Dinner

“The focus of our days is the dinner table, whether, as often happens in the winter nowadays, it is just Hugh and me or I am cooking for a dozen or more.  When the children were in school I didn’t care what time we ate dinner as long as we ate it together.  If Hugh were going to be late, then we would all eat late.  If he had to be at the theatre early, we would eat early.  This was the time community (except for the very small babies) gathered together, when I saw most clearly illustrated the beautiful principle of unity in diversity:  we were one, but we were certainly diverse, a living example of the fact that like and equal are not the same thing.”

-Madeleine L’Engle, Glimpses of Grace (emphasis added)

I don’t have much time to write lately because of a swamp of school work, but I found this worth sharing.  This is sort of the ideal I hold up of my family in ten or fifteen years – gathered around dinner, discussing sports, theology, nature, literature, and whatever interests my children will quite literally “bring to the table” of which I now have no concept.  It is a daunting goal, but the beauty of this “unity in diversity” makes me want to strive towards it. 

More on this as relates to communal living beyond the family later, perhaps.

Somehow a Frog Finds a Pond

So I have found a new almost-all-consuming pastime. (!)  Searching for kid-friendly, good music which does not involve Disney or the same fifteen songs over and over.  Or anyone licking up baby bumble bees.  That’s just weird.

And I should profess again my love for NPR.  Last weekend we were driving to Baton Rouge and happened to hear the music review at the end of the Friday edition of All Things Considered.  Lucy was dancing in her car seat, and I was cracking up.

So apparently Stefan Shepherd‘s review has catapulted the South Carolina band Lunch Money to semi-stardom.  We ordered the CD almost as soon as we got to Baton Rouge.  And I love it.  And Craig doesn’t mind it.  And Lucy dances to it, and is already singing “Are You a Rabbit” around the house.  The lyrics are witty, without sacrificing good vocabulary (reticulated python!).  I love the fun, fast sound that dominates the CD, and the slower and calmer songs just make me happy.

So Samantha is no longer sleeping, so I guess I’m done, but if you are looking for some fun, clean music, check out Lunch Money.  Goodnight all!

Body talk

There are schools of thought which encourage children be fed by having several different foods (including dessert!) set before them at the beginning of a meal, and the child will naturally choose the foods which his body happens to need at the moment (and not necessarily dessert).  The thought is that a small child, not yet driven by mere routine, not having been taught simply to finish his plate, is still connected to voice of her body.  We haven’t implemented this totally into Lucy’s world, but we don’t force her to make a “happy plate” either.

I bring this up not because of our eating habits, but because of what I’ve been seeing from Lucy the last day or so.  She is coming down with a head cold, and last night the girl who never goes to bed without screaming curled up next to me saying, “I going to sleep.”  Then she let me get up and leave the room and went to sleep without a snuggly parent.  Unheard of.

This morning she slept late and even when she woke up, didn’t want to get out of bed but claimed, “I going to sleep.”  And she laid there for close to an hour by herself.  My rambuncious two-year-old does not spend extra time in bed.  But today, she recognized that what her body needed most was rest, and made sure she got it.  

So I guess my job now is to stay out of the way in hopes that she will keep being able to respond to her body’s cues like this when she’s five, and fifteen, and thirty-five.  And maybe along the way I can learn a little from her (and Samantha) about listening to my body well, and trusting what I hear.

Food for Thought, and Thought for Food

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately.  I like to spend time in the kitchen, making good food from scratch (or close to it).  Unfortunately, that often means something else in the never-ending list of house and school chores is being neglected.  As much as I know I would miss all my kitchen comforts, some days I envy women whose work for the day is almost exclusively involved in preparing food for their families.

We’ve spent Mardi Gras at my parents’ house, away from all the festivities (and traffic) in New Orleans.  My dad grew up on a farm in Mustang, Oklahoma, which is now practically a suburb of Oklahoma City.  We were talking with him the other day about how his mother would provide a hearty, hot breakfast, a full lunch (fried chicken, potatoes, vegetable, etc.), and then a large dinner as well.  The men would come in from the fields to eat lunch during the harvest.  She got up before everyone else and started the stove on winter mornings.  She butchered the chickens.  I don’t envy some of the hard work she had to do, but I do envy having work with such a clear purpose.  

We’re working our way, very slowly, closer to the land.  Our little garden has produced well considering the neglect it has suffered.  We’re looking at joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) group out of Baton Rouge, so we will pay a fee for the year and get fresh, organic produce every week in April through August. (This takes out the middleman and supports a small farm which doesn’t destroy the land, not to mention cutting down on the effects of transportation.)

In many places just getting food on the table (if there is a table!) is an all-consuming daily project.  Where our food comes so easily to our tables, it is less appreciated.  One of our plans for Lent is to eat more simply, and hopefully more healthily, and stick to a tighter food budget.  Hopefully along the way, we can learn to be a little more careful in our eating, and a little more thankful for our bounty.

Release from solitude

Allow me a lenghty quote, and a few (less lenghty) comments. ? Is it me, or does anyone else wonder why it is taking so many Americans so long to realize some of the things Montessori mentions below? ? (More on this later – I think I can combine some of my readings!)

“But let us think, for a moment, of the many peoples of the world who live at different cultural levels from our own. ? In the matter of child rearing, almost all of these seem to be more enlightened than ourselves–with all our Western ultramodern ideals. ? Continue reading “Release from solitude”

Praise and Worship

I was on my way to pick up Lucy and go home from work today, when I wandered by the chapel at school. ? (How great is it that I work at a school with a chapel and on-site daycare in the building!) ? I glanced into the chapel and there were four seniors sitting/kneeling there, and one of them had a guitar. ? I started toward the daycare, then turned around and went to the chapel and sat in the back row. ? Not only were they singing praise and worship, but songs that I knew! ? Samantha was sleeping in the wrap (after a fussy spell) and I got to spend fifteen minutes reliving those days at Tulane when we would stay up to all hours singing in the TCC chapel. ? It was so refreshing, and to hear those beautiful female voices was truly holy. ? In fact, it was one of the holiest moments I have experienced in some time. ? I came out of it so calm. ? These girls always manage to be an inspiration to me when I least expect it.

On that note, I turned in my notice at the end of last week. ? I’ll be staying home with my girls next year, and I am very excited. ? There are a lot of things I will miss (and some – cellphones, dress codes – which I won’t), and I’m sure it won’t help my Latin any, but I can’t wait to get my house in order and start homeschooling in earnest. ? The countdown has begun – four more months!

Brothers K

That’s right, I finished The Brothers Karamazov? last night. ? All 701 pages. ? Of small print. ? Being stuck in a chair breastfeeding a good part of the day certainly has its advantages!

Anyone else who has read this, I would love to hear your thoughts. ? I find myself wishing for a good Russian literature class–there is so much in this text worth discussing! ? I’ll be posting on this book more, as I work through all the pages I dog-eared on my way through. ? But I am really curious to anyone else’s reactions!

Karamazov: Love in Action

“…love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labor and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science.”

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

?

Was Dostoyevsky referring specifically to motherhood?? ? I think he certainly could have been. ? Motherhood is love in action. ? Continue reading “Karamazov: Love in Action”