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Category: Parenthood

So Long as They Jump

Saoirse and I were sitting on the couch together the other night, reading. Much to her little sister’s dismay, SK gets to stay up later than her younger siblings. Quinlan, in her imagination, thinks we spend this time gorging on cupcakes, or reenacting episodes of American Ninja Warrior, or laughing at some uproarious movie we’re all watching without her. Not so, though–the nights that Saoirse hangs out downstairs, this is what it is: sitting, reading, quietly talking. (In her defense, Quinlan really wants to just do that, too. She saves the Ninja stuff for other times, like when she’s supposed to be sitting down with us to dinner.) That evening, I was watching the fish wander around their aquarium in their spot across the room. Our smaller goldfish, R2 (or as I like to call her, Dumb) was quietly moving along, just happy to chase the bubbles around her tiny world. Finn, on the other hand (or as I prefer to call him, Dumber), was attacking the rocks that lay on the bottom of the tank, knocking them this way and that with a terrible goldfish-sized clatter in his desperate search…

Getting One Answer Right

  I was sitting on the steps that lead to the second floor of our house (it’s one of the places I go when I need to hide). I was doing something on my phone (incredibly life-affirming and positive, I’m sure, as all internet scrolling is) when Quinlan came bounding down the stairs. She stopped, sat down beside me, and wrapped her arms around me in one of her monkey hugs that drape and cling and demand that the hug-ee not leave such an embrace until Quinn is good and ready to disentangle herself.  When I could come up for air, she planted a kiss on my cheek. I smiled, remembering her as the baby who wouldn’t even sit beside me on the floor without a hand on my leg. “Do you know you’re one of my favorite people in the whole world?” I asked her. She was already on the first floor and headed to the kitchen. She shrugged. “I know,” she said, and continued on her way. I was left sitting on the steps, stunned by the nonchalance of her response. I know.  I…

Holy Cow, I Need to Start Editing These Things

That’s it.  I admit it:  I don’t get kids.  Three and half years of one-on-one experience with them, daily interactions, full-on intensives that revolve around hurt feelings and spilled yogurt and broken crayons, and I’m still clueless.  When I used to tell people that I taught high school students, their reactions were often along the lines of “Oh, wow.  I couldn’t do that.  Good for you.”  I never quite understood.  Teenagers were easy.  They were just almost-grown-ups you interacted with like adults, but knew they were really just kids.  Real kids, though?  Like, children children?  I have no idea what I’m doing, which is proven to me on a daily business by Daughter the Elder.

You know from my last (oh, I don’t know, 37?) posts that Saoirse is still struggling with sharing, with everything from attention to toys to the amount of bubbles in the bath.  This, of course, means that I’m struggling, because let’s face it:  I have no idea what I’m doing.  Wait, I already said that, didn’t it?  Well, it bears repeating.  Just don’t ever tell the kids.  When they find out, I’m sunk.

See, our dear Saoirse is, like I’m sure your child–what, not yours?  Oh.  I’m sorry–a sweet, loving child at heart, who gives hugs and kisses and “I love you”s away like beads to drunk girls at Mardi Gras (and Saoirse, if you’re reading this as a young adult while at the same time planning to go to Mardi Gras, NO).  It’s just the rest of her that is screaming “Mine! Mine! MINE!” most of the time.  In fact, just the other day, the girls and I were at the table, most likely at one of the myriad mealtimes we have over the course of a day.  Saoirse, who was sitting across from Quinn, got this sad little look on her face–mouth pulled down, eyes sort of misty-wet–and said to me, “Mom? I’m going to miss Quinn as a baby.  I don’t want her to grow up.”

I was a little surprised.  I’d just been thinking the same–that Quinn is more little girl than baby to me now, and it makes me sad, because I do love me my children as babies–but hadn’t said anything out loud to her.  She’s repeated the thought a lot since then, often giving Quinn a sidelong look and telling me she wants her to stay a baby.  I keep discovering all these bruises and scratches that will randomly appear on Quinn’s face.  Saoirse, I’ll ask her. Do you know what happened to Quinn?  “Oh,” she’ll reply.  “Quinn hurt herself.”  Oh, really.  “Yeah.  I tried to kiss her.”  Or, “I gave her a hug, and she hit a wall.”  (Needless to say, we’ve had a little talk about the use of violence as demonstrations of affection, though you try to tell that to the lady who approached me in Target.)