Oct 25, 2012

Pinch-hitting: My sister talks atcha

Hey y’all! It’s Kat’s sister again. Let's just think of this like a mini “Slices of Life,” bits and pieces of my time with the kids in late September during my Dad’s and Amelia’s birthday week.

Here are some highlights:

On Thursday and Friday, I honestly have no idea what we did. I’m sure this happens to parents all the time—you’re so busy, when someone asks you what you did that day, everything’s kind of one big blur of activity, and you really have no sense of time. I assume we had some conversations, ate some food to stay alive, and slept, but I don’t really recall anything significant. I remember telling Katherine that I didn’t think I could write a blog post for this trip because nothing had happened of note (except the normal chaos in a house of four kids). Yet.

Oh wait, I do remember a couple hilarious things on Thursday. I think Katherine already briefly mentioned this, but the first night I was there, all of us, including my parents, ordered in and were eating dinner at the dining room table. I said, “Nick, I was so impressed that you ran the 5K Color Run after you threw up—I could never do that!" He said, “Yeah, and I also had to poop for FIVE HOURS.” We all cracked up, and I said, “Well, those port-a-potties can smell pretty gross.” He replied, “That’s why I held it in for five hours.”

Nathaniel then regaled us with the excitement of the day at school—some poor kid got sick and puked in cafeteria trashcan. Nathaniel saw it happen, but Nick said he saw it too. When Katherine asked how Nick saw it if he wasn’t in there when it happened, he said, “Because it had happened like two minutes before and they hadn’t cleaned it up yet.” Then Katherine said, “But I thought you said he threw up in the trash can.” Nathaniel, filling in the narrative gap, informed us, “Well, some of it landed on the floor.” Awesome dinner conversation (seriously, I was dying laughing).

We went to eat Mexican for dinner on Friday night, and since I had eaten a steady portion of kid snacks from Katherine’s pantry and fridge all day long (like the really bad ones, things an adult human knows better than to eat, like Cheez-its, peanuts, string cheese, leftover pizza, etc.), I didn’t order anything at the restaurant and sat next to Amelia to feed her. She ate an entire (adult, oblong) plate of refried beans and rice, plus half a cheese quesadilla. With gusto. And then she drank eight ounces of milk two hours later before bed. This becomes important in the next paragraph.

I had to change her first diaper the next day. Let’s just say, it was like taking a trip to Poop City. I was a reluctant visitor in Pooptown. She had become mayor of Poopville. In the State of Gag. Yep, that whole Mexican dinner shot right through her overnight, and there was poop all over her onesie, up her back, and in all her creases. Yes, those creases. And she was super-grabby with what was going on down there. Every time I thought I’d cleared a zone, she’d recontaminate it by rubbing a poopy hand down there. It was a monumental achievement when I had her all fresh and clean, in a clean diaper and fresh outfit.  

On Saturday, we went to a picnic at Oak Mountain park for the big boys’ karate dojo. We threw around the football (Nick has a helluvan arm!), Frisbee, ate picnic food, got eaten by mosquitoes or some cousin of theirs, the regular. I took a run during the picnic around Oak Mountain Park, and it was great. It’s a weird adjustment I have to make when I’m back South—in Wyoming, I’m always on the lookout for bears and moose (big things that can kill me) when I’m running—in Birmingham, I’m looking for snakes and spiders (tiny things that can kill me). Nature can be dangerous, y’all.

We got to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday and Amelia’s 1st birthday with one party and three cakes!  It was a very touching day and evening with our immediate and extended family, and watching Dad and Amelia blow out their candles was a moment that’ll be etched into my heart forever.

The big cake was Amelia’s official 1st birthday cake (which wasn’t even cut into during the party, but it was gorgeous and huge!) The smaller white cake was my Dad’s 70th birthday cake, celebrating his career in the Navy and continuing devotion to it, and the “small” chocolate cake (it was still not that small, trust me), was Amelia’s SMASH CAKE.

