After months and months of not having the world under control enough to do it, we finally hosted a get-together for friends over the weekend. It wasn't a big to-do or anything, just some of my favorite people gathered together for a few hours.
There was a point in the day when I was upstairs feeding Mila. We were far away from the action because she needs a little quiet to maintain focus. Which, THAT has been an interesting addition to my life. Sometimes I wonder if she was sent to remind me to stop and enjoy the small moments just a little bit more because life's pace undoubtedly has been altered since she joined the party. As I sat there holding her, a steady stream of voices drifted upward and through the window to my ears. I listened to the noise, fully realizing it was the sound of joy.
For a very brief moment, I considered what I was missing. Not much, really, because I have a Mila to hold, but there was another brand of happiness happening on the patio below. The kids were swimming, the adults were chatting ... everything about it was good.
Then laughter cut through the cacophony and sweetened the air even more. Cheerful, bright laughter drowned out the talk. Alexis' laugh was intertwined with the laughter of other kids, creating a joyful chorus. It made me realize I was in the exact right place because I was able to stop and just enjoy that sound for a moment.
As if realizing the importance of moments like that one, Mila looked up at me and grinned.
It was just ten seconds of laughter, but it's the little things that matter the most.
If we're being completely honest, there is one kid who is getting the short end of the stick around these parts lately. Mila requires most of my attention and a good chunk of my patience, so Alexis is left with a lesser version of me. It's the version that says, "That's nice" a lot without looking to see the magnificent drawing thrust forward. It's the version that has forgotten how to cook. It's the version that expects a whole lot, but doesn't give much of anything. And Alexis is loving it.
Somehow, someway, I have managed to turn neglect into a parenting style that works for The Big Kid.
I can't seem to manage to feed three people during the day, so I focus on feeding the Tiny Human. Alexis feeds herself and sometimes she feeds me. So far the kid has gone from only knowing how to use the microwave to being able to cook macaroni-n-cheese, spaghetti, ramen, and a whole host of other pasta-based dishes. Today she mastered the art of the scrambled egg.
Teach a kid to scramble an egg and she will eat for years. Offer to scramble the egg for her and she will die of starvation waiting.
Laundry is a whole other issue. I haven't done laundry in years, but I do tend to gather the dirty clothes. Alexis piles her dirty clothes all over her bedroom floor, right alongside her clean clothes. Apparently she knows which things are clean vs dirty because when I ask, she is able to point me in the right direction. When I stopped asking, a miraculous thing happened -- Alexis eventually took all of her dirty laundry down to the washing machine and ran a load. By herself. Without being asked. She even did it before she ran out of clean underwear.
Between the ramen skills and the laundry washing, I do hereby declare the kid ready for college.
Other "skills" the kid has mastered include being allowed to pick up her sister (she isn't allowed to walk while holding Mila -- yet), changing diapers, and fetching pacifiers. In other words, I have started outsourcing some of my responsibilities. By the time Mila is a toddler, I'll be sitting on the couch eating bonbons all day.
Alexis thinks the whole "more responsibilities" thing is the bestest.
Mila and I agree.