Out of the mouths of babes

So my home congregation hosted our annual vacation bible school this week, and I taught the 2-4 year old class. My helpers and I had 7-8 preschoolers on each of the four nights, and it certainly made for some interesting post-class conversations.

The lessons themselves went pretty well, and I hope we were able to plug something into their heads that they might remember next week. But what will really stick with me are the shaking-my-head moments where I just had to think, “Out of the mouths of babes.”

Sunday night, we talked about how God created the world for mankind to live in. We read the creation account and matched up magnetic pieces of what was created with the day on which it was created.

No matter how many times I review this chart with them, the answer to “What did God make on the ## day?” was always “THE SUN!!” shouted by eight little voices. Even when it wasn’t the sun, it was always the sun. Except when it was fish. That we seemed to remember, too.

(bangs head against the wall)

Tuesday night, one little girl lifted the edge of my skirt and asked me why I wasn’t wearing shorts under my dress. She then had to prop her legs up on the table to show me that she was, in fact, wearing shorts under her dress because her mommy makes her. (Mental note on the importance of play shorts.) She then had to ask me if I was wearing panties and announce to the whole class that I didn’t wear my shorts but it was okay because I was wearing panties. Thank you, little girl. I was afraid no one would ask me about my underwear.

Tuesday is also the night we started “shaking out the wiggles” every 10-15 minutes just to keep our sanity. I’d have the whole group stand up and shake out their arms, legs and bodies until “all the wiggles were gone” and they could sit back down. On one such occasion, one little girl didn’t sit down with the others and instead looked like she was going to burst into tears.

“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.

“I didn’t get to shake all my wiggles out!!!!” she cried.

“Well ok then, shake them out!”

*proceeds to flail about as if having a seizure*

“Ok. I’m done now.” *bounces happily back to her seat*

(shaking my head)

Wednesday night we talked about the church as the body of Christ and introduced Mr. Potato Head as a visual example. I passed out the various body parts and we talked about what they do. (“Does a nose taste things? No. A nose smells things. What tastes things? etc etc…)

We then assembled Mr. Potato Head to show that all the body parts (i.e. Christians) must work together to form one whole body, with Christ as the head.

One little girl clapped her hands over her mouth.

“Mr. Potato Head doesn’t have any hair!” she exclaimed frantically.

“What?”

“MR. POTATO HEAD DOESN’T HAVE ANY HAIR!!” she said again, on the verge of a meltdown because of this unfortunate situation.

“Ok, ok, let’s see what we have. … We don’t have any hair, but we do have a hat. Is that ok?” *puts hat on Mr. Potato Head*

*little girl tilts head right and left, considering*

“Okay. That’s good now.”

(whew.)

…….

Did you notice I skipped Monday night?

That’s because Monday night was the best.

In the midst of discussing the Bible as God’s book of instructions, one little girl suddenly looks at me and stands up in her chair.

Pointing, she shouts, “YOU’VE GOT A BABY IN YOUR BELLY!!!”

*crickets chirp for a split second before eight voices all burst into a hundred simultaneous questions/observations*

“Why do you have a baby in your belly?” “How did the baby get there?” “Did you want to have a baby?” “Is it a boy baby or a girl baby?””My mommy had a baby in her belly.” “What is the baby’s name?” “Can I see the baby?” “Can I touch the baby?”

I stood like a deer in the headlights for a few moments and then desperately tried to turn any remaining attention span back to the topic at hand.

“Yes, I have a baby in my belly. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now. Right now, we’re talking about the Bible.”

After a few long minutes, the teacher for the evening and myself finally got them all back in their chairs and quieted down somewhat and returned to the lesson. That lasted about five minutes until the girl closest to me reached over and patted my stomach.

“There’s a baby in your belly, isn’t there?”

“Yes honey, but let’s listen to Miss Alli talk about the Bible right now.”

A few more minutes of attention. Then…

“So, did you eat the baby?”

That really did it.

It took every ounce of self-control I had not to burst out laughing. But even if I had, I don’t think anyone would have heard me because the kids all launched back into the questions that had obviously been circling their brains since the first outburst.

“Are you sure there’s a baby in there?” “How did it get there?” “Will it come out?”

And the ones who know me personally trying to explain the situation to the visitors:

“Mommy says Mrs. Erin has a baby in her belly. It will come out soon. I don’t know how it got there though.”

(sigh)

It was a long night.

Apparently the topic never quite faded away either, because at the end of the last night another little girl approached one of my class helpers (several years younger than me) and asked if she has a baby in her belly too.

I’m sure there are parents out there somewhere thanking me for the practical life lesson I unintentionally gave their four year old.

(Shaking my head.)

