Saturday, August 15, 2009

Teeth and Playdates

Good Saturday morning to you.

My sweet Anna Grace birthed her first tooth this week. The other day Emily Rose came to me, holding up her finger.

Emily: "The baby bit me, Mommy."

Momma: "Did she get you with her gums? She doesn't actually have teeth yet." (I had checked that morning--nothing)

Emily: "No, Mommy. Baby bit me."

I told her I was sorry and that Anna didn't mean to hurt her. I still didn't think it was an actual bite, but I wasn't going to argue with a two-year-old.

Later that evening Grandpa and his wife came over for a barbecue. While holding the baby, my Dad said, laughing: "She's got some pretty sharp teeth."

Momma: "I checked this morning and didn't feel anything. Are you sure it was a tooth?"

Grandpa: "She's got teeth now."

Lo and behold, Anna had birthed her first tooth, after 2.5 months of hard labor.

Momma: "Yippee! Maybe she'll sleep tonight!"

Wishful thinking.

In other news, we went on another park playdate with the homeschoolers. It wasn't naptime for Anna, and since she cries when alone with Daddy, he elected to come with us rather than watch Anna by himself. It would have been impossible to manage the four of them on my own at a large park, so once again I was thanking the Lord for the help.

In some ways I know we would be on a tighter routine without him home, but the extra hands help with the nearly constant diaper changes, potty trips, laundry, and meal-making. Some days this is ALL we manage to get done. People who see our yard (weeds,toys) probably think we're lazy. With two adults home it should be neater, they surmise; I know my Dad thinks that. However, my husband never rests. Helping to care for the children, going to his part-time jobs, looking for full-time jobs, and doing his computer-tech schoolwork, makes for more than a full day. Without the experience of having four children close together, no one can fathom how busy we are.

When evaluating how you're "doing" in your life, always remember to avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone has a different set of blessings and a different set of challenges. And no one is truly privy to the baggage we might have from our upbringing. Indeed, even when the baggage is old news and completely forgiven, it still affects our skill set as adults. Such baggage is part of the human condition; imperfect parents make for imperfect kids.

Now back to that play date I began writing about. It was awesome! Just two other ladies were there this time. One was the original organizer of the event, Dawn, and a new mom, Kim. Both have rather soft-spoken, gentle personalities--much like mine. My writing isn't always gentle, I know. But if you were to meet me, you would only see soft-spokenness, mixed with an openness and joy and a bit of nervousness. It's a funny thing how writing brings out different aspects of our personality.

It was so nice to feel completely at ease with these ladies! The whole time I was thanking the Lord for the experience, even though I was cognizant that one of the ladies was probably nearly half my age, and the other around thirty. Don thinks I could be way off, but oh well. The point is I'm old. No way around that.

Dawn, the young Michigan-transplant mom who organized it, has two daughters, ages 2 and 4.5. Her husband was transferred here for a year to work in a General Motors plant. They are half expecting a layoff soon though. If not, they'll go back to Michigan to resume work in his other plant, presumably--in a year.

The other mom, an unschooler (meaning the entire curriculum is interest-driven only) has three children--ages around 7, 4, and 1. She suspects that her four-year-old son needs more structure than unschooling provides. He's a live wire, it seems. I can share some tips on dealing with live wires, if she ever asks. LOL

My boys made fast friends with Faith, Dawn's older daughter; she's a tomboy who loves insects. Don took these three out into a field, looking for butterflies. As the Lord would have it, he caught a praying mantis for Faith, who had brought her net and insect container to the park. Faith and her Mom were thrilled! Daniel and Daddy proceeded to find three small insects for it to eat.

Later, the three kids found a tiny toad at the base of a tree. We all admired his cuteness, as though he were a newborn baby just home from the hospital. Homeschoolers are a bit weird, as people go. I find that we are amazingly similar in some subtle ways. For example, the outdoor classroom--or any classroom away from home--holds a special place in our hearts. Stumbling upon learning is a thrill up our spines!

Daniel was initially sad that Daddy hadn't caught HIM a mantis, but it was a good lesson in putting others above one's self. Daniel had already had the experience of caring for a praying mantis AND its egg sac, in 2008. We'll find another this year, I'm sure.

The ladies and I enjoyed each other's children, and shared ideas on what educational field trips were available in our area of Ohio. And the new mom invited us to her mini-farm next Wednesday for a lunch play date. She has 30 apples trees in her orchard, and a ton of blackberry bushes in the woods behind her home. We'll be picking blackberries! We're all as excited as a group of kindergartners taking their first field trip! LOL

Dear Lord, you are good! What a blessing!

As an aside, if you are praying for a close relative, and have been for awhile--sometimes losing faith--this is for you.

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