seet, mama


I once heard, from a very wise Orthodox Jewish mother of nine, that our children are divinely inspired to be ours. And that the challenges they present us with are exactly the challenges we need in order to become better people.

It’s a lovely thought, isn’t it? And quite true. Fergus challenges my patience many, many times daily, and heaven knows I am an impatient person. He moves very slowly, but then, I tend to move too quickly. When my kids frustrate me, it gives me much-needed perspective to consider that God wants it that way.

Maddie, at 18 months, has already shown, by her headstrong and bossy ways, that she intends to challenge me quite well in her turn. For now, at least, she is still a cuddly mama’s girl, and in her eyes I can do no wrong. Still, she challenges me:

“Seet, mama? Seet? Seet?”

That’s “Sit, Mommy.” And she says it all day long. If she’s watching Blue’s Clues, she wants my company on the couch next to her. If she’s having a leisurely lunch of scrambled eggs and peas, she wants me sitting at the table as well.

I really appreciate her invitations. I can’t remember anyone else in my family inviting me to take a seat. However, what she doesn’t understand is that her sitting quietly = my opportunity to run around our house like a madwoman, getting 100 things done. How can I just sit at the kitchen table when there’s a dishwasher to be unloaded? How can I sit for 22 minutes of “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan!” when there are brothers to bathe and overdue blog posts to write?

Still, she beckons. “Seet, mama?” And I know that she’s right. There’s nothing more important, at that moment, than sitting down with my daughter, and keeping her company. So I do it. For five minutes, anyway. All too soon, I’ll have all the time in the world to unload the dishwasher, and she’ll want nothing to do with me.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

maddog24 April 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Amen. I struggle with the same mental battle when my 3 year old boy wants me sit with him in the morning at breakfast. But then I remind myself that his 6-year old sister only asks me to sit with her about once every two weeks now, and soon I’m sure it will be never. Time will fly.

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Denise April 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Great quote from the woman with 9 kids. Thanks for sharing–I needed that today.

I also have 2 boys and a girl. I felt the same way you did when I found out I was having a girl. Now, when I just don’t get where she’s going with her emotions or actions, I hand her off to my husband and he seems to do just fine. Good luck!

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Steph April 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm

You are doing the right thing sitting with that sweet child…I would give anything to hear my 21 year old daughter say one more time “I want to hold you” like she did when she was a toddler! I have a two year old grandson who says to his parents “Up me” and my son thinks that is the dumbest thing he has ever heard…so sad that he just doesn’t get it.

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littlebug April 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I also have 2 boys 18 mos. apart and 3rd a girl. I was very happy being just me and the boys and of course my husband is included, but he was away at work. The boys and I did everything together. When my daughter was born I was a little apprehensive not knowing what to expect. She was different, a litte quieter and more relaxed. She did have those 6th grade girl problems, but the boys also had 6th grade boy problems. They are in their 20’s now and we are very close. Boys to some extent grow away, I guess to prepare to be responsible for their own families. My daughter became closer and is becoming a real friend. So you see boys and girls are special in their own way.

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MsAmanda Jones April 30, 2009 at 9:20 pm

My third child-my 2 year old daughter, (I have an 11 year old girl and 8 year old boy) – says “seet, mama” as well…and I always do (even if it’s for a few minutes). I know oneday she won’t ask anymore and I’ll probably be too busy to notice that she doesn’t or hasn’t. So for now I enjoy all the little things she says and does so much.

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teresag May 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Oh, boy that wise Jewish woman was right! The longer I am a mother, the more it seems true. I am not Jewish, Catholic actually, but I do also have nine children (five boys, four girls). Our “baby” just turned four and our oldest just turned 18. So I had lots of littles at a time….four kids under five, six kids under seven, etc. That time in my life was busy and exhausting, but it seems easy compared with juggling four teens, some middles, and littles all at once now :).

I’m not saying this to make life ahead seem intimidating -I’m rather trying to encourage. As an older mom now I think I have so much more perspective than when I was first having babies. Though the pace of life is so busy, I am much more apt to “seet” and read when my four or six year olds ask. I look at my older kids and can’t remember the last time we snuggled on the couch and devoured a pile of books. I know we did – I have lots of pictures to prove it. But they grow up so quickly. The blessing of my “mature maternal age” allows me to see that and cherish those “seeting” moments all the more.

I did link to your site from the CNN article – it was well written and reflective. I just didn’t want to comment along with the 99 others – no time to read all those and I don’t like to add a comment without reading the others. I enjoy your site and hope to be a regular visitor now!
Teresa Giorgio

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karey May 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Your Fergus could be my Alec. While his older brother Elliott argues loudly and eagerly at every request, Alec, 3, blissfully pretends he can’t hear me ask him 12 times to put on his shoes. Drives me crazy!! But maybe his laid-back attitude is exactly what I need to slow me down. Thanks for the reminder.

I am also the mom of two boys and a girl. Maggie is 8 months and I do share your worries but nothing could be as wonderful as seeing the adoration between my oldest (he’s 6) and Maggie. I just don’t think it would be the same if she had been a he. Hopefully, yours will have a close relationship as well.

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