Sad cactus

Both my great-grandmothers can make things grow just by looking at the ground hard enough, and my grandmother always had bursting flower gardens while I was growing up.

…Let’s just say that talent hasn’t trickled down through the generations.

Green things do not grow in my presence. Our landscaping is sad because, while I know what I would like to grow there, I don’t have the slightest starting idea of how to make it happen. We have mulch. Do I have to remove the mulch? Can I just plant things through the mulch? Do I have to dig holes or can I just put the plants on top and pile on more dirt until they are buried?

Can I just buy whatever flowers I like and stick them in the ground? Or do I have to put certain flowers in certain places? Can I even plant things in June or is there a special window when things can be planted and I’ve already missed it for the year?

See? It’s sad. There is very little hope for me.

I reminded my mother of this last Christmas when she presented me and the Mister with a small potted cactus. I told her I would kill it, because that’s just what mysteriously happens to plants when they are left in my care. But she was insistent. “It’s a cactus. You can’t kill it.”

(Well we’ll see about that…)

Fast-forward about six months. The Mister and I have attached the small magnetic pot to our refrigerator, in a room that gets a decent amount of light during the day. We have followed the instructions on the tiny hanging card meticulously. The Mister set a recurring reminder on his phone to water “Bob” the cactus every two weeks. I wrote it on the calendar so I could remind him to check his reminders.

We measure exactly two ounces of water into a little scoop and pour it in carefully, making sure nothing spills and the water is evenly distributed throughout the tiny pot.

We’ve probably put more concentrated effort into this minuscule cactus than we have into keeping our dogs alive! (Of course, our dogs clearly let us know when they are hungry. Bob has been strangely silent on the topic.)

All of this, and guess what we discovered yesterday?

One of Bob’s leaf shoots fell out of the pot. Then we touched another and it was completely disconnected too. Then we nudged poor Bob and, lo and behold, he doesn’t have any roots at all! Not even shallow roots in his tiny pot.

So there you have it, folks! Bob is dead. After all this time and all that work, Bob is dead. Bob has probably been dead for a while and we just didn’t know it.

(Although he is still green… a fact we can’t seem to reconcile with his seemingly obvious demise.)

The lesson from this story: If it doesn’t bark, paw, scratch, scream, cry, dance or moan when it’s hungry, I will probably kill it. This extends from plants to include fish, hermit crabs, hamsters and really any other form of silent dependent.

The really sad thing is that we’ve gotten used to having to take care of Bob. We’ve become more attached to him than we have to any other planted thing in our lives. And now that he’s dead, I really don’t know how to process that. So we’ll probably just leave him on the refrigerator and continue to water him faithfully until he finally shrivels up and starts to smell and there is no longer any pretending that he is alive and well.

So I’ll just live in denial until that happens. Happy watering day!

Oh, what’s in a name?

I’ve never been very good about permanent decisions. I had a full-blown panic attack shortly after I got engaged, and my mother had to make me breathe into a paper bag.* I was nauseous the entire night and morning before the Mister and I got married.* I cried after finding out I was pregnant.* I’ve had buyer’s remorse for basically everything I’ve ever purchased over $15, even when I compared prices and styles and tried it on or tested it out and thought about it for days beforehand. Even getting my hair cut is an agonizing decision. I’m just not good with things that can’t be changed immediately (or ever).

One of the things that falls into this category: naming our child.

Since my last post, the Mister and I have found out we’re having a little girl! It was a bit of a shock at first, since we’d thoroughly convinced ourselves we were going to have a boy, but now we are fully on board and excited about welcoming our daughter.

We’ve actually had a girl’s name picked out and agreed upon for years, but since finding out that we are, in fact, actually having a girl, so many other possibilities have presented themselves that now we’re knee-deep in baby names with no foreseeable way out.

What if we pick a name and it doesn’t seem to suit her? What if we love a name and the nurse fills out the paperwork and we introduce her to her new family… and then the next day we wake up and decide it’s not very good at all and we want to go with something else?

I can’t just change my child’s name at age 7 because I suddenly found something I wish I had used instead.

I really shouldn’t be trusted with this decision.

Although, that being said, the decision is completely up to us, and we like it that way. People always gasp in surprise when I tell them we won’t be announcing the baby’s name until she arrives. There are lots of people who don’t share the name or even the gender beforehand, so it’s really not that unusual, but we have four reasons for this:

  1. We’re going to change our minds. A lot. And we might not even know her name when she gets here.
  2. I don’t like monogrammed things.
  3. I want to introduce her to her grandparents and extended family when she arrives, so her name will be a surprise for them too.
  4. The Mister and I want to decide on a name that we love together for reasons of our own and not be talked into or out of a particular name based on the (often unsolicited) opinions of other people.

