One Lucky Boy

Augustine is 2 months old, and boy is he cute! With two older siblings in the house, these two months have passed far too quickly. We are busy with homeschooling (sortof!), gymnastics, story hour, playdates, and trips to the park. Four years ago when my oldest was born I could spend hours just smiling at her, studying every wrinkle or roll of fat ;-) Every milestone was recorded, discussed, and cherished. I don't get this same time with Gus because I am so busy tending to the needs of our growing family. There are days when poor Gus goes hours in his seat or swing. I pick him up to feed him, change him, and then I return to another book or activity with the older kids. Time is passing, and Gus reminds me of it daily. I think there are evenings when he looks older to me than he did in the morning ;-)

The other day was particularly busy, and as I attempted to throw something together for dinner, baby Gus started to cry. As I rushed to wash my hands and hold him he suddenly stopped. I looked in the other room and saw Gianna sitting with him on the sofa. She sang to him, rubbed his little head and put the pacifier into his mouth. "You are so cute because you are little," she said. "Don't cry baby Augustine," she said in a loving voice. And he didn't. He not only stopped crying, he started smiling at his big sister. She looked up at me with pride, "I am taking care of baby Gus." Yes you are, I thought.

There are some days when I am tempted to feel guilty about how I am NOT spending the day studying Augustine's every wrinkle and fat roll. But not this day. Today I am reminded that while time is passing, and he is growing and changing, I am giving him a family. He has all of OUR love and for that he is one lucky little boy.


You are right on target here! The same things are happening in my household. Not only is he lucky, they are lucky to have him. G has a chance to love in a new way, to be looked up at, etc.

This is only going to get better in the next few months, by the way. The Lion is about two weeks older than Gus, and he has just started smiling whenever the kids get all in his face, it is such a joy to watch John, who is nothing but naughty these days, bounce his ducky on the baby's lap to make him smile, and to see that John feels esteem in this, there is unconditional love in that smile.

March 12, 2008 at 8:38 AM  

Red, loved reading your thoughts on my beautiful godson. It made me think back to one of Danielle Bean's postings which discussed the beauty of siblings and how they enrich the lives of one another. Critics of large families should cower after reading these stories! And when I think of my own life, I am also so grateful for my one and only sister, who still helps to paint my world with color. Siblings are a blessing, indeed. The more, the merrier.

March 12, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

I can't tell you how encouraging it is to hear you two ladies talk like this. I read these same things from older, wiser Catholic moms, and the Church teaches about the multiplying dimensions of love as a family grows, and I believe in my heart that this is supposed to happen in big families. I think the reality, though, is that this time doesn't come right away. A house full of babies and toddlers is a house full of needs and urgent-but-usually-unreasonable demands and kid mood swings and physical assertion... but little payback or satisfaction for the mom. I keep plugging because my family depends on it, and because somewhere in the recesses of my heart I remember that I thought this whole thing was a good idea : ), but often without much day to day inspiration!

What you are describing is that blessed first glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, of perspective, and hearing you two mention it assures me that it's right around the corner! It's certainly not smooth sailing, but you do seem to have gained the ability to really see (and not just believe in) the good that you're doing! Praise God for that, and thanks for the assurance.

Can I say, too, praise God for wonderful husbands! Not that we'd be in this without them in the first place, but what a blessing it is to have in them a rock for the family and a hard-working partner in this whole undertaking who listens, understands, and knows how to inspire again and again. Doing work for him, to please him (and knowing that he'll be grateful), makes the load feel a lot lighter!

March 12, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

I just wanted to let you all know how much I love your blog! I can't wait to check it everyday to see what's new. I found you all through dear B-Mama, a friend of mine from our days as Army Wives. I find so much inspiration in your words -- thank you!!

March 12, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

Red, you have me crying. You know, I believe that I can 100% identify with your sentiments of the little guy being left in a bouncer and I only have two kids! Therefore, I know the rest of the bloggers are truly feeling you. All I really have to add here is that we, as these kids' mothers, are doing the best job anyone would possibly do. I have the added perspective of being a mom who had to keep her first baby in daycare for the first 2.5 years of her life while the Army had their claws in me. You know, I guarantee that the centers' 7:1 ratio (or whatever state law allows) granted the babies a heck of a lot less attention then our younger children get from us daily. And that is the norm! That is what many women settle for today, but not you guys. We gots to keep it real, y'all!

March 12, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

Well said. Thank you so much! I only have two and feel like I am always neglecting one or the other. After having babies depend on me for everything I sometimes forget that it is just as important for them to have each other.

March 12, 2008 at 11:15 AM  

I too loved Danielle Bean's post about the importance of giving our children siblings. Thanks for posting the link B-mama!

I'm glad you ladies like this post, and I am so happy we have some new readers who like the blog! Keep reading and commenting, we have so much to learn from each other.

March 12, 2008 at 9:46 PM  

Juris Mater,

On the theme of the husbands.. with a 3.3 year old, we are on the brink of deciding what to do about school. Homeschool or not -- essentially. In my heart of hearts I know that the opportunity to home school my children is probably one of the greatest afforded by being a woman who has the luxury of being able to stay at home, however, I feel like I have the 100% wrong personality to accomplish this daunting task. I am disorganized, impatient, high-strung. I just feel scared.
So, I voice these concerns to my husband and then ask, "so, do you still want me to homeschool our precious little ones?" He unflinchingly replied, "You know, Harry Truman didn't think he should ever be the president of the United States." Truman is my husband's favorite president. and that is all I needed to hear from him. I understood exactly what he meant. He did not try and negate my flaws, but, rather showed that he accepted me with them and still believes I am the best teacher out there for our children. Now I just have to, uh, get started, I am slightly behind the ol' texas mommy overachiever. and baffled by what Mary Alice does with her younger ones while schooling the big ones, but I suppose that will all fall into place.

