Amy went to work this morning after breakfast.
She worked hard. There were grunts and hard breaths. There was bending and twisting and straightening and sitting and getting up and lifting and setting down.
For about an hour straight, with only a few short breaks.
Job description: Pick up a variety of objects. Arrange the objects in a basket or on a pillow or in a strategic pile. Sit in a basket and transfer the objects in around you. Repeat, using different combinations, orders, baskets, etc.
Amy and I exercised this morning.
I have a DVD that combines Pilates and weights and such. I try to do the warm-up and one other chapter at least a few times a week.
While I followed the routine, Amy mostly stood looking at the TV — occasionally, though, she would squat or raise her arms like the instructors.
When it got to the part where I was lying down doing handweights, Amy mostly played with her own toys but sometimes crawled over me.
One of Amy’s current challenges is learning how to be gentle with toys and other things that could hurt someone or something — i.e. not throwing or deliberately dropping heavy or hard things. Another is similar — not deliberately throwing or dropping her food.
I believe I have enough evidence to think she knows what she is doing and is capable of obeying. After all, she knows not to go in our bedroom (the kitty’s refuge), she knows she can open cabinets but not touch or take out what’s inside, and so on. And when she does push those or other limits, she often gets our attention first, testing her and our power and authority.
On the other hand, I am aware that it is not easy to guide and shape and discipline a child’s will without breaking it. I don’t want what I require of her to be burdensome — challenging, in a way appropriate to her age and maturity, yes, but not breakingly burdensome.
Last week at church, the guest pastor preached about obeying God’s commands, and quoted a Gospel passage where Jesus says his commands are not burdensome (reference, anyone?).
His sermon seemed to fit in with the idea that it’s possible to keep Jesus’ commands — in other words, it’s possible to not sin.
I disagree heartily.
Not that we can therefore go sin all we want, but that we should know a) that we cannot keep the commandments sufficiently, b) in the Cross Jesus exchanges his righteousness for our sins, and therefore c) our efforts to live in a manner pleasing to him are not to earn or keep his favor, but because we already have it and we are grateful and we want to please him who loves us.
I think that what Jesus means by saying his commands are not burdensome, is that they are not deliberately set up to oppress and destroy and break us — his commands are intrinsically good and true and holy, just as he is — they are things that, if our sinful nature didn’t still cling to us, we would wholeheartedly long to do.
And I want our commands to be similarly not burdensome to Amy.
Okay, so I joined Flickr, one of the popular photo-sharing services. That way, Grandma Coon doesn’t have to download and print the low-resolution photos I post here at the blog, and Grandma Prochaska doesn’t have to wait for me to make her a photo CD. If they don’t mind signing up at Flickr, they can order prints themselves. Or, I suppose they could tell me which they want and I can order the prints for them.
That, and Flickr just seems cool.
The table is set, the food served and ready.
Mark: Do you want to eat?
Amy approaching the table: Eat.
Mark reaches to lift Amy into the high chair.
Amy retreating into the living room: No no no no no.
Mark: Okay, well, we’re going to eat. You can join us when you’re ready.
Mark and Marcy sit, pray, and begin to eat. Amy approaches again.
Mark: Do you want to eat?
Mark opens his arms to her again.
Amy retreating again: No no no.
She did join us eventually.
It is hard not to laugh at her no; so clear, the conflicting feelings, and so cute, the baby enunciation.
Amy has been upset off and on since yesterday around dinner time.
I think part of it was that she was missing her daddy — he’s usually home by then, and he gets the dinner and bedtime routines. Yesterday, though, he had to work late — scoring a swim meet.
We got through dinner okay, and played some okay, with just little fusses here and there. Then it was time to get a new diaper and put on pajamas, and she cried just about the whole way through. I don’t know why I didn’t give her a piece of fabric — such a comfort to her.
Then she didn’t even want the bottle — not from me anyway.
That’s when Mark got home — and held her and talked with her until she was calm enough to not refuse the bottle.
She woke up in the middle of the night — rare for her. She got herself back to sleep without any intervention from us, though.
And then this morning. She didn’t eat much before she started playing with her cereal and deliberately tossing it on the floor. At playgroup she got increasingly fussy as the morning wore on, but nothing seemed to comfort her much or for long — not crackers, not milk or water, not a blanket, not being held, not being carried in the sling.
She was fine all the way home.
Then fussed during the diaper change, a little more at the beginning of nap time, and once or twice in the middle and towards the end.
I am torn between dismissing the temptation to think she’s upset with me, and taking that idea seriously and wondering what I might have done / been doing to upset her.
It could be teething. A poor night’s sleep. Residual upsetness from last evening. Too much noise at playgroup. Who knows.
It is difficult to take her upsetness seriously — to respect it and be compassionate about it — while not driving myself nuts trying to analyze it, which is probably unnecessary and impossible anyhow. And it is difficult to graciously allow myself my annoyance and frustration and stress and manage those feelings effectively and appropriately.