31 October 2007


I've always thought that the Jews and the Amish are onto something in having a term that means "everybody but us" (goy/Gentile and English, respectively). I've often wanted one a little less cumbersome than "non-Lutheran," for example. And for our specific purposes, "contraceptor" or some other less savory options I've heard don't really strike me as something I want in my regular vocabulary.

As a solution, we've discussed in our household using the term "Sulvan" to designate the folks who just don't want to have babies, God bless 'em, from the third book of CS Lewis' Space Trilogy. Sulva is the name of the moon in the book, and its inhabitants have succeeded in making life almost entirely inorganic (and much more convenient as a result, of course). Later in the book you learn that some characters have botched up the solution to a pressing problem by using contraception and not having the baby who was supposed to fix things (see part of the discussion at the bottom of this post). Someone makes a comment about such behavior being a practice of Sulva. So there you have it: Sulvan. May it be as useful for you as it is for me.

Studies in Gender Identity

So, as the mother of 3 boys (so far) and no girls (yet), I often wonder whether my boys are doing boy things, kid things, or idiosyncratic things. (Boy #3 currently weighs less than a pound, but is no doubt delighted about the recent development of his hearing, so that he can listen in on his two older brothers and come out knowing exactly what to do. Eeeep!)

Today's question:
Living across the block from a grain elevator, we have quite a few trains go by.
Here's how my boys (3 and 1.5) react when they hear the rumble on the tracks or hear the horn:

They freeze.
Their eyes widen.
Their nostrils flare.
Then they drop whatever they're doing and scramble madly to the nearest window with a view of the tracks.
Each of them has done this since shortly after his first birthday.

Does anyone have, or know, girls who do this?
The girls of our acquaintance seem to have only a minor interest in trains, at best, particularly if they're already involved in an interesting activity.

29 October 2007

Not for the Squeamish (like motherhood in general, eh?)

So I was terribly excited to receive an invite to this blog. Upon reviewing my currently available mental list of topics and expertise, however, I was rather disturbed to realize just how many of them involve bodily functions (and someone else's, at that).

Is this going to be a problem for anyone?

Full disclosure (***GROSS OUT WARNING--which I imagine this applies to no one reading this, as we're likely all mothers several times over): We recently had to obtain a stool sample from an extremely noncooperative 3-yr-old. 'Nuff said.

Well, with the crisis both literally and figuratively passed, I hope to have more time to pursue other thoughts in the near future.

28 October 2007

Kick A where you're planted

One of our church's major fundraisers is today. I have the happy task of sitting comfortably in my house and occasionally throwing dish towels in the dryer for the kitchen crew while they feed lard-fried (no joke) sausages to a million people. But I did have to spend my whole Saturday making pies as everyone is expected to contribute at least 6.

My mom recently had occasion to talk to the mother of someone with whom I went to high school, and my pride winced as I imagined her describing how I'm pregnant with my fourth baby in five years and spending my weekend rolling out pie crusts. I thought of all those academic accomplishments I was so proud of and how people in the little town where I grew up thought I would really go somewhere. Now I live in a town almost ten times smaller than that one and spend most of my mental energy figuring out what I'm going to feed everyone on any given day. And then I thought, if I'm such a genius, why shouldn't I be generating my own army of humans and making the best freakin' pie crust in town? I really thought that. So I guess it does get easier, at least sometimes.

25 October 2007

The Feast of St Halloween

I hate Halloween. It goes against my personal piety (not necessarily to say my personal Pietism, although I can't plead entirely not guilty of that). Didn't I renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways a while back? But Grandma makes great costumes for the kids, we live in a town which takes the event very seriously and observes not one but two nights of festivities, and I think sitting out of all this would be the first step toward the pastor's family being just a little too weird.

However, I don't think I'm being over the top when I say that some of the stuff people put in their yards is in incredibly poor taste, if not downright offensive. If the babies and I want to walk to the library, we are obligated to take the sidewalk right next to a yard in which a corpse swings from a gallows, other rotting corpses are struggling to disinter themselves from the lawn, various grotesque figures operate guillotines and similar devices (victims included), etc. It is extremely tacky, and the thingamajigs would definitely get a PG-13 rating for "disturbing images" if the yard were a movie. The kids (4, 3, and 1) STARE the entire time we're in visual range. This charming display has been up for weeks, and I've finally given up on the library until the season is past. WHY, PEOPLE?! Grow up.

24 October 2007

Third Tri

I'm in the first or second week of my third trimester, I can't keep track any more. But knowing this helps me remember what I'm supposed to be worrying about at this point:

1. The bedroom situation. The girls are moving in together. Their new room is currently the ironing room, Dad's hunting stuff storage room, and general junk storage room. There is a set of bunk beds for them to use, assuming the 4-yr-old is able to get safely on and off the top bunk. The mattresses on both beds are utterly worthless and have to be replaced, which I don't think will be terribly expensive, but what am I supposed to do with the old ones (doubtless this was also the question of the persons who lovingly included them with the gift of the bed itself)? I hate being the grownup. I hate thinking about that room.

2. The game day situation. Our closest set of grandparents lives 4-ish hours away. My last two labors have been under 3 hours (closer to 2, really) from the first serious contraction to the grand finale. We don't have a few hours for breathing, relaxing, and waiting for Grandma to get here. It's 45 minutes to the hospital, so I am getting in the car as soon as things start happening. We are in a wonderful parish full of people who take very good care of us. All these nice people also have their own jobs and families to take care of. I know that it will work out, but it doesn't feel very responsible to just say that and wait to see how it all happens. Can we put an announcement in the bulletin that they're all on call as soon as I hit 38 weeks?

3. The pregnancy situation. I have to actually give birth to this baby at some point, which I remember being a major downer, and gain enough more weight for the baby to be baby-sized. Not that I have any trouble with actually putting it on (I've done above average work so far)--but I'm really not looking forward to all those chubby months to follow. It's always good for my vanity, though.

23 October 2007


A while back I stopped by a few times at a blog run by some NFP-type Roman Catholics who had insights I occasionally found useful. A post about something or other prompted me to email one of the bloggers and we had a nice little exchange. It somehow came up over the course of our correspondence that I was Lutheran. After I sent the message that had contained this embarrassing disclosure, I never heard from her again. Well.

I had also noticed on other RC sites that there were occasional grudging reminders that non-RC commentators should be treated civilly. I can sympathize. I don't have a lot of patience myself for the Calvinist and Anabaptist branches of the Reformation. But by golly, this is a rather lonely row to hoe. I know there are Concordian Sisters out there, but we're few and far between, especially because so many are pastors' families. So here's where I plan to sound off with a few of my friends, regardless of whether or not anyone is listening.