A Fine Line

Everyone knows that hormones greatly affect mood and emotions. Some, however, use that knowledge to dismiss women’s emotions and ideas as being nothing more than hormonal, which crosses over that fine line between recognising the influence of something and attributing everything to that influence.

Women’s hormones are cyclic, never remaining the same from day to day. During the follicular phase, oestrogen levels are rising, with testosterone also spiking close to ovulation; oestrogen then begins to fall as progesterone rises around ovulation. During the luteal phase oestrogen levels are back down and progesterone starts to fall again, too. Then there are the physical changes throughout the cycle.

When oestrogen and progesterone are both low, and accompanied by pain, bleeding, bloating, hunger, nausea, etc, that, of course, affects mood (yet we’re able to function pretty much normally regardless, which is amazing). However, knowing these things affect one’s mood does not call for dismissing a woman’s anger and argument as being merely a product of her hormones. That is belittling, dismissive, and insulting.

I’d like to think such things don’t happen much now. And I haven’t seen it that often, really, at least not since middle school (and once in college). The other day, though, I saw someone on a message board dismiss a female poster’s posts by commenting about her hormones. He said it couldn’t be that menstruation was causing her anger because the posts weren’t 28 days apart, but even bringing that into the conversation (which had nothing to do with hormones, by the way), he was effectively dismissing her as just being influenced by her hormones. It was like he couldn’t understand that a woman could be angry without being on her period.

And that’s where it gets infuriating. Sometimes it seems like women aren’t allowed to have emotional responses or be passionately angry about something without it being chalked up to her hormones, instead of truly having an issue with something. Women deserve to be listened to and respected, and not have their feelings or arguments dismissed by just chalking it up to hormones.

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Anointing of the Sick

Today Kieran received his second Sacrament: anointing of the sick. It is also called Extreme Unction, and is commonly thought of being given on one’s death bed. While it is indeed given then, the requirements are only that one begin to be in danger of death, and be of the age of reason (there is some leeway here for the priest’s discretion).

How is Kieran beginning to be in danger of death? Well, he’s going under anaesthesia on Friday. While that is normally quite safe, there is always a risk of death associated with it, and therefore he qualifies under that requirement. He isn’t quite 7, which is normally seen as the lower limit for the age of reason, but he will be 7 in November and is preparing for his first Confession and Holy Communion, so Father deemed that he was close enough, provided Kieran understood what the Sacrament did.

What is the Sacrament, exactly? It’s a Sacrament of (primarily spiritual) healing. The priest anoints the sick person’s forehead and hands and lays hands on him while praying for God’s healing of the person. Like all the Sacraments, it conveys Sanctifying Grace, forgiving sins as well. It is often given in conjunction with Confession and the Eucharist, but since Kieran hasn’t received those yet, he just had the Anointing. It was really lovely, and I’m glad it was done. He knows it is primarily about spiritual healing, and that it will give him strength and help him not to be afraid, which is wonderful.

Let the Little Children Come Unto Me

A really good, holy priest told me to always sit in the front row at Mass so the children could see; if anyone criticised, I was to remember Jesus’ words of “let the little children come unto Me.” I have tried to follow his instructions ever since then, even though I no longer attend his parish. I think of him frequently at Mass, though.

This morning at Mass, it was difficult. Leo decided his shirt was “com-pull” (uncomfortable) and screamed until it was removed. He stole Charlotte’s dinosaur purse, which upset her. I mistakenly thought Kieran was trying to lick my arm (he was actually trying to nuzzle me), so I scolded him. I had to get up repeatedly with Leo.

In the midst of all that, I thought of Jesus’ words and Father Theo’s instructions to me. I thought about how I agree with that completely, and yet it gets stressful worrying about how others will react or whether the priest will glare or comment during or after Mass. Thankfully the latter happens infrequently, but it has happened, to me and to others. It saddens me, really, as I feel the children can probably sense that I’m uptight, and so aren’t focusing as well on Jesus. Neither am I, for that matter.

Then I remembered how my friends who are in the Eastern Catholic rites or are Orthodox have talked about how children are met in their parishes. They’ve told me it is common, accepted and expected, in fact, for the children to walk around looking at the icons. By doing that, they are kept quieter and active, instead of being expected to sit still and be silent. More than that, though, they are learning about their faith as they wander around the sanctuary. I have to admit, I’m jealous. I wish it were accepted in the Latin rite for children to do that. While I point out various things, I can’t point out everything from the pew, and of course then I still worry about comments as Leo loudly identifies the various things (side note: he quacked loudly at Mass recently because he decided the dove of the Holy Spirit was a duck).

