Outings, Existence, and Learning

Next month is both of the girls birthdays and their parties, so I'm behind on blogging.  I'm going to catch up a bit. 

I've been thinking a lot lately as I'm nursing Molly how it is going to end soon.  I thought about the moment that she was placed in my arms and all she knew was me, and my scent, and how, with the help of the lactation consultant, she figured nursing out.  And I'm so happy we are still connected in this way, and I'm sad a bit that we won't be for long. Pretty soon for the first time in her existence, she will get all the nutrients she needs without me.  And then it hit me, pretty much from the time you are born, you are learning how to  do things, how to cope...and our children never quite need us as much as they do when they are first born.  Or maybe they do, but it is in different ways.  Every day is a step closer to doing it on your own.  I'm not really sure I know what I'm talking about and it is just random, deep thoughts as I hold this little bundle of energy and stare into those big blue eyes and contemplate her existence and motherhood. 

The sermon Sunday spoke about relationships with others as being holy, particularly those times when we give up ourselves for another, it becomes holy.  So this week, I'm thinking at the end of nursing my dear sweet babe that this is indeed holy.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say that with this chapter closing, it will bring joy as well. 

On to catching up...

Last week we visited Marian, and Anna Cate absolutely adores Mum-Mum, a name she knows is a privilege to use.  She has been undeniably drawn to her whole life.  Often, I'm nervous to take the girls over there since Marian's home is filled with beautiful pieces (read breakables), but like Marian, her home is the perfect mix of elegance and comfort. While there are several things to break, Anna Cate is lured away with a snack, a task with some crayons and paper and some quality conversation.  
And, Molly is calm enough to sit in her lap. The woman has magic kid dust that oozes out of her pores. She used to teach 1st grade and I would be willing to declare she is one of the most gifted educators I've ever met.  She has taught me a lot, too. 

A few weekends ago in my quest to take the girls to more museums, we combined my desire to visit my childhood friend, Dorinda in Washington, DC in her amazing town home on Capital Hill with her sweetheart Lola...
with a trip to a Smithsonian.

But before I get to the Smithsonian, let me tell you how fun it is to be in such a powerful vibrant city with such a power, vibrant, beautiful lady.  Dorinda is super important, driven, ambitious and I can't believe all that she has accomplished in the less than 20 years that we parted paths after high school.  We lost touch for a while so it has been so nice to reconnect. She was a dear friend to my family and me growing up and it was endearing to watch her with this new little family of mine.  We went to lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill in the heart of DC.  Anna Cate adored her and to let you know how important she is on many levels, as I just asked BJ "What was the name of that restaurant we went to with Dorinda?" Anna Cate piped up, "Can we invite Dorinda to my birthday party?" (more about that party later) Dorinda is a guest or host for all sorts of amazing parties all across the country in the finest of places including at the White House, yet she has the grace to charm my little girl as well.  Thank you, sweet friend.
 And, don't worry, I won't ask you to drive down to her party!

After lunch...

We went for a short visit to the museum of Natural History.  

I'm telling myself that we have less house for more money because we live close to Washington, D.C so we need to take advantage of all the opportunities that city provides us, including these amazing free museums. Once you get there, it is so kid friendly and worth the trip.  Seeing Anna Cate's delight at new sights, constructing new concepts or facts warms my heart. I get completely swept up in her learning experiences manifesting itself in a child's wonderment at our world and all its glory.

Look at this beautiful orchid photographed by BJ.  I think this could be in a contest!! I love it.
We are enjoying learning more about the camera and seeing things in new perspectives, redeeming ourselves too in the wonder of our world and all the new experiences available. Of course learning new things is available to all of us, but something is pure magic about witnessing it in a child.

Molly has been walking for six weeks and absolutely loves to move.

  She is losing her babyness and while it hurts my heart a little, I revel in watching her find joys in our world....like swinging.
And walking and playing with toys...
And hanging out with her best friend Owen.
But, she has some game, doesn't hang out too long and leaves the sweet boy hanging. Girlfriend has places to be...the child is ALWAYS on the move.
Owen figured out how to get up and leave the area as well. They are so cute playing together. I love it.

We tried the Sunday evening activities for children. I've kidded myself that I'm not sure I'm Baptist enough to do church twice on Sundays, but it was fun for all of us.  After Anna Cate's activities,
She joined the ladies in the knitting circle for her first lesson with Mum Mum.
I really enjoyed being around these people, so maybe I'm learning to be Baptist, after all.

Anna Cate is learning how to ride her bike.
Inevitably she had her first wreck. It was awful to watch. I couldn't leave Molly's stroller to fall in the wind to save her and watched her tumble.  Learning new things is scary for a Mom to watch.  I should have yelled brake, I should have yelled to the other mother passing by to catch her. I felt awful, but picked her up, brushed her off and told her all about my bike wrecks, of which there were many.  
The weekend's springlike weather gave BJ the chance to work on the yard. We are going to learn to grow vegetables this summer, and here is our raised bed. I'm thinking about painting it. What do you think?
While Anna Cate and BJ spread mulch,  Molly enjoyed sitting in the grass.
When I told Anna Cate, I was going to write a blog about learning new things, I asked her to tell me what she has learned. She said, "when you do something wrong, make it right....take care of Molly...when you fall off your bike, it makes you tough."

This week, I sent out Anna Cate's invites with a quote on it that said, "When we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." I have an example from this week.

Anna Cate has a very bad habit of coming into our bed in the middle of the night.  One night this week she did it, and as I cuddled her near me I said kiddingly, "Anna Cate, you are bad...you know you can sleep all night by yourself."  She then BURST out in tears.  I said, "WHAT IS WRONG? I'm so sorry. I was just being silly, honey."

"Oh, it's not you," she spit out through tears.  After a few minutes, I realized she had different pajamas on than what she went to bed in and I realized she had peed in her bed.  She got up, took off her pj's and put them in the hamper, cleaned herself up, and quietly crawled into our bed in a new set of matching pj's.  Of course, the kid would want to come to our room where it is dry.  I cuddled her and let her sleep all night long and dealt with the laundry in the morning.  The morale of the story is that we never really know if someone has pee in their bed, metaphorically speaking, so we should be careful what we say. I've learned this lesson before but it is one I can learn over and over. It reminds me of what a kind, wise monk told my Dad once about the most important tip in life, "cut your fellow man some slack."

So catching my blog up on outings, musing about breastfeeding, learning new things, a bike wreck and a new garden don't seem that related but they are all a part of this life. The relationships and the understandings are more than what I see...I just know it.  

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony."

~William Henry Channing's Symphony


Oh, Bates, so many wonderful things in this post! I love the idea of relationships being holy, especially ones in which you give of yourself. Such a great description of a nursing relationship. And "you never know who's peed the bed, metaphorically speaking . . ." So true! I've learned that lesson the hard way as a mom, too. Always get the whole story before jumping to conclusions. :) Oh, and Molly is so YOU! Little Mini-Bates. :)
Molly Bates said…
...the symphony that is your family's  life is exquisitely beautiful and your capturing it in such an amazing way. Bless you for blessing me!   I LOVE YOU, Mom
Norah said…
Good thoughts Sarah...keep em coming!