Things I don’t want to forget…

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She doesn’t understand why on earth I would pluck my eye-brows. She lives her life in a musical. I love to listen to her sing her way through everything she is doing or to make up stories to sing to us. My favorite is when she just starts singing praise songs she has made up, straight from the heart. I know it makes God smile. She also has a silly “vibrato” she does, but it is very serious to her. She makes nests for birds out of moss and roots and rocks colored with sidewalk chalk. She likes to do her own hair, which consists of putting hairclips haphazardly all over her head. I sometimes think I have taken them all out and will find a stray that has been in there for a good day or two. She lights up when we spend one-on-one time together. She does not stop smiling and giggling and trying to talk like she is all grown up. It is one of my favorite times too.
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She loves to hear that she is the one who made me a Mommy. She insists she does not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore. She doesn’t know how to smile in pictures. She gets self-conscious. Everyday she is planning her next birthday party, or playdate or sleepover or dinner party or dance production. She is nervous and excited about Kindergarten. It is surreal that she will go to the same school I did. She will ask if we can drive by the school. When she sees it she will always say “look! That is my and your preschool, Mommy! It is both of our school! How funny/great is that?!”
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She asks so many questions. They are all insightful. She is saving up her money for Frozen slippers. So far she has 42 cents. Bringing her own snack to school in her lunch box on Thursdays gives her an extra bounce in her step. She is always asking about God and Heaven, especially in the car or at bedtime. She has prayed to ask God to forgive her sins so she can go to heaven about half a dozen times for good measure. She asks to chew gum about 35 times a day. She focuses really hard on not swallowing it and takes it very seriously. Another obsession is chapstick. She stashes it various places so she can always find it and layers...all over her face. Tag is not just tag but "tag-you're it". She colors every day-usually hearts and swirls and bug eyed people. They are always a gift for someone. Lately she has been making name tags for dinner every night and she also decorated our house with about a dozen creepy-cute Easter bunny pictures made with markers, construction paper and “fancy scissors”. She told me the other night that my dinner “bammed her mind. He mind was bammed.” and after the next bite she said, “oh good my mind is back in my head again!”. She asks everyday if she can wear one of her nightgowns to bed. She looks so small wearing my old mini-mouse t-shirt/nightgown. It is down past her toes. The first time my mom saw her in it, she cried. When I am trimming her bangs she laughs hysterically when I blow away the stray hairs from her face. It reminds me she is still a little girl. I love those glimpses.
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She still says some words wrong-like “Oat-mi-meal” and “geggies”, “bacuum” and “nittle bit”. I don’t usually correct her. She will ask me everyday “what are we doing tomorrow?” She doesn’t require much, just to know. She is so flexible with whatever life gives us, even if it means disappointment, or waiting, or the mundane. She and Braxton were afraid of the house phone (and kind of still are). We got it so the kids could dial 911 in an emergency. Now they are fairly certain that we will have an emergency because of the phone and neither one wants to learn how to use it. Her favorite hairstyles are braids like Elsa and Anna from Frozen or a “top-knot bun”. When I give her a compliment or I give her a kiss and tell her something sweet she scrunches up and gives a little giggle. I don’t want to lose the sound of that slightly uncomfortable, but giddy little giggle. It is then I know her cup is filling up. She calls lettuce “salad”. We are growing “salad” in our garden. She struggles with counting and gets frustrated very easily. When she gets something we have been working on right, she jumps and shouts and says something like “I got my hardest one!” She calls Braxton “buuuud” when she is talking down to him…in the sweetest way possible. She just got a pet caterpillar from preschool. She named it Stella and made a sign to introduce her to everyone.  She wonders when she will find the prince she is going to marry. She calls all girls princesses and all their boyfriends or husbands are princes. She fell in love at school the other day, with a boy who loves Ninja turtles. She asked him if he believes in God and that Jesus took his punishment and if he is going to heaven. He said “ummm yeah I guess”. So she told us it they can get married and wants to start planning the wedding. She will also ask people if they believe in God, Satan or Santa. If they say they don’t believe in God she sadly tells them they are going to Hell. We are treading carefully there and working on that one. She gets sad when people don’t respond with the same enthusiasm she has for friends. She sometimes gets scared by pretend or sarcasm. She is amazed and proud that I didn’t eat my boogers as a kid. She thinks that makes me honest. She doesn’t get the concept of hugging around the waist. She gives new meaning to a “hug around the neck”.
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She says the best thing about being a big sister is telling Braxton and Royce what to do, so they can learn how to be a big kid like her. She spends a lot of her time playing pretend with her Disney princess dolls and castles. Braxton often joins in with his knights and dragons and they will hide away for hours at a time. They really, truly are best friends. It brings tears to my eyes both in how beautiful it is and in how it may change. He is going to miss her next year.

