Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes for 7 Posts in 7 Days


I am on a mission, and my mission is to eliminate the use of the phrase "good baby" from our collective conversation. I know what people mean when they say that a baby is a "good baby": They mean the baby is an easy baby, or mellow or laid-back or calm. "You know what I mean," people have said to me when I correct them. But why, then, don't we just say the thing that we actually mean? Because when we describe as "good" the baby who eats and sleeps easily, who fusses rarely, then what does that imply about the baby who is more challenging? Nate had reflux. He was difficult to get to sleep, often refused to stay asleep, and cried through most evenings early on. He was a challenge. That doesn't mean he wasn't a "good baby." All babies are good. But when we ask a sleep-deprived new mother whether her baby is "good," and he or she isn't laid-back and easy--the things that we really mean when we ask that question--then what is that poor mom supposed to say?

Maybe it's the lawyer in me, rising from hibernation to demand precision in our language, but let's just say what we mean here, mkay?


While I'm ranting here, can my fellow Catholics answer a question for me? Why, at so many parishes, do people positively bolt for the doors as soon as the recessional hymn starts? In all my years growing up as a Protestant, I never saw anything like it, and almost no one does it at our parish here. When I visit the parish closest to my parents' house outside Atlanta, though, people can't get out fast enough. In fact, I once had a man motion for me to move out of his way when I was at the end of the row, pointing to his watch as though that were an explanation for why he couldn't spend an extra 60-90 seconds in Christ's presence. Same thing happened at a different suburban Atlanta parish a couple of Sundays ago during our visit.

Is this a thing in other parts of the country? I know that my diocese in general and my parish in particular are on the conservative/orthodox/reverent/whatever-you-want-to-call-it side, but can anyone explain this to me as a cultural phenomenon? 


When I was in college at UGA, five of my friends lived in the Episcopal Center on campus during our sophomore year. The center was (and still is, to the best of my knowledge), comprised of two buildings, an old, ramshackle house and a much newer chapel. (You can see an old picture of the center here, if you're curious. Incidentally, the brochure in that link notes that the then-chaplain, Father Marsh, was installed at the center in 1965. He was still the chaplain when I started college in 1994! He did retire from the center while I was in college, but I think that's a pretty impressive tenure for dealing with obnoxious college kids.)

Long before the school year was over, my friends learned that they wouldn't be able to finish out the year living in the house. The upstairs wasn't up to code, largely (I think) because there wasn't any sort of secondary fire escape or staircase in case of an emergency. Needless to say, they were incredibly disappointed and inconvenienced at trying to find student housing in a college town in the middle of the school year.

The thing I remember, though, was the sign that they posted at the top of the stairs after hearing the news: "We Gave Up Hope For Lent." 

Kind of irreverent, sure, but aren't we all feeling that way a little bit as the Winter That Will Never End slides into the Lenten season next week? I feel completely unjustified in my complaints, given what my friends in places like Michigan, Minnesota, and Massachusetts are dealing with (unintentional alliteration, FTW!), but this has NOT been a typical winter, right? 

Here in the DC area, we tend to get little pockets of downright pleasant weather sprinkled through January and February, so that I genuinely don't mind the cold days. I feel like one day I look up and the flowers are blooming and I'm all, "Oh, I guess it's spring already." (Those of you in cold climates where spring comes in May can feel free to chuck tomatoes in my direction.) This winter, though, has just been consistently cold. 

There are buds on the Japanese magnolia in my backyard, and it's past 6pm and still light-ish outside, so I know that spring really will get here at some point. Can't happen soon enough.


Speaking of things that can't happen soon enough, David gets home tomorrow. And the angels will sing hallelujah. As will I.


I getting increasingly desperate to find dinners that my child will actually eat, because we've reached the point where his already-limited palate is shrinking even more. There are times when I have to get him to eat something, on the three mornings a week he attends preschool and before Mass on Sundays, lest we all deal with the wrath of a "hangry" child. For dinner I've tried doing the whole "this is what we're having; take it or leave it" thing, and he'll simply leave it and fill up on food earlier in the day the next day. 

Because he's growing fine, though, there's a part of me that wants to just . . . not worry about it. Some kids are picky. He'll at least partially grow out of it, even if he's never the world's most adventurous eater. (*I'm* not the world's most adventurous eater, so I can hardly blame him.) It feels like more of an issue for me right now, maybe, because he's the only kid I have. If I had several kids and one was picky, it wouldn't make me feel like I was failing somehow as a mother; I'd just chalk it up to that kid being picky. And I really do believe that so many things, like how your kids eat and sleep, are in large measure just part of who they are. I need to keep that in mind, even as I continue to wish he'd eat the dinners I make. But seriously, it's annoying to cook and have him turn his nose up at it.


