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Children Spaced in Age {a repost}

Children Spaced in Age

This older post by Clover Lane about having children spaced in age has been popping into my thoughts lately. I discovered it years ago and reposted then, and it has proven to be oh so true with my own children. Any parent with children that may not be close in age can appreciate this mother’s wisdom (and so glad I rediscovered her blog!)

 

You will enjoy this baby SO much. But, you will not be sitting in a rocking chair in a quiet room, looking like a Pottery Barn Kids ad. Instead, depending on the demeanor of your baby, you will either be constantly wearing an extra appendange on your body in form of a baby-filled sling, or be adding C batteries to your grocery list every week for your Graco swing.

You will not be pondering over what a cute outfit to dress the baby in today, instead you will be grabbing what is clean from the laundry basket. As that baby gets older, you will not be sitting on the floor for hours watching him or her stack blocks and thinking ‘what a genius’. They will explore their world without someone constantly breathing down their back, which turns out to be a better way anyways.

You will have to relearn some things. I had completely forgotten how impossible it is to give an infant a bath and of course, you will have a whole new set of instructions from the nurses on umbilical cord care. They apparently change that every year or so. The immunizations are all different too…like they added 75 more. But you are 34. You are not afraid to speak your mind. Take advantage of your confidence. You earned it.

You might not feel like there is enough hours in the day to get all that you need finished. Although you will reassure your kids that there is enough love to go all around, as you lay in bed at night, (usually with a baby attached to you), you will tear up, because you will feel like maybe there is, in fact, not enough love to pass around. You will think of who you didn’t hug today, or if you said anything but ‘Don’t do this, Do that, Can you please’.

Children Spaced in Age

 

It will eat you up sometimes, usually when you are going on 4 hours of broken sleep. Your mind can play tricks on you and anxiety will fill in the empty spots. Don’t do that to yourself. That friend I talked about yesterday? I asked her once, when she was adopting her seventh, if she ever felt like she didn’t have enough to go around. And she said, “I concentrate on what I DO give my kids, not on what I don’t.” Good advice. Take it. Full tummies, warm bed. Start there.

You will have some harried moments, but remember those moments…sometimes there will be nothing you can do about them, and other times you will have to think, “What can I do to change this…it’s not working for us.

I remember once complaining and complaining about this travel soccer I had my daughter in. Her friends would convince her every year to try out and then she’d beg me to let her. My husband always thought it was a good idea, too, as she was pretty decent at it. But it was ME who had to drag all these kids around, nursing the baby in the middle of a cornfield in the hot sun, not watching a minute of anything, being crabby all the way there and back, all of us hungry and thirsty, the baby fussy. It ended up my daughter didn’t really like soccer that much, but just didn’t know how to resist the friend-pressure. Some of my lowest points of parenting occured because of that stress. Don’t do that to yourself.

 

Children Spaced in Age

 

Get rid of all that extra stuff, and just stick with the important stuff. If you don’t know what the important stuff is, I can reassure you that it’s not 2nd grade football skills training, or travel dance competitions. These were all invented by people with much less children than you have now, and for many other reasons I won’t go into here. My point is this: Don’t fight this adjustment. Accept that you will have to make changes, but let me reassure you, that you will ask yourself, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” You will grow closer as a family and less stressed as a mother. Embrace the old-fashioned values of a big family. A swing, some grass, and a good book is all kids need in the entertainment department. It would be more than the majority of kids in the world have. Always keep in mind ‘global’ parenting and ‘historic’ parenting…they make the expectations place on us laughable.

Children Spaced in Age

 

Besides that great gift, you will be giving your older children the gift of independence. Trust me, it was time anyways. They will learn some lessons and be better for it. If you don’t have time to check for homework and they didn’t either, they will learn it’s their responsibility. They might have to hear the word ‘no’ more often, if driving across town to play at a friends house for two hours doesn’t work with the baby’s nap. They will have to take care of themselves more, and be doted on less. You will kick yourself for not doing some of this earlier, and be surprised at how much you were holding them back from some really necessary lessons and experiences. Count yourself lucky…some parents wait till NEVER. It doesn’t turn out so good 20 years later.

Now I’ll get to the best part of all. Your older children with that baby… your heart will explode with the amount of love and tenderness they will show.

