Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fulfillment at home?

I've recently joined a Catholic homeschool moms' Bible study (can you say 'subset of a subset,' Gentle Reader?). One of the questions we discussed at our last meeting was the question of fulfillment. It was assumed, with reason, that none of us are really struggling with the issue of returning to or getting a career. Why do we feel fulfilled at home and other women don't?
I, in my usual thoughtful, quiet manner blurted out, "They've bought into society's lie."
Which "lie" do I mean? The one that tells you "Any idiot can take care of kids/keep house/cook meals. Real jobs involve getting out of your house away from all that."
Snarky answer #1: Tell that to daycare workers, employed maids, and restaurant cooks. They'll LOVE you.
Snarky answer #2: Which of those would YOU hire an idiot to do?

Seriously, that's the mindset. If you doubt me, check into your local high school's child care courses--should they exist; I think most are getting channeled into the "alternative education" programs. You won't see that many honor roll girls; you'll see ones two steps from dropping out either looking for an easy diploma or tracked in there by low-expectation guidance counselors.
[While I'm off on a tangent, I'll say another thing: this is NOT intended as a diatribe against mothers working outside the home (woths). You ladies deal with enough; you have as many expectations at home as I do and fewer hours to do them. This is a diatribe against our society that lies to you. I was one of you for a year and a half--possibly the most miserable year and a half of my married life, with the exception of summer break.]

So. Back to fulfillment. Do I find it in washing dishes, or changing diapers, or vacuuming, or making beds, or doing laundry? ARE YOU NUTS? Honestly, there are moments any one of those makes me want to give myself the Egyptian brain treatment.
What keeps me sane while doing them? The fact that they are important. If I don't perform these tasks, who will? Thus, my work is important. More important than other kids' report cards or academic records. More important than someone else's legal problems or advertising slogans. More important than a master's degree or, much as it pains me to say it, seeing Notre-Dame cathedral again.
That's the lie. Telling women, specifically mothers, that the work they do in the home is unimportant and therefore unfulfilling. When it's unimportant, it doesn't matter whether it gets done or not, right? Or if it does get done, it doesn't matter who does it.
Who will play with the child while changing a diaper? Who will listen to and answer the zillionth question while scraping the breakfast dishes? Who will do all the voices to Goldilocks and the Three Bears?
Sure, you can hire those out. But are those things you want done for love... or money?

Labels: , , ,

Book review

I've mentioned it before but it's been a while (years). It's called Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison. I got it quite early in my motherhood career; I don't remember if it was the summer I was pregnant with Dale or after he was born.
It's a collection of essays about motherhood, slowing down to appreciate your children, seeing things from their perspective. She writes of the moments spent reading together with one of her sons, finding their vacation rhythm, turning off the electronic noise to enjoy the quiet. Instead of hurrying through a walk for the exercise, she sees the value in taking at her sons' pace, stopping to look at a rock that interests one or a plant that interests the other.
The essays are small enough chunks that even a busy mom can squeeze one into a day, and they don't need to be read in order. While it's spiritual, it's not religious in a traditional sense.
I realize now that its influence was one of the reasons we're homeschooling; coming to know your child as a person and not an offshoot of yourself and conforming your world to your family and not the other way around.

I know it's late for Mother's Day, but it could be a worthwhile surprise if that didn't go as hoped.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Tips for starting homeschooling

This is both a compilation and a solicitation. Since I'm putting us on a "summer schedule" (three subjects, one page each per day) to allow more time for enjoying the weather, I have a touch more time to... do the same myself.

Here are my Beginner's Tips. Remember, I've only been at this for a year or so. Add more in the comments boxes!
1. If you're just starting, buy a boxed curriculum.
That doesn't mean you have to stay with it the entirety of your homeschooling career, or that you can't tinker with it, or that you have to register with the school you're buying it from. Buying the whole set from someone keeps you from having to reinvent the wheel yourself, you'll have enough to work with, and you'll be able to decide from experience what to supplement or leave out.

2. Get involved in a support group.
They don't have to share your faith (but that's really good too). It doesn't have to be really formal with a president and bylaws and all that, either. Online is okay for you as an adult to get help and support, answer questions, get ideas. Your kids, though, need other kids. Getting involved in a live support group helps to normalize homeschooling for them. Kids don't mind being unusual or unique; isolated and weird is another story.

