I'm almost four years into this parenting gig, and I still don't have a clue what I'm doing. Does anyone else feel this way sometimes?
I guess I thought by now I'd kind of have things figured out. And, yes, there are days when I'm like, "Bring it on! Give me 10 more of these little muffins. I can take it." But a lot of the time I'm second guessing my decisions and thinking of better ways I could have handled a situation. In the meantime, another situation has presented itself, and I'm scrambling to do the right thing.
Don't get me wrong. Life is beautiful and all is well. I just never knew how much time would be dedicated to doing things that I hope will have a positive impact down the road without knowing for sure if they will. Parenting is the ultimate test of delayed gratification, I guess, especially when it comes to teaching values. How do I know if it's sinking in when we talk about kindness or taking care of the earth or each other? One minute, I think Bo is catching on. The next, she's bonking her sister over the head for taking a bite of her Cheerios. As if there aren't more Cheerios in the box. If there's one thing I've got, Kid, it's Cheerios.
At the same time, I'm bombarded with little moments of beauty and gratification all the time: Bo insisting on picking up litter and holding onto it until she finds a trash can (no matter how long that takes). Catching the girls giggling together without them knowing I'm there. The sweet touch of Magpie's hand when she strokes my shoulder from her perch in her backpack throughout an entire 3-mile walk.
One easy little thing we do--with an ulterior motive of instilling respect for nature--is to collect neat little bits from outside and display them on a "nature tray" on our dining room table. We go through phases where I'm more jazzed about doing this than the girls are. And then there are times when Bo is more than happy to rip a bunch of leaves off a tree and bring them inside for further inspection.
Right now, there's a pine cone, two sand dollars, and this in the tray:
What a great find over the weekend, huh? I admit I was a little scared a bee would coming crawling out of one of those hexagons, but it looks like the critters are long gone and now we're left behind with what I think is one of nature's really beautiful art installations.
I once wrote an article about a man who brought all sorts of things from nature into his home. Mostly skulls, skeletons and big rocks. He had a display of about 15 different skulls of various animals, sitting from smallest (mouse) to biggest (I can't remember. A moose, maybe) in his entryway. In between there were things like raccoons and possums. That must sound really creepy, but believe me--it was lovely. And his four young children were very involved in finding treasures for the house--skulls and all.
Amanda is responsible for another project from our weekend--a photo memory book I made tonight for Bo.
Bo's school is celebrating all the summer birthdays tomorrow and the parents usually bring in some sort of photo display of the kids' lives. I thought Bo would be excited to read a book about herself, so tomorrow's early birthday celebration was the perfect excuse to make one.
The photos are printed onto special fabric that runs through a regular computer printer. Packets of six sheets cost about $12 at JoAnn's--so use your 40 percent off coupon! I just used Word to arrange the pictures with some text about Bo's life. I wish I'd put more time into it. It truly was slopped together tonight. But I think Bo will like it just the same.
After printing on the special fabric, I cut around the photos and text and sewed them onto 8 x 12 pieces of fabric--all leftovers from dresses I've made Bo over the last four years--using a zigzag stitch. Then I sewed the 8 x 12 pieces to each other with a piece of flannel--taken from some of Bo's old receiving blankets--inside. I'm still trying to figure out how to bind the book since I've created quite a thick stack. For now, I just used three pieces of embroidery floss to connect all the "pages" by threading a needle and pushing the needle through all the thickness by hand, then tying it off.
Ah! Update! It's 12:45 a.m. and Bo just woke up for a glass of water. She saw the book on the table and giggled her way through it. It's a hit.
Besides those two things, I wanted to share a new blog in my life. In Praise of Leftovers is written by Sarah Murphy-Kangas, a friend of mine from high school. I haven't seen Sarah in almost 20 years, but our moms bumped into each other recently and got to talking about their bloggin' daughters.
Sarah's is a food blog, but--of course--it's a life blog, too. I think you'll enjoy her beautiful words and photography--not to mention the recipes. Tonight, I followed her instructions for a savory galette and it did not disappoint. What's a galette? Here's Sarah's definition:
A free-form tart. Roll out one disc of this easy dough, dump whatever you want in the middle (sweet or savory), fold the crust up around it, cook it for 30 minutes, be a goddess.