“Mom, Mom, do you want to see my game? It’s called ‘me do this and then this.’ You play like this.” Will sticks a balloon in his mouth and blows air until the balloon pops out of his mouth. He gives me a smile like this is the most amazing game in the world. Then he runs off and comes back with two balloons. “Wanna see me do two balloons?” By the time he got to four balloons, I was actually quite impressed. Have you ever tried to blow up 4 balloons at one time?
In between the yells, screams, and arguments that are becoming quite common in our house, there are moments like this. In fact, if I am completely honest, I think these moments outnumber the other less enjoyable ones, it is just that since I feel responsible for their behavior, it is easier to focus on all the times they are at each others’ throats.
But the truth is, my kids really do love each other. They might not say it, but they show it multiple times each day. Like when Will climbs into bed next to Elise after she has been declared sick and says “Now me read you a book Eese.” Or when Elise makes a house for the boys on their new bunk bed with her blanket. And it shows up in the multiple times Elise will sit down and read the boys a book.
I know I worry about all the “bad” habits Elise is teaching the boys. I see her negative actions and words reflected in their behavior already. But there are plenty of good things she teaches them too. Because of her, the boys are developing a love of reading and books that they did not have before. With her encouragement, Will has discovered the joy of cutting and coloring, and making elaborate craft projects. Her interactions have encouraged them to develop very active imaginations (just like hers). It is so fun to watch them all play something as simple as pretending to be a family, to something much more complicated like trying to steal eggs from an angry mother bird (Elise is usually the bird). Even Seth gets into the play-acting now. Even her love of outdoors and wonder at God’s creation is shared eagerly with her brothers. I am sure that they will be begging to do school by the time they reach kindergarten because of her ability to show how learning can be so fun.
It’s been awhile since I’ve stated it, but I love having multiple children. I love watching the relationships develop. I love how attached they are to each other and how protective they can be of each other. Their relationships are so simple, which I think makes them stronger. Sure, they fight and yell and scream at each other when they get frustrated. We are working on that. But because they are so honest with their emotions, they don’t get bogged down with all the complications that adults have in their relationships. To them I think it is clear. I love you. Sometimes I can’t stand you, but I will always love you. And I will always forgive you. I hope that is true of them into adulthood. I hope they are building the foundations to relationships that will support them through life as they venture out on their own.