mar·vel Pronunciation (märvl)
1. One that evokes surprise, admiration, or wonder. See Synonyms at wonder.
2. Strong surprise; astonishment.
v. mar·veled also mar·velled, mar·vel·ing also mar·vel·ling, mar·vels also mar·vels
To become filled with wonder or astonishment.
To feel amazement or bewilderment at or about: We marveled that they walked away unhurt from the car accident.
[Middle English marvail, from Old French merveille, from Vulgar Latin *miribilia, alteration of Latin mrbilia, wonderful things, from neuter pl. of mrbilis, wonderful, from mrr, to wonder, from mrus, wonderful; see smei- in Indo-European roots.]
I am sitting on our bed, watching a little bit of Martha Speaks (I love that dog because she uses interesting words in her dialogue like loquacious and taciturn) with Owen. It is raining, Mace is sleeping in with his Daddy in their room and O and I are reviewing our latest haul form the La Verne library. He missed the weekly trip due to yet another unidentified virus that left him fevered and coughing all yesterday afternoon. He seems totally revived now and he is currently explaining to me the story behind The Caboose That Got Loose, a book I originally read to them over a year ago.
And I realize that he will be three in a few months. He vehemently denies the age of three, insisting he will be four, sometimes even five. He has some weird bias against three. He skips it every time he counts. But I think what strikes me is that he counts. Not accurately, and sometimes in this odd repetitive circle from 5 to 9 and over again, but he has the basic concept. And now he reads to himself, entertained by a story that we have riffed on at bedtime, a story that has now become his own.
This child of mine sings in his sleep, it is not melodious at all, instead a deep ahhh, ahhing that he started in infancy. I know this singing well as in the last few months I am usually sleeping with him. It is odd, but I love it. Sometime in the night, not every night, but most, we end up with a small child curled between us, or I in his room, warm and silent until he sings, his solid body close, the only time of quiet in my son, with my son. And though as an infant I refused to have them in my bed, now that they are grown bigger I find it hard to imagine that day when they will be too big to shelter in my bed, in my arms.
Mace is such a different story. He lays his head down and rarely wakes, even as his brother yells full in his ear "mom, get in here". He sometimes wants to cuddle, but sleeps like a wild cat...beds down like one too. He is all elbows and knees, flailing. Once he even punched Tim in the nose in the dead of night. He, who gave us the most sleepless nights as an infant, drifts into his sleep peacefully with his old blanket wrapped securely around his chest and his "mama-made" blanket tangled around other parts.
I had not intended to make this a post about sleep. It isn't really. It is mostly about marvel. Marveling how small delicate creatures like this become small boys, versions of their grown selves. I watch as they consume knowledge and ideas, learn concepts and behaviors, mirror our actions and create their own.
I worry too, as we watch the dawning of true twin on twin aggression, where full face punches have become de rigeur when a fight breaks out. We watch as O reveals his natural wrestler's instincts, taking his brother down with a swipe to the leg. Or Mace shows his cunning side, running away as wounded when he was instigator. And it exhausts me and I lose patience and snap, bellowing out for peace as a little one scampers out of the room with bottom lip protruding, going willingly to the safe haven of his room 'time out'.
I worry as the school situation we are in starts to disintegrate, a classroom full of boys, 9 to be exact, where the only two little ladies are swallowed by the tide of miniature testosterone-laden boys, a few with (dare I say it) lax parents who think their bruisers are cute. I listen as they tell me the "mean kids" at school make them want to stay home, as O tells me he played with toys today at school. But that is a topic for another post.
The worry intertwines with the marvel, doesn't it? I have kept most of the worry at bay in these years. I find it does not help me to dwell on whether I am doing it right, there is no right. Instead, I try to focus on the now. On the fact that a child that once would not sleep through the night will now not wake up unless we go it and help him welcome the day (just like his Daddy). And I can marvel at the fact that my son, the one who once would not meet my eye, that seemed to prefer looking at the architecture of a room now only prefers to sleep sharing my pillow.
It is precious and fleeting, the hard and the good. It changes day to day, moment to moment. But I still find it hard to believe that three years ago I lay in this same bed, where I sit now typing and eating toast with my quiet morning companion reading his library books, and I willed them to stay in just a bit longer, to wait to enter this world. I can see now why they were so eager to be here, when there is just so very much to marvel at.