Did I mention on Twitter that I finished the Harry Potter books? I am YEARS late to the party, but I finally get what all the fuss was about! I absolutely adored them, as one would expect. David has never seen all of the movies, so we're watching them together, and it's so much fun. I already can't wait for Nate to read them (years down the road, of course), and I have a feeling I'll re-read them with him and likely before that, too. And I'm not a person who re-reads books, so that's really high praise from me.

Understatement of the decade here, but that JK Rowling is a darn fine storyteller.


Thank you for the kind comments and tweets wishing me a speedy recovery from this annoying bug. I was feeling somewhat better today. Still stuffy and coughing, but less of that awful run-down feeling. The saddest thing just happened, though. Poor Nate--who is definitely as emotionally tapped-out as I am this week--desperately wanted me to stay with him while he fell asleep. I usually have no problem with this, as he tends to fall asleep fairly quickly. Tonight, though, my coughing kept startling him back awake, to the point that there was little chance he'd fall asleep with me in the room. After giving it an hour, I decided I had to leave him alone so that he could get to sleep undisturbed, which of course left him in tears. It breaks my heart when my kid, who is missing his Papa so much right now (David nearly always puts him to bed), just wants my simple presence, and I have to take it away from him. 

Please continue to pray that this cold or virus or whatever it is is gone soon. Gah.

Both 7 Posts in 7 Days and Seven Quick Takes are hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.


HereWeGoAJen said...

That good baby thing drives me CRAZY. I always say "of course, there's no such thing as a bad baby." And then I glare. And no one asked me that about Elizabeth, just Ryan. Because Elizabeth was always screaming. So I suppose they could tell that she wasn't.

Jessica said...

Margaret is doing the super picky thing, too. She'll only eat breakfast and snacks; always turns her nose up at lunch/dinner and it drives me CRAZY. Mainly because she gets super hangry (like her mama...) and I'm tired of the mood swings. Just eat what I give you! So frustrating.

april said...

My older son is less picky than my younger, by light years (he told me the other day that he loves zucchini. He's never touched the stuff ever but I promptly forked over some for him to eat). With Henry, super picky picky, we roll with a combination of "catered to palate" and "eat what I cook, child." I deconstruct into recognizable items, leave greens out of food, add things I know he'll eat (yogurt, raw carrots) and still put some of what I made for the rest of us so hopefully maybe he'll eat it. I never put more than two bites of any meat except shrimp on his plate because he won't touch it.

Anyhow. You know your kid. If he'd rather starve, that just isn't comfortable for anyone. As long as he's not unhealthy (don't get me started on the teenager who ate nothing but chicken nuggets for 12 years), don't worry about it. You do what you have to do as a parent, for your children. Sometimes that's life sacrifices, sometimes it's putting a cheese sandwich on a plate and calling it a day.

Carla said...

So interested to see what folks say about #2- this happens about 3 out of 5 times here too!

claire said...

#2 Drives me crazy, too! Even worse is the people who leave right after communion. It seems that this is universal in the Catholic church (at least in America), and it's really sad. It gives the message to other Christians that we go to Mass because we have to, and we can't wait for it to be over. Sad.

Julie said...

I can't answer the early exit question, but I can share a short story. At the end of Mass, before the final dismissal, the priest stopped and looked out at the congregation. After a pause, he said, "You know, the first person to leave Mass early was Judas." No one left early that day.

Lisa said...

I was late to the HP party too. I read the entire series for the first time this past November-December. LOVED IT! Very good storytelling. Lots of details woven in.

Prayers for speedy recovery there. Spring cannot come fast enough.

Anonymous said...

New reader here. I was also raised Protestant, now Catholic. The only thing I can guess about the "exit during recessional song" is that, from what I understand, only a Processional song is called for in the rubrics of mass. A recessional is optional/appropriate, but mainly kind of an "extra," if you will. I also think this must have something to do with mass pre-Vatican II, and that the mindset was that we weren't there to come and sing a song after father walked out (not as much participation), but to receive communion. And, I also think it might have something to do with the priest exiting the building. Once the final blessing is said and he walks out, mass is actually finished. I will say, as a former Protestant, this drives me nuts too. We sang EVERY verse of EVERY song growing up, and everyone sang. But, I don't think most Catholics interpret this as disrespectful, it's like how Protestants tend to "fellowship" and talk before church, Catholics tend to "fellowship" and jump into talking after mass (that is after the final blessing). Protestants used to always chat through the prelude at my church. Catholics view the recessional in somewhat the same way, is my guess.