How do you ask? Use your big girl words. Share please. Let your brother have a turn. Stop climbing on the dog please. Mommy doesn’t listen to whining, I only hear big girl words. Please be careful, you almost stepped on your brother. Stop pulling your sister’s hair. You need to say you’re sorry.
These are words that are repeated regularly at my house. A place where changing diapers, naps, baby food, and floors littered with toys are the norm. Plastic food pieces found in every room of the house.
Our van carries around strollers, toys, car seats, and DVD players- a necessity for those long trips on the road to see friends and family. The shows I watch most frequently- VeggieTales and Elmo’s World. The music station on Pandora set to Family Radio plays VeggieTales songs with a mix of some Disney movies thrown in.
Meal times center around the children. Making sure they are eating and not playing with their food. Table manners are constantly being taught as well as the art of interrupting conversation appropriately. Vegetables are covertly placed within casseroles hoping to get our children to willingly eat a few servings. Plastic cups with valves (boasting leak proof and spill proof) and plates with dividers fill our cabinets.
Baby gates block the stairs, plug protectors cover every outlet, kitchen and bathroom cabinets are childproofed. Breakable objects are packed away or placed on high shelves.
Coloring Books, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, and puzzles with assorted themes are piled in closets and shelves. Board Books have replaced the latest thrillers on the baby accessible book shelves. Toy Bins fill all available spaces, along with rocking horses and miniature chairs, large foamy letters litter the floor.
And I love it. I get to play pretend and chase my kids around the Living Room. Spend my days reading books and brushing and styling my daughter’s dolls and horses. Playing with her doll house and teaching my kids how to throw, kick and roll balls. Taking them to the park and pushing them on the swings. Listening to them sing and play together and watching them learn new things every day.
It wasn’t always like this- the first year after my daughter’s birth was tough. Adjusting to being home- out of the work world- I felt invisible. I thank God for other Moms who helped me along the way and urged me to keep in mind what a precious season I am traversing. Watching my kids grow up each day- a slower pace of life and less stress (most days). Stopping to smell the roses and be thankful.
My husband and I have had a few-the grass is always greener-conversations. Times when we miss the days when it was just the two of us. Sometimes it would be nice to sleep in, to spend a whole day camped out on the couch with take-out snuggling and watching our favorite show or reading books. We talk about those things- and then remind each other that before we know it our children will be grown- and they will be leaving the house to pursue their dreams. I know we will miss them- the house will seem empty without their smiles and laughter.
So for now, I try to make the most of the minutes I have. To take time for tea parties and building tents in the Living Room. To embrace this season and enjoy all the ups and downs it has to offer. To laugh and look around, shrug and say- it’s a day in the life of Mom.