The first time she bit Justus, he deserved it. She had just joined our family and had recently received some very painful shots in her back. Despite our supervision, and despite repeatedly telling him not to touch her there, he did. And she gave a warning snap. It scared him. But we knew it was provoked and we gave her another chance.
Justus was so excited about school that his enthusiasm was contagious. “I go to school too!” his sister would yell excitedly. And he would respond, “Of course you can!”
“Um, no. No you can’t Thalia,” I always reminded them.
After we dropped him off, Thalia’s first words were, “Now we go to my school.”
“No Sweetheart. You don’t have a school yet.”
“Where we going?”
“To the gym, baby. Just like every morning.”
“Again?!” This is my toddler, ladies and gentlemen. Two going on twelve.
I made sure to spend extra quality time with her. We spent a couple of hours at the library, playing games and reading book after book. We stopped to scope out their amazing aquarium and say hi to all the “Nemos” and “Dorys.” Then we headed home to have lunch before picking up Justus.
It was pouring rain when we got back to the house. I stepped into the backyard with Georgia and heard the door close behind me. When I tried to open it, the door was locked. I started to freak out. The garage is closed, with no way to open it from the outside. The front door is locked, all the windows are locked, my phone is in my purse inside the house, my landlord is at work, and there is a torrential downpour. On top of which I have to pick up my son in 20 minutes or be charged an exhorbitant amount of money.
I could see her through the glass. “Thalia, open this door right now!”
She burst into tears.
“It’s okay! I’m not mad! I just need you to open the door!”
“Sweetie, you can do this. I know you can. You just have to go get your stool out of the potty and climb up to unlock the door.”
We stared at each other for almost a full minute before she turned and sauntered away. Was she going to play? Cry in another room? Climb in the litter box? But no. She quickly returned carrying her training potty.
She climbed up, undid the latch, and burst into tears again.
When I woke up Wednesday morning, the only thing that played in my head was Nemo singing to his dad, “First day of school! First day of school! Time to get up! First day of school!” I cannot believe that my little boy is old enough to go to school. Sure it’s only half day Pre-K and it’s not at the public elementary school, but it’s still school darnit! Continue reading First Day of School – Part 1
So after reading today’s blog post, it’ll be abundantly clear that I’m vying for my “Parent of the Year” trophy.
My kiddos decided to climb into the dry tub and play with their bath toys. I thought it was a good, safe place for them to be and started to fix breakfast. Then Justus walks out with my razor.
“Mama, do you need a haircut?”
“OH JUSTUS! Baby you can’t touch that. It’s very dangerous. Are you okay? Are you bleeding? Is Sissy bleeding?”
I frantically looked him over and then ran to check on his sister. He looked at me like I was crazy. “No mom. We’re not hurt.”
We had a very serious talk about not touching Mommy’s razor and then went on with our day.
In no big rush, we Skyped with Daddy and then took turns getting dressed. Finally I put on a movie and sat Thalia on my lap to fix her hair. I took out one of the previous day’s pig tails and started combing. A huge clump of hair came off her head.
My first thought was, “Oh my God there is something horribly wrong with my child.” But she seemed her normal, happy self. It was just the one clump. I couldn’t see a bald spot where it would’ve released from her skull.
Then it clicked.
“JUSTUS! Did you cut your sister’s hair?!”
Apparently while they were playing in the tub he took the razor, took the cover off, and ran it over the top of her hair, taking off a thin layer and leaving strands about an inch long behind in a stripe down her part.
He asked if I needed a haircut because he’d already given her one.
We’d brushed their teeth and read our story, “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.” Then it was time for devotions, prayers, and bed. We started reading today’s devotional on the peace of God.
“I want peace,” Justus said.
“Well baby, that kind of peace only comes from asking Jesus to live inside your heart.”
He looked up at me. “Then I want Jesus to live in my heart.”
We talked about what that means, about how we all do bad things but when we ask God to forgive us he makes us new and clean on the inside, and how when we ask Jesus to live inside our hearts, that means he’s always with us.
“Do you want to ask Jesus to live inside your heart?”
So we prayed a children’s version of the sinner’s prayer and Justus asked Jesus to come live inside his heart.
I cried tears of joy. My mama heart is overwhelmed. I have prayed every day since they were born that my children would give their hearts to God at a young age and follow him all the days of their lives. I am so amazed at the faithfulness of God, at this so tangibly answered prayer, at my child’s simple heart and desire for the peace of God.
Tonight this mama’s heart is full.
Some of my favorite Justus words:
- lenomade – lemonade
- Chicaflay – Chick-fil-a
- banban – Band-aid
- fofa – sofa
Some of my favorite Thalia words:
- hock – sock
- moobie – movie
- pity – pretty
- ‘no – snow (not to be confused with “No!”, which means no.)
Justus has started offering people near him sunscreen, which would normally be a kind, albeit slightly odd, gesture. Except that he’s taken to licking his hands and then calling it sunscreen.
We were walking into the grocery store this morning and an employee was taking a break outside under an awning eating a bag of Doritos. Thalia looks up at me, points, and asks excitedly, “Chips? Chips?”
“No, you may not have any of her chips.”
With a big sigh, she looked down. “Awwwww.”
Last night the kids were getting really wound up on the car ride home from Babs and PopPops’. “It is late. It is bedtime. You need to calm down.”
