Monday, December 2, 2013

Learning to be still

One of my talents is not being still. Not by voluntary choice or by any sort of sadistic desire, my day begins at 4 or 4:30 am daily, and I have to hit the ground running. My younger two children nurse, sit on the potty and have their first table-food meal first thing in the morning. While I am tending those two, I also have to get the older two children up. Why can't they be quick to rise like the younger two?! I have to make sure they get up (and stay up) and start getting ready for school - go to the bathroom, change into their uniforms, place their water bottle and snacks in their school bags, place their school bags next to the door to the garage, and sit at the table for breakfast. There isn't much time for lollygagging, because there is a long drive ahead to get the girls to their language-immersion school that is 35-40 minutes away from doorstep to doorstep. Meanwhile, I have to do something with all the dirty dishes, bibs, and stuff accrued from the first breakfast; diaper the twins, and wash out their potties; and try to hurry everyone along to get situated in the car. The girls, besides being easily distracted and wanting to play constantly, for the most part, are reliable to get themselves into the car and buckled in. But, the twins are old enough to want to exercise autonomy but young enough to not be big enough, strong enough, or coordinated enough to do what the girls can do (put on their own shoes, get into the car, buckle their own seat belt without assistance). All along the process of getting ready, I am constantly reminding the children to hurry. Hurry! Hurry. HURRY!

After hustling the older two to school and coming back, the twins go back on their own potty, have a second breakfast, while I am working, cooking, washing dishes, and doing a bunch of other things. Because I am jamming so much within a small amount of time, I am already exhausted by the time it is time to pick up the girls from school mid-afternoon. But, tired or not, the work for the day isn't even half done. There is food that needs to be cooked, homework that needs to be done, violin practice that needs to be guided, babies that need to be supervised on the potty, mouths to be fed, reading that needs to done, and little persons to ready for bed. When all four are in bed, there is work (as well as housework) that hasn't been done, that needs to be done.

Be still? I seemingly cannot afford to be still. Yet, I am recognizing the need to be still, for my sake as well as for the sake of those around me. If I cannot afford half a day of being still, I can try for less. Even an hour seems much more than I can accommodate with such young children's constant needs. Perhaps I can start with ten minutes. Daily, initially, would be unrealistic. Perhaps I can aim for 10 minutes of being still once a week at the onset and gradually increase the frequency and duration from there.

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