Tuesday, April 3, 2007

There are times when parenthood seems like nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you. - Peter de Vries

When I started this blog, I specifically stated that it wouldn't be every day, or even every week. I did, however, think it would be more often than this! However, as any parent of young children knows, my time is not really my own these days.

This quote is almost literally true for me, as I'm still nursing my wee one. She doesn't bite, exactly, but she has inflicted pain. It's more of a pulling than biting. Anyway, the wee one is definitely eating away at my time. Today it was almost impossible to put her down, and she didn't want to sleep, so she was difficult.

Her sisters weren't much better. Their toys were all over the place, and they just flat out refused to pick them up. They have been told that when things get messy, there is no TV and no computer until it's cleaned up. The problem is, they're okay with that. I mean, I'm glad they are happy to play outside, play with toys or look at books instead of a screen, but I just didn't know what to do to make them realize I was serious and that they had no choice.

But I digress. I'm meant to be discussing the quote, not sharing stories of my life. That's what my other blog is for. There are definitely times when I feel like I'm just giving every last bit of myself to people who don't appreciate it. It's part of what makes parenting very young children so difficult - what they need from you is not difficult to provide (food, love, shelter, clothing, diaper changes) but they need so much of it, so often, and they don't exactly express gratitude. I mean, when's the last time you heard a baby say, "Hey, Mom, Dad, thanks for wiping my butt" ? They do show their love and appreciation in other ways (the big smile when I come to get her after a nap, or the way she snuggles in when I hold her on my shoulder) but it makes parenting a baby or toddler very hard.

The other two can, and do, say thank you, and tell me they love me, which is wonderful. But when you feel like you're pouring your entire self into taking care of them and meeting their needs, and they respond by refusing to do anything you ask, and talking back, you start to ask yourself why you're doing this. I think that's what de Vries is getting at here. At times, you wonder why on earth you chose this path for yourself (if, in fact, you did), why you're voluntary going without sleep and adequate nutrition and showers, giving up so much of your time, sometimes giving up activities you used to enjoy, for people who don't seem to appreciate it.

I don't have an answer, really. I do know that if I had it to do over, there are things I would change about the way I parent, but I wouldn't change my decision to become a parent. I have always known that I wanted children, and while it's a lot harder and a lot more thankless than I realized it would be, it is still the most wonderful job I've ever had.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Man...is a being born to believe. - Benjamin Disraeli

I flipped the Quotationary open at random and got two pages of quotes about Man. I picked this one because I don't think you can disagree with it. In university, when I was re-discovering my faith, my boyfriend at the time told someone, "Everyone believes in something. I don't care if it's crystals or aromas or what, you've got to believe in something." That's what I agree with in this quote.

I happen to believe in God, and to belong to a particular Christian church. That's what I believe it, that's where I find comfort and healing and guidance. I think people need to believe in something outside of themselves, something bigger than themselves - not necessarily God, or even a god or goddess, but something. I just can't imagine where one finds inspiration or hope without believing that someone or something outside of yourself is there to help provide it. I don't mean to suggest that I rely entirely on external things, but when life happens, as it will, it's just nice to think there's someone watching over me, helping me shoulder the load. And when terrible things happen, it's the thought that there is a God that helps me believe things will get better.

Some people look at something like the genocide in Rwanda and ask, "How could God let that happen?" I look at it and think it's because there is a God that it doesn't happen more often.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The test of a people is what they can do when they are tired. - Winston Churchill

I am so tired. I am amazing myself lately with what I can do, and do well, while holding a five month old baby, but it is perhaps even more amazing what I can do on a spectacularly inadequate amount of sleep. I feel like I'm not doing anything well, and doing some very important things poorly. I snap too easily at my older kids, I don't get tasks around the house accomplished and I'm not getting out much.

On the other hand, laundry is getting done. Nutritious meals are being prepared with food I went out and got at the grocery store, sometimes with three children under the age of five in tow. Dishes get done most of the time. I do play with my kids. They are discovering a love of baking, as am I, and that's a hobby I can share with them, one that doesn't have to wait until they're sleeping or otherwise occupied. And I'm not just turning on the TV to keep them occupied. Maybe instead of beating myself up over what's not getting done, or not being done as well as I'd like, I should take a look at the wonderful things I'm doing, and celebrate the fact that at the end of the day, the kids are healthy, we're all well-fed, and the house is still standing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. - James Baldwin

This one seemed appropriate since we watched An Inconvenient Truth on the weekend (well, my husband watched it - I watched some while trying to get my baby to sleep). On the packaging there is a list of 10 things you can do to reduce CO2 emissions. I was pleased to discover that we're already doing a lot of them here at our house. When I go back to work I will try to bike to work sometimes, which will also be a little contribution to saving the planet.

I've read that while scientists agree that global warming is real, they don't agree on how serious it is or what to do about it. Some think Al Gore is sounding a panic alarm that doesn't need to be sounded. I figure, that may be true, but by biking to work, using compact fluorescent lightbulbs and turning off the TV and computer, I'm certainly not hurting anything. And even if Gore is wrong about how soon we're going to destroy ourselves, if people listen to what he's suggesting and take action, maybe we can push back the date of our self-destruction even further.

Don't wait for the government to take action or pass laws. Don't demand that large corporations make changes. Put the onus on yourself. That's what I took away from that movie and this quote.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool. -Joseph Roux

I asked for, and received, Webster's Quotationary for Christmas, and I thought this might be a fun thing to do with it. It won't be a quote a day necessarily, and once I go back to work, it won't even necessarily be a quote a week. But every so often, I'll pick a quote from the book on a different subject and then post my thoughts on someone else's thought. Hopefully this will turn out to be, if not a collection of diamonds, then not pebbles either.

So, my thoughts on this thought. It seems to me that it's akin to the idea that you can prove anything with statistics. I've found in researching various child-related subjects that if you look hard enough, you can find an expert who agrees with your view, regardless of what said view is.

That is all.