Yesterday found us riding the metro in to DC and going to the national zoo. As with all Smithsonian facilities, the zoo is free and awesome.
Though we came home more than 12 hours ago and I’ve had a good sleep…I am still tired. Winter’s inactivity has waned our stamina.
We took loads of photos…153 over the course of the whole weekend. 😀
I posted more of them to my Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/attachlings
Most of these are self-explanatory…animals and creative children 😀
This first one, though, deserves an explanation. This is part of a large mosaic near the entrance to the zoo. The first time we visited I was completely captured by this. So during this visit we made sure to get pix:
I also got pix of pandas, cheetahs and lots of birds…check out the Flickr link for more.
Less than two weeks now…if nothing changes…until we close on the house and move in. I’ve saved these pix because the kitchen is something I am deeply excited about.
Since nobody was sick and the weather was beautiful and sunny, the attachlings and I went exploring. Papa Chris happily brought us the van and we took him back to his office. And then we were off.
Our first destination was Chick-fil-a. Everyone was ready for lunch and then playtime. Though they are small, their playplaces are the best. They are kept quite clean and never have a funky smell, unlike other restaurants with similar areas for children.
The attachlings played together with one another and with anyone else who showed up. Fun.
After that we went to a regional park nearby. There the attachlings played at a playground where there was one other family. Nic found two boys close to his age and constantly tried to engage them. They complained much of being bored, but didn’t much want to cure their situation. Oh well, fun was had anyway.
Next we headed to Michael’s so I could pick up some more yarn. Next door was a Petco, so we went in there first. I used to take the boys to one of the pet supplies stores all the time. Back in those days I was usually picking up something for a cat or a dog, and visiting all the animals just made an errand into a fun trip. Right now we don’t have any pets (which is awesome.) So we just looked around. This Petco had fish, rats, birds and one flemish rabbit.
When we were done there, we went into Michael’s. There each child got a book and I got this:
After that we swung by Papa Chris’ office. It was only about 4:15 by then, but seemed like a good time to abduct him and start our weekend. 😀
And we did.
And we are.
Here are several shots of Whingari’s activities yesterday. Yep, there’s always at least one wardrobe change per day. Whingari loves yogurt, and is determined to eat it without assistance. This, quite inevitably, leads to yogurt on her clothes and a need for a new outfit.
As you can see, Whingari is a busy, creative child…just like her (too busy to have their pictures taken) brothers.
That would be me. I’m missing naptime. No, not a nap for me…I am not a napper. I mean Whingari.
Today is week 2 of the ‘no nap experiment’ for Whingari.
Over the past couple of months getting Whingari to sleep at night has been devolving. And she was my easiest getting-to-sleeper of the three of them.
Occassionally she would refuse to nap, and then go to bed easy and early that night. Lightbulb!
So now I don’t take her up to the bedroom after lunch. We just have some quieter time right then, when the boys play on the computer and Whingari and I read together, or she plays with me or on her own.
This has come on too fast for me. The boys each napped regularly well past their third birthdays. Whingari just turned 2 in December.
Of course she’s been on her own schedule since birth. She held her head up, sat up, walked and went diaper-free earliest too.
But I miss that quiet time. That’s when I could read or working on knitting that took more concentration.
However, the experiment seems to be working. Whingari has been almost begging to crawl into bed before 8pm. That’s a big improvement over not wanting to go to sleep even at 9 or later some nights.
Of course, we all have to deal with an increasingly cranky 2yo throughout the afternoon. But as with all things in life, it’s always a tradeoff.
Yesterday during this time, Whingari and I worked on building with a domino set and then she laid the tracks down for the train set (pix to follow.)
Once we move all the attachlings will be getting more physical activity daily…so there’s a chance Whingari will need to go back to napping. But for now, this is, apparently, the ‘new normal.’
Isn’t PBS wonderful?! Seriously, give me a good library, a good internet connection and PBS and I can find out whatever I need to know.
Anyway, a couple of nights ago, when the children had gone to sleep early (rare and appreciated!) Chris and I started watching this:
Not for Ourselves Alone
The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony
Of course I knew the basics of the women’s movement. I was a history major/minor in college. And I knew that Susan B Anthony was an important figure. I may have even heard the name Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but not known quite what her role was. But this wonderful program, brought to us by the awesomely talented Ken Burns, of course, helped to fill in the wide gaps of my knowledge.
(BTW, if you haven’t seen it, click on the photos of the ladies on the link above, it will start the program for you in your web browser.)
I didn’t watch all of it, as tiredness and a need to sleep before morning took over. But I intend to go to the site and watch the few chapters I missed.
I think all mamas and daughters will be benefitted by knowing this history, from within. All men and boy-children could learn plenty as well.
I learned that Lucretia Mott, well-known for her womens’ suffrage work, was also a fervent abolitionist. She was so firm in her beliefs that she refused to wear cotton or serve sugar…because both products depended on the work of slaves.
One of the many things that jumped out at me relates to my own live’s path. At one point the narrator was speaking of the life into which Elizabeth Cady (later to be Stanton) was born.
