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With my mom not feeling well this morning and unable to watch Katie and Eric, I had to skip our Toastmaster’s meeting to have fun at home instead. We had a leisurely morning in our pajamas, and during Eric’s morning nap, Katie and I savored some one-on-one time together that we have both been craving. We worked several puzzles (one of her favorites is our United States puzzle—she loves maps and globes), and read some of our longer books that do not quite captivate Eric yet.

When it was time to pick up some of our toys, Katie asked the question mothers long to hear, “What would you like me to pick up?” Woo hoo! This is the first time she has ever asked this, and we celebrated together. I made a big happy deal of it. Clean-up went very smoothly this morning, and I was grateful.

The rest of the day we worked on art projects and with this beautiful, glorious weather, we spent most of the afternoon outside. Oh, how I love outdoor days. We ate lunch, did some art, played in the yard, watched the sky, and visited with my dad. Soaking up that lovely sunshine…

Here are some of our joyful moments today:

Katie tried on my wedding shoes this morning. She chose her whole outfit today (clothes, accessories, hair), and it is clear that she loves, loves being a girl. She was pretending to be a fairy princess with a red flower necklace of mine that I got long ago in Little Italy in New York. When I let her borrow it, I thought about how when I bought it, I had no idea that such a beloved daughter would be in my life…amazing and beautiful how life works out. We pretended the necklace was magic, and we made up a little song to go with it: “Little flower necklace/Close to my heart/All of your goodness/Please impart.” (We learned what “impart” means). It helps to have a pretend narrative going when we’re getting dressed.

Oh my goodness, my cousin Jed gave us one of the best gifts EVER! My Giant Busy Box by Alex Toys. I would give this gift in a heartbeat. There are sixteen different crafts all prepped and ready for doing—so perfect for a busy mom with a child who loves art!!! Since all the materials are present and ready for use, I get to do the fun part of teaching (makes me miss my classroom sometimes!), and Katie gets to dive in immediately. We opened the box today and were just so thrilled… We made a dog project and a tissue paper fish, enjoying the sunshine. Easy clean-up, too—since it all fits in the box. Glue is also provided, and everything is pre-cut and ready to punch out, so no scissors are necessary. Awesome, awesome gift.

Katie explains to Eric what she is making.

Katie’s tissue paper fish. So much fun for both of us (fun for me to instruct and lead, and fun for her to do on her own).

 

Then it was time for the swings… Eric’s first official swing (I had suggested it once to him a couple of months ago, but he didn’t want to be in it back then). Today he really enjoyed himself!

Katie gently swings her brother. I love that they are so close in age…I can see the magic between them, even in how they look at each other.

The swing is yummy!! Mmmmmm!

Boppa gave Eric his first taste of apple, and Eric found the food he likes best so far. Apples….yummmmmmy! Boppa cut a big piece from his apple for Eric to suck on and gum a bit, and Eric did not want to relinquish it. I had some applesauce on hand…oh my! Eric had just finished a big bowl of oatmeal, but when he tried the applesauce, he gobbled it!

All tired out…Eric is napping at this moment. He loves his giraffe, especially today. He fell asleep while we three were sitting all in a row and reading books. Joy is often so simple…

 

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This past year, I became a believer in love at first sight. Before Eric was born, Katie had plans for him to live outside in the fort of her swing set (or glued to the ceiling of the laundry room, her words). Yet from the moment she first saw him, I witnessed a bond develop between them that I know will last their whole lives. She immediately kissed him and held him when she came to see us in the hospital, and her eyes shined with love. She has been loyal and true to him ever since, making up songs about how much she loves him and patiently sharing her mommy and waiting her turn for things that she never had to wait for when she was an only child.

Eric loves her in return. The magic between them is tangible. They both want to see each other first thing in the morning. I am so glad they are as close as they are in age, because they will have the chance to be in the same phases of life together: both teenagers, both in college, even both married and having children. Katie says she never wants to live far away from Eric. To see them together is to see sweetness embodied. He laughs and laughs at her three-year-old antics and expressions. My main goal as a parent is to foster this between them, so that they will always have each other even when I am one day gone.

Of course before Eric was born, I wondered about how Katie would feel sharing her toys. To see her willing and generous heart has been a blessing. Even baby toys that were her favorites, she shares. She includes Eric in our imagination play: he was Mr. Smee this morning. She shares her figurines and princesses and blocks.

It helps that some of Eric’s Christmas toys appeal to Katie, too. Some of those toys Santa picked very intentionally so that Eric could share them and offer reciprocity (like a set of duplo Legos—he can’t play with them now too well, but he can share them and it offers him an “in” to mix with Katie’s Legos later, if technically he owns half of our total Legos). Santa addressed some of their toys to both of them. Santa is not above a little strategic planning to foster the bond. 😉

This morning, we took out our Mega Blocks. Katie has a pink set from her first birthday, and Eric got a fire truck with primary colored Mega Blocks from his grandparents for Christmas. We played together, building a boat, and then I helped Katie to build a tower. “We have twice as many blocks when we share, don’t we?” I emphasized. “Let’s see how high we can build the tower now!”

We managed to build it a little bit taller than Katie’s height.

Eventually it toppled! Time to start anew!

Dressing for the day, Katie and Eric had another sweet moment. Katie shared her “cozy” with her little brother. The “cozy” is the blanket around here. Extremely important. I have to sneak it away sometimes just to wash it.

Eric seemed to know the significance of having “cozy” put on him, because he got a HUGE smile!

Sweet Eric face, so happy to be with his sister.

So, love at first sight does exist, it turns out. I might never have believed in it, except to see it in its pure form: between two little siblings, so pure in their childlike bond.

I gathered my joy through the love between my children today, and I am thankful.