Whenever Zinashi is playing with something, Elvie wants to do the same thing. She looks up to her big sister so much. Nowadays she can play with many things that her big sister likes to play with, but when she was littler, most of the big girl toys were just not appropriate for her. So I was always on the lookout for things that were similar to what Zinashi played with, but appropriate for a baby. One thing that gets played with a lot at our house is our big block set. With their hard surface and unforgiving corners, they definitely were not Elvie appropriate for a long time (and they’re still a little iffy). Soft, fabric blocks, however, are just right. They can be picked up, pounded against each other, tossed, dropped, and hugged. They’re perfect for a baby that is just starting to play like a bigger kid.
One of the things that has been so amazing about mothering Elvie is that, after Zinashi’s adoption, I didn’t think that we would parent a baby. We wanted to be a family to a child who might be harder to place, and in our experience, we found that babies were not usually the ones who were waiting for a family. So to be allowed to parent a fresh little person has been a dream come true, and I have relished all the little baby things that Elvie did and does and that I get to do for her. One of my favorites? Rocking her to sleep. I know that many babies learn to go to sleep on their own, but even now that she’s 15 months old, I find that I can’t even entertain that thought. There are several reasons why.
I am not a morning person. Elvie is still up two to three times a night, and sometimes her big sister needs a little mama love in the middle of the night, too, so morning comes all to quickly. Zinashi is a champion at sleeping in, but Elvie consistently wakes around 8am. I love using the time between Elvie’s waking and Zinashi’s to have a little one on one time with Elvie, right where we are, in the big bed in the master bedroom. I hand Elvie some books and toys while I quickly make coffee, and then we hang out together until Zinashi wakes up. And even though I am not a morning person? I have come to treasure this time of day. It’s no grand adventure, and I haven’t swapped out the bedside toys in ages, but with Elvie, it is always a good time. Here are eight photos of our simple morning fun.
Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about my children’s first mothers, but on Mother’s Day, they are even closer to my heart. Because while I celebrate a holiday they’ve never heard of the children I share with them, they are far away. It is not lost on me that I am the lucky one. I am so grateful to both mothers for the choices they made and the deep love they carry for their children.
We are in touch with Elvie’s family only via letter and progress report. If I could call her mother today, these are the things I would want to tell her. These are the images I would want her to see. Today, I honor her.
Mother’s Day is coming right up, and the whole internet is abuzz with thoughts on what it is like to be a mother. Each of us makes our own choices for how we will mother and what is best for our children and our families as a whole. For our family, we have chosen to have one stay-at-home parent, and that’s me. I care for the needs of our family and home during the day and do my writing work at night, after my littles are in bed. It’s working well for us, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have this choice for our family. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
When I was a kid, I remember thinking that being a stay at home mom couldn’t possibly that hard. Didn’t moms just get to read magazines and tell their kids what to do all day? Judging by my stack of magazines, many months high, that I’ve yet to even glance at, the answer is no. Fellow stay at home moms, this one’s for you and the hard work you do. Here’s a little glance at where all my time goes. Where does yours go? Is it dinnertime before you realize it?