Maxine is four!

 

Dear Maxine,

We have been counting down to this day for about 75 days. It’s your fourth birthday!

It’s hard for me to describe how much I love you. I am proud of the way you have been putting away your toys when you are all done playing, without being asked. This shows what a big girl you are becoming! I enjoy playing games with you, and it’s a lot of fun to play in the sand with you, too! You are a very creative, artistic girl with a natural talent for art and creating, and you quite enjoy this type of activity. I hope as you get older that you continue to practice and build your artistic talents.

We have seen many changes this year. Grandma and Grandpa Morrow went home in April. We sold our house and bought a new house in a new neighborhood. You got a new bedroom. You got a new bicycle, which you were not sure about riding but now you love. You’ve moved up classrooms a couple of times in preschool. You have learned to memorize and sing songs, books, and movies. Thanks to one of your preschool teachers, Ms. Stacy, you love story time and the library. Your favorite color is purple, and you find joy in your My Little Ponies, in unicorns, rainbows, PJ Masks, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, cereal with rainbows (Lucky Charms) and “bars” (granola bars). Your favorite food is still pancakes, which I agree is a magical food, and I believe that you will always love sweets and treats, your favorite thing to ask for.

Just in the last two days, you have received 12 tokens for following rules, helping around the house, and being kind. That’s so many tokens for just two days, quite an accomplishment.

Along with all of your wonderful traits, you bring me challenges daily. This helps me to grow and learn new ways of being a mom to you, and to learn to adapt to your way of being in this world, which can be a challenging place to live right now. And my goal is to help you to learn how to live in it in ways that are productive and meaningful to you. I hope you grow to be kind and helpful toward others, and to be adventurous in a world that can be intimidating and feels limiting at times. I see my job as your mama as a guide or role model, which is actually the toughest job I have ever had.

Thank you for finally coming down from heaven to be with me, with our family, and for being the hardest teacher I’ve ever had. I will always love you, even if you say I’m “not [your] best friend!”

Love, Mama

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Life Lately: January 2018

Wow, friends! Has it really been over six months since my last post? #Momlife and work life have me wading a bit in the deep end of the pool. I decided in early June to go back to work and (thankfully!) immediately found a position with my previous employer. The working conditions could not be better for me or my family, and I’m already familiar with the responsibilities of the position, so it has generally been an easy transition. Though the thought of leaving the baby at home was challenging – she was only three months old, being out of the house daily has made me a better mom to both girls. But I applaud so hard the moms who are better moms when they stay home with their children; they have a true gift and talent that I definitely do not have. In staying home with my older daughter, Max, who turned three in November, I realized that I wasn’t being the best mom I could be, nor was I being the best version of myself while I was at home. I think that is the great thing about motherhood as a state of being; it is diverse. We come from all walks of life, all parenting styles, all types of love languages, all varying ways of managing the household and kids, and all levels of simply being and getting through each exhausting day.

Parenting my older daughter is not what I expected it to be. I had always imagined having a daughter, and while, yes, she would be challenging, she wouldn’t be anywhere near the energy level of a boy. We would play dolls and learning games. She would sit next to me while I read her picture books about rabbits and frogs and fairies. She would excitedly let me brush and style her hair. She would be sweet and polite and happy to go to bed at the end of the day. Are you laughing yet!? Max is anything but a stereotypical girl. She has as much or more energy than the boys in her preschool class. She excels in art – painting, is her favorite form, but getting her to sit long enough to complete a full picture is impossible. She prefers grazing on snacks while running around the house to sitting at the table for a meal. One minute, she’s a doctor; the next, an architect building a boat or constructing a train. Following that, she’s racing cars down the living room floor. And this isn’t new; she’s been active since she was an infant–always needing to be engaged with someone and something (bless her heart).

I watch her sister now and they couldn’t be more different. And while, yes, I realize all children in one family can be vastly different from one another, it never ceases to amaze me how different Lo is from Max. She will sit and play with blocks or finger puppets or an activity cube for a half hour, alone. She will cuddle with us and loves to be kissed on. She giggles and laughs at everything her sister does and attempts to practice fine motor skills with us if we engage her. She is trying to crawl and loves to stand with one of us holding her up. She’s just a plump, happy baby.

A lot of parents have told me that if they had their more challenging kid first, they wouldn’t have had another one. And while I do consider Max to be more active and consistently engaged (a positive way to say more challenging), having her sister, Flora, was a redemption in many ways. Flora’s mellow, laid-back personality is a compliment to Max’s rambunctious, independent personality.  What would parenting be without some excitement?

“The soul is healed by being with children.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

 

 

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