3. Attend a conference or two.
Again, you don't have to do the same thing every year. A conference when you're starting out, though, helps you to really see you're not alone. You'll be able to network with lots of others, see and touch lots of curriculum materials, glean ideas for free, get a pep-talk or two, and be around others with a similar mind-set. All around a good thing.

Those are my beginner's tips. Others?


Saturday, May 26, 2007

On Memorial Day

My dad loved movies. He'd go weekly as a kid, even if he'd seen it before. As an adult, he wouldn't pick up a newspaper to see what was showing; he would go to the theater and choose from there. Good, bad, indifferent, unremarkable, Oscar winners and Razzie winners--he saw them.
He grew up in a different time. My mother, two years younger, remembers going on her own to the butcher shop with her ration coupons for pork chops. She tells of taking her younger brother without a parent to the Tigers game, riding in the streetcar. It doesn't surprise me that my dad went to the movies a lot. How exactly he got in, whether sneaking or paying, is the question.
He and my brother had a game. In the weekly TV book, where the movies being shown were listed, Lou would read Dad the title. Dad could give him the year it came out, the main stars, and usually a plot summary for just about anything between 1930 and 1965, and for most films after that.
Born July 12, 1935, and going to the movies as soon as he could find his way there, he saw the newsreels as well. He saw the brave paratroopers saving our allies in France, our patriotic soldiers taking the beaches in Normandy. He knew he wanted to grow up and be in the Airborne, "jumping out of perfectly good airplanes" to save those on the ground.

He graduated from high school (the first in his family) in 1953. No jobs were to be found and his academic record wasn't college acceptable. He joined the Army in December 1954, I think; he told me once he'd wanted to be away from home on Christmas but had been granted leave. That might have been his second hitch, however.
But he made sergeant in record time and did make it to the Airborne. The first time in his life it mattered that he was Catholic was there; his commanding officer would round up all of the Catholics the night before each jump for confession and mass. He got out of the Airborne when he started having to pack his own 'chute--he felt that was something he'd rather leave to the experts. He even taught us kids the gesture for "company assemble"--paratroopers couldn't use verbal communication; sneaking around behind enemy lines meant silence. He'd put his right hand straight up, close his fist, and drop it to his shoulder. I still want to use that instinctively with my own kids.
His unit--if that's the proper term--no longer exists; it got folded into another after he got out. I suppose if there's any military historian out there who might know which unit he may have been in, I'd appreciate that.

Though he didn't die in action, he was in the service for two distinct hitches. Happy Memorial Day, Dad.

Labels: ,

Schedules and homeschooling

When I became a homeschooler, it involved a whole shift in viewpoint. EVERYTHING changed. Not a vast amount, but everything became a slightly different color, is the best way to explain it. I just started to take some things for granted, like schedules and book choices.

Another homeschooling mom called me this week with a question. "We're having unexpected cousins over today. Should I try to do school? We're already a day behind!"
I was a touch confused. A day behind? What does that mean? I pointed out that right now, if her son is doing kindergarten, he's already at least three months ahead of his peers. He doesn't have to finish kindergarten by June 2008, either; more like August 2008 when his peers would be starting first grade. A day behind? Impossible.
Then I did the math of counting how many days our school's course plans provide--four days a week, nine weeks per quarter, four quarters. That comes to 144 days of school. Again, what does "a day behind" mean?
I think--I hope, really--she relaxed and let her kids play with their cousins with a clear conscience.

The other story I have is about choices. This pertains more to Kolbe's flexibility, but it applies here too. I was asked about sending in our quarterly reports. I haven't sent anything back yet, but I will for first grade. Dale pointed out, "It's not an obligation. If you want them to verify your grades, you send stuff in. But they don't kick you out if you don't."
That made sense. The next question was, "Do you have to use their books?"
She was surprised when I said no. "If you want to use their course plans, yes, but you don't have to use their course plans. Like for first grade, they use MCP Math. They sell Saxon, and you're perfectly welcome to use it, but then you're on your own for course plans. Or you could use Math-It, or Math-U-See, or whatever; it's up to you. And you can still send your stuff in quarterly and they'll verify your grades."
She was surprised by their flexibility; she's never seen anyone else like that. I don't know if anyone else is that flexible; I imagine Seton isn't since they do so much of their own publishing. [That isn't a knock against Seton and I may be wrong. Any input would be great.]

