I'm still a little bit holding on to summer. This was a big one for us. It was lovely and hard and I think all of us grew by leaps and bounds.
Sometimes I think older siblings get a little eclipsed when there's a new little one. Maybe not eclipsed entirely, but a lot of their identity gets funneled into being an older brother or sister. There are so many "how do you like having a baby in the house?" "how do you like being an older brother" questions - which are good and important and necessary, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for everything else.
I want to always remember that this was the summer Guthrie taught herself to read and became comfortable reading aloud to other people - not just her brother, though that was such an important step. She slowly, sometimes painfully, makes her way through short chapter books these days and almost always happily reads Laithe whatever he brings her. Bedtime usually ends with me reading a chapter from a longer book to both kids and then spending a few minutes cuddling after lights out. These days though she waits until Laithe is asleep and then requests to read one or two more books to herself. I feel like Marnie in Little Women when I kiss her head and admonish that she not stay up too late.
This was also the summer she started to really think outside of herself. She's always been so sensitive and empathetic to others, but she has this new desire to help others and to see needs that could be met. Many evenings she will ask if she can do anything to help me. This has also been the summer of needing privacy, needing some time alone to recharge and be inside her own head. She's spent hours drawing in her notebooks and I watch how sometimes the transition away from whatever is going on in her mind is difficult. I'll admit it's a little frustrating sometimes, but oh I remember those days! When I was so involved in my play that I stepping out if it was just the worst! She spends time quietly on the porch with her pocket knife sharpening sticks and I want to guard that time and space for her.
For Laithe I will remember how much he changed physically. Gone is my tiny boy with baby chub still hanging around. He lengthened and stretched until it's easier to see a six pack than a belly. He's always been so intensely physical and this summer was all about football and dancing and rough and tumble. His first trip to the ER for staples in his head (just a few, after a tumble down our top flight of stairs) and I steel myself that it will likely be the first of a few if he's anything like his father. He's intentional with his movements, but I've noticed that in the right environment he'll perceive the risk and then run towards it with all his might. Last summer with his mop of blond hair he reminded me so much of Dennis the Menace, but this year he's full on Peter Pan with an impishness I'm discovering is a personality trait as much as it is his age. Oh he makes us laugh! He tells terrible jokes!
I always knew he loved music, but I guess I didn't realize that there is a constant stream of song in his head. This summer there was so much singing! I occasionally sneak videos of him singing while involved in another activity. I love it.
Though she needs a break from him, Laithe has such a strong desire to be with his sister. She's as much his sidekick as he is hers. I worry sometimes about him carving out an identity separate from her, but he's got years and years to do that. In the past couple months I have also watched him start to really play with other kids, not just next to them. He's beginning to engage with some of our homeschool friends instead of just sitting by them while everyone does their own thing. He comes home from park dates with stories of shenanigans I didn't even realize were happening which makes me very happy for him -- even when they do involve decaying animals!
Both kids have become so independent. I find myself doing the dance that all parents do - to not hover, to let them go out of my sight at the park (within family rules), to help me in the kitchen with real tools and dangerous objects. Some days it's tough, but honestly most days it's a relief and a joy to watch them move comfortably outside arms length.
I have amazing kids. They are such a gift. And I'm so honored to be their mother! For sure it was a summer to remember.