Hi again! Long time, no write. (Wait. That sounds stupid. Whatever.) Anyway. I have a piece up at Kindred Mom again, so you can head there for the whole thing or read on for the first bit.

Lilly, barely 4 and still the baby, is laying on her belly in my bed beside me, chin in her hands, feet kicked up like she’s seen her big sisters do all her life. It’s about my bedtime and well past hers. An altercation between her sisters woke her up, and she needs a place to be while they settle down, so she’s chilling in my room while I read. It’s nice—there’s nothing really pressing; she’s just hanging out. 

But then she spots a shiny, black battery bank on my headboard and grabs it, immediately bringing it to her ear. It’s almost exactly the size of a phone, even happens to have its “on” button where an iPhone’s “home” is. She proceeds to prop herself up on her elbows and spend the next—I wish I were exaggerating—20 minutes staring at this black phone-like brick. She scrolls up and down with her right index finger, types away with her itty-bitty thumbs, makes and answers phone calls and video chats. “Hello, fwiends…Yes…No, I don’t think so, but I will in the afternoon. But first, we will have dinner.” Her one-sided “conversations”  sound eerily familiar. What has happened that my 4-year-old would rather talk to a piece of plastic than to me? I’m right here, reading, and that never kept her from chattering at me before.

I’m not offended that she doesn’t want to talk to me—it’s 10:00 pm and I’d rather not be talking to children right now—but why is the “screen” so intriguing to her, even when it’s not doing anything?

Then it comes to me—I remember being in my bedroom several weeks before, putting away laundry while Jenna (my oldest, age 9) chattered on, narrating a picture book she’d written called “The Boy Who Didn’t Baleev In Himself.”

“…and then the boy tried to fly, but he just fell on the ground. ‘Oof. I guess I’m just no good at anything.’ Mom! Are you even listening?”

(Head here for the rest.)

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Robin!

    This is really interesting, because maybe a year ago we had a Webinar teaching about “God-Honoring Excellence (a JV core value) , and Dave looked at how God made the world. There were some interesting points, like God worked from big to small. Get a big picture in place before you fill in all the details. But the one that has really stuck with me (a year later!!) is that God brought order by creating separation. Isn’t that interesting?? He separated the day from the night. He separated the land and the sea. Isn’t interesting that the verb “separated” is used in a creation account??

    At that time I decided to wake up early to work on my class stuff, instead of trying to squeeze it around kids. It worked for that first class, but of course times change and stuff morphs. Now, I have three categories of work in my head: stuff I can do with the kids around and be okay with interruptions (vocab flashcards on my phone, reading not-to-difficult articles and books—but when it’s on my phone I really try to tell them what I’m doing while I’m doing it, so hopefully I’m modeling learning, not scrolling facebook!), stuff I really need to give my attention to, but if the kids are mostly occupied—like for quiet time or a show– we’re okay. (Taking notes on a lecture or reading) and stuff that will destroy both parenting and my work if I attempt to combine. (For me this is writing!!!) and for that I really need to get out of the house. Which is a lot harder since the coffeeshops all just shut down. Good thing my class this semester isn’t writing-intense (also sad, because I like writing. But mad at my kids and mad at my ineptness at writing is probably not a better option.)

    Also, texting while my kids need something = terrible. Texting in Czech while my kids need something = ….. don’t even ask. Good for me to write this down, because I have taken some steps. I try to leave texting and for sure MP for when kids aren’t around, but there of course some things are time-sensitive. I want to get better at communicating with my kids “this is what is taking my attention from you right now, and this is why, and this is how long it will last” and stick to it. My phone timer may once again prove to be my best friend (By FAR the most-used feature of Siri. Distant second: converting from metric to English)

    I did get to go to Prague by myself all day today! (insert dancing emoji) to get Sophia’s new passport. so I got all that time on the train, and I wandered around tourist Prague, which was a ghost town. Unfortunately the restrictions really fell hardcore this morning, so I didn’t get to go to my friend’s house for lunch or get visit some of the shops I was hoping to. But it was lovely.

    Anyway, there are a bunch of random thoughts. Reply, or don’t: this email does not constitute one more urgent thing that demands your time and attention!

    Love, Kori

    >

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    1. Interesting. I can see Him bringing order through separation, but I also see Him doing things (creating beauty?) by taking down barriers. (Marriage: two become one. Tearing the curtain when Christ died. “Neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female…” and so on.) So I hesitate to see separation at creation as prescriptive in all cases, though, in parenting, I certainly prefer it. It’s another area I’m pretty sure I need to listen to the Holy Spirit for, even though I’d love a clear-cut answer.

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