I just took these things for granted. We as parents are in charge. That puts all of the responsibility on us as well, but that's another post. I as a parent decide when we do school and for how long, admittedly using the conventional schedule as a template. I decide how quickly to cover the material and when to take time off. I decide which texts to use, using suggestions from others.
And isn't that what homeschooling is all about?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

International adoption, interracial kids--some questions

I'm going to have to be un-PC in this post mostly so as to be understood; before I go any further, please let us agree that there's a vast gray area between un-PC and racist (which I clearly will avoid). Anyway, here goes.
Recently in Parenting magazine, a mother had an article about herself and her daughter. Mom is white, husband is Japanese, daughter is (obviously) a mix. When Mom is out with her little girl, she is overwhelmed by those presuming the little girl is adopted. "Where did you get her?" "Where is she from?" et cetera. She doesn't quite know how to reply and finds the questions a little rude. [I personally like "My husband is Japanese; she gets her features from him."]
One example from my own life is my OB. She's Asian (Chinese extraction?) and her husband is white. I wonder if he's asked the same questions when he's out with one or more of their four sons. I doubt many would have the nerve to ask.
Another is a friend who's Hispanic. Her two kids don't look Hispanic at all; though her son has some of her features, her daughter is blonde with blue eyes. I wonder sometimes if strangers in the grocery store think she's the baby sitter; ironically, she did come to the U.S. as an au pair.
I'll acknowledge international adoption--adoption in general, really--is a very good thing. Madonna's might be the exception. It's certainly more common and more acceptable than it was a generation ago, which is fine.
Neighbor Shelly was a bit offended by a hairdresser recently on this issue. Shelly has five boys. The cosmetologist had the stones to ask, "Did you keep trying for a girl?"
Shelly, the soft-spoken shrinking violet that she is, shot back, "Well, some of them are adopted, so I guess we got exactly what we wanted."

I can't help but play the statistics, though. While international adoptions are up, so is interracial marriage (from .2% to something like 5% since 1970). I have to assume that the vast majority of children are NOT adopted and are the biological children of the person watching over them regardless of the racial appearance of the kids. That's simply how I operate.

So I was a little dismayed by a conversation I had not too long ago at swim class. Dad was there with his two kids; he was perhaps Italian and the kids were Asian. We were chatting about our kids, which ones were respectively ours, and their proficiency in the water; I commented, "They must look like their mother."
He looked at me like I was stupid. "They're adopted." Almost contemptuous.
Frankly, that killed the conversation. Was I off? It's not like it's unheard of for a white guy to marry an Asian girl. I suppose I'd like advice on this; what's the scoop? What are your thoughts, Gentle Readers?


Monday, May 21, 2007


I've had reason to think and deliberate on what's important recently. Sometimes we say things are important and then... do nothing about them. Other things we say are irrelevant but spend vast amounts of time on. Some examples:
Good dental health is important, but if you only brush your teeth once a day and never floss, you're not putting your money where your mouth is. Literally.
Our children's intellectual health is important, but if we never or rarely read to them, what are we really telling them?
Homeschooling my kids well is important, but I can't be bothered to plan lessons, evaluate curricula, check their work, or find out what they've been doing to see it's done well.
We women can say we want to be attractive to our spouse, but if we throw on what's clean and never bother with makeup or a razor, do we mean it?
TV isn't important, but we spend hours watching it.
Surfing the 'Net is less important than interacting or playing with my kids, so why do I spend two hours on the former and not have time for the latter?
One where I'm conspicuously guilty: It's more important (to me, anyway) that my kids recognize Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky than Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Joel, and Toby Keith, but which do I put in the CD player more often?

Mind you, I'm not saying that Internet surfing, watching TV, or pop music are bad in and of themselves. Or that we ladies need to be perfectly coiffed and made up every time he arrives home from work (but would it kill me to put on some lipstick? Probably not). I'm just saying we make time for what's important, regardless of what we actually say.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Conversation begins.

At lunch. Toby Keith's Hold You, Kiss You, Love You is playing in the background.

"Mama, what is this song about?"
"Um... er..." Help! "It's a husband singing to his wife how much he loves her, and how he wants to show her with his body."
"Oh." Confused.
"Well, honey, there are lots of ways to tell someone. I can tell you with words, right? Or I can give you a big hug?"
"Yeah. I like big hugs."
"I show Rachel too by taking care of her after she uses the potty, when I wipe her. I used to do it when she was in diapers, keeping her bottom clean. That's one of the ways to show we love someone."
"Now, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to follow Daddy into the potty, would it? To wipe him?"
Laughing. "No."
"He's singing about the way that's appropriate for a husband and wife to tell each other they love the other. And sometimes, they love each other so much, it overflows and God sends a baby to catch the overflow of love."
Pause. Satisfied. "Okay. This one is my favorite song."


