Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three years + 6 days

Today is three years + 6 days for our wedding anniversary. I had this wonderful plan to have a very elaborate post on the day so that Jake, during his morning ritual, could read my reflections of our wedding day. I had a busy day last Wednesday! so I didn't get to the blogging like I wanted. We did not celebrate until Friday, when Jake took me on an amazing date to Cafe Di Scala in Sherman Hill for amazing Italian food! Jake's friend Tony had scheduled live jazz music, and in an attempt to make more refrigerator space we took a bottle of sparkling white wine along in celebration of our 3 year occasion. I wore the very high, stiletto, sparkly shoes that I was originally deathly afraid to walk in (without having to carry babies they are actually OK) with a ruffly yet short black cocktail dress that is one of Jake's favorites.We felt completely big city as we drove down to Sherman Hill in our ghetto cruising Cadillac, and sans babies we were arm in arm walking, and spent many long glances at each other. Jake had planned this date for us just like he planned many wooing dates for us and it was just as great as it has always been, if not better!Throughout our anniversary we were calling out different times to each other: "11am I was eating lunch with the guys. 12noon I was getting my hair done. 4o'clock time to walk down the isle...." Jake is a poet at heart, and I love to look back on all of the haiku that he has written to celebrate momentous ocaisions in our life or just the everyday beauty that he finds in our relationship. For our wedding day he wrote:
White bells ring joyous all day
Hearts beat together
A couple of days before our anniversary, I bumped into an old friend who is helping her daughter with wedding plans. This lady is one of the most practical people on the planet and doesn't like to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of life. I asked how things were going and she rolled her eyes at me, "Do you ever wish that you could just take the money that was spent and go on a nice trip or buy something that is more long lasting." I told her that there is very little I would change about my wedding day, and I wouldn't flush it down the toilet for a trip or a bauble.My wedding day was the most monumental day of my life! For Jake and I, skipping out on all of the things that we planned for that day...well we loved everything! Of course the planning of the event did get stressful at times. A close friend of our family informed me that getting married is "like joining two foreign countries" and she couldn't have been more accurate! I didn't get to have my "dream wedding" of the destination nuptials in Scotland, saying vows in a ruined cathedral in Jedbourgh, but the wedding that Jake encouraged where all of our grandparents and family could attend to hear us say vows became the wedding of my dreams.The Celtic (said keltiK like Scotland not seltik like the basketball team) theme was because of the dream of Scotland. We had the bagpiper processional, the bridesmaids dresses were made out of a family tartan that was ordered from Scotland, we said Celtic vows, a Celtic handfasting ceremony, and our main flowers were pink heather. The headpiece I wore was from my mother's mother's wedding veil. My grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary the year that we got married, so needless to say the veil had disintegrated and my not quite future sister-in-law at the time reconstructed the beaded details.Some people would argue this point, but I don't think I was a bridezilla. The only thing I truly wanted was beautiful photographs of our wedding. I found Mark Kegans from Des Moines the perfect match for us and he captured amazing photographs for us to always cherish. The other unique things for our wedding would be the balloon release, my brothers as "bridesmen" and the wedding cakeS that we had. We love the New Pioneer CoOp's cake, and when we gave them artistic license we were completely awe struck at the cake spectacle that our guests still rave about.Our wedding weekend was celebrated in full force from the Friday night rehersal dinner that Jake's parents hosted at our (then) favorite restaurant Takanami. Jake's mom planned every Asian detail she could think of including invitations on a fan. My mother hosted a bride's brunch with all of the women in the family. Jake had a lunch with all of the men. We had a nice, long ceremony in the backyard of my childhood home with the rolling fields surrounding us. We took our posed photos in front of the Old Capitol in Iowa City with our reception at the Historic Old Brick Cathedral just adjacent to the Pentacrest. We barely ate a thing and the only cake was what we fed to each other during our cake cutting. The night was filled with dancing to a 5 piece band, and the ballroom dancing lessons we took really paid off.When we went to the hotel that night, we checked in and went down to our room. We met different family members and friends that were staying at the hotel on the way, and when we got into our room, someone had been sleeping in our bed! The bedding and sheets were all messed up, with pillows tossed here and there. Being the germaphobe that I truly am, I insisted that we pack up our duds and find a different room. We went to the other side of the hotel, passing another party room...Jake's parents room. The morning after brunch at my parents house was very necessary for replentishing our fuel since we barely ate anything at the reception. My aunt thought she was so clever in telling us that it was her and her cousins that were pounding on our door the whole night. We told them we heard nothing! They didn't know that we had switched rooms, so it was probably a blessing in disguise that our bed had already been occupied.We honeymooned on Marco Island, FL, where you are "Newlywed or nearly dead" staying at the Griebahn's southern maison, and then we scooted up to Disney World to top off the week with a little more magic. With the daily grind of life, anniversaries are important! To be able to look into those same eyes so full of love and promises and to see that nothing has changed is that magic that glues us together through everything. Holding hands through the hard stuff, laughing through the fun stuff, but always the same eyes that I love. Thank You God for giving me to Jake, and thank You more for giving him to me.
I know I went a little overboard on the photos...I love photos.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Dialogue

