Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Variations on a Theme

Once, when I was trying shoes on Simeon in a department store, Jacob gave me the slip and I didn't even notice he was missing until there was an announcement over the loudspeakers, "We have a little boy here who is looking for his mother... Please meet him at the customer service desk." (I know-- horrible-- and this is one of the main reasons I don't take all the children shopping anymore) But when I approached the service desk, the woman holding Jacob breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank goodness," she said, "I was worried after having made that announcement...I mean, how would I know if the person who came to get him was his mother? Well, obviously you are...you have four others just like him!"

In a way, she was right. The boys are all very similar. They all have the same square-shaped feet and the same solid build, the same laugh, and the same good natured disposition. Many people that know us can't tell the middle ones apart and even I confuse them when I see them from a distance, or from a new angle, or in new clothes. As they grow and change this one looks just like that one and then, just like another. In a strange sort of way, it is almost as though I've had the same child five times.

Yet, in another sense, the boys are all very different. Each one has his own learning style, his own unique talents, his own challenges. What motivates one to behave well doesn't work on the next, and the things that anger one... roll off the back of another. However much they all look alike or how similar they are in other ways, they are still very unique individuals.

Discovering their different personalities and watching them develop and interact with one another has been one the most joyful parts of parenting. I love to see the expressions of their little selves. The things they do and say that I know they did not learn from anyone else. Those things that come from deep within themselves, from their very souls, from who they are and who they were created to be.

Even the little gestures and motions they make from early on indicate their individuality. I captured a few of these classic gestures in the Christmas photo session this year and while none of these will appear in our Christmas card, these are some of my favorite shots...

Here is Nicholas doing the "eye thing." He gently touches his face near his eye and tilts his head ever so slightly when he's had enough of something. "I'm tired of having my picture taken," this picture tells me. This is how it starts. It ends with him on the floor rolling about uncooperatively. When he does the "eye thing" in church, we know we're in trouble.


Here's Zachary with his hands in his pockets like the little old man he is.

And here is Jacob doing the funky hand thing he does when he is beside himself. In this case, with disbelief at Nicholas who is supposed to be getting his picture taken, but has rapidly progressed from the "eye thing" to the "floor thing."

12 comments:

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I knew when I saw the photos that this was going to be a delightful post.

And it was.

All I can say is you just gotta love these little boys. I've only been blessed with two so far, but they and their father have taught their wacky/emotional mommy plenty so far.

4andcounting said...

Those are great pictures and comments to go along. My 3 year-old son also does some wacky hand motions when over-excited or embarassed. They are beautiful boys.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

They are so delicious!

Congratulations on such a lovely family!

Cheryl said...

Suzanne, your little boys are just precious! Great post and pics :)

Kristen Laurence said...

Such sweet pictures. Jacob looks just like his dad in that photo!

~m2~ said...

i am in love with these boys.

no lie. they are beyond precious.

suzanne temple said...

Thanks, MinM, lmm, 4and counting, cheryl, kristen, and m2, for sharing my joy of these sweet little boys.

Johane said...

I know what you mean about having "carbon copy" babies. My 4 girls apparently are carbon copies of each other and people are constantly confusing them one to the other. My oldest 2 are 2 years appart and have been considered twins since the second was 6 months old! I've never seen it, except it is difficult to identify one child from the other in old family pictures.

They may all look the same, but each has her own personality. My oldest, even in the womb, found life hard (we had an ultrasound where her hand was on her forehead in a "woe is me" fashion... we laughed and said "if she thinks life is hard now in the womb!...") and still now at 11 she finds life terribly unfair and just tilts her head in such a way that you know.... My second just quiets down. You know if she is too quiet that something is up. My third just melts in a pool of tears, there is no warning of anything going wrong until you find this six year old in total meltdown. My fourth and last? She is the one that God sent to try my patience. I've always prayed for patience and surely He has blessed me with a lot of it because she is the one that will smile at you sweetly and at the same time hatch a plan to play a nasty trick on you. And she's only 4! Oy vey! I have my hands full with just this one! Those of us who know her best know to read those mischevious eyes of hers, but still....

All Carbon copies and each unique at the same time. God does work in mysterious ways!

You have beautiful and wonderful children. All carbon copies and each unique.

earthie said...

SO PRECIOUS. :)

Crafty Mom said...

It is soooo true. Each of my children have some sort of thing they do as well. Funny how as mom's, we find these "things" and know exactly what they mean.

Cay said...

Adorable!
Now why didn't I think to do this...years ago. My oldest baby is 19 years old. :(

This is a lovely post. Thanks, Suzanne.

MaryM said...

What great maternal observations. So cute, too.