Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
|Eden's first bath at home, at 4 days old.|
And then, all of a sudden, they’ve grown.
And sometimes, what used to fit needs to be shed. What used to soothe doesn't soothe anymore. What used to be the favorite is left untouched. What used to be feared is now exciting.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
But then we go upstairs. And by the time we go upstairs, Isaac has calmed down and is no longer screaming and appears to have been sitting calmly in his stroller for quite some time. So the upstairs people see my smooth checkout and think that I’m the mom who’s got it all together, whose angelic children never disobey and wouldn’t even think about screaming until they were red in the face in the library.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
The first, called “Why Kids Act Out at Bedtime,” by Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a dad who is also a psychologist. I remember Glennon over at momastery.com describing bedtime as one big game of whack-a-mole, where you get one kid settled and then the other has a request, and on and on and on…back and forth, in and out of the room, whacking those damn moles that keep popping up again. It is fraying on even the most patient person’s nerves, and I’m not the most patient person. Dr. Flanagan reveals how our response to bedtime has more to do with ourselves as parents and less to do with our kids.
The second, called “Let your kids be mad at you,” by Janet Lansbury of Elevating Child Care. She talks about the need as parents to be able to handle the full range of our kids’ emotions. To be open to their anger at us, to not recoil or leave or defend or reproach when our kids express their anger at us. Today Isaac said to me, “I want to be in our house but I don’t want to be anywhere near you” when he was mad at me. I’m glad he feels comfortable saying it, although it is sometimes hard to hear. I’m also glad that even when he’s most angry, he still wants to be “in our house.” I take that to mean that he’s not running away anytime soon.
The third, called “Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s beautiful, pope says,” reported by Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service. Pope Francis spoke in Vatican City about marriage and family life. He affirms that marriage is not an easy path, but that in “lov[ing] one other person forever…the trials, sacrifices and crises in the life of the couple or the family are stages for growth in goodness, truth and beauty.” I read a comment once in which an older woman who had been married for 50+ years said that for about 5 years of her marriage, she hated her husband. But over the course of their married life, she considered that loving him for 90% of their marriage made up for that 10% of their time together that was difficult. What if she had given up during the 10%? What if she would have walked away from that marriage and lost the 45 happy years together? Marriage is hard but it is also beautiful.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I empathize with all parents of small children out there who aren’t sleeping well, with the insomniacs, with those working 3rd shift, with anyone sleep-deprived anywhere. May we all sleep again someday.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
~I don’t vote along party lines. It’d sure be easier to go in and check every box marked “R” or “D,” but that doesn’t sit well with me. The parties are not uniform and neither party has it all right all the time.
Monday, November 4, 2013
And then there was me. Have you seen this? It's pretty apt.
I didn’t have time to do my laundry before I left, so I chose the cleanest clothes I could find that looked okay. So the running gear I was wearing in preppy Annapolis was my ten-year-old, unflattering but gets the job done running gear. I felt a LITTLE like an outsider, a photobomber, if you can photobomb an entire city. A city-crashing version of a wedding-crasher.
But I did my thing anyway and enjoyed the brightly colored doors, the little patios hidden away, the red brick everywhere, the bright sunshine and cool wind.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
- Being alone for 12 hours in the car.
- Visiting my brother and sister-in-law and meeting my new nephew!!
- Being ALONE for 12 hours in the car.
- A Clockwork Orange book on cd
- Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg on cd
- Some cheesy murder mystery on cd
- Maroon 5
- Ella Fitzgerald
- John Coltrane
- Dan In Real Life Soundtrack
- Bruno Mars
- Being witness to my nephew’s baptism.
- Catching up with bro and sis-in-law.
- Sleeping all night long without interruption for the first time in, well, too long. Let’s just say that no one’s told my 3 ½ year old that he should be sleeping through the night by now.
- Being near the water.
- Hopefully catching a glimpse of my favorite little east coast city, Annapolis.
|What? Doesn't everyone need a hole punch and trash in their bag?|
Friday, November 1, 2013
Eden looked at her costume, and looked at her classmates. She looked at me with, I think, fear in her eyes. “Mine’s made of paper and theirs is made of fabric,” she whispered.
I went back and forth between reassuring her, consoling her, encouraging her to wear her costume, telling her it didn’t matter if she wore her costume, fielding questions from her teachers, reassuring her confused classmates, and trying not to cry myself. It was one of my superb mothering moments.
Monday, October 14, 2013
I chose the “be normal” route. I anticipated Disapproving Mom’s glance and diverted my eyes so as not to participate in it. I sat near Breastfeeding Mom and interacted with her as I normally would – a little chit chat here and there, eye contact.
Friday, October 4, 2013
They do go to Sunday School and do their share of Old Testament Bible story worksheets and crafts, and I tell stories about Jesus and parables at bedtime, so they’re not totally bereft of any God knowledge. But we don’t push them to pray or do devotions or that kind of thing.
Part of the reason for my approach is that I have a hard time finding religious materials that I like…I’ve looked at many children’s Bibles and it just bugs me so much that Jesus is white. I’m no historian, but people, Jesus was not a whiter-than-white man. WASPs weren’t created yet. I can’t buy something designed for kids that depicts a white Jesus.
Also, clichés and spiritual oversimplifications are pet peeves of mine. Many religious children’s materials boil things down to such a degree that they become at best, warm and fluffy sentimentality, and at worst, inaccurate and misleading.
Isaac has translated some central characteristics of God -- power, rawness, bigness -- into an image that he can relate to. On his own.