After making some homemade fried chicken, Fiona became a little possessive over some chicken skin. I was totally grossed out to be in a battle over chicken skin with my little sweet tooth, but she was belligerent beyond belief! I had heard that chicken skin would do this little baby some good with all of those good fats that her growing body needs, so I was open to feeding it to her. Since I can't stand the stuff, I thought it would be fine for her to have a small section, until I realized that she was stashing half of it in her fist and the other half in her mouth!

Mama: Fiona, you are getting grease from that skin all over everywhere. *prying her hand open* Give it to Mama.

Fiona: Screeeeeeeeeeech! Gripping the chicken skin tighter

Mama: Fiona, give Mama the chicken skin.

Fiona: Ma ma ma exposing a wad of chicken skin in her mouth

Mama: Oh my heart! You are still sucking on another piece?! Give me that other piece in your hand. This is so greasy! trying to pry open Fiona's hand

Fiona: Gritting her teeth Screeeech!!!! Shaking her fist at me

Mama: I am taking that away from you, now!!

Fiona: Shoves the chicken skin from her hand, into her mouth, squealing and laughing, while bouncing up and down with her mouth stuffed with chicken skin

Mama: Jake? Do you think that she can choke on this? Would it totally get caught in her...alright, you're done, Fiona! Mama sweeps out Fiona's mouth with a huge wad of chicken skin. You're done! You are not going to choke on chicken skin! How white trash would that sound?! One year old chokes on a huge wad of chicken skin that her Mother allowed her to have while walking around the living room. Hardly!

Fiona: Screaming and crying hysterically over the loss of the chicken skin

Talk on the Block....
All four of us were in the back yard. The babies were playing, and Jake and I were ripping up some earth for our garden.
Pierce: Can I come over and play?
Jake: Not tonight.
Pierce: Can Iain come over and play?
Jake: Not tonight.
Pierce: OK.
Some time passes...Pierce kept passing one of his light sabers through the fence to Iain. Caesar was attacking the light saber, and Fiona's precious head was in constant threat of a toddler handling a light saber.
Erin: Iain, give that back to Pierce.
Pierce: He can have it.
Erin: Thanks, but he can't have it. The dogs are going nuts, and I don't want them to attack your light saber. Iain, give it back now!
Pierce: Does he have his own light saber?
Erin: No he doesn't have a light saber.
Pierce: Well, why doesn't Iain have his own light saber?
Erin: Because Iain is 2 years old and he doesn't know what a light saber is. When he is old enough to watch Star Wars we will consider a light saber at that time.
Pierce: I am 5 and a half, so I can have a light saber.
Erin: Yep.
Some silence elapses
Pierce: My Daddy has like 8 million Star Wars. Pierce's mom is calling for him to come in. Well, I gotta go in now, bye!
Iain: BYE!

