Double down naps = A happy afternoon

I’m pretty happy. We’re almost 5 months into life with baby number two and for the first time I have managed putting both girls down, at the same time, and they’re sleeping for over an hour.

And I got a snooze. Booyakasha!

What’s more I may even get time to sneak in a magazine article on food in the twin cities!

Today’s trick to happy napping :
– Later bedtime for daughter 1, at 2pm
– Not letting daughter 2 sleep too long in carseat after school pick up
– Reading books in our bed with them both, D1 reading with me, D2 doing tummy time and rolling around and generally burning herself out.

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Mama Bear

the offspring enjoying the first snow of the 2012 winter season

the offspring enjoying the first snow of the 2012 winter season as I watch from the kitchen window

The darkness of this season feels like a continuous tug at my spirit.  I straighten my back, lift my head and attempt to shake off the mood of depression that hovers over me.  My children wonder why I want to sleep so much and stay inside.  It’s such a change from the hustle and bustle of Spring, Summer and early Fall.  But I persevere because they need their mama WHOLE.

I miss MY mama. I want her to come and make me soup and give me toasty wool socks and a flannel blanket.  I want to curl up under her and just rest a little bit. But I straighten my back, lift my head and attempt to shake off the mood of depression that hovers over me.  My children wonder why I don’t laugh so much anymore. I persevere because they need their mama whole. They need their mama happy.

Winter time is when I make a very concious effort to get out of the house with my children and visit family and friends. My first thoughts as I wake in the morning are “I want to go back to sleep, it’s too cold and dark to wake now.”

Perhaps in a former life I was a bear that hibernates and bypasses this dreary, useless season.

For now, in this life I am mama to two Winter loving children.  I’m going to straighten my back, lift my head and shake off this mood. I’m going to curl the corners of my mouth into a smile and be WHOLE because they need their mama.

The Word on the Street

This here is a post where I confess that I let my child watch television.

Image found on the Global Grind.

I grew up with Sesame Street. The first time I watched it with my daughter I discovered that there was now an Indian-American woman on the show. I cried when I saw this. I never saw images of people on television that looked like me when I was growing up and so when I saw Leela, I cried. These were tears of happiness and relief.

I am happy with all the things my daughter learns from this show: letters, shapes, numbers, dance, music, and vocabulary. And quite often the different segments of Sesame Street are entertaining for adults as well. I am entertained when I sit to watch it with her and she is safely preoccupied when I need to get some work done. It’s a win/win situation in my mind.

Sometime last month the word on the street was “deciduous.”  When the leaves started falling off the trees Little Lotus Bud and I started our daily walks where we collect pine cones, crow feathers and brightly colored Autumn leaves.   We would stop to gather and she would point to the trees and say “deciduous.”  I felt justified in letting her watch television.

In the same way that Sesame Street has re-entered my life, it has made an appearance in the lives of those interested in the upcoming election. Ever since the night of the first presidential debate, Big Bird has moved to the center of the political arena. The issue, which I’m sure you all are aware of, is whether media institutions such as PBS and NPR should continue to receive federal subsidies – all fueled by the Republican candidate’s statement not to continue such funding.

I am torn about this. Back when Sesame Street started it was a much needed cultural development, but it no longer needs such support. Sesame Street is a solid part of children’s programming in the States and it really is in no danger of disappearing. If federal funding was pulled, I have no doubt that financial support from PBS viewers would continue. It is similar to NPR which would also remain strong with listener’s support. But there is the principle of the darn thing. Perhaps our government should continue to provide a minimal amount of subsidies because in doing so it says that diverse, educational programming is important to the children of this country.

But honestly speaking, I don’t care. Because I have little patience for political rhetoric. Of course there are issues that I care deeply about but these occur mostly on the state level. Voting “no” against the amendment to limit marriage rights and the amendment on voter IDs are the two major issues in Minnesota’s elections next month. I care about these two. But I do not care to hear presidential candidates talk about Big Bird. There are much more important matters to attend to such as jobs, environmental sustainability, health care, etc, etc.

