A 4-year-old’s List for Her Future Husband

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4-year-old and I hanging out in the kitchen:

Nora: “So Mommy, what should we talk about? I know, let’s talk about husbands!”

Me: “Sure, what about them?”

N: “I wanna talk about how I’m going to get one. You know, in some more years.”

Me: “What do you think he’ll be like?”

N: “WELL. He’s going to be kind, funny…grateful. Tall like Daddy but more hairs. Not sprinkles like Daddy’s hairs. He’ll build things, like houses. And sometimes he’ll give me rings when I DON’T even ASK for them! And I’m going to get HIM presents on Amazon. As long as he doesn’t look at them first. He’ll hug me ALL the time and he’ll be strong, and caring, and…delicate. [Pause]…Hm, is delicate the right word?”

Me: “Delicate means kind of, fragile.”

N: “No. That’s not right. My husband will be sturdy. …Are you writing all of these down?”

Me: “Um, no. Would you like me to?”

N: “Yes. Write them on a list, please. Then when I find the man who will be my husband, I’ll send him over to your house and you can give him my list.”

I can’t handle this.

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My June in December

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Happy birthday June bug. I’ve been keeping you alive, and growing you, and getting to know you for a whole YEAR.

You have so many fans. Loud and dirty ones, but lots of fun. And they may fight like crazy with each other, but they are convinced that YOU are the most adorable tiny thing to ever grace this earth and everything you do is either amazing or hilARious. There are benefits to being the youngest.

I’m sorry you’ll never know what peace, and quiet, and personal space are. I’m sorry we didn’t do anything for your birthday, because we knew you’d have no idea. I’m sorry you were born smack in the middle of the craziness that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m sorry I named you June when you were born in December.

It’s just that June is my favorite. It’s that exciting time when you feel like you’ve been doing hard things for way too long and you’re so ready for the next season. After all that cold, and school, and rain, and dreariness, it’s that indescribable feeling you get as you walk out into your first day of summer break and you have the entire summer in front of you. I’m still like a crazy, hyperactive little kid on this day. And you’re a tiny bit sad because you know you’ll miss some things and nothing will be quite the same again. It’s not that you hated the winter, it’s just that summer, or more the anticipation of summer, is just so GLORIOUS.

And that is you. Our last little babe. The one God surprised us with because he knew I wasn’t quite ready to graduate yet. Apparently, I still had more to learn. And it was kinda like being in summer school there for a bit, but now you’re ONE and we’re both pumped to move on to the bigger and different things ahead of us. And I’m a tiny bit sad, but a whole lot excited and so very thankful for my sweet little June and the gift you are in the middle of this crazy season…

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Introvert Raising an Extrovert

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Starting my day with the 4-year-old:

N: [Morning wakeup call, 3 inches from my face]….
SURPRISE!! Good MORNING, Mommy! Were you so surprised? Huh, were you?

Me: Ugh.

N: Yes? Did you say yes? What did you say? I can’t hear you. You said “yes,” right?

Me: Yes.

N: Great. Scooch over, I need covers, I’m cold.

Me: Because you’re only wearing underpants.

N: Clothes make me itch. Lift up your head, I need that pillow. It’s my favorite. Did you have a lovely sleep? I did. Let me tell you all of my dreams.
Can I wake baby June up? I want to squeeze her and talk to her.

Me: No. She’s sleeping.

N: I think she wants to get up though. She loves me. I think I hear her… I did! She said “Kevin”! You just missed it. She definitely said it though. Call Daddy. Tell him to come home. June really wants to talk to him.

Me: She can’t say “Kevin.”

N: I think she said it in Spanish. Or maybe it was Pork-a-jeez. Mommy. MOMMY. Wake up your eyes. I can’t see them.

Me: Child. Stop touching my face. Please.

N: I’m snuggling your face. I love it so much. Mommy, turn back around. I don’t want to snuggle your back. It is NOT beautiful. Turn over. Please. Can you? Can you turn over? Can you turn over now? Right now?

