24 May 2011

Who Am I Supposed to be to My Child in Right Now?

When he's a teen, I'll back off and his father will provide guidance, mentoring, and boundaries.

When he's eight, he'll need a cheerleader and buddy (I think).

When he's three, he'll need a safe home base for his expeditions and learning quests.

When he's two, he'll need guidance, patience, and fun. And potty training.

When he's eight months, he'll need a baby-proofer.

Right now? He's two months old. He needs food, diaper changes, sleep, tunny time. Medical care if he's sick. Baths, cleaning, diaper changes. Sleep, and help falling asleep. He needs a momma to hold, cuddle, and care for him. He needs books read to him and playtime both by himself and with others.

That's what I can be for him right now: a food source, a comfort source, a cuddled, a diaper changer, a playmate. It's pretty simple, really.

20 May 2011

Links for 2011-05-20


:: The Tulip Girl posts this quote from Bryan Chapell, and not a moment too soon. I need this kind of encouragement.

::Some of you may know that my school days are among my least fasvorite memories. Here, Ann Voskamp writes about redemption for painful memories.

::You knit me together in my mother's womb. Click.


::Smiaguel. Hahahaha.

::A shorn alpaca.


::Yumm. More in-a-jar baking.

::Families need each other. If it's true among the animals, how much more among us people?

7 Quick Takes 2011-05-11, Volume Three

::1:: Do you remember the movie The Emperor's New Groove? All it took for the wicked king to realize his humility and the dignity of each person was to be turned into a llama for a few days. The movie is so.funny. I am relating to it these days...I want my groove back, and Baby keeps interrupting my groove. Perhaps I am simply too idolatrous of My Groove and need to realign my heart to God's priorities: to serve and love others. Sigh. Sanctification is good...but it stinks.

::2:: I've gotten a lot less fussy about stains. I've got milk on my shirt all the time, whether fresh milk, slightly old milk, or slightly digested milk. If Baby spits up on me...meh, I'll wash the shirt. (He's not much of a spitter-upper, thankfully.) If Baby spits up on Husband...oh boy, get the man a clean washcloth, because YUCK.

::3:: In Baby News, do you know what his new skill is!?!? Smiling! He smiles at me at least once a day, and has smiled at his Daddy twice...both times on purpose. What a thrill. I know the emotion was in his heart but we humans are communicators, and it's nice to see the affection on Baby's face, a connection between his heart and mine. Yay. Oh, yay!

::4:: We're going on a road trip in a few weeks. Will Baby make it, strapped in his car seat for 6-8 hours a day (except for food/diaper breaks)? We shall see.

::5:: This road trip...we're headed West to Colorado and Kansas. In Colorado, the plan is to go to Vail for the Teva Mountain Games. We need to bring winter clothes for Baby because it snowed there last night. (And the temperature is to hit 90 degrees here at home today.) Winter clothes? In June?

::6:: I was asked months ago to write for a Pro-Life blog. It was founded by a man in my church, a very logical, absent-minded-professor type. I'd be the only woman writing for it. I was unmotivated to write during my pregnancy, but now I'm fomenting some thoughts for that venue. Perhaps I'l take the plunge after all.

::7:: You know those laundry bags you buy for small items and unmentionables? I bought one the other day for baby socks, because I read somewhere that they can get sucked into your washing mashine drain and clog up the works...anyway, I love it. It was 97 cents (of course I didn't buy the name brand, are you kidding?), and I love it. I'm going to buy several for my mom. (Why? Because she loses socks in her dryer. It's truly amazing. I remember being a girl, and about once every six months, we'd dump out the lawn and leaf bag [yes, the lawn and leaf bag] onto her bed and try to match some socks. Neither my sister nor I have ever lost any socks in the laundry in our own homes...it has got to be something with her dryer.) She'll be able to wash clothes and put all the socks in a sack and hopefully they'll all come out of the dryer.

17 May 2011

Tuesday, May 17: Upon Daddy's Return from the Hinterland

(How could I have missed the 15th, the Ides of May?)

