Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mundane post #4

Wow, now that I have to write only about mundane things, I have a lot more to say!!! Huh.

A couple years ago I went to a nursing conference in Phoenix with one of my friends from work. Every night as we relaxed in our hotel room we cracked up at the number of times this commercial came on for Pillow Pets. I can still sing the jingle. After three nights of listening to the Pillow Pets jingle and seeing the rapturous joy the Pillow Pets apparently impart (how's that for subtle alliteration), I was duly convinced that I needed one myself. I'm sure you've seen them. They're these stuffed animals who, when folded, have "legs" and when you unvelcro the "legs" - voila!! - they become a soft little pillow!!

Anyway, I bought Levi a giraffe Pillow Pet for Christmas. It's actually a Pillow Pet Pee-Wee - so a smaller version of one. It will fit perfectly in his mini crib. In our mini house. Anyway, I showed it to him when I found it at Meijer and he wanted to snuggle it (he coos and buries his face in stuffed animals), so we had a winner. And sadly, we won't wait till Christmas to give it to him. He's too little to know the difference, so he may as well enjoy it.

Well guess who's snuggling with the Pillow Pet now? Me. I really don't want to give it up. It's really, really, really soft and cozy. And to think that Nancy and I laughed and scoffed at the Pillow Pet commercial two years ago.


Anyway, about a month ago I had written in my little spiral notebook of randomness (prayers, thoughts, Bible verses, Bible study notes), What are my priorities and what is my purpose for today?? One thing that's really been challenging me over the past year is that tension - and I mean tension - of what's important, in what areas should we serve, in what places do we need to step down, how much is too much, how little is too little...and what it always comes down to for me is Proverbs 31:27 - How does this fit into looking well to the ways of my household?

One paradox of working in the Special Care Nursery at work is, from those who look in from the outside (proverbially, though we do have windows and people DO peer in from the outside), it often looks like we're doing nothing. From their point of view, we're sitting at our computers, actually DOING something with the baby every few hours, and then going back to our computers. What I always tell nursing students is that one of the best nursing interventions is to leave. the baby. alone. That is how a preemie is allowed to grow and develop. Me fussing with them to be busy and feel like I'm doing something is actually detrimental to the very person I'm trying to serve.

It applies at home too. The more Matt and I do, the busier we are, the more stuff we're involved in and the more we say 'yes' to people...the more our home suffers. There are weeks that we just spin...it happens about once a month or every other month...and then I get frustrated and shut the household down. It looks like we're doing nothing - the calendar squares are fairly empty, and saying no to people makes me feel guilty and silly, but in doing nothing we're doing something very significant, something that prompted us to make the decision to cut back my hours at work, to serve this very purpose: to allow the best environment for Levi to grow and develop and thrive. To keep a consistent nap routine. To follow his own quiet (or not so quiet at times) rhythm. It might seem a bit much but we have one little lamb and we're guarding the gate.

But still, guilt creeps in, and I have to keep reminding myself what our priorities are and what they're supposed to be...and what IS looking well to the way of my household? So I have to turn back to my page in my journal from a month ago and refresh:

1. To serve and glorify God, and tend to my relationship with Him. I NEED to carve out that time in the day - right when Levi goes down for his first nap, before I dive into housework.

2. To serve my husband and tend to my relationship with him. Whether or not Levi recites his letters or knows his colors before the other kids isn't the point; he needs to grow in a stable home where the marriage is a priority.

3. To serve Levi. Play with him, feed him, teach him, sing to him, read to him, provide structure and rest. He CAN play alone too. Teaching him to play alone and not need my constant attention is important too!!

4. Take care of my home. Things are washed, food is prepared, and things are reasonably in order and welcoming.

5. Tend to others. Encourage and serve them. But they cannot come before the other 3-4 things!

It looks easy on paper but is so hard to apply when you feel like it's better to do-do-do.

But sometimes NOT doing is what we SHOULD be doing.

It's still such a tension though, isn't it???

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weary of doing good

Levi developed a plan recently that serves zero purpose to either of us:

A 45-minute morning nap.

I really try to make it a discipline to do my quiet time/work on my Bible study as soon as he goes down for the morning. No. Matter. What. I need at least an hour so I can do that AND get some housework done, take a shower, or whatever.

