Monday, February 10, 2014

physical love proceeds emotional love and other seemingly backwards philosophies

Is your heart bursting?  Mine is.  Nate perfectly captured a moment between these two. Seriously-half the day is spent with one of them smothering and kissing the other.  (Normally, the one not doing the smothering is trying to get away.  But 2 minutes later they'll turn and be trying to love the other).  Brigham thinks that kissing means opening your mouth as wide as possible and slobbering profusely on another person's cheek; which is both completely adorable and slightly disgusting.

I'm still loving reading and journaling about this book on mothering.  I had to share one more thought that Saydi Shumway had in the Love chapter of Deliberate Mothering.  She shares about a Christmas season when she was stressed out of her mind running around the trying to get things done and found herself getting frustrated with her kids for getting in the way while she was trying to do these tasks.  She says "I realized that, for weeks, I had been resenting my children because they were in the way of all the things I had to do to pull Christmas off.  I needed to flip my thought process and recognize that my love for my children and family was in fact the reason for all these tasks."

Yes, the pictures are different hues of black and white.  It's driving me crazy.  But guess what?  Nap time is over, so we're all going to have to deal with it.
 I've been thinking about that.  Recently my kids must be eating crazy things because their diapers have been HORRIBLE!  This means that often they wake up and I'm washing sheets and blankets and stuffed animals and pajamas all morning.  You know when your kids need a bath before breakfast that it's going to be a long day:)  However, I've loved the reminder that it's because I love my children so much that I have extra work.  I pick up toys 500,000 times a day because I'm extatic about the smiles on their faces while they play together.  I do the dishes and wash that same bottle 8 times a day because I am head-over-heels-blessed-beyond-belief-in-love with these kids.  And to keep them I'll do all of these things a million times over. 

Nathan and I realized a few years ago that a disagreement never gets to an argument if we are touching while we talk.  Holding hands when we sit down to talk about something that we know is a tender subject for us has proved to keep our minds reminded to speak lovingly and respectfully to one another.    I think the same is true of my kids.  When Eden is driving me crazy (all my fault, hardly ever really hers) I find that if I take the time to drop to my knees and hug that girl and tell her how much I love her and attack those cheeks with my kisses that everything changes.  I don't think the changes are really for her.  She'll still be torn up about the fact that I won't let her drink the Lysol, but I am changed in that moment.  Suddenly I can love her, really love her again. Because touching her, showing physical love, often helps bridge the gap to feeling emotional love.  And magically, I don't need rehab anymore.  I can move on and without wanting to punch myself in the head while she cries on the floor.

Now, finding a way to REMEMBER to give physical love when I'm starting to feel frustrated.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February: The power of LOVE

I am so excited to be able to focus on "Love" this month.  We think about it in February anyway and when I wake up to these faces everyday, how can I not love motherhood?

I mean, come on.  How wouldn't be reminded to kiss those chubby cheeks and squeeze those little leg rolls.  I know almost no one who can resist cuddling a just-bathed-and-smelling-delicious-baby and the whole reason toddlers make it through to adulthood is because their adorableness (yes, I just said that) more than makes up for the frustration they cause us.

I'll give more quotes to follow, but I loved this one from the book to get me going.  It actually quotes another book Biology of Love by Dr. Arthur Janov and states "Hugs and kisses during critical periods [of child development] make neurons grow and connect properly with other neurons."  Then Deliberate Mothering author Saydi Shumway adds "Essentially, you can kiss a child's brain into maturity."

Goodness, I love that.  Of course, there are many aspects and different ways of looking at Love.  But for today, it means hugs and kisses and cuddles. Somehow, when I'm focusing on that, the tantrums feel a little more doable.

I've always known with Eden that she mirrors my mood.  Her little spirit is so sensitive to other people.  She has always been a sympathy crier and as a two year old recognizes and verbalizes how people are feeling in books, and around her.  When I get frustrated with her, she just gets frustrated and acts out more.  When I choose to hug her and tell her that I love her (and that's harder than it sounds when she's just drawn on Brigham's high chair, after I've already disciplined her for drawing on the wall, the dishwasher, and the toilet within the same hour), her frustration seems to melt away and then she can actually internalize what I'm telling her.  So happy February, self!  Just LOVE those kids of yours.  And don't forget about that amazing husband either!