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Schools are for fish

I just couldn't resist these.

Hee hee...

H/t to Maureen Wittman.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Grandparents License

On the last plain Friday of Lent, my mother came over around quarter after five with a couple of fish sandwiches from a local fast food place. Seems she had brought one over some time prior, and had discovered she and her grandson shared a fondness for them. She had promised to bring him another before Easter.
"At what time?" you ask again. Yes, about 45 minutes before supper was to be on the table.
"But I promised him," she said plaintively.
I threw up my hands. "They can have it, but cut in quarters. Nobody gets more than two pieces!"
He wouldn't have known the difference, I thought in a growl. But Grandma would have.

She comes over for dinner weekly; in nice weather, she takes the kids for a walk so I get a moment to myself. I really appreciated this until... I went with them.
She let them run up and down the ramp of one house. The gentleman in a wheelchair has passed away and the new residents have taken it down, but when it was there, she let them. Another house has a bench swing in front; she'd let them go on that, too. "If they didn't want it to happen, they'd have it in the back yard," she reasoned to me. They've since moved it and it bumps into the house, so we've agreed to stop the kids from swinging.
Now, the lady with the bird bath has told me she specifically cleans it out for my kids, which means she really doesn't mind them playing in it. The folks with the foot-shaped-stone path have kids themselves, so they aren't bothered by mine jumping from one to the next despite it being right under their kitchen window.

I know my mother wouldn't have let us, her own children, do these things. I am as certain as I am the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning. What is the difference?

They're grandkids, not her own children. It's the sentiment behind, "If I'd known they were more fun, I'd have had grandchildren first." It's all of the fun, none of the pressure. She gets to give them back.

I'm certain my kids watched more TV and and ate more junk food this past weekend than they would have if I hadn't been hospitalized. Did they burst into flame, get sick, turn into criminals? No. They enjoyed a weekend being spoiled while my in-laws did their darndest to keep them distracted and happy.

This isn't like letting a diabetic child eat an entire Hershey bar, mind you. It's the normal indulgence of relaxing the rules, not having to be the role model and responsible party all of the time. I've come to the conclusion it's what grandparents are supposed to do. And boy, am I looking forward to my turn!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Before I retreat to my comfortable anonymity

I'll admit I've been embarrassed by all of the attention in the form of posts and prayers since Friday. Mark Shea, Amy Welborn, Rod Dreher, Chris Johnson, Dom and Melanie Bettinelli... These are some big guns in my Third-Tallest-Building-in-Topeka world. Why? I guess I have this "I don't really deserve all of this" inability to ask for help. Martyrdom, something. Dale has had to say more than once (though not recently), "Get off the cross, we need the wood."

I was checking around looking for one of my links that wouldn't have anything about me... and it did. Weird. I expected it from here, and certainly here, just not here.

So all of this publicity has me wanting to crawl under a rock, somewhat. All this fuss about me? I'm just this homeschooling stay-at-home mom who makes semi-regular forays to the Catholic blogosphere, trying to raise my kids to be contributing members of society.

Then I got to thinking. If I'd heard on the news about a 35-year-old otherwise-healthy pregnant wife and mother of 3 with chest pains, I'd say a prayer. A sign of the cross for her, a thought later of "I wonder how that turned out. Well, I hope." Honestly there would be a smidge of "Merciful God, thank you for sparing me that burden." It would affect me.

I guess it is a big deal. If it had turned out to be a heart attack, or a blood clot, where my life really had been in danger, then it would be a very big deal. Perhaps since it turned out to be something so easily treated and unthreatening, it was in answer to all of the many, many prayers.

Thank you all again.


Monday, May 14, 2007

And the winner is...

According to our GP, it's costochondritis. Yes, he'd looked at all of the results from the hospital.

I can take acetominophen and rest. Yay. I'll be doing that.

And thank you again, all, for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers. It's quite overwhelming to have people I don't even know praying for me; my husband insists that's the way the Body of Christ is supposed to work.
It's still humbling. Thank you.

So, how was your weekend?

For details of mine, see here. And here, and here...

