Tonight, as I was turning off lights and picking up various items that had been left or trailed across the house, I glanced down to see a pacifier sitting next to my book, laid on the side table. It is not uncommon to find a "paci" as we call them, sitting on a side table, a kitchen table, the front window sill, the bottom of the carseat, and quite often, the floor. They are everywhere serving to me as a reminder that I have a baby. Every time I see one, I think to myself how quickly it will arrive that we are working on taking away the paci, because we don't have a baby anymore.
As of late, it seems I am daily hit with the realization my kids are growing up. Gavin is a full blown kid. He has big kid questions, "Mom, if God is everywhere, how is He in my heart?" He has big kid aspirations, "I think I'll probably be a firefighter when I grow up, when I am six." I can say get ready to go and he can do it himself (not that this doesn't often take some reminders, prodding and sometimes a good threat or two). He signs his name and uses words like "probably" and "privacy" frequently.
"Mom, I'd probably like some more ice cream."
"Brayden, I need privacy to play with my racecars."
He is big. But he is still innocent enough to do dance routines for me, believe that racing to get ready for bed is a fun idea, give me kisses when I ask and carry his pillow pet around to snuggle with when he just wakes up or is getting tired.
Brayden is talking in full sentences and copying everything his brother does. He is three going on thirteen. When told what to do...
"Okaaay, Mom, I know."
When told to do something he most definitely doesn't want to do.
"I don't want to!"
He wears silly bands on his arm like the big kids and he fully thinks he is one of them. He gets out his own plates and drink, takes his dishes to the sink, and uses the potty all by himself. He plays pretend with an imagination that is unreal, thinks he's old enough to drive, and is sincerely disappointed everytime I tell him he can't.
But he still seeks out his blanky and "george" (the stuffed monkey) whenever he is sad or gets in trouble.
Amanda is growing fast. She is bright eyed, responds quickly to those she loves. She sits in the bumbo chair at dinner with us, grabs for things, laughs at our funny faces and tries quite hard to eat anything she touches. Her three month clothes are finding their way to the consignment bag and I am starting to pack up her "infant" items. But she still needs her paci and loves to be swaddled at night.
As I walk through the house daily, often I get tired of what seems to be a never ending task of lunging to pick up forgotten toys, dropped items or things that have been vicariously launched by some boy child, in a fit, an attempt at weaponry, or just plain old fun. But lately, when I see George, the paci or percy the pillow pet, the meloncholy sets in. These items are most likely temporary and will someday all too soon be in the past.
I think about the day I pack up george or percy, thinking that maybe the kids will want them when they are older. But I wonder, will they? Or do I just desperately hope that there is still enough childishness in them that they won't want to get rid of those special stuffies that saw them through so many tears, so many sleepy mornings and restless nights. I don't want to pack them up. I am not ready. I don't want them to be either.
And I guess it's a good thing, because neither are they. At least for today and most likely tomorrow. For this I am thankful...and for the pacifiers that litter my house and serve to remind me how much I love these kids.