Me: Okay. But don’t snuggle my face so hard.

N: I won’t. I’ll just kiss it. You love when I do that. …Mommy. I don’t like your air.

Me: Well. Your air isn’t the greatest either. Maybe we shouldn’t smooch until we’ve both brushed our teeth.

N: I’ll just snuggle your legs. They smell lovely. Why are they so sprinkly? They itch me when I rub them up like this. But not when rub them down like this. Mine don’t do that. Are Daddy’s legs sprinkly or just his face? Did you call him yet? Call him. I want to snuggle him and tell him June said “Kevin” in Spanish. Mommy. WAKE UP YOUR EYES.

….This was just the first 10 minutes.

It took me having children to realize that I did not even KNOW MYSELF. For example, I did not fully understand the depths of my own personality, until I had a kid whose love language is so much touching and so much talking. Then I realized mine must be the opposite of all those things.

It’s funny (also not funny) how God clearly gave me each of my kids to stretch me in very different and specific ways. It’s so not subtle.

Like just in case I started thinking I could somehow find peace and quietness of my soul apart from him, he gifts me with offspring that ensures that could never happen. Ever. Yet as much as these tiny people (who seem to be genetically comprised of the hardest parts of each of us), drive me to my knees praying for quiet moments to make thoughts inside of my head and a personal force field that restricts being groped for five minutes…..I am utterly in awe of them.

They struggle with things just like I do, but they also have all of these strengths I just don’t have. I’m in love with that fact that while Nora overstimulates me liked nobody’s business, she can be so tender and sense when I truly do need a hug. She has no problem speaking her mind. She could not be more confident. People energize her. It is virtually impossible for someone to make her do something she doesn’t want to do. She is a leader.

Dear Lord, please help me pray far less for peace and quiet, and far more for this dear child’s future husband…

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Mudder’s Day Pie

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N: “Hey Mommy! The radio said it was Mudder’s Day this weekend, and I’ve been thinkin’ about what I want. A pie! I’ve been really wanting a pie.”

Me: “But it’s Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t you make me a pie?”

N: “Uggggggh. Little girls DO NOT even know how to make pies! Moms have to make pies. And all I ever EVER wanted was a strawberry pie for Mudder’s Day. WHY IS MY LIFE SOO HARD??”

…I’m so glad I birthed this one.

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Four and Fierce

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Happy Birthday my Nora!

You are FOUR. Live it up, kid, because four is my very favorite of all of ’em.

You’re big, but not too big. Everything you say is still funny, and yet you’re old enough to empty the dishwasher. Out of diapers, but you don’t have to go to school. So independent, but you still rock a nap. I can snuggle you on the couch and then send you to go play outside. I think you’re going to be so good at four.

You were our very first baby woman. And I said this all last year, and I’ll say it again… You came into our lives, and we’ll never be the same. As soon as we found out you were a girl, we thought we finally pulled off making a quiet, docile one. We were stupid. But I guess God knew after years of living with my three boys, I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with one of those. You’re going to do big things kid. It doesn’t seem like you’ve figured out how to do anything else.

And as terrifying as that is in such a tiny little package who seems to think she’s 13, PRAISE THE LORD he gave you two big brothers and a strong and capable Daddy, because I’m not entirely confident I’d be able to keep you alive (or those around you alive) by myself. Love you, Bean.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord had said to her will be accomplished.” And it will. Not because you will accomplish it yourself, my sweet thing, but because HE will. And I pray that He will be the source and the object of that strength in your life.
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Peter Pan with his baby.

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Peter Pan with his baby. And Tinkerbell…being herself.

I love my life.

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“I be da Mom, and you be da girl.”

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3-year-old: “Okay. I be da Mom, and you be da girl.”

Me: “Oh hello, Mom. What sort of things do Moms do?”

