You may have guessed my 4 year old boy, Gaby, drew the one on the left.
“Mommy, it’s you. You have 14 legs.”
If you count, there are actually fifteen tentacles, which is good because that means I’ve got at least one arm. I look like I belong a thousand leagues under the sea. I don’t know if he’s comparing me to Ursula or Oswald. In any case, I suspect I look fat.
Sofy gave me brown hair and nice big eyelashes—those are real, by the way. I’m also wearing what appears to be a red robe. Am I a disciple? Am I late for supper?
I’d never compare my self to Jesus or even esteem myself in the same league, but you have to admit, there appears to be a biblical reference here. Mary Magdalene? Perhaps. My middle name is Maria. Interestingly enough, my daughter didn’t give me any feet at all. AND, I also have only one hand in her drawing.
Should I be concerned about these too completely contrasting images? Despite the age difference and creative development of the artists, I can’t help but read into it. On one hand, I could be pretty speedy with all those feet. I could potentially get a lot accomplished, except I’ve only got that one hand. On the other foot, (I’ve only got the one hand) I ain’t goin’ anywhere without feet. But, I do have hair, full red lips (at least a bottom lip), and a flattering red robe that was hip circa 33 AD. AGAIN with the one hand thing. I’m probably hiding candy from them in the other.
What their drawings also have in common is a big smile. Phew, that’s a relief. More often than not, I find myself rushing the kids to get dressed, or brush their teeth; scolding them for tattle taleing, biting each other, yelling or making a mess with the toys. I begin to worry they’ll think I’m always mad, at them. It’s hard to keep a happy face at the end of a strenuous workday, but they have been anxiously waiting for me to get home. And they are happily obedient, as long as I devote every waking second to them.
It’s hard to divide your attention equally with each child, so I try to read and pray with them collectively each night.
Tonight, I read them a short book about the rainforest and some of its native inhabitants. Sofy was all ears, asking questions about the animals beyond the stated facts. For the most part, I couldn’t answer, and I wouldn’t make the answers up either.
Parenting Tip: Kids are like elephants. (I never quite understood this phrase so I googled it) They never forget anything you say to them, so try your best to always give them true and simple facts, and peanuts if they’re not allergic.
While I was reading about Orangutans, my youngest, Vicky kept interrupting me, “Mommy….Mommy, I’m! Not! Sleepy!”
“O! Kay!,” I’d say and continue reading despite her unhappy disclaimer.
“Mommy, can I have leche? Two leches.”
“Yes, Gaby, as soon as I finish the story.” I proceed to read about the Toucans, Lemurs and Tarsiers, careful to show them each pictured animal before reading its name and factoid.
“Mommy, I’m scared,” Vicky whined, covering her face with her blanky as I started reading about the Green Tree Python. Sofy helped assuage her fears by adding wide eyed, “Those are REALLY dangerous.”
“Mommy, can I sleep here,” Gaby asked.
“Sure, climb up to bed.” Sofy has a bunk bed; although Gaby has his own room, he sleeps on the top bunk for the most part.
“No, I wanna sleep here,” he groans and points to the floor next to Sofy’s bed.
I want to argue against this, but it really can’t hurt. I try to let them enjoy the silly, harmless, though sometimes messy, things that seem to bring them such genuine joy—i.e. Play-Doh, bubbles, camping on the floor in your sister’s room.
“Mommy, I’m not sleepy,” a less energetic Vicky insists.
“Vicky, just count sheep. Count ten sheep like this, 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep.” Sofy demonstrated, but yawned after 5 sheep. Is this actually working?
I finally wrap up the story, and prepare a makeshift sleeping bag on the floor for Gaby.
“Ok, everybody, let’s pray.” I thanked God for each of them; for daddy; “for Abuela Gladys,” my son interjected; “for ALL the family, Gaby,” Sofy corrected; I thanked Him for school, toys, crayons; “for M&Ms,” Gaby added excitedly, “and the new house!” We prayed for Mima’s health, for “Daddy ’cause he has a cough”, and “for Nicole’s hair to keep growing”.
Every night, Sofy prays for her friend who was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the first grade year. Thankfully, Nicole is in remission. Sofy was very excited when she saw that her friend’s hair was growing back.
When everyone seemed satisfied that we had prayed for, and been thankful for EVERYTHING, they still weren’t “sleepy”.
“Okay, I’ll sing you guys a song.” Nobody made a peep, so I started in right away.
Twinkle Twinkle is an obvious favorite for them, but I have several songs I enjoyed singing to them as infants, and even now. The Beatles, ‘A Hard Day’s Night‘; ‘The Way You Look Tonight‘ as performed by Frank Sinatra; and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow‘ from The Wizard of Oz, are my personal favorites.
By the time I’m done singing, Vicky and Sofy are fast asleep. Gaby, quickly gives up camping, and shadows me as I first carry Vicky to her bed, then head to my room to shower and go to sleep, or rather, to write this blog.
He sits quietly in the bathroom until I am done with my shower, even though he can lay down with his dad who is already in bed.
“Mommy, can I sleep with you?”
“Of course,” I say wrapping my tentacles around him.
“I’m going to drink my leche and go to sleep, so I can snore like daddy,” he says grinning from ear to ear.
I smile and quietly say a quick prayer, “Dear Lord, Please don’t make me share a bed with the Predator AND Chewbacca. AMEN.”