Our family has entered a very sweet stretch of time that I've been soaking up and enjoying for the past couple of weeks.
Jasper is growing up and becoming more independent. I have a great deal of peace about his upcoming eye surgery (Sept. 22nd), and he is SO CLOSE to walking. He stands independently without hanging on to anything and thinks it's a great trick (Mommy agrees!). When we go to the church playscape or bounce house, he thinks he's as big as his brother and climbs up and in and through things. He is a lot more curious and exploratory than Bennett ever was. I also discipline him when he fusses/whines at me (by saying "No fussing," in a firm voice, and if he's still out of control about it after that, he goes to bed for a short "rest out," which calms him down pretty quick). This has REALLY helped around our house. I'm no longer chased after with crocodile tears and I'm not fussed at half as much as I was. He's now using his words to communicate a LOT more, which has also greatly increased his vocabulary (yay!).
Michael came up with a three-step rule system of respect that Bennett recites, complete with hand motions, and it has made a wonderful difference in his whining and occasional tantrums as well. I'll try to get a video of it and post it soon. He holds himself in check most of the time, even in difficult, tired situations. I'm SO proud of him. We've also been having some intense theological discussions over the past couple of weeks (for a three-year-old) about the devil and heaven and hell, and why Satan chose to be evil, what he tries to do to hurt us, etc. etc. It still amazes me how MY faith is always stretched in these conversations, and how much my Benito gleans from our talks. He is also fascinated by baptism (ever since my twin 13-year-old cousins were baptized several weeks ago) and cheers on people at church when they make the decision to do it. It brings me so much joy to watch and be a part of my little boy's growing heart for the Lord.
Together the boys play more easily and have fun together as a little team. In the early mornings when they both get up, we all go outside and play for a while, then come back in to eat breakfast, and then we take turns playing in each of their rooms. Bennett and Jasper play hide and seek, peek-a-boo, take rides on Bennett's riding horse, play with Bennett's cars and car garage, do puzzles, stack and knock down blocks, wrestle, etc. etc. And they both LOVE it, which I love, of course.
(taking a little "nap" together - they do this every afternoon, silly boys)
(outside in the morning...before things get messy)
In general, going out in public is easy now, and even fun (imagine that!). And beyond that I'm delighting in watching the way my boys interact. Riding home from our play date this morning, I watched them in the rearview mirror as they shared a frosty from Wendy's. They were both grinning and laughing at each other, and loving being buddies. Not all seasons are like this, that's for sure, but I'm taking this one in and enjoying every bit of it. I am so very thankful.