Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quench Not the Spirit

Michael's family came to visit yesterday, and we stayed up till 2am just talking (and of course, mentioning every hour or so that we really ought to go to bed...but that took more energy than staying where we were). And then I got up at 5am with them to ride to the airport so I could drive their car back. The next part is very weird, and a little bit embarrassing: when I got home, I got back in bed since Ender was still asleep and would likely stay asleep since he, too, went to bed past his usual hour.
And I woke up to Michael saying "It's 12:30!" NO WAY!!! What about Ender? I suddenly remembered that he had woken up at one point, and I had called out "Good morning, cutie! Can you open your door?" And then I was out again. Good parenting, Qait. And apparently he fell asleep again, too, because he is STILL asleep. :| Oh dear!
I haven't done that since early high school! (The sleeping in part, not the parenting part). I don't know how to sleep that late anymore! When I finally got myself to move and get up, I thought "Mmm, food smells good. And I don't." But in the kitchen, I lost the energy to eat and suddenly didn't care for food. Not even for the Pringles Michael had pilfered from the family's Yukon (I suppose I'm an accomplice since I didn't try very hard to dissuade him...).

* * *

Well! On a different note, I had a really nice scripture study while I half-heartedly downed the last crumbs of the Pringles. Along with my daily reading, I read some quotes in a glue-in that included one from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and the title of a book in his source caught my eye: "Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man," by Keith K. Hilbig. It's had me thinking about what that means, and I really like it for a little mantra right now.

Yesterday, Ender gave me a hard time. He was mildly bipolar, as all children can be, and all my disciplinary efforts frustrated him. He wanted things his own way. On Monday, our family home evening was a nursery lesson, "I Can Be Happy." We've been trying to help him understand that he can choose to be happy even when things aren't going his way. I have to say, I have tried much harder in the last week or two to be especially kind and gentle and not give way to the urge to lose my temper. I've done well. I'm grateful I feel like I've been a very good mommy. I've tried to not even entertain thoughts of frustration with Ender, because I know that leaves me insincere in my efforts to calm him. Michael's mom told us something she learned in teaching little kindergarten kids recently: when a child is angry, the neurons in his brain block him from learning. That's often the reason it can be so difficult to teach kids at school--they arrive grumpy that they had to eat a yucky breakfast, that they had to wear a stupid coat, that they didn't get to sleep in, and then they are definitely not in the mood to be taught. At BYU-Idaho (and BYU, but she used the former in her example), every class begins with a prayer. This allows the students to calm down, which clears the way for learning. School goes more smoothly, learning happens, and the students are markedly happier.
I've decided I'm going to learn techniques to help Ender calm down. I will try a number of things! I may simply hug him till he's quiet, or convince him to smile, or perhaps even sing a song with him. Because I've noticed that it's hard for both of us when he's yelling and I'm not willing to raise my voice; I keep trying to teach him when he's angry.
I think it will help. It makes sense. And then we will both be actively avoiding "quenching the Spirit" which would otherwise quicken our inner selves. It's infinitely important to stay close to the Spirit, and if this is one way to help him (and myself), we'll be blessed with success!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lazy Mission: Impossible

