There are days around this house when the noise of four growing, thriving boys blurs together in loud ear numbing decibels. Today was one of those days. Ollie was unhappy, Noah was mimicking, and the older two were just trying to be heard over the Littles as they ran around finding new species of something-or-other or traveling to "the bottom of history."
But despite the noise, and my (often) lack of patience for the noise, there are always times of appreciation for each of my boys. Times when I think "Wow...where did this kid come from?" or times when I have to hold in the laughter on my face when I am being told something "very serious."
Take Jake, for example. Last night we were called into his room with tears. "Mommy...I'm scared that if I move my foot I will NEVER (a favorite word in Jake's vocabulary) be able to find this place again...and it is a really good place to put my foot." First I tried indifference. "Jake...will it really matter? I am sure you will find ANOTHER place just as good." Nope. Didn't work. Then I tried assurance "I am sure you will be able to find it Jake." Didn't work either. "How do you KNOW? Do you EVEN know for SURE?" I had to give up. I really didn't want to laugh but had to leave the room before I did. Thankfully, "the perfect place" was "one daddy arm" from the bottom. That worked...thank you Josh.
Or there is Max. The middle child stuck between the big, smart older brother and the little attention stealing babies. What's a kid to do? Well, if you are Max, you will live up to your name and do everything at a level of grandness. Affection? watch out little ones! Crying? he can contort his body like the best of 'em. Love? there is nothing like Max when he finally calms down enough to hug. Today they were trying to get me to read their minds (following a discussion on how only God can read minds). "Mama...know what I was thinking?" "Hmmm...nope. Still don't know." "I love you into the black hole and BACK!" Quite the kid.
Of course, the babies too have their quirks. Mr Solemn Noah crawls around the house all afternoon with a somber look on his face only to randomly break out into a huge grin or a groovy little move. And there is no one like Noah to make me stop what I am doing and hold him as he crawls to where I am and lays his head on whatever part of me he can get to...including feet if I am standing.
Laughter abounds here...sometimes it is hard to discern from crying...but overall it is a happy house. Which brings me to our little laughter boy...Ollie. He keeps us amused with his quirky personality, mood swings from high to low, and his overall entertaining personhood. He is quickly finding his place as the youngest child and (if I could get over how cute it is) we are going to have to break him of tattling. See, Oliver likes to attach himself to some random object during the day. He will crawl around with it in one hand, chew on it, throw it around, etc. The only problem comes when others find this claimed object and decide to take a turn. It doesn't matter if Ollie is accross the room. If he sees someone with it...whatever "it" may be...watch out! Screaming, tears, and pitiful glances at mommy come quickly. Jake rolls his eyes, Max pleads the "he didn't have it" card, and Noah just hits him on the head with it. Me? Oh I typically sit back and let them work it out. Usually they do.
Sometimes I wonder what they will turn out like...who they are becoming; but that thought is quite overwhelming. Most days I just pray for the grace to guide them through the day...hour by hour...with love and understanding and lots of fun.