Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Smidgen of Stuff

Photo Feb 14, 7 09 19 AM

Little Hansie boy is eight weeks old. He smiles and makes small sounds. He can hold his head up. His legs aren’t purely skin and bone anymore. And he’s lost that puffiness under his eyes. Still, for all of that, he seems quite newborn-like. But in another eight weeks? I imagine he will be all baby and not a bit newborn. May as well start filling out college applications.

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Daisy and Goldie are in the school play. And Abe is running track. Which all means that I never see my older children at all. (Nor, selfishly, do I have their help with dinner and babies and the like!)

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But, I did dazzle my older children twice recently. Once when I promptly replied, after hearing Abe grumble something about needing to find what neurotransmitter was involved with the parasympathetic nervous system, that it was norepinephrine he was after. And again when Abe asked Daisy if she knew the chemical equation for sugar and I spouted (before I even knew I was saying it), “C6-H12-O6”. It was interesting – reciting those small, near-forgotten facts to my children when knowing them at all reminded me so much of a very different me. The one who was often sitting in the university library studying nervous systems and chemical compositions while her children . . . didn’t exist at all. At least not in this mortal realm. What was that person doing here? In my home? Telling that near-forgotten information to my nine children?

Photo Feb 17, 7 58 07 AMPhoto Feb 23, 1 42 31 PM

I don’t know. But knowing all about norepinephrine is much less of an interesting accomplishment to me these days than the more recent improvement in my patience. It has improved. A lot. And it’s because oh my goodness I’ve been given so much practice. Mostly from dear Mette (bless her heart) who is quite literally clinging to my legs and sobbing most of the day.

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Anyway. Over and out. I’m off to clean up a jar of spilled peanuts (of all things).

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Bear Lake. Tiny Disaster Version.

We arrived at our Bear Lake cabin several weeks ago to discover a completely flooded basement.

Photo Feb 18, 3 02 57 AMPhoto Feb 18, 3 03 38 AM
(If
you can’t quite find a 9th child in the pictures above it’s because Daisy was sick and sleeping in the cabin.)

For a moment I lost the will to live. OK. Not really. But it was late and cold. Mette was crying for my attention, Hans’s diaper was in a desperate state, and he was needing nursed, we hadn’t fed anyone dinner; and I just did not want our basement to be flooded! I didn’t want our cute little place to smell damp and mildewy. I didn’t want Mike to leave us and drive for four hours to get fans and shop vacs back at home. I didn’t want our wall next to the basement window where the water poured in to look wavy and warped. I didn’t want all of our carpet to be ruined and dirt and scum to cover the bathroom and laundry room floors. I didn’t want our kids sleeping area gone or to arrange makeshift beds all over the non-flooded portion of the cabin. I wanted to turn around. Go back home. And pretend it never happened.

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But, as usual, Mike stayed calm, comforted me, and went to work with a level head. And before long I was able to simply shrug and see our miniature disaster as one of those fairly ordinary inconveniences that are typical of life.

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We still watched movies, ate treats, went on one rather freezing walk to the lake, and Mike and the older four even still fit in the ski day they’d planned (though they had to postpone it from a Saturday to a Monday).

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And, in the end, we DID come home, and I HAVE been able to pretend it never happened. There’s no missing carpet. No unrepaired walls. No filthy floors. At least there aren’t until the next time we go to the cabin. . . .

Friday, February 10, 2017

Gentled

Hans finds bath time to be rather terrifying, so, when bathing him we are just . . . so gentle. Usually one of the girls will help me. We keep a warm wet towel covering every part of him but whatever small section we are washing. We hold his hands snug against him so his arms don’t get free and startle him. We keep slowly pouring warm cups of water over him (as it seems to soothe him). And, when he has to go through the utterly terrifying moment of being lifted from the warm water of the tub, we bundle him into a towel quick as a wink and hug him to us. We just really gentle him through the whole ordeal in order to still his fears and keep things peaceful.

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As we finished bathing him the other night, I kept thinking of the process – of how lovingly it’s all done, and suddenly I thought, “Yes. Just like how angels gentled us through his birth.” And I knew that was true! We – he and I both – were just so utterly gentled through the process. More than was necessary even (just like with all our extra buckets of water and warm towels at Hans’s bath time). The path through his labor and delivery just felt like . . . being surrounded by the most warm and gentle and careful hands – eagerly and calmly soothing us through the ordeal. We were completely gentled. Funny when a word so clearly leaps out as the encompassing expression for a situation. Gentle. That’s what it was. Gentled. That’s what we were.

And, more than that, it’s what we continue to be as we step cautiously through this new phase of adjustment and refiguring. Hans will be one month old tomorrow. It’s been overwhelming and demanding, but I’ve also felt unmistakably sheltered and lifted and calmed.

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Also, Jesse was baptized last weekend, and Hans was given his naming blessing. In both blessings Mike blessed each of them with kindness – specifically that they would treat their future spouses with kindness. It occurred to me afterwards that Mike blessing them with that trait was evidence of how much he values it. Kindness. Kindness to his spouse. What happiness that has meant for me.

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And . . . the rest of the pictures from the phone.

Photo Feb 03, 8 02 15 AMPhoto Feb 03, 8 21 40 AMPhoto Feb 09, 1 51 02 AMPhoto Feb 09, 1 51 52 AMPhoto Feb 09, 1 52 02 AMPhoto Jan 28, 2 39 33 AMPhoto Jan 28, 2 40 07 AMPhoto Jan 28, 2 40 11 AMPhoto Jan 29, 2 22 24 AMPhoto Jan 29, 3 05 54 PM

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