rivka: (motherhood)
Colin has been going through such a rough patch lately. He's had a cold for a couple of weeks. Even before the cold he had been ramping up his nursing, and with the cold it has been pretty much nonstop. He hasn't been eating more than a few bites of solid food; he makes up for it by constantly.wanting.to.nurse.

And his sleep, oh my God. Alex slept through the night starting at ten months. At Colin's age she could be put into the crib awake, and she'd put herself to sleep and sleep for twelve hours straight. Before the cold Colin was waking around 4:30 and then coming into my bed around 5:30-6 and dozing/nursing/dozing until it was time to wake up. For the last two weeks he's been up every few hours every night. The last two nights he slept no longer than two hours at a stretch, and each night there was a period of 90 minutes in which every time I put him in the crib and went back to my own bed he woke up and cried. I cried too.

What I need to do, and have needed to do for a really long time now, is nightwean him. The thing is that it's incredibly hard to do something that means even less sleep in the short run, when you are already getting so little sleep that you can barely function.

Thursday night was awful and I was wrecked all day yesterday. Last night was awful. Today Michael took Alex to the Rennaissance Faire, which means that I am on my own all day with Colin. I am so exhausted and angry and fed up.

So I'm doing the best thing one can do in a situation like this: I am pretending to be a naturally good mother. I took the kids to Alex's ballet lesson this morning and while she was in class I fed Colin healthy little snacks and pretended to be excited to read his train book again and promised him he could take ballet too someday. (He is jealous.) Then I brought them home and made myself some strong black tea and let Colin have half my breakfast when he asked for it. I felt a little desperate when Michael walked out the door and Colin also didn't have Alex to follow around all day, so I packed him into the stroller and took him to the park and we wandered around in the sun tossing a little neon-green toy football and playing "hide and seek" the only way you can play it with a toddler, which involves hiding slowly in very obvious places while talking to them the whole time.

I took him to the Italian deli and got some fresh hot bread and prosciutto and smoked mozzarella for our lunch and listened to him meow at the cats on the cases of Gato Negro and engaged him in conversations and fingerplays while we waited in line so he wouldn't ask to get out of the stroller. I let him sit in Alex's big-kid chair for lunch instead of his high chair.

I am pretending to be an excellent mother with all of these outings and interactions, but really my goal is not so much to nurture him and enrich his day as to keep him off me and minimize his need for my attention, and especially to keep him from asking to nurse. Because I have HAD IT.

He's napping now, so I should go lie down too. Because when he wakes up I'm going to need to be able to pretend to be an excellent mother again, because if I am my normal kind of mother there's no way I'll be able to get him to leave me alone.
rivka: (smite)
SUUSI actually got better for a while in the middle, after I wrote my last post. But you're not going to hear about that, because what happened at the end overshadowed everything for our family.

everyone is physically okay, kids are fine, Michael and I are upset )

Ugh.

Apr. 4th, 2010 05:27 pm
rivka: (motherhood)
I am crazy exhausted and overwrought.

Something is up with Colin. He hasn't been eating much and has been sleeping like an amphetamine addict on payday. Last night he went to sleep promptly at bedtime, and then was up mostly screaming from 10:30-11:30. I still haven't the faintest idea what was wrong. He was just miserable.

He is still going strong with the night waking. I am going to have to come up with some sort of plan for nightweaning and/or sleep reprogramming, because This Is Not Working for me.

Also, he figured out how to take the childproof cap off a pill bottle. Fortunately we were all right there in the same room and he didn't get any of it in his mouth before we noticed that there was Claritin all over the floor. But WTF, if he's going to be this awful couldn't he at least be dumb so I have a chance to stay ahead of him?

He was up at 6:30 this morning. I'm supposed to get to sleep in on Sundays, but it was Easter and Alex woke right up excited about egg hunting so I had to get up or miss Easter.

