Monday, August 13, 2018

Theology of a baby's body

When Addie was a baby (and still now), I remember being really anxious about her growing up. I wanted to stop the clock because I loved her so much the way she was. Before she had teeth, I loved her gummy smile. I would tell my husband I didn't want her to grow teeth. When she grew teeth, I loved her more with teeth than without. Then I didn't want her to talk properly because I loved how she said "to-toes" and her baby talk. But the more she learned to talk, the more I didn't understand how I loved her when she didn't. And countless exemples of this phenomenon. The same with Davy. 

So now with Tommy, I know this will happen. I know I will like him the same or more when his teeth grow in, starts talking, etc. He's six months old. I know we barely know anything about his personality and all he does is cry and poo and occasionally smile and interact. But I still love him. Really, really, a lot. Sometimes I get mad when he wakes me up at night, but then I seem to forgive him in the morning when he coos and plays with me. 

What makes me love him? All I can say is that it's his tiny little fingers and toes. His chubby legs and arms. His round tummy. His really soft hair. His little mouth and little nose and the way they look when he cries helplessly and desperately, as if he is suffering uncontrollable pain that very moment. But then I pick him up and he smiles. The way he looks at me. That open and unguarded gaze. The way his hands touch every so gently, exploring and curious. The way his face lights up and his legs kick like a rabbit when I talk to him or his siblings do. His hands. Have I mentioned his hands?

Oh Tommy, don't grow up. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Student of Adelaide

Adelaide with her new earrings. She picked them out herself because they were the most "colorful". I love and am so surprised by her love of color and dressing up. 

I have been learning a lot, not only about parenting, but about life in the past four years. And Addie has been my teacher. 

They say you have a special relationship with your oldest, and that they're your guinea pig, trying everything out through trial and error… and I think it's true. There are a few truths I've learned and I hold onto when times get rough. By when times get rough, I mean people say she's badly behaved, she runs away, she hits or bites, etc. 

The first is something I heard on this Montessori podcast about discipline: It's about your relationship with the child. Then, Sally Clarkson's often repeated "there are no formulas". Also, this quote from my favorite parenting book EVER, Desperate

"Love them. Hug them, kiss them, cuddle with them, spend more time rubbing their heads and holding their hands. Give yourself to them without rush. Pray with them, and let them twirl your hair in their little fingers. Look them in the eye when you talk to them.
Give words of affirmation. Tell them, whether you feel it or not, that you delight in them, that they are a delight (if they don’t feel like a delight, ask God to give you those feelings). Tell them, ‘You are beautiful and smart and God loves you. I’m so glad you’re my child.’ Tell them that they can never lose your love, no matter what. And mean it.” Pg 30

The other day we met another girl Addie's age at the park. I noticed they were both wearing dresses that were way too fancy for the park and asked the girl's mom about it. She said that her daughter insists on wearing dresses and picking out her own clothes and if she doesn't tantrums ensue. EXACTLY like Addie. I also belong to a FB group of people who bought our preschool curriculum (AYOPS from the Homegrown Preschooler) and several people said how their girls Addie's age use up countless sheets of paper a day making drawings. EXACTLY the same. These are all things I am learning about her and that are unexpected. 

The discipline problems, the unexpected personality and preferences, these are all things I'm learning as a student of Adelaide and hoping to keep in my heart like Mary. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart by Kimberly Hahn quotes

I’m thinking answers to my prayers, dreams and general queries come an average of two years later. I remember three years ago when I first “became” a stay-at-home mom I was so panicked with how to organize my time. I remember talking to my spiritual director about it and him not really understanding my angst. So it’s good to have books like this one that suggest more practical, but still prayerful, approaches to organizing your time and your house. I didn’t like all the parts of the book or find them all useful, but it’s worth four stars even if just for the first part of the book about priorities. I loved the use of the “p”s for organizing your priorities and am constantly thinking about how I should be exercising instead of cleaning/taking kids of kids/etc.

