Yes, it's that time of year . . . sharp pencils, new boxes of crayons, crisp and colorful notebooks - all packed into a brand new backpack. Getting textbooks for subjects like math, spelling, reading. Organizing all the classes' syllabi. Meeting your new teacher. Back to school.
I've decided I'm back in school, too, but my supplies are diapers, onesies, butt paste, and moby wrap - all packed into a little diaper bag. My textbook is google for subjects like colic, infant massage, and healthy sleep habits. My syllabi cannot be planned and is dictated daily by my daughter. My daughter is my teacher!
This is surely the most fun school there is, the most rewarding, and at times the most challenging. The lessons are never ending and classes go from morning to night and then through the night. Karis is a wonderful, albeit very demanding teacher. The lessons I'm learning:
It won't be this way for long (yes, Darius Rucker, I know it's true). The statement is true in many ways, both the good and the less than ideal. I won't be able to fall asleep with her on my chest for long. She won't cry from 8 to midnight every evening for long. She won't sleep in the bassinet at the side of our bed for long. She won't be a baby for long! Karis changes every day, she has rolls on her chin and dimples in her elbows. She flails her arms, and she seems to focus in on me when I talk to her. I wake up often and think, "How can I be so blessed to be the one who gets to play with this little doll all day every day?" She fits into different clothes all the time, dislikes diaper changes, and usually enjoys tummy time where she can show off her strong head lifting skills. Karis enjoys morning walks, she usually is alert and content as we stroll the neighborhood. She's recently enjoyed meeting many of her new friends - young and not young. Baby Everett came by for a morning, little Julia and babies Caroline & Jessa are already some of her favorite gals and I know she will be seeing more of them all in the future. Karis also enjoyed her first experience at Caribou coffee with Beth & Lindsay, she loved it (like we all knew she would). Karis went to her first big picnic for Trevor's work a couple weeks ago (where mom had her first public nursing experience - let's just say I'm glad I brought a sweatshirt. Uff da), and last weekend went to her first party with her uncles. She's definitely a people baby!
I'm learning what's truly important - I'm still desiring of wanting to have lists, to cross things of them, to get thank-yous done immediately, to have a clean house, to keep in touch with people, to make sure my brain doesn't turn to moosh with baby talk. BUT, Karis is the most important thing, which is making prioritizing pretty easy lately. I've been surprised at how life seems more simple now . . . I used to think children made it more complicated, but the more I learn from Karis, the more my perspective shifts. A good friend just this week said she feels like through her daughter she's getting to experience life on a whole new, deeper level. I of course agree.
I'll admit that the first couple weeks, I thought - "This is easier than I thought it would be! I mean, she just sleeps all the time!" Well, those thoughts rapidly fled as my dear daughter woke up and found her voice! There were a couple days when I was feeling a frazzled and frustrated thinking, "I seriously can't even fold the laundry or write one thank-you a day. I'm home ALL day. How is this possible?" I ended up reading a couple of things that were (and are) such a blessing to me in answer to those thoughts. One is a post from this blog that I regularly follow, speaking about slowing down, putting aside to-do lists, and enjoying our families (incidentally, the blogger has a daughter named Karis! A friend passed along the blog to me after we'd decided on the name, so I find this to be very serendipitous and feel an interesting connection to the author). I also read a book given to me by a wise woman called Living on Baby Time. As I read the simple chapters, I kept thinking "I AM this woman!" The author wrote about exactly what I was thinking/struggling with an addiction to feeling productive and literally seeing results of what I'm doing. Well, I'm starting to think that a double chin and dimpled elbows are a beautiful tangible result of my days at home. Anyways, the battle with to-do's does and will continue, but I know the lessons and help will continue as well. Like I said, Karis is a good teacher (and God, of course!).
Other things Karis has done lately, besides you know the usual eating/sleeping/pooping/crying more): Karis has been enjoying church, and especially all the loving attention she receives there. She makes funny noises, some of them sound like she's laughing or like she's a billy goat. She seems to be focusing more, we love to watch her bright blue eyes. When sleeping, Karis is so peaceful. When awake, she loves to be held and cuddled and swaddled. And of course, we love when she gives that little passed gas smile - even if it is just a reflex at this early stage in her life.
We introduced Karis to our favorite movies, Elizabethtown & Dan in Real Life. Let me tell you, those flicks look different through the eyes of parenthood! That is, we will not let her watch Elizabethtown until she's at least 25. And Dan in Real Life gives a glimpse into parenting adolescents. We also introduced her to The Office (I know, we're horrible parents!). Trevor feels Lord of the Rings would be too intense right now, so we'll wait on that fave. All this to say, we're enjoying some relaxing evenings, as well as the luxury of kind of just taking her wherever we are. I'd like to start reading her the Chronicles of Narnia soon . . .
The rest of the uncles came to meet Karis
Karis's first big picnic/work party/luau
Give me a "K"!
On the way to church . . . (this pic is the most recent)
Hanging out with uncle Drew
Bathtime with dad
Showing off on the changing table