As it does all too well, time is marching on here in the C House.
March has been busy but relatively free of major chaotic events, so we're feeling good.
Carly is a puzzle I continue to solve daily. She is so Dr Jekyll/Miss Hyde that I never know what I'm going to get. There is sweetness, fun, and humor. And there is anger, moodiness, rudeness, and throw-herself-against-the-wall tantrums. Whenever I feel especially challenged by her, I hear a voice in my head saying, "Patience . . . patience . . . patience." I have found (knock on wood), the best way to help Miss Hyde Carly is to treat her like a ticking time-bomb. Whether it is punishment or not getting her way, its like talking her off a cliff sometimes. But it has worked, and it has been a few weeks since one of her truly intense tantrums. Add crisis negotiator to my repertoire of daily tasks.
But Dr Jekyll Carly is as fun as they come. She is getting good at writing all her letters, recently learned to write and recognize the numbers 11-20, and we even broached the subject of addition using M&Ms. She loves art. She LOVES books, and our weekly library visits are always looked forward to. A current favorite of hers these days is Fancy Nancy. She likes asking me how to say things in French (though my 2 years of high school French can only take us so far), and she makes up words and says, "That's fancy for _____." The other day she asked Chris "Is there a fancy way to say Bob Evans?" Obviously we go there a bit too often. She even found an Easter hat at Target's dollar spot and had to have it, because "It's so fancy!"
Along with the fun is some growing up. One day she was frustrated and said to me "I'm going to kill you." I reacted a bit harshly, and she looked shocked. It was obvious to me she had no idea what it really meant. I explained it to her in child terms and she looked very sad. "I'm sorry," she said. "Mom, I promise, I will never kill you." That was comforting, to be sure.
99% of the time this girl is a barrel of laughs and my BFF.
I'm awfully glad I have her.
[Olivia event at our library.]
Oh, Quinn. Quinn celebrated her first birthday and promptly decided it was time to be a toddler. She walks like a boss, throws herself on the ground for tantrums, and does all sorts of funny cute toddler things. Like her sister before her, she is developing a huge personality. She prefers to be elevated whenever possible, and its causing me some stress. Her very favorite thing in the whole world is to stand on our tall bathroom stool and rummage through the drawers while chewing on her toothbrush. I want to sit up there and see how long she'd do it, but her brother has his own fascination with the toilet. Q also loves accessories. Princess crowns, headbands, necklaces, sunglasses, purses . . . you name it. Sunglasses just may be her favorite, though, and she brings them to me to put on her, walks around with her head tilted back and her mouth wide open to keep them on, and brings them back when they do inevitably fall off again. The calm baby I appreciated so much is gone, but the sweetness remains, and I can't get enough of her.
And then there is John. To his everlasting credit, John is always just John. But there are perks to having one predictable child. If John is cranky he wants to 1) eat, 2) sleep, or 3) be entertained. Usually it is 3. He would have made a perfect first child. John has always been a few months behind Quinn mobility-wise, and that continues to prove true. He is only now starting to stand on his own for a few seconds at a time. He is also very clingy and loves snuggles and love. Right now it feels very much like I have a dramatic child, a overly curious toddler, and a needy baby. John loves books, like Carly, (these days Quinn doesn't have the patience for them) and sits with his eyes glued while you read to him and laughs and smiles. He also loves when I pull the couch out from the wall and he can go behind it like a tunnel fort. Such a boy. He is an all around lovable guy despite his hobby of high-pitched screaming. But his ears don't seem to be going anywhere. The other day Carly informed Chris out of the blue, "The problem, daddy, is that John's ears stick out." That is, indeed, the problem.
This duo of ours is magically delicious. They had their 1 year appointment in early March and checked out perfect. J is 22 lbs 10 oz, 31 inches tall. Q is 19 lbs 3 oz, 29 inches tall. She is gaining on him, since she decided she would actually start eating, and he decided he would actually start moving.
Our biggest going-on around here? Chris's comprehensive exams are coming right up. Comps are the last major step before going "ABD" (all but dissertation). He has a board of 4 professors from his field and related to his field, and they each give him a big scary test. His first one is a take home to be taken over the first week of April, and the other three will all be taken the second week of April. Two weeks later he enjoys "oral comps", where he stands in a room and his board fires questions at him. The week following oral comps he takes finals, since he is, after all, still taking a full load of classes and teaching his 400-level undergraduate class. He has been working long stressful days and staying up light nights to study. This man of mine doesn't get a lot of space on this blog, but he sure is a good one. I'm grateful for the work he puts in so that soon he will have a career he loves and a way to support our family. I'm grateful he is such a good daddy, the only person on earth who can calm Q down and rock her to sleep. I'm grateful that through all the stress, he still manages to make emergency ice cream runs for his wife and listen to her tales of long days with crazy kids. This guy is a catch, and we are both looking in the distance to our oasis: a no-kids trip to Chicago we are planning in June. Send your comps-passing mojo his way in the coming weeks.
As for me: I deal with my stress with the help of Ben & Jerry, I have laugh-filled lunches with a three-year-old, get mobbed by slobbery kisses from a big-eared boy, and pull a soft-haired beauty off the most recent mountain she managed to climb. We keep busy, with outings and story time and playgroup, and we look out the window every snowy morning and pray for spring, because these cabin-fevered kids can't wait to soak up some Vitamin D.
And so much lately, I have been thinking about time.
Thinking about how our time here in Michigan is getting shorter.
Thinking about how these kids just keep getting bigger.
Thinking about how time continues to march on.