The tweaky carbonara from last night turned out swimmingly: rampy, creamy, savory and fulfilling. I made enough for three but we wiped out the whole batch. Probably unnecessary but it tasted good; I was hungry!
This has been a good week, one of those which I experience, mostly enjoy and look back on with a sense that I might just have figured things out. Though I'm quite certain that feeling will be dashed in the near future -really, what is parenting and/or life without stumbles and confusion? - it's nice to hold it in hand for a bit, the ephemeral made permanent even if only for a brief while. These times are those that help sustain me when the rug of stasis is pulled from beneath my feet. As such, I try to appreciate these crystalline moments deeply and thoroughly.
The boys have, despite occasional Hydean slips into batshitness by Oliver, been very sweet, clever, and all-around appealing lately. Quite frequently, I find myself looking at them with an extraordinary mix of pride, love and awe. They possess such expansive imaginations and feel not a moment of hesitation in expressing the myriad stories, characters, situations, fights, dilemmas and so forth that their minds concoct. I am reminded, while watching them play and act all these creations out, what a valuable gift it is for a child to grow up surrounded by acceptance and love. It has always been critically important to me that the boys' interests be honored and valued, regardless of gender "appropriateness" or the like, and I feel it's incumbent upon me to help them explore those interests in varied ways.
When Jack wanted me to make him a mermaid bikini top because he thought Ariel was pretty, I did. I can't really sew (nor do I want to learn), so the fact that I accomplished this was amazing. As I cut the top, he said, "Mom, those don't look like shells. You are cutting triangles, but that's not what Ariel's looks like." Touché. He was 3. Tom raised a definite eyebrow of concern, but I suggested that the bigger deal he made about it, the bigger deal it'd be. Jack used his quilt as his mermaid tail, proudly wore his bikini top, smiled beatifically and soon tucked the top away in a drawer. Though I do wonder if he's a hoarder, it has made me happy that he's never thrown that thing away. It's there, just out of sight. He knows where it is, I suspect it still means something to him, and I'm still grateful I didn't say or do a thing but just make the darn bra.
Same with the pink bike he wanted (and got), the mustaches and bow-ties and others costumes the boys wear to school, what they say they want to be and do. Within reason (no hurting things, no meanness, etc), I just want them to be loved and valued, to grow up knowing that they have been loved and valued unconditionally (except when their manners are awful and I simply must step in and correct them). I've always had a gut feeling that if one has grown up in the loving glow of his/her inner light being appreciated, that person is more likely to treat others in that manner, to be generous in thought and spirit, to pause before judging, to appreciate creativity and difference. There is enough judgment and unkindness in the world for pete's sakes.
When they sleep, they are so relaxed and innocent and young. Their minds never keep them up at night with worry or timelines or to-do lists nagging. Sleep takes them away to the most basic state of rejuvenative slumber. I love to go in and smooth their mussed hair, fix their blankets, check out the array of stuffed friends with whom they choose to sleep each night: Polar Bear, Bob the Builder, Wrenchie, Lamby, Ghostie, Darth Pig. Sometimes friends get relegated to the floor but the very next night might be the prized pal.
Their baby fat is nearly gone, seemingly sucked up into their elongating limbs. Jack's neck and shoulders now slope in such a boy'ish (versus baby/toddler) way. He has muscles (little ones) now, and tiny hairs appeared on his legs last year. He thought that was hilarious, by the way. His stomach is becoming taut, and I'm thankful that Oliver's is still toddler-poochy so I can sink my face into and kiss it. Their little butts slay me, both so small and perky and sweet. Neither boy ever smells yet, so I've got a bit of time left in the B.O. department, but even that will probably arrive sooner than I think.
They draw me cards almost every day. Sometimes it's overwhelming because "why didn't you hang this one up?" when already I'm out of wall-space, but try as I might, I can't throw many away. They are so dear and so earnest and so, so loving.
As I watch the boys grow, I see that some of what I've said over and over and over these past years really has sunk in (I am very grateful for this, because if it were the contrary, I might be plunged into the pit of despair). They are kind, polite, generous and rarely judgmental about anything. They know how to make conversation with adults, and I think they know how to comport themselves at a restaurant. They are well behaved on airplanes and at school, they share easily. As I watch them do all these things, I learn again myself. And I am grateful for that. It's a counterpoint to aging in some ways.