A short time passes
Pierce: I'm back! Can I come over and play?
Jake: Not tonight.
Pierce's mom calls him back in to the house.
Pierce: Bye!
Iain: BYE!
Some more time passes...about 15 minutes
Pierce comes running outside again You guys are still out here! I can't believe you are still out here!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stop This Train

May has many big events and anniversaries for me and my family. We have three wedding anniversaries, birthdays, Mother's Day...and today would be a year since my grandpa died. He was very sick. When Jake and I were trying to pick a date for our wedding, I had always wanted to have a fall wedding since it is my very favorite season. We had the football issue (my younger brother was playing football at Iowa State, plus Jake and I come from some serious football fans that would be slightly aggravated if a wedding coincided with a wedding) but we also wanted to have all of our living grandparents at our wedding. As we started our plans and picked May, my Dad's mother was diagnosed with cancer.

My grandma died the very beginning of October. She knew that I was pregnant with Iain, and it was hard having her know about our baby, but never meeting him. A year and a half later, my grandpa (my mom's dad) went in to the hospital the same morning that I was in the hospital giving birth to Fiona. He was in the hospital for 5 weeks to the day that he died. With Fiona in the NICU, and Grandpa having serious infections and complications, we were not able to connect in person or on the phone before he died.

Both of my grandparents dying were bittersweet. They were both in so much physical pain, and their bodies just couldn't fight anymore. I never realized how fortunate I was to have grandparents see my children until one was missing for each of my babies. It felt like I was sacrificing a grandparent for a child. I know that my grandmother would have given her life for Iain as well as my grandpa would have moved heaven and earth for Fiona.

I contributed some good memories during the open sharing time at my grandma's funeral. I sort of remember what I said, but it was not a planned out speech. My grandpa's funeral was a bit more formal, and when no one was offering to give a eulogy, I thought that I could be brave enough to speak. There is a John Mayer song called Stop This Train that I just couldn't get out of my head. I had been listening to it since the album came out, but since it is a bit about being scared of growing up, seeing the older generations die, being alone, but feeling like your life is flashing before you the lyrics were verberating in my head. Having babies and loosing loved family and friends can do that to you. Here is the eulogy I gave at my grandpa's funeral:

A Grandpa’s Lap

A eulogy for Grandpa Madden

May 12, 2008

Erin Joseph

Almost two years ago at my wedding, a little girl walked over to my grandparents and they started talking. She asked Grandma, “Can I sit on his lap?” Grandma said, “Well, I think that would be alright. “ She told my grandparents, “I don’t have a grandpa, and I have always wanted to sit on a grandpa’s lap.” I had always taken for granted that I grew up with a grandpa’s lap to sit on, but she was so poignant with her request it gave me a reality check, that many people don’t get to know their grandpas into their adult hood. I just figured that my grandpa would always be there, immortal and looking like John Wayne.

I think my grandpa kind of looked like John Wayne. He was rough around the edges, but had a quick wit and great one-liners. Grandpa didn’t have a hard time telling you what he thought about something, and that was just fine because he was right about a lot of things. He had a strong work ethic, durable patience, a love for God, his country, his wife and his ever expanding family.

It is important to have a Grandpa’s lap to sit on, but as I have gotten even older, I have realized how fortunate I have been to have my grandpa as my friend. After I graduated from college and had joined the work force, I had absolutely no life and no social life. I started heading here to Lowden on Wednesday nights to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. We would have dinner and get to talking into the wee hours of the morning and Grandma and I would be working on a project of some kind, so she was always making me stay over. I am glad that she did. We would have such great conversations about work, politics, family, sports, and current events. I learned so much from his storytelling about his family and friends and the genealogy of his ancestors from a by gone era and time on the farms in Iowa. There were stories of good times and bad times. Stories that made him the man that he was, someone with true grit, hardworking, a great joke teller, a great story teller, a great friend and athlete, and resilient to the fickle life of farming.

