Today is my little sister's birthday, which marks a month before Sethia's birthday.
I think little people of half-year old and on the verge of turning one are a delight to be around. Their personalities are blossoming, these little people are developing so intensely, and the spectacles that they do are interesting for them as well as for those around them. Sethia does that to me; everyday is a delight. :)
He learned to flip, wriggle his butts in preparation to crawl, stand, cruise, and finally to stand on his own. I learned to fight knee-jerk reactions and get steady nerves as he learned, and as he became more confident and skillful in his inquiring endeavours to roam the house and its contents, I too learned to enjoy this little fellow who followed me everywhere - even to the toilet. :)
Waking up time is often a joy. I am always welcome with a grin as I enter the bedroom upon hearing his call. As if the reunion after every daily nap is a grand affair. Can anyone fall in love all over again every time he sees you? Sethia does that to me. :)
Waking hours are much joy too as he "participates" in many household activities. I love how he clings on to my legs as I cook; I love how he unloads with passion the basketful of laundry ready to be hung, I love how he finds his own sock in the basket, carries it everywhere with him (in his mouth as he crawls!) and refuses to give it back as if he has found a treasure; I love how he debates animatedly with a doll, and laughs gleefully as he tosses the doll about >.<; I love how he waves and says bye to his own reflection when he passes by a mirror. I love being with this little man. :')
As he approached his seventh month, I was mindful of what other mothers warned me: stranger anxiety. But the eight month had been here, ninth month, and so on, and this anxiety never came. My son looks forward to parties, enjoys the company of a crowd, and loves any encounters on the road and at the bus stops and in the supermarkets, sometimes to his complete confusion when he gets cold responses. Well, in my opinion, adults who do not respond to any enthusiastic baby saying a hello do it to their own loss, not to the baby's at all - don't you think so, too? ;)
His past routines were a little disrupted as he became more mobile. Days were quite hectic then: no regular nap times, no meals were finished, etc. I am thankful that this happened mostly when my sister, Yoanna, was around with us for about a month; God does send His help most timely! :) People said it was the excitement and energy spent for the new-found abilities and tasks, and the child would finally adapt. I have been watching and waiting, and I am quite certain new routines are developing, and all the calm is slowly back again.
With our second child making her way home soon, God willing, I tremble a bit at the thought how I can possibly love Sethia's little sister as much as I love Sethia, how I can give as much attention to both as much as when I had only one. There is this thing about parents with several children or many, people ask them, "How can you possibly have time for all?" Some will make remarks, "Pity the children, each of them needs her full attention!"
But then I think love is not like a cake that's cut up and portioned out until there is no more. Love grows with each child that's born. I don't take half the love I feel for Sethia and give it to his little sister. A senior mother said, "When one has two children, it does not mean we will be twice as busy, but rather exponentially busier. Every time you add a child to your family, you are not just increasing the total sum - you are exponentially increasing. But then, your love will too." :) I would like to add, "Yes, amen, by His grace alone."
This reminds me of what I wrote about God's love sometime back: "This is probably one of the hardest things for me to comprehend. In my competitive world, I am so used to thinking in terms of 'more' and 'less' that I cannot easily see how God can love all human beings with the same unlimited love while at the same time loving each one of them in a totally unique way. Somehow I feel that others' election involves my rejection, that others' uniqueness involves my commonness. Somehow I think I can only fully enjoy my being loved by God if others are loved less than I am - all in my terms."
Yes, the first thing I learned in my short journey of motherhood - of a year, that is - and will continue to learn, is love. The second is, to forget myself. I lost the freedom to do what I want, when I want, in the way I want, but is that really a big loss? I learned to be less self-absorbed and forget about my needs, and put this little person above me. The next is, to be softer, more tender, more sympathizing towards other mothers. I am sure other mothers will understand and relate to this.
Lastly it is humililty, humility, and humility! That motherhood, besides enriching any willing woman, should humble us. That we are never deserving, we are unable, and we fail, but God's grace is sufficient. If this does not yet humble us, God will make certain it does. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17).
So I await Sethia's first birthday with joy. Then we will be together with our beloved church in Singapore, and celebrating it with families and relatives in Indonesia, God willing. :)
"Please don't misunderstand -- if a boy wants to play with dolls or a girl wants to play with trucks, it would never cross my mind to discourage him or her. Unless parents are anal in the other direction -- in other words, like über-macho dads who try to bully their sons into being über-macho as well -- then most kids will naturally gravitate toward toys of their gender. But some won't. Girls are usually the ones drawn to ballet, for example, but that doesn't mean there are not superb male danseurs. Boys are usually drawn to football, but that doesn't mean girls don't enjoy playing the sport as well.
There is unquestionably a continuum of gender influence among people. Some men are tough bad boys. Some men are gentle nurturers. Some women are tough bad girls. Some women are gentle nurturers. But most of us are blends of toughness and gentleness. It takes all kinds in this world, and we're all different."
"But if you have a society of pansy-boys and bulldog-girls who have no understanding or (more importantly) appreciation for their biological destinies, then you’ve lost the critical infrastructure that has allowed societies and cultures to flourish for thousands of years.
