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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is it time yet?

I'm sitting here typing and rubbing my very big tummy- and wishing that it was not so big- or more correctly I should say, wishing I was holding a baby in my arms instead of my stomach.

When I was pregnant with #1 through 7, I was always comfortable in saying "I'm not sure that we are done yet."  But with #8, I'm finally experiencing the feeling that I could not fathom myself saying  -"This is it!" 

Okay, I wound never tell God no.  If He said, "Not done yet," I'd accept His will- maybe with a little questioning, but I'd accept it.  I picture in my mind being my mother's age and homeschooling still and I feel sad for the child, because he/she will have an old fogy for a teacher.

Wait a minute, some of my favorite teachers were older.  Hmmm.   No, the older I get, the more I look for "ways out"  in my teaching.  I really spent all my creativity on my older children when they were younger- which they totally don't remember about 3/4 of all my wonderful teaching experiences!  (Like a totally cool homemade planetarium that ROCKED!  Or science WITH experiments- other homeschooling moms- you know what I'm talking about!)  Anyway I can so easily justify just reading about how the experiment should work now, or calling on an older sibling to explain the math problem, because after doing it with 3 kids, my brain hurts to try to explain it again. 

Who knows though- maybe I'll be like Sarah (Old Testament)  who bore a babe in her late age.  Perhaps her laughter was more about "Oh Lord- you want me to change diapers when I'm old enough to have to wear them myself?!?"  Or "Lord, do you have any idea how hard it is to chase after a toddler when I'm leaning on a cane?!" 

Stop- I've always said that having children helps keep you young.  There is truth to that too.  I've still "got my foot in the door" to the teen world, pre-teen world and toddler world.  If  I didn't have kids, I don't know that I would be involved in any of those worlds.  So, I do have youth at my finger tips, you could say. 

I recently put in Google "pregnant and tired" and felt so relieved in what I found there.  Many of my problems were not near as severe and it felt good to have companions in those problems I did face.  Many good laughs came from that search. 

My kids do their own searches on Google that are pregnancy related too- but they usually involve "cute baby pictures" or the like.  They are all excited about the baby coming.  I'm there with them sometimes- but still am trying to gear myself up to the next chore of taking care of a baby- outside of the womb.

The last 3 children I've had, I went through a "I'm locking myself and the baby in the bathroom/bedroom because I am going crazy with everyone fighting over the baby or just plain fighting." time.  I totally expect to have to go though it again this time too.  It's really hard to try to please everyone for the first 2 weeks or so after having a baby!  The bigger the family gets, the more of a challenge it becomes. 

It's time to end this post on a high note. 

I am so very, very thankful for 7 wonderful, healthy children, that although they fight and bicker amongst themselves, do indeed have great redeeming qualities, make me laugh and wouldn't trade one of them for the world. 

And, even though my ageing body is caving under the weight of a baby, I don't have any serious health risks that I'm fighting- just minor inconveniences- Thank you Lord!  (Although, I'm so probably going to have to put in a lot of purgatory time for my lack of suffering in this world.)

And, I do have a bit of creativity left- I'm in the middle of making a "I need something to do" jar for the kids to keep busy with when I'm gone having the baby.  Thanks to Family Fun magazine idea, I'm loading a jar with craft ideas and game ideas to keep them occupied and myself sane- hopefully!

So, I'll sign off this post with-
Surviving my pregnant self-  who knows, maybe my next post I'll be rubbing my un-pregnant, flabby belly. . . UGH~that brings about a whole new set of complaints!!
Mary

Friday, March 16, 2012

Everything I know I learned from homeschooling Mass.