My children's faith is bold, and heart-felt, and pure. I have a lot to learn from them.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
And there is so much I didn’t account for when making my goals…like, how am I supposed to go to bed at 10pm when Kasey and I recently got hooked on Downton Abbey? And how am I supposed to keep my time online to 30 minutes per day when I have to do research for teaching and place orders for my art and look up recipes and check the weather so we know what kind of clothes to wear? And most importantly, how can I possibly add “give up sugar” to any list, since just giving up sugar requires all of the willpower and emotional energy I have in a ten day span?
~ Keep daily gratitude journal with family.
Eden: “That God is mine and everybody else’s.”
Eden: “That you (Mama) are with me and Daddy is with me and Isaac is with me. That I live with you guys.”
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
|He said, "I love you Mama" right after I snapped this pic.|
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
I’m making an impulse decision at 11pm to join in with bemorewithless.com and the “Declutter Your World in 10 Days” challenge. Here’s to refocusing and reenergizing at the start of a new (and my favorite!) season. I’ll write at least one update at the end of the challenge to report back on how it went.
~ No sugar. Yikes! I can do anything for 10 days, right!?!
~ Start Fall Hiking Spree with the kids and do 2 hikes in the next 10 days.
~ Go to bed at 10pm and read for a short while, then sleep.
~ Sort kids’ clothes for size and season. Donate or sell whatever we’re not keeping. Store properly whatever we are keeping.
~ Limit time online to 30 minutes daily…15 minutes during nap/rest time and 15 minutes after kids are in bed. Set a timer. For realz. Other than that internet is used only for music.
~ Keep daily gratitude journal with family.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
You can work hard as a parent to prepare yourself and your child for the next step, and you can still end up unprepared. Things happen that are out of your control and didn’t appear in the “what-if” scenarios you played in your head for months. I had two priorities for setting Eden up for success this year. Firstly, I wanted to find a half-day program, because I feel like that’s enough school for a 5-year-old. Open-enrollment to a nearby district with half-day Kindergarten accepted – check! Secondly, I wanted (okay, more like wished) to find a school with teacher-student ratios better than 1:25. Teacher-student ratio of 1:15 – check!
But, this first week revealed that I’ve been concerned about all the wrong things. Or maybe, that there will be a never-ending list of things to be concerned about in this lifelong process of “letting go” of my child. @#!*% .
You see, I should have been worrying about her permanent teacher being on maternity leave for the first two months while a fresh-out-of-college sub fills in. Or, her class being comprised of 2/3rds wild boys and 1/3rd too-scared-to-speak girls.
Don’t get me wrong…I am probably the most supportive person you will ever find of maternity leave and women taking as long as they possibly can or want to. And I absolutely love wild boys, especially since I have one. But brand new subs don’t always have the best classroom management skills, and wild boys will take full advantage of this by “wrestling, fighting, punching, and poking” while said teacher “tried all kinds of things but nothing worked and they didn’t stop.” (It’s awesome having a very verbal child who gives me a full report of her day. Well, awesome and sometimes nerve-wracking.) And the thing that killed me? My girl telling me she “didn’t talk to any of the kids because those boys made me nervous.”
Pro tip #1: When you find yourself approaching a massive event and feel like you’ve checked off everything on your list, write in big, fat letters at the bottom of your list: “THE THING I AM NOT AWARE OF THAT IS ACTUALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.” Try to embrace a meta-narrative that reminds you that you are not in control of your universe, that people and things around you are constantly in play, and that surprises will come. And then just breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
When my child tells me that her classroom resembles an underage mosh pit with no bouncer, I have a tendency to overreact. I want to go in the school and drop in the principal’s office to casually ask if she’s thought about mentoring this new sub. And then meander into Eden’s teacher’s room and casually ask if she’d like me to hang around tomorrow to help. And I really want to go home and pin all kinds of homeschooling curriculum on pinterest while crafting a letter withdrawing her from public schools.
I am not even-keeled when it comes to my kids’ safety and happiness and learning. Most parents aren’t, and that’s okay. It means we care about our kids. It’s normal to freak out and overreact.
Pro tip#2: Allow yourself to overreact mentally and emotionally, but don’t act on it yet. Talk it out with safe people (and talk, and talk, and talk – thank you dear friends and patient husband for listening to me this week), run through all the hypothetical scenarios in your head that make you feel worse or better about the current problem, and then do nothing, for now.
When you’re able, see the situation from everyone else’s perspective. Imagine those boys who are so excited to be at school and have been picking up on the nervous energy around them for the last week. Imagine that poor teacher who is on her second bottle of wine while crying into her pillow. This may help you see new solutions or at least engender compassion and patience.
Eden told me over lunch today that she was nervous about going to school today. She was thinking of those boys and her teacher and worried about being in a situation where it felt like no one was in control.
Kids are easily dismissed in the adult world. It is often inconvenient to take them seriously. But I think most adults are walking around with wounds that result from not being taken seriously as children.
And then off she went. And I spent the afternoon thinking of nothing else and making “I hope your Kindergarten class sucks less today” cookies for after school.
And, I'm learning...oh, how educational Kindergarten is for a parent!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Monday, August 5, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
She walked into her classroom with a heart drawn on her hand and my love in her cells and she thrived. She had the best preschool teachers on the planet and I’m not biased at all.
She is growing, changing, learning, and sometimes I see glimpses of her teenage self, her mother self, her working self. She is a five-year-old who carries the seeds in her of the rest of her life. She is teaching me to water her well.