But this 45 minute nonsense doesn't exactly work wonders for me. Mama needs an hour.

Levi wasn't pleased with my method to reinforce this today. But I can tell from the moment my baby gets up if his nap was as much as he needed, or if he simply woke up in the middle of a sleep cycle and thought it was simply time to get up. I knew that if I went into his room his eyes would be glazed and nearly rolling into the back of his head, but he would be just certain it was time to get up. And then he'd be crabby for the next few hours, I would be frustrated, and then he'd be so overtired that his afternoon nap would go similarly. And then the terrible attitude would roll into dinnertime.

So I let him stay in his bed. I know he was mad. I knew the exact moments that he flung his giraffe and three pacifiers over the railing so he'd have something about which to be even MORE mad. After fifteen minutes, I went in and collected his things, gave them back, saw the glazed and rolling eyes, and told him he needed more sleep and laid him back down.

Then, he was REALLY mad.

And then he....fell asleep.

When Levi turned one a week ago, I swear a toddler-tantrum switch was flicked onto "on" and I am desperately looking for the "reset" button...to no avail. Life is frustrating for him right now - he can't talk, is on the verge of walking, and is cutting six teeth. So you can't communicate (yes, I do signs with him but it's slow in being reciprocated), can't move like you want, and are in pain. Honestly, I'd be mad too.

Galatians 6:9 has become my big-cheese verse lately. I think it'll be my life verse for the next two decades:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I can't tell you how many times a day now that I have to tell this to myself. It's so much easier to give in and give him the food off my plate, to get him up even though I know he needs more sleep, to pick him up and carry him with me e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e to avoid the whining. But I will reap later what I sow even now. If I'm in the habit of giving in now, I'll continue that habit. I can't take the easy road.

*Now please don't think I'm a tyrant mom. I do feel like one sometimes! But it's not like I expect him to behave like a five-year-old boy. We just try to keep boundaries and structure in our home. But there are some days when you just have to let the house blow up around you because a little boy just needs to be cuddled and comforted and rocked and read to.

But how much does that verse just apply anywhere in life? In trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, hitting recurring issues head-on, working on a marriage relationship, parenting....

...don't become weary of doing the right thing. Because you WILL reap a harvest. Don't. Grow. Weary.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mundane post #3

Are you tired of mundane posts yet????

My heart is so incredibly burdened right now over a number of things - people who are very close to me - and either I will implode, or I will write another mundane post.

So the other day my gaze swept across our landscape (all 1/4 acre of it) and I hearkened back to last year right at this time - well, days before I had Levi - and thought, "This yard will NOT get raked this year."

And sure enough, it didn't.

So this week I thought to myself, "Self, you need take thine backside out and rake."

But I did NOT have time. And I was trying to figure out WHEN I (or Matt) would have time, and as I counted ahead for the next several days, it was becoming clear that the leaves may stay right where they are.

A few hours later, there was a knock at the door.

Two kids, clearly a brother and sister, probably about 10 and 12 years old, stood on my front porch with RAKES.

RAKES, I say.

At first I almost didn't answer the door because I was in an enormous hurry to get to something, and I had no time for underage Jehovah's Witnesses, scouts selling more popcorn, or whomever. But then I saw their rakes. And I answered the door.

"We're, um, raking yards to raise money for (this is where I'm waiting to hear a spiel about a mission trip, orphanage in Africa, local school or food pantry) a ferret."

A ferret?

"Do you want us to rake your yard??"

At that moment, I pictured myself standing in front of a blue-eyed, blond-haired little boy in about ten years, my eyes closed, pinching the bridge of my nose, saying, "If you can come up with a way to pay for (whatever it is that I would rather die than have in my house but this is a great learning opportunity about responsibility), you can get it." And then hoping against all hopes that no one will turn my little blue-eyed blond down as he goes door-to-door with a rake.

My other thought was, Does a bear poop in the woods? Heck YES you can rake my yard!

I asked what they were charging. The 10-year-old boy cast an entrepreneurial eye around our front yard and said, "Seven dollars?"

Me: TEN! Do you take a check?

And then this kid and his sister raked. our yard. And they totally spanked it. Like, there was not a leaf in sight. Granted, the yard's covered in leaves again two days later, but it's better than it would be. And some kids are gonna get their ferret.

So there you have it. Another slice of a mildly mundane life.