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Sunday, February 14, 2010

These Days (Update)

It seems as though one 24-hour period just slips into another around here these days. It is a blessing to be in summertime with its natural lull in activities, which has allowed my husband to be around quite a lot this first full week with all five kids at home. I've been able to escape briefly with just the girls and he's been able to get away with just Owen at different times, something we recognize that the older kids need. There has even been talk of a father/son camping trip for Pedro and Owen sometime soon. Our now-middle child continues to struggle with the presence of his brothers and this has exhibited itself in grumpiness, irritation, impatience and anger. It is sometimes a struggle to know how to respond because while we empathize with what he is going through, we also can't allow him to use that as carte blanche to make wrong choices and act badly. But occasionally the sun shines through the clouds and we will have a brief breakthrough that makes it all worthwhile, when he will forget himself and actually enjoy playing with his little brothers for just a little bit.

Ian and Alec seem to have grown accustomed to our household of seven people and while they still favor Mommy, they also love to play with Daddy. Alec is all-boy and can wrestle and play rough with the best of them. Ian, on the other hand, prefers to keep his nose clean and stay out of the fray. :)

The boys still have huge appetites but they seem to be adjusting to a regular schedule of meals. I do at times find Ian scavenging through his high chair or around the kitchen table for some morsel that was left behind, but he usually responds pretty well to redirection. He does have a habit of wanting whatever food he sees. Sometimes he will suddenly reject the meal I am feeding him in favor of some snack he spies on the counter. Reverse psychology works wonders in that situation, because if I shrug off his whining and devote my attention to solely feeding his brother he quickly resumes interest in what I have to offer.

A daily activity for all of our kids is the swimming pool. It's not large but it does the trick for cooling you off and providing a fun break in the summer day. Most days I will get in with the little boys, or sometimes one of their big sisters will go in with them instead. Their latest thrill is to take empty water jugs into the pool and fill them and pour them, fill them and pour them. This game can go on forever. It brings me much joy to see them so happy!

Today was Sunday, and I have yet to take the boys to church. I know that seems strange to most of our church people and I have been intending to write a note to explain the reason behind our choice to keep them home for a time. While I am pretty sure Alec will stick to me like glue when we do go, Ian is still learning the framework of a family and we understand that everyone will want to hold and hug and kiss on him. He would love that, but our goal is for him to understand that we (his family) are his primary source of affection and provision. He will still go to complete strangers as if they were his best friend, if we let him. A few days ago we went to get our feet wet at the beach and a woman approached me and Ian. He immediately wanted to hold her hand as well as mine. Later, when he saw her a short distance away he tried to run after her across the sand. I scooped him up and redirected him but was reminded again that this is such an important area of his emotional development and we need to be wise and careful.

I feel like I am rambling but it is hard to find time to write down my thoughts and I do want to record these memories and experiences. I am so thankful for our family and for each of our children. I've mentioned the boys but as far as the girls go - Eva, our oldest, for the most part plays and does her own thing but she has said to me several times that she thinks her brothers are "so cute." When she does play with them they respond positively and seem most comfortable with her picking them up and holding them. Isabel is a little mother and is happiest when she can be helping with her brothers in any way. She loves to feed them, play with them, talk to them, and she is such a good helper. These are busy, busy days but they are special ones.


Rachel said...

our little Eden will do the same thing. We're new at our church, so that wasn't an issue, but at the doctors office, etc, and I've wondered how to deal with that. How do you deal with it? I offended a couple people a couple of times when I've dealt with it!

Deborah said...

I love your family and I love you.

I'm glad you're recording these thoughts!

Becky said...

My 3½ yr old neice will go up to anyone like they are her best friend and want to crawl up in their lap. She is my sister's biological child, too, so she's been in her family since birth. It may be a personality thing?

Ragan said...

I know it can be much more serious in Ian's case, but I too remember Emme going up to complete strangers and putting her arms up to them to pick her up -- even men, which I thought was weird. She would have been about Ian's age too. Then she went through an opposite stage where she wouldn't even look at strangers, let alone let them get close to her. Hopefully it is a stage and Ian will outgrow it soon.

I love keeping up with your blogs and your family of SEVEN Steph!

Corey and Nicki Shields said...

I do enjoy hearing about your family. Thank you for sharing. I understand your feelings about church. We have a house church, so it is hard to avoid. Even though our little one is so little, I did not have the 9 months where she was getting to know me in the womb. I have taken a lot of heat about not letting others hold our precious daughter. At just one week with us, she is just not ready to be passed around from person to person.

I appreciate their love and concern for her, but I don't think they get the whole bonding and attachment thing.

You are doing well. Keep up the good work.