Rowan started crawling this weekend and so I had to spend an entire evening looking at their million baby pictures and got all nostalgic about how quickly this is all happening. 8 months!
- Mobility! After two long months of rocking and backwards scooting he’s finally figured it out. And after two long months of talking about it, we are finally baby proofing (the cords! everywhere!) which basically involves following Rowan around and putting things on shelves so he can’t reach them. Drew found a tree with a two foot trunk so the tempting lights and ornaments are mostly out of reach. For now.
- Babble baby. Sometimes his sounds are just too stereotypically baby to take seriously. He said “goo goo, gaa gaa” this afternoon and I told him he had to be kidding me. Then he farted. So. Just another proud parenting moment.
- 20 lbs! The chunk is getting to be a workout to haul around.
- Busy little man. He’s always working away on a toy, focused on moving things from one spot to another and slobbering over the whole lot. He will look up to check in with me every few minutes, but he is quite content to do is own thing as long as Drew or I are nearby.
- Has suddenly realized she would like to be mobile. Within minutes of Rowan sorting out how to move his hands and feet in sync, Evelyn was on her belly flailing arms and pumping her little legs. I think she felt like she missed the memo on this new skill, either that or she’s (rightly) worried about being a sitting duck for her brother’s mischief mobility.
- Singing, signing and screaming. These are Evelyns means of communication. We think we’ve taught her the sign for milk/nursing, but she’ll just sit and do it over and over and over while staring at her hands, so it may also just be a finger fascination. She signed at my Dad today over FaceTime and he thought she was waving, so maybe I’m reading way too much into her communication skills. I mean, the kid is always up for a drink anyway, so we don’t really need a special word for it. Anyway. Our musical little lady is doing more humming and some slightly off-key shrieking along with all our favorite holiday tunes. She lights up when we put the radio on and sometimes bobs her little head along with the music. It is adorable.
- This petit little love is just under 18lbs and seems to be gaining inches in her arms and legs. Suddenly all the 9-12 month pants fit her little body, I just don’t know how this keeps happening! I’m loving this stage of interactive baby fun but I’m missing the squishy cuddly tiny babies of last spring and summer.
- Reflections. Evelyn loves to get right up close in your face, babbling along in conversation while she tries to grab your lips and hair, giggling all the while. She’s particularly fond of her own reflection, which we quite enjoy watching as well!
This month was packed full of visitors and visiting and all sorts of deadlines for Drew as the end of the semester draws near. Nate visited us for the week before thanksgiving and we baked and cooked up a decent mini-thanksgiving meal even with two tiny people underfoot. He is graduating this year (his 3rd year!) and in the make-your-dreams-come-true/how-will-I-ever-get-a-job turmoil of senior year. I’m rooting for him to take an internship in Chicago post-grad so we can enjoy more weekend visits and delicious Nate-baked-treats.
Just before he arrived, Drew gave a wonderful chapel at Trinity. It was a pretty wild full-circle moment for me: sitting on the floor feeding ‘chapel muffin’ bits to the twins while I listened to my favorite professor call his students and colleagues to reconsider their role in encouraging the vocation of others. I have so much to ponder about this season of life and my vocation as a new child-wrangler and keeper of our home. (I use that title loosely. If you could see our home you would understand that keeper mostly means ‘keeps forgetting to fold the laundry’ and ‘keeps throwing all the living room crud into the corner of her bedroom’.) It was such a wild moment when, after Drew finished speaking, several profs and staff joined me on the floor marveling at how I am old enough to have kids when I was just a student about two seconds ago, and then welcoming me into the wide circle of veterans who did not for a moment judge my green parenting but instead commiserated and encouraged and cuddled. That is, they cuddled the babies while building up my wearing mama-soul. It was a blessing. Trinity has some hard choices and budget challenges ahead of them and we have no money to offer their troubles but I am so thankful for that place. It is a sanctuary for thoughtful, if world-weary people. I pray they’ll emerge from this difficult time stronger for their struggle and able to continue walking with students through the mire of questions and curiosities that shape our sense of the world.
Anyway, back to thanksgiving. We survived road trips to and from Hull where we got to celebrate last week with Drew’s parents, Grandparents (on both sides!) and even Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. We had a quick trip up to South Dakota to see a whole bunch of my relatives (which never happens! It was wonderful!) and celebrate my Aunt Joy’s birthday. Back in Hull there was even a little Christmassing and the twins were totally spoiled by fun new toys and fun grandparents to play with! It was a whirlwind visit with a bit of a learning curve on our part (changing diapers in the front seat is a bit trickier in 17-degree snowy november iowa than it was in 65-degree sunny may iowa when we traveled to Gabe and Kayla’s wedding) but the kids did great adjusting to naps in new places and soaked up all the grandparent love and attention!
In two short weeks we’ll be off to Colorado for a final farewell tour before my parents and Gabe and Abi move west to California. It will be so strange to visit for the last (foreseeable) time, it’s hard to imagine that it might be years before I get to soak in that beautiful snow-capped front range again. My rock climbing/skiing/biking/hiking high-school self would never have guessed that I would someday call the Chicago suburbs home (the suburbs! There was a time when I dreamed of making my life in a tucked away mountain town!) and all my outdoorsy skills would be tucked away in a closet with the long-unused lacrosse stick and snow-blades. These days I’m gaining all sorts of new skills and learning new tricks, like how I can put both children inside their new play tunnel and drag them all over our apartment at unsafe speeds to coax the best giggles and survive the witching hour. Or that the best friday night escape is Target after 8:30 pm when the only other people there are other moms walking around in slow motion, soaking in the sweet silence of the place.
Silence is hard to come by in this season, and the chaos and noise are starting to take a toll on all of us. Drew and I have been trying to find a new normal for our relationship, making time for the sorts of low key down time we used to enjoy in our dating and newly married life. It is so hard. Life is so stressful and the deadlines and bank balances seem to be pressing in from every side, but we are trying. On Saturday night we played UNO (which is really very boring with just two people who are not 7 years old) and ate random picnic food on the floor of the living room because even our coffee table was too covered with junk to be useful. It’s a Wonderful Life was on in the background and the sap factor totally did us in.
It is a wonderful life. Overwhelming, sure. Full of agonizingly long days and insanely fast weeks and a blur of months, yes. But how could we ever want anything else after meeting these two wonderful beautiful clever crazy children! I am simply in awe at how things are turning out and quite timidly curious about what adventures will come in the years ahead. (Maybe I will stop writing sappy, introspective they’re-growing-up-too-fast blog posts? (Probably not.))
Drew is putting the finishing touches on his phd apps for schools all over the country and it feels like the odds and competition for admissions and funding could really go either way. After so many years and so much work put into this game it feels like it could be his turn, but who knows. Maybe we have a few more years here in Crestwood. Maybe we’ll just pack up and start over somewhere else at the end of the summer. The possibilities are endless! I figure if my
50 year old mature, wise parents can plant themselves in Paris for a year and then go home, sell their house and start over again on the other side of the country, I can be a little flexible with my future.
I hope so. Let the waiting game begin!