Thursday, April 23, 2009

Doing Nothing With Daniel

"I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose." --George Carlin

I've been reading a few self-help books lately. Most of them are related to personal finance (you'll probably hear about them in some later post), but I also recently read one called Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by Elaine St. James. Some of her suggestions were helpful (e.g. go with patterned carpet because it hides spots), some I was already doing (e.g. don't buy clothes that need dry cleaning), and some was a bit too hardcore simple for me (e.g. don't make your bed; skip the holidays).

One idea that I initially filed in that last category was her
suggestion to "do nothing" for one day a month. Even if this was remotely possible for a mother of two young children, I'm not sure I'd want to spend an entire day just communing with the universe and the dust motes.

To my surprise, though, I've since realized that "nothing" is one of my favorite things to do with Baby Daniel. When we're the only ones awake in the house I love to just cuddle him close or watch him stare intently at random objects in the room. Sometimes he looks at me and we have fun little cooing conversations, but most of the time it's just peaceful and soothing to quietly be together, doing "nothing."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Getting in Touch with My Inner Child

As a parent, I often find myself doing things I never would have imagined in the B.C. years (before children). And I'm not just talking about diapers and spit-up, though those could each be a post of their own. But I digress.

When Daniel wakes up hungry, I often bounce him a little and say, "Shhhhhhhhh," to soothe him. Well, lately I've noticed that when I having in a particularly stressful moment, I say, "Shhhhhhhhh," and bounce myself up and down. I'm sure it looks strange, but it actually helps.

I've also noticed that I'm picking up some Joy-speak for certain things. She calls water "fuff-fuff" and blankets "bittuhs," and when I'm talking to her I find that I use her "words" for those items, even though she understands the more standard terms for them.

Of course, Joy likes following our lead, too, especially at mealtimes. She doesn't necessarily eat what we eat (alas), but she does insist on sitting in a big chair, eating on a big plate, and using big utensils. The other day we were having yogurt with lunch, and since I didn't relish the idea of Joy inevitably spilling huge spoonfuls of it onto the floor, I decided it would be easiest to just get out a little, plastic child spoon for my place and ask her which color she wanted for herself. As we sat there eating our Yoplait, I reflected that eating with red utensils was kind of fun, and that it's a pity they don't make adult-size ones. Ah, the simple pleasures you experience as a parent.