When school let out on May 24, I'm sorry to admit my theme song would have been "I Will Survive." (Moms who have children who have not yet gone to school might be shocked and dismayed by this admission - I know this, because I used to be That Mom. But moms who have school-aged-kids will totally understand - week after seemingly endless week with ALL THE KIDS under one roof, with NO SCHEDULE, NO ROUTINE, and a frightening lack of "Me" time? Aaugh!!) Mercifully, my inner Aretha Franklin belted out her tune for only about a week or so....
It has been, it is a wonderful summer. Despite his Mt. Everest-climbing abilities and death-defying leaps into bodies of water, Pax is a much easier age this year than he was the past two summers. After the initial shock of having a house full of children - all day, every day - finally wore off, we settled into a summertime routine that I have come to relish. Our days are not extraordinary - pool; playground; crafts; reading; watching television, lingering over coffee, playing rounds of Uno before bed - but it's been the ordinary-ness of our days (sprinkled with some extraordinary adventures here and there) that have made this summer particularly memorable to me. Although I'll mourn the day that the summer ends (in just two and a half short weeks! waah! ), I'm excited to see what shows up in our Summer Memories Jar, to be relived and remembered during the cold winter months.
"Say what you need to say" by John Mayer seems like a fitting theme song for Pax these days. As I've detailed before, Pax is a gifted communicator - a completely nonverbal communicator, that is. We can't wait to hear what this boy has to say, if he ever decides to share his reflections of the universe with the rest of us. Hell, I'd even take "No!" or "Mine!" at this point. Say what you need to say, my boy! His receptive language is wonderful; case in point - Leo loves chewing gum, and asks for it often. Pax feels mighty put out when he's not allowed to have any, and at those times when I cannot discreetly pass Leo some gum without Pax demanding his own, I've given in and provided a teeny wad of gum for Pax to chew. The other day, I explained very clearly, "Pax, you cannot swallow the gum. You must chew it only. Understand?" Half an hour later, I wondered what kind of mulch or stone Pax had put in his mouth at the playground, only to find, to my astonishment, that he was still chewing his gum. I laughed at this tiny mute, this baby boy who refuses to speak yet who understands to chew his gum without swallowing it.
"All By Myself" - Leo's theme song, of course. As in, "I can do it all by myself, and I WILL, gosh darn it!" I love hearing Leo talk himself through his upsets. He's a veritable walking self-help book, with his ability to coach himself through his tantrums and torments. "No one will let me have any fun! I want to ride my bike outside but Mommy said No! I can't do what I want to do and I am here in my room by myself! I want to go outside! (silence) I am upset! (longer silence!) Mommy said I can't go outside! (longest silence still.)" Later, when I check on him, he is quietly looking at books, ready to move on to another indoor activity. I absolutely love this about Leo - his self-talk, his inner voice who coaches him through the hard parts of his life. And, like most other things in his life, from getting dressed to buckling his seatbelt to fixing his own coffee, he does it... all by himself.
And Aidan's theme song might very well be "The Song that Never Ends." His energy is boundless, his curiosity is infinitely greater than my attempts to answer his questions, and his enthusiasm for life is catching, just like the earworm I've just planted in your mind by mentioning this childhood hallmark tune. I feel grateful all over again for how healthy Aidan is this year, as last summer's autoimmune virus cast a dark shadow over our days. This summer, I've watched Aidan grow so much. He is most helpful in unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, watering the trees, and even, on one occasion (and with the help of Leo) going so far as to change Pax's diaper and get him dressed. I love this big kid!
My theme song? That one is easy. It applies not only to this summer, but also to these tender and early years of raising our young family. "These are the days you'll remember....."
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you