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Ramona Baby!

The kingdom of God comes through the smallest of things: the grain of mustard, the dash of yeast, the tiniest of babies.

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shut it down

kudos to all of you who get the above liz lemon reference.

 

so, i feel kinda weird having 2 blogs, when i only have 1 life. i assumed i would just write on here about all things baby, and people who were interested in that kinda stuff could read it here. and i would write about everything else at the Little Somalia blog.

but life isn’t compartmentalized, and it is all the same 3 people reading anyways.

plus, i have been getting really weird spam on this site, which creeps me out.

and so–shut it down.

or just re-direct, more like.

i will continue to blog about ramona, the kingdom of god, and the evils of nestle here.

ps, on a side note, for all those who wonder:

is blogging about my baby exploitive? here is my answer in a nutshell:

a little. and as ramona gets older i will definitely try to stay in the realm of we only tell cute little anecdotes. but honestly, i blog about babies because i think there needs to be a lot more transparency and honesty in the world of mothers (and fathers). everybody is always walking around like they got it all perfect, and i just want to be someone who says, occasionally, hey–this is pretty much the roughest thing ever. and it is worth it.

and, of course, i always want to remind people that the kingdom of god comes through babies.

see you in little somalia!

Baby Dedication

Ramona got dedicated at church last Sunday.

For months I had dreamed of this moment: sharing with the church how much we had appreciated their prayers in our hour of need, the grace that was given to us, the solid little squaker who is now 5x her birth weight.

But Krispin, in the heat of the moment, said what he had to say (which was good, I will grant him that) and passed the microphone back to the pastor, who said : “let us pray”.

And that was that. The mother does not get a say.

So. Here is what I would have said, had been thinking about saying for the past 9 months:

When Ramona was born so tiny, we were afraid. But God has promised to bring big things from such a tiny package.

The kingdom of God comes through babies.

It comes in a myriad of ways. PArtly, it comes by refining us, the parents. Nine months in and we are already more patient, less selfish people. We have been faced with our grumpy, sleep-deprived selves every morning and come to grips what it is like to experience trauma and small tragedies. We have more faith in a plan that is much bigger than us and much, much, much more respect for all the other mothers (and fathers).

The kingdom is also going to come through Ramona. We don’t know how yet, but she is part of God’s plan.

And to all the parent’s out there, in the throes of chaos:

You are bringing the kingdom as well.

And that’s what I would have said.

I already murdered Krispin several times in my head (and then repented–OK?) and he feels really bad about his flustered mistake.

And I already pointed out that Krispin himself (on this very blog!) said that he wanted to use this baby dedication as a way to empower women.

Ha!

In other news, Ramona went on her first hike to Multnomah falls.

glowing.

And check out this shot of the falls:

The K Mayfields are moving to Phoenix this week. Ramona is going to miss her Nai Nai, Grandpa, and two lovely aunties. But we will enjoy visiting in the dead of winter!

life is like an apartment full of various purses.

at least we remembered the sun hat.

some thoughts:

1. my life can be summed up by the metaphor of purses.

i was trying to explain to krispin how i felt so exhausted the other day trying to find my lip balm. the thing is, my lip balm could be in any of the various bags and purses strewn throughout the apartment, and i just didn’t have the energy to go rummaging through them all.

i have the diaper bag, of course, which is my purse most days but is also the walking fun-bag for the ramona baby (and i mean that in 2 ways, both toy and formula related). we could live out of that bag for a week in the wilderness. we are just that prepared.

i have my school backpack (yes i am the teacher now and i still lug a backpack around. i am really trying to upgrade this one but have yet to find anything functional yet) which is crammed with so many dry erase markers and random short-vowel sound flash cards it makes my head hurt

i have my community english class tote, which is filled with crumpled pages, random esl books, and several very slobbered upon toys. also keys.

and then, for the precious times when i go out sans baby/class to teach i carry a . . . . nothing. i just stick a couple of things (debit card, id, cash [yeah right, who carries cash anymore] cell phone) in the pocket of whatever pants/sweatshirt/jacket i happen to be wearing. i should probably get some sort of small purse for these occasions, but i love the illusion of being unencumbered.

so, when i need my lip gloss (or keys or phone or driver’s license or or or) i have to run through a checklist of what i did last and where i am going next and this just reminds me of the one hundred other checklists that all need to be completed at some point before the next thing happens (diapers? wipes? lesson plan? worksheets printed? breath mints? water bottle? sun hat? dark chocolate? current episodes of Fresh Air on my ipod?). which part of my life am i living right now? which bag do i need.

see, it’s all a metaphor. but also, i really do have a bunch of different bags with a bunch of different crap in them. and it makes me feel tired sometimes.