Colin has been clearly exhausted all day. He went down for a nap at 9:45 and I said I would just miss church and stay home with him but then at 10:15 Alex decided to play the fool and run away from Michael, who was trying to get her dressed, and then she jumped out and yelled "Peekaboo!" at top volume right at the foot of the stairs leading to the baby's crib. And he woke up, and I couldn't get him back to sleep.

This is of a piece with Alex's general heedlessness and disobedience, lately. Friday night I said "anyone who isn't working needs to get out of the kitchen now." Alex: "But I'm working!" She kept on with what she was doing, which turned out to be trying to pick up a jar of baby food with my long-handled kitchen tongs. A glass jar. Guess what happened.

I know she's only (almost) five, but for God's sake why can't she just do what she's told for once without looking for goddamned loopholes?

Anyway, back to today: I missed most of church anyway because Colin was on the move, and too noisy for the sanctuary.

I tried twice this afternoon to get him down for a second nap. He is so, so tired. He almost drifts off, and then pick two of three: screams/bites/laughs, and he's up again.

I have no patience for either one of them, or for anything else in my life right now.

I keep thinking that surely more sugar will make me feel better. Surprise surprise, it isn't working. But I keep trying anyway because I am not very bright.

Michael took them out after the second failed afternoon nap attempt. They've been gone for an hour and a half. It's absolutely silent in the house. I am enjoying being quiet and not touched and responsible for no one too much to go to sleep. I am starting to regain some sanity.

ETA: Michael just came back. Colin fell asleep on their way home from the playground, just a few minutes ago. The parents here will know just how fucked a 5:30pm nap is going to make us. But he's basically unrousable.

I don't know. At least they're cute?

IMAG0008

IMAG0007
rivka: (colin in whoville)
Our Director of Religious Education posted this yesterday:
One of our little guys at church has begun walking. This morning in worship during "greet your neighbor" I went over to see the kids who were hanging out at the children’s corner. I saw him let go of the table and I squatted down and put my arms out. He toddled right over to me and gave me a hug. He’s a snuggly little guy and when he hugs, he tilts his head and puts it on my shoulder like he’s settling in for a long winter’s nap.

The almost-eight-year-old twins from another family were also hanging out at the coloring table and they came over immediately to give me the good news: "He can walk!" They were proud of him, recognizing the accomplishment with both joy and reverence. He let go of me and did a couple more laps, moving like a pin-ball between the kids and adults who were taking in his success with love and admiration. When he fell, one of the twins helped him back up. When he reached a boundary and turned himself around, he looked up at all the loving faces and beamed.

Sometimes church is magic.


The little guy in question is Colin. The twins were in our Christmas pageant this year, and they are a prime counter-example to everything society tells us about boys "naturally" being rough, rude, and non-nurturing. They're active, exuberant kids and they're definitely not goody-goody - but they love on Colin with sweetness and gentleness every time they see him. A lot of the bigger boys at church do. It gives me so much hope about the kind of men they'll grow up to be.

This community is something I value beyond measure. I am so grateful to be bringing up my kids in this love.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
When I got home last night, Michael wanted to show something off. "Colin, do you want to go to Mama?" he asked. Colin's head bobbed up and down in an enthusiastic nod as he reached for me.

I said I'd noticed a nod or two myself, and Michael proudly described how Colin had answered several questions (e.g., "Do you need a diaper change?") with a nod. We discussed how useful this was going to be from a communication standpoint, and how Colin's receptive language must be much better than we'd realized.

Then I asked Alex a question. (I think it was "How was school?") And felt Colin's nursing head go nod, nod, nod.

Oh.

We tested it out a few more times. And yep, Colin will nod in response to anything said in a questioning intonation.