So tell me, how did you and your significant other come up with your baby’s name(s)? Did you use a baby name book? Your favorite movie? Did you pull scrabble titles out of a bag and use whatever you could make from them? Let me know your strategies!

*Important footnote: This doesn’t imply I thought these things were bad ideas or that I wasn’t sure about the decision. I’m just not good with things I won’t be able to spontaneously change later.

The importance of the right words

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day! ūüėÄ The Mister got me a sweet card and let me pick out some patio furniture for the back deck, so I would say it was worth it. ūüėČ

At church services yesterday, many people included me in their Mother’s Day wishes, although some made a¬†distinction between those celebrating “Mother’s Day” and those celebrating “Mother-to-be Day.” While I know that none of these people meant anything by it and were in no way diminishing my celebration, I did have a few thoughts on the subject occur to me. I am not upset about this at all, but I want to share a few things I thought of that might make us all think twice about the phrase “mother-to-be” in the future.

The phrase “mother-to-be” indicates a woman who is not yet a mother but will be at some future point in time. This is often, as was the case yesterday, used to indicate a woman who does not yet have a baby independent of her own body, which would include currently pregnant women.

But, to figure out what that phrase actually means, we need to define exactly what a “mother” is.

I think we would all agree that a mother is a woman who has some number of children (whether one or multiples). So the number of children does not matter. Is a woman raising adopted children a mother? Yes, of course. So the biological or adopted status of the child does not matter. Is a woman who has lost a child still a mother, even though her child is no longer living? Yes, of course! So the alive/not-alive state of the child does not matter.

So we’ve determined that a mother is a woman who has any number of children, living or not.

I’m going to take a moment to assume all my readers believe life begins at conception. (If you don’t, I’m not using this particular article to try and convince you otherwise. Just go with it for a moment.)

If life begins at conception, then it does not begin on the day of a child’s birth. A birthday simply marks the anniversary of the day a child came into the world – or was “born” – but not the day that child became alive, since that begins at conception. (For example, my birthday is May 29, and this year I will celebrate 27 years since I came into the world. However, I’ve been alive approximately nine months longer than that.)

If this is true, then a pregnant woman (like myself) has a living child. I do not yet have a laughing, smiling, crying baby that is physically independent of my body, but I do have a living child that is approximately 17 weeks old.

So, going back to our previously-agreed-upon definition of a mother: I am a woman who has a living child. So I am already a mother. A mother today. Not a mother someday-to-be.

A mother-to-be would actually, using that phrase correctly, be a woman who does not have a child, in any form, but hopes to have one someday. A woman who is pregnant already has a living child and is therefore already a mother, not a mother someday-to-be. If something happened to that unborn child, whether at three months or five months or eight months of development, we would still consider that woman¬†to be that child’s mother. So why do we make the distinction before its birth?

So, yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day, not Mother-to-be Day, because I am already a mother.

I am a great lover of words, and I believe words should be used correctly and in a precise way to convey their individual meanings. So maybe using the phrase “mother-to-be” to refer to a pregnant woman isn’t really the best thing. Maybe that indicates through our words – whether it is what we truly believe or not – that the child growing inside said woman does not yet make her a mother outright, which would mean it is not yet alive.

Because¬†if life begins at conception, we need to be consciously speaking of it as a real life from that point on, not a someday-to-be, theoretical sort of life. Because when you start¬†talking about it as a theoretical life, then you fall down the rabbit hole of “well, if it’s not a real life, then does it matter how we treat it?” And that, my friends, is where the madness is.

Just something to consider. Like I said, I know what those people meant and am not offended by it, I just think we should take a moment to consider popularly accepted phrases and what they actually mean before we accept that they are appropriate.

Happy Monday!

-The Missus

 

It’s his baby too!

So we’re at week 15 on the baby journey, and I’ve been noticing something that bothers me.

Ever since we made the news public, people come up to me everywhere and congratulate me on the baby. People I know, people I don’t really know, people that know me somehow through someone that we both knew at one point… all kinds of people.

The thing is, sometimes the Mister is standing right next to me when they do this, and most of the time, the congratulator makes no comment to him. They hug me and say how happy they are for me and ask how I’m feeling… but few ever turn to him – the baby’s father – and congratulate him as well.

Maybe it’s implied, but this bothers me just the same. I didn’t do this all on my own, you know. And truth be told, he may actually be more excited than I am about all of this.

(Granted, this baby hasn’t been making him climb into bed and curl into a ball to avoid vomiting on a regular basis. So that may play a contributing factor.)

He’s going to be a fantastic daddy, not just a father. (And yes, there is a difference.) His life is going to change drastically as well. He made a huge decision too, and he deserves some recognition for it.

