I was telling Stephen the other night that at that moment I felt most connected and attached to Schroeder. It's easy to connect with Schroeder because he's just down right cute 95% of the time. He is currently in my favorite stage. The "I talk but I don't talk back" stage. My interactions with him mostly consist of cuddling him when he's taken a tumble and revelling in his newest life discovery.
Maggie is mostly a lump. We are still in bonding mode, still getting to know each other. I take care of her basic physical needs, marvel at her smallness, and try to get glimpses of her emerging personality.
D'arcy and Julian aren't babies anymore. They require two moms. The mom who instructs and inevitably disciplines and the mom who steals a moment away from molding them and just enjoys them for who and what they are at that moment, silly, innocent, dirty, etc. I have to be the molding mom and the loving mom. And while I understand the importance of both, I find it difficult to be both.
What's my worst flaw as a mother? Well, I never seem to have wipes on hand. Ask anyone who has offered to change my child's diaper (mom, sister, etc.) Even if I buy them they seem to be in the other room, out in the car instead of in my purse, or just dry as a bone. I would be feeling pretty good about myself if this was my worst flaw.
Nope, In my assessment, my worst flaw is that I yell. Yelling can be effective when your kid is heading down the driveway towards the street, you know, when you need to get their attention quickly. I yell at those times, but I also yell when a quiet, stern bit of instruction would be more effective. It's not only that I yell but also what I yell. One of the things I've found myself saying in recent years is "What part of _______________ (fill in previous instructions) did you not understand?" When I look at my kids faces afterwards, I've thought, well I might as well just have told them they're stupid.
The other night while eating dinner, my daughter came over to me and said, "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap....
All while I was trying to listen to the conversation that Stephen was having with his parents, Julian was babbling about something, and Schroeder was whining about eating his dinner. After the forth "Mommy", I turned to her and yelled, "STOP SAYING MY NAME!"
Everyone in the room fell silent. I expect to get some sympathy from all of you moms out there who have heard that word one too many times in a given day. D'arcy fell quiet, and I reminded her that she should say my name once and then wait patiently for me to turn my attention to her. We've been over this. She apologized.
Later that night, I felt sad that I had spoken to her that way. I went upstairs to take one last look at my sleeping kids. It's easy to enjoy them when they are asleep. Their angelic side is so easily found when they are lying still. I gave D'arcy's still chubby cheeks a kiss.
When she came into our room the next morning, the first thing I did was apologize. D'arcy's beauty is so apparent every time I apologize because she is so quick to forgive. She gave me a hug, and I realized how easy it was to connect to my kids. It simply takes an I love you or an I'm sorry.
So that's my game plan for being a mommy of four. I'm going to try to keep track of four "molding agendas", try to execute them with a minimal amount of yelling, try to steal a moment to let them know I enjoy them (messy face and all), and throw in an I'm sorry when I inevitably screw up. Check in with me in twenty years to see how it works out.