I suppose that the helpful, nurturing thing to do would be to now give him lots of concrete experience with being offered something, nodding, and then getting it. But frankly, we'd have to be much, much better parents than we are to refrain from using this new skill of his for our own entertainment, instead.
rivka: (christmas penguins)
We had above-freezing temperatures and sun for a while today, and some of the snow melted. But they're still predicting 10-20 inches of snow starting late this afternoon, as well as "near-blizzard conditions." A few light flakes have started to fall. The public schools have just given up and closed for the rest of the week. My university was closed yesterday and today - I can't think of any other time that's ever happened. I expect that it will close tomorrow as well. And Michael's office will be closed tomorrow, which his boss said has never happened because of weather before.

I took the kids out today, cautiously picking my way through the snowdrifts with Colin in a front carrier. We went back to the neighborhood grocery to see if the milk truck had arrived (nope) and hit the art store for some emergency keeping-Alex-busy supplies. She's doing remarkably well with being cooped up, poor kid. To help keep us pleasantly occupied we're doing some advance homeschooling, which you can follow on my other blog if you wish.

I have never experienced weather like this in my life. And I've lived in both upstate New York and Iowa.
rivka: (Alex the queen)
Okay, actually, upon sober reflection it's not as bad as all that.

She cut it at school. She didn't give herself a full "haircut" - she just took a big chunk out of the right-hand side, just below the shoulder. She claims that she was curious about what it would be like to have shorter hair, but I think it probably had more to do with the dangerous combination of scissors and poor impulse control.

It will have to be cut. But, you know, it was going to have to be cut at some point anyway. The bottom is straggly and uneven and the lower half is prone to developing horrible tangles which are awful to pick out. And she sheds all over the place.

If she really wanted shorter hair, at any point, I would have been perfectly willing to take her to a salon for a haircut. It's her hair. She is old enough to make decisions about how she wants to wear it. But I'm sad that she chopped at it in a moment of half-assedry, because I don't think she really wanted it to be short. Every time we've talked about it (and I have offered her the opportunity to get a haircut), she's said that she wanted to keep it long.

So I'm shocked and a little sad, but, you know, it's just hair. And it really is one of those iconic childhood moments. My mother once cut off her entire braid at the root.

Slog.

Nov. 5th, 2009 09:25 am
rivka: (I hate myself)
I am exhausted and burned out.

Yesterday was a lousy day. I expected to finally get the H1N1 vaccine at work - they'd sent out an e-mail saying that all faculty and residents in the department of medicine should come to grand rounds to be vaccinated. Even if you thought you'd already had H1N1, unless you could produce proof of typing. So I showed up, only to discover that they didn't really mean faculty - they meant MDs. "I have direct patient contact with immunocompromised people," I said. "Sorry," they said. "What do you suggest that I do?" "Find the vaccine somewhere else." Gee, thanks.

Worked late. Found out some things that, although not surprising, were tiring and discouraging. Came home to discover that I had forgotten that Michael would be spending the evening at a church meeting (including the dinner hour, so I'd be feeding myself and the kids on my own), that Colin was STARVING ZOMG NO ONE FED ME ALL DAY, and that Alex was STARVING FOR ATTENTION ZOMG NO ONE PAID ATTENTION TO ME ALL DAY. Tried to get Colin down for a nap and failed. Tried to get Alex to be quiet for ten minutes so that I could nurse the baby down and failed. Lather, rinse, and repeat for the rest of the evening. Colin did a lot of extraneous crying. Alex did a lot of extraneous loud neediness.

I honestly was ready to go to bed when Alex did. But a couple of friends called who are in very stressful situations themselves and instead I was up kind of late.

Colin woke me at five this morning. I got him back to sleep, but not myself. He was up for the day at six.

I am trying to write a grant in difficult circumstances, and I also have a lot of extra burdens at home because everyone keeps being sick, and "everyone" includes our nanny and our nanny's daughter which means that my childcare has been extremely shaky. I am stretched very, very thin.

Also: I have somehow managed to lose my Prozac. I can't find the whole bottle. Both Michael and I have looked. No idea how that happened, because it's supposed to live on my desk right next to my keyboard so that it's impossible for me to forget to take it. I've been without it for... maybe a week? I can't really remember when I took it last. Somewhere in the middle of everyone-is-sick-but-me hell.

