I hated spending the money on snow tires back in October; we have four-wheel-drive, and we'd made it through the last two winters fine. And now that it's spring and I'm sitting here wasting two hours getting the snow tires taken off, I'm kind of inclined to be grumpy about having them all over again. But really, they did make a difference this year... In 4WD with the all-seasons, we did slide occasionally; we stayed home the one ice-storm day we had this winter, but apart from that we really didn't slide this winter, despite living farther out of town on less-maintained roads. So having the snow tires was worth the extra time and expense. And I'm trying to look at getting them switched out right now as a "break" instead of "sitting here wasting time."
Kids have a way of invalidating your opinions. Before Little Bear was born, I had the apartment perfectly silent all day long and I loved it, and thought that I could teach any kids to love silence too. Ha. Then there was my "definitely never co-sleeping" stance that ended abruptly within 12 hours of bringing Little Bear home from the hospital. I'm sure there have been plenty more, but the big one right now is preschool. Just a year ago, I would have been perfectly happy to explain to anyone who cared to listen why I didn't believe in preschool. Especially for 3-year-olds. But now here's Little Bear, who won't even be 3 until July, who several times a day brings me hand-me-down half-finished kindergarten workbooks from his aunts and uncles (which I brought home for him to use as coloring books) and begs, "School? We can do school now? Do more school please?" Nothing makes the boy happier than sitting down and having me watch him trace letters or numbers, color and count shapes, etc. I don't want to formally "do school" with him this young, I still don't believe that kids should be expected to start academic work so early, but he somehow already knows his letters, numbers, colors, shapes... Since the impetus is coming from him rather than from me or from some arbitrary "kids should learn x,y,z before kindergarten," I want to encourage him to have fun with it. To make "school" be a game we play together, so that he keeps enjoying it, and not putting any pressure to learn particular things on either of us. I'm sure I'll have a lot more reevaluating to do this time next year, as well.
After saying that, it probably sounds incredibly hypocritical that I'm excited about the local homeschooling association's curriculum fair this coming Monday/Tuesday and planning to attend a talk on homeschooling preschoolers/kindergarteners, doesn't it? I'm hoping the presenter has ideas for fun things to do with littles that happen to have something sciency about them, because I know that Little Bear and Matt would enjoy doing stuff together, and I want to be able to give Matt ideas of things that will get both of them outside this summer.
Since some time last week, I'd been thinking about what I wanted to write for Alex's first birthday, which was this past Sunday. Then the day itself arrived, complete with a second-in-five-days trip to the hospital for preterm labor patterns, and I was a bit too busy to write. Not too preoccupied; it was impossible not to think about Alex as I lay in a hospital bed on her birthday, fetal monitors strapped to me, trying to believe that God wouldn't take two children from me on the same day one year apart. For all that she was on my mind, though, thinking about Alex on her birthday wasn't as hard as I'd thought it might be. It's not as though I haven't thought about and talked to her frequently throughout the past year; often when Little Bear won't sleep or Kit is worrying me, I find myself asking Alex to pray for her siblings. The communion of saints is a beautiful article of our faith, one I've certainly learned to love and rely on more in the past year. Possibly the most valuable thing I've learned this year is trust in the communion of saints, gaining a deeper, more concrete belief that the saints in heaven do hear and care about and intercede for those of us still on earth.
The hospital visit did turn out fine; after doing what was definitely the most comprehensive battery of tests I've ever had at once, the nurses reassured me that I had a simple infection which was triggering the contractions and a three-day course of antibiotics would clear it up. They were right, thankfully; contractions have stopped and Kit is still safely where she belongs, regularly digging her toes into my ribs. At my appointment yesterday my midwife was very pleased with both my and Kit's conditions. We're measuring right on track—I'm 33 weeks today—and Kit seems happily settled in head-down. My midwife laughed when I asked where her feet were (thanks to the rib-kicking) and said yes, I was right about her position, showing me how to tell where Kit's head and back are by feel.
Perks of being pregnant: the repair shop assigned two mechanics to work on our tires, so it was finished in just over an hour! They discovered a few more problems (of course; when do you ever take a vehicle in for one thing and not be told you need to fix two other things as well?)... One we'll have to call around and get quotes on fixing, because it's a legitimate your-axle-might-break-while-you're-driving issue. (But not immanently dangerous; we have a little while to make the repair.) The other was that the tire pressure sensor in one wheel is broken, so they took it out. The silly things don't really work in Alaskan winters anyway, constantly telling you you have low tire pressure from the first time it hits -20, so we may as well just keep track of our tire pressure ourselves like every other vehicle owner did for generations before every part of the car had a tiny computer in it.
Happy May Day! Also, happy feast of St. Joseph the Worker. May 1 is quite the day, both celebrating St Joseph and kicking off Mary's month. We (totally by accident--I wasn't looking at feast days when I made the menu this week) had Italian tonight for St. Joseph, and Matt (again, totally by accident I'm sure) wore a bright red shirt, both of which are linked in some traditions to St. Joseph... I threw together a spinach lasagna between getting the tires finished and picking Matt up from work. And this afternoon while he was at Grandma's house, Little Bear helped to make a crown of flowers for Mary, so we were able to do a May crowning tonight! The whole month is dedicated to Mary, so if you're interested, it's definitely not too late to plan one with your family; this link has some good information about why we crown Mary, historical crownings, flowers and May crownings and other ways to remember Mary throughout the month of May.
Have a good weekend, and don't forget to stop over at This Ain't The Lyceum for more quick takes!