Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Some days...

You know, there is a reason women like going to work. Work feels productive. When I was teaching, there were lovely measurable results pretty much every day. The kids learned ten more measures of a new song. Or I got a pile of papers graded and returned, never to look at them again. Or a fundraising letter was written and sent out. There were always things on my list, but they got crossed off and when they were crossed off they were really crossed off.

Motherhood and homemaking just isn’t like that. I’ve been up for six hours now. They’ve been a remarkably busy and “productive” six hours. But every single thing that I’ve crossed off my list will simply be written down on it again tomorrow. I’ve made breakfast, taken a shower (yes, it has to be on my list or it may not happen!), washed the dishes, emptied the dishwasher, picked up the family room, taken out the trash, made dinner, washed the dishes again, nursed Jonathan twice, fed solids for breakfast, played tickle games and read books and listened to music with him, started the first of at least three loads of laundry that must be done today.

All good and necessary things – all part of my life now. And most of the time I can be content and satisfied in the comfort of such a routine. I guess it just gets to me, occasionally: does it really matter that I’ve done the dishes for the 25th time this week? Does it matter that the laundry is started again, two days since the last time and knowing that I’ll be doing it again on Friday? Does it matter that I’ve read “Where is the Duck” to Jonathan for the umpteenth time?

Now that I’ve written it out, I think I may have just convinced myself that it does. :)

I’m glad that dishes are done because I like looking at a clean kitchen sink. I really don’t want to send Gabe to work in dirty clothes, or pay for disposable diapers, so I’m glad I started the laundry. I hope that Jonathan will enjoy books as much as Gabe and I do, so I’m glad that I read “Where is the Duck” again. And I do care that my family has healthy food to eat, so I’m glad I took the time to make dinner for us and smashed pumpkin for Jonathan.

If I was working, too, I’d probably go mad trying to do dishes, meals, reading, pick up, play, and (ha!) showers on top of the eight hour day.

Why is it so hard to remember this, some days?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Pulling up!

Yup, folks, he's done it! Jonathan pulled himself to a standing position this morning - not once but twice! Gabe and I watched and applauded. :)

It's funny how inordinately proud we are of our kidling. I mean, every baby figures this out eventually, but OUR baby is obviously brilliant to figure it out, right? :)


Friday, December 16, 2005

New phase

In the past week or so, Jonathan suddenly became really fun to play with. Before I enjoyed taking care of him, and we'd "play" learning games and such, but all of a sudden he's just fun. I find that I spend much of my day sitting on the floor with him - reading, rolling balls, playing peek-a-boo, clapping hands, watching him discover his world, and letting him use me as his personal jungle gym. We have such a great time I find I don't want to do my chores!

I think that's a pretty good place to be, as a SAHM. I'm glad that God has blessed me with Jonathan, and with a content spirit so that I can enjoy him.

Help, please?

I'm trying to remember a song. Part of it goes like this:

Home from the river they would go
Wibble wobble wibble wobble to and fro
But the ___ _____ duck with the feather on his back
He led the others with a quack quack quack.

Does anyone remember the rest of it? Or what it is called?


Jonathan has decided that he must bonk his head into every large new object he finds. Usually he is careful, and bonks gently - but not always. And he is so grieved when such an interesting object bonks him!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So funny!

Watching Jonathan crawl backwards is laugh-out-loud funny. I wish you all could see it!

The flip side of the evening

So the concert was great. Leaving Jonathan to go to the concert was not so great. We left him with Justy, (a high school student at our church) which was nice because I have a lot of confidence in her. She’s one of those sorts of people who acts about three years older than she actually is.

Unfortunately, Jonathan seems to be in a stage of life where Mommy not being within sight (or better yet, arms reach) means the world just came to an end. We left at 4:30pm, and he cried, with one short break to eat some smashed peas, until 6:30pm. That was when he fell asleep. Poor kid! Poor Justy!

So this morning I've been wondering: is part of being a good parent right now accepting that Jonathan doesn't understand that we're coming back, and therefore not going away for long periods of time? Or is this just something that he will learn eventually, if we do it? Gabe and I have a few movies in mind that we'd like to go see, and a friend has even offered to babysit so that we can...but now I'm wondering if it's fair to Jonathan to do so. Thoughts?

An evening out!

Friends of ours from church took us out to a concert last night. It was so much fun – I haven’t been to a “real” concert (i.e. not high schoolers!) since…hmmm…maybe not since college. It was in the Disney concert hall, which really is as cool as they said it was going to be. Their organ is to die for. And the acoustics are such that the small string ensemble just seemed to sparkle with brilliance. It wasn’t as good for the LA Master Chorale, but they are extremely competent and could probably sound good in a tin bucket.

On the program: Bach’s 5th Christmas cantata (yay!), another Christmas cantata by one of his contemporaries, a Jewish composition (current) and a variety of carol arrangements. Really delightful, particularly the Bach. I also especially liked an arrangement of “Lo, How a Rose, Ere Blooming”. The arranger was intelligent enough to realize that you can’t improve on the original, so he didn’t change anything for the first verse. That is, hands down, my very favorite Christmas piece, so I particularly appreciated his choice. The rest of the verses were quite nicely arranged, and I enjoyed them, too, of course!

