Mr. Jimmy and Miss Becky for teaching me today." You help us all be more thankful. You bring joy to every moment of our days.
What makes you different: everything - but mainly your joy and curiosity :)

bike riding in June

Noah 8

Exactly one year ago you could not read.  Not one word. We were about to start first grade and you had very little confidence. As I type this your puffy curly-haired head is lying next to me reading Harry Potter and asking "what does reverberating mean?". The rumor is that you'll sort of of skip second grade (zip through it) and be called a third grader this year.  As your Mama I kind of like the idea of calling you a second grader for four or five years, but your teachers say they think you're up for the challenge. You're still our chattiest child and sometimes Dad and I wonder if we've ever met a boy that likes to talk as much as you do. Sometimes you stop yourself and say, "Do you need a break from this?" We almost always say, "Yes!" Your current favorite things to do: play with the dogs, be with your Daddy, play video games, and go swimming. You truly love and admire your big brother. The other night Paige walked by your room and heard you crying. When she went in to check on you, you told her that you were so sad that Isaac is going to leave for college and you'll be without him. We didn't know you were an early griever, but it seems that you are. Way to get started eight years early, son. The only new thing since the last update is that you seem to be emerging as the comedian of the family. If you think it will make someone laugh, you're willing to sacrifice your body with some random act of dancing, flailing, or falling.
What makes you different: most talkative, comedic talent

Hope 10.5 y.o.
You'll be a fourth grader this fall.  Socially you seem much more 10th grade than you do 4th grade. You love to sit and chat with (listen to) adults. You fly under the radar enough that we figure you pretty much know every single thing we ever say and are aware of every ministry, life, financial and other concern we have. The good news is, you're loyal and can keep a secret. Your brothers always try to include you in their activities and plans but you're most often found somewhere on your own doing your own thing. You spend a lot of your time drawing faces and you're getting very good at it.  You still love singing and have just started piano lessons.  You enjoy reading but never choose the same books as your brothers. Dad let you sing with him on a few Sundays at church this summer and you look and sound like a natural.  You're still showing frequent interest in is cooking.  For obvious reasons this pursuit cannot happen under my tutelage, but Geronne enjoys cooking amazing salty Haitian feasts with you by her side.
What makes you different: sweet, servant heart, artistic
Melissa Alberts and your first lesson

Lydia 4.75 y.o. 
I recently wrote about some of your quotes. Each one tops the next. Like Noah, you really seem to like the sound of your own voice. Today Phoebe was singing and you said, "I don't like that song Phoebe, it is not about me." A new phrase you've added lately is, "I'm gonna need" so you might say, "I'm gonna need some ice in my water." or "I'm gonna need the air conditioning vent to blow on me." The rest of us all accept that you are a force to be reckoned with and we trade knowing looks when you tell us what you're "gonna need". We laugh at your narcissism but sure hope it is a passing phase. You are white rice and chocolate fortified and pretty much pull your nose up at most other foods. "I hate pizza" is one of the more peculiar of your recent pronouncements. You always ask for "silly sauce" for your rice. Nobody has the heart to tell you it is called Soy Sauce. Just now you came up and said, "Mama, what day is this?"  I said, "Wednesday". You said, "No I mean what day is it before it is tomorrow.  Is Tuesday before tomorrow? Or is it yesterday after Wednesday?" You didn't wait for me to answer.  Thank-you. You are going to go to Pre-School/Kindergarten two days a week this year. You LOVE to cuddle and are very affectionate. You give hugs and kisses freely. We're amazed by how quickly you have an answer to everything. We've decided four and three quarter years old must be when we know everything.  You're the baby of a big family, everyone plays their role and understands you command a certain level of control. It's good to be you, Lydia!
What makes you different: contrary, passionate, confident

April 2012
May 2012

May 2012 when you were all in one place
singing and dancing with daddy Aug 2012

The thing about parenting, nobody tells you how difficult it is to be consistent.  Everyone talks about being tired, being stretched, being in love with their little people ... but nobody says, "One day you will have all sorts of rules and schedules and plans -  and the very next day you will just barely get yourself to make your children bathe and brush their teeth. Oh, and then they won't bathe." Maybe consistancy is for young, new parents? I think back to the days when I made Britt and Paige finish their food and once (to Paige's utter horror, which caused life-long scarring) made Paige eat an entire piece of vegetable lasagna.  I used to have so many rules and really took pride in my ability to force compliance.  Now I fairly regularly agree that a single bite of real/healthy food equals enough compliance to have chocolate dessert. Compliance? Ha!!  That's SOO hilarious. I don't know if I was a good parent then or if I am a good one now ... or if neither is true... I only know that we pray for grace and wisdom - try not to sweat the small stuff - and make it up as we go.
You all make each day very interesting and fun.
We love you so stinkin much it hurts.
We're excited for you as you begin the new year: finishing grad school, and entering 12th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, Kindergarten and Pre-K in just one week.

This concludes installment 6.