March 13, 2008 at 12:14 AM  

AWOL mommy, HA! You take the words right out of my mouth in describing the homeschool question (and it's great to hear of another instance of a wonderful husband knowing exactly what to say). Disorganization, impatience and high-strungness are also some of my greatest virtues : ) Rather than actually get serious about homeschooling or not, I've just been idling for a good 9 months, obsessively concerned with the question, miserable with all the options, doing nothing whatsoever but stew over it. I am trying to focus on praying for discernment--not everyone's called to homeschool, and there's still plenty of time to decide before the state comes after us and throws us in prison. Too bad we can't set up some online homeschool coop where Texas Mommy and MaryAlice actually teach all our kids. I'll bring the snacks.

March 13, 2008 at 8:57 PM  

If you are bringing the snacks, what do I do? PE? I think you might be on to something here...

March 13, 2008 at 9:21 PM  

If snacks and PE are under control, what can I do?

Seriously, I am just starting to look at some curriculums for Gianna, and I'm getting a little overwhelmed with the possibilities. I keep trying to remember that she is only 4 (almost) and that this really isn't that big of a deal right now. It's important to enjoy our children while they are little, and enjoy their toddler-hood/pre-school phase. They do call it pre-school age for a reason (it comes before the school years!) Texas Mommy is pretty hard core (go Texas Mommy), but most kids are not doing much school work until they are 5. Oh, and I think I am as impatient as they I'm not exactly cut out for homeschooling either. This is a great topic, and we should have a separate post on this. MaryAlice--let's hear your thoughts!

March 13, 2008 at 11:22 PM  

Please don't get the impression that I'm an overachiever trying to teach my 2 year old calculus. The reason I try to add some structure to our weeks now is for myself. If I don't have some goals or plans I get frustrated, lazy and bored. And then I get cranky. And then I feel sorry for myself. I know this cycle, so I try to prevent it. The unit study idea makes sense to me in that we can talk about St. Patrick, his virtues, make a St. Patrick's day card to send to Babka in the nursing home which leads to talking about doing things for others and pulling a thorn out of our Lenten crown, etc. I can have some vague plan that can most of the time be accomplished allowing my selfish need for affirmation and achievement to be met. Also, Dash's temperment is similar to mine. He loves to have a task and to do it, whether it is carrying the glasses to the table or putting his clothes in the hamper. (I'd love to discuss temperments sometime). I'm not sure I do anything differently than what you all do, but I do love reading and talking about educational philosphies (Montessori, Mason, etc.)

I know people who homeschool who have very different temperments. It can work, though their homes and daily lives look very different from each other. Which brings up an important point about not trying to compare yourself to others, because we all have different personailities, different kids, different homes, etc. It is about meeting the needs of your family at any given point in time.

In reality, the vast majority of our time is spent reading or playing outside. With beautiful spring weather, we are outside for hours and hours everyday playing and digging in sand and dirt. As a total aside, I usually am a jeans and t-shirt kind of mom because this is how we spend the majority of our days. I'm just not going to sit by the sandbox or kick balls in a dress or skirt. I love the idea of dressing well, but we stop at the park on our way home from the grocery store and I am sliding with the 14 month old in my lap. How do you ladies handle "dressing well" with little ones outside all day?

March 13, 2008 at 11:45 PM  

As far as curriculum I haven't decided yet if I am going to do Divine Grace and supplement or just compile my own from what I think is best (DG, Angelicum, Maximilian Kolbe, etc.).

DD only turned 2 in January so I can't say as we are doing calculus yet or anything but we work daily on our ABCs, Numbers, Shapes, Colors, etc.

March 14, 2008 at 7:28 AM  

I have lots lots lots to say about homeschooling, but I am so busy homeschooling that I don't have time to write! Please stay tuned, I am hoping to get a post about this after Easter.

My quick hint is that even up to second grade, actual seat work of school only takes about 2 hours a day, most of what we do is just living and learning together. It is much less intimidating once you realize that. This is true even for highly academic, highly structured programs.

Also, a big tipping point for me was to go and visit a homeschooling family, one that I really respect, and seeing how human they are. I realized then that I could do it.

All homeschoolers go through phases of thinking they need to quit, usually in October and February, so if you have these moments with your toddlers (thinking you should just get a full time job and put them in full time care!), especially at the end of a long day, it does not neccessarily mean that you should not homeschool.

What to do with the toddlers is an ongoing issue for larger homeschooling families, we will get to that another time, but again, it is only for a few hours a day, I don't have to keep them "out of our way" from 8:15-3:30.

March 14, 2008 at 8:41 AM  

For what it's worth, my family was really able to focus and be intentional about how we wanted to homeschool (if we choose to)and what we wanted to accomplish educationally after reading A Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. I highly recommend it for giving general theory ideas, but it also has parts that are very specific (down to what kind and how much paper to buy for each year/grade) for those who feel like the task is too overwhelming.

March 14, 2008 at 4:41 PM  

You had said last month sometime: "Too bad we can't set up some online homeschool coop where Texas Mommy and MaryAlice actually teach all our kids. I'll bring the snacks."

That is exactly what i am trying to do here in Texas. If you or anyone you know is really interested in this endeavor please email:
It would be Catholics only, so...

April 15, 2008 at 7:03 PM  

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