I am, unsurprisingly, symptomatic: anxious and also very short-fused. When I'm off the Prozac I get absolutely furious about things not going my way, because the consequences seem so dire. Like, the only way the world won't fall apart is if everything is under my perfect control. Fun times.

Yes, I have e-mailed my psychiatrist to ask her to call in a replacement prescription.

Not loving my life right now.
rivka: (smite)
Michael tells me to let this stuff go, but I can't.

anti-vaccination people elsewhere on the net )
rivka: (motherhood)
In the space of five minutes tonight, Alex got sent upstairs for hurting Colin and got all her markers, crayons, pens, and colored pencils confiscated, to be used only under close adult supervision.

Really in the space of five minutes. I was right in the middle of the "we will never, ever allow you to hurt anyone, especially your brother" speech when I had to break it off and say "...did you draw all over that ball with marker? Okay, give me the marker."

And that's just one tiny snapshot from a day full of random direct disobedience. We left two pairs of lovely new shoes we were going to buy her on the floor of the shoe store and walked out, and it still didn't make an impression.

What can you do? Finally I asked Alex if she wanted to start the day over again. I sent her into the foyer and had her close the door. Then she entered with great fanfare: "Hi! I'm home after being out of the house all day."

I hugged her and told her I was glad to see her. We traded ridiculous stories about what we had done all day. I patted myself on the back for finding a great way to reset the negativity and relate to each other with better attitudes.

Then I looked up and saw that she was peeling pieces off my mouse pad.

In other news, Colin has refused to nap longer than 20 minutes all day long, after being up before six this morning. He is such a tired crankypants that... well... honestly? He's such a tired crankypants that he's almost as much of a tired crankypants as I am.
rivka: (Alex the queen)
It's bedtime. I tuck Alex in and reach for last night's bed companions: a stuffed mermaid and a doll named Everest.

"I don't want to sleep with them," Alex says. "They don't think a girl can get married to a girl. They think a girl can only marry a boy and a boy can only marry a girl." She picks up a tiny stuffed loon. "But Ducky believes that civil marriage is a civil right, so I'm letting him sleep here to honor him."

"...Okay," I said. "But I hope that Mermaid and Everest change their minds."

"They change their minds every day."

"Good."

...Tell me again where we draw the line between raising children with a strong sense of justice, and pushing our political opinions on our kids.
rivka: (I hate myself)
Alex had an epic tantrum tonight. As has been the pattern lately, it happened because - gasp! - I dared to impose some discipline.

She likes to help me cook. Rule #1 for being in the kitchen when I'm cooking is that she has to do what I say. This is in part a safety rule (hot pans, knives, etc.) and in part a protect-the-menu-from-random-additions rule. It's been in place for a long time. Violation means banishment from the kitchen.

Well, tonight I found her holding the refrigerator door wide open. "What are you doing?" "I'm letting the cold air out." I told her to close it. Once. Twice. It wasn't until I walked towards her that she closed it and scampered away.

I reminded her of the rule and expelled her from the kitchen. She stood in the dining room door and started to cry. I reminded her of the rule again. And then, oh, the variety of tactics that she tried...

Bargaining: "I'm going to listen to what you say! I really am! I'm telling the truth!"

Self-justification: "I was cooling off the house! I was doing something good!"

Blame: "You're not being very nice to me!"

Guilt, Part I: "I was having a good day, until you made me have a tantrum!"

Excuse: "But I didn't HEAR you tell me to shut the fridge!"

Rage: She went into the living room, stood about two feet away from Michael, who was holding a sleeping Colin, and screamed.

Guilt, Part II: Back in the kitchen doorway, she informed me, "You even made COLIN cry!" "Colin didn't cry because you yelled and woke him up?" "No! Colin is crying because you made ME cry!"

