Delighting In Your Children

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My children, as are your’s, are growing up too fast.

We are very near to being “one and a half,” which is practically ancient in baby years. So many milestones have come and gone…breastfeeding, weaning, first solids, nap schedules, sleeping through the night for the first time, switching carseats, walking, teething, first haircuts, first words…so very many firsts. My babies aren’t really babies anymore. I was struck by this realization as I picked up my son from his crib last night. He has been sick with a fever the past two days, and I wanted to make sure he was okay before I went to bed. He is so heavy and the mattress is as the lowest setting, so it was very hard to lift his 27lb sleeping body out of the crib, while on my tip-toes in the dark. I settled into the rocker, and he snuggled up against me, skin hot too the touch, breathing quietly, his little arm wrapped around my neck. We sat like that for almost half of an hour, him sleeping, me rocking. Eventually, my arms started to get tired, and I realized that I need to get a bigger lap! His little legs were hanging off of my lap, and we barely fit in the embrace that we both know so well. Yes, he is a pretty big little boy, but it struck me that I will never know ahead of time when my last time rocking him like this will be. It will just happen.

I am a very practical person, and a highly sentimental mom. These two personality traits tend to be very conflicting. My desire to accomplish, finish and complete chores, lists and tasks usually wins out in the day to day dance of motherhood. But when the house is clean, quiet and dark, I realize that I have a limited amount of time with my children, and I want to delight in them, not just tolerate their toddler behavior and say at the end of the day “Well, another day done.”

The key for me, is to have one-on-one time with my children. When they are together, it is loud, messy and my job as referee and nurse does not exactly leave me feeling warm and fuzzy toward my children. But running errands? With one kid? I am not kidding when I say it is truly delightful! Yesterday I took my daughter to the post office with me. And since it was just the two of us, I let her walk. Oh! The joy emanating from that little body! She was so happy to walk along side Mama, and because it was just the two of us, I had all the time, patience and energy in the world to focus on my little love. I was able to watch her interact with another little girl, with out worrying about what her brother was doing to unpaid for merchandise. I didn’t worry about losing her, about a tantrum, and I didn’t get impatient with her when she picked up a discarded wrapper from the floor. To outsiders, it was just a quick errand. To me, it was an opportunity to delight in my little girl, to learn about her, to focus on her, to bond.

Faith running errands with Mama.
Faith running errands with Mama.

Last week I left Faith at home with her grandma and took Jonathan to the pediatricians. He too was treated to the hand-holding-walking, rather than the stroller, which he loved. It was a pleasant visit to the doctor’s, no screaming, no tears, no stress. After that chore was complete, we went out to lunch, just me and my little buddy. He drank milk from a straw, and helped me clean up when we were done eating. We walked out, hand in hand, he was ready for a nap, and I was feeling so grateful that I got to spend the afternoon with him, at an age where he still adores me.

Capturing Jonathan's joy at the duckie game.
Capturing Jonathan

Twins seem to have a type of synergy. Together, they are a sum greater than just two babies/toddlers/children. They are a force to be reconned with. Some days, I don’t handle that stress too well. I become unhinged, get irritated and angry. I know that everyone has bad days, but I hate admitting that I do too. It makes me feel badly that I don’t feel recognize and remember the significance of these years at all times. That is why I love to experience my children as individuals. I think that it will become a tradition in our family that each child will have one-on-one time with Mama and Daddy every week.

Are you delighting in your children? How do you find time or make ways to see your children as individuals rather than multiples? Are you a practical or sentimental mom? What are you currently feeling guilty about regarding this journey called parenting?

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6 thoughts on “Delighting In Your Children”

  1. Krissy, awesome post. And on a day when I’m closer to “unhinged” than “delight.” :-) It’s so true, they’re more than the sum of their parts in both awesome and difficult ways. And it really can be hard to sit and enjoy them when there’s just so much to DO and MANAGE. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I’m sure I would have said I would be a sentimental mom. But in reality, I find myself extremely practically-minded (which isn’t to say that everything I do is exactly practical). Lots to get done, try to be efficient, make sure everyone is fed and clothed. But even on these difficult days when there’s mediocre sleeping and lots of screaming, I still really enjoy the times when I sit on the floor and they both climb on me, laughing hysterically.

    That is, until one of them shoves the other off and the fighting begins again. But still, it was a nice moment.

  2. oh, our twins, the delight is so great right now. we too have started errands with one and they love it and i am a different parent with one. not better, certainly not worse, just different. i love them together, i love them apart, i just love them.

    as the time slips by, holidays coming and going, their bodies stretching and changing…i just find myself so fascinated. and wanting more, more time to delight and less time to care about the other stuff. because we will never have this time again. it is a great lesson to learn as a mama. to find delight.

  3. The one on one time is a must. I am getting ready to take just one child w/ me to visit my friend and I can’t wait. It’s time I feel I need w/ one child (while my other gets that much needed time w/ her daddy) and I feel the children are really craving the one on one time w/ each parent as well. We keep saying we are going to incorporate this kind of time into our lives, but it’s hard… we are trying… even if it’s just a solo flight to Home Depot w/ daddy… I know the kids enjoy it as much as we do.

  4. Awesome post! I just wrote one similar today about my twins. I’m a highly sentimental (I have 4 kids, how can I not be) mom. It’s a delicate balance~trying to care for the kids and the home.

  5. I have always loved the opportunity to have one on one time with my son and daughter, as I am so much calmer when I am not being pulled in 2 or more directions at once or untangling them from each other. They are definitely more than the sum of their parts. There are some days that I feel like I have fought a war just getting them fed, bathed and in bed. I sometimes feel like I am missing out on connecting with them, because I am so busy trying to get through the daily routine (morning routine to get out of the house, work, pick up, evening routine, and bed).

    Now that they are almost 3 1/2 and definitely have different interests, it’s great to take them on errands where I can spend time on aspects they like… watching construction going on near the supermarket and IDing every vehicle that I can for Kyle or naming every fruit and vegetable in English and Chinese for Paige. We just do not get to do the one-on-one things very much… hmm… your post just reminds me that I do need to make sure that we spend quality time with them. Time just flies.

  6. What a great post, so important and timely. I completely agree that together they are somehow MORE than one plus one, the effort gets multiplied. Your description of that trip to the post office was perfect. I almost never, ever (really never) get one on one time with either of my twins. My first grader requires what little extra time I have in the evening. After the twins go to bed, I have that precious time with my first grader to read and hear all about his day, he seems to need to talk alot of things out lately. A wonderful habit I have is saying a prayer each morning which includes thanking God for my boys and my husband. So simple, so important.

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