16 August 2014

Seven Late Takes about two-isms and Saturdays

Little Bear doesn't have a problem knowing how letters are supposed to be pronounced; he just pronounces them however he wants anyway. This became more apparent the other day when he brought me the book Blueberries for Sal and asked to sit on my lap and hear it: "Sal! Wop." Really, child? "Wop"? Don't try to tell me that you can't pronounce l's and a's, because you just said "Sal" perfectly.

This week, I finally stopped saying the sign of the cross for him while I moved his hands and instead asked him to say the words himself, and he knew them all with very little prompting. I start him with "In the name of the..." and he fills in "fawa, hon, howa piwit, Amen!" with a huge smile on his face. Yesterday at the end of Mass we found ourselves in the vestibule while they droned through unnecessary announcements, and Little Bear was very happy to keep dipping his finger in the holy water font and making the sign of the cross over and over.

My favorite of his mispronunciations, though, has to be thermometer: he calls it a "wampa," pronounced exactly like the Star Wars snow monster. It's just too funny to hear myself slipping into his pronunciation and saying things like "Sit still so I can put the wampa on your head," or "No, we can't play with the wampa; it's bed time."

Thursday night when we were trying to put him to bed, Little Bear decided that it was the perfect time to practice counting. "One car, two car. One bus, two bus. One car, two car, three car, four car, five car, ten car!" Kind of like counting sheep? Maybe. It took quite a while for me to get him quiet enough to fall asleep, but it worked for somebody: Matt fell asleep while Little Bear was still counting. 

Matt's been home from work recovering since his oral surgery on Wednesday, and at this point I well and truly don't know what day it is. Wednesday felt like Saturday, because he was home. Thursday felt like Saturday again. Friday felt like Sunday, because we went to Mass midday. And now today's Saturday again? My internal calendar is so confused, especially because Matt was gone when Little Bear and I got up this morning. He and my brother left at 6:00 am to go grouse hunting again, so when I woke up at 7:30 and he was gone, I initially assumed that today was Monday. Long weekends sound so nice in theory, but before they're over I always find myself wishing for the stability and rhythm of a normal week.

What is your Saturday philosophy? Every Friday night or Saturday morning, I write out a list of everything that needs to be done over the weekend, and I try to cross everything off of the list on Saturday—preferably, Saturday morning. And every weekend, Matt sees my list and groans because to him, the weekend is for relaxing, and a few things will get done but they should be spread out over the weekend so overall it's still relaxed. I can understand his perspective; he went to work all week, and played with Little Bear or helped in the kitchen when he got home each night, and now he wants a break. And he knows that I work around the house all week while he's gone, so he wants me to take a break too; he's not just expecting me to work on Saturdays so he can rest. 

But if there are things to be done, I can't just sit down and relax. That's not how I'm made; I can't relax when my house is a mess and I'm aware of chores waiting for me. And so I feel guilty for having so much to do on the weekends, but it's hard for me to express to someone who hasn't experienced it just how difficult it is to accomplish actual housework during the week when every ten minutes there's another mess to clean up, or stinky diaper to change, or toddler hanging on my knees and whining because he wants to flick the light switch on and off. I don't think it's actually possible to keep the house perfect and take care of a toddler all day by yourself. So there's always a pile of chores left over by Friday night.

And to me, cleaning the house and doing chores that could have been accomplished on Saturday isn't Sunday-day-of-rest behavior. Just because I've already dusted, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, taken out the trash, etc., by midday Saturday doesn't mean that I should just put off whatever else is on the list until Sunday when I could do it Saturday afternoon. To my mind, at least. Growing up, my siblings and I had a strong sense of Sundays as being different, a day of rest, because we had Saturdays as an immediate comparison: Saturdays were for working. Housework in the morning, yard work in the afternoon, or in the evening once we were in high school and had jobs Saturday afternoons. Sundays were for Mass, family time, reading and relaxing and getting out in the woods and doing enjoyable things. And that's a distinction I'd really like Little Bear to have as he grows up, too.

Have a good weekend! For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! 


  1. I wish I had a good answer to 6 and 7.

    The way I see it, my full-time job is taking care of the baby. While it's true that I can get other things done while I'm home with him, it's not a guarantee if he's having a fussy day. Plus I handle all the night wakings (the trials of a breastfeeding mom with a heavy sleeper husband...), so I think altogether that adds up to at least 40 hours a week.

    Meanwhile, Scott has his own full-time job. And then housework is like a third full-time job on top of those two. I think he does realize that cooking meals, doing dishes, etc, is a lot of work and it shouldn't all be on me, but he gets worn out at his job and tries to spend his free time looking for another job (because we're losing money every month with the one he has now and we both know it'd be a terrible idea for me to try to find a job) and/or work on freelance projects that might someday somehow make money.

    So on Saturdays I'm desperately trying to catch up on everything that went undone during the week and so is he, but if you don't know that it sure looks like he's sitting at his computer messing around while I race around doing chores with a baby hanging off my skirt.

    The typical "lower your standards" advice doesn't work either; there's only so far I can lower my standards before the health department gets involved. Plus cooking from scratch generates a lot of the work (both the cooking and the cleaning up afterwards), and I need to do that in order to save us money. If we ate frozen pizza every day that would certainly cut down on housework, but it's not viable for other reasons.

    So basically I need a house elf. And now I will stop filling up your combox.

    1. A house elf is an excellent idea. Living so close to the North Pole, you'd think I wouldn't have trouble finding one... I guess they all want to work in the toy factory instead.

      Taking care of the little ones really is a full-time job in itself, but it can be hard to remember that when I'm looking at the apartment and asking myself how it can look like this if I've been working all day!

  2. I try to get my chores done during the week. I have my week organized that I do certain chores per day (for example, Mondays I always do a load of laundry, scrub the tub, and dust the house). But my philosophy is that if I don't have time to do it, I just let it go. I don't put it off for another day or Saturday. It can get done another Monday. It's taken a long time to of tweaking the list to get something that works, and I still continue to change things as our circumstances change. (for example, right now I'm alternating scrubbing the tub or dusting on Mondays because I'm just too tired right now to keep up with ALL the chores every week, plus the kids, plus meals....) So if I find there is a certain chore that is constantly being skipped because of time, then I try to put it on another day and see if that works better. And I do have some chores that I do on Saturday. I vacuum the living room and sweep and mop the kitchen. (it's my only mop day of the week, and one of two vacuum days)

    So basically, I do what I can and try to arrange it in a manner that it'll get done, but don't stress out if it doesn't. It's taken some adjustment on me being ok that something didn't get done and John being ok that I just didn't have time to vacuum this week. And there are no unnecessary chores scheduled on Sunday, of course. (I do still have to feed the animals, prepare and clean meals, and keep the kids alive. ;) )

    Other things, such as canning, get done where I can fit them in my schedule. Sometimes it's on Saturday, sometimes it's during the week. Sometimes chores get skipped so I can do extra things, like the canning. Laundry doesn't ever get skipped, and neither does grocery shopping. :)

    1. I have the big chores assigned to particular days as well: laundry on Monday and Thursday, dusting and vacuuming on Tuesday and Friday, and cleaning the bathroom Wednesday and Saturday.... theoretically. I usually wind up keeping up well through Thursday, maybe not always managing to do a thorough cleaning of the bathroom on Wednesday, but then Friday gets crazy somehow or I'm just too tired and suddenly I'm dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom Saturday, along with anything that requires two adults to be home for—jobs that actually take both of us as well as jobs that require someone else to keep Little Bear distracted and out from underfoot.