What a weekend with my husband gone for the weekend. It was ok, single-momming it, but also hard work. There was no backup. I had to think of everything! As a result, for example, we got to church with the potluck food, both if us dressed (Baby a little casual but still more fancified than for a weekday), I remembered the snugli...but I forgot my Bible (!). And my friend's casserole dish (that I had washed up the night before and set out so I wouldn't forget it). But...the diaper bag was restocked, we were both clean and dressed, and we were there. So there.

Yesterday we (Baby and I) spent 6 hours in the car. We ran an errand to a department store to buy a fitted sheet to replace the old one. It was so threadbare that my toe ripped a hole in it while I was turning over. (Goodbye, wedding-gift-sheet. Six years is no mean feat.) then we loaded up to go get Daddy at the Atlanta airport but had to take the garbage to the dumpster first (which is, inefficiently enough, in the smack other direction, but it had to be done.) Baby and I went straight from there to the airport, with a stop on the way for a feed and cuddle. We made it to the airport, but Baby was crying and Mommy was frazzled. Still, we loaded Baby into the snugli and headed in for the big reunion.

We (all three of us!) loaded into the car and drove northwards; Baby fell asleep (finally) but Mommy was hungry, so we stopped for food and a feed, waking Baby up in the process. He never settled in again, but once we got home I changed his diaper and fed him and cuddled him and laid him in his little bed for leg kicking and freedom of movement... and he fell asleep. So tired was he that he put himself to sleep!

Whew. After all that, Baby and I slept in this morning. Now he is napping. Instead of being tough-as-nails mommY that makes him fall asleep on his own for his fielder nap, today I rocked him to sleep and am still holding him as he sleeps. Why? Because I want to, because we spent 6 hours in the car yesterday, because he's so peaceful after a busybusy hardworking day yesterday. We both need some down-time and together time.

Baby's starting to rouse, so I'll close this blog entry. Thank you for reading.

14 May 2011

Evening Prayer, May 14

Lord, as this child of mine is soothed by my rocking and singing...just by my presence...may I, too, rest on your chest and grow peaceful because you are there.

As Baby struggles against, and then is calmed by, the swaddling blanket I wrap around him, may the bounds you have placed around me calm me instead of frustaring me.

Dear Jesus, though I struggle and often fail to love and care for this child (an eternal soul! entrusted to me!), I know that your love and care for me are always perfect.


13 May 2011

Savoring This Little Moment

I'm tucking this moment away.

It's cooled down enough to open the windows. I can hear crickets and peeper frogs. Also, a dog is barking. And I'll hear a train whistle sooner or later.

Baby is lying on my belly. He's so tall already; he won't fit on top of me that much longer. His breathing and little stretches and little body adjustments...perfect.

Five Minute Friday: Deep Breath...

Deep Breath...

In, out, in, out. Deep breathing is calming, relaxing. It loosens those tight shoulder muscles and cramped neck muscles, the ones that are knotty from holding, feeding, cuddling, calming a baby. In, out, in, out.

Deep breath: every breath belongs to you, Jesus. You, Holy Spirit, hovered over the waters in the beginning. Father, you took dirt and made us. Jesus, you Inspired us, gave us our first breaths.

God, you gave this baby his first breaths too. I consider the bronchia and the alveoli and the Oxygen-Carbon Dioxide exchange and wonder at how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. Breathing, it comes so naturally. How can such a mysterious, life-giving activity be so easy?

Breathing brings life to each body cell. It slows the mind. It calms the heart. When I find my tension rising, my anger building, my frustration mounting, breathing (take a deep breath...in, out, in, out) regulates those responses. Deep breathing eased some of the tension and discomfort on Labor Day (the biggest, most changeful, most momentous day of my life) and does the same now.

Lord, when I'm trapped in the miry clay of my earthy, worldly self, I breathe deeply, breathe the breath you granted me, the breath you designed me to take while I myself was being fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together in my own mother's womb...I breathe deeply and am reminded that without you and your divine inspiration, I am nothing but crumbling dust.

10 May 2011

Culture Shock

When I first dove up to Bramasole with the real estate agent, I jokingly said, "This is it."

This is it. I was oblivious to the phenomenal changes I was entering as that rusted gate opened, and I saw the sunrise tints of the house's facade, colors that have diverse a shiver of wonder every time I have looked up since then. I went to Italy for the cypress-lined lanes, the vibrancy of the piazzas, the pure Romanesque churches in the country, the cuisine, the history. I stayed for the never-ending festa of everyday life among the most hospitable people on earth. I made a home here, without really meaning to--the place took hold of me and shaped me in its image.

