Monday, November 16, 2009

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I might as well face it. For all the blog posts that swirl through my head, none of them actually make it here.

But why?

Is it a time issue? Perhaps. It's one thing to zone out on the screen here and there when you spend all day with one child, and you've got all kinds of hours left with him to make up for it. Two kids, on the other hand, has divided my attention to new dimensions, and I can't allow the computer to be baby number three. So this thing stays off unless I'm by myself.

Then again, it might be that I've simply lost my focus here. This started out as a semi-anonymous blog to process my opinions. As more and more friends in real life found their way here, I found myself curtailing certain topics, not wanting to step on toes. I'd sweat over my tact or lack thereof, and sometimes it was easier to say nothing at all.

After moving to a new town, I began more personal posts, since this was a great way to keep old friends updated about first days of school, holidays, Peter-isms. After awhile though, our empty baby books began to haunt me, so I vowed not to post anything more on here until I got caught up.

But really, I think it's more than that. Do you know what I really yearn for?

A pen and paper. Shopping for a pretty journal that no one sees but me. Sitting at my little desk in my sun-filled library, reading, writing, glancing occasionally at the squirrels in the front yard, sipping a coffee, communing with God.

I guess I'll leave this blog up for awhile, especially for those dozens of folks who want to know how to make a wool soaker out of a recycled sweater. But it's time for me to let go of it, and that feels really, really good.

Thanks to everyone who has read, posted, and made this a worthwhile endeavor for me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bibs? Really?

Okay, so I'm watching Jon and Kate as I type. And I just saw the almost-5 year-olds (guessing this was taped before their birthday?) eating a snack with bibs.

Is that normal?

I was feeling sorta guilty for bibbing Peter as he neared his third birthday. My mother suggested I bring bibs for all the kids when I took his chocolate dumptruck birthday cake to his preschool class, but I nixed it, lest the mortification follow him to high school. And, truly, they didn't need it.

I'm thinking that once you've got full control of your utensils, a napkin in the lap will suffice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Peter Strikes Again

My son does nothing halfway. He is destined for greatness--

or for prison.

Tom and I are on a weeklong sugar fast for his soul, that it might be the former.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Top Ten Signs You Have More Than One Child

10) You wish you'd photographed your breasts to remember them before kids.

9) Your wildest fantasy is a solo trip to the grocery store.

8) The baby gets a monthly bath.

7) Your instructions for the sitter are verbal, and you know she is capable of finding the pajamas.

6) If no one's crying, it's a good enough pic for the Christmas card.

5) You have more pictures on the computer than the baby book.

4) I forgot. And so do you.

3) You no longer talk smack about the parents you see on Supernanny.

2) You've been caught throwing artwork away.

1) You have a celebratory dinner when the hpt is negative.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Invisible Mother

When a homeschooling mom walks out on her family, that's news. Even if it happened 6 years ago. And so, amongst the internet discussion, I happened upon her blog.

Whatever one thinks of her decisions, I couldn't help but identify with this post on the invisible mother. After all, I live for affirmation. I could hardly wait for the parent-teacher conferences as a child, because I wanted to hear the scoop back from my mom on how great I was doing.

As a mother, things are tougher. My three-year-old simply isn't going to say, "Mama, the quesadillas tonight were delectable. Amazing that they turned out so well, since you were teaching me how to play Memory as you flipped them. And the way you cleaned the kitchen? Absolutely efficient."

And my husband, God bless him, just isn't the overly effusive sort himself.

What once bothered me most, though, in moments of self-pity, wasn't the lack of expressed gratitude. It was knowing that my husband did not see, and would probably never see, every last detail of my day's work. After a marital "discussion", I remember wishing that we had a video camera in the house, broadcasting the differences between my Sunday morning versus his. Surely, then, he would get it!

Yet he won't ever fully get it, any more than I will ever fully get what he does in a day.

We're not in the same shoes-- and if I let my happiness rest on his ability to imagine himself in mine, I'm going to be a very sad woman. (My husband is incredibly left-brained. He doesn't imagine, period.)

I've not let this bother me much lately, though. A turning point came when I realized that, while it's not my spouse or my kids, I do have someone who sees me. He sees every last tear, frustration, and joy. He sees every triumph and failure. He saw Hagar, the mistreated slave, crying desperately in the desert. He is El Roi, the God Who Sees.

He sees the juggling, he sees the dropped plates, but most importantly, he bids to me stop the performance, and find my rest in Him.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Growing Pains

A solid month without blogging? Clearly, I've been busy.

Peter's had a radical makeover. It started April 13th. I'd set aside the entire week to potty train, but we ended up only needing four hours. I guess that's the advantage of waiting until it's a no brainer. He could practically change his own diaper.

A few days later, he wore his first polo shirt. He still wears some smocked-insert tees, but it's time we worked in the real big boy stuff as well. Then, to top it off, he got a haircut which removed the last strands of white blond from his hair (he's now ash).

By the end of the week, I hardly recognized the boy coasting around the cul de sac on his bright red strider bike.

I've had to adjust. I find myself staring at him, studying his features, trying to see the baby I had a year ago... six months ago... Is it you? Is it really you? Did we do too much at once? I wonder if other mothers have this experience and, as he makes other transitions, if I will feel it this acutely.

Charlotte, meanwhile, will be six months tomorrow. It's going so quickly... I want her to stay a tub of taut flub forever, so warm and limber in my arms. I kiss her feet, her toes, her belly. I let her chew my fingers as she digs her nails into my cheek. "Kishhhhh, kishhhhhh," we say to each other, a word that she made up.

She's sprouting her first tooth, with another one just on the surface beside it.

How different things will be in a year.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Been Truckin'

Every now and then, I accomplish something so powerful, so fantastic, so tender even, that I am certain the sun, moon, and stars will rise up and call me blessed. The latest happened on vacation.

Was it completing a 9-hour drive with two little ones in a reasonable 12 hours? (I must say, for all of his "spiritedness", Peter is a phenomenal traveller.)

Was it hand-expressing milk into a diaper in the front seat of the car so that Charlotte wouldn't get more blasted than usual by my already overactive letdown when we stopped for lunch?

Was it sacrificing prime smocking time to sit wedged between two carseats in the back of our sedan to comfort Miss Too-Princess for a Pacifier?

No. None of these things. It was changing my son's poopy diaper as he stood in the gas station ladies' room. I contained the entire contents in a most sanitary way, despite all obstacles. I was tempted to leave the diaper sitting on the counter as a subtle hint for them to set up a changing-station, but didn't think it fair to punish innocent patrons.

Altogether, we had a fabulous trip. Doing it with kids is certainly a different experience, in good ways and bad. The air craft carrier wouldn't be quite as fun without Peter sitting in the cockpit of a plane. And our ride in the city-bus-dressed-up-as-a-trolley would have been quite mundane without him. Charlotte's big moment was her hysterical chuckling when she laid eyes on a pony for the first time.

As for Tom and me, we were happy to visit our old favorite sights, and especially happy to return to Anson's! Other diners, impressed by how quiet our children were, complimented us as we were leaving. I wasn't sure whether to admit that we had been taking turns walking outside with them between courses. We quickly decided that eating take-out after the kids went to bed was the best option, and plenty of great choices within a block of our hotel made it easy.

I'd love to say we're home and relaxing... but I will be in and out of town for the next two weeks. One of these days I'll remember what it's like to be still.