I spent yesterday afternoon in that fog of "too much rest, not enough sleep." I watched Desperate Housewives and the end of the Wings game lying on the couch, then went to bed for the best night's sleep since I don't remember when. No pain, no discomfort. It had been trying to come back yesterday, but rest fended it off.

I go to our GP this morning. I'll admit I'm still not sure what was/is going on, as the pulmonologist couldn't find anything on the scan. I've been warned that "martyrdom" and "death" usually go together and that is emphatically NOT what is wanted here.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts. I'm sure one of us will keep everyone posted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

He beat me to it...

but only because I had to make lunch for those outside the uterus.

For the full update, go here. For those who can't stand suspense, all is well.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The kids made up for yesterday.

With the water situation, about all we could do involving water is flush the toilet. Even that, according to the city water department, should be minimized so the sediment could settle and thus clear up the water. Three small children... Good luck with that.
I did other chores instead. I set the kids on picking up toys in the living room so I could vacuum while I swept and wet-jetted the kitchen floor. I was shaking out the rug on our back deck when I heard a sound from the living room.
Madeleine had started the vacuum. This might not seem like a big deal, but until this point, she was the child who was so upset by the noise she would run to another room whenever I turned it on. It started when she was maybe a month old; I was nursing her in her room and Daddy started it up right outside the door. Oh, how those startled little arms flailed!
I blinked at the scene and walked over. "I was just trying to help," she pleaded over the noise.
I said, "Honey, the front of the vacuum needs to be down for it to be able to do its job. You have to hold the handle above your belly button so the front stays down. That's all." I demonstrated, chucked her under the chin, and went back to the kitchen.
The Boy was overwhelmed trying to push the whole thing around, but really did a bang-up job with the hose attachments instead. [You knew he had to have a turn.]
Rachel, of course, was satisfied to supervise all of these endeavors and give a quality inspection afterward.

Later, I was feeling a bit dehydrated so we walked up to the "pizza store" for drinks. When Rachel started out into the parking lot alone, her brother caught her and pulled her back about as gently as you could ask a four-year-old boy to do. Given she's had a tendency to nursemaid's elbow, and everyone else in the house has done it to her, the fact that her brother didn't is testimony to how gently he pulled. She wasn't making it easy for him, either.

One of our concerns with the next one on the way is how I'll cope with all of the work. I think we have our answer.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My morning

has been completely different from how I planned. A small load of gentles to wash during my shower; hang them on the line while jeans wash; dishes after that; the kids play outside during this whole time. Then I'd read some Anne of Green Gables and Divine Intimacy. Leisurely easy morning. I should have known...

I threw the "gentles" in the washer--a dress of mine, some tops, Rachel's pink Easter gown, Madeleine's dance clothes--and noticed the color of the water flowing in. It won't be that bad, I thought. Then as I was about to shower, I noticed the toilet. Do you remember the color "raw umber" from the big Crayola box? That's what we're talking about here. Um... I'm not showering in that.

I dressed anyway and we all headed outside; I started pairing the kids' socks. After putting them away, I paused at the washer to collect the first load.

My formerly white top was this color, as was the cream-colored one. Maddie's pink dance clothes had splotches all over them and the pink gown was unevenly peachy in random spots. My dress, though, is originally orangey tie-dye and my jumper is tan; they'll be fine. Needless to say, there went Anne and Intimacy, as well as the dishes and jeans. How could I save my daughters' clothes? I was staving off a nervous breakdown.

Once upon a time, someone (my mother?) convinced me to get some stuff called Barkeeper's Friend. I remembered it accomplished whatever purpose it had had then; would it rise to the occasion now? Where would I get the water to soak the stuff?

I used the last of our 2.5 spring water jugs and the magical Barkeeper's Friend. It worked. Instead of spending the morning reading, though, I spent it making a paste and rubbing--gently, mind you--it in to a half-dozen items of clothing by hand. I'm exhausted. But the beloved Easter gown is rescued.

I won't be washing dishes, though.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 04, 2007

On Catholic blogs

I've noticed a growing number of specifically Catholic blogs and blogrolls--the Catholic Dads, Moms, Doctors, homeschoolers, et cetera. I think networking like that is great, frankly. I've even thought about joining but I don't know if I really qualify.
See, while I'm Catholic, I don't blog about it much. I don't get involved in which cardinal said what, or where the next bishop is going or from, or the liturgy wars (I'm with Mark Shea on that one--"just give me my lines and blocking."). I'm not waiting with bated breath for the Motu Propio document; I don't know where in the world the pope is currently; and while I think they're ridiculous, I don't really lose much sleep about Barney or guitar masses. I just... don't.