I admire his example as a loving husband to my grandma and a great friend to her for over 50 years. They are such a cute couple: two people who enjoyed each other’s company, and when they didn’t like each other, they weren’t afraid to fight about it. They had passion and emotion for each other, spunk and one of those timeless romances that everyone wishes and dreams about. Before Jake and I got married, they gave us some tips for a good marriage, but it is their acts of love will stick in my mind forever. They weren’t afraid to kiss each other and retell the story of how they met, and to keep it interesting, they weren’t afraid to give each other hell! They took care of each other and loved each other so much, and that is the best thing for two people.

The two of them were my personal psychiatrists, and it was so easy to talk to both of them. I discovered that grandparents and grandkids get along so well because they have a common enemy: their parents. I could get some good dirt on my parents, and my grandparents could get some good dirt on their kids from me! It was a win win situation!

All of it has all been so fast for me, and so I can’t even imagine how fast it was for him. He had written down that the moment he knew God was real was when his children were born. It is amazing how having children can bring your lens in to focus so quickly, just in time for you to be thrown on a freight train and have your life start flashing before your eyes. Grandpa was so excited to see these great grandchildren of his. In the last year when we would talk on the phone, he wanted to hear stories about Iain all of the time. We would put the phone to Iain’s ear, and Grandpa would tell him that he had his photo on the refrigerator so that he could say hi to him every time he got a drink of water. Iain was so content to sit on his great grandpa’s lap and I know that it gave my grandpa great joy to hold the next generation in his arms. I think being a farmer, he understood the seasons of life. I could see how excited he was with this spring of new life for our family. He knew about all of the joys and hardships as we start these plants of ours, and he delighted in the cultivating of the earth and children and watching his labors bear fruit and in turn multiply. He knew that he was in the winter of his life, and not many of us like winter, but he knew that it had to come.

Yesterday, I got to meet my cousin Paige for the first time, and we had great fun getting to know each other. During our time visiting, we were standing in the isle here, and all of a sudden she slipped her hand into mine. I looked down at her and she told me “I bet you that Grandpa can wiggle his toes right now,” and with that she took my breathe away. I said, “I bet you are right.” Then she said, “But it is his soul that can wiggle his toes, and his soul isn’t there in the box or he couldn’t feel his toes wiggling.” I said, “Yeah, now I know he is wiggling his toes in heaven,” and she said, “Yeah.” We were so connected in that moment, sharing our Grandpa and sharing the belief that our Grandpa is in heaven and he is wiggling his toes, in a new body, free of sickness and free of pain and starting a new season of his own. I know that he is in heaven, celebrating with his mom and dad and taken into the arms of our Heavenly Father. I am thankful that Paige was able to sit on her grandpa’s lap, and she will know from the rest of us what a great man and friend he was.

I would like to close with this verse from Romans 8:38, “For I am convinced, that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A little bit more, and then I am done for now.

There has definitely been a big hub-a-bub over here on the blog. I must say...8 comments! WOW! I must not write juicy enough stuff on other days. I am not going to make a habit out of this controversial stuff because it can become quite stressful. I am prepared to defend myself with the comments from my adoring fans...I mean readers?

