Quick Takes

Quick Takes


1. I’ve been “reading” Make Way for Ducklings with Ben. It is a very different experience than reading to the girls: “Here’s a car. Here’s a car. There’s a car.” He is not really interested in stories, just finding things in the pictures. Especially cars and trucks and trains.

animals and apostles on parade

2. I was a bit steamed up trying to cook dinner the other night. Ben wanted to be held. Anthony was fussing for milk. Sophie jammed her hand and needed a Bandaid. Bella saw my distress and wanted to help; but there wasn’t much for her to do. She just can’t do most kitchen tasks. So her imaginary friend Jane came to my rescue to open the microwave and oven when timers went off.

More and more I see that Gina and Jane (and Meredith) Bella’s imaginary children, are being dispatched to help me when Bella feels helpless. They were also sent along with me to Florida when I was leaving. I think it’s very sweet that she’s found a way to help out, even if only in her imagination. And it really does make me feel better to know how concerned she is.


3. Bella took a dollar that Grandma B had sent her for Valentines Day to Target and used it to buy a plush flower. Which she then handed over to Ben immediately before we’d even left the store. She even encouraged him to cuddle with it at bedtime the very night that she’d purchased it.

crashed out

4. The purple-haired fairy is telling Jesus to get out of the attic. The games my kids play….


5. Bella had all the play animals lined up this morning and was doctoring them. Each animal had its own piece of train track to stand on. (They were “track beds that you stand on instead of lying down.”) Also each animal had a little block of what she called “die medicine”. I’m guessing maybe this is related to my explanation when she got the vaccines recently that among other things they were protecting her from polio and explaining that Pier Giorgio Frassati died from polio. “Die medicine”… so the animals won’t die.

Tomb by Bella

6. Bella drew me a picture of a tomb today. And a cross and some palms for Palm Sunday.


7. Moment of humility and taking stock for the week. Bella was drawing a picture for someone and I asked if she wanted to sign her name and she said she couldn’t. I said she should just try. I’d help her. She was too paralyzed by fear of doing it wrong. Messing it up. I think I yell at her too much. Point out her failures and not her successes. At five she should be excited and eager to try out new skills, not afraid to even make the attempt. She also didn’t want to help put stamps on the envelopes I was sending after she tried to do two of them and I corrected her when the stamps were hanging over the edge. I guess I’m not very good at letting her do things imperfectly. I want to be. I think I try to be. But the proof is in how willing she is to take risks: not very.


8. Moment of sheer joy: Bella got a box of story cards I think it was last year. Pretty pictures meant to spark creativity. Animals, princesses, fairies in all sorts of interesting situations. I’ve played with them a bit a few times before, trying to tell her stories after she picked out two or three cards. I’m not very good at telling stories. And Bella hasn’t been very willing to try it on her own. But today she was not only willing but eager. She’d pick out cards and set up the scenario for me: This is Princess Veronica and she has a garden near the river. I took off where she left off but asked her lots of questions so that she was supplying much of the material for the story I told. It was a great experience of collaborative storytelling. So much more fun to play off of her. I have the experience of what a narrative is where she has the creative vision. Sophie and Ben got into it too, choosing cards and asking me to tell a story. Again, I asked them questions and used their answers to shape my stories. Even Ben supplied me with a rudimentary scenario for his card, telling me that animals had picked the flowers in his picture. I had fun and so did they. I hated to have to end it to cook dinner.

I think Bella really has potential as a storyteller. She really enters into her imaginative worlds so fully.

Ben wearing Daddy’s shoes

Betty Beguiles is hosting quick takes this week while Jen is resting and bonding with her new daughter, Pamela Scholastica.

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  • I have been thinking about this same thing!!! I’m so glad you are asking this question. I hope to get some great ideas from other commenters. I don’t have a smart phone, just a regular cell phone and when I miss an alarm, all the other alarms go silent. I don’t know why or how to change it so I don’t know that the phone idea will work. Does anyone know if an iPod touch has an alarm type feature that will work like your cellphone?

