Friday, October 29, 2010

Creativity and motherhood

This time last year, I was busy crafting away, crocheting this and that--preparing for the little one's arrival. Things are quite different this year. My hands are usually pretty occupied holding a little girl; tickling her pudgy feet; twirling her hair between my fingers; mixing up baby cereal in a little purple bowl with a matching purple spoon. I haven't touched my sewing machine in ages. I HAVE been scrapbooking, though (but, of course, I'm only scrapbooking pictures of little M these days :).

I've never enjoyed sitting still. Usually my hands are busy doing one thing or another, I think this is why I have so many blogs! It seems my daughter has taken after me in this area; she doesn't like sitting still either, or sitting down. In fact, most of the time she'd rather be standing. She has, somehow, learned how to scootch out of her bouncer, and she stiffens her legs/protests when I try to get her to sit, or when I sit while I'm holding her. This has made life quite exciting. I purchased an Ergo recently, and I have to say, it has saved my back/shoulders! She is over 20 pounds, so it was getting tough lugging her around in the sling and even the bjorn. So now you'll find me mixing flours in a bowl, in the kitchen, with little M on my back. She loves it. So long as she has something exciting to look at and I'm not standing still for too long. She's especially entertained when I dance to Christmas music while I'm preparing my baked goods, with her on my back. I walked around the mall with her like this for 3 hours!!! 3 hours!!! My calves are going to be humongous by the time she is one!

Anyway, I digress... so, as I was saying, most of the time I'm doing something with the little one. We still aren't sleeping very well, as she's starting to wake up at random hours and talk to herself, or kick me in the back when I've surrendered and let her sleep next to me. She's been a little grumpier during the daytime because of the lack of sleep, but she's becoming a better napper, which is definitely a good thing (she is not a happy baby at all when she is tired!). And when she is napping, I get a small break. I should probably take Jose's advice and nap but, of course, there are better things to do--like blog! (See where she gets her high-energy levels from! ;)

Most of the time I'm too tired to get out the craft materials and crochet/sew something exciting. I still cook because it's part of my job (...and we'd go hungry because my hubby doesn't much care for the kitchen). But other than that, I spend my "free time" just sitting down. Enjoying the silence. Blogging, even, just to get my thoughts and feelings organized.

So here I am again. Thinking and not sleeping. And it's occurred to me that even though I'm not actually crafting like before, I kind of am. I've found that motherhood requires quite a bit of creativity. Learning how to recognize the differences in tone in your child's cries, and how they relate to their different needs, requires paying serious attention to the details. Like sewing a purse, and not forgetting to back stitch (I've forgotten before!); it will fall apart if you fail to complete that simple step. And so it is with my child, or any other child for that matter. If I forget that she doesn't like being held a certain way, she will let me and the neighbors know! Such a simple thing makes such a big difference. Like the old saying goes, or at least I think it goes something like this, life is just a bunch of tiny moments sewn together. And each moment is significant. I realize that now more than ever.

Yesterday on our walk, Jose and I were talking about how significant the little things really are. Like changing diapers. I can't go out and save the world right now, because I'm occupied here at home, raising a child. Though some might view that task as a rather unimportant one, to them I say this: It ALL starts here. I get to change diapers; I am the lucky one. Not only because I never thought I'd get to change my own child's diapers, but because I get to spend that time with her. I know this doesn't make me better than anyone else, but I just want to say that it certainly counts. After a really long day, when we're both feeling icky and she smells like milk and cheese (Haha! The staple baby smell, I think), we both look forward to bath time. She relaxes in the warm water, kicks her feet around (soaking me, and by this point I'm probably already soaked with pee--since it seems she loves to pee when we're running from the changing table to the sink, where I bathe her)...she's giggling the whole time. Smile on her face says it all, as I use the washcloth to remove the little balls of lint from her little pudge creases... Yep, VISA, that is what I'd consider priceless. A moment that I can't scrapbook, or edit, or erase, like drawing a picture with a permanent marker. It's there, in time, existing as one of the best moments of my life. She may not remember that particular bath, but it's moments like these that are forming her unique collection of memories belonging to a past worth remembering: a happy childhood. And isn't that what so many unhappy adults are missing? Imagine how much better things would be if everyone had one. That's how I know this is my best [craft] project yet.

But I can't end this post without admitting my own personal gain from these experiences. Someone already said it better than I can...
The soul is healed by being with children.
-Dostoevsky-

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aren't we the lucky ones that you blog and don't spend your time sewing. I loved the beautiful fall colors (thanks for sharing) and your thoughts are so insightful. You are a dear one and I am so glad I found your blog. Your little one is a very lucky little girl and her smile melts the heart!!!

Sarah said...

Such a great post. I always worry that perhaps I'm losing my creative self to cooking, cleaning and changing diapers. I force myself to try and keep up with the creativity running around my head, all the while never thinking that just being a mom is a creative endeavor.

Thank you Sophie. It made me laugh b/c I thought about how I tried to take my 3 year old to the bathroom in Target while balancing the baby in the car seat carrier all while fighting to keep the diaper bag off the floor. It was an exercise in using space creatively and a little moment that I will never forget.

Happy fall to you and your little family.

Sophie said...

Thanks, anonymous. Glad you also enjoyed the pictures! It is so beautiful here around this time of year!

Sarah-You sound like an expert multi-tasker! I had to laugh when I read what YOU had to say :).

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