Now, I just have to comment on the program notes. They were HIDEOUS. I should say that again. Hideous. JAC warned me, but I had to read them for myself. For the rest of you…don’t ever subject yourself to anything by Victoria Looseleaf. Except for a few excerpts, which I am now going to post for your daily dose of laughter (you have to laugh – otherwise you’d just cry or get mad.)

She opened her notes with the lovely assertion that “Were he alive today, his popularity would, no doubt, rival that of Diddy, Bono and the Pope, his image beamed world-wide in media of all stripes: In Times Square, 20 stories high, that famous wiggy silhouette dances joyously with an iPod; he’s also smiling haughtily from the pages of Vogue under the banner, ‘What becomes a legend most.’”

Right. This is drivel, certainly. But it gets worse.

She is talking about J.S. Bach.

Did you know that he is “the original sonic blingmeister”? What is that, anyway?

Ok, it gets better. I mean worse. The next object of her rambling is Buxtehude, a Bach contemporary.

“After all, Buxtehude put in nearly 40 years at St. Mary’s in Lubeck, his musical autonomy a model for careers of later Baroque masters, including George Frideric Handel, with parallels today in Houston rapper Bun B paving the path for Slim Thug.”

Yes, you read that right. She just “paralleled” Buxtehude, Handel, and rappers.

I could do this with most of the program notes. They’re just awful! I think the only thing in them that actually (had she elaborated on it) could have helped me was the statement that the Bach cantata is “predominantly in A major”. Now there is a fact! Everything else was just…drivel. And not even the high brow “I’m smarter than you and if you were just one of the elite you would understand” drivel…just plain old drivel.

It’s too bad for the LA Master Chorale. They really deserved better, because the concert was quite good. You should all go to one of their Christmas season concerts. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2005



Well, it's a start, eh?

He's also mastered the skill of moving from a sitting position to his tummy, and then pushing himself back UP to a sitting position again. It's pretty impressive to watch him do it.

Crawl, kid, crawl!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bach's Christmas Oratorios

Today was the first meeting of the Bach Listening Group (through Torrey, but extracurricular). I am so very glad that I participated. It was delightful to get together with a group of people who all love Bach as much as I do, and (being Torrey-ites) know how to discuss! We were discussing from both a textual and musical standpoint, and it was so interesting to hear all the different perspectives (music majors, music grads, non-music majors, tutors). Everyone had something to contribute, and I was really impressed by the insight that was shared this afternoon.

There is so much atonement theology in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (or Cantatas, as you choose to think of them). At face value, the way most people listen to music, it’s just nice Christmas music with perhaps one hymn that is recognizable. But there is SO MUCH IN THIS MUSIC! Bach was so steeped in music and Lutheran theology that he just sort of breathed the theology into all of his music, probably without consciously doing so. The result is music that flawlessly expresses theologically beautiful text. Did you know that the soprano and bass duets are beautifully symbolic of heaven and earth, and particularly atonement focused? You see it in quite a few different ways: a soprano/bass duet about how Christ “came to earth poor” in order to “make us rich in heaven”; a bass recitative saying “Thus rightly, you angels, rejoice and sing…we play along with you; we can celebrate just as you do”; a duet that among other things proclaims “Jesus, O my dearest life, bridegroom of my soul…when I die, I know that I will not perish.” Do you see how they are blended together, and the earth (the bass) brought up to heaven?

I can’t do justice, here, to the depth of meaning that is present in these cantatas. It is stunning.

One of my very favorite parts, (and you should all listen to it!) is the third cantata, 6th movement. The text is “Lord, your compassion, your mercy comforts us and makes us free. Your gracious favor and love, Your miraculous doings make Your fatherly loyalty new again.” The music is highly structured, but gives a sense of immense freedom…the kind that makes you think of skipping in a field of flowers or dancing under the stars. It reminds me of how I first experienced the liturgy. We can dance in this way when we live in the structure of God’s mercy and grace.

I tried to find a link online to that section, but evidently all the online bach gurus only like the chorales or don’t want to share. :) I’ll let you borrow my cd if you want to listen to it, ok?

Acrobatics and other news

This morning Jonathan decided that nursing prone (like usual) was just SO yesterday. The new and improved nursing position is sitting up. It made me laugh, and Jenn, it reminded me of Elisa’s style of nursing. :)

In other news, he is still working on crawling. Only, I he seems to be directionally challenged. He tries so hard to reach the toy in front of him, but usually only succeeds in moving farther away from it!

Today he has his first runny nose. Not a bad one, thank goodness, just enough to make us keep the kleenex handy. He’s a bit cranky because of it.

The sliding glass door is currently a source of great fascination. Jonathan has taken to leaning over towards it and very carefully bumping his head into the glass. I think he can’t quite figure out what it is, since it is clear. He doesn’t ever hit hard enough to cause pain…but he does cry from the frustration of not being able to go through it.