Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tell Me How You Really Feel

I made the decision (whether wise or foolish only time will tell) to jump right back into school the Monday after Baby Girl was home. If it makes you think I am any less insane (it does for me!) I scaled back on some of the typically robust plans that come from my out-on-parole teacher's mind after its long time in the slammer.
I justified my decision by rationalizing that if we waited too long to start back up we'd become complacent. My home would be full of children whiling away their days lounging around the house while their brains turned to mush faster than an old jack o' lantern. So, we began. And it was fine, I guess. We accomplished all of our work, but it didn't happen at the scheduled times or in the designated areas as is typical of our school day. In fact, many of our lessons took place on the family room floor this week, where I doled out vocabulary for Caddie Woodlawn or read aloud from Hattie Big Sky while trying to keep the baby from orally inspecting ever speck on the floor---of which there seemed many.
One day, out of habit, we found ourselves on the family room floor sans baby. Just Beulah, Hannah and myself along with Mr. (he's no longer the baby) T. As we worked, Mr. T walked around giving a weary eye to the baby's things. He walked from Bumbo seat to excersaucer, from empty bottle to Dr. Boudreaux's you-know-what paste. His scowl grew deeper and deeper as he made his rounds. Finally, little face drawn up in a sullen knot, his circuit completed at my side, he announced, "Mommy, my no like that Baby Girl."
My poor little guy. The stark reality of his situation had finally hit him. No longer the baby of the house, his territory had been usurped by this interloping vomit queen, who didn't smell too good most of the time, and cried more than most of us he felt necessary. I did what any mom would have done and picked him up, cuddling his toddler-sized form in my arms-marveling at how much bigger he suddenly seemed to me--and reassured him that he was still mommy's little boy. Turning his big brown eyes upward, he smiled and asked for a fruit snack. The moment had passed. But for me, it was an important lesson from my littlest man. It was his actions that gave me permission to feel the adjustment. To know that things were--again--changing on the Ark and that we were all trying to figure out our place in this new normal. And it would sometimes be hard...or confusing...or uncertain...but when the dust settles, the important familiar things will be there still. Steady and unchanging. Held by the hand of my most loving Parent.

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