Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Losing Baby Seven

It might be too soon to write this post. But it might always be too soon.

We lost our Baby Seven last week, at 14 wks gestation, or at least that's when we found out about the miscarriage. An ultrasound showed the gestational sac, but no baby, meaning that the child died soon after implantation. The nurse practitioner informed me it was a "blighted ovum," and said, "I'm so sorry this was not the outcome you had hoped for." Wow, what a very careful, boilerplate, CYA expression. It's a bit like saying "I'm sorry you were offended" when you're called upon to apologize to someone.  I'm sure they see all kinds of women in all kinds of situations, so they are trained not to refer to it as a "baby" or a "child," but still, one would think they might be able to tailor the response to the particular woman at hand.  If she's visibly upset, I think you could safely say,  "I'm so sorry for your loss."

If you think miscarriage is hard for adults to deal with, try explaining it to your young children. Our four-year-old at first thought it was a joke. A baby dying? That's crazy, babies don't die. Once he processed the info, though, he wants to share his grief with everyone. He goes up to folks we know and informs them, "I'm sad because the baby died in Mommy's tummy." I was going to admonish him for this, but on second thought, why shouldn't he be sad? And why shouldn't he tell people that? Miscarriage is not commonly discussed in our society, but since approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, maybe it should be. I can't tell you how many women friends have contacted me, saying, "I know, I've been there."

It does help, having the wee ones at home. Not in the, "Well, at least you have other, healthy children." kind of way. But getting bouquets of dandelions and grimy hugs around one's knees never hurts. Plus, being so busy taking care of the littles gives me far less time to wallow in grief. Nothing reminds you that life goes on like diapers to change and dinners to cook and library books to be read together on the couch.

And nothing makes you realize how precious and precarious life is like losing one. Still we know we are not in charge of all this; even the children I have are not, strictly speaking, *mine;* I'm just taking care of them for a while here on earth.

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21. 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them falls to the ground without your father knowing it. But the very hairs of your head are numbered." Matthew 10:29-30

How to Miss a Childhood

I don't usually post a lot of links on here, but this woman's post made such a good point, and made it so convincingly that I had to share.
Please check it out: The Hands-Free Mama: How to Miss a Childhood
It's a good reminder for all of us, and I most definitely include myself in that, as to what our kids see and feel when we are hunched over our "devices" all the time, instead of really being there with them in the moment. That being said, I need to go make breakfast for my babies! God bless you all this day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Indoor Cats and Outdoor Cats

It never fails to amaze me how different in personality all my boys are. I could classify them by the introvert/extrovert axis (2 introverts, 4 extro); the temperament scale (2 choleric, 1 melancholic, 1 phlegmatic, 2 sanguine), the Myers-Brigg inventory (although they're a bit young to sit through all those extremely annoying repetitive questions.). But I prefer the much simpler Indoor/Outdoor Cat distinction.

If you have boys, you know that they have a LOT of energy, and if you don't find an outlet for them to release it, they do things like beating on their brother's head with a Nerf battle axe or coloring red marker on the baby's face. All boys benefit from unstructured outdoor play. There is something about the green of nature, whether it be a manicured lawn or a dappled woodsy glade, that simultaneously soothes and energizes boys' brains (See ""Last Child in the Woods", by Richard Louv.

But we've noticed that some of our boys, especially those with choleric tendencies, have such a visceral need to go outside everyday that they are like Outdoor Cats: standing at the sliding door, yeowling until they are set free. If they don't get to roam outside during the day due to weather or a busy schedule, they start doing the boy-equivalent of shredding your favorite shirt or peeing on the laundry pile. (I love to secretly watch my children play outside, when they don't know I am watching. Is that creepy?) Once outside, they will be the ones whipping the bushes with a torn off willow-branch or running around the house as many times as they can in 2 minutes, "just to see." My Indoor Cats also love to play outside; but they will be the ones playing sedately in the sandbox or soaring nicely on the swings. The Indoor Cats will also come back inside after 20 minutes, complaining that they're cold, and sit down to do a puzzle or a mind-bogglingly complex European strategy board game. The Outdoor Cats would happily stay out all day in the teeth of a Michigan blizzard, making legions of snow angels and hurling snowballs at the garbage cans. 

Trying to equalize their amount of outdoor play, or trying to turn Indoor Cats into Outdoor cats, is a recipe for disaster. So try and work with their tendencies. Direct the Outdoor Cats to the pile of scrap lumber to build a fort, or to the weeded-over garden patch to create their own vegetable kingdom. And make sure you have plenty of challenging books, puzzles, games, Legos, math manipulatives etc, to keep those Indoor Cats purring. 

How about you? Do you have Indoor/Outdoor cats too?
Indoor cat Josiah and his super Lego pyramid
Outdoor cat Caleb and his caterpillar