Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Change happens in very little time

It is striking me once again, how fast a baby grows up. About a month ago, my son was mobile and into everything. I could barely do anything but follow him around to keep him out of trouble. Now, he actually follows directions (like "sit down on the chair, you aren't allowed to climb on the table.") He is getting better at pointing at what he wants, since he isn't saying much at all. You can only communicate so much with grunts, squeals, giggles, and wails. Fortunately, he has also begun to like me to read his picture books to him where we name the pictures. I'm consciously putting more time into that to help him learn the names for things, in hopes that he will start to say the names. A few weeks ago, he would run off having no interest in books at all.

I remember this time with my girls. When the Pillowfight Fairy was this age, she was also barely containable and I was pregnant with the Adrenaline Junkie. I remember at the grocery store, asking mothers of a toddler and baby how far apart in age their kids were. I was all the time trying to figure out how one manages two kids with very different needs while still doing the necessary errands. I needn't have worried so much. Once the Fairy turned 18 months, she began to turn into an older child who was easier to manage. I saw the same thing happen with the Adrenaline Junkie when I was pregnant with the Happy Boy. This time I'm beginning to see it with the Happy Boy (perhaps noticing it earlier, since it is a familiar thing now). He is still a handful, but I'm seeing the beginnings of a new life with an older child.

I suppose it is a tendency that all people have: to see what the present circumstances are, and assume the future continues on in that fashion. The reality is that change happens and it happens quickly.

The Adrenaline Junkie showed no interest in letters at the same age as her sister. She had different interests, but then we got a leap frog video teaching the alphabet and she had the letters and their sounds mastered in no time. She was never as interested in drawing as her sister. Her Sunday craft papers were barely scribbled for the longest time. She was too busy running around to sit down and draw. Then a few months back, she decided that scribbling was a fun thing to do. Then suddenly one day, she was drawing recognizable people figures and writing mostly legible letters of the alphabet. As my husband noted in a recent post, she is starting to sound out words. She is beginning to be ready to read at age 3 1/2 just like her sister. I would never have guessed it. She always seemed to be less interested in academics and more interested in climbing and running. Now she wants school work, too. She still has a tendency to wiggle off her seat, so I'll have to keep any teaching to just a few minutes at a time at first.

The Pillowfight Fairy has been changing, too. But in her case it has been more subtle. It has to do with her making choices to do group things (like Christian Day camp) when she has a very strong loner tendency and has often complained about how she doesn't get along with the other kids. She is also becoming more aware of her surroundings. It is like she is starting to pick up a small amount of perspective. She is more aware of the passage of time. She is more aware of the fact that people buy and sell and she would like to do some of that to get what she wants. She complained bitterly about schoolwork, and now that it is over she keeps wanting to get started on the new year of books. Her craft projects have demonstrated her increased mastery of words and art and numbers.

In each case, I see a little glimpse of the future in my children. So now that I've mostly got the next school year planned out. I need to turn my attention to a late spring cleaning and getting ready for the next phase. I can see it coming around the corner. It's trying to sneak up on me. The youngest is outgrowing his changing table. He is wanting to do big kids stuff like coloring and looking at books with thin pages. The middle child wants to be like her older sister and use glue, tape and scissors. The oldest wants to do all sorts of things she hasn't even thought of yet, but as soon as she knows about them, she's all for it. I need to sort through everybody's toys and thin out what isn't played with anymore. I need to start rearranging what toys are in the living room to be shared by everyone. I need to make room in each bedroom. For the girls, they will eventually need room for more older kid stuff, that their brother still can't play with. For the Happy Boy, he will need a new bed by the time he turns two next February. Since we are trying to have another baby and since any such baby would be sharing a room with him, we can't remove all the baby furniture yet. But we will need to make it more workable for an older Happy Boy.

Now, I love planning what needs to be done. I have always planned for the future (usually long before it is needed). But, This kind of planning, where one tries to balance the different needs of so many people when they are all in a state of change, reminds me of juggling. The attention is drawn to the most immediate action needed, but you can't completely ignore the other items yet, since they are on an incoming path, too. There is multi-tasking and then there is multi-tasking. This is some heavy multi-tasking. Hopefully, I can get the basic outline of a plan set up before I start the new year of school with the girls. Isn't summer just a wonderfully relaxing time of year (said with heavy sarcasm). I find myself looking forward to fall when I can get into a regular routine.

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