Bible study and the kids’ first daycare experience

A friend invited me to a bible study group that had free childcare during it.  Ok, ok, she had me at free childcare.  I was nervous because Silvia usually naps during that time and doesn’t do too well with new people and no mama.  When we got there I thought they’d be ok because there were so many cool toys.

I snuck away because Leo was seeming hesitant about me leaving even though there was an awesome train table in front of him…which he quickly succumbed to.  The bible study was nice.  I’ve been struggling so long now with frustration and indifference with my faith.  I still put myself in these encounters in hopes that a word here or there might strike me and light a fire again.  This was a non-denominational (or inter-denom?) group.  There were 2 great grandmas there, many many grandmas, some older women and a few younger women and moms.  I say this to try to explain the age differences.  I really liked the diversity of age because I have never been in a group like this.  And these women really like to share about themselves so it was interesting to see a glimpse of their lives.

An obvious revelation: the older women still struggle with the same things I do.  I guess I’d always hoped that I’d be near sainthood by the time I was nearing the end of my life.  It was illuminating, slightly discouraging, but mostly a reminder of our humanity.  They’re just as human as I am and are subject to many of the same temptations, pressures and vanities.  I keep thinking that these faults and weaknesses of mine are something that I will work through over time.  But in reality, up until my death I will struggle, even as St. Paul did.  “In my weakness I am strong” St. Paul said.  I kind of understand that, but not fully.  And the application of it hasn’t really worked for me because I’m too damn impatient to wait for God to work on me.  If God denied St. Paul’s request to take a temptation or struggle away, knowing that it was for the overall benefit of his soul, He could of course do the same for me.  However, I just feel like my requests aren’t being heard because I don’t hear God talking to me in a very direct or indirect way.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have a close spiritual confidant anymore.  When my best friend and I first met, we immediately connected spiritually because we met as youth group leaders.  I felt like God was using me as an instrument in her life and vice versa.   Her advice was always so good and sound that I felt that God was leading me and talking to me through her.  Since I moved away, or since we stopped our work as youth leaders, we don’t talk as much about our faith lives.  We don’t talk near as much in general.  Our lives have gotten way busier, but I miss it.  I miss having someone to put me in my place.

I know a lot of people have accountability partners,  and that is what she was for me.  I think I’ll try to pray about this.

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Montessori style

Recently, I’ve become interested in some of the Montessori ideas.   It appeals to me because it helps children reach for independence in a natural way and gives them the appropriate challenge for their age.  To be honest, I’ve kinda babied Leo a bit.  Before I became a mom, I was all “my kid is going to be doing any work that he’s physically capable of doing at that age”  And then I spoon fed Leo until he was 2.  Yeaaa….  He was slow to get it, but I spoon fed him from the start.  With Silvia, I let her feed herself almost from the start.  I said screw the mess, I don’t want to sit around spoon feeding 2 kids, so she’s gonna do it on her own.  And clean-up time is much longer than it was with Leo, but I can eat lunch with them or work on dishes while they eat.  Silvia can already get the spoon in her mouth pretty well; she just can’t get food on it first. 🙂

It took me some time to realize that I have to let Leo try at the work that I do even if it does take 10x longer and makes a bigger mess.  It will mean he’ll be a productive member of the family from an earlier age, and that is important to me.  I’m kind of an OCD perfectionist, so it was hard accepting this, but now I enjoy teaching Leo these new skills.  With 2 little ones, I can never keep up with the housework.  The sooner I can start delegating chores to the kids, the better.  This place will be a little cleaner someday…..I hope.

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Leo helping put silverware away

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Trying to copy daddy as he worked on the bike trailer

Anyway, I was already letting Leo “help” more around the house, but the Montessori ideas pertained more to the organization of Leo’s bedroom.  Montessori is all about having things within reach for kids and basically making the world that surrounds the kid “child-sized”.  We already had a couple book shelves within his reach, but he couldn’t reach his top dresser drawers.  So, to my delight all of his clothes fit in 3 plastic bins that were sitting in his closet looking tacky.  Now, he can access his clothes.   Also, I made a shoe box for him by cutting a cardboard box.  I now expect him to get his shoes and put them back in the box.  Since I moved the plastic bins that blocked his closet, the closet is now accessible to store and hide toys that will be rotated out.

Also, we’re going to put a few pegs up on the wall so Leo can hang his coat/jacket/hat up.  And we’ll finally be selling or getting rid of our crappy couch so we can move the recliner out of Leo’s room and have more space for storing toys in an attractive way rather than random stuff thrown in a bin.  Kids like to play with toys that are visible and set up attractively.

