On Learning How To Respond To A Cry

On Learning How To Respond To A Cry

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. And it’s the usual excuses. However, there’s been a topic on my mind for some time and I’m hoping others can benefit from the hours I’ve spent pondering it. I’m hoping I can benefit from getting all of my thoughts out onto the page. When my baby cries, or even whines, I have a deep, strong impulse to respond immediately. Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the fact that I’m his mama who loves him and wants him to be happy. There are times I think I would do anything to make that crying or whining cease. The problem is, my anxiousness to make him happy isn’t always a good thing. In fact, at a year and a half old, it’s beginning to be rarely a good thing. He demands a piece of chocolate and I would love nothing more than to give it to him and to enjoy the four seconds of silence that ensue while he chews. And then he’ll demand another. He’ll cry because he’s tired and he’ll cry because my eight months pregnant body just can’t bear to hold his 25 pounds all day long. These are all problems that I can’t fix and requests that I simply can’t fulfill. Because I love him, I can’t give him chocolate for breakfast. So I must listen to the whining which I detest so much. For these reasons, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to teach myself how to not be so affected by his cries and his whining. Yes, this sounds cruel, cold and calculating. It seems, to an outsider, like I’m attempting to...
Movie Review: Why You Should See Paddington

Movie Review: Why You Should See Paddington

Have you been to the movies lately? Yeah. Neither had I, until this past Saturday. For a matinee it was still a small fortune with eight of us. If it hadn’t been for the generosity of a sweet sister of mine, we wouldn’t have gone. Movie going just isn’t something we do often so when we do go, I have high expectations, and most of the time (you know, all two times in the last four years that I’ve paid to see a movie in a theater), I am disappointed.   I’m saying all of this so you understand, Dear Reader, why I want to tell you about the movie we saw, and why I highly recommend you go see it too. This weekend, we saw Paddington.  Our group included ages 2 through 13 (as well as 34 year old me) and every single one of us thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was funny. It was sweet. It was heartwarming and silly and every good thing you could imagine a family movie to be. And to top it all off, it had a thoroughly  Christian message of welcoming strangers and orphans.  I’ll explain. Marmalade and Darkest Peru If you’ve read the Paddington books, by Michael Bond, then you already know that Paddington is a bear who travels to England from “Deepest, Darkest Peru.” He arrives at the Paddington railway station in London, with nothing but his special suitcase (which had been full of marmalade at the start of his trip), his signature red hat, and a tag hanging around his neck, much like those worn by children during the evacuation...
This Just In: Life Is More Than a Countdown

This Just In: Life Is More Than a Countdown

There are a lot of things I’m currently counting down to. I count down the weeks until my husband comes home. I count down the weeks left of this pregnancy. I even (gulp) count down the hours until my baby’s bed time. By these habits alone, you’d think that I had a pretty miserable life, where I’m just desperate to get to the next thing. Nothing could be further from the truth! I love my life! Whenever I’m in a halfway unpleasant situation, though, my mind immediately goes to a time when things will be easier or more comfortable. Ease and comfort are things that I’m reeeeeeeally attracted to, and counting down is a way of escaping the less pleasant. The thing is, if you’re so busy counting down to the next thing, you miss the beauty of what’s right in front of you. Obviously, I’m not the first to ever present this idea, but it’s striking how guilty I am of ignoring it. Time with Peter by myself until John gets home is a gift. Babies are a gift. Any time with them is a gift. Late nights/ early mornings of caring and feeding and loving are a gift, as are the tough mornings that follow. All are symptoms of  and indicators of the biggest gift of all: life.  I often think how much I’m looking forward to when our kids are in school. I’ll get to have uninterrupted time to read and the quiet that I so enjoy. Some day, I will sleep more than a few hours at a time on a regular basis. I can’t wait until they’re older and we can talk...
Tuna Casserole Without the Tuna

Tuna Casserole Without the Tuna

Listening to my Mom talk about her early days cooking is like listening to Normal Rockwell talk about drawing stick figures the first time he picked up a crayon as a wee young pup.  It’s funny to think of the great artiste at his first beginning, when he was still crude and fumbling in his attempts, just like you and me, long before the air sparkled with the wondrous possibilities of what might be every time he approached a canvass with paint-daubed brush poised to work magic.  We only think of him then, after he had matured in his art, when anything might emerge as he began applying oil to cloth, and it was sure to be amazing whatever it was. With that image in mind of what he eventually became, it’s hard to imagine a time when Norman Rockwell couldn’t draw, even though we know that everyone has to begin somewhere.  We all crawl before we run.  Even Michelangelo had to start with crayons long before there was any reason to crane your neck back to gaze upon the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel high overhead.  Well, maybe not crayons, since in the sixteenth century they were as yet only a twinkle in Mr. Crayola’s eyes—or maybe in his distant ancestor’s eyes.  But Michelangelo probably chiseled a lot of stick figures in marble prior to chipping the first shard from the block that would eventually become The David. Well, my Mom is the Michelangelo of the culinary arts.  She’s attained that level of genius.  If Pope Francis ever decides to redecorate the Sistine Chapel in food (after all,...
The Intentional Catholic Family

The Intentional Catholic Family

A few days ago, I read this article about how couples who are intentional or decisive about their actions and decisions as a couple are more likely to have successful marriages than couples who simply go with the flow, or let life dictate their decisions. While the finding may seem obvious, the reality is that many couples avoid real decision-making. Many couples living together, for instance, did not sit down and talk about cohabitation. Often one partner had begun spending more time at the other’s home, or a lease expired, forcing the couple to formalize a living arrangement. In other words, the simple act of regularly sitting down and talking about a decision, like living together before marriage, makes a huge difference in your overall future together. Again, forgive me if this all sounds obvious, but I’m beginning to realize that the same kind of conversations have to occur between the parents (and children, eventually) if your desire is to live as a Catholic family. I love to sit down and talk about things with my husband, but I don’t know that we’ve ever specifically discussed how we’re going to be a Catholic family. I’m just beginning my life as a mom, but I can honestly say I’ve done a pretty sub-par job being a “Catholic” mom. I could blame it on the fact that my husband is deployed or that our parish isn’t super helpful to young families, but the stubborn fact remains: I’ve just been getting by and going through the motions with my faith. We go to Mass each week, sometimes the baby comes, sometimes he stays home with family. I don’t remember the last time I prayed a...
FYI Your Holiness: I’m Not a Rabbit

FYI Your Holiness: I’m Not a Rabbit

I try to refrain from commenting (publicly, at least) on Pope Francis’ off the cuff remarks. You know the ones. They are usually outrageous on the surface and are the source in some way or other for many salacious headlines. These are the comments that set my Facebook and Twitter  feed on fire.  There is very little point in responding to any of the remarks made my friends or acquaintances who use half correct misquotes that based on hearsay and are then the basis for attention grabbing headlines that seem to say the pope of all people is against Church teaching.  It would be maddening to even try.  At most, I might remind people to “simma down now,” read the actual transcript, and hold fast to the Faith, while I mutter something about not everything being ex cathedra for a reason. The Holy Spirit will always win. Here, I will make an exception to my normal rule. I read the headlines and saw the blurbs: Pope Says Catholics Need Not Breed Like Rabbits! and Mother of 8 Irresponsible! I was offended and hurt. Then I read the full transcript of the Holy Father’s remarks — and I was still offended and hurt. A couple truly married in the Catholic sense can never “be like rabbits” because their love is a choice, not something that is solely in the heat of passion, but in the reason and the intellect as well as the emotions. The problem with his comments, whether he used the word breed or not (and the general consensus is that he did not, in fact use that...