Friday, July 11, 2014

Now & Again

This morning, I couldn't even bring myself to tell Ishmael to stop pulling every inch of floss out of the floss container. Resistance is futile, sometimes. He doesn't want to go behind the curtain so I can take a cool picture of him, he only wants a rotten peach (or "apple", as he calls it), NOW. While running around the kitchen after breakfast, he smacked his elbow on a cabinet knob and needs me to pick him up and make it better NOW. When I'm cooking with spattering lava-hot oil, he inevitably wants to be in on the fun NOW - I know because he wedges himself in between my legs and wherever I'm standing, stands on my feet (which has become very painful), and rocks on my legs and looks up with saucer eyes and wide-open mouth saying "up?!" until I pick him up or tell him "no" and move out of the way, resulting in a waterfall of snot and blubbering. You have to see that "up" face to understand why most of the time he gets picked up, no matter how pregnant I am or how far away I have to stand from whatever I'm trying to cook.

If I'm trying to read a book or look at something on my phone, NOW is the time he must sit on my lap and read too. If I'm enjoying my dinner, NOW is the best time to commandeer my lap and challenge my ability to keep my food on the fork in the 3 feet between my plate and my mouth. Everything with toddlers is best done right NOW. I'm not a total pushover nor do I give him everything he wants, exactly when he wants it, but having a little guy teaches you that your time is not always your own, and sometimes what he needs is more important than what I was already doing. No matter how convenient, it is one of the best feelings when your child needs your comfort NOW when he's feeling hurt, vulnerable, scared, or sad.

As for AGAIN, you guys all know about this if you've ever spent time with children. Or my husband. Jonas and I are very different in that he is content to go to the same restaurant (if he finds a good one) for just about every date, where as I rarely want to go to the same place twice, even if I loved it the first time. When time is finite, I want to fit in as much variety as possible. Jonas on the other hand, wants to spend his time enjoying the few things he knows are worth his time. Especially earlier in our relationship, when we were most polarized on this issue, it drove me a little nuts. But I remembered this passage I read ages ago in G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy", and it helps me appreciate Jonas, and now my toddler who wants to play the same game or sing the same song 72 times in a row, or as Chesterton puts it, "until you are nearly dead."
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” 

Isn't that the most beautiful way to look at the endless cycle of "agains"? I love imagining God as giddy as a child, or a child as giddy as God, taking never-ending joy in doing the same wonderful thing over and over and over, until we're truly dead.

I was feeling overwhelmed and short tempered this morning, especially since I have started to feel uncomfortably close to giving birth in the last 2 days and there's still a lot I want to accomplish before that happens. Remarkably to me, however, I am about 2 weeks in to essentially being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm loving it! I was nervous that I'd be bored and soon grow resentful toward Ishmael, but I had an afternoon without him yesterday and it just felt quiet and I almost decided to go to sleep, which I don't usually feel when I'm staying active with him. (here's a photo of what I'm eating as I write this - pizza, tootsie rolls, tums - thanks to my husband for bringing me this special order. Proof of pregnancy, if I know anything)

I think it's harder not to resent my spouse for working outside of the house and then spending leisure time at home when I still see so much work to be done around the house. Thankfully though, Jonas appreciates that I work at home, and that helps me feel less in danger of getting SAHM syndrome where I feel stifled as a person. Like I said, today started out with me feeling a little more frazzled than I have been feeling. After a few hours of me-time during Ishmael's nap that helped me snap out of my funk considerably, I decided to take him across the street to the Discovery Museum, which neither of us had ever been to before.

I can't believe they charge $8 for children (unless they're under 2, lucky us), and I think I would have been considerably underwhelmed if I'd paid $8 for Ishmael's admission, but since he was free and my admission was only $4, it was a well-spent 2 hours of our day. I was quite surprised at how much he enjoyed it, actually! He ran around from station to station, excited about almost everything, and even warming up to play tunnels, which he's sometimes wary of when he can't see the other end. His favorite things were the tractor (complete with a special way to shift gears) and another little car with a wheel he could turn. He was even running up to other kids to watch what they were doing and wait his turn, though the other children helped me recall that I do not like children in general, Sam I Am.

There was one little boy who was probably 7 who was not in the little car when Ishmael ran up, but when Ishmael tried to get in, the boy got in and would have shoved Ishmael to the ground if I hadn't caught him! I think I was too shocked to chew that kid out like I probably should have. Another little boy didn't want Ishmael to ride a little rocking horse that he wasn't riding himself because the horse "needed to be alone in its pen". When the little boy protested when Ishmael started to ride the horse anyway, Ishmael realized that his behavior was making the other boy unhappy and ran out of the pin, hiding his eyes, which he does when he's ashamed or someone he admires tells him "no", like my dad. It completely shatters me when he does that, and I fiercely want to scoop him up and let him know it's okay and that he didn't do anything wrong (in the horse instance, at least).

Other kids, man. They're real jerks.
I'm sure my kids will have some majorly jerkish moments too, but for today, I'm so thankful for my sweet little guy and that I have these few weeks to spend a lot of time with him and all his NOW and AGAINs. 

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