the kids are alright

Thursday, January 22

The developing relationship between these two siblings is very much an actual love story. Most love stories do not begin with love at first sight and neither did this one. When Isla was born, Everett had been staying with friends for a few days, and the morning we brought him home to meet her had been a tough one for him. Just one too many nights away from his own bed. Before Tyson and Everett came through the door, I'd made sure to set Isla up on a pillow with Everett's favorite treats and a wrapped "big brother" present for him tucked around her legs. Bribery, basically. I ran to the door and gave him a big squeeze and we talked about how much fun he'd had at his friends. I took him in the kitchen, and balanced him on top of my empty and now slightly smaller baby belly while we continued to talk. Finally I told him there was someone I'd like him to meet and we walked over to the couch where Isla was sleeping. He popped his head up over the side of the couch, got the biggest grin ever, snatched his treat and asked us to open it. If he saw the existence of a baby, he did not let on. Then, with the quickly unwrapped wrapping paper still on the floor, he tried on his big brother cape and mask and zoomed off to another activity. And that was that. And that was fine. We went about our business taking care of her and let Everett come and check out the baby at his own pace. Sometimes he didn't seem to care at all. But then, during one of her diaper changes, he caught a glimpse of her umbilical cord, or her "bili cord" as he called it, and became intensely amused that this bili cord thing that he'd read about in a book, was in fact, sitting there in real life before him. He wanted to see it up close. Then he wanted to help change her. Then he wanted to hold her. And rub her head while she nursed.

Watching them now, it's as if he was never without her in the first place. First thing in the morning, in our darkened room, I'll be startled awake by his voice whispering my name right next to the bed. And then his eyes will pop up and he'll ask, "Hey mama is baby sister awake?" Most of the time the answer is no. But he'll want to make sure just in case, and climb up on the bed to see her regardless of my protests.

They are two dreamy little peas in a pod. If Isla's laughing, 99% of the time, it's because she's watching him. Just the other day we were at the park, and I had Isla on my hip and was holding Everett's hand as he jumped from rock to rock. She thought this was the stinking funniest thing she'd ever seen. There were several other kids that would jump by occasionally, doing the exact same thing that Everett was doing, but no laughs for them! Or sometimes I'll be sitting next to Everett playing Legos while I feed her, and she'll stop to do a complete upside down back bend just to take a look at what he's up to. She has heart eyes for her brother like somethin' else. 

We've had the house to ourselves this week, just me and these two munchkins, while my dad travels for work. At first I was slightly terrified by the idea of it - putting the kids to bed, being alone in a big house. I don't know WHY. I mean I've essentially experienced this whole scene for the past year or so. I guess it was just the idea that no one was coming home AT ALL, not even after midnight. But it's been fine, really. My world is filled to the top with these babies right now. I am so aware of and grateful for this time of life they're in - this cocoon portion of their childhood. Every day is made up of what I am able to create for them: The fire place, lit and warming the cool morning house while they stay in my bed for a little longer. The music that's playing while they sit on the counter and watch me fix breakfast. The pom pom balls, and popsicle sticks, finger paints, and glitter remnants on the dining room table. And every single lego, domino piece, scrabble cube, book, playdoh container, and puzzle piece you can think of, spread out over the living room floor and under the couches. My sweat pants, the only REAL permanent fixture. The water on the floor after Everett's helped me with the dishes. The newly instated "quiet time" as the afternoon sun streams though the windows, while I lock down at least a solid 15 minutes to sleep during Isla's nap. A red wagon ride to the park. More time on the counter, testing spices and narrating while I make dinner. The teeth brushing routine before bed. And finally, the night. The night that has brought very little sleep with it. I am sure they are plotting my demise even as I write this.

It is a real  privilege to create for them. And to somehow still have the ability to create myself simultaneously. I am happy. I am whole. And I still feel like me even under all of everything BABY. It's sort of a relief.


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