Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nathaniel lately

This boy is full of awesomeness. He makes us laugh every day. Mostly because he has this great smile.

He's also found out where his hands are. He holds his hands in front of him like this (and usually interlocks his fingers):

He's starting to get more interactive. He'll smile when you play peek-a-boo with a blanket and pull it off his face. He also loves it when his daddy holds him high in the air and then pretends that he's going to eat his face as he slowly lowers Nathaniel down towards him. Nathaniel smiles huge and blinks his eyes more and more the closer he gets to Chris's face. 

We like to watch him when he sleeps. He's just so peaceful. 

He's a really good sleeper, for which we can take virtually no credit. He came as a good sleeper, we just tried to stay out of his way.

Lately, I've been playing this Mendelssohn violin concerto for him, and I'll move his arms and legs to the music. The whole movement is about 6 minutes long, but he smiles and wiggles through the whole thing. I'm amazed that he has that kind of attention span.

Basically, I'm in love with being a mom. It's hard of course, but it fulfills me in ways that being a student or having a job never have. I honestly didn't think I would enjoy being a mom at this stage of his life, or at least that those moments of satisfaction would be few and far between. I thought that it'd be only when I looked back that I'd be able to say, "Oh that was such a wonderful time of life!" I thought that in the moment I'd pretty much only feel worn out and tired.

It's remarkable to me how much I am filled when I take care of and play with this sweet kid. Almost every day comes this simple (but strong) joy and peace from being Nathaniel's mom. I know those feelings are a gift from God, my Heavenly Father, and I thank Him for sending such an incredible boy to our home. He knew exactly what child would be perfect for us. 

Is it any wonder that we just can't get enough of this little guy?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Not fearing the future, but enjoying the journey.

In 5th grade, my teachers told me things like, "When you're in middle school next year, your teacher will just throw your homework away if you forget to put your name on it," or, "Your teachers in middle school won't ever accept late work." Man... I panicked. I cried to my mom whimpering that I was never going to make it through middle school because what if I genuinely forgot to put my name on things or forgot to finish my homework and needed to turn it in late? How could those teachers be so unfeeling?

Well, I got to 6th grade. You know what? My teachers held up papers with no name saying "someone come claim this!" or allowed us to turn in late work with usually just a small amount of points taken off.  Oh... Well, I could deal with that. I guess those 5th grade teachers had it wrong.

Then came 8th grade. My teachers started in on us again. "High school teachers aren't going to hold your hands like we do in middle school. They're just going to give you zeros on late assignments, and won't ask you about them." This time I was a little more skeptical. I'd wait and see what the teachers actually did in high school before I started to panic.

Again, I found out that those warnings were pretty much unfounded. My high school teachers new that we were young adolescents who make mistakes and so they helped us out. They weren't heartless. And I had no reason to fear high school. High school was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends and grew in lots of ways.

So when in my senior year, the teachers began starting sentences with "You know, once you get to college..." I was having none of it. I didn't doubt that college would be challenging, but I wasn't going to heed the doomsday warnings about how heartless my professors were going to be once I got there.

There certainly was a lot less hand holding in college. Let's face it, a professor who teaches 800 students every semester hardly has time to go searching after one lost sheep, but if I was struggling I could go talk to the professor and they were always willing to help when they saw I was making an honest effort.

And on top of that, college was really fun. I made incredible friends. Laughed, played, worked, cried, grew, struggled, and enjoyed those 5 years. I met my husband in college. I sang in choirs with world-renowned artists. I learned about who I was there. It was just an incredible journey. And one that was over rather quickly (despite the extra year I added in there).

So now... I'm a parent. And I see the same cycle cropping up. Well meaning people warned us before the baby was born, "Get your sleep now because after they're born... forget it." Now that he's here people sometimes tell me, "Well at that age they're easy, wait till they're crawling" or, "wait till they start throwing temper tantrums," or, "just wait until they become teenagers."

And you know what? I'm not having it.

This baby came, and sure, we have less sleep, but we also have this little guy who makes us giggle every day and makes our hearts overflow with happiness when he smiles at us. He's starting to roll over and it's the coolest thing ever to see him figure it out. I love the way he sucks his thumb with his fingers all up in his eyes because he hasn't learned how to curl them down and stick his thumb out at the same time. I love it when he "talks" to me and tells me what he's thinking (even though can't understand it) and I love that he grins from ear to ear when I sing him a song.

He's two and-a-half months old and already he's stopped doing some things he used to do. I loved the way he used to hold perfectly still and stare at me when I sang to him, or the way he would punch himself in the face and then look around like "Hey! Who just hit me?"

He doesn't do those things anymore. They were these beautiful moments and I loved experiencing them. Even though they came right along side diaper blowouts, sleepless nights, crying marathons, and feelings that I had no idea what I was doing. The hard things didn't cancel out the wondrous ones that were happening at the same time.

I don't want to start dreading the problems that this baby will have in the future because then I'll start missing the beautiful things he's doing in the now. It's already going by so fast. He's only going to be this little for so long and I've got to love it while it's here or I'll just have regrets when it's gone.

And then when he becomes a toddler and makes huge messes or throws tantrums or both, I don't want to be worrying about the problems he'll face in school or as a teenager. I'd much rather be enjoying the way he'll say things in funny ways, or the way we'll cuddle on the couch and read stories, or loving his giggle whenever his daddy tackles him. I want to be loving those things even though they come right alongside the tantrums and the tears and the messes.

Because really, when you have a kid this adorable, why would I chose to do anything else?