Monday, March 24, 2014


I've been gobbling up All Joy and No Fun in fits and starts and little spurts when I can find the time.  I wish I could read as fast as Jessie, but alas, I'm a rather slow reader, which means I'll probably still be reading this book next week as well. ;o) 

I'm currently reading the chapter dealing with adolescence and the teen years and, I'm not making this up, I had a small panic attack while reading it last night.

Let me back up a bit. 

Friday I (sort of--I still need to turn in my registration form and money) enrolled Ellie in a three day a week four year old preschool program.  I'm beyond thrilled to have found a space for her at the preschool I've been considering, especially since the enrollment period came and went and I didn't even realize it.  Oops!

But, as I was finishing up with the director, I realized, my time with my Teeny Beanie is coming to an end.  I (quite seriously!) couldn't breathe for a minute, and even now, just thinking about it, I want to burst into tears. 

I know this is perfect for her and she's going to LOVE it.  I know she needs this for the same reason it behooves all kiddos to have a year of preschool under their belts before starting Kindergarten even if I could do the academics here--she needs to be in a classroom setting before she starts school.  Period.

But, oh, my baby.

*insert tears here*

I never thought I'd be that mama...I sent the other two to daycare at 8 weeks and 13 weeks respectively and did fine. 

But this?  This hurts.  She's been with me, practically attached to me some days, since the day she was born. 

This is different.  She's my last one.  Each time my other girls got to this age, I had another baby. No babies now.  It's the end of an era and the beginning of a new book. 


So, with that in mind, I was already a bit on edge when I started reading that chapter in AJaNF last night.  When Ms. Senior started writing about adolescents and their changes from being simply kids and the changes in their relationships with their parents, I really did find it hard to breathe for a moment or two.  This chapter has been the hardest for me, I think, in part, because I've no experience with it outside of teaching fifth graders.  I could relate to earlier chapters, having been there, or to very soon be there.  But this, this is different.  And bad. 

Okay, "bad" isn't the right word. 

It's different and harder.  One of the reasons she posits it's harder is because your baby and little kiddo who wanted to be with you and to cuddle and snuggle with you is suddenly gone and replaced with this being who wants nothing to do with you. 


I remember my teen years well.  I have no idea how Lissie survived them, quite frankly.  :oS  I wasn't a terrible teen, not really.  I didn't do anything illegal and I was terrified (still am) of getting into trouble or disappointing anyone.  But, I was moody and hormonal and difficult and bent on trying out my fledgling wings. 

Liss, if you're reading this, I'm truly sorry for all the horrible things I did.  I mean it from the bottom of my heart. 

So, with thoughts of Bean leaving the nest and of my children no longer wanting me around, I found myself revisiting some of my "Hannah Lessons", the most important being, this is time you won't get back so enjoy it now.  They're truly only little once, and honestly, this is such a short time in the grand scheme of things.  I've once again been reminded to enjoy my time with my girls, to enjoy them when they want those extra snuggles and to play with them when I can.  The laundry and bathrooms can wait, my girls won't be little forever.

With this in mind, Ellie and I spent the morning reading stories and painting--hence the finger paints up there. 
Ellie has been begging to paint for weeks now and I've always put her off.


I ask myself this now.  Why didn't I want her to paint?

Because it meant giving up some of that precious cleaning time most likely.  And, yes, that cleaning time is important.

But, all the time? 

What was the harm in getting out the paints today?

I love little kids.  As an adult, I work so hard to not mix the colors, to use a different finger to avoid contamination. 

Ellie just dips and drags and throws herself into it whole-heartedly.

Once she got over the shock of actually getting her hands dirty (oh my!), she threw herself into her work.  I refilled the pallet twice. 

Somehow I forgot how important it is to stop and just "be" with your kids.  When you're a nursing mother, you have enforced breaks--you pretty much MUST stop when it's time to feed your child.  You get to know the curve of their cheek, the arch of their eyebrows, the whirl of their ears.  In those moments, you just are.  It's beautiful. 

Somehow in the time between weaning and preschool-hood I forget to be as mindful of these things.  I forget that there is something wonderful to be learned in the experience of getting cool smooth paint on your hands.  I forget you can explore color and color theory by dipping and mixing.  I forget they don't need you to tell them to be careful to not mess up the colors by getting them "dirty", that that's the whole point. 

I need to remember that sometimes it's my job to just be there to encourage a bit, but mostly, to get messy right alongside and enjoy every minute of it.

