So yesterday Dom had a numb feeling on his scalp and one side of his face. When it didn’t go away by the afternoon, he called the doctor and was sent to Urgent Care. Which was closed so he ended up at the ER. They gave him a CAT scan and then wanted to do an MRI. This led to them keeping him in the ER overnight and then transferring him to a room upstairs this morning after his broad shoulders wouldn’t fit in the MRI. After a consultation with the neurologist, they let him come home this afternoon. The neurologist thinks he was sleeping on his face in such a way that the nerve was being depressed and that caused the numbness.
It was a terrible 24 hours. My sister is in Texas for a while and so I was all alone with the kids. Who are all suffering from lingering coughs after a cold they all had. I’ve currently got the cold and am feeling pretty icky myself. It was a very long night. Sophie woke up three times. Ben had to be moved to the living room when he was in hysterics because he was convinced that his pillow was not really his pillow. And Anthony screamed between four and six before finally passing out. At least the other kids let us sleep till eight. But were then super cranky from not having had breakfast.
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Bella was incredulous to find out is was Sunday this morning as we took a drive down to the park—because I couldn’t stand being trapped indoors on a rainy day with four ill and fractious children. I had put on Morning Prayer podcast and she was rather shocked: But why didn’t we go to Mass? Well, with Daddy in the hospital and everyone ill with colds and Mommy, who also has a cold, not having got much sleep last night, Mommy wasn’t up to trying to brave Mass with four little ones.
Anyway, the upshot was that I promised we would read the Mass readings when we got home. And then when we got home Ben refused to nap and all heck broke loose with Sophie just swinging at everyone every few minutes and there was no reading. None. So she remembered again at dinner and demanded to know why I’d reneged on my promise and so Dom read the readings of the day to her. Afterward we had a discussion about various Bible related things and Dom and I were quite amazed when she declared that “Jesus died once and for all.” And then said that she’d heard it in the letters and in the Office of Readings and various places and that St Paul liked to repeat it quite a bit in his letters. She listens.
Also, she recounted to Dom most of the plot of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. In great detail. Which I’m sure was rather excruciating to him; but I was quite pleased with my little pupil’s reading comprehension and ability to narrate, even if she wasn’t all that good at sequencing.
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The other morning I heard Sophie reciting a bit of the Invitatory Psalm (Psalm 95): “He made the sea. It belongs to Him. The dry land too. It was formed by His hands.” Another child who is listening. I’m more and more convinced that even though listening to the Divine Office podcasts means that I’m not having much quiet, contemplative prayer, the dividends in the children absorbing the words and the rhythms of prayer counterbalance that loss. They are learning that prayer isn’t just something you do in church or something that you sit down for. Prayer happens while you work, in the midst of cooking dinner or driving to the store or refereeing squabbling children. I’m trying to snatch at least a little time to pray at least one hour a day in quiet. And still trying to make an hour a week for adoration. But quiet prayer time is certainly scarce round here these days.
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Sophie has been so cantankerous and fractious the past week or so. I’m sure a lot of it has had to do with her feeling sick. She has become almost impossible over food. The girl who once ate almost everything has become picky beyond belief. She comes complaining that she is hungry and then refuses all the options I offer her. I’m sure it is a tactic to get my attention. I don’t like that; but have a hard time figuring out how to defuse it. And with Dom being gone overnight it was much, much, much worse today. She went around swinging at everyone all day. I tried to give her a great deal of one-on-one time but it seemed that no matter how much I gave her it would never be enough. I said as much to Dom.
Then went to the bathroom and cried. Then finally prayed. And realized that the deep well of need she has can never be filled by me.
So I took her to my room and took my crucifix off my wall and handed it to her. I told her she needed to tell Jesus what was troubling her, all the hurts that she had which were making her want to hurt other people. Oh she gave me one of those golden glow smiles of hers. Then she spent half an hour or so cradling the crucifix, wiping away the blood and kissing Jesus’ wounds, wrapping him in her blankie when he was cold. Then she began acting out the laying him in the tomb and then resurrecting him. Oh he’s hurt. Now he’s in the tomb. Now he’s risen and all better. Oh he’s hurt again. Over and over. When he rose I joined her in proclaiming an alleluia. Then she grabbed Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mary began to comfort her Son and lay him in the tomb and kiss his wounds and wipe away His blood. Ben and Anthony came in and joined us and demanded their own crucifixes. Ben joined in wrapping Jesus in a blanket and kissing him. I did a very little gentle leading with things like kissing his hands and feet where the nails were and singing the alleluia; but the play was really led by Sophie.
Afterward she did seem much more calm and even sat at the far end of the table at dinner instead of demanding to sit next to me. I think crucifix therapy really did work. Of course it did.
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Do I sound like I’m bragging when I talk about how much my kids know and record the cute and amazing things they say and do? I don’t intend it to be that way because really it’s all the work of the good God, the true gardener of my little garden, who chooses to reward my paltry efforts with beautiful blooms that surely shouldn’t be blooming here among all the rank weeds.