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Hayleigh is his idol and favorite playmate. The way he says her name melts me. No one can say it like that if they try. I hope that no matter how old I get in my head I can always hear the way he says it to her, so full of affection and admiration. He insists he likes scary and spicy things. He does not, however, like “pinich” (spinach).  He wants privacy going potty but then will say he is still potty training and needs help. He hates being alone. Hates it. He struggles to go to sleep at night because he can’t stand being alone. Usually he will “read” books for a long time before falling asleep. He is entranced by the pictures. He smiles with his eyes. It is one of my favorite things about him.
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He loves cuddling. His love language is definitely physical touch. He loves to give me nosies and kisses I can’t wipe off and to rub our cheeks together. He wants to meet a pirate and a knight in real life. He often asks me if witches and ghost-es are real, just to be sure. He wants to protect his sisters. The other day at their Dr. appt he told me he would cover his eyes and hide in a corner because he doesn’t like to see his sissies get “hurted”. When either Hayleigh or Braxton gets spanked the other one either cries or will grab their stomach and say it makes their stomach feel funny and sick. He hates wind, or as he calls it “cold blow”. He thinks sticks are treasures. He planted a rock the other day so it could grow into a big boulder. One moment he can be clenching his fists and steaming-the next he will be throwing his arms around me and scooting to find a comfy spot on my lap. On Easter morning he ran in to our bedroom around 6:30 am and shouted "Satan lost! God win-did!"He is always up for an “ad-benture” even if it is just a trip to Wegmans or a walk around the block. If you want to get on his good side, give him a donut. If it is a chocolate one, he will love you forever. He will nervously lick his lips and chin, leaving an almost constant chap mark. When he doesn't do it for a few minutes, he will excitedly praise himself. When I put on chapstick it is worse, because he likes to "wick dah favuhs off" (lick the flavors off). He loves to have boy time with Peter and send us girls upstairs for girl time. He has moments where he is so masculine-all man. And then their are moments where he is at home playing princess games and house with Hayleigh or asks to watch Cinderella for rest time. He and Royce have gotten pretty close too. Perks of being the middle child. He calls her “Woycie-Booboo” or “Woycie Boogah”.  He talks to her in babble more than real words, and always while he is down on her level, as close to her face as possible and squirming with energy and excitement.

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When he wants to ask a question he will say “Mommy I have something to tell you” or “Mommy, I have two things to tell you”. He is self-conscious of his “sticky-uppy” hair. He will mat it down with water when he sees it in the mirror. He often will say in an embarassed tone “my haiwuh is cwazy. I need a haiwuh cut”.  When they stay up late they mistakenly say “staying up early”. He learned to snap. Actually he just made the motion with his fingers and the sound with his mouth. He showed the people in the Ark at church a couple months ago. Apparently they giggled at him. That made him embarassed and kind of mad. He will tell me stories of times he was a little boy. And he is always asking questions about what babies and toddlers can do (compared to what big kids can do). He is concerned whether or not food is “guten fee” so I can eat it and not sleep for a really, really long time. About once a week he insists on wiping himself after going number 2 and will use almost an entire roll of toilet paper before he realizes the toilet is clogged. He “just wants to make suwuh it is weally clean of all duh poop.” He and Hayleigh are excited to just walk in my parents’ back yard and eat vegetables right out of the garden. Braxton is planning a family picnic party at Hamlin Beach for this summer. He wants us all to bring instruments for a family band. He is trying to be brave enough to kill bugs for me when Peter is gone. Usually he will panic and then try to throw a tissue or shoe at it. He is yet to actually kill one. He lights up the room wherever he is. I love when he wears his knight hat, or big sunglasses, or one of Peter’s ties out in public.  He says he wants to go to Heaven, but he is scared of it too. He asks if they have TV and snacks and beds in Heaven.

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His favorite animal is deer. He regularly will want to drive through parks to look for them. If a word starts with a double consonant sound, he will usually pick just one consonant to use when pronouncing the word. I just love it. So much. He wants to read the story of the crucifixion  and of David and Goliath almost daily. He is captivated by them. I can almost see the wheels turning. Sometimes he runs with his shoulder hunched and a goofy little twist at the waist. He still wears a diaper at night but he likes to wear underwear over top of it.  He will sometimes sit on the toilet until his little legs fall asleep and then he can’t stand up. His voice. Just his voice. I can’t imagine not hearing it. I sometimes just video him talking or playing so I can have the sound of it forever.  Jayna, Pop and Papa are his favorite people. He has a special kind of seizure dance when Jayna arrives and a special kind of anxiety attack when she leaves his sight. He thinks he is a big kid, but still will want to curl up in my arms and wrap us both in blankets. He still falls asleep on me some days. The sound of his breathing is a lullaby for my heart.
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He and Hayleigh will ask some days if we can have a “tickle fest”. When someone is sad or sick he is always trying to find ways to “feel them better”. He sometimes says to me “Mommy, call me Buddy boo. Say ‘I love you Buddy-boo’”.

