Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Dancer and A Fireball

"A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer." -Unknown

There is something so precious about watching a little girl dance with her Daddy.

Abby is right in the middle of a dance phase. She loves dancing! And if she doesn't hear any music, she will dance to whatever is going on in her little head. Adorable!

But my most favorite thing is when I get to watch Daddy and Abby dance together every evening when he gets home from work. Her whole face lights up when he comes into the room, and she can't wait for him to take her little hands in his so that she can dance her heart out.

I can't help wondering if they are already practicing for her wedding day. Don't grow up too fast, Abby!

Of course, then Ellie wants to get into the middle of it (you can see her starting to cut in in the photo above). However, she isn't as into the dancing thing as her sister. She would rather just cuddle.

"Pick me up, Daddy!"

"That's better!"

Speaking of Ellie, we have learned something very important about her. Actually, maybe it's more that I've learned something important about being a Mom.

We function on a tight routine over here. Everything is scheduled, posted on cabinets, labeled, and/or documented exhaustively in the eight page manual I wrote about the kids' day. In case something ever happens to me, someone else should be able to walk in and pick up their routine without too much trouble. Morbid or prudent? I'm going to go with prudent because it makes me sound a little less nutty.

Anyhow, with my super type A personality, I've never been one for flexibility. The words, "patient" and "adaptable" have never accidentally been credited to me. It was okay as long as...well, as long as I didn't have any children.

So with our schedule, stuff runs like clockwork. The kids always know what is coming next because it's exactly the same thing every day. And they do the same thing all together.

That's probably why God gave me Ellie.

Ellie is one of the most precious little fireballs you'll ever met. She does life 110%. She's 110% thrilled to be alive or 110% upset with the entire world. There really isn't much of a middle ground at all. Honestly, I hope she takes that zest through the rest of her life. If so, watch out world!

But the challenge is that along with her zest, she also has some sensory issues. She's very easily over-stimulated and can decide with no warning that she has had enough. Unfortunately, with quadruplets, it's hard to ever find that quiet, calm spot where other kids aren't crawling all over her.

Hey, I feel you, Ellie!

So we took a departure from the schedule because I finally realized that one size doesn't fit all. It's only been, what?...13 months?

I've been telling people since we got pregnant that our kids are four individual children with four individual personalities. Except, sometimes I forget that little detail in my mission to get to the end of the day a survivor.

Ellie maxes out on sensory overload at roughly the same time everyday. She gets cranky and won't stop crying from about 5:30pm until bedtime. Everybody else plays quietly, eats dinner nicely, and enjoys time with Daddy. Ellie, on the other hand, wants to be held all evening long and even then, still cries most of the time.

And that's why Ellie now gets what we like to call, "Special Rest Time." Every evening, after dinner, from about 6:30pm to 7pm (give or take 15 minutes. Look how flexible I am!), she gets to go up to her crib with "Big Bunny" and "Little Bunny" and play quietly alone with no one else in the room. She LOVES it! She actually starts smiling and giggling when we tell her that it's "Special Rest Time!" For her to get a chance to breakaway from the tribe and spend some alone time means that she can handle the noise for the rest of the evening once she gets back up.

This is what she looks like after "Special Rest Time!"

I'll spare you the photo of what she looks like without it. If you are curious, just imagine the above photo 110% in the opposite direction. Yikes!

So what have I learned? This whole motherhood thing can't be run by a clock and a manual. Sometimes I have to depart from how I expect and want things to go (herding them en mass from activity to activity) and embrace the differences that make my kids unique. Ellie is a fireball, so I need to make sure that she has her quiet smoldering time along with exposure to the household roar of the flame.

And we are all happier for it!


  1. Good for you.....flexibility is EVERYTHING!!!

  2. Haha, Ellies sounds like me! I have to have my "quiet time" or I am so crabby.


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