At the time when Elizabeth Cady was coming up and beginning her life as a young wife and mother, there was a phenomenon she dealt with called the ‘cult of true womanhood.’ (I am hoping I remembered that phrase correctly…I’ll come back later and correct if if I didn’t.)
Cult of True Womanhood had to do with the ways in which a woman had to behave in order to be accepted and respected. There were firm, even rigid, rules about what was appropriate, inappropriate, right, good, allowed and frowned-upon. Women had little power in these days, except over one another in terms of acceptance and rejection.
That got me thinking about a possible parallel to this time of mine…and the possible Cult of True Motherhood.
I see this in the ‘mommy wars’ that the media likes to make much of. I see this in the arguments about whether having a stay at home mother or working mother is best for children. I see this in arguments breastfeeding, co-sleeping, gentle discipline…
I don’t want to participate in a cult of mothering shoulds and reject or alienate women who are still learning, about themselves and being a mama. Nor do I wish to judge the choices of another mama, who has thought and learned and chosen what works best for she and her family.
Attachment parenting can sometimes be misinterpreted as a list of shoulds…instead of ideas about what other parents have found that work best for them.
Well, that’s where I am right now. I’m still thinking about this and thinking how I can be a better mama-sister to others, regardless of their family makeup or parental choices.
I’m thinking about how I can make sure that my choices are just that. They are not hard and fast rules about how other women must behave in order to gain my friendship or acceptance.
I feel that we, as mothers, as parents, are far stronger than we think we are. We are strong-enough to not let others (the media, outsiders, well-meaning relatives) pit us against one another.
If we remember that our group goal is to support one another on the path to making the best choices we can, individually, for the children…well, then they can’t touch us.
If we turn our backs on words of dissension and derision, ‘they’ will move on and we will be left to nuture our babies in peace.
ps — go check out the program…it’s worth your time. 😀
We are so at the mercy of the electronics around us, aren’t we?
I had just logged on this morning and taken a quick peek at my email, and then our connection was lost. Completely lost. The router wasn’t working.
I called the cable company and they confirmed…yep, no connection. So we scheduled an appt for a tech to come take a look tomorrow.
So I went on about my day, cooking, cleaning, reading to the attachlings.
Life wasn’t any quieter without the internet. These are very loud, passionate children, after all.
But just as inexplicably, right after lunch, the router came back online.
The boys are delighted, as they can log back on to lego.com which is probably their favorite virtual universe.
Me? I’m just glad that I don’t knit any faster, otherwise I would have run out of the handwritten instructions for the project that I’m working on now. Or maybe I should just be grateful that I wrote some of it down yesterday.
Either way. We’re back.
Yesterday was spent packing. Well, Chris and the boys packed. Whingari played nearby, thwarted some, helped some. I cleaned, cooked, ran errands. Then we gathered up the attachlings and took them to a playground. As it was a sunny, warming day, it seemed best for all of us.
Chris and I will have our 15th anniversary in June. And we’re still learning about one another and how to do all things cooperatively.
For example, I really don’t want to pack. I have been dreading it and avoiding it. And then it occurred to me, Chris is just itchin’ to pack. He looks to it rather eagerly and is ready to jump in. So I told him, ‘I’d rather do the dishes 10 times a day, plus all the cooking and cleaning than to do any packing.’ His response: ‘OK’ 😀
That’s part of the ‘dance.’ We don’t have to do equal shares of all the same things in order to maintain balance. We don’t have to worry about one partner doing more than the other or anyone feeling used. All we do have to do is express things to one another and find points of agreement.
If all goes well three weeks from right now Chris will be utilizing the commuter rail system for the first time to get to his office. But since he’ll have his laptop and a 3G wireless network card…he’ll be working whilst the train moves along.
This week? Packing, cleaning, cooking, reading, knitting, chasing attachlings around the apt (short trip.)
PS – – here are a few pix for you…
Yesterday we drove to Harper’s Ferry/Charlestown WV to start getting acclimated. When we moved to Maryland we had to try to figure things out and orient the boys via information we could get online. And then fill in the (huge) gaps once we got here.
This time, though, we are moving so nearby we can do it better.
Yesterday, then, we tried out a path between the house and a nearby train station, which is how Chris will commute to work. Have I mentioned how awesome a commuter rail system is. 😀
Then we stopped by the house and took pix and chatted about things like landscaping and property care. There are plenty of activities to keep the attachlings busy in the yard.
Then we went in search of our favorite pizza place in the area. The children LOVE Ledo’s Pizza and Chris had found that there was a location very close by. This is a serious thing, especially for Theo.
Ledo’s found. Pizza eaten. Family happy.
Next we went searching for a playground.
Playground found. Equipment explored. Children happy.
Then we found the Charlestown branch of the couny library system. It was closed for the day by then, but we got to see where it was.
Then the drive home. Two very tired short people slept while we drove.
Three weeks from right now we will have completed the closing and a huge chunk of the move — if all continues to develop as planned.
So three weeks from right now, we might be waking up for the first time in our new house.
I’ve had a hard time believing this is happening. I’ve had a hard time engaging in it. I think it’s because sometimes I feel I’ll be trapped in this tiny apt forever.
But it is coming and I am happy and eager and grateful.
Enjoy the pix,