05 February 2013

Book, recommended (particularly for those of us who are currently in a season of “little years” that may leave us short on sleep, reading time, coherent thoughts, temper…)

A dear person gave me this deceptively little book, and I am so glad that she did. Though some of its self-contained chapters don’t quite reach two pages, each one has exponential potential for unpacking through prayer, self-examination, and action (at least for those of us who are in need of a perspective check, which describes me approximately every other minute or so).

I skimmed it once, quickly, and it’s still all whooshing around in the churn. I plan to read it again, slowly now, to work at getting some of the cream to come together, solidify.

I needed to read a book about the “little years” again. I know that I’m still a total amateur in this parenting thing; I don’t even have a kid in the double digits yet. But after having been at it for such a seemingly long time (B.C. is but a lazy, hazy memory), a creeping frustration was beginning to darken my days—the feeling that I should surely have somehow moved beyond the “little years” by now, or at least should have become more breezily adept at coping with the daily fatigues of the preschool-toddler-infant set. I’ve got bigger fish in need of frying now; why am I still wiping bottoms and teaching people the alphabet and pretending to be patient while a two-year-old works to put on her own shoes? True: I don’t feel the weight of every decision anywhere near as heavily as I did when I had only two littles. But neither do I feel like an old pro at things like potty training and toddler discipline and babies who cry in the middle of the night. I just feel...old, and tired, and frankly sometimes just tired of it all. In short, I needed a good kick in the pants, which this book cheerfully provided. Thank you, Rachel Jankovic!

Perhaps I’ll have more to say about the book as I reread, but for the moment, I’ll leave you with an image that instantly and helpfully crystallized some of my recent musings. Jankovic uses it to describe what she calls “growth spurts” (those times when you feel like you’ve just gotten a handle on things, and then, seemingly overnight, the kids all show up with entirely new variations on crazy). The image is also quite apt for household adjustment whenever a new baby arrives:

“You know those pain scales at the hospital, where they rate your pain from one to ten? Well, pretend that you are screaming, “Thirteen, thirteen! Fifteen!” What that should tell you is that it is time to restart the whole thing, stop screaming, and just accept that this is now the new ‘one.’ Start over, and accept the new ‘normal.’ I promise that this little mental change will actually change how you feel, and by extension how your children feel. Growing is, after all, what God wants them [and us!] to do.”

So if you’re screaming “fifteen!”, or tired, or overwhelmed (Jankovic offers a helpfully convicting perspective on the “o-word” too), you just might want to spend a few minutes a day with this book, which helpfully smacked me back toward the Book whose perspective should frame my every moment.

1 comment:

Leah said...

You know how many times I've told myself that I need to get this book (because of all the good things I've heard about how encouraging it is), but just haven't got around to it yet? OK, I'm gonna do it. :)