Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Just a Stage

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth, 
Hang out the washing, make up the bed, 
Sew on a button and butter the bread. 
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking? 
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. 
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo. 
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due 
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peek-a-boo 
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew 
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo 
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo 
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue? 
Lullaby, rockaby lullaby loo. 
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow 
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow. 
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. 
- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

I am glad that there are seasons and stages to life, aren't you? I don't mean, spring, summer, fall and winter. I mean life stages. Like with a baby. Those first few weeks after birth are so precious, and so exhausting. You nurse your baby at all hours, for all hours. Your baby depends on you, the mother, for everything. It is an amazing feeling, but also very tiring. Then things level out about 6-10 weeks. The baby doesn't seem as fragile. There is more breathing room. And they keep growing. They start to smile, and coo, and roll over, and "talk", and eat food, and crawl. And you wonder how they changed so fast?! It has just been a matter of months, but this baby has gained pounds, grown inches, learned skills. It is a miracle! And not a little miracle, at that!

I love (and rue) the stage Meres is in-just like with every other stage. She is very vocal these days. She has been cooing, and doing the da-da-da thing. And she screams. Blood curdling screams. When she is happy. And when she is mad. (I'm working on it. She is a bit stubborn though. I think she gets it from her dad. Or maybe her maternal grandpa. Not her mom.=)) She spends a lot of time on her hands and knees, rocking back and forth, pushing herself backwards, and propping herself on her butt leaning on one arm. She is very interactive. She wants attention. She wants to be heard. She has a great belly laugh. And it is wonderful! I was putting her back in bed the other night, and realized that she is no longer just a one armed "football" carry. She is more a "hold upright, propped on the hip" kind of girl now. Her hair is getting longer. Her hands and feet are beautiful. And I love it.

Except on Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings at church are a trial. Every week. I feed Meres between 7:00 and 7:30, then I (with a lot of help from Mr. Hippie) get myself, and everyone else fed and out the door by 9:00.

Since Meres eats every three hours or so, we get to church, she sits on my lap, and plays with her toys-fairly noisily-for about 30 minutes. If we're lucky. Right about 10:00 on the dot, and almost simultaneously to her dad getting up to share, she gets REALLY loud. This is no longer a happy loud. It has reached hungry and sleepy proportions. I take her out, feed her, and often she falls asleep. I sit in the nursery alternately feeling euphoric and frustrated.

Euphoric to have a whole half hour to sit in quiet with my baby, and just snuggle. No guilt. Frustrated to once again be sitting half of church in the nursery. I mean, I could be sitting euphorically at home too.

Anyway, back to the sleeping. Meres is sleeping peacefully, until 10:30ish, when church lets out, and everything gets loud. Then she gets woken up. And my baby, who usually takes a 3 hour nap about this time, is not sleeping.

Which inevitably leads to a couple other scenarios...involving me sitting out with her another service, and then sitting out yet another service as I teach Sunday School. I feel so not fed. Not edified. Not encouraged. The other inevitable scenario is break time comments. About my very loud baby. Is she the loud one?(that from a 90% deaf person, who can't hear anything anyway. Just turn down your hearing aid.) And when people always comment on your baby's noise, saying they don't mind, you get the feeling that they actually do. The, "me thinks she doth protest too much" syndrome.

I think this could fit into a list of 10 things you don't ever say to parents who are trying very hard. We are trying to be consistent in church attendance so our children learn that is important. We are trying to have our children under the sound of God's Word. And we get reminded about how loud our 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15... month old child is. We know. We live with them every day. What do you want us to do?

Btw, this would fall into the "rant" category that I promised to stay away from. Sorry.

But then there are little rays of hope that shine through. A couple from church watched all the little ones yesterday, so all the young parents could be in the meeting listening to the speaker. That was a blessing. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

Then my other 3 sat very well, (while I was there). Behavior had been slipping a bit, but under the effective threat of no technology until the next Sunday, they sang, prayed, and followed long at the appropriate times. And there is the ray of hope, that this is just a stage. I remember going through this stage with all three of the others also.

But all too soon I will be potty training(with its accompanying frustrations and triumphs=)). I will be wishing for this stage of snuggles. I will be marveling that she is walking, and running, and talking. And then she will be staring preschool, then she will be riding a bike, and she will be 9. And I will be amazed that my baby is 9! Just like I am amazed with BMV, and Freckles, and LC. All they know, and are learning. My big helpers. Already little men and women. Poof....

My babies don't keep...

I'd love to do a parody on this poem about nay-sayers quieting down. But I think, instead, I need to focus on having euphoric Sundays. Just cherishing this stage. And, when the time comes, remember how it felt.

And squash the cycle. Be the ray of hope to another discouraged mother.