Sunday, July 18, 2010
Sometimes when I look at my kids, I think of what most people consider the norm - and that would probably have been a photo of just me on a bench with Charlotte and Marcel. How much less rich my life would have been if I'd stopped there. They are all so different and so alike in many ways. Anna and Marcel are quite alike in their interests, Léon, Charlotte and Amaia look very alike. I can see myself in all of them regardless of gender and colouring. Looking into your own eyes in another colour touches the depths of your soul. This weekend Marcel has spent most of the time listening to the same song over and over trying to learn the lyrics - something I myself would have done at his age. Charlotte sometimes drives me mad with her awkwardness and shyness - again traits I too suffered from at her age though overcame. The little ones are so endearing with their smiles, their chat, their nonsense, their understanding of the world. I watch how Marcel interacts with the smallest ones and I feel pride at having raised such a gentle, lovely boy. He acts indecisively like his father and I cringe. I ask him to tidy the kitchen and he does a sloppy teenage job and I want to kill him but he was my first love so I can't. He smiles his smile and sparkles his beautiful green eyes and my heart melts. He comes home from school and leaves a report on his bed, forgetting to show me it. I find it and read he is one of the cleverest kids at his school, polite, well-behaved, full of enthusiasm and I hold my breath, thrilled that by some fluke I have managed to raise the perfect child. That's what being a mother is all about. Charlotte's teacher, at our parent meeting, stops on more than one occasion and gasps - My God you are the same person - she gestures like you, she moves her hair like you, she talks like you. I rarely see this myself. I am bemused and yet proud. She says to me - Charlotte is unaware of how bright she is. Again I am secretly thrilled at having got something right. I love her freckly nose, her clear green eyes. Her niggling with the little ones sometimes drives me insane. Her hours of patience with them in the next instant amazes me. She's more patient with them than me at times and her parenting wisdom stuns me when she sees better how to deal with them than me. Her refusal to ever brush her beautiful hair drives me batty. Her tomboyishness puzzles me as it is so far from where I was as a young girl. She talks enthusiastically about footballs in a way I'd have spoken about ABBA at her age - I have produced a me who is the antithesis of myself! Léon is my fragile little angel: my lovely, caring, gentle boy. He has the most cheeky smile. His transparent blue eyes are flecked with yellow. Had I stopped at two kids, I'd never have known kids could have yellow eyes! He adapts easily to everything, yet is so needy of our love. He's my special darling Pudgeman. His laugh makes me laugh. His hugs are so precious. Nursery tells me about this well-behaved, happy little boy and again I am proud. His spot problem and other problems he's had since his horrible chicken pox as a baby make me want to protect him and cocoon him in love, to keep him safe from the world but as he grows and I offer him a little more independence, I am proud of my brave little boy. Anna has a fiery nature and two odd eyes - one darker than the other. Had I stopped at two kids, I wouldn't have known I could have had an odd-eyed kid! Her eyes draw me in and fascinate me. Anna's favourite word is Whhhhhhhhy? She argues with me and her older siblings because she believes she knows better than us at times. This makes me laugh because she has such baby logic. And yet the minute the big three go for a night with their father, Anna walks about wailing as if her right arm has been removed. When they return, her faces breaks into a smile and she tells them how much she loves them. She's very definite about her likes and dislikes. My like pink, my ikke like blue. She can make her large dark eyes fill with tears at a perceived wrong as she mutters my am very sad. Anna is my sweet little drama queen, my daddy's girl. Anna is obsessed with being a big girl in comparison with Amaia. She studies her for hours so she can point out everything she has that is bigger than her baby sister. Being big is very important to Anna! Amaia is my perfectly content smiler. She's my happy eating machine, my nosy feeder. She pulls my boobs to look behind her when she's eating. She's my standing baby who refuses to bend in the middle. She wants to learn to walk before she can sit steadily. She loves to be hugged and kissed by me and all her siblings. Her face lights up for each and every one of them. Had I stopped at two kids, I'd never have known I was capable of giving birth to a 4.5kg baby without drugs and smiling five minutes later! She smiles and observes all day long and I need her as much as she needs me. I watch her sleeping. She sucks in her sleep and I wonder if she's dreaming of me. She is another beautiful precious child with deep thoughtful eyes of another odd grey/green/blue shade. The only thing that makes me sad about my large and beautiful family is a fear that I won't live long enough to watch the youngest ones reach my age. I can't ever imagine having only had the two kids society expected me to. I love each and everyone equally. I love the way they are individuals and I love the way they need each other.