gratitude and poo-splosions

Saturday, 16 November 2013

My daughter doesn't poo very much.

Is that a wrong thing to talk about online? I guess I'm risking a very angry teenager later on in life. In my defence, my mother happily talks about our childhood poo habits even now, with no abandon whatsoever, so maybe I just don't find it that embarrassing any more.

Anyway, Baby B stores it up. No idea why. For warmth?* She might not 'go' for a few days at a time, and by the end of it, she's curling up in pain, crying, refusing to sleep in the day but wanting constant cuddles, and not sleeping as much at night. All this makes for a very tired Mummy.

Then finally this morning, she did what we affectionately term a 'poo-splosion'. She goes all quiet and still, almost serene, as though she has entered some sort of zen state. A few grunts and red faces later, there is a spectacular noise and a rush for the changing mat and hugely excessive amounts of praise all round.

That's right - praise and excitement in the event of a poo. That's how it goes down in the Bidmead house. I used to feel quite smug at the fact that Baby B doesn't go very much. I'd smile at the mothers that are constantly changing nappies and think 'yay for me!' Now I look at mothers whose babies happily poo left right and centre with envy. They check their babies' nappies and exclaim, 'Oh, you've pooed AGAIN!' and they tut and sigh (in a secretly smug sort of way, I imagine) and moan about how inconvenient it is whilst getting out wetwipes and such, and I want to take them by the shoulders, shake them, and say 'YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE.'

Poos are a joy here. You will find me and Chris shrieking 'WELL DONE! GOOD GIRL!' and beaming with pride whilst cleaning up something incredibly disgusting. That's how rare these moments are.

Because poo nappies take five-ten minutes out of your life to clean up (and sometimes extra loads of washing depending on severity/direction of poo-splosion). Constipation = hours of sleeplessness. And sleeplessness = hours and hours and hours of tiredness.

Tiredness exacerbates everything. Every small disappointment (no Bible study today due to grumpy constipated child) seems like a huge let down. A small comment, completely innocent, might be taken completely the wrong way by me. The chores seem even more chore-ish than before. When I'm tired, I look around at my house and my heart sinks at the knowledge that, no matter what, I'll never be able to get on top of it.

I guess there are parts of life like that. Never ending, I mean. Like being on a hamster wheel constantly rotating but never going anywhere. If you've ever had a job you didn't like, then you probably know what I'm talking about. Every day - back on the hamster wheel. Being at home with a house full of kids and work to go to, every morning you wake up to your rapidly untidying house, and it's back on the hamster wheel. You mow the lawn, two days later, it's looking awful again. Hamster wheel. For some people, obviously, these things aren't too much of an issue. Some people really like cleaning and find it relaxing. A lot of people (including me, I should point out!) like their jobs and don't find it so much of a grind. But I'd say that everybody has stuff that they find necessary but totally not enjoyable.

You have to have balance, of course. Or at least, I try to. If I have the option of playing with Baby B or sorting out that big pile of paperwork, I'll usually choose to play with her instead. I don't want my child to constantly be seeing the back of me as I plonk her on the floor and walk away from her to do something more important. But there are some things that you just can't avoid and quickly become a pain in the bum. On my list I would probably include:

Washing bottles ...

And sterilising them.


laundry ...

And yet more laundry.

We've been doing a study on Gideon recently, and one of the days' teaching was about seeing God's blessing in the mundane. I had to write down five mundane, everyday chores that I found most tedious. Then I had to write down next to them how these chores show God's blessings for me. For example, washing bottles = beautiful baby to feed. Wiping kitchen tops down = nice house with food to make mess with. Etc, etc. It felt simplistic at first, but I started to realise that actually, an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude is not just cultivated through tough times and how I deal with those. It's actually a lot to do with how I deal with every day stuff.

It's not just empty thankfulness (again, we're back to that whole 'my gun jammed!' thing). It's real thankfulness that comes from a place of respect and humility. It's not easy. And it's not something that I can boast about (because believe me, prayers of thanks are not on my mind when I look at my overflowing washing basket). It's a heart thing, and I believe only God can change my heart, but it starts with a decision on my part. A decision to be made every day. To be thankful even if I've had about five hours sleep. And it doesn't mean I have to enjoy the boring stuff, leaping around like a leprechaun whilst brandishing a bottle brush - it just means I have to respect them and what they represent.

So I will thank God for my life, and when I thank Him, I will thank Him for all of it - including the washing, the exhaustion, and the poo-splosions!

* I realise babies don't store poo for warmth. Just in case anyone was thinking about intervening. ;)

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