Friday, July 11, 2008

Table for Three

Until Amanda was 5 1/2 years old, she was an only child. I enjoyed being able to focus on her in those preschool years. The ages of three, four, and five are so full of wonder and excitement, and yet they also zapped me.

Amanda was a talker (she still is a talker).

She wanted to know "why?" and when I told her "I don't know," she got upset and insisted, "You do know." She thought that "Mommy Who Must Know Everything" was simply holding out on her by not revealing why they changed the lineup on Nick Jr. or how thunder and lightening happened.

It takes a lot of mental energy to keep up with an inquisitive preschooler, and many times I just need a bit of quiet.

I am so glad that Amanda became a big sister when she was five. She was so helpful with Baby Kyle. She made him laugh like no one could. She's almost like a third parent at times. He will often turn to her instead of us for help or with an exciting announcement ("Look, Amanda, a cow!").

For some reason God blessed me with another chatty preschooler. To the talking and the spunk that his big sister had, Kyle also possesses a bit of drama and high energy. Because he's a second child, I think everything is also intensified as he competes for attention with his sister and strives to keep up with her.

Amanda really wanted a sibling, but now that she's a tween, she sometimes balks at Kyle's attention and just wants to be left alone.

She got her wish. Amanda stayed on in Virginia with her grandparents for the week.

This week I've seen what Kyle the only child would have been like.

Setting a table for three is different. I remember those years with Amanda. Amanda started school the year Kyle was born, so he too has had his share of undivided Mommy attention, but the afternoons and the evenings usher in a more frazzled Mommy that they both have to contend with.

One child is simply easier. There's less fighting, less whining, fewer sandwiches to make and glasses of milk to pour, so I am better able to act like the kind patient Mommy that I should be regardless.

We'll meet my in-laws halfway to pick Amanda up on Saturday. She's had a great time getting that special one-on-one attention from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her cousin. I have enjoyed having just Kyle (and I haven't missed the bickering for one moment), but her absence is strongly felt.

I miss sharing a smile with her over Kyle's zaniness or mispronunciation of a word. I miss having more girl-power in the house than manliness. I miss her help (unloading the dishwasher is getting really old), and I miss being needed by another child.

Kyle misses her, and he informed that Blankie misses her, too (which surprised me because I didn't think that Blankie and Amanda interacted very much).

Having one is easier. I am too short on patience and kindness in relating to my children (who do tend to try my reserves with their larger-than-life personalities), and having one allows me to dole it out more freely. I know that motherhood has refined my character like nothing else. Actually it's revealed my character (flaws) and showed me what I need to refine and let go of.

I wouldn't trade either one of God's refining fires. I'll be happy on Saturday to set another place at the table, dole out another portion at mealtime, and break up the sibling squabbles that will probably commence shortly after the dramatic reunion occurs.


Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I was blessed with two chatty children as well. :) And, I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who has experienced her child's frustration when she says, "I don't know." My daughter just keeps asking and asking, and she gets more and more frustrated when I continue to say that I don't know the answer. I guess she really doesn't get that mom doesn't know everything. I am sure she will change her perspective about that in a few years. Then she will think that I know nothing!

Jen Rouse said...

I love your perspective--that children are God's method of refining us. I'll try to remember that (as I type this one-handed, fussy Refiner #3 on my lap, spit-up on my shirt, having already had to dole out some discipline to bickering Refiners #1 and #2 this morning). I know I'd miss any one of them to pieces if they were gone for a week.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I know you're glad to be getting her tomorrow. I'm sure she had a grand time.

My girl's been gone to camp since Sunday. Picking her up this afternoon. Can't wait!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

They do have a way of revealing our flaws, don't they!! I must need a lot of refining since God has blessed me with 3 (soon 4)!

Katrina said...

Sweet reflections, and your words reflect much of what is in my heart as well -- one is/was easier and I seemed to do it better (more patiently, etc.), but I wouldn't trade what we have now for anything.

I'm amused at how our kids seem to mirror each other, with Camden sharing a lot with Amanda, and Logan following in Kyle's personality footsteps. Though they've never met, there is much in common.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just HATE those mommy apron strings? We were teen free in this house for 1 week. Our daughter was elected to become United States Ambassador for a group called People to People which was set up by Dwight D Eisenhower. Briefly he felt that if people here in the states knew people from other countries there would be NO WAR! Our daughter went to France, Italy and England. We sent her knowing this was an experience of a lifetime. Her brother not to be outdone HAD TO GO TO CHURCH CAMP in Oregon.

They both had a great time. Daughter gone for 3 weeks and son gone for 1 week.

They are both back now and the bickering is started. I love them so and so it all is being a parent.

have a great day all :)

Raju said...

Thanks for the nice post.