Back this week with some original scented Quick Takes. Almost got the title to rhyme too.
1.Last week my sister discovered after several hours on Ancestery.com that we’re 1/16th Jewish. Russian Jews to be exact. Tony casually wondered if that degree of Jewish-ness was enough to get one killed under the Third Reich, which led me to a fascinating Wiki page about the Reich’s Mischling Test . I’d never considered to what extent a person’s family history or lifestyle decisions (i.e. who they married) played into the delineation of Jew or non-Jew in the eyes of the Reich. I just found it amazing to see the lengths to which the Reich went to to precisely define who they hated so much.
2.Fulton got sick with a stomach bug on New Year’s Day but I didn’t mention it in my Takes last week, or ask for prayers because we beat the bug at home for the first time in over a year!!! The seceret? We now have prescription strength anti-nausea drugs at home. We learned the hard way that these drugs don’t work at all for Teddy, however Fulton responds really well, so after a of couple doses and lots of Pedialyte given through his g-tube his was back to normal with no ER visit! And thankfully, no one else in the house got sick either. When he first threw up, we were at a party and I thought great, we’re starting 2020 with the same crap (or puke?) we struggled with throughout 2019. But thankfully, I was wrong.
3.I never did update my Christmas video, but I’m fine with that. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I’d hoped so there’s not much more to share unless I add our New Year’s Eve photos to the mix. The rest of my Christmas break was spent complaining about our amount of stuff, pulling out old toys and boxing them up, and organzing all the new stuff while stuffing my face with junk food. Pretty sure I don’t need to be reminded of that in a highlight reel.
4.I know that some moms may worry about their kids insatiable lust for stuff. Why, my kids with their piles of new crap, are all still eager to shop for more with the gift cards they received. From a practical standpoint, I still get angry; where are we going to put it all??? But after many years of parenting, I’ve tried to lighten up and not take their desire for more material possessions as a reflection of poor parenting on my part or lack of virtue on theirs. When I was a kid, I wanted stuff just as they did. I opened cards hoping for money, and was always disappointed when there were no more presents to tear into. I loved stuff and even when Tony and I prepared to get married, I registered for everything and envisioned a future with a big house filled with things. It took many years for me to see the benefits to adopting simple living or minimalism. I can model this behavior to my kids, promote it, and order our home around it, but I believe a detachment from material possessions requires more maturity than what most young children have. Acquiring lots of things is a sort of primal instinct I think, often fueled by impulse. It takes years to learn that you’ll be okay (safe, loved, etc) without that thing, and to exercise self control when confronted with a great deal, or beautiful object. Some adults still struggle with this and equate things with happiness. I’ve learned I can’t change them by adopting a different attitude myself. If my kids want to be spoiled, and people want to spoil them, I have to find different ways to manage the amount of stuff beside getting angry. (More on that here.) For now I address my children’s desires for stuff by trying to model the beliefs I want them to have. Ultimately, they may choose not to accept them; I am frequently told that when such and such child moves out, they will live in a huge house with lots of TVs and video game systems and a fancy car, and several robot butlers. That’s fine, I say. I may offer a few comments on the financial ramifications of these choices to the older children, but I hope in time they will realize that the memories they’ve made at home with their family were possible because we were happy with smaller, less, and used. And that giving up certain things they may have seen others with, made it possible for them to experience things we couldn’t have afforded otherwise. So don’t fret if it seems like your kids are greedy and trying to sabotage all your efforts to live a crunchy/green/ simple/ minimal/ traditional/ self-sufficient/whatever life. You’re likely not doing anything wrong. They’re not irrational mini-adults, they’re just kids being kids. Keep the big picture in mind and be gentle on them, and yourself.
5.Since I didn’t get around to writing up a 2019 highlights post, I typed it up for my newsletter subscribers. You can view it here and sign up for the newsletter yourself here. When you do you get access to a free gratitude journal which might be just the thing you need to start your 2020. My next newsletter will go out in early February and I’ll probably regal you with more details than necessary on my book edits. And when I shoot a one year follow-up house tour, newsletter subscribers will get it first. (The attic is almost done-finally!)
Number four was long and I’m tired to let’s wrap it up here. Share your own takes below and be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!