A treasured double-dark this week, and we've spent it visiting with Greg's family. His mother is in town, staying a few days with Greg's sister, and then a few days with us later this week. But for the first part of the week we went up to his sister's house in Marin County for quality time with our twin nephews. The five kids have a great time playing together.
Today was Greg's birthday, but we spent it mostly doing things for the kids - we had to trek all the way up to Fairfield to pick up a replacement retainer from Baz's orthodontist, and then we took them to the Bay Area Discovery Museum with their cousins. This place is a gem. Baz was a little put out that the sign outside says "for kids ages 0-8" (he just turned 9 a week ago) but he found plenty there to keep him interested. The museum is all the best California values in one place - a gorgeous natural environment; ecological, health and social issues illustrated at every turn; and creative, artistic designers sparing no time or expense to make beautiful things for kids to play with.
I was realizing today how much I enjoy watching my kids from a little distance. I love seeing what little independent beings they are. (admiring my handiwork? :) In any case, they are so much more creative when I stay out of their way. Over time this is evolving into a bit of a parenting philosophy for me... just leaving them alone to see what they come up with. More often than not I am thrilled with the results. It doesn't apply to all aspects of their lives for sure - I worry far too much about the food that goes into their mouths, and about making sure they have clean hands and faces, and that they're presentably dressed. But when it comes to playtime, I am quite comfortable sending them on their way alone. There are three of them, after all. And for the most part they play wonderfully together, and look out for each other.
They are getting older. It's hard to remember how it felt to have all of my energies poured into a newborn, or a crawling infant, or a toddler. To worry about pacifiers and strollers and babies putting everything in their mouths. Sometimes I do miss the less-complicated times though... this week I've had to do things like explain to Ayla what the death penalty is, and tell Baz that he is under no circumstances allowed to try to kiss girls in order to annoy them. Baz wants to use the iPod with earphones in the car; Ayla wants to text her friend on my iPhone. We can see where this all is headed, fast.
(sigh) and on that note, it's time to celebrate another milestone, as Isa turns the big 5 years old tomorrow!