Baby girl--nickname "Sweet Tea"--is two-point-five months old and radiantly plump! She sleeps between 7-9 hours through the night as if to say I know you have your hands full with five kids, Mommy, so I'm gonna help you out. She's awesome. I love her, even her many poop blowouts and her sour milk neck.
The novelty has not worn off for Shu. In fact, I just paused between paragraphs so he could "holduh baby." Very sweet, even if his support of her head was a bit lacking. The other day I caught him "nursing" his teddy bear, and later (and odder) a clementine he called his "baby." Tonight a pineapple was his baby, but he didn't try to nurse it. Maybe the pineapple is formula fed.
And speaking of nursing, I've been in search of the perfect nursing bra, which I'm convinced does not exist. I've thoroughly annoyed Dr. Husband who said, and I quote, Can't you just muddle through? by which he means get along with the raggedy, ill-fitting bras you've had since you nursed your first baby eight years ago? So now all our computer ads involve headless bra-ed torsos. Nice. I finally bought two I can tolerate. Not love. Just tolerate. One of them makes me pointy. Pointy. Ugh. Enough about that, and my apologies if you happen to be a man reading this.
I bought my first pair of skinny jeans a few weeks ago, and have actually grown to enjoy them. Except they have fake pockets in front. So unhelpful when you have five kids. I like pockets.
The whole family went to watch some Christmas fireworks last weekend. Not too cold, a barely perceptible mist, no crowd, excellent view. The perfect way to see fireworks. Shu got nervous as soon as the first one boomed. Climbed on my lap where I held him tight against me, hoping he'd figure out they are beautiful, if a tad loud. His hood helped block the noise, and his anxiety had decreased to Mild by the end. Felt like an important milestone for us. A nice tradition, too.
We are working our way through a homemade advent calendar--my lame attempt at craftiness--and reading portions of the Jesus Storybook Bible each day.
So we're reading together, sometimes by the light of just the Christmas tree, while Shu "dances" rather maniacally and Princess Firecracker hides under a blanket and Sweet Tea nurses. It doesn't feel, for the most part, deep or significant. And I admit, I wonder if it's just one more thing to check off the list. I'm learning that I can't force spirituality on my kids. They must grow up into their own faith. They believe, and they know their Bible facts, but aren't yet moved at an emotional level. I'll be constantly disappointed if I expect every church service or advent reading to evoke tears or rapt attention from children aged 2, 3, 5, and 8. We're just sowing seeds and trying to model a real relationship with Jesus before their eyes, praying that He will captivate their hearts.
Speaking of not keeping up: Before I had even read the original email with details of Hummus Girl's school Christmas party, I received three reply-alls from other parents volunteering cookies and plates and crafts and cheese. I hadn't even read about the party yet!!! And not because I don't check email 74 times a day. They were just that on the ball. Sigh. A friend recently posted a book excerpt stating that parents of at least four children get a "free pass" for life, perfect in situations like these.
It's probably good that parenting Shu for the last 18 months has chipped away at my inadequacy issues. Ok, not so much chipped away at as revealed them so that I could bring them before the Lord. I really did almost burn the beans today, and then later, almost left the house with the stove on. Sheesh. I am the proverbial chicken with its head cut off, patting myself heartily on the back (which I'm not sure a chicken could do) if, at the end of the day, we are all fed and relatively clean and happy. And maybe not even happy some days. That feels like a really low bar. I don't like it. I don't want other parents to think poorly of me because I can't even make it to the classroom party let alone provide snacks. I feel bad when Hummus Girl doesn't get her 100 reading minutes in each week, not because we're not reading, usually, but because sometimes filling out that pesky chart is just one task too many, as is dressing my eight year old appropriately for the weather. I figure he's old enough to handle that or suffer any consequences. The speech therapist comes to our house and may find me in my pajamas. She will certainly find the couch covered in clean unfolded laundry. Good thing she's a friend. I do put on real clothes for the family therapist (the fact that we're seeing one is a topic for another blog post, perhaps).
Grace. Grace. GRACE.
No other concept has been more essential for me in this season. I am so crazy happy that my sweet husband, whose housekeeping standard is far, far higher than mine, is growing in grace right along with me. He and God remind me daily of the few things that truly matter and the many things that don't. In the things that matter, I'm doing well enough.
And now, a few more gratuitous photos of my cute people, minus the mommy (gotta remedy that):