This summer has been the best and busiest summer I've had since I became a stay-at-home mom. I think it's been a combination of my children's ages and the fact that I, for the first time ever, hired a sitter for two mornings a week to keep Ben while I spent those morning doing anything and everything with the big girls. I remember when Mary Ellen was a baby and needed that morning nap, the mornings were so long trying to entertain Hattie while her sister slept. I wasn't looking forward to that when summer was nearing, and I knew the girls would be home all day, every day. Our budget allowed for me to either put Hattie in a summer camp of some kind 2 days a week or for me to hire someone for Ben while I took the girls out on "adventures." Thanks to a friend who gave me some great recommendations for sitters, I'm glad I chose the latter and got to enjoy the fun things of summer with my girls while Ben napped comfortably at home and was well cared for by his baby-sitter, who happens to be a very sweet, beautiful college girl, so I'm sure he didn't mind :).
And now we are nearing the end of summer, and it's true that I am sad to see it go. In just six short days, we will be back to having to be somewhere at certain times and carpool lines and packing lunches. I am looking forward to having some time alone with Ben again while Hattie goes off to kindergarten and Mary Ellen goes to preschool 3 mornings a week, but it will be an adjustment for all of us.
As we close on Summer 2011, here is an update on my kiddos and what they've been up to:
Hattie has become a fairly good writer and reader. Sean or I can tell her to write a word, something easy that she can sound out, like cat or dog, and she can sound it out and write it, and it's legible! I'm so proud of her. She's always just wanted to learn and do well and please. I think she's going to be a shining star in kindergarten!
Mary Ellen has always played well by herself. I guess it's a second/middle child thing because I've heard other moms say this about their second child. She is just more independent and has no reservations about doing what she wants, when the thought comes to her mind, like putting makeup all over her brother.
Mary Ellen has a very tender side to her, too, though. She still cries when we leave her in nursery on Sundays, probably because we aren't consistent with it, but she goes often enough that she knows the women there. I know the first day of school will be hard for her. She will definitely shed tears. She is very close to me, and does not like when I leave the house without her. And when I return, she always runs up to me saying, "Mama's home!!!!" like it's the best thing ever :).
I guess the biggest difference between him and his sisters at this stage in the game is how mad he can get. If I take something away from him he protests much louder and with much more force than his sisters ever did. The girls have always backed off fairly easily, but he challenges me more, already, and he's not even a toddler yet. Also, he is way more into Sean than the girls were at this age. If Sean is around, Ben can't take his eyes off of him. He watches his every move. It's funny to me how when Ben says "dadda," it's always so happy and playful. When he says "mama," it's usually in a whiney voice, like he needs or wants something.
So that's what the kiddos have been up to. Growing and ever-changing and developing. And for that, I am so thankful to my God who has let me borrow and love these precious lives He's created.