What I do appreciate about all this hoopla about Big Bird are the funny responses. Here are two that I particularly enjoyed:

Finally, here are two articles from the Huffington Post that explain why this should matter to me and I just might be convinced:

Maybe next time the word on the Street should be “civic engagement.”

I can just her now saying “no, Mommy, that’s two words!”

Yurt

When I was little we had a subscription to National Geographic.  These magazines served many purposes in our house–from inspiration for school assignments to fodder for art projects–each issue was dog eared and poured over by each of us.  One of my favorites featured an essay about life in Mongolia.  I was fascinated by the descriptions of yurts and a trip to Mongolia became a prominent part of my childhood bucket list.  While I have very little desire to go to Mongolia nowadays…I still retain my fascination with yurts.

So, today, I did it.  I booked a solo retreat in a yurt in Northern Minnesota.  For 3 nights I will be sleeping alone (no wife and no child!) within the round roomed den that will be home away from home.  Apart from my return to Maui for my mother’s memorial service (a trip that I also took alone) this will be my first time alone in over 2 and a half years (the Maui trip did not actually contain any “alone” time).  I can’t wait.

But, I’m a little nervous.

What will I do…by myself.

Guess that’s part of the point!

Nogo Mama

I wear a uniform when I work.  Black polyester shirt in a relatively unattractive cut (I could probably sew similar with my fledgling sewing skills), no darts, no attempt at a waist.  A black suit skirt or slacks are clipped from their hanger and comfortable yet dressy black shoes are set next to me as I dress.  I tuck in the fabric that billows a bit too much, an effort to give shape to the shapeless, and then a dash of color in the form of a pair of earrings.  At the last, I snap the plastic collar I wear into place.

It is this collar that causes the tears.  Because, when I am in the collar–my role as priest supersedes that of my role as mama.   “Nogooo Mama, Nogooo!”  A swift hug and a kiss, “sweetie, I have to go, the people are expecting me.  Mommy will stay with you while I am at work”

We have learned, the hard way, that my wife and son cannot worship when I am celebrating.  As a supply priest my Sundays are spent in the various Episcopal churches in the area.  I go where I am called, to sub for a Sunday or two for the various clergy in the area.  The last time we tried to bring my son to a church where I led on a Sunday, the screams of “Mama” that accompanied the opening acclamation threatened to drown out the congregation’s response.   They left, my wife and son, swiftly–for his comfort and mine.

I am sure that eventually he will be able to sit through a service that I lead.  But, I feel that this eventuality is a long way off.  Right now, having me there but not there for him is far too difficult of an abstraction for anyone of the age of 2 and a half to understand.

And, as much as it is difficult for my son, these forays back into my other calling as priest keep me connected to the something that is bigger than me and bigger than us. While we have prioritized having a parent at home (me) I relish the reminders of what I hope to return to and what I still am capable of as a person outside of my role as Mama.  Preaching and celebrating allow me to continue as priest when I am for the time being a stay at home mom.

And, I think that this notion of dual identity (or many identities) is one that is important for those of us who have claimed (or had thrust upon us!) the identity of parent.  We are each many things, and have many roles.  And, while the necessity of time or age or phase or happenstance may call us to operate primarily in one arena–this does not mean that those other arenas are empty.

So, who are you?  What uniform do you assume in your callings (metaphorically, or literally as the case may be)?  Beyond the calling of parent what summon the fullness of you?

And, do please remember I mean the plural of callings here…because there can be so many and I truly believe that having a calling is not exclusive to having other callings!

Heady stuff.  But, sometimes Mama does, in fact, have to go.

(So, if you clicked through to the link I posted above, you will know that the collar I talk about is really just an inch (give or take) of plastic which encircles the neck.  It’s not particularly comfie and I keep ruining collars by leaving them in my glove box in the summer–I tend to take my collars off as soon as possible when it’s hot.)