Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sex



I figured I would title this in a way that no one would question the content of this post. Yes, this is a post about sex.

A friend of mine posted this link.

I agree with some of it. I like that the mother takes special time to be with her children. I like that she did some research ahead of time. I can tell her heart is in the right place and they way she handled it was maybe right for her family and her situation.

Yeah. We don't do it that way.

First, we suck at modesty in this house. My kids like to be naked and I think it is a stupid thing to fight about. We do discuss that it is bad manors to leave the house without underwear (though we did end up at the park last week sans-panies and in a dress), that it is polite to be properly attired when we have people over. We have found this to be a self correcting problem, Eliana now feels more comfortable dressed and there was never any shaming or "cover that up!" that lead to this, only maturity.

Second, we tell the kids that there body is there own. We don't fight about food because I respect the fact you know how hungry you are and I want you to listen to your body. Potty training is about listening to your body. We name parts. They know why a boy is a boy and it is no big deal. They understand that grown ups are hairy but girls won't grow beards, only boys. Since there body is theirs to care for, they know some of it is private and others shouldn't touch them there, pretty much if it is covered by your bathing suit it is off limits.  They also have the right to tell anyone that they don't want to be touched and we do our best to respect the boundaries they draw.

Third, we have never had "the talk" but even Annabelle could tell you where babies come from. Eliana is almost 8 and she doesn't even blush about it. We have books, several in fact, that give pictures and everything. She also knows how her brain works, what happens to food when we eat it and what her bones look like. Reproduction is just another body system. Breasts are for feeding babies. We have discussed that just as it is impolite to discuss poop, it is also considered poor manners to talk about reproduction and can make some people uncomfortable, but they are all welcome to talk to us about it. Just maybe not at the dinner table.

Purity is another matter all together. I am not a fan of the "promise" ring idea. I also think that abstinence only teaching sets kids up for failure. I would love my girls to stay pure until marriage, notice I didn't say virgins, but pure. This isn't because I think that is the only way they are worthy of love or that I think that God will smite them, but because bad choices cause pain. So often choices made as a teen have long lasting repercussions. I don't wish any type of pain on my kids. My goal is to teach great decision making, ownership and respect of their bodies as gifts from God, and a deep belief that they are worthy of love and respect. This is not a pact between me and them, so I am not offering money or a ring, but between them and their God, their heart. I don't own my children and I won't "present" them on their wedding days as gifts to their husbands or wives as something I have done. They are autonomous people, not extensions of myself and something I have accomplished.

I do love the idea of celebrating a "coming of age". Our world is short on rights of passage and I would love to figure out how to make that part of our family's story. What a blessing it would be to celebrate a young teen, who is working on self image, as a whole person moving into adulthood!

Families are so uniques, made up of people and personalities and stories all so different. I don't know if they way we do it is "right" or even "best", but it is honest and without shame.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In the Quiet

This is a blog post I almost didn't write. I almost didn't because I don't really have anything to say. "Who would want to read that?!" my inner voice critiques. But I don't write for "them", I write for me, I write because it is a discipline that sharpens with time and effort poured into it. Even taking time to gather the scattered thoughts into sentences when the subject matter leaves a lot to be desired will, at least in theory,  allow me to better express myself when I really do have something significant to relay. That day isn't today, but I have to assume at some point I will be interesting.

My house is quiet.

Well, not exactly quiet. Perfectly quiet doesn't happen around these parts. Relative quiet. Four children down for a rest type quiet. There is still the noise of the dryer (because it is Monday, and damnit! I WILL complete my laundry today) and a box full of kittens in the kitchen. One of the kittens is protesting loudly to its mama as she has him pinned and is giving him a tongue bath. I hear the train, blocks away but so noisy I still can hear the clacking in the relative still of my house. In this semi-quiet, there is peace.

If I waited for the quiet to be perfect before I found the peace, it wouldn't happen. I have found that my tendency to be a card carrying member of the "good enough" club may not serve me well in house keeping but it allows me to find joy without perfection. Just as my home will never be perfectly quiet, my closet the cleanest, my flowers will never grow just so, my children might not be the brightest of all their friends and acquaintances  I can lean into the grace of not quite perfect. I can enjoy the freedom of letting go of the ideal and embracing the How It Is.

In the not-quite stillness, I will embrace joy. I will eat the last piece of fruit pizza without having to share a bite. I will drink my tea while it is still hot. I will look a pinterest and admire all the pretty things, clever idea, and happy homes and not feel judged by the perfection casting its shadow on my yet to be folded laundry. I won't worry about where we will be in six months, because I have been divinely placed HERE for NOW and that can be good enough.

I won't strive for perfect. I don't need people to think I have it all figured out, that I am an amazing mother and a doting wife. I am me and I am good enough, a work in progress. I write spirling blog posts that bore my friends, I live in a house with crumbs beneath my feet. I am still loved, I still have something to offer. I won't chase perfect and neglect the gifts given to me in the now.

I will drink my tea while it is still warm and let the laundry sit.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heart Ponderings

It seems wrong to have my first blog post in monrhs be a unorganized collection of brain droppings. It seems like I should be doing a cutsie family status update full of pictures of my smiling children being success, adorible quips and quotes from my three year old and deep pondering about the meaning of life. But it is my blog, damn it, and that just isn't the space I am ocuping today.

I slept from 3-5:30 am, and not of my own choosing. I am grumpy. My husband is traveling. The weather has turned humid so don't even get me started on the state of my hair. I didn't get to drink my coffee this morning between meeting the needs of many little people. Then there is the news; the heartbreak of families losing everything in the storms in the midwest. As I serve my kids cold cereal, there are mothers stumbling through soul sucking grief of losing a child. It makes my lack of sleep and coffee bitching seem petty.

My son is such a blessing, this is what I keep telling myself. The one year old stage is not one of my favorites. Jamison's favorite pass time is destroying things, emptying shelves and drawers, unfolding laundry, throwing food from his tray. He is just tall enough to grab things from the table top...and pull them down on his head. He has slept one 7 hour stretch, ever, in his life. A good night is him getting up at least 3 times. He screams like you are ripping off appendages when you pick him up to redirect his activity, going full limp noodle in your arms.

This, too, shall pass.

I could let him "cry it out" but that goes against my very heart. I believe babies cry for a reason and when we respond in love, we teach them there world is a safe place and that they matter. I know that believing babies even SHOULD sleep through the night is a strictly western world concept. I know this, science back all of this, but somehow at 3 am it just seems...hard.

Despite this, I know better than to wish away this stage of exploration, discovery, and self expression. I love the big, sloppy wet kisses he gives unprompted. It melts my heart when he snuggles on my shoulder and pats my back with his little hand. His sense of humor is emerging and the strangest things set him into full belly giggles. Thump a rubber duck from the side of the tub into the bath? Uproariously funny, over and over and over. I love watching him play chase with his sisters. I get such a kick out of seeing him get so excited about the cat that he quivers. Just because this stage is hard doesn't mean I want it gone.

There is a lot of Buddhist teaching about being in the moment, about how pain comes from longing and misaligned expectations. This makes so much sense to me. I am most irritated when I get stuck in the "shoulds". My children are people unto themselves, they will develop on there own timetables  I am helping to shape lives, grow little people into big people and show them what love really looks like so that they will seek and find its ultimate source in God.

My problems are decidedly first world. I am blessed beyond measure. And I am still unpleasant company.