Mothering a toddler sometimes feels like negotiating with a terrorist. A terrorist who has very few words and very loud screams. A small terrorist that makes you think that torture should be redefined to include listening to your son tantrum for a half hour straight for no discernable reason.
Mothering a toddler means reading "Brown Bear" fifteen times a day, then switching it up with "Baby Bear" just for variety. But it also means smiling every time you finish the book and watch your toddler flip the book to the beginning, sign "more book" and then look at you expectantly.
Mothering a toddler means that you can feel very satisfied with yourself for cleaning a room top to bottom, only to discover that your toddler has simultaneously destroyed two other rooms.
Mothering a toddler means that you will constantly find bizarre things in even more bizarre places. Just yesterday, I found a used Qtip in the van, (ew!) shoes in the bathtub, a credit card in my violin case, Townhouse crackers everywhere, and balls of every shape, size, variety, and sport in every room of my house.
Thus, Mothering a toddler means that you will never have a clean house. I'm starting to understand and respect that sometimes the best I can expect is for everyone to be dressed and fed. And not necessarily in clean clothes or healthy food either.
Mothering a toddler means that some mornings, you just let him in the backyard. Even if he doesn't have shoes on, or is still wearing pajamas, or hasn't had a diaper change. Just to stop the blessed screaming and find a moment to yourself.
Mothering a toddler means security objects. And when its a boy toddler, that means that you never again get to leave the house without his little toddler-sized basketball. On the flipside, it also means that as long as he has his basketball, he will stay in nusery for a full two hours, practicing his baby jumpshot on their perfectly-sized hoop.
Mothering a toddler requires a degree in a foreign language, and feeling insanely proud of yourself when you realize you can understand that "Bah!" can mean bath, ball, or the "Peek a boo Barn" game on the iPhone, depending on how its shouted at you. It also means, however, that you're going to need lots of practice to discern the difference between "all done," and "water."
Mothering a toddler means that within a span of five minutes, you both threaten to sell him on ebay, and then smother him with kisses because he's just so cute.
Mothering a toddler means that you no longer get a say in the music you listen to, because the "Music Together" CD must always be playing. Then you surprise youself by singing the songs to yourself when no one is listening.
Mothering a toddler means having a little person in your bed most nights. And finding out that when they're not there, or when they decide to cuddle up with Daddy instead, that you actually miss them sharing your pillow, kicking your stomach, and cuddling up underneath your chin.
Mothering a toddler means cherishing kisses, even when they come from noses covered in goo and faces covered in chocolate chip cookie crumbs.
Mothering a toddler means that the best laughs you get in a day can come from chasing them all around the kitchen on your hands and knees making animal sounds. And you don't get tired of it.
Mothering a toddler means counting down the minutes until naptime or bedtime, then spending another five minutes watching them after they fall asleep because they look so perfect, peaceful, sweet and innocent.
Mothering a toddler means holding tiny hands as you cross the street and the parking lot, and feeling tears well up in your eyes, because you know its only a matter of time before you're chasing him across the parking lot instead.
Mothering a toddler means thanking Heavenly Father everyday for this crazy busy little person who stretches you more than you ever thought possible, but in return, brings you more joy than your heart feels that it can handle.
Abby is eleven and in fifth grade. She practices like crazy, love performing, and "really, really, really" wants to be in the symphony someday. She loves ice skating, riding horses, and has more energy than both of her parents put together.
Ashlynn is nine years old and in fourth grade. Ever since her arrival in the front seat of our minivan on the side of the freeway, Ashlynn has always done things her own way. She keeps everyone in the family laughing, and is always there for a hug, a smile, or a cuddle. She loves gymanstics, playing the piano, and frequently is found bouncing off of one piece of furniture or another.
The Big Brother
Max is a four year old ball of energy and fun. Obessed with the iPhone, Toy Story, and Phinneas and Ferb, he regularly has us laughing hysterically at his antics. Max was born with metopic craniosynostosis and has had two major skull reconstructions, and has come through with flying colors.
If there's trouble to be found, two year old Ian will be in the center of it. Ian is charming, articulate, funny, and incredibly determined to make the world exactly the way he wants it. He loves his brother, climbing on the counters and waking up at obscenely early hours.