She answers to “Bee-Bah”.
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She and her brother have the same laugh, a kind of chortle giggle. It is equally contagious. All my kids have the same crazy arm and patterned breathing wave when they get excited. She will put her ear right up next to my mouth when I hold her because she wants me to whisper or sing in her ear. Recently she has started grabbing my face with both hands, putting her mouth up to my ear and babble whispering to me too. She adores Braxton.  She loves to run up and tackle-hug him or pat him on the back when he is sad or bend down and put her face right in front of his, at an angle, and babble. She walks with a little “don’t mess with me” waddle. She sticks out her stomach, raises her chin, sets her sights on something and goes straight for it.
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She wants to color so badly like the other two, not with crayons, but with markers. When he first got her hands on sidewalk chalk she laid down on the pavement and colored intently. She purses her lips and makes popping and spitting sounds as she drones around from room to room. When she lays her head on our shoulder in a hug, she pats us on the back. It is the best. She folds her hands behind her back. She roams. She still wants a bottle, warmed up. She doesn’t like juice. She doesn’t want to hold your hand, unless she is uncertain of a situation, but that uncertainty never lasts long. She would play in the road if she could. And Jayna joked the other day she would give the on-coming traffic her sassy hand to dismiss them. She will yell at every dog she sees, even if they are not barking. She still twirls her hair to fall asleep.
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She likes to play with Hayleigh’s toy camera, but she wants to keep it in my camera bag, not the toy bin. She makes the “num-num-num” sound on her bink too. She hated her dolly that she got for her first birthday. She would throw it every time we gave it to her. Or she would stash it in the far corner of her crib. Now she curls up with her, always in her left arm. She doesn’t say much, but she is very vocal. There is no guessing what she wants. She will “talk” with inflections of sayings but not say the actual words. She calls my mom and dad both “Nana” which is okay I guess because the other two call them” Nanapop” when referring to both of them. She will not let any door stay open (including the fridge or dishwasher) and will take any dishtowel off the stove or hook and throw it on the ground. Even at other people's houses. Her cheeks sag when she gets tired. It makes her lips all smushy. All of them had this. Gosh, I love to smooch those little lips and those soft, chbby cheeks. She will go from sleeping to being rudely woken up to smiling and jumping at the bars of her crib in about 1 second. She won’t wear bibs. And she is the messiest eater ever. She is always playing games to be goofy or to get attention. She wants to be part of every conversation and laugh along at every joke. Getting her to look at me for a picture, let alone smile, is a task. It has always been this way. When I get a good picture of her I feel doubly proud of myself. She is always happy to see us. She yells and bounces with excitement and wants to be scooped up right away. She loves wagon rides. She sprawls out and lets the wind sweep over her. She thinks she is entitled to as much or more leg room in the wagon than any bigger sibling. And she will fight for it. She will laugh and pretend to be shy and bury her head into you. She sits on my lap and we put our legs up-me on the coffee table and her on my legs with her feet crossed at the ankles. She prefers to eat her snack on the go in her snack cup than at her feeding seat. She wants to come up on the couch so she can stand and crawl around. She will physically shove Braxton or Hayleigh off my lap so she can sit there. Paisley barely eats her dog food anymore because Royce makes it her mission to feed her from her own plate/tray. She will even get bowls from the toy kitchen and fill them with her crackers for Paisley. Her favorite book is “I love you so…” She picks it almost every time. She has a hilarious scrunchy face. She has so many faces. 
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She either wants to be held and cuddled or she is running around. She has a special tone when she says “mama” and “dada”. She really, really needs and wants us. I can’t refuse. The only toys she really likes are mega blocks, Hayleigh’s princess dolls (to undress and re-dress their snap on outfits) and matchbox cars. She is obsessed with shoes and coats. She loves to dress up in Hayleigh’s dress up clothes or jewelry, headbands and crowns. She walks around thinking she is a big deal whenever she is dressed up.  She won’t eat a plain peanut butter sandwich, but give her a Clementine, any kind of berry or sweet potatoes and she will inhale them. She is adorable. She is sassy. She is perceptive. She is just so goofy. She is determined. She is selectively deaf. She is nearly fearless. She is independent. She is temperamental. She is flexible. She is terrifying. She is endearing. She thinks she is pretty funny. And she is right.
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