Children Spaced in Age

Get them involved right away. They will be your salvation in terms of managing this large plate you have in front of you. When they think you are not aware of their prescence, tell your husband how much you noticed so-and-so loves their baby sister or brother, and how much help they give. They will step up to the task unbelievably. Teach them how to hold the baby, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper (wet, or course). Have them run and get a fresh outfit, and don’t cringe at the color combo. Who cares. When the baby gets older, they are the best entertainers. You will never have to occupy that baby’s time. Set him out in the family room in his jumpy seat and the hoopla will get him good and tired. Don’t ever feel guilty for asking them for help. Give them new responsibilites. Ask one of them to make lunch, even if it’s just peanut butter on Ritz. They will love to do it for you if you thank them so much and brag about them. Don’t say “the baby”, say OUR baby. The gift you are giving them is priceless. They are learning how to care for your grandchildren. That is truly awesome and worth any inconveniece or adjustment that this little surprise threw your way.

One more thing. With my older three, I couldn’t wait to “the next”. The next stage, the next word, the next tooth… With this little guy, you will do the opposite. You will bawl at every stage. Be prepared.

You are not crazy. It’s completely normal. Birthdays are the worse. Have tissues handy.”

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Sleepover

Last weekend we had a cousin sleepover. My sister and I had the bright idea (finally) of swapping out Friday nights with the little cousins allowing for some much needed quiet nights/nights out on the town for the parents.  The kids did great- they are finally at an age where you don’t have to worry about choking, wandering off (okay, so maybe you have to watch Big Whit), wetting the bed, or otherwise terrorizing both animals and home.

Instead, it was arts and crafts, popcorn and movies with sleeping bags set up in Meme’s suite. Very fitting- I think she would have liked having them camp out on “her side.”  Saturday morning they awoke super early so by 9am, when we had already been up for 3 hours, we hit Dunkin Doughnuts then headed to Sassy and Pops house where the kids wouldn’t take ‘no answer’ to their unanswered beating on the door as ‘no one is home.’  Sorry, mom.

With the holiday season officially here, it somehow comes with a bittersweetness. Last year, as I took pictures of her on Thanksgiving day, in the back on my mind I thought it could be her last Thanksgiving but in my heart thought she would gather with us for more years to come. Holidays may have an bit of a sting this year.  But I have to remind myself,  how sad would it be if it wasn’t.  There is still so much to be grateful for.

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

 

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Door #2– suspecting Sassy was still asleep they beat on her bedroom door.

 

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Front door. Sorry SBK, but everyone has an itch sometimes.

 

 

 

Two Choices

On more than one occasion lately, Kenley has heard me say:

“If you think down, you will go down. If you think up, you will go up.   You will always travel in the direction of your thinking.” -Bishop T.D. Jakes

And so it goes with one of her first ‘big’ life moments. Going after something she really wants, but struggling because she doesn’t think she’s good enough.  For many people this can be a life-long struggle- never feeling good enough. As Kenley continued to doubt herself, telling me all the reasons why she wouldn’t or couldn’t be good enough I had to remind her that life is about choices.

And the night before tryouts, she had two choices.

Dwell on all the reasons why not, have a pity party, don’t try, or better yet just quit while you’re ahead. Quitting would surely protect your heart.

Or…

Make up your mind that you want this. You really want this. Why do you want it? What’s the worse that could happen if it doesn’t happen? Then go after it and make it happen. Doesn’t matter the outcome, you give it your best and you win regardless.

In true Kenley fashion, it took some much (much) convincing but I saw it click.  That moment where she allowed herself to think maybe, just maybe, I can do this. I saw it register first in her brain, then in her heart, and she decided, by golly, I am going for it.  And so she did.  One of those first defining moments for this 11 year old– where you want something so badly it scares you. Welcome to the big league of life, kid.

And for the record, you are always a winner in my book.

direction of your thinking via grateful simplicity

Two Choices

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

If I were super organized and sent a Christmas letter to family and friends it would read a little something like this:

 

Twenty sixteen came in quick and is quickly turning into a year ending with a seven. We have settled into our no-longer-so-new house with two three kids, two dogs, Meme, and her over-weight Persian cat named Lilli.

