Friday, September 25, 2009


Well, it's done. Carly is officially done being my little baby. A little over a week ago, she officially took up walking as her new favorite way to get around. Over the span of about 3 days, she went from insisting on holding someone's hands to walk around (i.e. she was unhappy and very vocal about it if we weren't perpetually helping her walk), to cruising around the entire downstairs by herself (very creatively, I might add) to taking a few steps here and there, to wanting to walk without help (i.e. she brushed us off when we offered her a hand). That's a lot of learning in such a short time! I don't quite know where it is she's wanting so badly to go, but she's going, and I guess that's keeping her happy for now. She is also able to bend over, pick something up, and stand again. And the past couple of days, she's been really into trying to pick up big things (like the Boppy pillow). The video below is from one week ago, on Friday. You can see Eager Big Sister "helping" Carly walk, and then pretending to be a baby herself. Silly girls.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the elder

About three weeks ago, I finally ordered a book that had been suggested (unsolicited, mind you) to me by more than one person (including Rachel's pediatrician): Raising Your Spirited Child. For whatever reason, I resisted. I think I did not want to label Rachel, even if "spirited" is supposed to sound positive. I have been around kids a LOT in my life, and, well, they're all spirited. I had to really humble myself to buy the book. It was like admitting that I don't know how to handle my own child. It was as if to suggest that Rachel needs something extra, something I don't know how to provide. I guess it really has uprooted something I didn't even know I believed: that all children are basically the same, and that it's more about how they are raised that makes them either calm or crazy, pleasant or annoying, polite or attention-seeking. I'm kind of embarrassed to say that's what I thought, but I guess it is.

And so, as she has since her birth, Rachel has been paradigm-shifting. She is spunky. She's creative (and there a correlation?). She's persistent and shrewd. She will negotiate anything, often successfully and before the other party even realizes what has happened. She loves her sister to pieces. She cries when she doesn't get something she wants, and then later tells me she was fake crying. She delights in imitating me, and in pretending to be in charge. She is notorious for changing the subject when she's about to get in trouble for something, or when she's just been disciplined.

And she's funny, and she loves her mommy and her daddy. She's starting to notice more of the interactions between Jarrad and me, and she's picking up on tones in my voice, sighs of frustration, or a furrowed brow, regularly inquiring, "What's wrong, Mommy?" One night, I was washing dishes, and Jarrad came over and quickly grabbed the cloth out of the sink to wipe the table. I pretended to be so shocked and offended, and said, "HEEEEY! What are you doing??" He playfully replied that he'd give it back in a minute, and then he threw it back at me and we had kind of a flirty exchange. Rachel got the biggest kick out of the whole thing, and she asked me about it several times over the following two days, laughing as she recounted how Daddy took my cloth. It's sweet to know that she's for us--that she wants Mommy and Daddy to love each other and get along. Research has shown that a good marriage between a mom and dad is absolutely the best thing for the child, but you don't have to tell a child that; they know. Rachel knows.

I love watching Rachel grow and learn. She's really into "activities," which are worksheets from a little Preschool activity book Poppy gave her. She practices writing letters and doing the exercises with Daddy or me. After much prayerful consideration, we opted not to put her in preschool just yet, if at all. A part of me is sad for that, because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would love it. But, for now, God was telling us, "No," and I know He has a good reason, even if I never know what the reason is. I trust Him.

I love my big girl so much. I love her little scratchy voice. I love the intonation she uses when she's "teaching" me something, and the way she cocks her head to the side and puts her hands out for emphasis. I love that she throws me a curveball every time I think I have her figured out. I love that she tries so hard to be good, and I hate how I react sometimes when she isn't. I pray for her--that she will gain wisdom and understanding of those things that really matter: faith, hope, and love, and that she will put those things into the only context in which they make sense--a relationship with Jesus Christ. And I pray that the Lord will use me to show her those things in the way I live and respond to those around me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

the baby

It has occurred to me many times over the last week that I NEED to update my blog. Moments and memories are slipping away, and they will be forgotten if I don't write them down! And so I intend to ramble...

Carly is the delight of my life right now. There is nothing sweeter than a baby, in my opinion, and there is no sweeter baby than my Carly, in my opinion. Of course, I suppose I ought to feel that way about my own, but I really enjoy this age so so much (she's 10 months old already). She's had several nicknames so far: Coughing Carly (because of her constant little Tracheomalacia cough), Machine Gun Carly (because she has a funny little hacking, sputtering laugh she does for attention), and Kitty Cat (because she has the cutest little habit of bumping things/people with her forehead affectionately, like a cat wanting to be petted). I call her Kitty Cat a lot, and she knows I'm talking to her when I do. She laughs easily, and she's starting to get her own ideas and opinions about her surroundings. She's not as interested in sitting still on the potty lately, but she still almost always goes poopy in there, which is fine by me. It's amazing how much easier all of that has been to handle the second time around.

The girl finally figured out how to eat finger foods. She could have done it sooner, had she only put the food in her mouth instead of examining it and then throwing it on the floor. Once she got it, though, she's been quite entertained by it. One saltine occupies her, while the rest of us have a pleasant dinner together, which is a real luxury that I'm sure won't last long.

She sprint-crawls rather effectively, and she has taken a few isolated steps, but hasn't truly started walking yet. She loves nothing more than to walk assisted, however, which is hard on Mommy's back, but worth it to see that twinkle in her clear blue eyes. I also finally let her cry all night one night about three weeks ago, and she's been sleeping through the night ever since. It's nice to get a full night of rest, but I kind of miss those midnight snuggles. I'll never really get those back, I guess, but that's just what happens when the baby grows up. It is so funny--the sense of relief I feel when she goes to sleep for a nap or at night, but how truly happy I am to see her when she wakes up. And she's happy, too. She jumps up and down in her crib and grins and giggles behind her paci.

All told, I'd do anything for this baby--absolutely anything. She is so easy to love. And I can definitely see how it happens that the older child gets blamed for everything while the baby is, well, babied. Whenever Carly cries or seems discontent, I find myself looking to Rachel first- "What did you do?" In my defense, I'm right about half the time. Other times, the poor big sister is on the other side of the room minding her own business, and Carly is fussing just to hear the sound of her own voice.

I think I will be sad one day, when I grow too old to have a baby around. I'm not there yet--I've always wanted a house full. But it will happen. And then I will pray for grandbabies.