bear - ingn.1 the manner in which one comports oneself; 2 the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit; 3 a machine part in which another part turns [a journal ~]; 4pl. comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation; 5 the act of moving while supporting the weight of something [the ~ of the cross].
Oddly enough, one of the skills I have had to cultivate in losing weight, maintaining it, and now losing it again postpartum -- is my memory.
Here's an example. Today after a full dinner (sauteed mustard greens, raw sugar snap peas and apple slices, and egg-cheese bake), I had a couple of pieces of homemade cinnamon raisin bread, with butter. Dessert, I told myself!
(To tell the truth, they were the last of the breakfast loaf, and I wanted to get to it before the children did.)
But I was very well aware as I was spreading the butter thickly on the bread that I was thereby disqualifying myself from having anything else the rest of the night. I can have treats, I can even have dessert; but I can't have treats at every hour of the day.
So as I was enjoying the sweet bread with its salty slip of cool butter, I was thinking to myself: Remember this. Remember that you are choosing to have this, and also choosing not to have a snack before bed. Remember that you already made up your mind. Remember that right now you are sure that this is what you want.
I concentrated on that for a moment along with the taste and texture of the raisin bread, making a memory strong enough to carry myself through the evening.
Because it's surprisingly easy to "forget" when my stomach is growling later, that once upon a time, long ago, hours ago, I quite logically knew that what I wanted was NOT to have a snack later on. But if I tell myself firmly enough this is what I want, and it will still be true that this is what I want later on, when my will is weaker, the memory of that firm will lingers long enough for me to stay true to it. Or at least, truer than I might hold had I not taken a moment to make the memory.
Great post on Confirmation at And Sometimes Tea. Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever going to come to the end of these surprises: "What do you mean the way we do it here in the U. S. isn't the way it's supposed to be done?" Although I knew the Eastern rites did it differently, so this just makes it all make sense.
Confirmation is not a sacrament of maturity; it's meant for children. Confirmation is not becoming an adult in the church, either. It is not a sacrament where one claims or affirms the faith for himself, and it is not the sacrament that completes Christian initiation.
Good post from And Sometimes Tea on rejection of Latin, and by extension, other stuff. Or was it rejection of other stuff, and by extension, Latin?
I've seen this attitude myself, in both of the parishes I've been a member of in the last decade. In the first, some of the older choir members were dismayed by a plan to sing more Latin at Mass--for them, Latin conjured up images of dark, silent churches, a priest with his back to the people, women forbidden from any participation other than membership in the Altar Society, etc. In the second, a gentleman spoke quite passionately to me about his dislike of the "old, traditional" music we were singing (most of it English) because he thought the young people would be driven away from the Church with all of that musty old stuff that wasn't "relevant" to their lives. I've also heard people praise some rather ugly modern hymn with "Oh, I'm so glad you sang that! I love that song--I've loved it for years!" and that sort of thing.
It will surprise no one that I think these attitudes are entirely erroneous. For the first, I think honestly that the women--and it's always women--who tearfully or angrily say such things are confusing the Church with their memories of what life in general was like for women in their young days. Though many people coat the past in rosy hues, it's quite discernible from history that women weren't always treated as if they were intelligent, capable, thoughtful equals to their male counterparts (just do a search for sexist vintage advertising, if you don't believe me--but be careful; some of those ads are shockingly unfit for children's eyes). Sadly, I think that some older Catholic women associate those attitudes with the Church; they may even have encountered them in their parishes when they were young. So anything that even reminds them of those past days becomes coated in their memories with a whole lot of other, negative memories or emotions--leading to a reflexive rejection of Latin or of anything that smacks of tradition.
Practically everyone I've ever met who rejects traditional things out-of-hand is well older than me. Sometimes it's downright bizarre... I once met an old lady at a parish I used to attend (a parish that had gone so far over the edge that the archbishop actually dissolved it) who proclaimed in letters to the editor that the Rosary was a tool of oppression. I have never been able to figure that one out. Did someone tie her to a chair with one when she was a kid?
