until my induction on February 14th, Valentines Day. But who's counting besides me? If it weren't for my cough, which is getting worse (I tried to have a talk with my immune system the other day, but all it would say is, "Excuse me, but your body is completely occupied right now growing an amazing little girl -- don't worry, I'll start working again once she arrives"), and my inability to sleep, I think I wouldn't be quite so anxious. Baby has dropped, but still my ribs are cutting into the top of my uterus on the right side, so I end up walking around with my hand pushing down on my stomach a lot.
I've been neglecting this blog of late. For one thing, I feel as though if I don't have something amazingly profound to say, then it's not worth writing. For another, I often DO have something I consider profound to say, but then I feel like I don't have the time or energy needed to give it the full effort it needs. And finally, while my husband hooked me up with his old laptop, I still have to get Lightroom and Photoshop installed and I don't have easy access to my photos that are still on my currently-defunct desktop. I hate to post without pictures. I could also think of a dozen other excuses -- too tired, too busy, or whatever, but they are just excuses.
Today, though, I think I'll just post a jumble of disconnected thoughts and ideas.
* I'm enjoying having a laptop. It's nice to be sitting in my living room writing this while the three little girls run around in super-hero capes. I can fulfill my momly duty of saying "Hurray!" and "Go get the bad guys!" and still formulate some thoughts.
* Along those lines, I've been surprised over the years by how much of mothering is in the simple things. The noticing and praising of the small efforts my children make to be kind to one another, for example. Or cheering as they zoom down our sloping driveway on their wiggle racers. It doesn't take a lot of time, and often it is easy to be doing the many other things that go into making a home, whether it be pulling weeds outside or mopping the floors inside. Something about having mom's presence nearby, available to fix any hurts, notice how well you are putting together a puzzle, or remind you to say thank you to your sister, is reassuring and comforting to a young child.
I had a conversation with a group of wonderful moms recently about the concept of "playing" with your children. Most of us don't do a lot of it, though we are all engaged in giving our children time and attention. I loved this comment, "One need only look to the child whose mother DOES play with him/her constantly to see what a bad idea that is. Part of my parenting philosophy is that the kids learn that they are not the center of the universe. (Can you think of anything more tedious than being married to someone whose mom played with him ALL THE TIME?)" Another mom said that when she tries to enter her child's world, the child gets bossy and it doesn't go well, but when she invites the child into HER world, by reading to her or having her help with the cooking, the bonding happens.
My comment was this: "It's easy in our helicopter-parenting world to feel like we're not measuring up to the 'standard' -- whether that be constantly playing with a child or dragging them from one character-building activity to the next. I always like to think of the historical perspective -- I figure my ancestors were probably busy darning socks, churning butter, tending the fire and the garden and the other work of life. I believe that children do best when they are given a balance between the attention/parental time and the time to explore and play and entertain themselves. I'm the 5th of 6 and while I remember my mom reading to me and providing a clean home and meals every day, I don't think she ever 'played' with me. Do I feel in any way deprived? Nope! I also tell my four and five year olds, 'No, I don't play Candyland. That's why I gave you siblings.'"
On the other hand, I should point out that while I'm not constantly playing with my kids, I do give them time and attention. We read together and I like to be nearby and engaged in my children's play -- I help them navigate the inevitable battles ("Harmony, Katie just wants to play with that pony. Can you find another one to trade her?") or notice what they're doing ("Oh, are you all pretending to be doggies? Are you nice dogs or mean dogs?") or involve myself ("Can you serve me some pancakes at your restaurant?"). I will play Memory game or do puzzles with my kids and I like to take them on outings (at least I do when I'm not 9 months pregnant).
* After hearing from at least a half dozen sources that Downton Abbey was just an amazing show, I watched a couple of episodes yesterday. It was indeed engaging and interesting, but it also had some scenes that were absolutely NOT G-rated. I should have given up after the first episode, but it had come so highly recommended, I hoped the first offensive scene was just a fluke. I found out it wasn't. Maybe I'm just extra-sensitive because we've gone so many years without channel television, but is this what passes for entertainment these days? Or did I just watch the worst episodes and the rest of the series is just fine? I imagine, since the show is on PBS, that it's tame compared to prime time shows, and that just makes me feel sad and discouraged. In any case, I felt like I needed a good washing after watching and I don't plan on investing more time in the show, even though I really liked the parts that weren't scummy.
* I hate the school science fair and I hate that two of the three kids who had to participate in it this year need a lot of help to get their projects done. In fact, I'm down on most homework that seems intended more to torture parents than to teach kids. Darling, amazing, wonderful Lillian was good enough to agree to help the boys with their projects. She showed much more patience with one son's "I can't," and "I don't know how" excuses than I would have, and there is no doubt she EARNED all four work hours we gave her and that Snickers bar. She's going to go to Memphis with my husband in a few months and has almost enough work hours to pay for the trip.
* I loved listening to this Question & Answer session about mothering with Julie B. Beck a few days ago. Three-quarters of the way through, though, I had to laugh at one of the questions. The lead-up was "What do you do when the mothering years are behind you?" so I was getting all sympathetic to this poor empty-nester mother. Then they quoted from her and I was suprised -- she said she'd been so depressed and lost ever since the youngest of her five kids went to first grade two years ago! I was astounded that anyone would think their job was mostly "done" at that point! I thought Sister Beck handled her concerns with grace and insight, telling her she had a lot more work to do and giving her ideas of where to put her efforts.
It did make me think, though, about how some mothers seem more inclined to certain ages and stages than others. I love MY babies, for instance, but I've NEVER in my life been baby-hungry and I don't like babies in general, while I know other women just long to hold babies and really relish that stage and mourn when it's gone.
I love my adorable toddlers, but I wouldn't say I love that stage either. I do, however, LOVE my elementary school kids. They're fun, lively, able to contribute, eager to learn, and most of them still think I'm the greatest.
It will be interesting to see what the teenage years hold -- Lillian will turn 13 come April.
* I'm trying to re-read the entire Lord of the Rings series before Camilla Eowyn is born. I take naming my children very seriously and I want to be sure that Eowyn is a fitting name for this particular child. I have felt that she will be a strong warrior, but I want to make sure she won't ever be upset by the character she's named after. I'm on the Two Towers now, and can I admit something I've probably never said about books and movies before? The movies are WAY better than the books in this case. I'm sure it's sacrilege to real LOTR fans to say it, but I find the language too verbose and often stilted (probably because they were written in the 50s), and the descriptions just don't do the story justice -- the Riders are absolutely terrifying in the movies, but the way they are written in the book, they might as well just be some bad guys riding horses.
* I made six loaves of zucchini bread Tuesday, full of chocolate chips, walnuts, and yummy goodness. We gave one loaf to a neighbor and the kids devoured the rest. I woke up yesterday morning to find all that was left was half of a loaf.
* My friend is throwing me a baby shower with a twist on Saturday -- a cooperative freezer meal shower, where everyone brings some ingredients to make freezer meals for me. Doesn't that sound wonderful? I don't need any clothes or gear (this IS the sixth baby girl in a row, after all), but won't it be nice to have some meals in my freezer? I've been working to clear some space in my freezer before Saturday (one reason for the zucchini bread was to use up some of the frozen zucchini).