Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spiritual Rewards

Today Luke was being nasty--truth be told, I don't even remember what he was doing, being that this was a day that started with Luke peeing in the trash can and ended with Luke punching our guests' little boy in the stomach--and he asked me if God can hear everything.

"Yes, Luke, God hears everything."

"Does he even hear when I whisper this quietly?" Luke asked, and then whispered something so softly that I couldn't hear him.

"Yes, Luke, He hears you all the time, even when you are just thinking," I answered.

Luke looked worried, so I went on. "God doesn't get mad at us, though. He just feels sad when we do bad things because we grow further away from Him. But God is happy when we are good because every time we do something good we grow closer and closer to Him."

"So is our house moving up a little each time I do something good?" Luke asked, "Or does God come a little closer to the ground?"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Conversations With Henry

Henry is talking a lot these days, even using a lot of sentences, but I can't always understand him. Yesterday in the bathroom, Henry hovered over the toilet and said, "I stand go peepee fall down boom boom" and then spit emphatically. I asked for clarification. Henry repeated, vigorously, "I stand go peepee fall down boom boom!" and spit again. I got most of it, I think, but I'm not sure about the spitting part.

For whatever reason, Henry is obsessed with spitting these days. He spits his yogurt out repeatedly onto the dining table. He spits at me. He offered me a lick of his lollipop and when I declined, he spit in his hand and politely offered me a bit. And he really uses this spitting to communicate. He thinks it is an expression of emphasis, I think. But he also seems to understand the literal meaning of the expression "to spit out." The other day I told Henry to spit out his gum, just as he was taking it out of his mouth with his hand. He looked at me for a moment, puzzled, then put the gum back into his mouth and spit it directly onto the counter, along with a small puddle of saliva.

I think that something has clicked in his brain recently and he now understands my words much more than he recently did. But, of course, he still doesn't understand many of the nuances of expression (although he is forging ahead in his makeshift, spitting-for-emphasis way). I asked him to hang up the phone the other day, and instead of placing it back into the receiver on the counter, he started looking up in the air for somewhere to put it.

How is it that Henry's language development seems so miraculous to me? I've gone through it all before with Luke. But somehow, it seems new and story-worthy, even the second time. Maybe, like the fuzziness of memory that surrounds childbirth, this is one of the blessings that we are given as mothers: that watching a small baby grow toward a life of his own is fresh and exciting, each and every time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Violence, Waldorf Style

We recently celebrated the Spring Festival at Luke's school. Activities included making cloth butterflies, blowing bubbles, and digging in the dirt. But the climax of the day was when each child was crowned with a wreath of flowers and we all danced around the May pole. It was hot, it was late, and five songs on the teacher's flute were just a bit much. Luke got in a chest puffing, spitting, yelling match with the twins, Van and Elvis, which climaxed in Luke tearing Van's crown off of his head and throwing it to the ground. Van burst into tears.

Aaah, these little boys that attend the Waldorf school. They dance their little gnomes around in the flowers but also use the driftwood to make toy guns. For a full year, the game of choice for the boys was "trap house." From what I can gather, this game had a slightly different meaning for each of them, but for Luke it meant building a machine (with chunks of wood, pieces of silk cloth, wooden kitchen tools and play stands) that would catch and kill the enemy. Unfortunately, the enemy could be someone from school.

While the days of trap house seem to be fading, the conflict at school remains present. The night of the Spring Festival incident, Luke and I said his standard guardian angel prayer, but he interrupted my singing later to add, "And God, please take care of Van and Elvis." Then, he told me, by way of explanation, "We are supposed to pray for our enemies."

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Mommy Diet

For some reason, my nurse-a-toddler-on-demand-but-eat-whatever-the-heck-I-want diet plan seems to be failing me these days. Much to my dismay, my baby belly seems to be growing right along with Henry. Maybe it is because what I want is a tub of ice cream after the kids go to bed, or four cinnamon rolls washed down with two glasses of wine.

Dont' get me wrong. I don't consider myself a binge eater--even though I have been in the past. On the whole, having children has been very good for my body image and my relationship with food. It is just that my relationship with food is--what shall we say?--a bit unrealistic. I used to have some self-discipline when it came to eating. Now I just don't.

I gained 50 pounds when I was pregnant with Luke. But then I nursed him on demand until I was four months pregnant with Henry. And Luke was a nursaholic. And I trained for, and ran, a marathon, a half-marathon, and a 10-k when Luke was little. Then pregnancy again, and nursing a hungry little Henry while running around after Luke. And then there are the runs that I squeeze in here and there, all while pushing 75 combined pounds of kid in the double jogging stroller.

So this is all to say that while growing and birthing and nursing two little people has made me respect and care for my body a lot more, it has also nurtured in me a false sense of sensible eating. Six full meals a day plus liberal servings of chocolate, ice cream and red wine have been fun, but as Henry nurses less and Luke stays by my side more, I've got to re-learn what normal portion sizes look like. In these last five years I have leaned toward the exercise-and-nurse-more-when-the-scale-creeps-up diet, but I think it is time to return to the world of normal eating.