Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Jealous Mess

Okay, let's all admit it. Somewhere, there's a mom that we're just a little bit jealous of deep down in that place we don't talk about. It may be the Mom who is totally put together with makeup, hair, AND matching clothes. It may be the Mom whose house is always clean and organized like something out of Martha Stewart Magazine. It may be the Mom who is out with her kids and her husband at the store OR the Mom who's HUSBAND is at the store with the kids.

My point is- we're all human. We all make mistakes and we all can improve. Something will always look better and we probably look better to someone else.  But there is a reason we are where we are. God placed me here in this organized mess for a reason. My goal is to search every day for why- and enjoy my mess while I am here.

Cutting through the Grey

I can clearly remember being at a friends party several summers ago. His son wanted to help cut his birthday cake. My friend handed his son the seemingly HUGE knife and said "Here, son. This is the way you cut a cake with a knife." My friend then turned to some of the adults standing around and said "If he wants to use the knife it's my job to be sure he knows how to do it correctly." I must confess that I was one of THOSE friends.

I was quietly appalled. No way, I thought. I continued an internal dialog that warned of the dangers of letting a child so young even touch a knife much less use it for any task. He was much too young and that lesson was misplaced. As a parent I would have said no. As a parent I would have had the final say. As a parent I would have decided the time and place for any lesson dealing with anything "dangerous".  Clearly I was qualified to make such judgments because I had NO children of my own.

Miss Moo is quite bright for not quite two and a half. I know that all parents think that their children are smart and rightly so. There are a few areas where she seems to excel and at times that clouds our memory her age. Lately she has been very interested in helping me in the kitchen during meals and particularly at dinner time. Most nights I spend more time redirecting and then fussing for failed listening on her part than I did listening TO her.

A few weeks ago I was cutting vegetables for our salad while the girls played in the family room. Moo meandered her way into the kitchen and pulled her step stool up to the cart where I was cutting vegetables. "I want to help you Mommy!" she excitedly announced. My first instinct was to send her back to play and remind her that knives aren't toys for little girls. Then suddenly I heard my friend's voice :
"Here, son. This is the way you cut a cake with a knife." 

There was a lesson residing in this moment. Was it a lesson that would be taught?

Did I have the final say as the parent? Of course. Did I say no? Of course not. I smiled and began to show her how to hold a table knife and how to hold the cucumber. We practiced keeping the knife on the end far away from our fingers. We worked slowly. We worked together and then on our own. Making salad was very smooth and stress free that evening.

As parents, there is no manual that magically appears when we have our children. The is a sense of right and wrong, but I have learned more often than not there is a huge area of "grey".  Each child is different. How boring would it be if all children learned in the same way at the same pace? Grey areas can cause a parent and child a great deal of frustration. However they can also be a space of great joy and learning for everyone. Our grey spaces have evolved- we now see the rainbow after the storm rather than the grey skies.

Perhaps I should call my friend and tell him thanks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Woven to Women

I had knitting class tonight. I welcomed the outing because today was an emotionally draining day for both girls and me. They were hot, tired, and teething. I tried to understand. I left the house with tears being shed for me to stay.

While I sat near downtown knitting and pearling to my heart's content, daddy was deep in the trenches battling dinner, baths, and bedtime alone.

His evening was not as relaxing.

I walked in the front door to both my girls sleeping in their beds in their room and Daddy attempting to decompress with his computer. I thanked God for blessing all the women of this home with such a man. Our family was knit together perfectly.

Sometimes it's the most difficult days that put everything into perspective.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bedtime Stretching

My heart is stretching tonight.

I say it is stretching because heartbreak tends to denote negativity and that isn't the case.

Tonight my baby girl is sleeping in another room for the first time. I was sure to amply prepare the room before I nursed her to sleep. The sound machine that lulled her sister as an infant and toddler is across the room and waves are crashing. She is comforted by the gentle "shuuush" offered by her father during the nights spent in our room so our best guess at comfort was the waves. The night light left by NanaPop for their visits is illuminating the room from afar. Her blanket and mini-pillow pet given to her by Nana were waiting beside the cosleeper. The music box is steps away. The video monitor is strategically placed and aligned atop the bookshelf. Overkill? Is there any doubt?

I nursed my sweet girl and carried her down the dark hallway and placed her in the cosleeper. She rolled to her left side just as she always does. I stepped quietly out the door and retreated to our room. At the other end of the house.

My heart is stretching tonight.

Stretching with pride that my baby has 3 teeth, can stand, can speak several words, and finally enjoys big girl baths. Stretching because in less than two months she will be a year old. Stretching because she is gaining independence and showing her mounting individuality and personality daily. Stretching because I love her more. Stretching to make room for the firsts to come. Stretching because even though tonight my heart hurts I know it won't break.