This isn't the same as "everyone my age or younger prefers traditional stuff to contemporary stuff." The truth is that Generation X hasn't had very much exposure to the traditional things, thanks to our elders tossing them all into the trash. I believe there is good to be found in contemporary music and architecture, too, though it requires some sifting because there's also a lot of piffle and silliness and ugliness as well, and time is perhaps the best sieve for that. Still, it's funny how many of the aging Boomers and their immediate predecessors don't seem to have caught a clue that the winds of change have passed them by, and that timelessness has the upper hand... almost by definition.
Latin is part of our heritage, and "dead" or not, it could become practical as well as beautiful. My neighborhood is full of immigrant families who worship in Spanish at the church up the street, a church building that also houses an administratively separate, English-speaking parish. Latin is as much their heritage as it is mine (and they'd probably have an easier time learning it than I am having). Here in the U.S., as in many other countries with linguistically mixed populations, Latin could become (again!) a lingua franca enabling us to worship side by side instead of in linguistically segregated congregations. Cut the homilies in half (please!) and deliver them twice, once in English, once in Spanish, and bingo: two communities made one. Isn't that progressive enough for you?
Soon we shall be in eternity and then we shall see how insignificant our worldly preoccupations were and how little it mattered whether some things got done or not; however, right now we rush about as if they were all-important. When we were little children how eagerly we used to gather pieces of broken tile, little sticks, and mud with which to build houses and other tiny buildings, and if someone knocked them over, how heartbroken we were and how we cried! But now we understand that these things really didn't amount to much. One day it will be like this for us in heaven when we shall see that some of the things we clung to on earth were only childish attachments.
I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't care about these little games and trifling details of life, for God wants us to practice on them in this world; but I would like to see us not so strained and frantic in our concern about them. Let's play our childish games since we are children; but at the same time, let's not take them too seriously. And if someone wrecks our little houses or projects, let's not get too upset, because when night falls and we have to go indoors -- I'm speaking of our death -- all those little houses will be useless; we shall have to go into our Father's house. Do faithfully all the things you have to do, but be aware that what matters most is your salvation and the fulfillment of that salvation through true devotion.
Isn't that wonderful, realistic, practical writing about detachment? It seems that so many of the saints are urging us to be ethereal and otherworldly, passing through the things of this world like light and with nary a thought about any of the stuff around. Well, thank you St. Francis for recognizing that most of us live in the world, with children and spouses and other people we provide for... we touch the things of this world, and are touched by them.
I think he does a fantastic job putting things in their proper place. "I'm not saying that we shouldn't care... because God wants us to practice on them... Let's play our childish games... but... not take them too seriously." Strikes the perfect note, I think...
The last fast-food restaurant I took the kids to was Sonic, an eat-in-your-car drive-in kind of place. We were in Bloomington, I didn't want to get the sleeping baby out of the car, and I thought the novelty of the roller-skating car hops would be entertaining. (I was right about that one, by the way.)
The Sonic menu is pritnear devoid of light sandwich items, although there are some pitfalls there: sandwiches that look as though they might be more healthful (but probably aren't), and the possibility of getting a banana on the side, so that you can bask in its health halo while scarfing down your double cheeseburger topped with deep-fried jalapenos.
That got me thinking, though, about some options that exist at every restaurant, but which are not printed on the menu. In my mind's eye, these are printed in a sort of "Daily Specials" menu, up on the board next to the "Sides" and "Drinks" or possibly handed to you by the server along with the wine list.
This Place Is So Fancy, They Even Have Fancy Water
I don't drink sparkling water on a regular basis, but it feels festive and indulgent to order it in a nice restaurant. Festive and indulgent enough to substitute for a glass of wine. Bottled water instead of soda gives a similar effect at non-fancy joints and convenience stores.
The Oil and Vinegar
Many restaurants leave this "dressing" off the menu, and many servers forget to list it when you ask "What dressings do you have?" so don't forget that you can ask if they have "just oil and vinegar" for your salad at any sit-down restaurant. You know what you're getting then. Salsa works too, if there's anything taco-like on the menu. And don't forget salsa or mustard as an alternative to anything that comes with a dip.
