I'm not sure why, maybe it's the gusty winds outside or the simmering pot on the stove or the fact that the holidays are literally right around the corner (like, in two days)... but I'm feeling all mother-ish and in-the-moment and grateful and I want to capture what's up in Spahnville at this exact minute. (Actually, at this exact minute, Anna is napping, Charlie is in school, Mason left for a meeting and I'm experiencing a rare moment of free time during the middle of the day. I'm choosing to
So right now is pretty good here. Are you like me? Do you hate to say that out loud?? It's like as soon as you admit that things are going well and you actually feel content and the people around you are also in a pretty good place then the other shoe drops. The shit inevitably happens--- but for now, things are good and life is pretty darn sweet. So let's proceed to what's up right now.
Here are some words I could use to describe Anna: (I had to look some of them up in the thesaurus)
Energetic, exuberant, gregarious, persistent, resourceful, adventurous, clever, confident, creative, curious, dramatic, impulsive, fun-loving, good natured, funny, imaginative, lovable, kind, vivacious, self-sufficient, intelligent.
Anna is curious about everything and is up for anything. This combination can be dangerous-- or a lot of fun. (Talk to me again when she's in college and see what I say....) She's highly imaginative and creates fun wherever she goes. Anna loves people and is usually not shy-- unless she feels she's being asked to perform, in which case she kind of shuts down and hides her face in our pant leg. Unfortunately, she isn't the greatest listener and is experimenting with running away from us in public. After her most recent stunt in Target (where I almost had to find an employee to help with the search) I'm optimistic that she's going to stay forever by my side.
While Anna is currently enrolled in dance class, it isn't something she looks forward to attending. We've committed to continuing through Christmas, and then I think we'll give it a break. Music, however, continues to be her first love and she amazes me with her ability to hear a song and then repeat back the words and tune/ melody. Current favorite sing-alongs include "Twinkle Twinkle" "Rain Rain Go Away" "Daddy Finger" the "ABC's" and "Happy Birthday". In Anna's world, all the world truly is a stage. She turns everything-- boxes, tables, rugs, chairs, etc. into a stage and belts out her most recent medley of songs for anyone within earshot. (This is not limited to home performances-- she's put on some good shows at Barnes and Noble, Target, and the car dealership.) She also loves to throw in a little vibrato into her performances-- which everyone seems to enjoy.
Anna loves playing with Barbies and babies, and is the most doting three-year old mother you will ever meet. Her babies do seem to be in time-out a lot and we've heard them get several scoldings, "We don't say that!" "You no hit! We don't hit!" so we're hoping they turn their behavior around soon. When not playing with dolls, Anna runs Charlie's game with him (which severely annoys him) or watches Peppa Pig on the "pic-cuter". She gets out of bed a hundred times after lights-out and is not allowed out of her room before 6:30 am. (She wakes up around 6:00 these days...). If you ask her how much she weighs, she will tell you "fodey six" and if you ask her how tall she is, she will tell you "fodey six". And if you ask her how old she is, she will tell you "dis meny" while holding up 3 fingers. She repeats "what" about ten times before you catch on and tell her not to do that-- which makes her burst into uncontrollable giggles. (It seriously took me a million times to figure out that she was joking with me.)
This girl has just SO much personality packed into her little body. She makes me absolutely craaaaazy and then the next second I want to eat her up because she's just the best thing that ever happened to me. God, parenting is seriously the weirdest thing ever. I couldn't love her more-- she is everything I ever imagined plus more than I could have ever hoped for. I'm beyond grateful for this little miracle.
Anna's current phrases:
"Goodness for Gracious"
"Last morning...." (yesterday)
"Are you mean at me?" (Are you mad at me? Am I in trouble?)
Here are some words I could use to describe Charlie: Sensitive, Caring, Sweet, Empathetic, Deep, Dramatic, Imaginative, Compassionate, Contemplative, Considerate, Friendly, Earnest, Fun loving, Funny, Kind, Lovable, Trustworthy, Loyal, Perceptive, Playful, Popular, Reflective, Protective, Sentimental, Well-Rounded, Intelligent.