I believe both genders should be able to cross the gender divide in order to perform whatever functions are necessary. It is useful if both genders can cook a meal, bandage a wound, shoot a gun, bury the dead, console the grieving, preach a sermon, clean a house, grow a garden, butcher a steer, etc. In other words, in a Prepper situation, both genders have to be able to do what must be done. The list is endless.
But within this list, it’s necessary to understand that there are certain things men will do better than women, and vice-versa. That’s just the way we’re built, and those strengths should be recognized, embraced, and appreciated (by both genders)."
Sethia is going to have a little sister, God willing. :)
I had to be reassured at the second appointment by the doctor of the gender of the baby. He confirmed that the little one I am carrying now in my womb just had to be a girl by explaining the details of her sex organ - the characteristics/attributes that make it differ to one of a boy's. How is this significant, this gender distinction, don't you think so. :)
"There are those who believe gender stereotypes are bad. Men shouldn’t embrace their roles as protectors. Women shouldn’t embrace their roles as nurturers. But how does this affect society as a whole?
It screws people up, that’s how.
A friend and I were recently discussing the issue of marriageable men, or the lack thereof. This woman has two sisters in their 20s who are interested in finding a nice fellow and settling down to raise a family. But the women are unable to find a man interested in anything except the most superficial of relationships because the men don’t have the maturity to take on their traditional roles. This is not an uncommon complaint amongst unmarried women. To be fair, there are far too many young women who also lack the maturity to take on their traditional roles. These problems, I believe, can be laid firmly at the feet of an increasingly genderless society.
So what, you may ask, is the big deal if we blur the distinction between genders? The “big deal” is that by doing so, we raise young people unequipped and unprepared to step into their hard-wired biological roles when they reach adulthood. We have men unable or unwilling to support a wife and children, but who have no problem procreating indiscriminately. We have women unable or unwilling to marry a dependable, responsible man, but who also have no problem procreating indiscriminately.
The issue is much larger and more important than some New Age family bleating about gender roles. Biological traits are there for a reason. Conforming to our innate roles insures that our society and its base unit – the family – will continue to raise stable, well-adjusted children who (let’s admit it) aren’t likely to have confusion issues about their genders or their roles.
The thing about children is their instincts must be guided. Any parent knows boys and girls are different. Boys are physical. They roughhouse, tease girls, play pranks and revel in their scrapes and injuries. Girls are verbal. They form close friendships, play with dolls and pretend to keep house. (Remember, I’m talking generalities. There will always be quiet, studious boys and rough-and-tumble girls.)
But those instinctive behaviors must be guided appropriately. That’s why role models (usually in the form of parents) are so necessary. Traditionally, men taught their sons to channel their energies in acceptable ways. This included learning a trade, being protective of women and children, and preparing to take on their adult roles as husbands and fathers. Women taught their daughters to nurture children and keep the home. Husbands and wives balanced each others’ strengths and weaknesses.
What’s in vogue today is to teach children that their gender-specific instincts are wrong. Boys are punished for being rambunctious and restless in school. Girls are ridiculed for wanting to embrace the home. Children become confused when their instincts conflict with what they’re being taught, either at school, at home, or in society.
Role modeling has changed. Parents are no longer able or willing to teach their children the appropriate behaviors for their genders. Indeed, many parents are not even there; absent fathers and working mothers have wreaked havoc with the family structure, leaving children bewildered and cut adrift. The result is generations of angry young men and women who carry out their destructive behavior into the next generation.
Referring back to the opening statement – that if you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs – I strongly disagree. What’s between everyone’s legs is wildly important. It defines God’s purpose for you. Did He make you male or female? I’m grateful – not hostile – that He made me the latter.
Reinventing the wheel doesn’t change the innate perfection of that wheel, no matter how progressively you redefine it. A square wheel doesn’t roll, and gender-confused children will never be able to reach their full potential by denying God’s plan."
What a good sense. And I would love to read more of her thought-provoking writings more thoughtfully. :)
"In marriage we don't attempt to please each other; our attempts are to please God, that we might please each other."
"Any husband, regardless of his disposition, has to lead. Any wife, regardless of her abilities, has to submit. In this manner, any husband and wife will be complementary to each other, if only they were willing to obey the Word of God."
MOST DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND, I cannot express my love to you, as I desire, in these poor, lifeless lines; but I do heartily wish you did see my heart, how true and faithful it is to you, and how much I do desire to be always with you, to enjoy the sweet comfort of your presence, and those helps from you in spiritual and temporal duties, which I am so unfit to perform without you. It makes to see the want of you, and wish myself with you. But I desire we may be guided by God in all our ways, who is able to direct us for the best; and so I will wait upon him with patience, who is all-sufficient for me.
--Mary Winthrop to her husband John Winthrop
Therefore let us choose life, and we, and our seeds, may live; by obeying his voice, and cleaving to him [as we cleave to each other], for he is our life, and our prosperity.
I look forward to another blessed year and a lifetime with each other.
Who does not hope, to know and understand her strangest passion. Where she grips at all labours, and always the heaviest plight. When at once she grasps, all pleasures and the daintiest delight. Who has the sense, to belong and grow in her fittest portion.