• I read a post about making New Years a time to reflect back on the surprises of the previous year: the things that happened without planning and effort and worry, but that just…came and blessed you. It seemed like such a nice idea, but as I tried to do it, I just couldn't think of that many examples in our year. There were certainly some, but most things seemed like, I don't know, basically a logical progression of what came before, I guess?
But I do think the way the kids grow and change is always such a surprise. THAT they grow and change, and even the general direction of their growth, isn't always a big surprise, but just the actual way it happens is so unexpected! This little Goldie, for example. We've had plenty of children dancing on top of tables and singing little strange songs while they do it. We've had other children that want to snuggle into your shoulder and wiggle off your lap at the same time (a perfect recipe for frustration, I might add). I don't know if we've ever had a child so determined to speak either in complex sentences or not at all, but it doesn't seem like an unheard of thing for a child to do. But somehow, Goldie just does it all in such a…Goldie-ish way. Unlike anyone else. Unlike you could predict. And yet utterly characteristic, once you look back on it. So yes, she keeps surprising me. As do all of the kids. I love it.
• Our bunny Nutmeg likes to sit on top of the baby (belly) while I pet him. What a useful platform! :) It's nice for both of us (all three of us?). Nutmeg also likes it when I sing to him. I know that seems strange, but it's true. I sing him all the bunny songs I know. There are a lot of them.
• I saw an ad for a store called "Buy Buy Baby" the other day and thought what a terrible name for a store that is. No one wants to plan to go a store and just "buy buy buy," do they? We like to think we're going to be prudent and deliberate and frugal. And if it's supposed to evoke "Bye-bye Baby"…well…I hardly need to say why that's a terrible concept to suggest to new parents, right?
• I stopped for yogurt at Red Mango the other day when I was out doing errands. (Incidentally, the three conversations I overheard while sitting there seemed so utterly right: they revolved, respectively, around Yoga, Trader Joe's, and GMO's. Ha!) I was remembering the first time I was in high school, driving myself in the car, my own money in my wallet, and had the sudden realization that I could do whatever I wanted. Like, I could stop and buy myself lunch. Without asking permission from anyone. It seemed so amazing. And, say what you will about the obligations of adulthood, it's still got that going for it. Sure, most of the time you are tied down to doing what you ought to be doing, or what someone else requires of you. But that ability to—even sometimes—choose to do what you want, when you want, well…it's not nothing.
• When I hear people talking about music they listen to (playlists! dance parties!), I'm always so impressed, and sort of envious, too. And surprised. How do you do it? I mean, I've never been someone that knows anything about current music trends, but I used to at least have my own music that I loved, and I loved surrounding myself with music. Several years ago when Sam and I went on a trip without the kids, and we were driving down the highway, windows down, listening to Ben Folds, I felt younger and cooler than I'd felt for years. (Although I knew, even Ben Folds was probably fairly far from "current" at the time! :)) We have music in the house for sure: piano practicing, the boys' choir songs, music we're studying for school. But at this time in life, with a few exceptions (Christmas music during December, for example; or at the computer when the kids are all in bed), I just don't listen to music for fun. I can't. I crave the silence too much. I feel like my mind is just like my counter right now, and if I get any chance at all, I want it empty. There are just so…many…people…talking! All the time! None of them, individually, are being unreasonably talkative, but there's always someone telling me something, and it adds up! Now don't get me wrong: I love it! I do. I love having lots of people around; I love hearing the funny and interesting things the kids say; I love the conversations and discussions and questions that come up because we are together so much. But sometimes it just feels like so much to hold in my head, and as much as I want to, I can't hold any more. I had a professor at BYU that said in his opinion, music should never be on "in the background." That it should be listened to, actively, or not at all. We all thought he was crazy, but I kind of understand now. When there's music on, it's not just like furniture or wallpaper or temperature in the room. It's another voice, asking for something and needing me to DO something. Asking me for notice, I guess. So instead of calming me it tends to make me feel more on edge. It seems a bit sad, but there it is.
• The thing that's so great about having some older kids now, though, is that I CAN get away and find silence sometimes. That same day I was out doing errands (alone—you can tell it made a big impression on me) I felt like I just wanted to sink back into the silence until it covered me up and I drained away and became totally white and clean and empty. I listened to the sound of the car wheels on the road. And my own breathing. And wind. I listened to other people talking to each other and enjoyed needing to say absolutely nothing in response. I said "Fine, thank you" and "You, too!" to the cashiers at the store and then went back outside and let the sun and the sky and the air fill up my lungs. I let my thoughts circle around if they wanted to and drift into nothing when they wanted to. I'm sure someday I will miss the chattering, and perhaps dislike the silence. But for now…it's heavenly.
• My belly is at the point where it not only surprises other people, but it even surprises me. I'm always hitting it into doorways or dropping food on it or burning it on pans. Such an odd, clumsy appendage. It's ME, but not me. I'm so lucky to be able to mostly enjoy pregnancy, but at this point I do feel like a melon strolling on two tendrils much of the time!