Atonement: "I'm really sorry! I'm really really ashamed of what I did!"

Shame: "YOU should feel ashamed of what you did!"

Guilt, Part III: "Well, you're not ACTING like you love me!"

Piteousness: When I asked if she wanted to wipe down the table, "That's a really big job for just one little girl!"

Eventually she calmed down. I had her come out to the garden and help me pick herbs for dinner, and that seemed to help. I spent some time cuddling her and holding her on my lap... outside the kitchen.

She wasn't totally done, though. After dinner she picked a leaflet off the bookshelf and handed it to Michael. "Dad, let's read this." It was a children's brochure from church, and it included a children's version of the Seven Principles. After he read that part, she marched over to me.

"Mom, did you hear that? 'All people should be treated fairly and with kindness!'" she lectured.

"Did you have something you wanted to say to me about that?"

"You didn't treat me kindly!"

I told her that there are times that I don't treat her kindly - that I yell or lose my temper, that I shouldn't do that, and that I try not to. And then I explained, carefully, that the application of mild and reasonable discipline does not constitute unkind treatment. I'm not sure she bought it.

But... wow. She remembered what was in that leaflet and arranged to have it read aloud in my hearing as an object lesson. So that I would remember to apply the Seven Principles to my treatment of her. If you put aside the ridiculous drama, that's... actually a remarkably sophisticated way of addressing the situation.

We are so doomed, you guys.
rivka: (motherhood)
We're talking to a few different nanny candidates. I helped Alex make her own checklist of qualities she is hoping for. This time I'm getting most of my questions out of the way over the phone, so that the interview can focus more on actual interaction between the prospective nanny and each of the kids.

In the meantime, Michael is running down the possibility of hiring a temporary sitter to look after Colin until we hire someone permanent, which should take some of the pressure of the search. We'd keep Alex at school full-time in the interim, because she's a lot more likely to be bothered by changes in caregivers than Colin is.

Colin is at work with me today. Right now he is taking a nap on my desk. I've got his changing pad underneath him, and he's tightly swaddled, and between those two things he is perfectly happy napping surrounded by binders and folders and my tape dispenser. I wish I had a camera.
rivka: (disgusted alex)
[Poll #1397675]

NB: Don't worry, this is not something I am considering doing to my children. Although the three-month-old cusses like a sailor.
rivka: (Rivka & kids)
Alex brought home a card she'd made at school. Her handprint is on the front in fuchsia paint.

"Mom," she said earnestly, "our hands are on there so you'll always remember when we were three or four, how cute we were."

Obviously that came from a teacher explaining the craft at school. But then Alex took it a step further. She ducked under my arm and gazed up into my face.

"Mom, when I'm a really really big grownup and you don't ever see me again, you'll always remember how cute I was."

"You don't think you'll visit me when you're a grownup?"

"Maybe not."

Every snarling, angry teenager screaming obscenities at her mother was once a three- or four-year-old presenting a handmade Mother's Day card. Every adult distant and alienated from his parents was once a cute, loving preschooler.

If you read things written by parents who don't have good relationships with their teenage or adult children, there's always an overpowering sense of bewilderment. How did the sweet, trusting little kid grow into the angry, resentful adult? Before, reading, I always thought that there must be something they'd done wrong and weren't mentioning. But now I think that a lot of the time parents just don't know. They think they're doing well enough. Not perfect, right, but adequate.

I called Alex in to me just now. "Honey, even when you're a really big grownup, I hope you'll always want to see me and be with me sometimes."

"Mmm," she said sympathetically. She let me hug her. Then she twirled away from me to tell Michael something about a plastic egg she'd filled with coins.
rivka: (Rivka & kids)
I just checked in with our nanny. The kids are still alive.

