Tag

beginnings

Re-Puzzling

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-23-53-pmAdding another human to a family is like blowing up a five thousand piece puzzle that had already been put together and reassembling it all over again (but with new, extra pieces).

We start with the basics. Find our four corners. For us, that means holding on to each other. The house may be a disaster, we may not have accomplished a single thing, but everyone in our little circle is being fiercely loved. And sometimes that’s enough.

Then we sort out our edge pieces. Sleeping. Doing laundry. Dishes. Showering. Cooking a meal. (Okay, maybe cooking is a stretch. 😉 KIDDING.)

Getting kids to school on time. Reading every night before bed. Making doctor appointments.

The pieces come back together slowly. We are unlearning and relearning how to do everything. I’m trying to wrap my head around how to get a kid ready and to school in the morning while still feeding a toddler, all with a newborn attached to me. (To be honest, I’m still figuring out how to feed a toddler with a newborn attached to me.) And we are still trying to figure out a bedtime routine where everyone gets the end-of-the-day attention they need. The picture is the same but the pieces are different. Many days, it’s a win simply because everyone brushed their teeth.

Only after you find your corners and reconstruct your edges can you start to fill in the big picture details. Playdates. Trips to the park. Reading a book for fun. Coffee with a friend.

Writing on a blog.

Confession time: We don’t have all our edges in place. The house is bordering on being a disaster and I haven’t actually cooked a meal yet. The oldest two are both on antibiotics because why wouldn’t they get sick the MINUTE we bring a newborn home. Sick kids mean more attention, more medicine schedules to remember, more disinfecting and quarantine-ing, less sleep. It’s like working on the puzzle in the dark for a little while.

So what am I doing hanging out in blog land when I don’t have my edges together?

Who knows. I guess I got a little impatient.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there’s something beautiful about starting from the beginning and re-puzzling our world. I know that there is magic in these moments that feel like chaos, where we are stripped down to the bare basics. I’m not trying to skip this part, even when it feels hard.

But sometimes I just need a reminder that I’m not just building a frame, I’m building a masterpiece. And I need that little rush that comes from seeing a little piece of the bigger picture fall into place.

Translation: I miss writing. In this stage, it won’t often make the cut when it comes to the list of things I can accomplish in the day. That won’t always be true. But for now, it is. And that’s okay.

Because some day all of the pieces will fall back into place. And writing will be one of those pieces in a rich and beautiful picture.

And then one day we will tear the puzzle apart again.

The Next Phase

 

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Nine months of waiting. Nine months of wondering. What will she be like? How will her sister handle the change? How different will life really be? Nine months of worry. What if something goes wrong? Nine months of preparing. Nine months of blog post ideas lining up in my brain and never getting them all written out. Nine months of researching: clothe diapers, organic formula, chemical free baby lotion, and on and on. Nine months of planning and planning and planning.

And then one day nine months is over, just like that. In an instant, everything is different. The center of your universe shifts from one point to two different points. It defies logic and reason.

And then come the growing pains. Sleep changes, eating changes, showering changes, morning routine and lunch routine and bedtime routine changes. And it’s good and it’s beautiful and it’s hard.

And it’s hard to find the time to write it out. But I think it matters. As I navigate this new change from one to two, from working mom to mom, I think it matters more than ever.

Conveniently (ha), circumstances are as such that I am sitting hooked up to a pump like a milk cow every three hours throughout the day. After the first week of initial haze, it occurred to me that that might offer the perfect opportunity to get back to the blog. Thus begins my new series of “dairy diaries”. (Just kidding. 🙂 But seriously.) So for the next several months, please be forgiving of the oddities of mobile posting. 🙂

It’s good to be back.

Beginnings

Little Lexi <3
Little Lexi <3

I was ready to be a mom. At least, I thought I was.

As soon as she was born, I “freaked out” (for lack of better description). It could have been the vicious hormone attack. Or perhaps it’s normal for first time parents (though, if so, no one warned me in the slightest). It could have been exhaustion or any number of things. But the idea of being “responsible” for this tiny human for the rest of my life was terrifying.

Looking back now, it’s almost comical to see how severe my reaction was. I remember reasoning that I wanted to breast feed because it was best for her, but I also wanted to give her one bottle of formula per day, that way if something happened to me and she had to suddenly wean, she would be ok. I felt like I had to prepare for everything, to make sure that no matter what life through at us, I would be prepared and she would be alright.

I’ve learned more about children and about myself in the last four years than in all the twenty-four years before that. I’ve learned how often I try to control things that I don’t need to be controlling. I’ve learned that my parenting style is different than how I was raised. I’ve learned how magical children are, and how much we have to learn from them.

And for the last four years I’ve been trying to find the language to share what I’m learning. I’m still not sure I have found it. But last week while reading, a phrase kept popping up–a phrase that has been popping up in my world for a while now: open-ended learning.

Generally, the term open-ended refers to a question that doesn’t have a specific “right” answer. It’s one of the things I focused on in my work in education–getting teaching to ask questions because they want to hear what is in the child’s brain, not because they want to hear a parrot of what is in their own brain or the textbook. Open-ended questions are a foundational piece of creativity, curiosity, and authentic learning.

During my reading last week, it occurred to me: why not apply the same concept to parenting? Rather than approach our children as if it is our job to turn them into something, to turn them into a “right answer”, what if we treated parenting as an opportunity to discover them, and to give them the tools to discover themselves?

So here’s to the beginning of a journey I’ve been beginning for a long time now. At least at the beginning of this chapter, unlike my beginning into motherhood, I’ve learned to let go of the impulse to control and instead be present with what I find.

Thanks for joining me.