Immediately I hear Thalia start doing deep breathing exercises in the back of the car.
I love that Justus always wants to sing the “SUV” song from Veggie Tales with me. It’s our favorite duet. I also love that Thalia has begun to sing along too, although her personal favorite is the Cheeseburger Song.
Justus has fully mastered potty training and not had an accident in days but apparently some of our learning really left an impression. He followed me into the bathroom, waited patiently until I was finished, checked my work, and then said, “Mom, that was a big poop.”
“Um, thank you?”
“Mom. That was amazing.”
He has also invented a new imaginary friend, Newlut (who is not to be confused with the first imaginary friend, an elephant named Newart). Apparently Newlut lives way high up on the mountain, is a train like Cranky (who is, for the record, actually a crane), has three cars – one red, one, green, and one blue – and is friends with Percy and Thomas. Apparently he takes Justus to go ride on Percy and Thomas when I’m not around. And he was going to come visit later today.
My sweet, beautiful daughter has finally realized there is one creature she can boss around – my parents’ long suffering St. Bernard mix Parker. Parker is approximately 96 in dog years, deaf as a post, mostly blind, and the gentlest of the insanely large dog posse they have cultivated. We often stomp on the wood floor of the cabin while simultaneously calling loudly for Parker in the hopes that he will feel the vibrations and look up (he usually does).
When she (or anyone else) wants to get Parker’s attention, Thalia has taken it upon herself to start shrieking at the top of her substantial lungs, in a shrill voice, “PA-KUH! PAAAAA_KUUUUUUH!” Tonight that piercing scream was also punctuated by vigorous foot stomps.
I was going to write this really poignant missive about how hard it is to say goodbye but how I think we’re getting better at it; sad, sappy nonsense that will just make me more depressed and angry. I do think we’re getting better at the goodbyes but they also still suck tremendously. So instead of focusing on that, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of our day.
- I awoke with two tiny humans in my bed. One was attached to my breast and apparently the other felt left out. “Mom, Gerald is hungry.” (Gerald is an elephant.) “He needs beeboos,” (what we call nursing.) So I got to tandem nurse my daughter and an elephant which was a first for me.
- Justus went all morning in underwear without an accident! He even pooped in the potty. This may not seem like a big deal to you since you probably poop in the potty on a daily basis, but around here it’s front page news.
- Later, when I went to the potty (with an audience, as all mothers do) my son asked, “Mom are you pooping?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Let me see!” He peers into the toilet bowl. “Oh wow Mom! That’s just terrific! What a great job!”
- He hasn’t mastered sleepy time potty training yet so we put a diaper on him for nap. Afterwards he was supposed to put underwear back on but adamantly refused. Instead, he changed his own diaper. Because apparently that’s easier than stopping to pee when necessary.
- My sweet Thalia saw pictures of baby Graham on Facebook and started blowing kisses to him. “Baby! Night night, baby?” *smooch, smooch*
- My children already had Christmas while Daddy was here but we’re keeping up the decorations until after the holidays. This morning Thalia pulled down her stocking and started trying to wear it. When Justus saw what she was doing he had to join in. They wound up looking like little mermaids.
- While getting ready for bed I was helping Justus finish brushing his teeth. I turned my back for a second; when I looked again Thalia was pulling the head of her toothbrush out of the toilet and before I could stop her, she went back to brushing her teeth.
This morning Justus runs into my room closely followed by Thalia, both of them wearing only a diaper. “Mom! You have to help Thalia be Wonder Woman! She needs her super suit! Mom where’s my Captain America?! I need to be Captain America!” They spent the morning running around with Justus yelling, “Time to save the day!” and Thalia, his ever faithful assistant, trailing behind.
How did they save my day? They brought me handfuls of cereal while I was getting dressed, Justus gently coaching her.
This afternoon he adamantly refused to take a nap. For four hours he refused to take a nap. After it took an hour to get his sister down, he woke her with his tomfoolery. I thought we’d finally negotiated our way to sleep when he began sobbing uncontrollably, “I miss my Daddy! I really, really love you! Please hold me!”
Tonight he listened and obeyed, did what I asked, helped his sister, and went right to bed without a fight.
Forget life. This kid is like a box of chocolates. I never know what I’m going to get. It’s always an adventure . . .
I think it’s weird to say, “Happy Veteran’s Day.” It’s not really a happy holiday. It’s a day to be grateful for the sacrifice of the men and women who’ve borne the burden of our freedom.
So in a very particular order (I’m totally ranking them) I would like to thank the most important veterans in my life for their sacrifice.
4. Col. Levin Pinkney Tull was my paternal grandfather. He joined the Army Air Core and saw it become the Air Force of today, serving in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy of service lives on in our family. Thank you, Grandpa, for the immense sacrifices you made in service to your country.
3. Pfc. Levin Prescott Tull is my baby brother. He joined the Army fresh out of high school and grew from a boy into a man while in Korea, his first assignment. Thank you, little brother, for your service.
2. Capt. Candace Tull is my mother and one of the most amazing people I know. She did not join the Air Force until after all three of her children were born and she has always been an inspiration. Mom, thank you for your service, and for the wonderful example you set for me.
- MSgt Keith Wilson is my amazing husband and father to our two beautiful children. He is currently serving overseas and has been for almost a year now. He has sacrificed so much for the sake of his family and his country and I am so proud to be his wife. Thank you.