My main point in the Crazy Lady post, is that I still do not feel that Mothers who stay at home are more privileged.
privilege: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor ; especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office
Every mother has that privilege to stay at home, as it is their Divine right or benefit to their position. Moms who work outside of the home choose that lifestyle away from what their privileges as a mother are. My personal conviction has always come from Proverbs 31, with my best living example as my own mother and the matriarchs in my own family. The "virtuous woman" is the first person out of bed each day, and when it is still dark out! She is up late at night still working. She works like a dog! I feel like I work very hard each day, but the Provers woman didn't find time to waste away on the computer. All of her tasks revolve around her husband, children and her household. The women in my family have all stayed at home to raise children, to cook fulfilling meals for the family, to keep clean and tidy houses, to work in their gardens and at handicrafts, as well as having other types of businesses or jobs being run from their own homes.Iain "playing piano" in his woodpile.
He was humming and swaying as he imagined
that he had an outdoor piano to play

I have had "working" moms say to me, "I don't know how you do it. I couldn't do what you do." Another non-favorite and belittling comment is, "I wish that I could stay at home with my kids, but we can't afford it." To be redundant, I do not feel that it is a privilege or that I am "lucky" to stay at home with my children. I think it comes with the territory! What do all of the "working" moms think that us SAHMs do all day long? I tried to explain this in my other post: I do not go out to lunch every day, I do not have a cleaning lady come in and clean my house, I cook all of my meals from scratch, and then after my babies are in bed I work on stringing beads or my blog job until the wee hours of the morning. When a "working" mom says, "I wish that I could be home with my kids, but...." they are aknowledging that the very best thing is for Moms to be with their babies. The other response that I hear is "I couldn't be at home with my kids! They would drive me to insanity!!" How pitiful that a Mother would not desire to be with her babies, and how sad for a child to hear and know that their mother is unfulfilled.Fiona, home from her 1st birthday in Chicago.

Since I was BWE (Blogging While Exhausted)the other night/morning, my "checked out" comment is what I think set most women spiraling. I did not mean that all women are mentally checked out or don't think about their children throughout the day. I will stand by the fact that the children get "checked" into day care or care givers care and there is a big difference when you remove your child/children from your presence. There is a freedom that may not be emotional or mental, but the physical freedom to move about your day at work is huge!

I was so happy to see Amanda's comments. Our situation has been very similar in that I had a better paying job than Jake when we had Iain. Jake and I were always committed to me staying home with the babies, so trying to work a full time job with a very easy baby was great for the first couple months. We have had the health insurance battle. We have had doctor bills for NICU visits with both babies. There have been many issues with our finances, but we have made drastic changes to live within our means. It has meant eating "stone soup" and carpooling places. It has meant a spending freeze and living within our means, no matter what it takes. Working outside of the home has never been an option for us.We sold our car, we will move into a smaller house, we will move to a different city or state! We will eat rice and beans....
I could not miss out on this huge part of my life. My children are my legacy, and God has entrusted them to me for their care and upbringing. I feel that God is pretty specific about it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

4 year anniversary

Today is the 4th anniversary of my first date with Jacob R. Joseph. Jake remembered this while we were taking him to work this morning, and Garrison Keillor came on with the Writer's Almanac. So we had our own little "Today is the anniversary of Jake and Erin's very first official date..." I am sure that Garrison would have a lovely way of expressing all of the very perfect things that happened.The week before our date, I had been on a girls trip to Florida with my sister who I think was living in Chicago at the time, and our good friend Angela Dodge of Independence, Iowa. Back up the day before my trip, Jake posted a haiku on the board at work. He claimed that this haiku was for an assignment in class:
Sora no tori
Fugu Minami yuko
Kueri Matsu.

Birds in the sky.
Flying South for winter
I await your return.

I thought it was so beautiful, but I didn't get it...at the time. We sent text messages, and I had switched phone plans before leaving so that I could receive and send texts. He called me while I was in Florida and asked me to go to Takinami. I was pretty sure that this was an official date that would not include any co-workers.

I wore a red boat neck shirt with fine red and white pin striping, and 3/4 length sleeves with khaki Capri pants and black wedge sandals. He came to my condo and picked me up in his Jaguar. He made an official reservation, and I knew that his sister would be our server. Trisha and I had met at Jake's birthday hangout a couple of weeks earlier, but I could tell that she was all business and knew that this was an official date. He asked for the very special table that was in the quietest part of the restaurant with the best view of the aquarium.