So next time you see us – or any couple that you know is expecting – by all means, hug the new mother and ask how she’s feeling, but don’t forget the new dad who’s probably just as terrified on the inside as she is. Daddy’s need some encouragement too.

Well, the cat’s out of the bag

Well, the cat’s out of the bag

First of all, I want somebody to tell me why the cat was in the bag. Or, maybe more importantly, how did you get the cat into the bag? Is there a special cat-bagging technique that my husband and his vet tech friends should know about? Because there seem to be a lot of cats in a lot of bags lately, and nobody really knows how they got there.

BUT ANYWAY!

Obviously, there’s been something wrong with my brain cells lately. I’m wondering¬†about proverbial cats in proverbial bags and don’t know how to ring doorbells, but there’s a good reason for that.

Remember when I said the Mister and I have a few major projects going on that were distracting me from my regular posts?

Well, we do.

We’re having a baby.

baby announcement

ūüėÄ Yes, yes, we are quite proud of ourselves.

I alternate between “Aww, we’re going to have a baby. I just want to hold all the babies, and I can’t wait for my baby to get here” and something that sounds a bit like

“AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH WHAT HAVE WE DONE WHAT WERE WE THINKING WHY DID WE DO THIS WE’LL NEVER HAVE ANY MONEY LIFE AS WE KNOW IT IS OVER AND HOW COULD WE EVER HAVE THOUGHT THIS WOULD EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER BE A GOOD IDEAAAAAAAAAAAA…”

Yeah. There are up and down days.

But mostly good. Six months to go and I can sort of see the walls in what will be the baby’s room behind all the boxes and piles of homeless stuff that has nowhere else to live.¬†It’ll get there.

Someday.

Probably on or around October 20…..

[October??!!! Good grief what am I doing sitting here at work. There is WAAYYYYY too much to be doing to be going to work. We¬†need to read the books, we need to buy the furniture, we need to clean the house, we need to buy a fence, we need to have a yard sale, we need to….]

Pray for us. We’re going to need it.

-The Mommy ūüôā

[Good gracious, somebody’s going to expect me to be their mommy??!! Shouldn’t you have to pass a test for that or something??]

 

Just… ring… the doorbell…

I haven’t forgotten all my readers, I promise! The Mister and I are working on a few big projects around the house, and everything has unconsciously taken a backseat until those are done. But I’m here, I’m alive, and this morning, I was locked out of my house.

When I grabbed my lunchbox and headed out to the car (because my priorities are obviously in order), I briefly thought my arms should be heavier. Then the door clicked shut, and I knew.

You know that feeling when you suddenly become aware that something very bad has happened, and you know there is nothing you can do about it, but your brain is still in denial?

Yeah, that feeling.

When the door clicked shut behind me, my first words were, “No… no no no no no!”

Sure enough, my purse, with my house keys, car keys, cell phone, wallet and everything else essential to my day, was sitting at the kitchen table, three feet from the locked door I was standing behind.

I knew this day would come. I knew it. From the first day we moved into this house I knew the moment would arrive where I would¬†stand¬†in the garage and stare at my keys through the back window. And here it was at last. Had I prepared for it by putting a spare key somewhere? No. Of course not. That’s what a smart person would do. And you’re about to see I’m not exactly a smart person.

I wanted to avoid having the Mister come home from work to let me in, so my first impulse was to shake and rattle the back door to convince myself that I had, in fact, actually locked it behind me. (Yes, people, I do have a college degree.) Then I tried the front and back doors, hating myself for being a responsible home owner and locking the house up tight before I left.

Then I spent 10 minutes trying to open the back windows from the outside. (It cannot be done, which is both reassuring and incredibly frustrating at the same time.)

Then I walked a few houses down the main road to where some friends of ours live, not sure if they would even be home. All three cars were in the driveway, all signs pointed to yes, so I knocked on the door.

And I knocked. And knocked a few more times. And called their names and told them it was me. And briefly considered trying to set off one of their car alarms.

Nobody answered, so I walked back to my house and woke up another neighbor who was nice enough to let me call the Mister to come to my rescue. He came, he laughed, he went back to work. An hour after I left for work, I finally arrived at my office.

The first thing I did was send a message to my friends who didn’t answer the door.

“What good is it knowing people who live down the street if they won’t let you in when you lock yourself out of the house?” (half kidding. mostly kidding. I think.)

Response: “We didn’t hear you. You should have used the doorbell.”

THE DOORBELL!!

Why in the world did I not just ring the doorbell???????!!!!!

What in the world is wrong with me!??

I had actually, very briefly, noticed the doorbell when I first walked up, but I made the decision to knock instead. Maybe the brain cells that were awake thought that would be less rude, somehow? At any rate, I didn’t encode the information or go back to it when the knocking didn’t work.

Just. Ring. The doorbell.

Good grief.