Colin initially refused to take a bottle but then gave in and is now on his second bottle in two hours. I hope I left enough milk. (At the nanny's suggestion, I left four three-ounce bottles instead of the three four-ounce bottles I had initially planned.) I hope she doesn't have to thaw my entire feeble freezer stash. I hope I can pump lots and lots today.

Alex is on her third change of clothes because they went for a walk and she got soaked and muddy. She is apparently doing great except that she is completely incapable of doing anything for herself (putting on shoes, etc.) while Colin is crying or having a bottle. This is not news to us, but I hoped it would be better for a stranger.

I could hear him gurgling happily over the phone. At the end of our conversation she reported that he was "blissfully asleep in the sling."

It's going to be okay, right? Because I'm feeling a ltitle tearful here.
rivka: (rosie with baby)
I go back to work on Wednesday. I'll be working three days a week; that represents a 20% reduction in official hours plus eight hours a week working from home.

We've hired a nanny, a 30-year-old psych major named Beth who seems very nice, gets glowing reviews, appears to get our parenting style, and has 11 years of experience. Starting in June, Alex will come home from school at lunchtime and be with Colin and the nanny (or Colin and me, on Fridays) in the afternoons. She'll still have her Wednesdays entirely at home.

This part is really hard. What makes it even harder with Colin than it was four years ago with Alex is the whole nursing-and-pumping issue. I don't know if I'll be able to pump enough milk. I don't know what "enough" is, even, because although Colin has practiced drinking from a bottle he has never had a full feeding that way, so I don't know how much he'll take or how long it will last him.

Fun times.

As I did when I first left Alex with a nanny, I've made up a short field guide to my kids - one page per kid, plus extras about Alex's diet. Boy, it's all a lot more complicated when there's a 4-year-old involved. It's posted under the cut in case you're curious or have feedback. Read more... )
rivka: (adulthood)
[livejournal.com profile] kalmn asked why I want to homeschool.

The short answer: (1) I think it would be fun. (2) I think we'd do a good job.

The long answer is behind the cut. )
rivka: (talk about me)
Here's the "If I could..." edition. You guys ask good questions.

[livejournal.com profile] kazoogrrl: If you worked at Colonial Williamsburg, you would be what kind of historical reenactor, and why?

If we are fantasizing that I would have any skills I might need to obtain such a position, I'd like to be in the dressmakers'/milliners' shop, preferably focusing on fine embroidery. When we were there in November, there was a woman sitting in a sunny window embroidering the most stunning piece of white-on-white lace. I really enjoy fine needlework, but I don't have much time (okay, any time) to work on it. It would be pleasant to have a lot of time to develop those skills and share them with others, in a mellow and conversational setting.

If we're thinking about positions I might legitimately be qualified for, I'd probably wind up doing historical dance performance. Which is funny, because I'm about the least athletic or graceful person ever, under ordinary circumstances. But I've done quite a bit of English Country Dancing, and I love it, and I'm good at it.

[livejournal.com profile] pameladean: What are three things you'd do to your house if you could?

0. Buy it. I would love to own this house instead of renting it. But I know that's not what you meant, so I'm making it #0.

1. Put decking on the porch outside our bedroom, so that it can be walked on without damaging the roof surface. I understand why our landlord never did that - that short short railing would create a massive liability risk, and you couldn't put a real, safe-height railing in because the historical preservation people would throw a fit.

2. Insulate the kitchen and the pantry. They're just kind of hanging off the back of the house, with nothing underneath them and nothing around them, and they get so cold in the winter that for a while the olive oil congealed.

3. Rip out the 70's-era paneling and dropped ceiling in the third floor guest room. Then, eventually, we could convert it to our bedroom and turn our gorgeous current bedroom, with its floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves, into a study for the whole family. Right now our desks are crammed into the dining room instead.

[livejournal.com profile] moobabe: If you could do anything (job/hobby/etc) that you can't or don't do right now, what would it be?

