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September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 61

Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting!

--- 1 ---
I had an opportunity to see a new baby this week! A good friend (and cousin-by-marriage) had her baby in May and the summer was crazy and I didn't have time to make it over there. So I finally planned for us to bring dinner over and hang for a little bit one evening this week. He is about 4 months old and seeing his parents (who are a bit later on in life starting the journey of having children) going through the first few months of raising a child brought me back to those early weeks with each of mine. Literally, I operated in a fog for about 8-10 months and I wonder how I did it? But, I did, and it's over and then it's kind of bittersweet to think I'll never go through that again, because I really do love the little babies.

--- 2 ---

I've been hinting at it when I mention Sarah, I think, but my relationship with my children is changing and it's new and exciting, but it's also -- not scary or anything -- but it causes me to sit and wonder more than it did before. Over the years, I've always been more of the caretaker of my children, but I feel my role changing away from that a bit. it's really hard to explain. But in general, I find that Vincent often prefers his siblings to me for some things that my younger kids had always relied on me for (an example: Vincent just requested that Dani retrieve him from his crib and get his chocolate milk this morning). And my older kids are happy to comply with the younger kids' requests and all of a sudden, I have 10 extra minutes I didn't used to get to finish up this blogpost (or something).

--- 3 ---

It used to sting a little bit when Vincent started preferring others to me. For the first 15-17 months of his life, Vincent wanted me all the time. Then, all of a sudden, he really wanted Daddy. That hasn't really changed much at all (and now he's 27 months). But now, Vincent likes to show affection for me the way he sees Helen and Dominic do it -- he runs to me when I get home in the evenings to hug me and give me a "tiss" and says "Ah miss yew wots, momma!" but he doesn't hang around -- he is usually off for some new mischief shortly after his greeting.

He's even requested that Sarah do his diaper change and I know he prefers that his Daddy give him his bath (I am far to impatient at bath time).

--- 4 ---

Dominic likes to show me how much he knows or what he's learned. Granted, many times it is in relation to Angry Birds or the new Star Wars app he found on the iPad when it was his turn. But I find that Dominic does not require a lot of discipline. He is a sweet boy who aims to please and stay out of the way, but likes hugs and things. Dominic is the kind of kid that wants to come and start a conversation with me about video games or what he read. All while giving me a full body hug. The girls have grown past this age long enough that it's hard for me to remember, but I don't think any of them struck me the way Dominic does with the conversation. I guess the point is, that I don't have much to do in the way of "parenting" Dominic other than forcing him to eat at least 4 bites of his dinner (because he's 4...and we've had trouble with him not eating in the past), make sure he's going #2 regularly so he doesn't have an accident from holding it too long, and giving him lots of cuddles at night and reading stories. It's a strange, but fun feeling hanging around Dominic.

--- 5 ---

All summer long, I tried to prepare Helen for 2nd grade. You see, 2nd grade is a huge transition year. The kids are moving away from being really "little kids" to being a little bit bigger "little kids". At our school, the first floor is Kindergarten-1st-2nd grades (plus the specials rooms -- art, music, computer lab). Then for 3rd-4th-5th, the kids move to the 2nd floor and then the middle school has it's own wing. But it's more than just physical -- the kids prepare for and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion during this year, so spiritually they are "growing up" a bit, too. And the school work is a bit more involved -- actual spelling tests with 20 words, math "mad minutes", reading, etc. And...at our school anyway, the teacher is a bit more strict and/or stern or, as I have said to Helen, she's "no-nonsense." 

Helen -- of my girls -- is the one most likely to cry, whine, need hugs, etc. So, emotionally, I worried about this year more than I had with Sarah and Dani. And, true to form, Sarah and Dani really never had any problems in 2nd grade. But Helen -- oh, my sweet girl was in tears the other day when she explained to me the way the teacher had treated her in trying to get her to make the Sign of the Cross properly. Little kids are so funny -- if you don't smile at them, they think you're mad at them. Or if you only say the word "no" but do not redirect, or give them an alternative to how they are doing something, they feel humiliated (but they don't know that word) and also think you're mad at them

Needless to say, I gave Helen a big hug, reminded her about her "no-nonsense" teacher and told her I would give her extra loving in the evenings. That seemed to calm her down. And every day since that she has told me, "Mom, nothing happened at school today." I think that was her way of reassuring me that she handled whatever did happen just fine.

--- 6 ---

Dani and I went for a short run at a park last evening. Her cross country coaches have a daughter who plays volleyball for the 8th grade at their school, so they don't have practice when she has a game. It was fun. But it helped me start to see how Dani's and my relationship is changing as well. On the way to the park in the car, Dani broke down the day, told me what she enjoyed and all that stuff. She also said all the different instruments that Taylor Swift can play and uses in her music. I shared with her that my favorite Taylor Swift songs are the ones where she uses the orchestra and Dani was able to name my favorite Taylor Swift songs from that information. :)
While running, she was telling me about her science project. She explained all the things they were putting in a bag and that they would see which items molded more quickly. And so I asked her what her hypothesis had been and she said, quite happily, "My hypothesis was that the tomato would mold the quickest because it's fruit and fruit can mold or rot quickly." Then just a few minutes later, "And my hypothesis was right!"

Then on the way home she broke down her AR (Advanced Reading, I think?) program and said her teacher was going to have to adjust her goal because she already had a certain number of points because she's been reading Percy Jackson books. And she knows her reading level (4-6.2) and is just very on top of her academics. And I love it.

--- 7 ---

I see the biggest change in my relationship with Sarah. I do still have to discipline her, but discipline looks different for a 12-year-old I am learning. And she wanted help with her reading homework and the question was one of those, "Why do you think..." questions. So I said -- "Well, that's one of those opinion questions Sarah -- you should write down what you think and be able to support why you think that with an example from the story." (She is still reading "The Giver" by the way.) We ended up having a great conversation because she was exploring why she thought it was unfair that colors and feelings were kept from people. 

Our exchange went something like this:
Me: Well, why is it unfair that all the people can't see the colors? And why is it unfair that they don't have the strong feelings?

Sarah: The Giver and Jonas only know about the colors and they can't share it with other people and that is unfair to him.

Me: What about it is unfair?

Sarah: He can't share anything -- he has all this experience -- both bad and good, but he can't share it.

Me: what makes him want to share it? Why does he see it as unfair that he is unable to share these things?

Sarah: Well -- when you and I share things, it's basically...our relationship...it makes us care about each other.

Me (heart all aflutter): Well, okay then -- what do you think Jonas sees as the unfairness of it?

Sarah: That he can't develop closer bonds to people? LIke he doesn't know about real love?

There was a bit more, but it was so cool to be having a conversation like that with my child!!! So, just wanted to share. 

I just love being a mom.

Have a great weekend and be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!



  1. Wow, these are really interesting reflections on each kid! Thanks for sharing.

  2. What an awesome conversation with Sarah! It seems like so far in the future that I might be having real conversation with the kids, and somehow I think it'll be Cecilia before John Paul! She's always asking me, "How are you feelin' Mom?" or "Did you have fun at work?" Gotta love the introspective girls :)

  3. I'm finding this a tougher time of parenting than when they were all little and we may have had 2 or 3 in diapers at the same time. Parenting little ones and big ones at the same time stretches me further than a house full of little ones ever did!

    Per your "About Me"...we never imagined we would be the parents to 7...until it happened!


Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)