Monthly Archives: December 2011

Countdown

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I’ve definitely been on vacation – I haven’t been paying much attention at all to the day of the week or how much longer I have off. However, it’s been brought to my attention that return to work is fast approaching. As of tomorrow I have 2 more days of vacation left in this long and lovely winter break.

Cue recurring theme: how to enjoy the time and be in the moment while also feeling pressure to get a bunch of things done.

Today I started things off by forgetting the lesson of yesterday: focus on my daughter first, chores second. I was eager to continue work on my photobox transfer/purge, with the result of baby fussiness. I switched gears and she calmed down. Nonetheless, I managed to cram in a grocery shop, load of laundry and lots of kitchen work. Along with the “being in the moment” activities of praying, catching up on my prayers, lying in bed reading while she napped, and napping while she napped. Pretty good!

Tonight husband got home around 5:30 after work; we got Indian take-out (VERY good! Also very late b/c they lost our order); baby went to bed by 7 something; we watched some episodes of Community; and we talked while I finished the photo project (yayness!!!).

Tomorrow husband’s working again. I want to enjoy time with my girl. I also want to bake pumpkin spice cookies. And put away a bunch of stuff (trying to clear off a shelf in the living room). And pick outfits for next week. And do some writing. Also must try out the new double pump and make sure I know how it works. And pack up for baby’s first day back at nana’s house.

And, absolutely essential, truly enjoy these last couple of days of TIME with my girl. I think I’m learning that the way to do this is to take the first bits of available time to do the being-ness. And to recognize, which I have been, that just because some arbitrary deadline is approaching (the start of work; the start of vacation; anything new or changed) doesn’t mean that I need to wrap up every loose end in my life. Prioritize and relax.

Peace, peace, peace. Still looking for it, and finding it here and there.

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Relationships First

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Today was much more enjoyable than yesterday. I think it’s because I decided to put relationships first, over getting things done. Sort of. Mainly my relationship with my daughter, for much of the day. In general.

what I mean is: today I saw that when I put energy into focusing on my daughter and having the right (positive, learning-focused, encouraging, nurturing) interactions with her, things went better. I enjoyed things more. I had more energy. She was happier. Time flew by instead of crawling, as I was afraid it would. Breakfast went well: I made cereal and she ate it, and when she threw her spoon repeatedly it was actually hilarious.

Then we went on two walks, the first mainly to put her to sleep, the second to play in a park. And we played with the ducks and watched animals and walked and swung around in these swingy things.

Also good today: wallet found! It was dropped in the night drop slot at the credit union. Minus the cash :). I am greatly amused at the moral reasoning that went into that decision, but appreciative nonetheless.

Another bonus: thanks to my mom’s visit today I was able to finally make the ginger cookies I’ve been trying to make since early December. Yum!

Plus did a tiny wee bit of purging and got rid of a small stack of old daybooks.

So, though today was nap minimal, it gets two thumbs up.

Looong day

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Normal morning. After breakfast headed to Credit Union (safety deposit box drop) then walk with baby to the park to see the birds.

At the park, started thinking about my wallet. How, though it’s cool and locally made, I really didn’t need to buy it and don’t love it. Then started wondering where my wallet was and had a moment of realization that it was lost. Guess what? It was! Not in the stroller or on the ground. Nowhere on the route back home. Not in the Credit Union.

So my morning, once my mom got there after baby’s attempted nap (why do I get so frustrated when she doesn’t sleep? I do not know) I got to spend a few hours cancelling cards and requesting new ones. Awesome. Will try and get a new driver’s licence tomorrow and that takes care of the main ones. The bigger nuisance is all the loyalty cards (not a huge number, but a few) and the ones I don’t even remember I have. I mean, do I need a new Aeroplan card? Probably not, but I sometimes use it at gas stations. Though I think my MEC card was recently moved to my wallet … drat. The only card that escaped is Airmiles, as baby was playing wtih it at the CU.

And I”m just wiped out today. Too many late nights. I was trying to nap with baby today when she finally went down at 2, but first I checked email then had a call then needed a snack then read a short story (in bed) then she woke up. And yes, nursed/slept on the breast for another hour, but the position was such that I couldn’t nap.

And the evening just felt long. Asleep by 9:30. Wiped out. Blah day.

But, I did pray.

HEre’s to tomorrow.

