greater calling?

I am struggling.  I am afraid that I am creating (to coin a phrase from a dear friend) apostolic orphans.

I am volunteering for a rather large project at church.  It’s a great project.  The fruits will be incredible.  BUT.  It’s taking me away from my life with my children way, way too much.  I see in them longing for my time.  Thier eyes are gazing at me with a deep disappointment that only I can REALLY see.  I have made this committment to see this thing through.  I like to keep my committments.  But what about my committment to my children?  To my vocation as thier mother?  Where does that fit in?

The answer lies somewhere in prayer.  I know it does.  How’s this for ironic?  I am too busy with my “work” in the church to pray!!!  Busy Busy Busy little bee am I.  But at what cost?  For whose gain?  It’s time to take a step back.  Spend some time with my kids.

So tomorrow I will work on my project.  Probably more than I should, but NOT before I’ve been a mom.  Because really, that’s the most important job I have.  That is the greater calling.

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SPD

I have been a part of a discussion with a group of mothers who deal with homeschooling children with SPD.  It started with the question of a theory of exactly what SPD is.  Is it a diagnosis independent of any other thing, or is it a symptom of something else.  Is it both?

And then.  THEN.  The moms started coming forth with their theories as to why their children happen to have SPD.  Some of them think with their children it’s probably hereditary.  They have always had sensory issues themselves, it makes sense that their kids do too.  Some of them started mentioning specific things that happened in their children’s development that seem to be likely causes.  Things like not being able to hold their child for weeks or months due to a personal injury they had.  Or their children who had to spend time in the NICU at birth and part of the course of treatment included isolation, so their child was not allowed to be touched. 

Babies are not born able to integrate the sensory input they have.  They have to be taught.  They have to be held, snuggled, touched, cuddled, stroked, spoken to, kissed.  They have to be given the input they need for their brain to learn what is good input and what is bad.  There have been so many studies (some horrifying) done on this need humans have to be touched.  Very often children in orphanages that are understaffed and underfunded are not touched.  They’re not held.  They’re left in cribs.  They come out of those orphanages with severe neurological deficiencies, developmental delays.  Because they are not allowed to make the connections in their brains.

Now, here, I see so many mothers buying whatever latest gadget there is to keep from holding their child.  When I was researching a new bassinet I looked at the reviews for the model we had chosen.  It was receiving poor ratings so we were close to not purchasing it.  Until I read why.  It rocks, like a cradle, but with the stability of a bassinet.  It got lower ratings because it was not automatic you had to rock it.  People were giving it bad reviews because it required they be by the bassinet rocking it themselves.  I was amazed.  Completely amazed.  We have bouncy seats, swings, papasan chairs, jumpers, strollers, infant seats, rocking cradles, mats with things hanging over them to occupy the child.  Who is holding our babies?  Who is snuggling them?  Why must our infant beds rock our children to sleep?  Why can’t we? 

Sit back at Mass on any given Sunday and look around you.  Even think back a bit to when you had teeny tinys.  What do you see?  Lots and lots of infant seats.  LOTS.  With babies snuggled down inside.  How many babies do you see against their mother’s breast?  Hearing her heartbeat?  Feeling her breath?  Listening to her sing the wonderful music to praise and glorify Our Lord?  We put our children in their seats, take the seats out of the vehicle and transfer the baby via seat to church, the store, the nursery, daycare, or to the stroller.  Not once touching our children.  Not once.  We might wake them up, or make them want us to hold them.  

We are not teaching our infants to properly integrate their sensory input.  We are leaving their precious little brains to try to figure it out for themselves.  And then we are surprised when as they grow they start seeing a simple touch on the shoulder or kiss on the cheek as excruciating pain. 

I was not able to touch or hold my son for 5 days.  He spent the first 5 days of his life without his mama or papa touching  him.  The only touch he received involved needles, or exams.  Not a snuggle, or a kiss, or a nuzzle from those that loved him.  I am torn between anger and thankfulness.  My son is finally, at 4, after a full year of OT treatment able to give and receive hugs and kisses.  He can sit through a dinner without incident.  He can interact with other people with having a violent reaction to the sound of their breathing.  He can have a bath without screaming in pain from the sound of the water in the bathroom.  I firmly believe that we struggled with those things because of that 5 days. 

It’s nice to know that others feel the same way.  That this mom’s theory isn’t not a lone theory in the sea of diagnosis.

I no longer use my infant seat as anything other than a car seat.  My babies are in my arms, where they belong. 

I’m dreaming of a sleepy Christmas…

It was ambitious to say the least.  I don’t think I can manage it.