The Something Small
Here's a game: What's the smallest meal on the menu? It may be a bowl of soup, it may be buttered toast, or it may be an appetizer. Make a meal out of something that just isn't very big. Since you're here, it'll probably have plenty of calories, and hopefully you'll get something you enjoy. Don't worry about ordering extra food to make sure it's "balanced." It's just one meal, not a lifetime eating plan.
The Buy One Get One Free Option
Nothing small on the menu? Split something with a companion. 'Nuff said. Go ahead and get your own salad though.
The Hope They Don't Ask For I.D. Meal
Check the children's menu and (even better) the seniors menu. Portions are usually smaller, and if you were going to order a burger anyway, there's simply no excuse. Keep a straight face and you won't be carded. (If you are carded, offer to bribe tip your server).
The Virtual Plate
Building the one-plate habit? Restaurant plates too big? Ask for an extra salad plate and transfer your dinner onto it; toss what won't fit. Nothing to eat off of but a fast-food wrapper? Draw an imaginary (or real) circle on the wrapper, its diameter the length of a soda straw. Or fold the wrapper into a square as wide as the straw is long, and tuck in the corners. There's your plate. Toss what won't fit.
The Two Side Salads
A meal-size salad may seem like a good idea, but they're frequently piled high with more meat and cheese than you need. Side salads are plainer than meal- salads, and often two side salads cost less than a meal-size salad. This is a great option at many fast-food restaurants, if you remember that they probably give you far more dressing than you need. Add half a sandwich and you've got a very filling meal. Or, if the salads come with cheese on them, let that be your protein and enjoy as-is. (Nota bene: At McDonalds, side salads are on the dollar menu.)
The Glass of Milk
This is a kind of "something small," really. But whole milk is actually a great snack all by itself. A latte does the same thing, if you skip the sugar. But even chocolate milk's not so bad.
The High Maintenance
It is completely normal in the U. S. of A. to ask for small changes to the food presentation, like "dressing on the side," "hold the mayo," "no cheese," or "just don't bring me any of the hash browns, I don't want them." And even if the menu says NO SUBSTITUTIONS you may ask: "Is there a way I can just pay more, so I can have extra veggies and no rice?" I draw the line at ordering food that isn't on the menu, or issuing special cooking instructions (are they really equipped to steam the fish for your sandwich?!?); but your server will likely be glad to give you less food for more money.
The I'll-Have-What-She's-Having Add-on
Are you sorely, sorely tempted to have the fries or the deep-fried shrimp? Are you dining with other people? Skip ordering that stuff for yourself, get a salad or the Something Small, and then steal just a few tasty morsels from your family and friends. Practice saying this: "Hey, can I have a few of your french fries?" or "Let me have just a bite of your dessert" until it feels natural and normal. (Caution: This strategy can backfire if you have more than three children)
The Veggie-Habit Trainer
It's true that at many restaurants, the vegetable dishes, salads, and veggie sandwiches are every bit as high-calorie as the burgers and fries. But if you're working specially on the "eat more veggies" habit, and you're planning to eat your full meal here, it may be better for your habit to double down on veggies, even if you an't get them plain and they come soaked in butter or in coleslaw dressing that adds up to more calories than the potatoes or rice you're substituting them for. These calories, at least, are nutrient-rich rather than nutrient-poor.
The Deliberately Unbalanced Meal
When all the "sides" available are deep-fried, soaked in sauce, or concentrated in sugar, remember this: You can get fruits and veggies at home. Have a kid-sized sandwich or some plain protein now, all by itself, and "balance" it later in the day with a bag of frozen vegetables or something.
The Takeout Box
Order this on the side when the meal you really want only comes in "too big," i.e., almost any restaurant sandwich. It's ready to take half your meal or more as soon as it arrives, ready to be a most indulgent (and basically free) lunch the next day. (Note: A six-inch sub is not already a "half" sandwich. It is full size. The twelve-inch sandwich is two sandwiches.)