2. i HATE developmental surveys.

the drs. office called yesterday and said we needed to fill out a 10 month questionnaire before ramona’s appointment today. i could feel my heart sinking as i read over the questions and mentally checked 90% of the boxes as “not yet” (they should have been marked NO, NO MY BABY DOES NOT DO THAT–insert normal behavior here–SO SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG, RIGHT? that was what i was getting).

and again, i know that she is not THAT behind, but it still is aggravating to be rudely poked out of the bubble that we have built for ourselves. that there is some catching up to do.

3. there is nothing that makes my feel more accomplished than multi-tasking. because usually i am crap at it (just try asking anyone who has tried to have a conversation with me while i am reading).

me and krispin have been trying to get more in shape for the past several months, and i was always slightly resentful to spend precious nap-time minutes on sweating it up.

so, i stole my mom’s jogging stroller and ramona and i have been hitting the town! i am extremely excited to

a. get out in the sunshine (which is a double yay, since there has actually been some to be out in recently!)

b. keep the ramona baby somewhat happy during waking hours

c. PHYSICAL FITNESS!

so, we pretty much feel awesome.

and there are my random thoughts for the week. now, we are off to the drs. to hopefully not get traumatized but rather encouraged. and then multnomah falls! let’s bring on the summer.

Princess Propeganda

A couple of weeks ago I read the book Cinderella Ate my Daughter: Dispatches from the new Girlie-Girl Culture and it pretty much terrified me.

I have a 9 month old daughter, and already I am worried about the implications of our culture’s obsession with gender disparity.

Think I’m overreacting? When was the last time you stepped into a Pottery Barn Kids? OK, if you are like me the answer is never. But trust me, you should. As Peggy Orenstein, the author of the above book says, it’s like apartheid in there. Pink and purple and flowers and fairy’s for girls–blue and green and sailboats and trucks for boys. But really, you could go into any major toy store and notice the difference. Being obsessed with princess culture is now an established rite of passage for any girl in America, and it is seemingly inescapable.

But why should I care if my daughter loves princesses and all that comes with it? Is there anything so wrong about glitz and glitter and pastels and wands and dressing up? Am I just turning into one of “those” mothers who don’t let their kids watch T.V. and only serve PB&J’s on sprouted-whole-wheat bread? Do I just need to take a deep breath and calm down?

Perhaps.

But maybe my unease with the girlie-girl phenomenon is coming from a real need to understand gender differences as they relate to both me and my daughter.

The problem of princess propaganda lies in the narrowing of what little girls choose to play with, the narrowing of the stories they reenact, the messages they are told that define what a girl is. When I was little, I rode a gray bike, played with dolls and stuffed rabbits equally, and generally mucked around outdoors all the time. I loved Disney movies like any good American child, but I remember distinctly only pretending to be Ariel as a mermaid. As soon as she got legs and lost her voice she was boring. Does this make me a tomboy? Compared to little girls today, it does. By catering to what little girls want, companies have systematically eliminated all but the best-sellers from their toy lines. And princesses sell a lot of sippy cups.

Why does this happen? It’s no coincidence that marketers are targeting younger and younger children. As they leave toddlerhood, children enter a stage where rigidity is important in all areas, including ideas about gender. If you are a little girl and a princess is upheld to be the epitome of femininity, then that is what you will want to strive for. Or else, in the mind of a four-year-old, you aren’t a little girl. Playing princess and waving wands is not exactly harmful, but the progression of always striving to conform to the societal representation of femininity is not something that any mother wishes for her daughter. Disney Princesses lead to Barbies which lead to Bratz dolls which lead to Britney Spears (or Miley or whoever the next fallen starlet is).

