When you get married, you get a lot of comments from non-Christians, whether they're married or not, that bash marriage. Jokes about funerals, the "old ball-and-chain," stuff like that. Christians are usually really good about being positive when they're talking about marriage. But there's no difference when they're talking about having kids. Christian or not, parents almost always bash having kids.
Yes. That we do. When my kids are misbehaving, I want sympathy. I need support. A place to vent. And so I'll post something witty on Facebook to let off a little steam. I'm an external processor, so my closest friends hear a lot about our parenting struggles.
Because it is a struggle. Parenting is not really designed to be easy at any time, and some phases of life are naturally more challenging than others. (Hello, having two toddler boys at once!) But if you took all of my comments about the boys to people other than 'Stache and the boys, would your conclusion be, "Libby thinks her boys are wonderful and that children in general are a blessing?" Um. Maybe not. Complaining comes more naturally than praising. The boys themselves hear more "You're Mama's favorite Twinkle in the whole world!" than "TWINKLE! You are making Mama so UPSET RIGHT NOW!" (Although the last one isn't exactly an unknown phrase in our household.) But remembering to talk positively about them to a third party? That's harder for me. I have other things that seem more urgent to talk about.
But I want to do that. I have two amazing, lovable boys, and I want to tell you about them.
These are a scattering of things I love about my boys.
Munchkin has the warmest brownest smiley eyes I have ever seen. Sometimes, when he is very pleased, he won't smile with his mouth, but his eyes will just beam. My grandfather died recently, and during his funeral, I realized that Munchkin has his way of holding back his smile until it wells up in his eyes. My grandfather used to do that when he was telling stories. He enjoyed telling jokes so much, and he'd tell it to you with a straight face, except for his smiling eyes giving him away.
Twinkle's hair is the color of wheat in the sun, soft and smooth. When he was younger, he had these two curls on either side of his ears, and he always reminded me of a duckling, or a baby owl, or something equally precious. He looked exactly like a Raphael cherub.
Munchkin insists on wearing pants at all times. If one is not in the bath or in bed, one's lower limbs are to be clothed.
Twinkle, on the other hand, is blithely unaware of any reason under the sun why pants, or even underwear, should be necessary, regardless of the company, temperature, or time of day.
When one of Munchkin's friends is unhappy, Munchkin always goes to them and strokes their arm or holds their hand. If it is a much younger, preverbal child who is crying, he will confer with me on what his friend needs: “Mama maybe he needs my blanket. Mama where's his pacie? Mama maybe he needs his mama.” He will then fetch items of comfort until the child stops crying.
When Twinkle is successful in the bathroom, he immediately runs to Munchkin and says “You needa say Good job Twinkle!” because if Munchkin does that, then he will get a treat, too, and Twinkle is always eager for Munchkin to join him in having a treat.
When 'Stache comes home, both of the boys spring up in the air, shriek for joy and then dash in the direction of the front door. When I return after being gone for the whole day, they run outside to meet me and then stop short on the porch or in the yard, milling about and trying to look diffident and unconcerned.
Munchkin's favorite thing to eat at Sonic is the chicken strip sandwich, which he describes as, “I wanna chicken, and a salad [lettuce] and a top [bun].”
Twinkle is always up for a snuggle, although he has the attention span of a guppy. Think of it as a “power snuggle.” Intense, joyful, and a little sticky-sweet around the corners.
Munchkin is very careful when he eats and although he does not have amazing table manners, he is usually a very clean eater. As a consequence he never believes me when I tell him he has chocolate (/yogurt/soup/strawberry/peanut butter/...) on his face and resents my attempts to clean what he believes to be an already clean face.
Twinkle is the world's messiest eater and has cheerfully resigned himself to face scrubbings as the cost of eating lunch.
Munchkin and Twinkle are both eager for “Jesus stories” at naptime. I have to stand in a certain spot, because that is the story-telling spot, and I must begin all the stories with “Once, Jesus was with his friends ...”
Munchkin holds his chin when he's considering something, because he's seen me do it. He also likes to begin his deliberations with “Hmmmmm;” another clear imitation.
Twinkle enjoys getting cozy under the covers and sometimes at bedtime will pull the covers up to his chin and ostentatiously close his eyes and assume his “sleeping” expression, which says, “What a good boy am I!”
Munchkin and Twinkle's favorite movie is Prince of Egypt. It is one of three movies that they have watched all the way through. They have watched Aristocats 2 times, King of Dreams 5 times, and Prince of Egypt about 50 times. They reenact it a few times a week, racing through the house on hobby horses and shrieking “We will break the chain of the dynasty!”
Munchkin likes spicy foods and believes that this is because he is older than Twinkle, and that it is part of the natural process of growing up.
Twinkle is enormously proud of his ability to heave himself up and over the back seat of our van and shows off at every opportunity.
Munchkin is so tender and loving with our cats. He likes to lie down beside them and gaze into their eyes. He hugs them nearly every day.
Twinkle's favorite thing is for me to hold him in my arms and rock him back and forth singing "Rockabye Baby." If I was willing to do this 10 times in a row, he would be up for it, and would probably ask for an 11th time.
Munchkin has never met the cheese he didn't like, and has a particular fondness for goat cheese. So far, cheeses Munchkin has tried and enjoyed include chevre, several degrees of cheddar, habanero cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, Colby, pepperjack, Provolone, Gouda, Edam, Havarti.
Once I found Twinkle drinking straight espresso left over from breakfast, right from the pot. He loved it and asked for more.
Munchkin is much better than I am at remembering to water the tomatoes, and eagerly drags the hose from the front yard to the back, after first extracting my promise that I will not turn on the water while he isn't looking.
Twinkle has more mischief and glee in his little finger than Shakespeare's Puck. His smile is ear-to-ear, so wide his eyes almost squeeze shut. His shoulders hunch up and quiver with excitement.
Having children is like watching magic. It is like watching a miracle that gets a little more miraculous every day. You should have one, get one, or borrow one. They're the best.