Saturday, November 17, 2012

Big Kids

There is nothing like having a new baby to make your older kids seem so freakin' grown up.

Quality time with dajie
First of all, they look HUGE.  As tiny as they both are, Cadence and Hazel are both strikingly BIG compared to their new baby sister...I asked Cadence to help me get something the other day before realizing it was IN the pack 'n play, and was shocked (shocked!) when she went over to the crib and was able to just casually glance inside and grab the item in question...WHEN DID SHE GET SO TALL??

And it's not just size, it's development...Hazel was dancing around in her birthday suit the other day and I couldn't get over the way her legs worked...she's so steady!  Look how solid her hip joint are as she hops!  And she's off and running with such strength and no wobbles at all!  That's no baby...WHEN DID SHE BECOME A KID??

But the thing that really wallops you over the head with the fact that these girls are really, truly growing up and becoming such wonderful, independent people is how they've taken Calliope's arrival.  I was worried that it would be a rough transition, that Hazel would have a hard time "sharing" me, and that would mean I'd need to spend a significant amount of time trying to appease her, and the result would be that Cadence wouldn't get any time with me at all and we'd all be frustrated and miserable...

I needn't have worried.  From the moment they each woke up to welcome her into the world, these two have been nothing but loving and understanding towards their new sister, and to me.  It helps, of course, that they were with me at all the prenatal sessions and heard the midwives telling me what tasks I should and should not undertake following the birth, and that we've all been talking about it and trying to prepare as best we can for quite a while...but none of that would matter if they didn't have the mental capacity to absorb and understand all that information, which they totally have.

They will both get after me if I try to do something I'm not supposed to, or remind me of things I should be doing...Hazel will ask me "is Calliope sleeping mama?" and if I say yes, she'll say "Then you should sleep too, mama.  Mommy needs to sleep when the baby sleeps!" and Cadence will stop mid-game to say "Mama, do you have something to drink?  Have you taken your vitamins yet?" And if Calliope needs a diaper change, they'll run off calling for James to change it, because they don't want me to stand at the changing table, and anyway, that's when I'm supposed to use the bathroom, so when we're both all clean, I can give the baby her mommy milk comfortably...

They are both amazing about getting things we may need.  They love on this baby so much...she gets plenty of hugs, kisses, cuddles, playtime, and talks from those two.  They already include her in their play, always making sure she has a toy, too, and giving her shares of whatever they're making.  It doesn't bother them that she doesn't do much yet, or that most things they present to her just sit on the couch beside us, they're just glad to have her look at them with those big, bright eyes of hers, and maybe grab their finger with her tiny hand, or seem satisfied when they hold her.

Hazel has gone above and beyond by not only understanding when I can't do something-most of the time, she doesn't even ask.  She'll start to, then think better of it, give me a smile, and bound of to find James or Cadence to help her, instead.  But that doesn't mean she can't help out - to the contrary, there was a time early on when I forgot to fill my peri bottle until it was too late, and I couldn't reach the sink...that girl noticed, volunteered to fill it for me, and actually managed to do it even though she couldn't reach to turn the water on or off without balancing on the edge of the sink on her stomach, her feet dangling above the step stool...that was no small feat for such a small 2 year old.  She was soooo pleased to have helped, and I was so proud.

This morning, both Cadence and Hazel woke up before Calliope (which meant I wasn't willing to admit that I was awake yet, either...) or James, and after chatting together for a little bit, Hazel announced that she was hungry and wanted breakfast, but she asked Cadence if she could get it, so they wouldn't have to wake us up.  Cadence agreed, and what's more, she actually did it...she got bowls, spoons, cereal and milk for both of them, and even put everything away again (no milk left out!  If she spilled anything, she cleaned it up!  There was no evidence of chaos, only a nice orderly breakfast at the table!). She only resorted to asking James for help a little later on, when she wanted to get them each some pink lemonade and seltzer, but there wasn't enough seltzer and she couldn't get the seltzer bottle to screw in to the seltzer maker...which is a really hard thing to do, even for grownups.

And then, this evening, they both undertook the task of 'teaching' Calliope how to brush teeth, put on jammies, put fresh sheets on the bed...

We are so impressed, and proud, of both of our extremely thoughtful, capable Big Kids...We are so lucky to have such amazing people blossoming in our midst.  I have no doubt that Calliope will bring her own set of wonders as she continues to grow.  I can't wait to see what they will all discover.  I love them all.

Quality time with xiao jie!  (um...not sure if my translation there is correct...)