Monday, January 8, 1979 Alan is at work and Aaron is having a hard time going to sleep. Aaron and I were talking about the fruits of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts (Galatians 5:19-22). There are nine listed, and we talked about what they meant. Then I asked him if he could tell me what some of them were. “I know, Mama! Love, joy, peace…and temperature!” (“Temperance” is a pretty hard word to say when you’re three!)
Another milestone for Aaron! He’s sleeping all night without diapers. I can still remember riding on Dad’s shoulders to the bathroom in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom! I got Aaron up twice last night. Can you remember how you went about potty training and the timing, Mom? I would like to train Michael younger if he’s comfortably able to learn.
Speaking of Michael, he’s following right in Aaron’s footsteps. Just when the paddle was getting cold in the closet (Aaron doesn’t need it very often these days), Michael’s beginning to assert himself in aggressive and willful ways. What? Our angel? Fortunately I have Aaron to remind me that kids do improve if I persevere…and I have myself to remind me that kids never get perfect, however. I need the wisdom of God for this task of child rearing!
Monday, January 15, 1979 It got down to —10° this morning, and the windows were covered with a crust of ice just about thick enough for a snowball fight. Winter! Remembering that the virtuous woman “bringeth her food from afar,” I ventured out to the Eastern Market during quite a snowfall, blessed by Alan’s playful, “If you get stuck, call Triple A or somebody else…anybody but me!” Men! Of course, I wasn’t working twelve-hour midnight shifts delivering babies all last week either. So, what’ the bottom line? I am responsible for me.
Aaron’s started composing songs lately. One of his greatest loves has always been music, so we encourage him whenever he begins a new stage of development. His first song had one line: “the angels are internal,” which he would sing over and over with various melodies. (Whether that is related to “immortal,” “eternal,” or his father’s proposed specialization in internal medicine I cannot tell. I do not hold myself responsible for all my son’s theological persuasions.) Since that time, he has begun using his lyrical abilities for more worldly goals, such as the other night when he had strict warnings that there were to be no bedtime snacks for a certain boy who did not eat a good dinner, “Oh, there once was a boy who wanted a snack, a snack wack sack lack snacky.” Or Sunday afternoon while the rest of us were trying to snooze: “I wish Mama and Daddy would get up, up, up and take Mikey and me to church lurch burch.” What do you think? Shall I try to get him in on some tutoring from his Uncle Ralph?
Michael’s getting bigger and more vocal but still speaks very little. However, he is refining the art of nonverbal communication and can usually get across whatever is on his mind. He loves to tackle anyone who’s in a fairly comfortable or stationary position, and I often think of the verse, “Where two or three are gathered together…there is Michael in the midst of them” (rephrased). I will be peacefully sewing a button on a shirt. It would take just a minute to do it—but Aaron wants to help. Why not? He has to learn sometime, right? So up he climbs on my knee to help. (He’s getting pretty good, too.) Michael, as if by E.S.P., speeds into the living room (he could have been playing by himself in the bedroom and still sense that Aaron had joined me). Up on the chair, across the table, up, up, up, DIVE! I have about 55 seconds to figure out what’s going on and clear the deck of anything sharp that might hurt him. I don’t know. I get after him for such misdemeanors, but I feel sorry for him too. He doesn’t want to miss out on any of the action, and who can blame a guy for that?
Actually, the boys taught me an important lesson about independence not too long ago. I was trying to wash the walls. So was Aaron. So was Michael. So, soapy rags in hand, we were all giving the wall a marvelous bath. Things were going fine until I needed to use a chair to reach the top. Pretty soon Aaron wanted to stand on the chair too, and of course do did Michael. Three chairs and three people began inhibiting progress, especially since what they really wanted was to be on my chair washing the exact same spot I was washing. That put progress almost to a standstill. And then I said to myself, “Do I do that to Alan?” I realized that a lot of the mutual enterprises in our marriage were limiting our total productivity as a unit because of duplication. The greater the role diversification, the greater the output. Of course this requires a real unity of hearts and goals, and a lot of trust and love. But, for example, I have totally given over the finances to Alan (except when he asks for consultation). I only buy what he tells me to buy (or assigned categories, like groceries, etc.). It’s working beautifully, in lots of areas. It’s a pretty new concept, so we’re just now working out the crinkles, but it’s exciting to us.