So I’m sure some of you are wondering about a sleep update (you kind, kind souls), but that’s not the intent behind this post. I’m sick of thinking and talking and writing about sleep, so for now, I’m tabling it and trying to focus on other things. The good things (that alone is enough of an update, hmm?). The three little things full of love who make the sleepless nights and foggy days bearable (and challenging, too, of course). So today I’m starting with Harrison, my four-and-a-half ball of rough and tumble energy and so much love.
Of course it is not news to tell you that my kids are active. You already know this. Lately, HD’s active little self has turned into a pinball of sorts, randomly bouncing off of people and furniture and walls and you name it. He just spins and ricochets, repeat, repeat, repeat. Now this might not seem like a love story, but it bears mentioning because it was a habit that was quickly starting to drive me bonkers and we had to find a way to redirect it for good. I didn’t like being a buffer in his pinball machine, and yet I seemed to be a favorite target, so I started thinking about what was really driving this behavior. Call me crazy, but my best guess was that he was looking for attention. And affection. And why not? I’m busy nursing and feeding and potty training and napping and all the other Things that happen every single day, all day long, for the other kids, so it makes sense that my little preKer started to feel left out. So he started spinning and ricocheting, repeat, repeat, repeat. I may be sleep deprived, but even I know that if he’s literally bouncing off the walls to get my attention and my affection, the least I can do is respond with some extra love. Rather than scold for bumping or pushing him away, I decided to meet him head on when he began bouncing, calling out the phrase, “Bumper Cars!” and sweeping him into a great big squeeze.
He loves it. Absolutely loves it. Now, he’ll start spinning and call out, “Bumper Cars!” with this high note trailing off the final syllable, almost like saying, “Come and get me!” in a happy, sing-song voice. While he doesn’t always have the best timing (my hands are usually full or I’m busy doing some task, typically in the kitchen), I’m trying to meet this need for him so he doesn’t take the spinning and bouncing too far. Usually, if I can acknowledge it sooner than later, he moves on to other things. And lately, a lot of those things (when they aren’t playing with his Angry Birds figurines) are adding up to be a true love fest.
Harrison is doing such a great job lately of caring for and about his brother and sister. Not that sibling rivalry has ever been an issue, but I love watching him love them. It’s hugs and kisses and then more hugs and kisses before leaving for school in the morning. It’s telling Lincoln that it’s OK when LT is crying, or helping me grab a burp rag or a toy when I need an assist. It’s encouraging Raegan when they are playing or when she’s trying to copy him (which happens all. the. time!). And while it feels like I put out a hundred fires a day over who gets this toy or who gets to pick the show to watch, etc., etc., ad nauseam, seeing and feeling the love between them always wins.
I’m also touched by the love HD shows me on a constant basis. Maybe there is some truth to the phrase “Love rolls downhill” because I try to tell him as many times as I can that I love him no matter what (even when I am totally pissed about spilled milk – or as was the case Wednesday, spilled baby oatmeal made with breast milk that happened in the thirty seconds I was away from the table getting yogurt for Little Sis, but I digress) and clearly the message is getting through. When I squeeze him and say, “I am so glad you’re my Harrison” he squeezes back and says, “I’m so glad you’re my mama.” When he comes in to see me in bed in the morning, he puts an arm around my shoulders or my neck and leans in to kiss the top of my head or my back or whatever he can reach, just like I do when I give him quick little love. He even makes the “Mmmmmwah!” squeeze sound when he does this, which is an added bonus of cute and sweet. But my favorite part of the love fest is that he has started bringing me his beloved Cow in the mornings. That animal is his first and forever favorite and so I feel most honored that he is willing to share it and I gladly cuddle up with Cow tucked under my chin, just like HD does every night.
And even though I am shot and exhausted and all round spent most days, all of these little moments add up and make up for the messes and the whining and all the other less-than-rosy moments of living with a Four (and a Two and a Less than One). And, pardon me while I get even mushier, but I can see in the moments when I look at Harrison and think, You’re so big! When did you get so big?! that he’ll be 14 before I know it and sharing Cow and kisses on top of my head will probably be long gone. And yet I hope the love fest will continue in some form, which, if that love just keeps on rolling down the hill, perhaps it will. And that’s my plan – to just keep on telling him how happy he makes my heart. Love you, Buddy!