Growing up in the church I was raised with rather conflicting messages about femininity. By the end of a couple of years of Bible college I felt like the church, much like the pigs in Animal Farm, was telling me that God created all of us equal, but that some of us were more equal than others. Women were created in the image of God, but were not allowed to be the head preacher. Women were given the gifts of the Spirit, but were more prone to emotionalism and more easily deceived than our brethren.

I am starting to wonder if my ideas about women being inferior to men have led me to eschew the more obvious aspects of girlie-girl culture. I rail against Cinderella not because there is anything inherently wrong with the story–rather, it so neatly sums up a narrative that I see as too feminine. If men and women are not equal, then I want to be on the winning side. Forget princesses and their boring waiting games. I want action!

So obviously, I am a nut job and have somehow linked Disney with complementarian theology.

But seriously, does anyone else think about these things?

Lucky for me God is using all of my reading and pondering to heal some things and to help me identify some lies that I swallowed unconsciously for a very, very long time (for the record, my parents have never taught me that girls are inferior in any way, shape or form. In fact, my mom is one of my heroes, for she is both sassy and deeply spiritual).

What are your thoughts? If we focus too much on princesses, do we set girls up for a life based on rigid cultural expectations? If we go too far the other way do we teach girls to de-value the feminine aspects of themselves?

dad blog

So Danielle is letting me have a little guest post on her mom blog, so I could share a thought about her upcoming dedication. I’ve been thinking about what to say, or even gathering a framework of what a baby dedication looks like. Am I supposed to say something? Or is it up to the pastor? Considering The Well, I assume that whatever we want will go over fine.

Anyway, I’ve thought about infusing it with our ideals. Something like, “We are praying that Ramona will grow up not to be a ‘woman of God,’ but a person of God,” and reference Galations 3:28. Or something about her growing up to be Christian pacifist – which might have been tough to fit into a baby dedication, but I thought we could pull it off somehow.

I think our prayer is just that Ray Ray is close to Jesus, whether or not she leads protests against anti-immigrant legislation or becomes the pastor of a church. I just recently re-realized that being close to Jesus is very, very important. Ever since I became a dad, I’ve been very concerned with being a good dad, and husband, and group leader (not that I succeeded very well). It became survival mode. In the end I figured out that being close to and having time for Jesus is most important, or else everything else falls apart. And this is what I hope Ramona learns.

I would like to add that it feels strange that we’re going to dedicating Ramona at church, just because every other baby dedication I’ve seen has dads that are over a decade older than me. I feel like we’re going to look like a couple of misdirected kids up front. But I think we’re doing alright — even though last night I may have been a little to set on waiting until 5:00am to feed her when she was screaming at 4:00. Mostly we’re good parents because Danielle is an amazing mom, and don’t let her tell you otherwise.

babies.

For Mother’s Day last year, Krispin and I took my mom out to see the movie Babies. It was poignant, see, because I was 4 months preggo at the time.

Crazy to think that this mother’s day I have an 8 month old baby.

For this Mother’s Day we decided to incorporate last year’s gift into this years.

And, viola! (did I spell that right?):


i just want to add that there is no video footage of her in the hospital (we were too tired and traumatized) and no footage of the period between 3-6 months due to the months the locusts ate colic.

happy early mother’s day, ya’ll.

peeps.

easter. a magical time of marshmallows and chocolate and pastels and candy and eggs and plastic and . . . .

ug. easter is kind of gross when you take all the spiritual imagery out of it. this year krispin and i discussed what we can do for ramona to help her know what an important day of celebration it is for christians. and as much nostalgia as we have for our own childhoods full of easter baskets and egg hunts, we all realize that it makes for a certain sense of confusion when we try to cram a bunch of holy rituals into a sugar-coma crazed day.

but besides that pressing theological question, we had a lovely and relaxing easter with the whole family.

here is a picture of ramona in her easter dress (she had three–this is the one grammi bought her and the one i was forced chose to dress her in on the big day):

what a cute baby.

you would never guess that this happy creature could have slept 12 hours last night and is now screaming bloody murder all through her afternoon nap. sigh. babies are anything if not consistent.

here is a more up-to-the minute pic:

ah well. at least now you can see a hint of my new “mom hair”.

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