I had tried sushi with my dad once, and I only ate a piece of shrimp that time! Jake knew the sushi menu like the back of his hand. He ordered everything for me! He picked out a soup starter, then two sushi rolls with a glass of white wine, and then the Kobe beef entree with a glass of red wine. We had an amazing dessert to finish and I was totally whisked away. I had always wanted someone who knew food good enough to tell me what to eat, as well as perfect wine pairings. I was on a very grown-up date. As a working girl, on a date with a college guy, I wanted to help with the bill. He insisted that he wanted to pay for everything, but I knew that he didn't work full time and that we were at a very expensive restaurant. I can't remember if I said, "That is probably your entire paycheck," but I do remember he said, "You are worth it. You are worth every penny of it." I had never had anyone tell me that I was worth it! He got me with his sincerity, hook, line and sinker.

We left on a cloud and went to Dirty John's Grocery for a bottle of Wandering Poet sake. When they were out, we hit up New Pioneer Co-Op. I wanted to pay for the sake, and he let me. We drove around downtown Iowa City, listening to the great music in his car. He told me that he would burn me a copy of the CD, since it was a mix tape that he designed for our first date. We went to his apartment to watch some movies and drink the sake. I had never seen Fantasia, but we had our first kiss during the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy danced by a huge hippopotamus.

After our first date, my poet wrote me another haiku:
Azure skies of Blue.
Deep Beautiful Passion Filled:
I long to see more.

I remember that my Mom called me the next morning to see how everything went. I was totally speechless. She said, "You need to come over, I need to know every detail." At the time, I was so awestruck at how perfect the date went and I had nothing negative to say. Jake did everything right, he had no quirks that I could detect that could have been a turn off. The conversation I had with Mom was very matter of fact and to the point. I knew I like him, and with in days I knew I loved him. He looked good on paper, it felt right in my heart, and I have always said that God dropped Jake on my windshield. It was so cut and dry and easy with every feeling and emotion falling right into place. There was no avoiding it, so I didn't. "It was...magic."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm that crazy lady at the park

I don't know what came over me yesterday, at the park of all places! Well, was it that bad? Hopefully not. I took the kids on a jog, and I thought to extend my normal route to hit up the park. My jogging buddies...or rather...the extra weight that I was pushing was very restless. The first couple blocks I made several stops for blanket adjusting, toy stealing and then shoe tying for myself. When I finally had a great pace going and I didn't have to stop for traffic or fatigue, my goal was the park. Jog to the park.

When the swings were in sight, Iain was excited. We rolled in and I was relieved to see only one other Mom and her two kids, instead of a bunch of neglected youth causing trouble. The other Mom had a boy about two years older than Iain and a girl that was right about his age, with another one scheduled on my birthday. Coincidence? We started talking, just getting those peripheral comments out of the way. Age spacing. Do you live around here? What church do you go to. New Mommy asked, "Do you stay at home with your kids?" Yes I do, what about you? "Oh yes, I stay at home with my kids, and we are SOOO fortunate. So many of my friends are jealous that I am able to stay at home with our children."

There must have been an extra surge of adrenaline pumping through me, because the next words out of my mouth, I guess, can shake up the Mommy world:
"Well, they choose to work, just as we choose to stay at home. Everyone has a choice in whether they stay at home with their kids."

Why do so many Mom's feel that there needs to be an amendment to the "I am a stay at home mom" statement? Amendments that overstate our blessings in penance to those who are "work away" Moms? I know that I came on too strong for this perfectly nice, but still a perfect stranger, but this has really hit a nerve with me? I never thought that I would enjoy being a wife, mother and homemaker, but it is the best job/career change I have ever made! I couldn't change it for anything. Why is it stay at home vs. working? Oh that's right! Stay at home mom's lie around on the couch eating bon bons and watch their favorite shows. We don't "work" like a true "working mom" does. *Aaoooww*