How did I let this happen? There are many crux marks in one's life, small ones and large. To take a decision, my friend Fulvio says, his usage much more precise than the grammatical make. To take a decision also takes you. Even though when I stepped out of that car I did not know how my life would change, I did sense something at that moment. I wanted an aperture, an opportunity to merge with something limitless. I, in the dullness of my ignorance, was willing.

And Italy has proven to be inexhaustible. To take the gift of a new and very old country--a whole other sphere of language, literature, history, architecture, art: it falls over me like a shower of gold. It is paradoxical but true that something that takes you out of yourself also restores you to yourself with greater freedom. A passionate interest also has a true-north needle that keeps you focused. The excitement of exploration sprang me from a life I knew how to live into a challenging space where I was forced--and overjoyed--to invent each day.

Imagine this quote discussing parenthood instead of life in Italy.

Mayes, Frances. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. New York: Broadway Books, 2010. pp.7-8.

Re-entering the Blogging Realm

Here I am again.

I'd like to get back into writing and posting...

It's been a while since I've looked over my sidebar. (Yikes.) I'm going to start the cleanup by deleting it all and re-posting only blogs I actually read.

09 May 2011

In this Moment

Right now I am lying on the sofa with Baby napping on my chest. He fussed and squirmed for a while, and cried his tired cry, but didn't nap. So I broke a rule: I nursed him then let him drift off to sleep. And now, instead of helping him learn to sleep on his own, I'm just laying here on the sofa, with Baby napping on my chest.

He's grown so much in these 7 weeks (7 weeks ago you were still inside me? 7 weeks ago, at 1:51, I was getting a bolus of IV fluid in preparation for my epidural?)...he's grown so much in these 7 weeks and I know the time will soon come that he doesn't fit on my chest and will have troubles that pure cuddles won't cure. So I lay here on the sofa with Baby napping on my chest. He breathes, sighs, dreams of nursing, and I'm working at pondering all these things in my heart.

07 May 2011

Five Minute Friday: Motherhood Should Come with...

Motherhood should come with disclaimers. My first disclaimer: I've only been a mom for six weeks and five days. (See, I'm such a new mom I'm still counting the days!) I was a mom before he was born, but this is totally different.

Disclaimer number one: motherhood is harder than you think. The crying, the crying, the crying. He doesn't speak English, and I don't know what he wants! The poop. The gas. The fussing. This is hard work, and it's more about unseating my Self as my idol.

Disclaimer number two: motherhood will slow you down. It takes time to get into the car, time to get out of the car, time to load the car seat into the grocery cart, time to change the diaper, time to clean up from changing the diaper. Lest I sound like a complaint machine, the slowing down is also good. There's time for nursing: 20-30 minutes to hang out with my boy while he eats. While he eats, we cuddle. There's time to rock him to sleep and feel his little body relax. There's time to sing lullabies. Time to shush. Time to cuddle. Time to pray. Time to meditate on the words of Scripture that keep me alive...I draw it in, as he draws in his food.

Disclaimer number three: motherhood will change you. I'm changed already. My body shows off that I worked hard to build him and bring him here. My stretch marks are in the pattern of a heart: see, baby? See how I bear on my body the marks of sacrifice? My incision is there, the red scar of opening to release the boy into his adventure. See, baby? See how much I love you? My heart already has stretches and scars as he barges into my life. See, baby? See how my heart stretches to allow someone else to order my days?

Disclaimer number four: (I'm totally past five minutes now, but I'm on a roll and the baby is quiet.) Motherhood brings a mirror into your life. All the work, all the soothing, all the feeding and the leaking and the lanolin, all the crying, all the diapers...all of it teaches me about God's perfection as a parent. If not for you, baby, I'd miss out of this depth of love and the deeper knowledge of God's love for me. Oh, how he feeds me. Oh, how he cares for me. Keeps me warm, keeps me clean, keeps me soothed. Oh, how I fuss at him...but he perfectly, patiently cares for me. Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom of God! How unsearchable his judgment, and his paths beyond tracing out.

There's the baby, waking and grunting for food. Krista out.