Catching up with Popo

25 11 2012

Before heading off to Italy in October, I purposely held off making plans for after I came back. I thought I would take my time picking up where I left off or starting any new projects in Hawaii. I wanted to be available and present. As it turns out, being open and alert, there’s plenty to do!

I’ve gotten to catch up with my Painting II students and plant the seed of going to Italy, renting a villa, and painting in Tuscany next summer. They’re interested! I learned I need to tack on a make-up day to review the curriculum from the semester. It’s challenging now that holiday activities are filling up the calendar, but we’re doing our best together.

DH and I were unable to schedule the installation of the new wall-to-wall carpet we ordered before we went to Europe. But it went in yesterday to replace the 27-year-old stuff. It was a good reason to pass up shopping the day after Thanksgiving, as we were busy clearing the space for the installer (Kenneth of State Drapery who has been installing carpet for 40 years) who worked alone. It took six hours, and the new carpeting looks and feels great. I just need to clear the studio—to where we moved all the furniture to accommodate the carpet installation—before the next painting class. 😉

I’ve resumed my going to tai chi class and the alumni glee club rehearsals. I enjoy that.

Most importantly, I’m blessed to be able to spend time with my hanai mom, who is recuperating from surgery. This Thanksgiving all the adult kids (my hanai brothers and sisters), except Ruth, for various reasons remarkably weren’t here! Even DH and I stayed at our own home. Holidays have always been important to Mom. You can’t tell, but she’s 84 now, has failing eyesight, and a big house to maintain. She still works outside the home in the community. Her surgery was successful. Before long she will be up and about as usual.

I found out Mom is going to spend Christmas with eldest son David and Cherie and family this year. That’s good! Meanwhile, Ruth has accepted my proposal to give her some relief with the care giving, and I’m happy and privileged to keep Mom happy!

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Claim your space and find your voice

28 11 2009

Miss Marvelous’s primary daytime caregiver four days a week is Papa, her grandfather (a.k.a. DH at Rebekah’s Studio). On those days Popo (that’s me) is the backup caregiver, chief cook and bottle washer—literally. This is the first time I’ve had a baby at home. It’s a delightful distraction, or attraction, I should say.

One day last week DH scheduled an important errand in Kaneohe. He was kanalua (hesitant) about leaving the little girl in my charge. “Are you sure this is okay?” No problem, we’ll be fine, I said as he watched me change a diaper. He prepared the next feeding for me. He even conscientiously phoned the baby’s mom to alert her of the shift change.

So I got to have some dedicated quality time with Miss Marvelous. She’s seven months old now, and starting to become mobile. She’s not crawling yet, but she wants to. During tummy time (“Back to sleep, tummy to play,” right?) she rolls from her front to her back in all directions and can inch forward on her tummy just a little.

I placed manipulatives—the correct name for these age-appropriate toys, I learned—in front of her, slightly out of her reach, as an incentive. One of them was a soft cuddly hippopotamus named Hillary who she loves and responds to.

For more encouragement, I got the bright idea to give Hillary a voice. A voice that wasn’t Popo’s, but a higher voice.

Miss Marvelous is into very high-pitched shrieking-screeching-whatever this week. Discovering her vocal chords and finding her voice, perhaps? I have a 6-year-old puppy dog, so I know to reward desirable behavior and to ignore less desirable or plain unacceptable behavior. Therefore, I am ignoring this sound.

It was fascinating to me, then, that when Hillary spoke aloud to Miss Marvelous, how MM responded. Her big blue eyes lighted up even more than usual, she smiled at her friend who was speaking to her and became very animated, actually engaging with the four-legged stuffed toy who by this time was demonstrating how to crawl. Popo became invisible and all attention was on Hillary.

I’ve learned that as soon as the baby rubs her eyes, pulls her ear, or starts to fuss, that it’s time to put her down for a nap. Lucky for both of us, when I put her in her crib and switched off the lights, she was out in less than a minute. Conversing with Hillary and all that exercise on my tummy is tiring, Popo!

Mommy phoned, how’s everything? Baby’s fine, she’s sleeping . . .

Later we read the mail-order catalogs together. Great fun. I tried to multi-task and watch Oprah at the same time, but that was difficult. I don’t allow Miss Marvelous to watch TV yet, but boy, TV is a magnet, and as soon as the baby hears it, she’s drawn to the screen. So I switched back to Soundscapes.

Next, still “reading” the catalogs, Miss Marvelous played the didgeridoo without the instrument, spit flying and all, entertaining herself for about what seemed like an hour. With this ability she can blow the Hawaiian pu (conch shell) too.

Miss Marvelous and Hillary: we made this photo and emailed it to Papa and Mom to show them everything was A-OK!

Another voice. Thank you, dear one.

These experiences reinforced what I believe is a need to claim one’s space and find one’s voice in our changing times, or at any time. Put another way, stop procrastinating, do it now, and speak our piece/peace. What are we waiting for?

That is how I created my healing space and my breathing room and Rebekah’s Studio that make me happy.

Recurring mantra:
Claim your space and find your voice
Are you listening?
Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke

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