Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Random acts of kindness

There's so much opportunity for things to fall apart with so many young kids underfoot all day long. But sometimes, moments like these spring up, and I'm reminded that, along with the opportunity for trouble, there's also plenty of opportunity for bonding, and for relationships to be built among these four siblings.

Moments like these are the ones I treasure in the midst of the chaos. The ones I snap pictures of so I can remember and look back on a few minutes later, when someone takes someone's favorite crayon and pushes it down the floor vent and "now it's melting and it's ruined!" and someone hid a poopy diaper and we don't know where and a sippy cup of milk has gone missing and "it's okay because we'll find it when it starts to stink, Mommy."

Because before it all fell apart, the bigs had decided to start a reading club in the living room. Abby, noticing Levi wasn't joining in, picked a board book for him ("so he can't rip the pages like he usually does, right Mommy?") and plopped him down to read with them.

"This is my book that Aunt Cathy gave me when I was a baby," she explained to her littlest brother. "But since you're the baby now, it's okay, you can have it. Just don't rip it, okay?"

When they tired of reading, they scattered. Levi, confused as to where all his playmates went, wandered around the house, whining and looking sad and lost.

"Levi, come here," his biggest brother beckoned. "We can do this puzzle."

Floor puzzles don't really hold much interest for the one-year-old yet, so Levi tried to swipe his hat instead.

"No, Levi!" Caleb responded. "Don't touch my hat. You can't be a cowboy until you're four, and you can't have my hat. Uncle Matt will get you a real cowboy hat when you're bigger. But you can have my boots when I'm too big for them."

Later, Jacob wanted to color. And logically, so did Levi. I stood back as Jacob dug out paper for each of them from my formerly organized craft cabinet and laid them on the little table in the dining room.

Levi found a crayon that had not been sacrificed to a floor vent and proceeded to do what he must think the rest of us do with crayons and paper, which is to stab the paper repeatedly and make erratic scribbles everywhere. Jacob, meanwhile, continually reassured Levi about his artwork.

"Levi, that's a really cute purple puppy you're drawing," he would say, looking up only briefly from his own project. "I'll draw you a truck for you to color."

They will never know how much these little random acts of sibling kindness warm my heart.

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