Monday, January 28, 2013

A Big Heart

I didn't think it was possible for Maddux to shock me anymore, as she finds new ways to surprise everyone around her each day. But in the last few weeks Maddux has shown some crazy empathy and proactive kindness and protection in unexpected ways. Yes, she gives her brother random candy 'prizes' she earns at church, and yes, she hugs the bus driver when she boards in the morning (just because), but she's taken this compassion to a new level. I've been trying to explain 'big heart' to her as I always say it to her, but she keeps asking about the physical size. So far, all I've been able to do for her is say that the love in her heart is big.

No doubts about it, Maddux will be a great big sister, she is already an amazing little sister, and one day she'll be the best mother any child could hope for. (Sidenote: when we talk about where Maddux was when Eli was born, I always tell her 'my heart'. She knows she wasn't in my stomach at the same time as he was, but she was already in my heart. The other day she told me she has 100 babies in her heart. I don't doubt it.) Also, she is a cool friend. Two things came up recently that she did on her own, with no teaching:
  • A week or so ago, Maddux lent one of her prized Disney princess dolls to a friend (Merida - the newest 'princess'). She was happy to do it and offered the doll up on her own. When it came time for her friend to return the doll, her mother saw a small rip in the doll's dress and asked me if it was already there. I honestly didn't have any idea. The parents know Maddux very well, so they asked her (when I was not there) and Maddux hemmed and hawed a little, saying, "No, but it's ok...REALLY! It's not a big deal." Seriously? How does she know to downplay something like that to spare their embarrassment or bad feelings for having slightly damaged one of her toys? 
  • Maddux has a friend in her class that gets a little anxious when her mom comes to visit. She loves the visit but does not love the departure. When said mom has come into the class to help in the past, Maddux has reassured her friend when she starts to cry, "Don't worry - you'll see her at home real soon!" This last week, she stepped up her game. The mom (a friend of mine) told me that her daughter was fine through the time she was there, but when she stood up to leave, Maddux immediately found a classroom task that needed to be done and called out to her friend to help her with it, almost as a distraction tactic. The mom even said Maddux brushed off another child who was offering to help since the little girl wasn't responding to Maddux. I wish I knew where she got it, and I wonder how much of it I can learn from her.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Hundred

Friday was the 100th day of school for the kids. Maddux had to count and bring in her snack with 100 pieces (we did 100 pieces of cereal), and Eli was supposed to dress as though he was 100 years old. Love it.

We talked about his outfit for a few days, but as usual, didn't pull the actual outfit out until the morning of. Lehr helped Eli get a pair of pants (anything but jeans is what we went for) and a button up shirt, as we discussed. Then Lehr and Eli added Eli's great-grandfather's flannel hat (awesome) and a crossword puzzle. I did have to explain why the puzzle made sense when he got home from the school, but he still brought it along.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Leaf?

Don't get me wrong: I love, love, LOVE Maddux's independent and crazy spirit. However, it can cause some frustration when it comes time to focus. Not that she can't focus when she wants to, but we struggle sometimes when others (namely Lehr or Nicole) want her to focus.

This has popped up most recently with activities. She loved gymnastics, but she often goofed around at least as much as she did what the teacher asked, and (just like at school), she has a tendency to take other students along for the ride. When it came time to sign her up again, I declined and then told her why. We had a few serious talks about what was expected at certain lessons or practices. That doesn't mean she can't have fun with them, but when it's time to listen and/or follow directions, she's gotta get with the program. Since we still have a month or two before soccer starts again, I opted to get the kids back in the pool, as we usually do this time of year. Just to remember how to use our arms and legs to keep us afloat. Maddux knew what was expected of her before this lesson and boy did she deliver. She was amazing: listening, following every instruction, and not causing any disruptions. She still had a smile on her face, she still laughed and enjoyed her time, but she was a focused girl!! Amazing.

Yesterday she showed us another level of maturity that we didn't expect. For a few years now, Eli has accompanied Lehr to music rehearsals at church. He will usually sit right next to the drum set and read or listen or play along quietly. We haven't let Maddux do this yet because, well...she can't seem to sit still. And if Lehr is in rehearsal, he can't chase her around the church, or even around the auditorium. This Sunday we took a chance and let her go to church early with him, as she requested. Another amazing display of self-control and obedience. She sat in the SAME chair the whole hour of rehearsal and colored, read, and watched. The girl is growing up!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Baby Talk

The kids are all about the baby. Every day they ask me and talk to me about all things baby: when the baby will be here, what we'll do with the baby, what the baby is doing right now.... My favorites recently:
  • We were mountain biking as a family and at one point Maddux got off of her bike and waited for me to finish a single-track section. She commented how bumpy it was and asked if I liked it. I told her it was fun. She said (very seriously), "I know the baby had fun with it too."
  • Eli asks me daily, "Are you sure you can eat that, Mom? You know, with the baby?"
  • Several times when my shirt has lifted up to expose my growing stomach, Eli has giggled and said, "Mommy, I can see the baby sticking out!"
  • Maddux often gets confused when she sees me eating something or thinks about me eating something. We've discussed that there are a lot of foods the baby can't eat for the first year or two, but most of the time she translates that to mean that I can't eat them now (since the baby is getting its food from me).