While preparing to publish this post, I realized that I have far fewer current photos of Charlie than Anna. I swear that it's not because Anna is our favorite-- it's just that for as much as Anna is constantly putting on a show (and us taking pictures of it), Charlie is equally trying to deflect attention from himself. Meaning, he isn't crazy about me taking pictures of him unless he's doing something specific or has company in the pics.
Second grade has really been a year of growth for Charlie. Someone told me (Josie) that research indicates a child grows the most during their second grade year. They grow physically, they grow academically, and they grow mentally-- more during that year than any other. At first, I dismissed it as something a scholar wrote with little truth-checking.... but it's really holding true for Charlie. He's shot up like a weed and is losing teeth left and right. He's gaining so much confidence in academics-- especially math, which is an area he has to work at. I'm so proud of him for the kid he is becoming and I hear such good things from other parents and teachers-- the kind of stuff that makes me feel like Mason and I are doing something right, even though there are so many moments of chaos in our house. He's also really branching out with new friendships this year-- keeping Keira close to his heart but making new friends and trying different activities.
Charlie loves computer games and screen time as much as the next kid, but he's equally interested in unplugged activities. I used to fight his urge to plug-in, monitoring every second, setting timers, insisting on books and board games, and imaginative play until one day I looked around and realized, 'he's gonna be okay'. Charlie loves to be outside, he's super creative when he's outside, he loves athletics and running, jumping, ninja-ing, you name it. He makes lego creations, builds random shit out of scrap wood, and creates battlegrounds with Civil War soldiers. He's not a child of the 80's-- but that's okay. He knows how to find his game sites on our family computer, he watches "most extreme roller coasters" on YouTube Kids, he reads books on his Kindle, and he texts me Bitmojis from his iPod Touch (Not sure he realized his Bitmoji holding a sign "Fri-Yay!" was taking a plunge in a glass of wine. I however, did notice and I also appreciated it.) And you know what? It's all okay. We're all gonna be okay and sometimes I need to remind myself that I need to just chill the "F" out.
At school, Charlie excels in reading. I have no idea what 'level' he is or whatever. I just know that he loves to read and often chooses reading for his free time activity. He can talk to you about children's books and authors-- recently told me that his favorite author is Adam Rubin. "You know, the guy who wrote 'Dragons Love Tacos', 'Dragons Love Tacos 2', 'Those Darn Squirrels', and 'Robosauce'?" Um, no--didn't know that but now I do. Charlie has also been working on his own book, "Wendell the Worriless Worm". We recently published it at home and he brought copies to his teacher and two friends. Later that day, he came home insisting that we "publish" 14 more copies because all the kids in his class really wanted a signed copy of his first book. (Talk about sending his mama over the edge of "my dream child" cliff!)
When he's not reading or writing or playing, he loves watching ESPN and the current sport season. He tends to root for winning teams (Any other new Eagles fans out there?) and loves telling us what everyone is "rankthed". Apparently he plays football at recess and we're running a 5K on Thanksgiving together. (He's been training all last week by doing burpies, push ups, and sprints in the basement. I'll keep you posted.)
The only phrase that Charlie says consistently is: "Type Down" when he's suggesting we google something. As in, "Mom, type down Worlds Most Extreme Waterslides". I can't bear to correct him because it's one of my favorites. So many things about this kid are just the most amazing thing ever. Sometimes I find myself wondering what lives he's lived before because he just seems so wise on this other level. (There is also the level that can't deal with his socks being too tight-- but I try not to dwell on that part.) I'm so familiar with school-age kids and I kind of thought I'd whiz through these years with my own kids. I figured that nothing would really strike me because I'd heard it all-- but again, it's just not the case. Because, like all parents out there, I think my kid is just something extra special. He's all these amazing characteristics wrapped up in one growing, uncoordinated, messy, adorable little body. I couldn't love him more-- he is everything I ever imagined plus more than I could have ever hoped for. I'm beyond grateful for this little miracle.