I will admit that I did have a very hard time adjusting from a very handsome salary, to a paycheck-less existence, but everyday that I spend with my babies the dollar signs become a distant memory. I actually think that making the commitment to stay at home to raise your own offspring could be harder than being a working mom. Now don't freak out, just hear me out on this. Working moms get the children up in the morning and do those morning things that any SAH mom would do like getting breakfast ready, getting Husband out the door to work, getting herself ready and then packing the kids up to head out to day care. Drop the baby off to have someone else change diapers, wipe noses, feed, hold, put down for naps, read to, engage in activities, etc. while she goes to work and completely checks out of her baby's life. She might get to have lunch with co-workers, friends, or husband, and it is a completely child-free meal that she would get to have each day. Interacting with adults and earning that pay check to keep the baby at day care. She goes to pick up the baby and then head home to figure out what to make for dinner...if she cooks. She finally spends some time with her offspring and husband, but not for long, because getting up at 6 or earlier each day to get the offspring to a surrogate caretaker means that you all need to be in bed by a reasonable hour...8ish?

Why do women feel this pressure to earn money like a man when there is offspring involved? In the beginning, it was very difficult for me to give up that pay check, but I watched myself, in disgust, be so attached to the dollar sign and I became disgusted with myself! What did I really need to buy with that money? Why did I think that we needed to have that extra money? There is joy in having babies and there is an equal joy in taking care of their every want and need. There is a purpose in training and discipline and there is a point to passing on your ideology as a parent to your child. It is important, and why do we skirt around the issue of motherhood? Why is it some sort of hippie idea to do with less in order to fulfill the most important role that anyone on this earth can have? Being a mother.

If I was the dictator and dealing with our "economic crisis," I would decree that any dual income home that has offspring would be required to have one person stay at home to take care of the offspring and the dwelling of the family. We would have more jobs available, and offspring with the one-on-one contact that they need. I know that I am not a dictator, and I don't intend to be one. If it isn't obvious, I am not a feminist, so this is flying right up in the face of feminism. I am fine with women having an equal opportunity to pursue careers and life paths that do not include motherhood, however, for those women that choose to have offspring, take care of them! Why is it socially acceptable to abandon your children in the care of a complete stranger? What other mammal or animal would do such a thing to their very fragile and important brood?

Back at the park, our conversation didn't explode as much as I have in my own little space with my own ideas on Planet Joe. I could see how this sweet mother was very taken aback by my little burst. She understood, but I could tell that she didn't want to offend me or anyone else for that matter. So is it the chicken or the egg? What comes first? Since I still believe that people have choices to make, my next commentary to this unsuspecting housewife was how perplexed I am when a friend, acquaintance or family member is distressed about an infertility issue and yet they have no intention of taking care of their baby. Why is there stress over a pregnancy that will not come, and will end in another baby being raised by strangers?

While talking to my baby brother two weeks ago, I was reminded about some of the things I learned during history about the former U.S.S.R. Parents were allowed to keep their children/child living with them until they were about 3, and then the government mandated that the children were taken by the state for the rest of their lives. The Communist government wanted unpolluted children to be able propagandize, and by becoming children of the state they took on the ideology of the state. I am not a sociologist, but I would bet that there is a new generation of parent that doesn't know any better than to send their child off to day care or government run programs for before and after school. There is a generation of institutionalized children who are entering the workforce and who are starting families. If the parents were institutionalized, why would they not give the same "care" to their offspring?

