Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Word on Books...

For the last 8 years or so, I have read very few actual books. By 'actual' I mean books without pictures and more than 40 pages. Oh, and books that don't contain words like "Whoops!" or "Roar!" or "Wow!" or pretty much any of those words that denote a sound and are followed by the requisite exclaimation mark. Before eight years ago, I read voraciously. When I was single, I read ALL THE TIME, especially when I was working 12-hour night shifts at the hospital. (People's ability to converse coherently really drops off after about 3 am.)

But something happened to me eight years ago that really cut into my reading time: I had my first baby. He was quickly followed by 4 additional siblings, including a pair of twins who all but demolished any free-time I had before. Reading was one of the first things to go, followed by most of my other hobbies.

Don't get me wrong... I read! In the last eight years I have read: The Book of Mormon (at least 6 times), It's Raining Pigs and Noodles (about a million), anything by Dr. Seuss (which I actually don't mind, the rhyming is entertaining and kinda catchy), and a hilarious book called "Big Plans," which we've read more times than I can count. Those are the Big 4. There are a lot more. I'm really big on making sure my kids have a lot to read. And my older sister bought them books every time she babysat for years... (until she got married and had a baby of her own.) When we moved here to Idaho about 8 months ago, I packed up 6 boxes of books. One entire box remains unopened (and un-missed) in the boys' closet.

I hear from my sisters all the time about all the great books they're reading... I honestly don't know where they find the time. If I had spare time to read and sat still long enough to get through a page, I was passed out, dreaming. Yes, I'm sad to say that my list of reads this last decade is frightfully short.

BUT! Two things, actually. 1. I am now back in the land of the living. I'm done having babies, have no infants (although still 2 in diapers) and by next fall more than half of my children will be in school. So I am officially reading more. I read an entire book this last weekend. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. It was really good and moved along at a pretty good clip (a MUST when you have as short an attention span as I do!) I just bought the other two in the trilogy on Amazon.
2. While I haven't been filling my head with the great literary works of the world these past 8 years, I have been otherwise occupied. I have spent some very precious moments curled up with my little brood, reading "Little Boy," "The Giving Tree" and many more. The year he was 7, my oldest son and I spent the year reading the Book of Mormon together. It was the catalyst for many deep conversation and sweet moments as his little testimony grew. His Primary teacher stopped me in the hall on Sunday and told me how surprised she was at his knowledge of the Scriptures.

So yeah, there have been a lot of books I missed. But I wouldn't trade what I was doing instead of reading. Now that my children are getting a little older, we've started the Harry Potter books together. Pick your jaw up off the floor. That's right, I've never read any of them. Or seen the movies. It's an adventure I was saving to share with them.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Granolas

Wow, will you look at that?! Twice in less than a month! Here I sit, at the computer, while the boys are cleaning up the playroom. It was another very long day, but a satisfying one. Andrew, one of my 22 month old twins, and I went to Kindermusik today. Andrew started speech therapy last week due to his inability or unwillingness to utter any words other than 'dada,' 'no,' and 'hi.' (On the good-news front, he did say 'penis' during bathtime tonight.) The speech therapist signed us up for this class because she thought it might help him to be around other kids his age. I guess the fact that he has been with another 'kid his age' since conception doesn't count. Anyway, the class was this morning and I figured we'd give it a whirl. If for no other reason than that I NEVER get to do something with just one of the twins like this. I don't even get to go to the grocery store with just one twin. So I thought Andrew would get a kick out of being the 'one and only' with Mommy for an hour.

When we arrived, a bunch of barefaced women wearing wool sweaters and Tevas with socks were sitting around discussing the trials of cloth diapers and 'babywearing.' I was in full makeup, slacks and a cardigan. They looked at me and smiled and we made polite small talk until class started. I must say, I judged them pretty quickly. They were Granolas. Which is not necessarily a negative thing. I just am not one of 'them.' Granolas are the moms who walk everywhere, wear their babies in a hard-to-wind sling until they're 3, breastfeed graphically in public (also until the child is near 3.) They wear the aformentioned Tevas year-round usually with cargo pants or cargo shorts, weather-permitting. They don't wear makeup, they use cloth diapers, they buy organic. These are the moms who made me feel like crap for not making my own baby food, giving up on breastfeeding before my kids were in kindergarten, and ruining the Earth with my giant minivan. I figured we would have nothing in common. My experience with the Granolas hasn't been entirely positive. Usually I find myself feeling terribly inadequate, feeling overdressed, feeling like I have somehow cheated my children by giving them store-bought baby food and formula. I was prepared for the worst.

BUT... I was pleasantly surprised. One of the little girls started to throw a huge tantrum in the middle of the class. We're talking a huge, on the floor, kicking, screaming, snot-all-over meltdown. As this was happening, I saw on her mother's face the same thing I feel when one of my kids do something similar. She was embarrassed and at a loss for what to do. I felt an immediate kinship to her; usually it's my kid who's throwing the fit. After the class, the Granolas and I sat around and chatted. They had the same problems with their kids that I struggle through with mine. (In spite of the cloth diapers and gluten-free diets.) They weren't looking down their noses at me in my man-made fiber clothing. They were genuinely interested in me and Andrew. They were all without words, mouths hanging open for a bit when I told them that I had 5 kids. Then they all told me how I didn't look old enough to have 5 kids. :-) Maybe the Granolas aren't so bad after all!