We'll start with the classic third kid...Turner or T-dawg, T-bug, T-bone as we lovingly refer to him around here. This child is a dichotomy. He's arguably the most content, sweet, smiley little thing, but at the same time I feel like he's been fussy and needy most his nearly four months. He does go with the flow, as if he had a choice. We're on the go almost always at least five out of the seven days a week, so he's in his car seat A LOT! Of course, this means he's on an unpredictable schedule, which goes against every fiber of my being. Schedule = Consistency = Predictability = Sleep = Good Life in my book. Both Elena and Cal were rockstars in this category, Turner not so much. Besides the schedule and lack of sleep, he's certainly the most expressive of our kiddos. He smiles at ANYTHING. It's great and so darn cute. You may remember Cal "The Scowl"...it took every trick in the book to get him to smile. Elena was so content but I had to use some good material for her too. Ha! As far as tricks go, he's rolling all over the place, gives us the occasional giggle, and coos around the clock. He's changing by the day and is just the cutest little thing. I know a lot of people think he looks like Cal, and he does, but really he reminds me so much of Elena at that age. His expressions, his eyes, his smile take me back to that short time we had with her then. I'm starting to feel that familiar anxiety creep in like it did when Calvin was around this age. Elena was injured six days before she was four months. I remember with Cal, being so scared until that time period passed and I feel that familiar fear in my gut now as T starts to approach that age. It's weird and unfounded, but I'll feel it for awhile longer (though it never really goes away).
Calvin is a two year old. Some days he's great and fun and hilarious and other days he tests every fiber of my being. Other than the emotional swings of toddler-hood, he's a pretty great kid. He's sweet, funny, caring and polite. He is my helper with both Elena and Turner and takes his role as brother very seriously. He loves to read and has memorized several books on account of us reading them to him 5,278,902 times. He loves puzzles, music, singing, dinosaurs, sports and school. Pretty eclectic taste! He requests Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" all. the. time. and demands Kidz Bop on all car rides (shoot me). We often catch him singing songs to himself or sitting with a book "reading" out loud or to Elena. "Gasketball", soccer, golf, football and "lollyball" are favorites around here, all of which make Dad beam with pride. Though, it's the indoctrination of the IU Fight Song and the memorization of the entire IU Men's Basketball team that have Chad really happy. Calvin will gladly tell you his favorite player is "Juwaaaaaaan", his cousin Sam like "OG" and Uncle Evvy likes "Thomas". I think his head will explode when Chad takes him to his first IU game.
We moved him to a big boy bed back in October and he's *nearly* potty trained, though that's been one step forward, two steps back. He goes to preschool two days a week and loves to hang with his best buddy Max. Christmas has him allllll excited this year, which is exciting for us to watch. And he's looking so grown up these days. He's growing like a weed and never stops talking. I wish I would write down all the funny things he says and does. I'll never tire of hearing him say "I'm losing my britches!" (when his pants are falling down) Cal has a big heart and that has me proud. Watching him grow is such a privilege.
Last, but not least, Elena! It feels good to say that she's finally on the upswing again! Having a child with special needs is a constant roller coaster. Things will be good for awhile, then something pops up (perhaps like emergency hip surgery), enter crisis/setback mode, then usually things get ironed out again. I'm praying that we stay on this track for a good long bit, because it's SO awesome to see her doing so well. I can't express enough how much she loves school. Anytime anyone asks her about it, she immediately smiles and starts to "tell" them all about it. Chad and I just can tell that her little brain is soaking up all the input, academically, socially and therapeutically. We are so encouraged by it all. You may have seen the video I posted last week of her taking steps in therapy. This is also a new "stride" (pun intended!) for her. She must feel great with two new, stable hips under her because all she wants to do is stand and take off stepping. It's so fun to watch. She's really doing great on all fronts...visually, communicative skills, academically, physically....she continues to prove to us that there is so, so much more that is possible for her.
All of that said, it's a lot. There's still so much to manage. Our list of "shoulds" is a lot longer than what we are actually doing. She needs a lot of support and we get a lot of "homework" in her therapies that we struggle to implement at home. It really is a full time job. With our schedule and three kids who all need me all day, the tasks are impossible. But, it still feels good knowing all that she is doing, without me at my full devotion to all her needs.
Momlife is hard ya'll. It feels somewhat better, to see all that my kids are and achieving, (do this!) written out when every day feels mostly like a failure. Three kids is no joke. It makes me almost cringe when people say to me what a great job I'm doing because, let me be real clear here....we are surviving. That's it...there's little else to our day other than just making it to bedtime. And when bedtime comes, I breathe on the couch for approximately 15-20 minutes before putting myself to bed. I haven't seen 10pm (honestly, 9:30pm) in months. I know I'm not alone, there's lots of you Mom's out there in the trenches with me. But, it's true...it's just a season (oh dear God, please let this just be a season!) and one magical day I won't clean up puke, poop or other bodily fluids. I'll rise in the morning after a full and complete night's sleep. I'll blissfully send all three kids to school and enjoy eight peaceful hours of nothing. Maybe I'll even put on real jeans, curl my hair (let's be real here, actually shower), and look acceptable in public. That day WILL come and it will be amazing. But for now, it's not...ha!
Our life, in all it's chaos, is still pretty great. I have three ridiculously, squeezably, cute kids who make me laugh (and cry), smile (and cry), and bring me so much joy (and cry). We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season and always. That's the Hinton's lately...and props to me for posting two weeks in a row....it's a win!