Monday, April 20, 2009

Books- a cuteness vignette!

Megan has had a slightly more than passing interest in books for a while now. Of note was the Feely Bugs book we got from the library a month or so back. It was a big hit and I can't recommend it enough for the tactile set. Although, a good bit of monitoring is needed since the feathers will come off (as we discovered).

Megan has also (to our shock) started talking in the last couple of weeks. "Apple" is her most intelligible word with a "ma" constellation that can me more, mama (maybe), or banana depending on slight variances in inflection. "Hold you," "uh-oh," "kisses," and "woof woof" also make appearances. We also now have a "ba" constellation. She had been pretty solid on "ball" but today she added "book" to what we have to figure out based on gesture and inflection. It was the first instance that I really got to see the "aha" moment for her.

This afternoon I threw caution to the winds and decided to try to read a bit of Multiple Blessings while the children played. Megan, of course, wanted to see the book so I gave her a touch and feel book to look at. As we explored the pages, I repeatedly said "book." She enjoyed it and started saying "bo" so I pulled another touch and feel off the shelf and said "book" as we explored again.

This evening, Charlie was a hair shy of narcolepsy so bath was early. When Megan and I went downstairs to nurse she was not as sleepy as usual and noticed the books on the endtable saying "bo." So, we looked at the books. Being the neglected second child, we haven't done well with a book at bedtime but this seemed a fine time to start. After a thrilling few minutes with the fuzzy duckling and soft calf Megan started to squirm saying "bo." I let her down and she promptly went over to the bookshelf and started excited pulling books down saying "bo" inquiringly. After being assured that these were, in fact books, even the softcover one and the one made of cloth, she proudly carried one after another to me, climbing into my lap and examining them, occasionally kissing the book just for good measure.

If there was ever a doubt, Megan is definitely her mother's daughter. I can't wait to introduce her to all my favorites!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


My house is not quite as much a mess as it was but still very much a work in progress. My cardmaking supplies haven't been touched in months. My blog is neglected. My book reading rate is surprisingly robust. My husband has been waiting for me to hem a curtain for the better part of a year. Penny desperately needs to be brushed.

My children are intensely needy right now. Neither can handle any bodily function unaided. Charlie can generally get unclothed well enough to pee-pee in the potty but re-dressing can be challenging. They need me to feed them, help them fall asleep, keep them clean, keep them rested, and provide balance to their lives. Their father and I are their Alpha and Omega. This is my current season. This season is about learning to serve others, most always. This is a humble season. This is an uncertain season. This season is fleeting, so I am told, but feels quite long.

The idea of seasons in life is sustaining me. I am not biblical enough to repeat the pertinent passages to myself (Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8), instead I take the secular route, humming the Simon and Garfunkle song periodically. Remembering that just as summer lounging follows the vigorous activity of a spring joyfully met, so will a slightly less intense period follow this one. There will come a day of no more diapers, sleeping through the night, quiet mornings when all the little people are at school, and a lunch eaten, sitting, the whole way through. There will come a season when I can devote more thoughtful attention to my children, when I will have slept well enough to form a coherent sentence and contrive clever projects for them. There will come a season when I can introduce them to Anne Shirley, Harry Potter, and Nick and Nora. There will come a time when I don't thank God that they are so cute and have so much biological drive behind their care because, Good Heavens, Megan was up for 2 hours last night and I just don't know how much longer I can do this. There will come a day when, instead of experiencing them, I will be remembering the firsts and the sweetness and the cuddles and the giggles. It will be a season for new firsts, new uncertainties, new causes for sleepless nights.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Talkin' 'bout my generation...

Has anyone else noticed that there is much discussion about going back to the values/traditions/whatnot of "our grandparent's?" I don't think our parent's generation has been referenced at all as a standard which should be hearkened back to. Interestingly, these references seem to uniformly looking towards people who came of age in the Great Depression which is not really accurate, at all, for most of the boomers. Is it just further resistance on their part of being able to say that you should have listened to your parents? It seems it would be the height of annoyance for those who spent most of their lives looking at their parent's values with scorn, to suddenly have to admit their wisdom. When it comes down to it, my generation is much luckier in that respect. It seems we can say with some confidence that the monetary values we were taught based on a lending economy aren't quite all they are cracked up to be- our parents really weren't always right. While we may not reap the same rewards of an implicit confidence that we will see ever increasing incomes and standards of living we may also have the benefit of at least knowing that what we have is ours and not actually the property of Visa.

This zeitgeist of "our grandparents" rather than "our parents" has been circling in my head a great deal as of late. My husband travels for work rather frequently. We have wound up calling on my mother for back-up and the experience has wound up being quite hard on me. She has tended to be astonishingly unreliable. Perpetually, she will agree to various dates only to then change her mind, need to leave a day or two early, arrive a day or two late, etc, etc. Her attitude is in constant flux as well. There are times that there will be tearful farewells and others when she will storm out in a huff. Sometimes she will anxiously ask if she should come down for the weekend to allow us to get a much needed break when my husband isn't traveling while other times she will need to stay at home for events that seem less than pressing when our need is much greater. While I wish there was another option- a friend to call upon, a sister, anyone- there isn't. (this is actually part of what drives my desire to have a larger family for my children) And, I get just enough intermittent reinforcement to continue to call her.

There have been several tearful discussions with my husband about the issue. We are thinking of another child and I just don't know how I will do solo parenting 2 young children, pregnant and sick with a third. A reliable back-up is becoming a more pressing need and will be for at least the next couple of years. I think that by the time everyone is at least 2 or so, things will ease a bit but right now, the physical demands are intense. However, I know that other mother's manage similar situations with calm and even panache. I am forever wondering if I'm just expecting too much from my mother or if I am just less than competent.

Last night, he suggested that my mother might be the least bit selfish. I'm not sure I would go that far. It seems not to be selfishness as much as self-centeredness. Another woman of my mother's age made the comment the other day that the students graduating into this very uncertain job market will be taught the value of "not having things handed to them" and that "sometimes you have to make do." This was so very lacking in self-awareness. While I do not know a great deal about this woman's background, I know enough to be reasonably certain that when she graduated college it was to a market that had jobs available and, more to the point, credit readily available. In addition, her parents were graciously making way in the job market to allow those younger worker the opportunity to work. To pretend that you could lump her experience in with those who came of age in the '30's is the height of ridiculousness. I find the continued experience with both self-centeredness and a lack of awareness to be particularly confounding when contrasted with the high level of social activism of the generation.

I started hunting for information about generational psychology and boomer psychology in specific as of late. I am one of those uber-reflective types that likes to know exactly why I find my parents' generation so annoying- is it simply the naturally occurring desire to develop my own sense of self or does it go deeper? Am I being self-centered in my own demands of my parents? Will my children look back in 30 years and wonder how my generation went so wrong? To the point... as I was searching I found several references to how the boomers refuse to acknowledge their own mortality. This aspect was the catalyst of my decision that my parents are stuck in a generation that seems to be slightly frozen in the teenage stage of development- once they were idealistic, now they are struggling with the superman complex seen most often in teens, with the narcissism, self-centerness and lack of awareness that they were complaining about seeing in us just 10 years ago. I would like to think I outgrew that but I guess I will have to wait to see if I did for another 25 years or so when my children call on me for help when I would rather be at book group.