Currently, it is not normal to stay at home with your children, it has become a "privileged." Currently, it is not normal to stay in a marriage, divorce is rampant. Public school is the only school, and children are not to be seen in restaurants or in church. Children are to be hidden at home with a babysitter while Mom and Dad enjoy an evening out on the town.* They are whisked away to the nursery or Sunday school so as not to disturb anyone during a church meeting. Their parents hide them away or pay someone else to take care of what is a parent's responsibility.
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Who is doing the training? Is it a teacher in a public institution? Is it a babysitter who supervises throughout the day without imparting knowledge and love that is from a mother or father?
I know that this is a world view that I am up against, but I am not apologizing for being a mother. I do not find my self worth in a pay check, but by the laughter from my babies mouths and the singing from their lips. There is something very feminine about taking good care of a household. Instead of the bondage and servitude that has been associated with the role of a homemaker, I have found that there should be no shame or embarrassment in knowing that there is a Divine purpose in the role that God has given me.

*I am by no means opposed to date nights for parents. I hate hearing stories about parents sending children to day care and not seeing them until the next morning because after work the parents went out with friends while a babysitter picked up the children and put them to bed. It disgusts me when this behavior seems habitual.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Dialogue

The Setting:
After having an animal cracker incident in Fiona's bed (I have no idea how she got a travel bag of animal crackers in there!) I was furiously changing sheets and sweeping up dust and crumbs. After having a positive talk about finances, Jake made a return approach down the hallway:
Jake: You aren't going to believe this.
Erin: Oh no! What?
Jake: Caesar just let out a fart that sounded just like a whoopee cushion.
Erin pausing in disbelief that this is actually what I wasn't going to be able to believe
Jake entering the babies' room: I am serious. It sounded just like a whoopee cushion. *Jake imitating a whoopee cushion* It sounded just like that!
Erin ignoring Jake's imitation: Do you ever feel like you are married to a junior high kid?
Jake: No. Do you ever feel like you are married to a camp counselor?
Erin: WHAAAT?!! What is your problem? Now I am a camp counselor? I don't believe this!
Jake: Yeah, a camp counselor, 'cause I totally want to do you.
Erin gasp
Jake: Well it is every junior high kid's dream to do his camp counselor and then be able to brag to every other junior high camper that he did the counselor. So yeah, I've done it, and I am bragging.

The Setting:
We had our first experience with a next door neighbor play date. It really wasn't a play date, but Iain went over and played in the neighbor's yard and then he came over to play in our yard. The problem was that Iain wanted to show him our house. I was getting ready for a dinner party, so I was a negligent next door neighbor hostess. This little boy is 5 1/2 and after a trip to showcase our play area in our basement he announced that "These are all baby toys." Not knowing what to say, I went with the honesty route and said, "Well, we only have babies that live here, so that is why we have baby toys." He was rummaging around the house, checking everything out, but we were getting close to crunch time on the meal fixens and with my hands in a vat of meatballs:
Erin: Jake, I think it is time to send Pierce home.
Jake: Yeah, I agree. *pausing, locating the child* Pierce, it is time for you to go home.
Pierce: No, it's OK. I can stay.
Jake looking back at me, a tad bit shocked: No, actually, we need you to go home now because we are getting ready for dinner.
Pierce: Well, I will go and play with Iain.
Jake: No, Iain is taking a little nap before dinner, so we need you to go home.
Pierce still riding and squeaking the Radio Flyer scooter, ignoring Jake.
Erin: Pierce, I think you might be too big for that scooter so you should get off and it is time to go home now.
Pierce: No, I'm not too big.
Jake: Pierce, we are really busy, and the babies are taking a nap, so we need you to go home right now.
Pierce gets off of the scooter and exits through the front door.
Jake calling after him: Thanks Pierce, you have a good one!
Pierce: Bye.
Jake and I exchange a glance that means: Oh my gosh! Can you believe that?!! Get the heck out of our stinkin' house! We don't know you, and you are disobedient! Are we inviting that kid over here again? I think not.

Erin: Fiona, do you have a ka ka diaper?
Fiona: Ka ka ka ka ka

Fiona having her diaper changed and sobbing: Ka ka ka ka

Iain with his finger in this back of his mouth: More teeth.

More toddler translations:
gnake=Jake(Jake is now referred to as Poppa...in every instance since Iain starting imitating me by calling after "Jake, Jake!")