Part of it is I don't know where it starts or stops. Being Catholic permeates just about everything I do.
It affects what I cook; we abstain on Fridays, even the kids. It's not that difficult to make fried-egg sandwiches, or peanut butter and jelly, or mac & cheese, or ABC vegetable soup, or fish sticks and fruit for lunch. So I don't think about it. It flickers in my head when I'm making up the grocery list and is gone.
It affects how and what I teach my kids (see the Kolbe link on the sidebar). It was a big factor in choosing whether or not and then how to homeschool; now it's just part of the agenda.
It affects how I dress, which has become more skirts in the past year and a half. A lot more skirts. The girls have started picking up on it, so even though I'm not doing it deliberately for them, they're doing it to themselves. For me, it's coming to the really-easy "What's clean?"
It affects my relationship with my husband. Do I need to explain?
It affects the books I read. Again, see the Kolbe link; if I don't get a jump now on that middle school literature program, I'll really be behind the 8-ball in a few years. That and I feel the need to educate myself in the Faith. There's two thousand years of history and thought there, you know? Reading for me is a zero-sum game. If I only have an hour, can read the latest bestseller, a classic for the kids' school, or something to teach me about the Faith. Which loses just about every single time?

Dale describes it as being in the air I breathe, and he's sort of right. I think having parents from the Silent Generation instead of Boomers has something to do with it; I have some of the "It's just the way we do things" attitude. That might be more of the cradle Catholic; I'm not sure.

So that's where I stand on that. I wouldn't mind one of those B-Team Catholic chiclets; can someone tell me how one qualifies? That I think I've got wrapped up.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Our little Spitfire

Madeleine didn't seem to have Terrible Twos. She had a working vocabulary of over 2 dozen words by her first birthday, for one. She's also a calm, easygoing, kind-of-shy child, which means while she doesn't mind going out in public she doesn't want everyone's attention while she's there. It's always been easy and pleasant to take her just about anywhere.

The Boy isn't too different from that. Despite his speech difficulties (perhaps because of them), he's quite cooperative and patient. If you can't convey what you want, you kind of get resigned to liking what you get.

But Rachel? She got all the Irish. You know the old line, "You can always tell an Irishman, you just can't tell him much"? That's what we have here. By the boatload.

Last week at our first visit to the homeschool moms' Bible study, we did the Stations of the Cross with the kids. Maddie's goal was to show off her reading ability by reading aloud; Dale was patiently paying attention from a 9-year-old's lap. He was easily the smallest boy there.

What was Rachel doing? Telling me in no uncertain terms that she was going upstairs to play Polly Pocket. Loudly, and she didn't care that she'd be alone.

When I stood with a determined sigh to retrieve her from the foot of the stairs, another mom grinned and winked at me. Just a quick wink, but it helped.

Yesterday at the dentist when it was time to go, she wanted to put her own jacket on. Several unsuccessful tries with a hand through one sleeve or the other led to frustration but a bullheaded refusal of help. "NO! I do it!" The next patient asked, "Is she two?"

The dentist told her of me, "She's got more patience than God. She homeschools them, too."

I realized, just like pride goeth before a fall, I lose my sense of humor shortly before my temper. If I can still smile--just smile, because outright laughter sometimes is asking too much--I'll make it through. When another mom, by her tiny gesture lets me know "We've all been there and lived to tell the tale," I can smile. If I can still see the comedic value of a two-year-old trying to put on a jacket, and the absence of dire consequences for her failure, we'll be okay.

Laughter is the best medicine, after all, right?


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's better than a vacuum, I suppose.

It's not quite a cross between a cat bringing you a dead mouse and the middle school bathroom peer pressure: "Everyone's doin' it. You'll be cool if you do. You know you'll like it."

That last sentence may be true. But what else can you call it when one's husband gifts you with things like John Julius Norwich's three-volume set titled Byzantium? I vaguely feel like I'm being enticed into his addiction.

I know, he's just trying to help me fill the gaping holes in my history background. And share one of his interests. I recognize I've been an enabler in the past, encouraging him to purchase the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium.

So his heart is in the right place. And, like the title says, it's better than a vacuum.

Labels: ,