My favorite quotes:

“We can learn a lot from other families, provided we avoid comparisons that make us feel like failures. Perhaps we can incorporate one new idea into our family life or try one new recipe for a meatless Friday meal. When we share ideas and recipes with other families, we need to remember that we do not have to do everything, and we do not want to overwhelm anyone else. We thank God for the grace to do what we can.” (pg 41)

“He compared sleep to a little death in which we lose consciousness as we relinquish our control, and rising the next day to a little resurrection. Our prayer time reminds us of who God is, who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.” (pg 66)

“Time for prayer is like scuba diving in the midst of a storm; it is peaceful below the storm, if we go deep enough… When things are very difficult, we recall all that te Lord has already done for us and that he oes not change even though our circumstances do.” (pg 67)

“I remind myself daily, There is all the time I need today to do God’s will today. Prayer is an essential part of that reminder.” (pg 70)

“In his bok Appointment With God, Father Michael Scanlan mentions including at least five minutes of silence to listen to God, noting any inspirations that come as additional tasks for the day (for example, speak to this person, write this thank-you note, offer a meal to this family).” (pg 70)

“A helpful word picture is a train: The engine represents the facts about God, who I am in Christ and what is this vocation to which I am called; the cargo car represents my faith connected to the facts (the engine can run with or without my faith); and the caboose represents my feelings – nice but unnecessary. Our feelings of sadness, unresolved relational difficulties, frustration and depression can derail the train.” (pg 72)

“We are sabbatarian creatures; we cannot work all seven days a week and still be healthy people.” (pg 85)

“Not only do you give this day to the Lord, but he gives it back to you as a day of relaxation with family and friends.” (pg 86)

“Just as Friday is the day of preparation for the Jews’ Sabbath, Saturday is our day of preparation for the Lord’s Day. We think about and prepare for our Sunday meal, so that we do not have to purchase groceries on Sunday and make store employees work.” (pg 87)

“We discover that uncluttered thinking results from uncluttered time and space.” (pg 88)

“We know that each day is still going according to plan; it’s just not necessarily our plan.” (pg 92)

“Each task becomes a response to the Lord. He is the one asking me to cook dinner, do laundy, find a Band-Aid, pick up a tearful baby, sweep up the crumbs. Moving away from self-pity (‘No one notices all I am doing. I am merely the unpaid maid of the house!’) and toward imitating Christ’s selfless love, we recall for whom we do each task. A the Franciscan University rugby team proclaims, ‘We play for an audience of One!’ So do we.” (pg 108)

“More than function, beauty in our homes ministers to our souls.” (pg 117)

“One day she declared that the sanest people in the world were farmers and fishermen. She believed they did not lose touch with reality because they never lost touch with the stuff of creation.” (pg 148)

“And the key to having deep roots, according to the psalmist, is delighting in God’s Word, reading it and meditating on it.”

“Sometimes we do not notice how much we rely on our natural virtue and talents to do things for God. However, if we are not abiding in Christ, our efforts fall flat.” (pg 157)

“At the end of Mass, I often prayed with our children that God would reveal to them their mission in life.” (pg 173)

“To live by grace means that we admit how weak we are and how much we need his strength so that we can do these good works.” (pg 199)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Do what's right

I sent my four-year-old off with her grandparents for six nights to their little village up north. Who does that? Me apparently. 
This is me spending time  alone with my chicos. 
Surprisingly, it was almost as much work or just as much without her here. Sometimes people tell me, "Why don't you put her in school? It would be so much easier for you!"
This comment has countless variations: "Why don't you ____ (insert well-meaning but not-asked-for advice)? It would be so much eeeeeasier for you." 
I have come up with a phrase to answer this connundrum: "Life isn't easy for anyone." And it's true. We have some hard conditions. But we don't have others. God doesn't want me to float through life effortlessly; He wants me to depend on Him. 
Another reply: I don't want to do what's easy, I want to do what's right.