Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am so thankful to have the sweetest one year old in the world! He has his normal, toddler tendencies, of course, and he can really sap my energy as any 17 month old would. There are moments with Talmage, however, that truly make me feel unworthy to be his mother.

Last week, I was carrying him past a large picture of Greg Olsen's "In His Light" that we have hanging in our Dining Room when he motioned toward the picture and made his usual sound when he wants something--"Huu--uhh." I moved forward toward the picture and he smiled at it, like he really recognized who it was for the first time. I said "that's Jesus" and he replied, "Jezuh" as best he could. I repeated it, just to make sure he was really trying to say his name, and sure enough, he said it again. He then started to wave to the picture with one hand, then with both hands (which he's never done before). That was followed by blowing kisses at the picture as we moved away from it.

The other night Cody called me in to see Talmage pretend to be a fish, smacking his lips together to make a little popping sound. He was on Cody's lap and they were reading a book, which had a fish on one of the pages. Wanting to show Cody some more tricks that he could do, I went to turn the page of the book when Tal gently pushed the it away and reached his arms up for me to hold him. It was as if he was politely saying, "that's enough of that for now, I really just want to love you, mom." I pulled him up to me and he squeezed his little arms around me. I started to cry...I think it was partially out of gratitude and partially because I don't want to let go of the tender moments I have with this little guy. He is so loving and snuggly for a baby his age. Not to mention good-natured and sweet. I don't want him to grow out of any of those precious qualities.

Perhaps there are some families that have more than one child this lovable. Some parents might not think Talmage is that out of the ordinary. They are probably right. In my circumstances, however, he is just what I need to counteract the hard times I experience with some of my other children. When Cody and I struggle with the behavior of our twin boys, I find that Talmage is a great source of comfort and peace.

Though he is starting to become a little bit of a nuisance to his older siblings, it is neat to see how Talmage seems to have wormed his way into their hearts. Before we said our family prayer tonight, I asked each of the kids to talk about their worries, so that we could pray over them. Hunter said he was worried about Talmage choking on something. Grant said he was worried about Talmage getting hurt. Talmage is also showing more affection towards them. He gives them hugs and makes a sound like "Awwww" as he's hugging them. He starting to say their names, as well..."Nana" is "Savannah." He's still working on Hunter and Grant.

The only thing I would modify about Talmage's behavior is his clinginess towards me and Cody. I would love for others to share in the joy of his love. He seems to only have eyes for Mom or Dad, even if the older siblings are around, though he still waves and sometimes even blows kisses to the nice strangers he sees at the store!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I spent  a  great deal of time completing this book for my daughter...I think it was worth it. I'm waiting for a special occasion to read it to her. Can't wait to tackle the rest of the gang's baby books! Couldn't we just add one more hour to each day?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Parental Rewards

We have a marble system at my house. When a child completes a chore, they earn a marble and place it in their marble jar. Each marble is worth 50 cents. When they want something extra (beyond their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs), then they pay a marble or turn their marbles in for cash to buy something they've been saving for. Cody and I are not as disciplined in using the system as we should be. Most of the time, the kids come out ahead--we are better at giving the marbles than taking them away.

Sometimes I wish there was a token system for parenting. I often feel I'm figuratively "losing my marbles" on a daily basis! Just recently, however, we had a few "token" experiences that filled my maternal jar to max. capacity. Some of these stories might not seem "token" to those on the outside. I consider them to be milestones, however, as we face daily episodes of short attention spans, bouts of anger, and mood swings as well as other normal kid tendencies.

Token moment #1: Hunter was having a really hard time last week. He was in one of those moods in which his self-esteem and ability to function were in their lowest states. As he was in time-out, bawling and moaning, Grant approached Cody and said, "Dad, I feel bad for Hunter, is there something I can do for him?" Cody, feeling it was important to use this as an opportunity to teach compassion said, " Would you like to take his place?" Grant agreed and dutifully went to serve his brother's time out. 

Token moment #2: Grant offered to take Hunter's turn emptying the silverware out of the dishwasher--their least favorite part to empty. When Hunter accepted the offer, he said "Thanks, Grant. You're the best!" 

Token moment #3: A conversation I had with Savannah recently showed me how pure my daughter's heart is!
Savannah: Mom, I just wanted to tell you that while you were upstairs I took another brownie and ate it. I just feel bad and I always want to be honest with you. I'm really really sorry!
Me: That's okay Savannah. Thank you for telling me. I have a hard time resisting brownies, too. 

Token moment #4: A similar conversation with Savannah at bedtime revealed that she was laying awake at night worrying about how she accidentally let the neighbor's dog out of their house and never told them. This particular dog has accidentally been let out a few times, so this occurrence was not too out of the ordinary. I made a few suggestions about how to resolve guilt and suggested she might want to speak with our neighbor as it would probably make her feel better. I forgot about the conversation, but sure enough, after a few days I was speaking with our neighbor when Savannah anxiously approached her and said " I just wanted to let you know that when I was over at your house, I accidentally let the dog out. Can you ever forgive me?" Of course, my neighbor was very gracious and promptly forgave her. 

Token moment #5: The primary teacher came up to me and told me how wonderful Grant did in class one Sunday. They were talking about Book of Mormon heroes and were asked to draw a picture of them and describe their picture. Grant drew a picture of President Hinkley standing at the pulpit in General Conference and told everyone that he wasn't in the Book of Mormon, but he talked about it and told everyone to read it! I had told him not too long befor that how President Hinkley had challenged everyone around the world to read the Book of Mormon at the same time, and that Cody and I had decided to participate in that challenge. I was so pleased that he remembered!