3-year-old: “Well. Moms clean the dishes. Clean the family room. Wear necklaces. They work on computers. They turn lights off. And drink tea. They look at their phones sometimes. And do grocery listes. And do curtains. They doos the dishwasher. They make lots of food. And THEN they clean up, and clean up, and clean up, and clean up AGAIN. That’s just what Mom’s do, okay?”

Well. Thank goodness, she wasn’t the one writing my job description before I signed up for this or I may have thought twice.

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What Not to Do When You Forget Your Child’s Birthday…

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Oh mercy. It’s official. I think I’ve just experienced my two lowest parenting moments yet (which is saying a lot). TWO. In the span of less than thirty minutes.
And I’m actually going to publicize what I have just done.

Abridged transcript of this fateful morning:

It all began like most of our days begin, with two-year-old Nora displaying her intense will and sassiness in all its glory. By wanting things that do not exist and not wanting things that can never be changed. I think this one had something to do with the uppermost top of her oatmeal not hitting that imaginary “acceptability line” within her bowl, while Jack’s (whose had already been eaten) did happen to be at the proper level.

Fast forward lots of words and emotions and toddler curses to the “timeout” step.

Me: “Nora, don’t move for TWO MINUTES! Lucky for you, you don’t turn three until Friday, though I’m tempted to make you sit for three minutes anyways!”

Jack: “It IS Friday! Nora’s three TODAY right, Mommy?? Are we surprising her!?”

Me: [silence]

Jack: “Nora! I’ll sing Happy Birthday to you while you’re in timeout, okay?”

So Jack starts grandly serenading Nora in her birthday timeout (which she is thoroughly enjoying), while I run to the basement and grab the “Happy Birthday” banner and sign, throwing it up in the kitchen like a crazy person. In utter shock that this was happening AND that I had brilliantly decided to set a timer for the FIRST time ever, which meant I only had 1 minute and about 45 seconds left to whip up a birthday before the stupid alarm went off.

[Nora running into the kitchen excitedly at the sound of that dastardly timer going off, seeing my “clearly” planned/well-thought out decorations] “YAY, IT’S MY BIRFDAY, IT’S MY BIRFDAY!!”

Me: “Yes!! And I’m so excited! Let me get a birthday hug and kiss! Here’s your…birthday oatmeal. And your…BIRTHDAY banana.” (which apparently makes all the difference, because she happily woofs it down now with no mention of the grossly unfair “oatmeal line”).

Then we sing “Happy Birthday” again because I’m not totally sure what else to do, followed by some practice saying her new super-exciting age a bunch of times.

And while Jack is giving her the low-down on all the fun birthday things they’ll be doing today, I race to my computer (whispering some choice toddler curses under my breath) to check the tracking on her birthday present I ordered, that I could have sworn was supposed to be here the day before her birthday. And I notice the date…

Me: “WHAT??!!! HER BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW NOT TODAY!! PRAISE THE LAAAAAAAAWD.”

I should not have said this.

Jack: “Whoooooa! It is NOT your birthday today Nora! We need to take down your sign and your birthday decorations!”

You should NOT say such things to a two-ish-three year old.
I’m not totally clear how, but in the seven minutes she was fake-three, she seemed to have learned all sorts of new THREE-year-old toddler curses and coping mechanisms. Is it just me, or do three-year-olds not handle disappointment particularly well?

So Jack is running through the house singing, “Happy NOT Birthday” (I’m being totally serious), and Nora is following behind trying to attack him with the strength of a thousand angry 2.9 year-olds, as she screams “IT IS MY BIRFDAY! I WANT MY BIRFDAY NOW!! I am NOT TWO. SING HAPPY BIRFDAAAAAAAY TO ME, JACK!” While I frantically try to call husband and ask him for advice on what one would normally do when you find oneself in a situation such as this…

Well. It’s looking like our sweet lil’ thing is gonna be getting TWO birthdays this year. OH MY WORD, I have to do this all over again tomorrow…

Happy Friday everyone!!!

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