Your baby is crying inconsolably. She is cranky and clingy, clingy and cranky.
The usual things that work are not working and you are not home.
Once she is home again, she starts to settle. Maybe the familiar walls and clutter soothe her. Maybe the way the familiar sunbeams befriend her transform her from an inconsolable infant into a consolable one.
Home, the one syllable word, has more weight than you think. As your feet brush against crumbs on the kitchen floor, you do not think of sweeping, but are simply grateful to be home again.
Later, when you are at the grocery store buying frozen waffles (the waffles to help you reach school by the dreaded time of 8:00 am), the cashier strikes up a conversation, the way they often do.
“Enjoy these days,” she says. You nod an “Of course,” in agreement before confiding, “I really am trying to, but there are moments when the baby is crying and I haven’t got enough sleep… ”
The other cashier joins in, “I do not miss these days,” she says shaking her head vehemently, confidently. “I do not want to have another one,” she says before casting a quick look at your baby, complimenting her, turning her back, and resuming checking out groceries.
When you’re pregnant, the cashier will look at your belly and confide, “My labor was the worst pain I ever felt in my life…” before she resumes to dutifully scan apples.
When your toddler sobs when the cashier scans items because she thinks the cashier is taking everything away from her cart, the cashier will look at your toddler and say, “Spoiled, isn’t she?” before going on to scan the toothpaste with a resolute beep.
I admire the conversations of cashiers. The way they comfortably slip into a place where they can offer unabashed advice, controversial or not. Direct. Quick. Honest.
So as you walk away to your car, you ponder over what was just shared, wondering if you agree or not. You hope that honesty can coat your tongue the way it coats theirs.
Photos below from this month:
My mother’s at it again. I’m sitting looking at the mess on the floor underneath the highchair with a mixture of awe (how did Z make so much mess?) and horror (cleaning is going to be such a pain), when my mother swoops down with a wet towel, and the mess is gone. Before I can protest (Don’t! I’ll clean it!), she has already proceeded to lift the highchair table and is soaping it up in the sink. She is very efficient. I, on the other hand, feel sluggish so I give up and announce that I am going to take a nap. She doesn’t pay much attention, so I say that she should take one too. She insists that she doesn’t need one. I insist that naps are good for the soul to which she retorts that my soul must be perfect. Far from it.
Naps are amazing though. They can make your skin shinier, hair glossier, eyes awakier, etc! However, upon much dwelling and a class on prayer, I know that naps are good for the body, prayer the soul.
When we feel happy, sad, healed, broken, we need to stop, drop, and pray.
Before praying, we need to stop what we’re doing and take a few seconds to clear our minds.
Drop your phone/laptop/technology distraction (preferably place it gently on a high counter away from toddler, not literally drop it) and look away from our little white screens. Distractions such as email can wait, and iphones be gone!
“…remember God standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides” (Quran 4:103).
“Keeping house is like threading beads on a string with no knot at the end.” – Anonymous
Everyone knows that cleaning lady or has heard about her. You know the one who barely walks into your house and with every step she takes, your floors get less grimy and everything sparkles around her. Well, I wish I had one. But I don’t. My inlaws have one.
She will often offer great advice to me. Vinegar-water-with a squirt of Dawn Soap till you can see a faint tinge of colour, FYI, is an amazing houeshold cleaner and you don’t have to worry about the chemicals around kids.
I was telling her how Z gets into everything and keeping things clean at my house was impossible. It reminds me of this quote I read, that trying to keep your house clean is like trying to string a necklace wth no knot at the bottom. I feel that extra with a toddler. I’m not an overly neat person to begin with, but I try. With a toddler, trying is like the aforementioned quote.
So upon telling her my cleaning woes, I waited for some great advice. Something life-changing like the vinegar solution.
And sure enough, she delivered.
Her blue eyes twinkling, she said, “Just enjoy the mess!”
Now, when my house is a mess, like it usually is, I don’t walk around aimlessly picking up things, only to be dumped back a few seconds later. I revel in the mess that involves Cheerios, stray toy animals, and more. Plus, why string a necklace without a knot? I do the stringing when Z is tucked into bed, when I know she can’t undo my cleaning…atleast for a few more hours, that is.