(with apologies to Kipling)
Long ago, O Mostly Liked, or maybe last weekend, there was a mother who lived on a hill called Janderhil. And she had four little children that she called her own: Ephraim Eldest, Clive Contrary, the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, and Anselm. And all morning and all evening the children played out-of-doors, except of course the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, as she couldn’t get around on her own just yet. She stayed in-of-doors with her Mother, but the other three played and frolicked out-of-doors until the sun set and the fireflies came out.
And it was one day after dinner, which was scrumptious and nutritious, that the Mother went out-of-doors herself, because Elvie Kate (who smiled and sang but didn’t say much) was already asleep for the night, and because she had some work to do in the flower-beds. And she called Ephraim Eldest to herself, and said:
When I first read about slow living–or began seriously overthinking it, truthfully–there was one aspect of the lifestyle that I couldn’t reconcile with my life as a full-time homemaker and mother-of-four. It was the question of where routines and schedules fit in with the concept. In eschewing “busyness”, was slow living attempting to throw off living by a clock? How so? And how much? And was that really possible?
If you have small children at home, you know how quickly things can devolve into disorder if there is not something–or someone–uniting all things in a common purpose and steering everyone’s attention toward that end. Without that anchor, my children (or, really, the three that can move independently) are like ships tossed on the waves of whatever their whims are at the moment, and I am reduced to herding and chasing and nagging and then yelling to get everyone back together. And it always takes longer in the gathering than the scattering.
It has to be said that there really are times that they should be able to pursue their own interests and let their feet run off to wherever their minds will–that’s what our copious amount of time for outdoor play is for, really. But times when it’s time to eat, or sleep, or brush teeth, or whatever things have to be done because they must be done? What then?
Miss Elvie Kate turned two months yesterday.
She’s quite the little thing, captivating her brothers and wowing strangers at the grocery store with her astonishing collection of head wraps. Incidentally, I’m awfully glad we have those wraps and head contraptions since she has very little hair to speak of, which I knew would be the case should we ever have a baby girl. The boys all had hair in spades, and I had to cut it again and again and again. And now here’s someone whose hair I don’t have to cut, but she doesn’t have any…! Life isn’t fair.
For starters, thanks so much to those who have sent messages and comments expressing thanks for these honest updates. It is always so encouraging to know people read and appreciate–thank you!
I felt a little badly last week while writing that the week had been easy. Not that I minded having an easy week, but I didn’t think it would be very interesting or helpful. “This week was great!” Um, the end…? Well, this past week has made up for it. So enjoy! 😉
here we go again
When our second son Clive was just eleven months old, we discovered we were pregnant again.
I had spent the last ten months working my house like a well-oiled machine; Clive kept us all ticking along to a very predictable routine. I had just gotten my cycle back when I realized I was late that next month–I took a test on a whim, in the middle of the night, at my in-laws’ house while we were on vacation. After the test turned positive, I was absolutely unable to get back to sleep. Looking back, I probably should have taken the opportunity to rest, but you never really can when you need to, can you?
this post is sponsored by pinkblush maternity. all opinions are mine
A couple of weeks ago, during a hospital visit for unwanted contractions, the nurse in L&D triage called me back as gravita six, para three. That means I have six pregnancies and three births under my belt, and at the very least (I’d like to think) it gives me an air of credibility when I walk into the Labor and Delivery ward saying I’m having contractions. Probably because none of them remember the two or three false alarms I had with Anselm, but you know, that was back when I was a gravita four, para two. Things have changed since then.
Well anyway, if being gravita six para three doesn’t exactly make me an expert on when to head to the hospital, I’ll take that as an excuse to have been in the dark about PinkBlush Maternity for the majority of this pregnancy. This is my fourth go-round with maternity wear, but where have I been? Because I’m really kicking myself that I haven’t heard about them before.
I was already thirty-something weeks pregnant when PinkBlush Maternity contacted me to collaborate, so it was a priority for me to find something that would work not only for these very large-bellied last few weeks of pregnancy, but something that I could easily use for postpartum, too. I was taken with this button-up tunic the moment I saw it! I thought the length would make it super versatile, the button-up style would make it great for breastfeeding after baby came, and it has pockets.
Last month I had a question about how my bullet journal made meal planning easier for me. I started to answer, but decided there was too much to say in a comment and that I should probably post about it, so I could be rambly and thorough and give the whole embarrassing picture.
I say embarrassing, because I just don’t really understand what’s so difficult about meal planning for me. But seriously, I would get so wound up and flabbergasted every time I tried to do it that I would try to move on to other tasks and fail utterly because I would forget how to do them. I’m not kidding. Once Jeremy interrupted me mid-meal-planning-attempt and asked me to cut his hair. It took me about three times as long as normal because I was so upset that I forgot how to cut hair. Congratulations to you if meal planning is your spirit animal and you’re sniggering right now at this pathetic confession of mine. I can’t explain it. All I know is that any attempt at planning our meals made me crazy and overwhelmed. It’s nuts, I know.
I mentioned before that I never again experienced the emotional upheaval that accompanied Ephraim’s first few weeks.
While that’s true, I did come home from the hospital with our new little Clive, and after introducing the brothers to one another, I handed the baby off to someone, went upstairs, and cried.
I cried because knew things would never be the same. It was a whole new chapter in our family’s book, and while we were ecstatic, there was a tiny bit of mourning, as well. But I blame the tears 100% on hormones, and felt immensely better after shedding them. I came back downstairs and that was that.
From the very start, Clive was different.
His was the pregnancy I discovered the earliest. While with Ephraim’s pregnancy I was in denial for at least a week before finally caving and taking a test, with Clive I was immediately suspicious that something was up.
For one thing, Ephraim quit nursing the week I conceived. He simply refused to do it. He was nine months old, and while we rallied somewhat and would eventually make it to twelve months breastfeeding, those last three months were a power struggle. I believe we both breathed a sigh of relief when we were done.
There were a couple of other factors that led me to take a test. Almost immediately a faint positive appeared–and I wasn’t even four week pregnant yet. I went to the doctor and was given a prescription for my low progesterone. I assume this is what went wrong with my first pregnancy that was lost to miscarriage.
I was so busy with Ephraim that I remember little of the first few months of Clive’s pregnancy. I remember being easily angered. I remember my morning sickness starting on Christmas Day, when my aunt had made two lovely soups for lunch and I couldn’t eat either of them. I remember wondering if I should worry and then just not really ever worrying because I never got around to it.