Reflections on Communication

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So today I got annoyed at my husband twice, once possibly deservedly, once probably not. Getting over these fun moments and moving on together were interestingly insightful for me. Both times, once the issue was out in the open my frustration dropped significantly. Both times we used humour and taking ourselves not too seriously to prevent the annoyance from becoming a big issue. Both times we ended with some combination of a hug and kiss with baby reaching up to join us for a family moment.

A key for me was being willing to stay connected while discussing both the issue and the process (how I brought up and if I brought up what I was concerned about). Instead of taking my emotions to an extreme and positioning myself, physically and emotionally, as oppositional to him, I let myself remain connected, kept my reactions balanced and listened to his perspective. The dual results were an airing and clearing of an issue, and a renewed sense of connection.

Disagreements are vehicles for change. Make of them the type of change you want.

Drumming tonight provided more examples of being in tune with others. During the first half of class several people had to go in and out of the room to take phone calls and check on childcare. We also were rotating parts and soloing. It was wonderful to see the sharing of time and drums among the group of 6, and how we moved to take over missing rhythms to keep the melody moving forward as a whole: B grabbed the guagua, I switched to high drum, T added in the clave, all rotated the quinto for solos.

Our teacher/facilitator talked about soloing as well, and how it’s about creating a conversation between the different drums. Throughout the class as a whole we feel the beauty of the multiple rhythms moving together and becoming one organic whole, even while each separate part brings its own special flavour to the music.

Finally wonderfully and unrelatedly, we ended with the vudo rhythm, my FAVOURITE! I love the off-beat way its parts blend together and how it makes me move.

Red Square Dreams

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Last night I dreamt about Red Square again. This time I was on some type of a camp exchange program in Russia with a group. We had been busy with various activities when I suddenly realized there were only 2 days before we left for home and I still hadn’t been to Red Square. In the dream I was frustrated with myself, wondering how I had neglected to visit a place I really wanted to see when I’d had 2 months or more to make it happen. I was rushing around trying to get permission, find the time, rearrange schedules, all to make a visit happen in the short time remaining.

When I woke up, I realized that the dream was about how I live my life. What are the things that are so important to me, that I can’t wait to do, that I’m putting off until it’s almost too late?

Once again, the same themes reverberate in my life. Too much multitasking, not enough focus and presence. Prioritizing housework and chores over relationships and family.

In all fairness, I certainly would not say that this is my dominant pattern, that I am unpresent or that I don’t make time for important things. It’s just not my go-to position. And again, in fairness to myself, I know both that I take care of things that are important (making healthy food, clean laundry, bills, health activities, getting in touch with people) and that order in my life and environment are attributes that enhance my quality of life. It’s just that I feel myself not embracing life and the important things in the vital, central, enthusiastic way I know they call out to be embraced. And I can imagine how my life would be enriched if I did so. I don’t understand how it’s so hard to get from here to there if it is so recurringly obvious to me that it is important.

On another note, day 4 of praying and I can see both the challenge and the benefit. With a later baby nap today and another absorbing chore (moving photos to a photo box and purging them) I didn’t particularly want to make the time to pray. Yet when I did, and took the time to refocus my attention on the words of the prayer, I found myself grounded, reassured and better prepared to move forward with my day. This daily prayer thing is powerful.

Toddlers and Books

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As of today, it feels official: our girl is transitioning from baby to toddler. I’m excited, nostalgic and filled with joy as I watch her growing mobility, understanding, interactions and personhood emerge.

Some signs of toddlerhood, and plain old cuteness:

Toddling. That is, walking is now her dominant form of motion. And as of today, she is mainly wanting to walk unassisted. The result is a short adorable little body wobbling determinedly back and forth around the house, taking corners, picking up speed, waving her arms (we sometimes call her our little zombie for her wobbly arms-out-in-front walk), smiling and motoring.

Carrying things. She can now carry things while walking. Her favourites are bags, which she LOOOOVES to fill with things to carry. This brings us to her other favourite activity:

Filling and emptying containers. If it can be taken in and out, she will love it. Socks in and out of a basket. Books in and out of a shelf. Tiny toy pencils in and out of the toy matrioshka-variation I have that she played with today. Anything and everything in and out of the bags and baskets we have for her around the house.

Game playing. More than ever, she is engaging in fun and fanciful play with the world. Her stuffed toys are becoming more real to her as she wants to feed them, has us give them hugs, puts diapers on them, and on and on. She also loves all kinds of physical games with us, including a new favourite: giving mama a zrbt on the tummy.

