Glorious, glorious quiet... well, almost quiet. Ethan's little voice cuts in occasionally over the monitor as he converses with nothingness as though it was his best friend!
And almost quiet except when I open the door to throw the diapers into the outside bin and I hear Anika from way upstairs in her room yell "who's here, mommy??"
But the almost-quiet is enjoyable nonetheless!
The day's end is met with much to be grateful for once again. Answered prayer hovers over our healthy Ethan like an aura of hope and his big grin and unexpected cuddles are welcomed blessings, too. In particular tonight, I am especially grateful for the nourishment that has been able to reach him despite such extensive dietary restrictions.
When he was six months old, I began signing with him as I had with Anika but my efforts seemed futile with this suffering child who was too preoccupied with surviving the constant pain rather than learn how to sign "diaper" and "milk". Alas, that miraculous and glorious months of therapeutic doses of iron six months later provided the window of opportunity needed to see that the efforts had not been futile afterall!
Today, at sixteen months, he knows well over 150 words. He is even identifying letters of the alphabet and certain colours! Despite being HIGHLY active, he is able to absorb the quick little lesson plans I can sneak into daily activities. Observing his older sister (whom he absolutely adores) has also been helpful.
Our dear boy is a bottomless pit. I feel like all I do all day is shovel food into his mouth! And if I am NOT shoveling it in, he OPENS the cupboards, pulls out his "EEWEE-AL" (cereal) and attempts to pour himself a good serving all over the floor. Pouring it in a SMALL bowl is wasted effort as his other favourite hobby is emptying contents onto the floor and stepping in it to see how much CRUNCH can be made. Or he just likes hearing me groan and grab the broom for the fifth time that day while attempting to sing "clean up" with as much enthusiasm as I did four times earlier!
I think he is also part goat... if it can be climbed, he will climb it! If it CANNOT be climbed, he will climb it! I left Duane with the kids while I brought Melina to a soccer game and he informed me that not two minutes after I left, he went into Isabel's room to give her some water when he heard Anika yelling "ESSAN'S ON THE COUNTER!!" Sure enough, he had pushed a little stepping stool over to an actual stool, climbed it and then climbed onto the counter where he stood triumphantly only moments after knives and plates riddled with allergens had been recently moved!
I now know who will be responsible for my gray hair...
For now, it remains its boring dark brown colour and my already extremely thin hair is falling out at an alarming rate. If this keeps up, I may be BALD before I am GRAY! Motherhood equals humility... why do I keep forgetting this number one rule?
Another fun moment in our house is that we do not shy away from teaching correct terminology of body parts. I vowed I would never teach code words to my kids when my dear highschool friend nearly fainted during sex ed class when she discovered that it was NOT in fact called, PeePee #1 and PeePee #2. So when it comes to toileting, Anika knows to wipe her vulva first and then her bum. She is also quite aware of the fact that "Essan's a boy and he has a penis... I am a girl and I have a vulva."
Yes, Anika, very good... now let's just keep that to ourselves.
At the supper table, I had forgotten to warn Melina that Anika has been on this new kick of pointing out who is a boy and who is a girl so poor Melina nearly choked her food when Anika spoke up and asked her "Mina, do you have a penis?"
Well, the roaring laughter after the awkward second of silence was well worth paying the price of discomfort! However, when Pepere (my dad) came to babysit one morning while the contractors were busily working away in the house, Anika yelled upon his arrival "Pepere, you are a boy and you have a PENIS!"
The only thing missing in that moment was the sound of one of the contractors dropping a tool! Instead, there was that funny moment of silence before pepere answered quite matter of factly, "yes, I am a boy and I have a penis." And the house chuckled at the innocence of a child.
When do we learn to stop being honest with each other like that? Well, to be honest, I am not sure that I HAVE learned to stop speaking so boldly but the really neat thing about speaking honestly (but respectfully) is that most people are surprisingly willing to share openly what they would have otherwise kept to themselves. I don't think people WANT to keep secrets because even though people's response to me is sometimes that initial moment of hesitation, it is 99.9% of the time met with a humble and honest response.
And that's beautiful.
So here is my prayer for you tonight as I chuckle at the honesty and innocence that follows my little ones around like an imaginary friend... that you be freed from your own secrets and notions that nobody else could understand or know what you have done, experienced, feared, etc... That you find comfort in knowing you are NOT alone. May you encounter someone who is willing to challenge you in a life-giving way so that you can be freed of whatever haunts you and bears you down... from anything that keeps you from believing you are precious and that you belong. Nothing is beyond the forgiveness of God and therefore nothing can be beyond our own forgiveness of our own mistakes. So get out there, speak your beautiful truth unafraid of what anyone else will think and discover the freedom of loving without fear!
As I love you fearlessly exactly as you are in this very moment...
As God loves you passionately exactly as you are in this very moment, and the next and the next. And may you embrace the little things in life that give you every earned gray hair and/or bald spot on your head!!!