The I-Am-Not-A-Garbage-Disposal Special
No dining companions to share with? Leftovers will spoil in your car? Food still too big? Before you start eating, remove half your overlarge entree and throw it away immediately, or else mutilate it severely and hide it in a napkin. Remember, if you eat more than you ought to eat, you're still wasting the food.
The Cup of Coffee And A Water with Lemon, Please
Just because your kids need to eat now doesn't mean you do. Are you, in fact, not actually hungry? Did you have a pretty big and filling breakfast? Does this stuff not actually look very good anyway? Do you expect to be able to have something you like better, that's better for you, if you just wait a couple of hours until you get home or to the store? Then you will not die if you wait for something better. Practice this: "I'm still full from breakfast, I'm not hungry now." Order something nice to sip while you enjoy the company, or maybe the solitude. Note: Skip the sugar here or the strategy will totally backfire.
The Cappuccino For Dessert
A corollary to the last menu item: A cup of coffee or perhaps hot tea is a pleasant way to end a restaurant meal, especially if you're with others who will want dessert. Sugar and cream are appropriate after a full meal if you like those things. Hot chocolate is another choice to get you used to ordering hot drinks instead of a dessert.
To sum up, you can add these meal options to almost any meal anywhere you go. Print 'em up on a menu sheet if you like:
Have nothing and eat later instead of now.
Order something that's guaranteed to be small.
Order just part of a balanced meal, trusting that the other part can be found later.
Oil and vinegar or salsa instead of salad dressing.
Mustard or salsa instead of the dip.
Substitute more vegetables for the starchy side (even if it costs more)
Order off the kids' or seniors' menu
Get a takeout box and take the extra stuff home
"Hold the stuff I don't want to eat" (even if it costs more)
Make a virtual plate and toss the extra
Wrap up half of it to take home
Steal someone else's fries instead of ordering your own
A lot of what we do, we have figured out as we went along, trying ideas and tweaking them here and there.
Take phonics practice. For a long time, we all assumed that it really only works well to teach phonics one-on-one. Of course, we never had any two kids reading at exactly the same level; and reading instruction, done right, requires a parent or teacher to pay close attention to a child's steps and mis-steps, providing feedback exactly as needed. So for a long time we did reading practice separately -- each child with his own parent.
This worked okay for a while, but at one point we got very tired of splitting everyone up all the time. We were seeking a way to teach, not side-by-side, but together. And so we tried some different ways of putting the learning readers together. Even though they were not at exactly the same level, and even though we knew that they were each responding very differently to reading instruction, all of them were at the point of learning which sounds were spelled by which graphemes (letter combinations), and all of them could blend words made of the graphemes they already knew.
We tried sitting them around the same table, each with his or her own sheet of reading. Then they took turns each reading one line of the sheet. That worked a little better for keeping everyone feeling together, but the wait between turns was just too long; while one child was painfully sounding out the words and letter combinations on the sheet, the others would start to squirm, and by the time we were back to the first child again, he'd forgotten where he was (if he hadn't managed to escape to the back yard when we weren't looking).
We tried alternating reading with a related language activity, like copywork. Each of the children would receive a sheet of copywork for handwriting practice. Then, one would read under our watchful eyes while the others would copy, more or less independently. When the first child finished reading, she would start on her copywork, and the second child would interrupt his copywork to begin working through his reading sheet with one of us. And so on. This went okay, except that we would really rather the children spent more time reading than they did on copywork. And there would always be sleeve-tugging on the part of the copiers, with one question or another, and so it was hard to pay close attention to the reader. Still, it was an improvement.
What to do?
Well, understand that each of the children got some form of direct reading instruction on the other days of the week, when they weren't all together. So what we were doing on co-schooling days didn't have to stand alone as the only reading instruction they got. It only has to complement it. So... enter simple word and sentence reading drills.
