It's been all about babies at our house recently. Everybody's got a baby to take care of!
First, there's the real baby of the house--Christin. She is growing up fast but is still, undeniably, a baby. She also acts like a baby sometimes (cries for silly reasons, has a highly developed radar system for where mommy is, drools everywhere, and of course, still needs those diaper changes frequently) which is completely normal. Her main care falls to me but Clara Anne takes a close second. There have been numerous times where I have been freed up to do something else, dinner prep or laundry or whatever, by Clara Anne asking to play with Christin! Her favorite things to do are to have me put Christin in her walker and then pull Christin around the house, or to have Christin on their bottom bed where they can read books together. It's sweet.
Clara Anne also has her own "babies" though. We've moved past the stage where she is carrying Doll around with her all the time, but now she has something even better--imaginary babies. One is named Mary (Mary's existence is based in an actual doll), and Manna, who is completely made up. According to Clara Anne, Manna is six years old and she "obeys me really well, Mama!" (I'm not sure how Clara Anne can be not-yet four and her "baby" is older than her, but that's ok. It's all in the imagination!) Mary is also a very good little baby and we hear about her quite often. Clara Anne is still my story-telling girl. This morning when I got her up, her first words were not "Good Morning," or "Hi Mommy," but rather seemed to continue a story she had started to tell last night, as if no time at all had passed. She greeted me with, "You know, Mommy, it's really hard for my baby to get good sleep because Chloe always wakes her up. . . " and the story went on. Judging by the amount of time Clara Anne spends talking about her imaginary babies, they are a well-loved part of the family.
Chloe imitates Clara Anne, as typical for younger sisters, and has found that she can conveniently make several objects into a baby. Usually it's her bear that she is lavishing loving care upon: it's a small stuffed brown bear with a lopsided purple bow on the head; he/she is also missing one ear. (The ear fell off early in the loving process). She also often wraps up her blanket just so and pretends it's a baby. This morning as I was finishing up my exercising with Chloe by my side, Chloe ran to me with her blanket and an urgent cry, saying, "Mama, mama, my baby is crying! Hold my baby!" As if I didn't have enough of real babies crying, now I'm the appointed one to take care of her baby! :)
And then there's John. He's got four babies to protect, provide for and care for--"his four girls"as he calls us! He does a great job and we are always happy to run to the door and greet him at the end of a long day. He says that those happy smiles and hugs and kisses make him feel so special, in his words "If you ever need a self-confidence boost, just leave your kids for a bit! The welcome home makes it all worthwhile!"