Lent this year has been, for me, a private thing in many ways. I’ve had dietary restrictions beyond the norm (I’ve joked that I’m just following the old school fast, or the one still used by many Eastern Catholics and Orthodox) and have been dealing with Leo’s health issues, among other things. I suppose, then, it is only fitting that I should have a private Triduum, too.
And so Holy Thursday found me alone with the three kids. My husband was singing in the choir, but Charlotte was just too exhausted to go. So I prayed the Rosary with them and put them to bed.
I held out hope, though, that I’d get to go to the Good Friday service. Veneration of the Cross is an amazing, humbling experience that I wanted to do. When my husband needed to leave, Leo was sleeping. I hate waking him for the car, as he hates the car and being awakened like that. Instead, I strapped him on and walked with the kids, praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as we went. We got to our seats, and Charlotte fell asleep within 5-10 minutes of it starting. Leo did well for a little over an hour (at least he got through Veneration), but then he started getting upset and I knew I needed to get him out. This meant I had to wake Charlotte (a difficult task that usually involves screaming). I told a friend to tell my husband I was leaving, and packed them into the car. Since Leo fell asleep and Charlotte stopped screaming, we just sat in the car until it was over so my husband didn’t have to walk home.
Then there’s today – Holy Saturday. I love the Vigil, but I haven’t been to one since Kieran was a baby. I don’t imagine this year will be different unless Charlotte happens to nap. We shall see.
I finished Charlotte’s dress in time for her birthday. Overall I’m pleased with it. I only put eyes on one of the Hello Kitty faces, in part so Charlotte can easily tell the front from the back.
With that finished, I’ve now started a cute monkey alphabet afghan. The patterns are found in five issues of Knitting Today/Your Knitting Life. Thankfully my mother already owned four of the issues, and I was able to get the last one online.
When I saw Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After by BG Hennessy, I had to investigate. After all, Charlotte’s second name is Claire. When I opened it up and saw that there were fairies, I knew we had to borrow it, since Charlotte loves fairies. The book fits her well, to the point that I said it was about her.
Claire wonders what makes someone happy ever after, and in her dreams she visits various fairy tale characters and asks what would make them happy. Follow Claire and her unicorn on their fairy tale adventure in this book.
It can also present a good teaching opportunity about our Catholic beliefs, for the fairy tale characters wish for transitory things, not things that will truly bring lasting happiness. In contrast, we believe that true happiness comes only in following God.
At Leo’s last well check, his doctor was amazed at the things he was doing and considered him to be advanced. When we’re out, others are often amazed at him and are surprised to find he’s younger than they expected. To us, though, he seems normal. After all, Charlotte did the same things around the same time, as did Kieran (with some variation, of course).
Because we don’t follow societal norms, I can’t help wondering if that at least partially explains the difference. We don’t use playmates for longer than a few minutes, and there’s almost always someone interacting with Leo when we do. He’s often in my arms or being worn, both of which work his muscles and provide stimulation since he can see what I’m doing. We talk to, not at, our children. While we’re far from being alone in these things, those of us who do these are still a minority subset of society. Many still put babies down instead of carrying or wearing them, and don’t speak to them really.
I suppose it’s similar to the difference between those who do elimination communication (ec) and those who don’t. Those who do ec have children who are (at least mostly) diaper free. The child gives signals and the parent responds; the parent also cues the child. While it may seem advanced for Western society for a child to be diaper free from such a young age, those who do ec will tell you it isn’t that the child is advanced, it’s that this practice allows a child to do what is in fact normal. (One of these days I really am going to get with it and do ec).
I’m also reminded of how the differences between breastfed and formula fed babies are viewed. Those who are breastfed are spoken of as having certain benefits, when in reality this is the norm.
So, are my babies advanced? I’m not so sure.
(This is not intended to be a judgement on anyone’s parenting, just me musing about societal expectations)
I’m almost finished! With just under a week until Charlotte’s birthday, I’m glad the end is in sight. I’ll have to duplicate stitch the faces on.
As a breastfeeding mum, one who openly breastfeeds wherever whenever, including at Mass, I was delighted to see this photo of our new Pope Francis. I think I’ll carry it with me in case I ever get more comments about my public breastfeeding.