Would you hate me if I told you that my house is nearly always clean? It's true, I'm sorry. I mean, I'm not sorry. But don't hate me please.
Do you think it's because I just have one little child to care for? Maybe. We'll see. But he's also a good little cleaner! He loves (honestly, LOVES) to clean up his toys before his nap and before bedtime! He enjoys helping me!
And I just have so much fun cleaning!
Yesterday, I planned to be lazy. I thought maybe planning to be lazy would prove more enjoyable because I wouldn't have little naggings floating around my mind telling me to do this or that. Plan to be lazy, and those things are allowed to not matter! Really, I was counting on it, promising myself that the day I'd so very well earned had finally come.
I tried! When I went to the gym, I didn't feel like doing reps at the weights and then pounding through a grueling 20 minutes of cardio. So I decided to go to the 8:00 class. Instead of yoga or pilates, it was abs-n-glutes. Hm, might not be bad, right? OH MAN, it KILLED! AUGH! I'm usually not too bad at keeping up in a class like that, but there were a couple moments that I felt pretty dorky...the instructor would say "If you're having trouble with that, you can bend your legs a little..." and she'd look straight at me! (Maybe someone was being dorkier right behind me, but that doesn't make a difference because she seemed to look straight at me) and several moments I felt like my "glutes" were on fire. And it didn't help that I'd done a really thorough ab workout earlier in the week. Phewf.
And then it was quite necessary that we go straight to the bank from the gym.
(Aw, I have to interrupt myself: Ender just said "I see da whale, it's rearry pretty, it's wike a mommy!" Oh...great? Thanks? Hahhahha!)
Then we went straight from the bank to the grocery store--also necessary, and besides, it would be very UN-lazy to go home and then come back.
At home, I finally succeeded in being lazy by wasting some time watching movie trailers on youtube and postponing my shower for when Ender took his nap.
But then Ender took his nap, and my shower kind of accidentally got me all geared-up in cleaning mode...I didn't mean to! I wandered to the kitchen, feeling snackish and determined to just eat and read my book. But my wandering turned into cleaning the fridge, washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, then the house, then starting a load of laundry, making my bed, etc. etc. And when I'd finally made the rounds and saw that the house was very well-attended, I realized that I had had a lot of fun! I enjoyed all of that cleaning! It was sure easier than being lazy...nothing worked when Lazy was my plan.
So, pleased with this little lesson I'd given myself, I settled on the bed with a bowl of ice cream and got through about three pages before I fell asleep. :) Not as fun as reading, but it felt good.

Recalling Old Conversations

I've realized that a particular "trait" can be a blessing rather than just a frustration!
I was washing the dishes and thinking about giving Ender a bath when he was a newborn, and I remembered that when my mom came to visit, she'd asked if there was anything I felt I needed. I really felt like it was important to have one of those bathtub "seats" for infants so that I wouldn't have to lay him down flat in the tub--I just wasn't comfortable with that. My mom said "Really?" And she had a thoughtful look, like she was surprised that that's what mattered to me. Recently, I've been scanning some old pictures for her, and as I went through a bunch from when the family lived in Berlin, there were some cute baby bath time pictures, and the babies were simply lying on their backs in the tub. Smiling at my mom, perfectly happy. So that long-ago conversation came back to me, and I understood why she'd been surprised (it was a very subtle expression on her face; she would never have made me feel bad by telling me I was being ridiculous). She never saw the need for those baby tub seats. And with that realization, I felt a fresh sense of gratitude that she had been sensitive to the situation: I was a new mom, and the things that were so important to me might not have been important at all, but it's all such a new world that the new mother is getting used to that you really shouldn't be critical. She knew that. She knew it so well.
Usually, when a long-ago conversation comes back to me, it's with a certain air of haunting. I recall someone giving me a compliment, and I suddenly can't remember if I said thank you. Even if it didn't matter to them, I should have. Or I realize that I said something--blurted something, more like--and it could have been offensive or insulting...but it's months later that I'm remembering, and I have a miniature sense of despair that I could have hurt someone unknowingly.
So anyway, as I washed the dishes, remembering my mother and learning something new about her and myself, I figured out that my brain's habit of pulling up old conversations is a good thing. I can use that to learn and gain wisdom and perception for future conversations! In fact, it's quite amazing that the brain is capable of recalling such little things like that from such a long time ago! My brain brings back the exact facial expressions, the exact timing, and sometimes even exact words of the moment. The fact that I have to think for some time before I speak (which means I'm not someone with really fast and witty comebacks) means that I'm storing things up for some good wisdom-food, for a later time that I can ponder and analyze and deeply, thoroughly understand. Like while I wash the dishes.