  • Charlotte, Yes! The iPod Touch has the alarm feature. I was using it for my Angelus reminders before I got my iPhone.

    Now I’m trying to remember how I set it up. I think I had already put them into my calendar on my computer and so I had it sync the calendars. For some frustrating reason the calendar function on the iPod itself only lets you set it to notify you five minutes before. Though I suppose you could set the event at five minutes past the hour and then tell it to notify you five minutes before the event. If that makes sense. Anyway, you can tell it to repeat an event every day or once a week or whatever. I also use it to set up reminders to go to confession.

    The nice thing is if there’s a prayer you’re trying to learn but haven’t got quite memorized yet (or something like a novena that you don’t necessarily need to memorize) you can add the full text of the prayer in the Notes on the event and it will pop up when your alarm goes off. I did that when I was still a bit shaky on the Angelus.

  • Or even easier if you go to Clock and then choose Alarm you can set up an alarm that repeats and then you can choose which days it will repeat on. For example, you could have it ring just on Mondays; on Monday, Wednesday, Friday; on every weekday; or every day of the week. You check which days you want it to ring so it’s very customizable.

  • Melanie,

    In the days before iPods and iPads, etc., I used a Timex digital watch (Walmart purchase, ~$!0) and could set it so that it beeped at the top of each hour. (A feature in those watches that I found exceedingly annoying until that time)  At that point, I would stop and say a ‘Hail Mary’ in order to offer the hour to Her, that it might be sanctified; or pray for a particular intention – each hour at home with young children presents *many* such intentions, I learned.  I read about doing this in St. Alphosus Liguori’s The Glories of Mary – he talks about it being a practice of Alphonsus Rodriquez.

  • In college at CUA, I loved the bells of the Basilica, which chimed every 15 minutes from 6am until 9pm. They were a reminder that she was there, and so He was there. Now I’ve been using my restless brain as my prayer tool: whenever my thoughts start fretting about an idea or person or situation, I try to just repeat the name/s three times and intend the glory of God. I try to write down intentions and keep one in mind for every day—just one a day!—and even that is hard. If there’s a big intention, I’ll try a novena, which forces me to remember an intention for at least nine days (I usually make it to day six or seven and then forget, or lose sleep, or get sick… ).

  • Tami,

    What I was originally looking for was actually a low-tech solution. I wanted a clock that rang for each hour and chimed on the quarter hours. To me the computer. iPod etc were just the tools that were in my environment that could do that.

    I love the idea of offering the hour to Mary.

    Charlotte, Is it too late to tell Sean you’ve changed your mind. wink

    Erika, Exactly what was originally in my mind—the bells in the tower at UD pealed the hours and rang on the quarters and halves. I thought I’d love to have that in my home to remind me of time and help me to pray.

    Mom, Sharon, To be clear about the every 15 minutes. It’s not so much that I have to stop what I’m doing as having a reminder pop up and either I can pray then or if I can’t I see it and am reminded when I next look at the phone.

    Also I’ve not nearly filled them up. Just thinking of the possibilities for scheduling reminders as people ask me to pray for intentions.

    The thing is some people have said that they keep prayer notebooks but for that to work you have to remember where you keep it, remember to record things, remember to look at them.  I even tried to keep a list of intentions in the Notes app on my phone but again I never remembered to open it when I sat down to pray.

    The beauty of this is I’ve got my phone on me and am constantly looking at it anyway throughout the day. I only have to remember to set up a reminder once and then the phone does the work of remembering for me.

    The alarms on my phone can call me to prayer, invite me to pray while I am doing whatever I’m in the middle of. And yet they are subtle enough not to completely pull me out of whatever task I’m doing.

    Erika, I have never finished more than three or four days of any novena. But I’m thinking I could set pop up reminders on the phone’s calendar for nine days with the novena prayers in the note. I’d just pick a time of day and set up an alarm. But the nice thing is even if I miss the time the reminder is still there hours later whenever I pick up the phone again.