Leo is now finally out of his crib.  He never tried to climb out so I was planning on keeping him in there indefinitely….but the Montessori ideas try to give the child freedom, trust and new skills, so I thought it fitting to let him out of his cage.  I took apart his crib myself and put his mattress on the floor.  I made a big deal about his “new bed”.  He’s been doing so well in it.  He was definitely ready.  If he does try to come out of the room during nap time, I just tell him to go lay down and take a nap and he stays in his room.  At night, he may fuss a minute, but doesn’t even get out of his bed.  Most days he was still tired/grumpy after his nap and just sat on his bed and cried.  Today he woke up from his nap in a good mood and I didn’t hear him until I heard his door handle turning.  He walked out of his room happy.  I’m loving this change.

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This is what I saw the first nap he took on it.  It explains the dirty marks on the wall I found between the slots of his crib.  He must’ve liked to put his feet on the wall even through his crib.

Leo and Silvia have been peeing on the potty some lately.  Today, while Silvia was on the Bjorn potty, Leo put his bunny on the Ikea potty.  Leo and I were both saying “pssssss” trying to get Silvia (and the bunny) to go pee.  Later, Leo got into the box of wipes and wanted to wipe his bunny’s butt.  I showed him how to use an imaginary wipe instead.

A birthday for the not-so-baby

Sunday was Silvia’s 1st birthday.  I’m so happy to be at this point.  When my kids are newborns I think 1 year sounds so far away.  And oftentimes I wish I could skip some of those early months when they are so dependent on me and no one can take my place it seems.  Silvia especially was very dependent on me for about the first 9 months and wouldn’t take a bottle until about 7 months.  This meant I had to be around her for EVERY feeding; so 2 to 3 hours apart from her was all I was allowed.  It was constantly weighing on my mind whenever I went out.  And then she was also very attached to me (and eventually Joe, too).  But if a stranger dared to look at her, she would scream like a banshee.

But I like my independence.  And it feels good now to know that if I’m out shopping, I don’t have to hurry home because she’ll be just fine.  Or if I want to go dancing with a friend and end up having a few drinks and staying later than I thought, it’s ok. Sweet cow’s milk!

Anyway, I made a little slideshow from her 1st year as I did with Leo.  It is so crazy to look back on those early days when I had a 15 month old and a newborn.  But we made it.   The kiddos are best friends and seeing them play and laugh and kiss each other melts my heart.

And I have grown exponentially in my mothering abilities and confidence.   Of course, with time I have fallen in love with Silvia as I did with Leo.  She is a beautiful, smart, active little girl.  She’s more daring than Leo and can already say quite a few words.  She’s a-walking which is so adorable to see her toddle around.  Today she was doing circles.   Here is the slideshow.  Don’t mind the Hey Mama song playing 3 times over.  I was in a hurry to just post the dang thing and didn’t want to find more songs.

And some pics of the special day.

Image She’s wearing a hand-made dress that a friend’s mom made. 

ImageA new dress

ImageCharging the camera

Imagebirthday cake

Imageovertired and fussy while opening presents.

ImageThey were laughing hysterically at one another while she ate the cupcake.

The past week in pictures

Picture day!

ImageJoe said that what precluded this picture was Silvia standing in a sumo stance facing Leo with a wooden hammer in her hand while Leo backed up into the recliner.  The evidence (red) is still in her hand in the picture.

Image  Silvia sitting at the annual physics picnic for Joe’s department.

ImageMaking lots of noise with the blocks and laughing at each other.

ImageThese next few were taken at the Indianapolis children’s museum where a friend got me in with her pass.

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ImageWater play

ImageBoth of them making music

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ImageThey loved my grain-free cauliflower crust pizza which is shown below.  Yum!

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ImageLeo pushing Silvia in a little wagon that is meant for legos.

ImageBig girl

ImageEnjoying the swings together

ImageNeighbor girls pushing Silvia and playing with Leo

ImageStopping during the hot walk back from the Farmer’s market which is part of my weekly routine with my friend and her two kids.

ImageSilvia grocery shopping

ImageLeo loves his water table.

ImageShe likes to sit in little containers, like laundry baskets.

Image“yeah, I’m so hot right now”

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ImageOur messy eater!

And that is what we’ve been up to for the past week or so.  Leo got sick on Saturday with a fever and it turned into a sore throat.  He’s been sleeping horribly the last few days, but seems back to normal today.  Fingers crossed he doesn’t wake up during the night tonight!  Silvia caught a cold.  Joe seems to be getting the sore throat/fever combination, but I haven’t caught anything yet, even with the lack of sleep!  I didn’t take the kids to the doctor, but I gave Leo honey (to coat the throat) and tylenol once his fever got to about 102 degrees.  At that point he felt on fire and was so lethargic he could only lay around and sleep or cry.  I only gave him about 4 or 5 doses in all.  And I’ve been slipping vitamin C powder in both of the kids’ applesauce along with a small bit of probiotic in their water or on their food.  Really surprised Leo seems to have gotten over the whole thing in 3 days.  But who knows if it was just a short virus or if my tricks really worked.  🙂

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