Tonight at the family dinner, we remembered why winter is the unpopular step-sibling of the other, more gregarious seasons.
Winter family dinners move us from the spacious kid-friendly backyard into the not-as-spacious house where suddenly everybody is shouting to be heard over the din of everybody else shouting to be heard. All twenty-five of us. We love each other, but seriously. We are totally pirates.
My two-year-old ate his mashed potatoes and gravy using only his fingers. My five-year-old put on a dress he found in grandma's basement. Jack accidentally knocked over a can of orange soda and doused his pants in the process, which meant that he decided he needed to go pantless while his sweats were tumble drying.
Basically, just your average Sunday evening.
In other news, my littlest boy turned two today, which makes me glad.
I'm glad that he can walk and talk and be sassy and fun. I'm glad he is not currently riding in an ambulance transport to a bigger hospital with a better NICU. I'm glad he isn't on a ventilator. I'm glad he doesn't have a tube running from his nose to his stomach for gavage feeds. I'm glad I don't have to drive forty-five minutes each direction to visit him. I'm glad he can run and clap and sing songs and be happy.
Basically I'm really glad that he and I (and the other guys) made it through the last two years. When Littlest came along and lived his first month of life in an isolette in the newborn intensive care unit, we began a journey from three children to four. Some people appear to do this effortlessly. I've heard from more than one seasoned parent that once you have three kids, it's all chaos, so adding another is no biggie.
Maybe for them. Maybe they are gifted in the parenting arts. Maybe they have easy offspring. Maybe they like to tell falsehoods.
Adding our fourth son to our already unique family felt rather like adding thirteen additional people into the family dynamic. Jack and Charlie both went berserk what with the hospital stay and then the baby coming home. Jack reacted to his newest sibling by painting the house with poo. Charlie began the downward behavior spiral that prompted us to seek evaluation and diagnosis.
Two years later, I'm really glad it's two years later.
We have come a long way from the baby who couldn't stay awake long enough to drink two ounces of milk, and the big brother who took Code Browns to a dastardly new level. The brother who went off the rails when the baby came home from his sojourn in the NICU? He tantrums less and asks questions more. He says please and thank you, and he flourishes with routines.
I wish I could say that I've forgotten the meaning of the term Code Brown, but today we discovered a petrified poop beneath the TV armoire downstairs.
There is always room for improvement. But there is also reason for thanksgiving.