Thursday, August 21, 2014

Our Third Child (For Now)

We have another baby in the house! And no, it's not what you think. 

Our backyard garden is pretty much like a third child right now: labor-intensive and incredibly time-consuming! But oh-so-rewarding. Beautiful, too, wouldn't you agree?

The kids love the abundance of late-summer backyard time and are often content to play on a blanket near the garden's edge while I pick. (Until Gray gets a notion to stomp Nasturtiums or poke tomatoes, that is.)

There's something so satisfying about snipping and cutting beans on a warm summer evening as cricket songs drift through the kitchen screen door and a whirring fan cools a pan of freshly cooked beans. It's funny how a dreaded childhood chore now makes me so nostalgic. (And yes, I can't wait for the day when I can dump another mountain of beans in front of my children who think they are finally done snipping and cutting. I will just tell them how much longer the rows and higher the piles my mom made me tend to when I was their age!)

Soon the garden will be covered in snowdrifts and juicy tomatoes reduced to a distant memory. Until then, bring on the weeds and watering, picking and preserving. Everything else can wait...we have a garden to tend and freezer to fill! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

On Having a Two-Year-Old

It seems like just a few months ago they placed him wet and wide-eyed on my chest, but it seems we will have to accept the fact that our little Gray is already two. 

I'll admit it; on his last day of being one, I shed a few tears. "He'll never be one again" entered my mind, and I couldn't shake the thought.

He fell asleep on the drive to Costco that day. I couldn't resist pulling over to snap his picture. Head tilted to the side, morning sun illuminating his summer-bleached locks, favorite green paci in his mouth, and Sheepie nestled in the crook of his arm. Part baby, part toddler, part little boy. 

I want to remember everything about these days. The way we have to keep the kitchen chairs shut up in the bathroom, or else he uses them as ladders to access the fruit bowl and take a bite out of each mango.

The way he makes a realistic-sounding backup beeper noise whenever the van is in reverse.

The way he dotes on his sister, and we often find her surrounded by fifteen toy vehicles. Gray is becoming a little less eager to share with other toddlers, but he never hesitates to lavishly bestow gifts to his little "Ray-Ray."

And speaking of Ray-Ray, he calls her that much of the time now. When she became fussy on a recent road trip, he tried to amuse her: "Do you know what a OG is, Ray-Ray? Do you know what a OG is?" (Followed by an onslaught of giggles, as he knew it was a made-up word!)

So, so many other things I also want to permanently imprint on my brain...

Yesterday I was doing my hair in the bathroom when I heard Rain start to cry in the nursery. I then heard Gray try to comfort her: "We're going to Nate and Darla's pretty soon, honey." (Honey? He called her honey! Be still, my heart!)

He isn't happy at the table unless his sister's high chair is right next to his own. None of this kitty-corner stuff. And they both love to wrestle on the bed, laughing hysterically as they roll around. I used to shout a slew of, "Be careful with your sister!" commands, but after seeing how much she loves the rough and tumble, I've pretty much reduced it to, "Watch out for her head." :-) 

Gray is fairly proficient at putting things away and usually remembers where they belong. After an exceptionally thorough pickup session in the guest room (all by himself, as I was nursing Rain!), he told me, "Wow! The guest room is tidy and special!"

The other day I was looking for the shirt I had set out for him, and I discovered he had put it back in the dresser! In the right drawer, even!

Sometimes he gets a little jealous of his sis. Before church one evening, he snatched Rain's headband off her head and perched it atop his own. When I told him headbands were usually just for girls, he looked at his reflection in the stove door and corrected the statement: "Headbands are for people."

This is one little guy that hates to be cleaned. As he resisted a diaper change, I told him, "I'm the mommy. It's my job to clean you." He thought about it and then replied, "Or else the people would say, "Why doesn't the mommy clean the Gray-Gray?" 

Gray is also a budding philosopher. The other day he looked out his bedroom window and stated, "The neighborhood is disappointing." (Huh?) Sometimes he gets on a roll with "A dog is a dog. A daddy is a daddy. A banana is a banana. A bridge is a bridge. A broom is a broom." (Okay...this is my fault. It all started when he said Grandpa is an uncle, and I said Grandpa is actually a grandpa. Sorry, Mike!)

Don't be mistaken--there's enough spunk to offset the sweetness! Running naked through the house to escape the imminent diaper. Throwing all the shoes on the back porch into the swimming pool. Putting miscellaneous objects in the toilet. Saying "No kisses!" to his mama. Hiding under the neighbor's porch (probably looking for their cat). I could go on. 

Two is certainly an intense adventure, and we're loving (almost) every moment of it. We are so lucky to have you in our lives, little Gray!