Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The 18-Month-Old Christmas

 Meera, age 18 months, having a bottle while we pack up at the hotel before heading out to the Portland Symphony Orchestra, December 20, 2009

Since Kyle, Owen, and Meera were all born in May it is hard to not always be thinking of the contrasts and similarities between the experiences of things during the cycles of life. Braydon and I think and talk about this all the time. From the time Meera was born we've been doing the compares and contrasts, and we're completely fascinated by the similarities and differences. There are obvious differences -- like the mega-humongous-difference between raising twins vs. raising a singleton; raising boys vs. raising a girl; raising off-the-charts-spirited children vs. raising off-the-charts-angel child; adopted children vs. biological children; ETC. The similarities are not so obvious, but they are most definitely there -- like the fact that all three of our children are extrovert social butterflies who love being out-and-about; that all three of our children seem unusually (strangely?!) happy pretty much all the time; that all three of them are physically big and tall for their age; etc. The fact that they were all born in May means that they were all just turning one in the springtime; were swimming like little maniacs in our pool the summer they were one; were the exact same age for their first time trick-or-treating; were all 18-months-old for their first non-infant Christmas. The fact that they were all born in May also means that Meera's been able to wear the boys' hand-me-downs throughout her babyhood -- which just makes the compare and contrast come to mind more often because we see her wearing things this winter and they are the things the boys wore "the winter they were her age" (etc.). I think because of the same age cycle between them, the memories seem to come more easily to the surfaces of our minds. This Christmas we thought about it a lot. Getting Meera in and out of all her snow gear was a major job (like it is with any toddler), and we couldn't help but think, "Remember when we were getting TWO in and out of all that snow gear?!?!!" (now THAT was a job!). Dealing with one baby while traveling is a task, but we remember the craziness of traveling with twin toddlers and we sigh with relief that we got a singleton this time around! Meera's delight in Christmas this year reminded us of the boys' delight in the Christmas when they were her age. The year the boys were Meera's age they loved the bouncy Santa dangling from MorMor and MorFar's ceiling over the dining table. And Meera loved that too this year. They used to love to take ornaments off the tree and toddle all around the house with them. Meera did that this year too. The boys were off-the-walls, crazily-active, bouncing-baby-boys when they were Meera's age. Meera is calm and laid back and happy to just quietly toodle around doing her own thing. The boys were so hard to contain. Meera is so easy. The boys took forever to get to sleep at night, but then would be out 'till morning. Meera goes right down, but is up all night when we're not at home. Each Christmas is special, of course. But there is something really magical and momentous about that 18-month-old Christmas --- the first Christmas that they are really consciously aware; the first Christmas that they have an inkling that something really special is happening; the first Christmas that you can really see them taking it all in. That 18-month-old-Christmas is a once-in-a-lifetime for a parent to enjoy. We don't take it for granted. And we feel so lucky to have been able to get three of them.
Braydon, Kyle, Owen, Heather on a sleigh ride through the woods, Christmas 2005.

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