A few years ago, when I was teaching my first child to read, I compiled a lot of "common word" lists. Word lists along the line of this:
OU spells the sound /oo/: bouquet, cougar, coupon, group, mousse, routine, soup, wound, you, youth...
and so on. I wasn't starting from scratch, mind you. I was building on a huge body of work that had already been done by a friend and her husband who are writing a comprehensive reading program. Anyway, I had already made these word lists in the process of teaching my first child to read, and I had saved them. Mostly I taught my kids to read one word at a time, drawing from the lists for combinations I had already taught them.
But when Hannah got a hold of them, she looked at the word lists and they turned into sentences, some little stories even.
The miner climbs into the icy cave.
She cannot make a single error with her ice axe.
I don't know why you are frightened when my wildcat only bites a little.
So she started writing out sentences that the children could read, many of them very fun sentences. She wrote them, mostly, on lap-sized dry erase boards. She has more boards to write on than children to teach. So one way she does it is this: each child gets a board with a different sentence on it. They all read the boards, and don't pay much attention to each other. Hannah listens and helps them as necessary. Then when they're all done, hopefully at approximately the same time, they trade boards. She might give them 6 to 10 sentences in a session.
She mixes it up a bit with single-word drill and practice with flashcards. Recently she tried something that seemed to work pretty well: holding up a single long sentence and having the kids take turns reading one word at a time; after the last word is read, the next child in line has to re-read the whole sentence. That seemed to work great, because they all had to pay attention to the reading so as not to lose their place.
This group of emergent readers is really almost done with needing intensive phonics drill, and will soon graduate to reading a variety of texts for "reading practice." We think we'll start phasing out reading and phasing in Latin in the same time slot. Meanwhile, there's a younger cohort coming up right behind them who, we hope, will reap the benefit of our experience,
This morning for breakfast I had a fried egg on top of leftover polenta, along with a glass of tomato juice. Then one of the kids asked for some of the whole-wheat coconut banana bread I made yesterday. And before I really thought about it, I had had a second breakfast of two slices of banana bread. Which tasted really good at the time.
But now I am aware that it was a mistake. Not because of guilt, not because "now I'll have to eat less at lunch to make up for it," not because I've incrementally slowed the rate at which I approach my prepregnancy weight -- but because my stomach feels uncomfortably full.
I don't like overeating anymore. I mean, I really don't like doing it. Not because of its effects. Just for what it is. I don't like to do it. I get a sort of hangover from it.
* * *
If you'd told me before I changed my eating style that I would feel this way, I wouldn't have believed you. Just look at this post from July 2008:
Will I keep getting hungry between meals, ever? Will I never eat an entire pizza? Will I always ask for the half portion? Will I forget about ever filling up on bread, ever again? Will I roll over in bed when my stomach growls at 3 a.m., saving that appetite for breakfast? Will I throw out the kids' sandwich crusts? Will it start to feel wonderful, instead of worrying, to believe that the eating-till-I'm-stuffed is over?
That is the writing of someone who is frightened by the idea of never eating an entire pizza again. I write now as someone who is relieved by the idea of never eating an entire pizza again. Even by the idea of never having more than, say, a quarter of a pizza at a sitting.
Not only would I not have believed it about myself, frankly, I didn't believe it about other people. If some other person had told me that she felt better when she ate lightly and didn't really want to "splurge" now and again, I would have thought she was either (a) lying or (b) mentally ill, possibly anorexic.
And yet here I am.
Let me give you a measure of how much I mean this. My mom, when she was dying of lung cancer, once told me, "I'm never going to deny myself anything ever again." My mom, she loved her some Coca-Cola and Baby Ruth candy bars. I hope she enjoyed every last one of them. One of the last things I ever did for her was to hold the straw for her while she sipped Coke from a can around her oxygen masks.
But I've been thinking of that comment -- "I'm never going to deny myself anything ever again." If I learned I only had a few months to live ... I still wouldn't want to eat an entire pizza. I wouldn't want to stuff myself with food, even really tasty food. I guess I might eat a higher proportion of my food from the Deep-Fried Group, but ... "not stuffing myself" doesn't feel like a sacrifice, like any kind of self-denial. It's what I want to do now and for the rest of my life. I feel so much more free about it than I did when I ate whatever I "wanted."