I was rereading my blog and realized I hadn’t posted updates about the boys in awhile, so here we go.
Cade is very happily four. Mommy is very happy that Cade is now four. Two and three were rough ages for us, I really can’t pick which one was worse, but they were definitely not my favorite times. He is such a big helper when it comes to cleaning and cooking. Still totally my perfectionist kid. Not only does he have a pretty hefty dose of that from Brian (I would LOVE to be a perfectionist-it just seems like an awful lot of work. 😉 ) apparently this is pretty common with oldest children. He likes to have rules and instructions for everything, and if he is not asking Brian and I for input he is bossily telling others exactly how things go. His brother is becoming less and less tolerant of this behavior, but we’ll get to that. We now have pretty lengthy discussions at home or driving, and I love how his brain works. This age has been so much fun because he has made so many logical leaps and his imagination has taken off so conversations tend to actually make sense-or, well, you can at least follow why it would make sense to him-but they are still pretty ridiculous. He enjoys creating things from arts and crafts to legos, and he has a kind-hearted streak a mile wide. He’s my blatantly honest kid. He is honestly angry. Honestly sad. Honestly injured. Honestly happy. There is no dissembling, he wears his emotions loudly. I love it. There were days over the past year where I felt that all I did was tell him no and provide discipline and it was miserable, and now he seems comfortable with following directions (for the most part) and I LOVE seeing his face completely light up when he figures something out for the first time, or accomplishes a task. He is my serious kid- both taking things seriously and doing things seriously. He has an infectious laugh when he gets going, but compared to his crazy younger brother he is practically stoic, haha. He just likes things done “just so” even when he is playing, and needs all rules and regulations upfront and then everyone needs to follow them. He has become increasingly empathetic (again, YAY FOUR!). He gets sad when other kids are sad, and he wants to rescue anything that needs rescuing, and he seems to FINALLY be understanding the concept of “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” He told me the other day-when he was negotiating for a pet- that he wants a cat because cats are mostly gentle. He said, “I rough house sometimes with Zane, but mostly I like to be gentle.” And he is, for the most part, sweet natured, it’s just hidden under the seriousness of going about his daily business. Gentle may NOT be the word I associate with him just because he has a short fuse like his mom and when he loses his temper it is almost immediately physical-BUT he has gotten a ton better at controlling and tempering his reactions (another glorious thing about four), and I no longer worry nearly as much when he is around other kids-except his brother, but brothers clearly don’t count. He gets grumpy when he’s hungry (again, just like his mom) and it is seriously a Jekyl and Hyde sort of transformation before and after meals-Zane does this too, but not nearly as dramatically. I can’t believe he is four. He is such a boy, now, no baby traces left. Watching his and Zane’s personalities develop continues to be my favorite thing about parenting. I love my little man, so far four has been a wonderful year for us.
Onto Zane! Oh, Zane. Zane was, comparatively speaking, a lot easier at the beginning of two than Cade was. I felt like Cade really started pushing boundaries a little before two, and honestly didn’t stop (he just tried out a variety of boundary pushing methods) until a little past his fourth birthday. Zane, however, is a people pleasing ham. He loves to make people laugh and KNOWS he is cute. He’s got a much better grasp of humor than his literally minded older brother, and he uses it to his advantage. Where as Cade is single minded, Zane will try to divert and manipulate a conversation-especially when he is in trouble. He is a hugs and kisses kid, always wanting to snuggle and be right on top of me, and we’ve gone through a few phases of attachment anxiety. He, however, suddenly hit the boundary pushing with a VENGEANCE. Now every little thing is a test of wills, just like it was with Cade, except when I try to talk to or discipline Zane he’ll start giggling, making faces, or shut his eyes and turn away. He will be three this September, goodness I hate this age. I LOVE my little dude, but having been through these years with Cade I recognize the symptoms. For the next year we will spend almost all of our time reinforcing the same. rules. over. and. over. And while Cade is direct, Zane is sneaky. He instigates fights with his brother and then wails loudly when Cade punches him in the head. Discipline has gone from straightforward, “Don’t hit your brother.” with Cade, to “Don’t be annoying/instigating/stirring up trouble…this is how you were all of the above.” with Zane. He is my “let me figure out all the laws of physics from experience” kid, too. Cade wants rules, Zane just flings himself at the world and expects to bounce back. I do wish he was a little more risk adverse, but watching him tackle things head on and pick himself up of the concrete with a shrug is also inspiring, and I hope he learns caution, but doesn’t lose his enthusiasm.
