Archive for September, 2010

30

Joy in the Mundane

Sep
3 Comments »   Posted by migratorymama |  Category:Moms

The first task my daughter must complete every morning when I drop her off at preschool is to wash her hands. As a mom, I really appreciate this classroom rule because it helps cut down on the number of germs passed around at school. However, I doubt that many children have paused to consider the reason for this mandate. I have noticed, though, that the children in my daughter’s class and children in general, seem to have two different views of hand-washing. Some children view this task as a chore. It is something that must be accomplished in order to move on to the next thing. For those children who hold this particular view in my daughter’s preschool class, it is an assignment they must complete in order to reach their ultimate goal, that of playing with the other children and all of the fun toys they don’t have at home. They quickly rinse their hands, shake off the water, and run along to play. Other children, however, seem to actually enjoy the process of washing their hands. They relish the feeling of water pouring over their skin or suds slipping through their fingers. They revel in observing the water swirl around as it drains or the soft mounds of bubbles left behind in the sink. They take their time washing, rinsing, and carefully drying their hands before wandering off to play. These children find pleasure in the task itself. They aren’t simply going through the motions.

Contemplating children and their varying outlooks on hand-washing made me stop to think about how I view the mundane chores of life. How often do I take pleasure in the moment, regardless of what I’m doing? Do I ever stop to delight in the act of washing dishes or clothing or children? Do I savor the moments I spend vacuuming or dusting or scrubbing toilets? Believe it or not, I do every once in a while. However, because I am very task-oriented I mostly fly through my days checking items off of my to-do lists. I cross off one item so that I can move on to the next. I get discouraged when I don’t accomplish all I had planned for the day, or I get frustrated when my children clamor for my attention while I’m trying to complete my household responsibilities. Perhaps reflecting on this will help me to slow down and treasure all of the moments of my day, especially those involving my children. I seem to enjoy mopping the floor so much more when my older daughter comes to ask me for something, but ends up sticking around to “help.” Getting the children to clean up their toys at the end of the day becomes fun when I take the time to turn it into a game. Focusing on the small tasks, and feeling a sense of accomplishment when I do get them done is so satisfying. I guess what I’m realizing is that finding joy in the mundane just makes life so much more enjoyable.

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15

Sleep…Or a Lack Thereof

Sep
5 Comments »   Posted by migratorymama |  Category:Kids, Moms

My first child slept through the night within the first six weeks of life. We could feed her, swaddle her, put her in bed still awake, and the little angel would drift off to sleep for six to seven hours straight. That was just as a newborn. As she has grown older, once she falls asleep for the night, she is down for the count. It is magnificent. My husband and I had it all figured out, or so we thought. Then we had our second baby. I spent at least the first six months of her life sleeping in the armchair in her room, holding her. To put it mildly, she was (and still is) a light sleeper. I would watch her little eyes flutter closed. I would wait a good half hour, and then I would gently place her in her bed. Sometimes she would wake up and voice her displeasure at the indignity of being made to sleep in her crib instantly. Other times she would wait until I was across the house and settled snuggly in my own bed. Either way, I eventually gave up. I would kiss my husband good night and head off to my new armchair bed for the night. (Let me tell you, this was not a Lazy Boy either…this was just a plain old armchair without an ottoman that I laid across sideways.) I did finally figure out that if I positioned bed pillows correctly in her crib, I could trick her into believing she was still being held, at least for a few hours. And before any of you finish gasping about the dangers of putting pillows in a baby’s crib, let me say two things. One, the child came out of my womb holding her head up. I kid you not. She did this within minutes of being born. (That should have been my first clue that she would be “active” and “strong-willed.”) Second, and most importantly, desperate times call for desperate measures.

After two years, she still likes to visit with us in the middle of the night. She gives us two or three nights in a row of solid sleep, just to give us a bit of respite and trick us into believing that maybe, just maybe, she is going to settle into a normal sleep routine. Then, seemingly out of the blue, we hear her, not crying, but calling…“Mama? Maaa-maaa!” To give my youngest a bit of credit, she did go for about a month once of sleeping through the night. However, just when I began to feel like a real person again with coherent thoughts and a desire to look presentable, she started waking in the middle of the night. We have yet to determine why she wakes up. Sometimes she’s hungry, sometimes thirsty, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, lonely, bored, who knows??? She has been potty-trained since she was about 20-months-old, but she still sleeps in a diaper, so sometimes she wakes up if her diaper is wet. If she gets a cold, forget about sleep. If she cannot breathe easily through that tiny, adorable nose, she is not sleeping…no mouth breathing for my girl.

I know I am not alone in this. I constantly see Facebook posts from friends with young children going through the same sleepless struggle. And I do mean struggle. Having disrupted sleep every night is really tough. I look like a hag most days. I’m convinced that the day I show up to pick up my older daughter from preschool actually wearing make-up her teachers are going to ask for my I.D. before they let me take her. Two years of this is really taking a toll on me. I read a disconcerting article recently about sleep deprivation studies using rodents that found that these poor animals actually died when they were prevented from sleeping over a period of a few days. In case you are hoping I’ll cite a source for this study, you’re out of luck. I am just too tired to look for it right now.

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09

Change of Address Cards

Sep
3 Comments »   Posted by migratorymama |  Category:Moving Tips

After living in our new home for over two months, I finally mailed our change of address cards. I always print them myself, and generally I begin working on these as soon as I know what our new address will be. Then I mail them before we actually move. Apparently this is not normal because I have been ridiculed about it on a few occasions. Getting change of address cards out really early may not seem like a big deal, but when you move as often as I do, most moving tasks seem a little more urgent. For instance, we are usually completely out of boxes within a few days of arriving in our new home. When you are only going to be in a house for a couple of years, it’s best to get settled as soon as possible. Additionally, I’ve already begun to get requests for our new address, which gets old after about the 50th request. Maybe next time I’ll quit being so cheap and just order the cards rather than making them. Then I might have a chance of getting them out early.

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