     Not that anyone asked, but I am still alive.  And yes, overdue on a post. The good new is that in waiting this long to post, I can officially say that I am below 30 days in my baby ticker - WHOOT!
      I wished I could say that waiting the extra time allowed me to come up with a genius post that everyone would find incredibly entertaining - so much so that they would beg me to take all of my wisdom and put it in book form.
     Sadly, the only reason I'm late is:
          a) I'm pregnant.
          b) I'm old.
          c) I was actually fighting off an infection that threw me into a two day bed rest.
          d)  I'm old and pregnant - but really number three wins the prize.
     So now that I am recovered, we were able to make it to our bi-monthly homeschooling Mass.  This usually is comprised of ten families, of course all these families have at least six kids average, so we are talking about sixty kids + parents, so about seventy five people. 
     Today however, for various reasons, there was only six families.  So, I slid behind a certain family.  Let's call them "perfect family."  My hope is always to stress to The Boy and The Baby Boy how well behaved their children are. Unfortunately, it usually ends up that my children are the entertainment for those who peak behind their shoulders to gawk at the sideshow, staring my children.  SIDENOTE: The Bookworm wants to let everyone that she and her sisters were not sitting in the pew at this point.  They were in the "quiet choir" that volunteers to sing for Mass, singing songs that are to high to hit for tired homeschooling Moms.  And, since I'm partially deaf, I can't pick up half the words anyways. (By the way, did you know that if you mouth the word "avocado" while everyone else is singing, it totally looks like you know what your doing?!)
     I don't know whether it was because I was still tired from recuperation, or if it was because I am old and pregnant, but it was not a pleasant experience today.  The Baby Boy took a total advantage of my exhaustion and played "keep-a-way" in the pew, pushing me to the point of just ignoring him, after all, why put the effort into that? SIDENOTE: The Baby Boy received his first after-Mass discipline at home today.  There is truth to this "It hurts me more than it hurts you." BUT, now that it has happened, I can easily refer to this to snap him into attention.
     I was so relieved to know that I was not the only family who was having their own struggles during Mass.  But knowing that others were, as I heard about afterwards, got me to thinking about some important lessons that we learn in Mass.
     1)  Patience.  Isn't it true every time you pray for patience, God sends you a three year old?
     2)  Sign Language: This is often included with a snap of the fingers and is highlighted with the pointing with the index finger to the spot beside you.
     3)  Counting.  You'd be amazed how many children can count to five, a skill they have learned from the countdown, repeated over and over by the tired mother.
     4)  How to give "The Look." This is an important life skill, although it seems quiet hilarious when it has been give by a three year old who is imitating mom, and makes you question "Do I really look like that?"
     5)  Playing with small rocks found in your shoe can be entertaining for a three year old.  Especially after following the snap point gesture that tells them they had better sit still.
     6)  Appreciation for priests who give short homilies........God bless them, everyone.
     On that last note, The Jane Austen Wanna-be, the Bookworm, and myself tonight did a Daily Sparks writing exercise to pass the time. (we gave up T.V. for Lent, and this was one alternative we found.) The assignment was to write from the perspective of a substitute teacher, written in first person.  We decided that it would be interesting to write a take-off of our Mass from the point of view of the visiting priest that so graciously said Mass for us today. Enjoy what follows, but remember it is loosely based, and actually, it was much worse than this!
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I just received the news that I am to stand in as the substitute for the group of homeschoolers that meets once a month for religious education.  I do not know a lot about homeschooling, and in my 77 years, I have not had any encounters with this type of student.  If I go according to secular views, I am to expect mumbling wallflowers that are constantly repeating to themselves the Pythagorean theorem or the full 550 numbers of pi in the correct order, or they will be intellectual types with thick nerd glasses, high water pants, pocket calculators and the one with the finger occasional slipping up to his/her nose.    But maybe this group will be different – the usual instructor only has had words of praise for them. 
                Wanting to make a good impression, I set about preparing a lesson that was to include 7 points.  Why 7?  In all cases of doubt, 7 is always a good answer – that, and the letter “c.”  Knowing that age range of these children fell between newborn to seventeen, I figured I had better make the lesson entertaining.  The best way to start off the class was with a joke.  So, after introducing myself, I grinned and said: “Hola, mi llamo es NO Dora!!There’s some Spanish points for you to right down!”  I was greeted with the sound of crickets.  Moving on.  It was then that I noticed that really, most of these kids looked normal.  As far as how they acted, I could already tell the teenagers were a-typical, because they obviously knew how to balance a baby, while chasing after a two year old that was wearing plastic heels.  Since this was a family class, it was easy to distinguish parents – the ones with bags under their eyes, snot on their should and tight lips that were counting “You have three seconds.  One.  Two.”  Seeing them told me that I needed to take this 7-point sermon down to about one point.  Various individual three year olds who found it entertaining to play “skooch bum” down the seats away from their haggard mothers – hence the tight lips and the counting, which was making this room seem like a math class. I gathered my strength and started to condense my points.  Then I looked up and saw that 5 minutes had passed.  I was beginning to question the other instructor’s thoughts on how this was entertaining.  Taking a deep breath, I looked up at the crucifix.  Turning back to the assembled group, I very slowly said, “Remember….Jesus loves you.”  That about summed it up, right?  Just to add an extra 60 seconds to my talk, I asked everyone to repeat the phrase. 
                As I sat back down to ponder my 7 in 1 lesson that I just gave in a total of 12 minutes, I took a second look at the group.  It suddenly hit me that I was not looking at anything typical at all.  Most of these families averaged in the family size of five children or more.  That is certainly not typical for our culture.  Mental note: pro-life.  My second observation was that I noticed that all present were dressed modestly with no shirts proclaiming derogatory messages.  The next observation was that the parents looked worn out, but behind their dark circles, you could see love for their families in their eyes.  I was beginning to see now with a clear vision why this class was different, but not in a bad way.  This time I spent here wasn’t all that bad actually, if I could just get  their three olds to sit long enough to fit in another 6 points, then maybe I will volunteer to do this again. 

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Surviving myself, at least life isn't a 24/7, 365 homeschooling Mass,
Mary