Friday, February 15, 2008

Sisters in my village

Well, I had another opportunity to try out village life this week.

My best friend growing up became a nun, and she and her sister superior came to stay with us for a night on their way back home from a mission. While my friend and I and another local friend of both of ours gabbed, and Sam cooked for all of us, the fellow sister kept patiently and persistently offering to keep Mikko happy.

I don't like to impose, and I wanted to be a good host, but Sister made it at least seem like she really would rather be playing with Mikko than anything else. She held him and sang to him and showed him his toys one by one, picking up any that fell (and even cleaning all of them up at the end of the day!).

The songs she sang were rhythmic and repetitive and entirely captivating, and I need to learn more like that. Mikko's favorite song we sing, despite my prenatal resolve to be sophisticated with him musically, is "Old MacDonald." These songs were similar -- a simple tune with uncomplicated lyrics that had a slight change for each verse, and endless possibilities for making up your own verses should the need arise (and it often does).

I was able to enjoy my time with my friend, eat a meal with two hands (at nearly the same time as Sam!), and still be present with my baby. I could take him back for a feed or change or cuddle, but he was really quite content with this lovely Sister, who reportedly has many a niece and nephew to have honed her skills on.

I think parenting would be a whole heck of a lot easier if there were always gentle hands around to hold a baby, or older kids to play with and lots of people to supervise, so that it's not up to one or two people (usually the mother, in my case both parents) to put their life on hold to raise a single child alone, to be all things to that child.

I think I could be more fully focused on Mikko if I knew it didn't have to be constant. As it is, I'm continually distracted, trying to do "useful" things (like type) while I spend time with him, tossing off a few sentences to him here and there and becoming exasperated when his frustration keeps me entirely from the task I'm trying to complete. It would be nice to know you would have several breaks a day, not including nap times, and that you wouldn't have to feel guilty about continuing to go about your adult life.

The universe is infinite, as Scott Noelle likes to put it, and part of that abundance is the 6.6 billion people on the planet. I just wish I had more of them around me while I'm doing this parenting thing. It feels really nice when I do.


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