Thursday, June 28, 2007

Birth Control

It's on my mind.

I visited the OB/GYN yesterday, since I hadn't had an "annual" in over two years (I don't know that I really needed one, but it helps on the wellness forms for insurance rebates, so I went). When my doctor asked if we were using any sort of birth control, I said "not a whole lot" since I am still breastfeeding and hadn't had a period since before Peter was born. He high-fived me and said his wife went 15 months postpartum before her menses returned after the firstborn.

Good Catholics that they are, I wonder if they did the whole Kippley thing. I've been reading Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing: How Ecological Breastfeeding Spaces Babies and realize that I've been practicing, for the most part, "ecological breastfeeding." My chance of getting pregnant before my first postpartum period is less than 6%, which makes it easy to ditch standard forms of birth control.

Yet there are times, even knowing that I probably won't get pregnant, that I insist we use some sort of protection. It's usually after one of those "ten tantrum" days when I'm thinking that a five-year spacing between kids might be even better than three.

And I'm beginning to question that. More later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Progress Report

My "No-Nagging Project" gets a B+.

I did great until Sunday morning, when my son ran into the living room with forks in his hands. As flirtatiously as I could ('cause it's not really nagging if you're smiling, right?), I said to Tom, "Hmm... How did Peter get those forks? Someone must have left the silver chest open."

By Monday night, I was downright pushy. I'd spent the past 24 hours clearing out the living room for painters to come (no not furniture-- but all the stuff like lamps and pictures and blasted knick-knacks), then entertaining a toddler away from home all day while they worked. That evening, as I worked to get the room back in order, Tom lay on the couch with the remote control. "Uh, could I get a little help here?" I said. He looked a little irritated and asked, "What do you want me to do?" And I told him.

All things considered, though, I think I did a good job. I didn't even tell Tom what I was doing (or not doing, I should say), since that would have made it more... I don't know... feel more like a chore and less like an exciting experiment?

I'm going to try again this week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Look Out, Trading Spaces!

After 5 years of red walls, which I dearly loved until recently, I have gone to the other extreme.

What does it mean? That my twenties are long gone? That I've mellowed out? Or, simply, that brown and blue is "in" and toile is "out"?

I'm going to go with this: the red walls were fun to come home to when I worked outside the home. But now that I stay home all day with a toddler, I have about all the excitement I can handle. Time to tone down the walls.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Corner of the Roof

It is difficult to live with someone who is always right. My husband would know. He's married to a woman who knows what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and when it needs to be done. Uh, now.

This occurred to me last Tuesday night as I nursed Peter to sleep (my great revelations will end when that child weans). Along with my realization came the Proverb: "Better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a quarrelsome woman in a big house" (21:9).

So with deep conviction I made a vow: no nagging for the next week. Does he want to leave his backpack on the corner of the dining room floor? Okay. Does he want to leave his drinking glasses spread throughout the house, where he then forgets about them? Okay. Does he want to lie down on the couch for a rest while I go on my tenth day of caring for Peter without a break? Okay. But no matter what, no nagging.

I've made it so far. Three days to go. Deep down, I hope that my lack of nagging will produce in him some newfound sense of order that will compel him to put his toothbrush back in the cabinet and keep the pantry door closed.

Even deeper down, I hope it will prevent him from resenting his wife.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mommy Wasteland

When Peter still had a morning nap, I studied my Bible like an eager young postulant. Since he quit taking it, I've struggled to find the time.

It's not as if he doesn't still sleep. There's the afternoon and evening. But since I had gotten used to using these times for doing anything that needs doing on the computer, spending time with my husband, doing chores that can't be done with a toddler at my feet (like ironing), I'm loathe to change. When I do have time "to myself," I want to do mindless things like smock in front of the television. I don't even like tv.

My reading? Fiction. Magazines. Nothing that requires thought! Even when I do read the Bible, I've found myself memorizing rather than studying, because my brain feels like mush.

