Shared cooking, nursing, preschool, kids’ owies

Today Ted and I coordinated in the morning to make a beef stew. Between us we got the meat browned, the veggies chopped and softened, and then the pot of stew in the oven for three hours. Our nanny assisted by finishing the chopping of the kale and getting that into the pot 30 minutes before the stew was done cooking. Sometimes it takes a village even just to prepare a meal, let alone anything more complicated. What was awesome was that because of our cleaning up yesterday there were vast acres of clear counter space gleaming invitingly, which made it much easier to cook together.

This afternoon at naptime Emily refused to nurse for the third time in a row. She did eventually nurse for a couple of minutes tonight, but right now it seems like her nursing days might be drawing to a close. I am extremely grateful that we’ve made it this far, of course, but I will be sad if/when she’s done. I love the bonding and the closeness, her smiles just before she latches on, and the sight of my two sweet twins nursing together. I do think it’s possible that what’s going on in a larger sense is her resistance to sleep: very often she’s engaged and doing stuff, and doesn’t want to quit to close her eyes. Nursing is part of that train, part of lying down and relaxing. Emily is a do-er, a go-er, an energetic soul. Tonight I remembered not to ask her more than twice (that’s the guideline we use in our house, so that we’re not pestering each other), and the second time, after a lot of books and quite a bit of time with her sitting in my lap, she said, “Yes”. I will focus on being grateful for each yes, for all the time we’ve spent together in this nurturing way, for all I’ve been able to give her. And I’ll give myself permission to feel the sadness at the passing of a major milestone when it happens, as it will. Childhood is full of gains and losses, just like life in general. I think it’s important to celebrate the former and allow oneself time and space to mourn the latter. It’s all part of being alive.

Tonight toward the end of my last lesson Hazel came running in crying. She’d fallen down at the end of Coop and skinned her knee, and was very upset about it. I hugged her, told her I was sorry she’d hurt herself and sent her upstairs to Ted to get her knee cleaned off. Then, while my student and I finished the last ten minutes of her lesson we were regaled with screams and sobs from upstairs. Poor baby. When I came upstairs, though, she proudly showed me her Snoopy Band-Aid, and only intermittently told me she couldn’t walk or bend her knee.

I think we’re not going to be able to continue that preschool for too much longer. It ends too late for our new, earlier bedtime, and when the kids come home they’re so exhausted that bedtime often becomes a battle. Next year we’ll have Wednesday nights together as a family, after I change my schedule around. I’m looking forward to that, though the kids will miss the Coop. They do love it. Sometimes you’ve got to let something go in order for something else to happen. More loss and gain…

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