Homeschool. This is in the works for a year and a half from now, when Alex is scheduled to start kindergarten. Michael and I hope to both work part-time and both share in the homeschooling. I'd kind of like to get started sooner, although I recognize that the older Colin is when we start the easier things will be. (Oops, here I am bringing in kids/parenting again, and violating the purpose of the meme.)

[livejournal.com profile] duanekc: If you had unlimited time and budget, would you travel? Where, and why? With or without family? Are there places you would like to see just by yourself, or is traveling without family unthinkable?

Oh, gosh. I haven't traveled that much, and I have a long list of places I'd like to go. I would love to go on safari in Africa. I'd like to see Egypt and Petra. I would like to do a rain forest/beach/snorkeling trip in central America. I would like to go on a cruise. I would like to cross the US and Canada by transcontinental rail. I would like to visit Vietnam. I would like to take the kids to Disneyworld.

I don't like to leave my kids for longer than a few days - at least, I can't imagine doing that until they're much older. So although I see definite advantages to familyless travel that'd be pretty far in my future. I think it will start being feasible for us to do significant travel when Colin is about the age that Alex is now. I have this family adventure travel site bookmarked, and it is a frequent stop for fantasizing.

[livejournal.com profile] castiron: What craft skill (where craft could be anything from sewing to blacksmithing to origami to small engine repair) would you most like to learn?

Quilting.

[livejournal.com profile] johnpalmer: Is there any one thing that you wish you had blogged about, but even if you were blogging, it's been *way* too long, so you can't blog about it now... but oh, it was *important*, and you really wanted to say something about it!

What was it? What did you want to say?


I wish I had finished my series on physician-assisted suicide, because it's a topic that I think many, many smart and ethical and well-meaning people are misguided about. I may be getting back to doing some writing on that in the near future.
rivka: (chalice)
I decided that my plan to take a year off from Religious Education only means that I won't teach, not that I won't take anything. So this morning I got to church two hours early (!) for the first session of a class called "Parents as Resident Theologians." From the course description:
Though we do our very best to provide a comprehensive religious education to the children and youth in our congregation, the ultimate blessing and burden of religious education rests with parents and other family members. Faith development happens mostly in the home.

"Parents as Resident Theologians," led by Director of Religious Education, Becky Brooks, is a curriculum written by-and-for Unitarian Universalists. The course is designed to help parents and other adults with children in your lives explore your own theologies and philosophies so that your conversations and experiences with your children can be more comfortably grounded. Using the tools of the curriculum and the wisdom of our unique group of people, we will explore how to be better religious educators for our children and youth.


There were about ten people at the first session, all mothers (except for our DRE facilitator). It was a nice mix of people I've known for years and people who are brand new to the church. All of them seem like really interesting, engaged, thoughtful women. I was pleased to see that the class goes right up the age spectrum; Colin is the youngest child of a class parent, obviously, but the oldest is turning 18. I think having that range will lead to interesting and productive discussions.

Today was mostly introductory. We introduced ourselves, talked about what we hoped to get from the class, picked out and discussed words that describe ourselves (mine were mama-researcher-feminist-geek-writer, because I missed the first part of the exercise and somehow thought we were looking for nouns rather than adjectives), and started to talk about the values we want to pass on to our children.

Poor [livejournal.com profile] acceberskoorb. She had set up a lovely ritual in which each of us went up and inscribed our children's full names on a piece of cloth that lay under the chalice, and then spoke the names aloud to, I guess, bring the children's presence into the room. She discovered that it's very difficult for a group of mothers/churchwomen to sit peacefully experiencing a ritual when they could use that time to talk about six or seven other things. I suspect that she will be working to reform us on this one.

I'm really looking forward to next week, when the topic is addressing children's religious questions. God knows I'm challenged by Alex's. I broke down a couple of weeks ago and answered a question I had been avoiding ("How did Jesus die?"), only to turn around a few days later and find that she was earnestly explaining the Crucifixion to a three-year-old friend. (He hadn't asked. She just thought it was a good story.)

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