I’m looking at the calendar and there just aren’t enough days between now and Christmas.  At all. 

I’ve decided that I would sew for Christmas this year.  Lots of sewing.  10 sets of pajamas and a couple of other stealth projects.  Between now and Christmas.  The only time I can sew (since the school room is my sewing room) is after everyone is asleep.  The kids are not cooperating!!  They have decided that since I am desperate for them to go to bed AT LEAST on time that they are going to struggle with bed time.  Ugh.

 So who is the patron saint of bedtime?  How about sewing?

Anyone.

 Really!

orphaned?

There are days when I swear that you could look at my children and wonder, really wonder, if they had a mother. 

They do.  I promise.  But sometimes it’s just easier to let them look like they don’t.  Because, well, they like to.  There is a great sense of pride in the 4 year old who dresses  himself.  Regardless of what he looks like.  Favorite pants, favorite shirt, a pair of socks and shoes.  Who could ask for anything more?

Thankfully we didn’t have to go anywhere.  I sat and looked out the window at my son trying desperately to figure out how to work a swing.  With each inch he managed the smile was greater.  Sense of accomplishment huge!  I just couldn’t help but grin.

It was 50 degrees outside. 

He had on shorts, red shorts.  With a bright orange shirt.  Navy jacket (at the insistence of his mother.  Cause really every boy knows that it’s just not THAT cold outside!), one crew sock, one ankle sock.  He did have on a matching pair of shoes.  Right feet even. 

I love that boy.  I love that he marches to the beat of his own drum.  I love that he can take such delight in the small things.  I love that every once in a while, despite my best efforts, he looks more like a 4 year old than I could have imagined!

older? naaaaa

Thanksgiving is coming!!!  I can’t wait.  I love the food and the smells and the family! 

This year our current youngest will have his second birthday on Thanksgiving day!  It seems quite unreal that he is already two years old!  He’s such a sweet heart and has been a huge blessing to our family.  Even when he’s cranky.  I think we are going to have a small family birthday celebration for him with my family and call it good.  There’s such a difference between #1 and #5.  With our first, her second birthday was expensive, crowded, and chaotic.  We had a small apartment filled to the brim with people.  Mostly our friends.  It was so crazy!  With our fifth we’re having a quiet, peaceful, calm get together with family.

I think I prefer the way we’re doing it now!  Maybe cause I’m older, and more tired.  I don’t know.  But I like this better!

sons…

It’s been a while since I last blogged.  I’ve really been slacking off a bit!

 We had a great Halloween!  The kids had a wonderful time and my parents came in and stayed with us and had a lot of fun as well.  Our oldest daughter was a beautiful Snow White, our second child was the Frog Prince’s Princess, #3 was St. Joseph, #4 was a dragon, and our littlest was the most adorable penguin you’ll ever see!   They made it about 2 blocks and were so bogged down with candy that they had to come home just because they were dropping it in the street.  A child’s dream I supposed (not sure how I feel about all that candy….  it’s only once a year though, right????)  On All Saints Day we went to Mass with my parents (kinda alarmed our priest, he approached me the next day and asked if we had family in town.  He saw someone different holding the 2 yo.  Kinda nice that he is noticing us, and I think moreso, kinda un nerving that he notices us during Mass.  Does he notice how many times we get up to leave to the cry room?  Or the toddler who loves the sound of his voice echoing off the walls?)  We went out to lunch after that and then sent my parents on their way.

That was Thursday, by Friday we were preparing for my mil to come and visit for the weekend.  It was not the best visit and resulted in arguements that were quite involved and long lasting between my husband and I.  We worked it out and are back on track.  It’s so life shaking to feel out of sync with your spouse.  I am glad that our arguement didn’t last any longer than it did.  Funny how we react to our spouses family, and even to our own.  I have found that I need to pray for my sons’ spouses NOW.  While they’re still running around digging in the dirt and playing with frogs.  I need to pray that I will love them and care for them as if they were my own daughters.  I pray that they will be good husbands, and that I am ok with there being another woman in their life.  One that they love (and should) more than myself.  I pray that in all that I and my husband are doing to raise them up to be strong, faithful Catholic men that we can see that means that they will one day leave our home to make one of their own.  I know that the possibilities are there for at least ONE of our sons to be a priest (maybe more????) and that would be a wonderful gift.  A gift I don’t think would be very hard to accept at all.  I know I would be a good mil to the Church!!  It’s to another woman that I could see myself struggling.  So.  I pray.  I pray for my sons, I pray for their spouses.  I pray for myself. 

(and yes, I pray for my daughters and their spouses as well!)