The older the boys get, the more their personalities become evident. Katherine and Grayson could COMPLETELY disagree with my perception, since they’re around the boys 365 days of the year and I’m around them more like 12, but I have noticed that Nathaniel’s pretty steady-eddie on the emotive scale. He’s a lot like my Dad and sister. He goes with the flow (for the most part), and even if he’s upset, he’s not that emotive about it. Nick is the opposite. There is no question about what Nick’s mood is; he will tell you with his demeanor or words. Jake, he’s also an open book, but his moods aren’t as mature and multi-level as the older boys. If Jake’s happy, he acts super-happy. If he’s sad, he pouts or cries. Amelia’s mostly sunshine and giggles, but she’ll give a shout out if she’s not satisfied.

One evening we were going out to dinner or something, and I went up, took a shower, and got ready. I came downstairs, and Jake was standing there. He said, “Where were you?” I said, “I was getting ready, bud.” He looked at me kind of forlornly and said, “Yeah, makeup. I remember you said you did that to yourself.” [Last time I was visiting, I put on eyeliner and mascara one day, and he said, “Wuss that shuff on yo eyes?”] I said, “Do you think I look better or worse with makeup, Jakey?” He said, definitively, “Worse.” Katherine heard the exchange and said, “Jake prefers you au natural.” Well played, Katherine.

Every night, Nathaniel and I would have the sweetest conversations when I came up to get in my pjs and he was still awake. Sometimes it was way past his bedtime, and he'd be reading underneath his blanket (one of his favorite things). When he heard me come in his room, he'd peek out and say, "Hey." And I'd say, "Hey buddy. I'm gonna hang out with your mommy a little longer and then I'll be back up." And sometimes, he'd launch into telling me something he was really excited about telling me, which could take 20 minutes, and sometimes, he'd say, "OK," and go back to reading. I love that kid. He was the first one who stole my heart, and that means a lot.

When they were toddlers like Jake, neither Nathaniel nor Nick ever had any compunction about coming into the guestroom and waking me up if I was sleeping too late for their taste (i.e., 8:30 a.m.)  They’d just barge in and say, “Sarah Ellen, when are you getting up?” And they basically wouldn’t take “Go away, I’m asleep” as an answer. But Jake is different. The old guestroom is now Nathaniel’s room, and so far, he likes me crashing in his bed when I visit. So, I’m asleep one morning, and I half-wake up hearing a plastic-sounding cranking noise right next to my head. I was lying on my side, and when I opened my eyes, Jakey was just standing there, about six inches from my face, staring at me, not saying a word, cranking one of his Beyblade toys. Like a kid from The Shining. (It was actually very sweet and much less intrusive than Nathaniel and Nick’s old tactics, but it cracked me up.) He was basically going to stand there, bide his time, and crank his Beyblade until I woke up. And it worked.

One big highlight of the trip was the day that both Nick and Nathaniel pulled flips on the trampoline and landed on their feet. I took some credit because I coached them both about jumping high and tucking, not worrying about jumping forward (you jump as high as you can and grab your knees—that will carry you up and over). And they both stuck it like champs!

The last full day I was there, I was supposed to only have the two young kids, but Nathaniel woke up not feeling well. However, by about 8:30 a.m., he was downstairs, eating cereal and watching TV. He didn’t seem very sick to me or my parents. At one point, he and Jake went out to jump on the trampoline and he came back in and announced, “I think I’m fine now.” Uh huh. I tipped Katherine off to this activity, and she sweetly left work for 30 minutes to pick Nick up early so that he could come home and spend the rest of the day with us (he was none too pleased that he had to go to school and Nathaniel didn’t, and I don’t blame him.) Anyway, we spent the rest of the day playing, laughing, enjoying each others’ company, and soaking up the last evening of my time with them.

Again, it’s hard to put my love for these kids into words. I think about them all the time, and I miss them like crazy. The only drawback, in my mind, of living in Jackson is that I’m far away from them and the rest of my family. And that’s a huge drawback. But it’s visits like these that keep our relationship constant and flowing, and if they can feel and know 1/1000th of the amount of love I have for each of them, they must feel like the most loved kids in the world.


Tracey said...

Sarah Ellen,
I didn't think your last guest post could be topped, but this was awesome! I love your story telling. Amelia's creases...hilarious. And, Jake with the Beyblade toy...priceless. Glad you enjoyed your visit!

Honor said...

Great post girl!

Honor said...

Great post girl!

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