She seemed quite proud of her messy hands. 

I've posted these last two nearly identical photos because she looked so much like her biggest sister I had to stop and wonder and miss, just a bit. 

Or, maybe more than just a bit...How often did I see Miss Monkey give me those same looks from those same eyes?  With that same mouth?  It wasn't a painful, longing missing, just a wistful sort of missing.  There are those moments, you know?

We made art together today because the laundry can wait.  And, you know what, it was a beautiful thing.

Once we had cleaned up from finger painting Bean decided she wanted watercolor.  She's not been a huge watercolorer the way Bitty was, instead choosing to make dots and splashes.  Today was the first time she suggested watercoloring in a long while.

I noticed today she was more deliberate in her painting. 

While the finger painting was messy and exuberant, the watercoloring was soothing and smooth and fluid, much as it was for Bitty.  She was very careful to rinse her brush between colors and was open to exploring and using the entire piece of paper.

If it makes sense, there was a greater maturity in her watercoloring today than I've seen in the past.  She wasn't slapping something on the paper merely for the sake of doing so.  She was taking time to mix colors on her paper and explore techniques. 

I offered no advice or help, I simply watched and marveled.  I think it's okay to sometimes be enchanted with your children. 

Let's be honest, there are those moments when you want to toss them out the window, so when moments such as these come along, I throw myself into enjoying them. :o)

The red thing in there with the long "tail" is a dinosaur.  I heard her say, "Let's see what happens when I add stripes. Hm. And what if I add some more here?"

It made me smile. 

And, here we have Flynn.  That's something that's not changed a whit--the child is still in love with Flynn.  :o) 

With Flynn she decided she was done and was off to play by herself.

It was a beautiful morning, one that will linger with me long after she's gone from home, I'm sure.


Another little surprise note found on the art table this morning. :o)

We have chrysalises!

I cleaned up around the sink this morning.  The lack of clutter makes me happy. :o)

I got out the cheery cherry oil cloth.  Spring is here, even if the temps say otherwise. ;o) The flowers?  My girlies picked those for me. :o)

5.  B and I talked last night and worked out a schedule/plan for this week.  I think we're just going to have to take it week by week with the scheduling, but there are a few things we decided we should try and evaluate after a week or so.  The plan is to be up earlier and out the door by 7:00 and to try and leave work to be home by 5:00.  He'll do homework from 5:00-6:00 with Bitty, we'll have dinner together, do the girls' bedtime together and then he can do homework for another couple of hours before light's out blue light with some wiggle room in there as needed.  The trickiest part here is the leaving work in enough time to be home by 5:00.  He has production going on on the night shift as well and I know he likes to touch base with the guy in charge before he leaves.  By leaving so early this might not get to happen.  So, like I said we'll have to evaluate and be flexible, but this SHOULD allow for "Brien time" and "family time" as well as get the homework done.  Whew.  School's so much easier when it's just you...

6.  Anybody else stoked it's light later? :happy sigh:  It may be cold today but it sure is sunny and it's delightful. :o)


Becky said...

Oh Rach! This post made me smile, and tear up, all at the same time. As a mom of two daughters who've both made it successfully through their teenage years, I can attest to the fact that it's actually not as bad as it looks from where you are. Oh, it's not all perfect. There are days when I liken parenting teenagers to a cross between herding cats and trying to nail jello to the wall. But there are lots of joyful, beautiful moments in there as well. They may not WANT anything to do with you, but they still NEED you, lots. Both of my girls find time, whenever they're at home, for visiting with me, usually curled up beside me on my bed. I think that's the most magical of all...when they emerge on the other side of teenagerdom and want, yes, truly WANT, to reconnect with you again. It's a deeper, more special bond then, because it's chosen, by both of you.
Oh, and that watercolour painting by Ellie? Totally frameworthy! It's gorgeous, and the colours make me long even more for spring!

jaydee said...

Rach.... Mom to a teenager is both a blessing and a curse... Yep... I don't miss the hormonal tantrums and all of that... oh and the eyerolls and lots of "whatevers".... but there are other things that you will enjoy.... all sorts of girlie things that she will need help with - like what to do about that new chorb that suddenly appeared on her chin :-) What to wear for Prom. How to put on eye makeup and all sorts of other things.

I love the note that Lil left for you... what a wonderful, thoughtful child she is!

Love the finger painting and Ellie has a great sense of color!


Korinthia Klein said...

This is a beautiful post.