She loves to be helpful! Unloading the dishwasher is so far the best way I can include her in my work to the satisfaction of all. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from doing other helpful things like putting her favorite things in the garbage, digging in the garbage for matches or q-tips, finding the dustiest places in the house to stow laundry that I haven’t gotten around to folding and putting away yet, unloading the bags of recyclables while I’m packing them, and finding lots and lots of books she thinks we ought to read (she is particularly fond of German novellas). She loves being right with me and doing what I’m doing, so I try to remember to teach her how to help properly. We work on peeling garlic and onions and throwing the peels away (and then we work on Not Pulling Things Back Out of the Garbage When They Belong There), putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher (and then Not Taking Them Back Out…are you noticing a trend?), and cleaning up our messes on the floor. I need to get a small sturdy hand brush and dustpan that she can use while I sweep (well, and that I can use sometimes, too!)
All grown up and wearing a veil in church! Well…not for all of church. That’ll come in time. 🙂
Rosy cheeked and crazy haired after a bath. I was thinking this afternoon about how naps can be excellent resets. Often I dread nap time, because her naps are fairly unpredictable, and while she will sometimes take a long nap, she only does if I sleep with her the whole time (and yes, I do that sometimes, because I need it! I just have a hard time remembering that I need it). Most often, I’ll sneak out to the toilet as soon as she stops nursing, and she’ll wake up within ten minutes, either to be nursed back down or to get up for good. We have discovered a new kind of nap, though, and one that I love: she’ll occasionally sleep without me for an hour! More on what I use that for later. Anyway, much as I often dread naps, they’re basically a way to start the day over, as far as our interactions go (definitely not as far as recovering lost time goes!). If one of us has been grumpy or cranky or generally unpleasant to interact with, it’s a time where we’re practically forced to reconnect (ha, literally), set aside our feelings, and have a sort of time out. More often than not, it works like a charm.
Remember those amazing hour naps I was telling you about? Usually I use them for work, but it’s generally work that isn’t terribly urgent and I would do while she’s up, anyway. I’ve been trying to use them more for neglected hobbies, prayer, and reading. On Monday, I snuck off to church and made a holy hour after I got her to sleep. It was the first time I’d left her with Daddy or anyone for that length of time, and let me tell you, it took a lot of courage. Stephen has offered to watch her so that I could get some time away, but I’ve been very hesitant to take him up on it, because she’s a pretty intense Mama’s girl, and when he cares for her so I can get stuff done around the house, she generally ends up following me around fussing, anyway. Turns out it works best if I’m taken out of the question entirely, which is a bit humbling, since it’s not the way I’d prefer it to be. I want her to be perfectly happy with Daddy every time I take a shower or knead bread or what have you, but in the end, that’s kind of silly, because she’s not perfectly happy with me all the time, either. It’s a stretching and growing thing for all of us. Anyway, my holy hour on Monday was so refreshing, and I used the next time she napped well to do a little bit of watercoloring. I’ve been working on this project for a long time, but can’t really work on painting it as well at night, because there’s no natural light. I’m looking forward to tweaking it and finishing it and framing it. I’m trying to practice offering up all my joys and trials as prayer, and hope this will be a good reminder for me.
Eating is serious work!
I’m taking part in a challenge sponsored by the online women’s community Blessed Is She (check them out, they’re pretty awesome!) to focus on taking delight in one aspect of our lives this year. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m always piling my plate high with more rules, restrictions, and duties. I have a bajillion ideas for what to do to be a better Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, in-law, friend, etc, but while they are all good things and I definitely should work on them, I often forget that there’s a passive side to every relationship. All my relationships will suffer if I choose to give and never receive. This year, I want to delight in being a recipient. This year, I want to delight in being BELOVED.
I taught Maria “give me five…up high…cut the pickle…tickle tickle tickle!” yesterday, and she started bringing my fingers together so that she could cut the pickle again. That girl loves her Daddy and Mama tickles. 🙂