She also loves books! particularly mama-books. Whereas when she was younger I couldn’t let her near a paper book because pages would be lots, now she can be trusted to hold and play with a book, flipping the pages, opening and closing it. Tonight she spent a long time walking around holding one of my young adult books (a Chalet School novel), walking with the book open. A walking reader like her mama? I do think so! Husband found her in the bathroom sitting cross-legged on the change pad with the book open in front of her!!! I am thrilled to see how comfortable she is with books, and melting inside at my adorable girl and the thoughts of all the future reading adventures ahead of us.

Which brings me to the other important topic for today: books. I bought some books on our trip. Yes, I did. About 10 – 12 of them. I know, we’re supposed to be decluttering, but books … aaah, books. My focus this time was on building a children’s library. I picked up some Nancy Drew, some Little House (can’t believe I don’t have these!), one Anastasia (aaah, more happy memories of immersing myself in her Cambridge/Boston/house with a tower world in childhood summers). Today I had the chance to integrate the books into my children’s collection, housed in one box and several shelves. I found 2 duplicates and one replacement book which I got rid of (10 in, 3 out??). I also made a list in my daybook of what I have and what I still want/need to get (Little House, a few N. Drew, Lloyd Alexander, Betsy-Tacy books, Bobbsey Twins, Donna Parker, Trixie Belden (okay, the last 3 not priorities but possibly fun, and possibly more for me than baby :)), and the Penderwicks series by Jean Birdsall (LOOOVE these books! a new classic, brought to my attention by a friend who’s her step-son. I read the first two while pregnant and it was one of the most grounding, nesting, soothing, rejuvenating weekends of my pregnancy). Also have noticed that my copy of Emma has gone and MUST replace this.) There is one other series I want and the name escapes me … boat something, ransom swallow … I can’t even remember what they were about but really enjoyed them. I’m sure some children’s lit-savvy author will know the series from those few words above.

I know there are libraries. But there is something about a home library that feeds my soul. As well, lots of the books I would love to make available for my daughter are not commonly found in libraries anymore. The Betsy-Tacy series by Lovelace, for example, aren’t stocked my our regional library anymore, though I read them repeatedly from their collection when I was a teenager. Donna Parker, Trixie Belden … yes, probably extremely dated gender roles BUT thankfully sex-free fun teenage escapism. And some books you just need to have on hand for when you get a sudden urge to return to an old favourite.

It was so affirming today to see my baby playing with my books and toys. The pencil toy was one I’d brought back from Russia about 15 years ago with the thought that my children might play with it some day. For years I thought that day would never come, and now my daughter is doing this. I talked her through taking out the pencils, helped her line them up, showed her how to put them in and shake the big pencil, and watched her play and walk around with them in delight. Similarly my books which I saved from childhood for my future children. 20+ years of book storage finally beginning to make sense. I hope some of these become books that she can love, grow with, share and pass on to her friends and ultimately children.

Family Snow Winter Nesting Beauty Baby

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A connected flow of thoughts on my day.

Family is really important and takes work to build a healthy, well-functioning extended family.

Family time matters and it’s nice to see the streets so quiet as families gather today.

I wonder what is so culturally significant about snow on Christmas? I know I feel it and wish it had snowed today. For me, a snowy Christmas – or in general, snow in winter – symbolizes peace, home, family, a safe and secure haven of love away from the problems of the world. Though I don’t like the cold I love the feel of a snowy day.

Seeing all the homes, some decorated for winter, and speculating what the streets would look like with snow, I thought more about my craving for order and beauty. My mom reminded me of a quote the other day: “Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it.” Yes. Maybe my craving has spiritual origins, and creating that order and beauty can enhance spiritual dimensions of life. I definitely feel more freed up creatively, more calm and peaceful, more hospitable when the house is in order.

Our home is great and our home needs some work. Let the next phase of decluttering begin! We’ve identified some chairs to go, and chairs we need (for the dining table, and a comfy armchair).

Baby continues to amaze. Now carrying and dragging things around as she walks. Cuddlier, wanting to nap (briefly) on mama’s chest. Helping to build a massive tower of tupperware at nana’s, a bit shocked when it falls noisily, then clapping and ready to build again. Waving her arms to the music, any music. I want a beautiful home to raise baby.

And I want to slow down and BE so that the surroundings, whatever they are, can be enjoyed.

Day 2 of praying.

No decluttering today; more to come tomorrow.