They are both smart kids, but in their own ways. Again, Cade is my, “I want to practice my writing and reading. Please give me a worksheet.” kid, while Zane (at two!) has figured out how to do a handstand unassisted and has picked up writing most of his letters just from watching Cade. Zane figures out how things work in a heartbeat, and he’s already better at creating things with legos than his big brother. Cade is reading simple sentences that have sight words in them, and picked up on sounding out words like it is nothing, all while mastering the rules of chess so he can play against his dad. Socially, Zane is far more competent than Cade was at this age, but he doesn’t have the patience to sit still and do a worksheet by himself (I mean, c’mon, he’s not quite 3 yet…). Cade, on the other hand, has finished up one preschool book and I have a feeling the “curriculum” I picked out for him this year will be done by Christmas, lol.
As brothers, they are a hoot one minute and oil on fire the next. They both like to be with each other all the time, even when they are mad at each other. If one has a good (bad) idea, the other will try and make it even better (absolutely horrible) and the fact that neither has managed to seriously injure the other yet is proof of divine intervention. Busted lips/noses, black eyes, and large bruises do not count as serious injuries in this house, just an FYI. They love each other, in a fierce, wild, inexplicable brother way. And when I read passages about “brotherly love” in scripture now, I feel like there is an added depth to that description that I just didn’t understand until I watched my boys grow in their relationship with each other. By all standard accounts of how society give and take is supposed to work, the boys’ relationship doesn’t make much sense. They do things to each other that don’t make sense. They laugh at each other doing things that don’t make sense. They get mad at each other for reasons that don’t make sense. They are nothing alike in temperment or interests. And yet, for all that they don’t make sense, there is this underlying brotherly connection that just can’t be denied. They have each others’ back. They won’t hesitate in throwing each other under the bus when mom or dad confront them about their latest transgression, but if anyone else tries to interfere with the other one-well that just doesn’t fly. They love each other despite the fact that they spend half their time getting the other one in trouble or beating each other up.
Update on ME, because being a boy mom has changed me irrevocably. From gender and race issues to parenting challenges, being a boy mom is awesome and so extremely weird. I thought the connection between mom and son was honestly a little exaggerated sometimes, but having two boys now, I can say that they relate to me in ways I don’t even understand. I love my mom, but I don’t relate to her the way my boys relate to me. I am their world in a totally odd way. They both love Brian, and the relationship they have with him is special, too, but they focus and center on me almost exclusively some days. I can’t explain this with words, but I am more aware of Brian’s “otherness” of being a guy because I watch how the boys relate to me and their otherness is completely unfiltered. It doesn’t matter that I was the one who did most of the rough housing, wrestling, physical play when they were younger, or that I’m the one out there helping them on the playground and taking them for bike rides. I am an extremely physically engaged mom (when not 8 months pregnant, haha) but STILL, the boys cater to me. They offer me places to sit in the shade. They want to help me do all the things-include carry groceries and open doors. They compliment my outfits (even if it’s just jeans and a tshirt) and they give me so many hugs and kisses and tell me they love me multiple times a day. They are, in short, fiercely protective little people who don’t see me as helpless or incapable, but rather as insanely valuable. I was (and am) all about gender equality, but I believe genders ARE different. I was never one to demand doors be opened for me. I did martial arts, I shot guns, I shunned dolls as a girl, I was just as good as any boy, dang it. And I was, and am, just as good as any man-but I am different. And never has this been made more clear to me than raising these two feral boys who still act mostly on pure instinct insisting that mommy sit in the shade where it isn’t so hot.
So there you have it. My beautiful, crazy, smart boys are growing up. I love them fiercely and they return the favor. I am so excited about homeschooling them this year, and grateful for the continual challenge that parenting is-I am a better person because of being their mom. …My prayer life, at the very least, has multiplied exponentially, hahaha.