The thought of Bible study now feels like work, like one more demand on my time. Ouch. I can't believe I admitted that. Yet there's power in confession, so I'm putting this out there.

Meanwhile, I struggle to keep up with my toddler, operating on low resources because I feel detached from my greatest source of strength.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Brunch: The Perfect Parent

Sincere obedience is the fruit of relationship. Of that, I have no doubt. Peter's knowledge of my love will determine his willingness to please me.

So I often think that if I provide just the right amount of tenderness, eye contact, boundaries, space, hugs, and teaching--all of which are manifestations of my love-- then Peter will respond graciously to my every demand. I want to believe that if I am the perfect parent, he will be the perfect child.

How quickly I forget what is written into his DNA. I've been reading a study about God's relationship with humanity before "The Fall," seeing how he delighted in the individuals he made. He yearned for their company, and spoke to them with affection and authority. If there were a perfect Father, you can't beat Yahweh, you know?

Yet we know how that story ended. The perfect parent did not have perfect children. I am a beloved child of God, and yet my propensity to rebel still overwhelms me. As will Peter's.

As does Peter's.

Who am I to fool myself into thinking I can create a child without sin?

Friday, June 8, 2007


I just got off the phone with one of my best friends. This is the person I would call back in the days when I was still trying to get Peter to sleep through "crying-it-out." Halfway across the country, she would listen to me sob out loud as I listened to my son sob out loud. She held my hand through it, so to speak, and I am grateful to this day.

Why did I call this particular friend, aside from the fact that she's generally a supportive, non-judgmental person? Because I knew that she had "cried-it-out" with her own son.

Well, our latest phone conversation centered on the sleep of her new daughter. "She's crying for a full fifteen minutes, but she's not asleep by the end of it," my friend said.

"Yeah, well, Peter never fell asleep at the end of fifteen minutes."

"Really?" my friend asked. "The most my son ever cried was twenty minutes. And after a week of that, he generally didn't cry at all."

"You're kidding!" I exclaimed.

"No. How long did Peter cry?"

"He would cry for over two hours, and still not fall asleep," I said. "Don't you remember me calling you in tears?"

In those tearful conversations, somehow I didn't convey how long and unfruitful my child's crying was. Somehow my friend didn't convey that crying-it-out with her son was a relatively short affair.

Yet another illustration that most make-my-infant-sleep books don't acknowledge what a difference temperament makes!
Some day I'll share more about my decision to throw out the solitary-sleep training and just nurse the little boob tick.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My Little Man

My photographer friend Kristen took these incredible shots of my son. My heart melts. I will rue the day he is too old for button-on shorts.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sunday Brunch: All the World's a Stage

I watched Apocalypto last night. Or should I say, Jaguar Paw's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was gory, predictable, captivating,

And controversial.

In the popular modern view, European conquerors of the Americas were evil brutes who demolished the beautiful, advanced, complex civilizations of the Natives. Mel Gibson, on the other hand, would have you believe that the Natives were a violent, self-destructive lot-- pagans who needed the God of the "white man."

Who is right? At the risk of sounding flaky (or worse: postmodern), I'm going to say both. There's no denying the atrocities and arrogance of the colonists. There's no denying the sadistic practices, from torture to slavery, of those people they vanquished. Nor can you deny that each of the groups had some amount of grace, humor, and valor! But at the end of the day, "There is no one righteous, no not one." The Age of Exploration was just another act in the tragic drama of the human condition.

And so the play continues: new actors, new scenes, same story. Oh, it's easy to get nostalgic and think that certain periods were Golden Ages of joy and justice. In fact, I'd like to believe that the world was a better place when I was a kid roller-skating around my middle-class neighborhood with block parties and grape soda and spin-the-bottle, but let's not kid ourselves.

Is there any hope? I believe there is. As David Wilcox puts it, "Within some scene set in shadow, like the night is here to stay, there is evil cast around us, but it's love that wrote this play."