So, what does it really look like to say “let the little children come unto Me” and then not accept that children are children? It seems like a contradiction. Thankfully, there are parishes who work really hard to welcome children; one I know of has little flyers in the pews instructing other parishioners to welcome the children and telling parents not to worry too much. Recently a Bishop instructed his priests not to criticise parents of louder children. I wish all parishes and priests were so understanding and welcoming, and I also wish it were acceptable for the children to walk around some. In the meantime, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing, knowing that sitting in the front is the next best way for them to learn since they can actually see from there. And when I receive comments, as I’m sure I will again, I will try to smile and just use Jesus’ words.

Sunday Snippets – a Catholic Carnival

Happy Sunday! This week’s question is “what is your favourite formal prayer?”

My answer is the Anime Christi. We pray it every week after the kids make their acts of Spiritual Communion. It’s one of the first formal prayers I learned, when my aunt sent me a card for my Confirmation that had that prayer on it. I love it.

Here are my posts this week:
Joy and Our Lady of Sorrows
Book Review: Newborn Sleep Book
Won’t You Be My Neighbour?
Eating Under a Blanket
Seven Quick Takes

Be sure to visit RAnn’s for the full carnival!

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

We’ve been going through a lot of things that were in storage lately. In doing so, I came across a letter from my grandmother, Baba, that she wrote to me when I was studying abroad during undergrad. See, she loved pineapple and cooked with it a lot, so I joked that she must have a pineapple plantation somewhere to get all her pineapple. In the letter, she enclosed a picture of a man wearing a grass skirt (I want to say it was someone she’d known during Dag’s army days) and told me he was her pineapple plantation manager. It cracked me up then and still does. I love that we had our little inside joke like that. I miss her. If you’re reading this, please say a prayer for the repose of her soul, and for all my grandparents.

— 2 —

Leo has decided he wants to play violin, as well. In fact, he’s really not sure about letting Kieran have a turn practicing. It’s funny seeing him try to reach the fingerboard on Kieran’s 1/4 violin. I tried to get him to switch to Charlotte’s 1/10, which is also too big, but he doesn’t like that one because it’s more difficult to get a good tone.

— 3 —

Charlotte doesn’t actually take violin lessons, as she isn’t always keen on practicing. Besides, she’s busy enough with soccer right now. I’m not sure how she’d handle soccer 3x/week and violin 2x/week at the age of 4. Her first soccer game is tomorrow, actually.

— 4 —

Everyone needs to read this post about what to do about crying children during Mass. And this one. The second one has comments from Bishop Kieran Conry, who told priests not to tell parents to remove crying children. The first is a blog post from a priest who agrees with the Bishop and gives pointers for what to do instead. Both are excellent, both need to be in every parish. While I’m too stubborn and love our Eucharistic Lord too much to leave a parish over such a thing, it does hurt when comments are given, especially if they are from the priest (either during or after Mass).

— 5 —

Kieran’s MRI came back normal, as we expected. So, one more thing ruled out, I suppose.

— 6 —

No, the Pope isn’t going to declare that Mary is equal to God or above Jesus or anything of the sort. To do so would make him a heretic, and would also be impossible since we believe God will not allow the Pope to teach error in matters of faith or morals.

From what I’ve seen, all Pope Francis did was reiterate Catholic teaching. He rightly said that we have Jesus and the Church because Mary said yes to God. We therefore honour her as the Theotokos. We honour her because of the 4th Commandment, too, since Jesus gave her to us as our Mother as well when He was on the cross. But we never worship her.

— 7 —

I love jigsaw puzzles. I haven’t worked one in years, though, because I’ve no idea how to keep kids and cats from messing them up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

I’ve been quite disturbed by a trend I’ve seen lately. The trend is a child playing out without the adult right there beside him, and then a neighbour phoning the police and/or CPS/DCF on the parent(s). The parent is then investigated and maybe even charged with child neglect.

I wonder how much of this is because we don’t tend to know our neighbours that well. I’m sure that can’t explain all of it, since in the latter case I linked it wasn’t neighbours who phoned, but someone at a public pool.

In some of the cases, though, I wonder how it would’ve turned out had the neighbours actually known the family. I had a neighbour bring Kieran to the door and tell me she wasn’t sure he was old enough to be out without me (for the record, he was supervised by older children and I could see him from the window), but she knew me quite well and certainly didn’t jump to the conclusion that I was neglecting him. I can see how that could’ve played out quite differently had we not known each other.

I wish I had a solution. I want to be able to let my kids have the freedom I had. I was constantly outside without my parents. I knew the rules, so as long as I told them I was going to the playground or a friend’s house or whatnot, all was well. I wish I could let my kids do that now, but I’m honestly afraid of someone calling DCF if I do. Yes, that’s likely an irrational fear, but it’s there, nonetheless.