Britton is in 8th grade and spends her time playing soccer, studying (straight A’s! this year) and listening to music. She also tried volleyball for the first time this year and is getting ready for the opening of tennis season.  She went on a mission trip with our church youth group this summer and, despite my faults, has turned out to be a wonderful teenager. My prayer is that she continues to make good decisions, put others first, and remember Whose she is.

Kenley stays busy with her running club and cheer leading. She is on the Lower School Student Council and recently gave a speech titled, ‘Why Tallahassee is the best place to live.’ Bet you didn’t know that we have one of the nation’s first Christmas service?! At any given time she is readying 2-3 books but, I am sad to say, loves her iPad equally. She has grown so tall over the past year that she has all but caught up to both her sister and me. She has scored some new clothes in the process, is quite the writer, and she constantly reminds (and often times shows) us that the middle children are so sweet.

Five year-old Raynes wakes up happy, asking questions (no less than 194 a day)– and stays chatty and upbeat all day every day. He is quite the artist and likes dart guns, riding his bicycle, Poochie and hunting with his daddy. He doesn’t like it when we tell him he looks like the Elf on the Shelf and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a professional greeter at a big store like Wal-Mart one day. What can I say? The boy loves people.

Mike is managing to balance work and home successfully – which is no easy task! His business continues to grow and this summer he earned a rewards trips to California and we had a sunny CA grand time.

I am enjoying my job at my alma mater, and the children’s school, where I work year-round in administration. It affords me the ability to be at every school function, and get to see my babies during the day and Mike is so supportive.  There’s not much time for hobbies but I do try to pick up my camera and keep up my ol’ blog from time to time.  Exercise doesn’t exactly count as a “hobby” but more of a necessity like breathing, eating, and coloring hair. 2017 be a big year with my 40th birthday and 16 year wedding anniversary coming in the next couple months. Sometimes, if I stop and look at the blessings that surround us I am afraid they will suddenly disappear. Perhaps that is why the camera doesn’t leave my hands, I tend to ‘over-share’ on social media, and why my right eye twitches. But for now, I’ll take it all in, appreciate the heck out of it, and celebrate a wonderful year full of His graciousness.

 

Ho Ho Ho via grateful simplicity

 

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons via grateful simplicity

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

 

Britton (age 13)

Britton (age 13)

Kenley (age 10)

Kenley (age 10)

Raynes (age 5)

Raynes (age 5)

 

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages

Everyone has a love language, just ask author Gary Chapman. Mine is ‘Acts of Service’ hands down. Just ask Mr. Robinson. And this, my friends, is true love. Twice the love to be exact.  Acts of Service: Don’t tell me you love me– take out the trash. It comes as no surprise then, that children also have their love language. This is how we receive love. I think every parent should read this book (which is a quick read!) as it was enlightening for me, Each of our children have a different language- I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. And it makes sense actually.

Britton is ‘Gifts.’  As a child she would make teacher gifts, friends gifts and still today, as a 13 year old, a lot of forethought is given to Christmas gifts for friends and siblings. Mr. R- she already has your Christmas gift picked out! And yes, you will love it!

Kenley’s is ‘Quality Time’ and I can almost see her love tank filling up when she and I get some one-on-one time together. Even if it is to a doctor’s appointment, or kissing her goodnight at bedtime. It’s what she needs.

Raynes may be too early to tell, but if I were a betting woman I would say ‘Quality Time’ is his– I think this gift stuff is a typical Preschool phase “Can I have that? Will you buy me that?”

Mr. Robinson is pretty easy– ‘Words of Affirmation.’  I love you. I’m proud of you. We appreciate what you do. Simple, easy and yet I feel I often manage to fall short in this area with the hustle and bustle of every day life.   Instead opting to go to the dry cleaner for him, taking some of his to-do items off his list, making the bed in the morning. This is me showing him I love him- through Acts of Service which I equate with love. In actuality, he could care less about taking the garbage out (well, let’s hope he cares somewhat about it) and more about knowing that I think he is measuring up, so to speak. Speaking different languages can be an easy and conscious daily tweak. Mr. R– if you are reading this… I love you. I am proud of you. And we appreciate you more than you may ever know.

So there you have it: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical  Touch, Gifts, and Quality Time.

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at the car wash