Those Moments With Children

Walter is just starting to become mobile. He isn’t crawling in earnest yet, but he’s rolling quite a bit. He can also say “Da-da” when he wants me, which is darling and brilliant at the same time.

Now that he is nearing six months, Steph is allowing him to eat solid foods at last. He’s been very vocal at mealtimes that he wanted to eat what we were eating, but Steph has a strict regimen that would not allow it. He is now chugging bowls of oatmeal a day, and looking very like a happy piglet afterward.

Babies at this stage are especially cuddly. Holding him after he’s chock full of oatmeal and in a carb-induced stupor is adorable. He looks at you with heavy-lidded eyes and grins stupidly then snuggles into your neck and coos. I’ve seen some men act this way about food, but babies do it with far more cuteness.

Seth still cannot talk–at least not in any language we know. Rafael declares he is speaking Japanese. I wouldn’t know. He is beginning to use a few English words, like, “Me pee. Seth. Me,” which means he should have gone to the restroom awhile ago, but is only realizing it after it’s far too late.

Interestingly, he has started beat-boxing. I haven’t yet caught a video of it, but he can keep a pretty good rhythm. Steph asked if I’d taught him how; it was that well done. (Of course I didn’t.) I guess he needs to express himself in some way, and when words escape him….

Shawn is working hard on nailing the middle child stereotype. He is remarkably quiet, incredibly slow, and easy to overlook. When asked what animal he wants for his birthday cake, he chose a turtle, which is basically his spirit animal.

His favorite place to be is on my lap. He always asks before sitting down, “May I sit on your lap?” Which is doubly sweet because he still has a hard lisp. We love getting him to say words that try out his lisp. Often, he can’t tell he’s not getting it right at first; once he does, he laughs as hard as we do.

He is an animal whisperer. Somehow he can get the chickens and ducks and goats to come to him to be held when no one else can catch them. He’s often carrying an animal of some sort with him.

Dane is taken up with being big. He’s sure he’s pretty big now, but he’s certain he’ll be really big soon. He’ll talk about what he’ll do once he’s the daddy. The other day he told me, “When I’m the daddy, I’m going to have that rooster (our new one). I’m going to keep it forever. Or at least I want to.” (He knows roosters inconveniently die at times.)

“Why do you want it forever?” I asked him.

“Because it can crow.” He said. “And because it’s so pretty. It’s orange. Orange is my favorite.”

Incidentally, orange is my favorite color. I think green is actually Dane’s usual preference, but he copies everything I do. One day I had spent fun as I crossed and un-crossed my legs, watching him mirror me exactly a moment later. I don’t think he caught on to what I was doing. Of course, there’s the rather serious side to consider in his copying; I’m working on leaving him a good example.

He’s a hard worker and pushes me to keep moving on projects. That’s already a blessing, and I expect it will be even more so with time. When I’m feeling washed out, he’ll say, “Shouldn’t we work a little on the driveway before it gets dark. I think we can finish it in half an hour.” (Everything can be done in half an hour in his mind.)

We were playing the game Sardines as a family, and he was the one hiding. We looked for the longest time without finding him. At last, we found him, but he’d been hiding so long, he’d missed a trip to the bathroom. That’s dedication in a five-year-old.

Abbey is our second mom. She has a natural tendency to care for little people, and she does it in a very hennish way. It’s heartwarming to watch. So far her brothers don’t seem to mind it, but her older sister thinks it’s for the birds, as far as it concerns her.

Abbey has a temperament like quicksilver. She can be up one moment and down the next. And she does everything thoroughly. If we’re going down, we might as well dig a pit. If we’re headed up, why not be flying sky high?

This can be trying for a parent who has rigid expectations, but it can be a thrilling adventure for the parent who is ready to walk alongside her. Her parents tend to take turns, alternating between the types. Occasionally, we all three land on the same emotional state, and woe betide the rest of the family!

Anne thinks life is a game best played as a group. She is always looking for the fun in everything, especially when we wish she wouldn’t. She laughs twice as much as the rest of us.

Although she says she doesn’t mind working, her daydreams keep her from finishing her jobs quickly. But once she sets her mind to a thing, she does it well. How to consistently reproduce that focus escapes us.

Yet she is the most sensitive of all our children. Her prayers are the most sincere and specific. “Dear God, please forgive me for my bad attitude at breakfast and help me not to think that mango oatmeal is just horrible.”

She is the one who finds me alone and hugs me. “I just want you to know that I love you, Daddy. I think you’re the best Daddy ever. And I’m sorry I forgot to water the goats quickly last night. I’ll try to do it really fast tonight.” She thinks and talks like a Sunday school story paper character.

These are the riches we’ve been given. They’re unique and precious, each in their own ways. Sometimes, I’m tempted to sigh at the work of raising our family, but when I sit for a moment and consider, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Do you have children? Try doing a short character sketch of each one. I predict you’ll feel more like hugging them afterward.