little things


Norah has shared the Great and Funny Secret that Mommy’s has an actual name with Harriet. For two days this has proved an endless source of giggles, as one or the other will suddenly shout it and they both laugh and laugh. Cute as this is, I have inevitably responded with, “You get to call me ‘Mommy’.” The hilarity culminated yesterday afternoon when, directly after I made one such statement, the door buzzed. When I opened it, baby boy in arms and two interested little girls hovering behind, the postman simply asked my name aloud and the girls dissolved into hysteria.


Several of our friends in Oxford have recently completed their thesises (thesi?), reminding me that my husband Alex does in fact have a doctoral thesis to finish. Fired up anew to encourage him in this endeavor (and being severely sleep-deprived), the other morning I spontaneously composed a little ditty in the style of a high school-cheerleader chant (no, I never was). I was trying to spell ‘d-i-s-s-e-r-t-a-t-i-o-n’, but as Alex claims I actually started spelling ‘dessert’ I don’t expect it will do much good. 


Harriet has developed an intense desire to “go to Bethlehem.” For over a week she has been asking many times a day for us to make this journey. This is a very difficult request for us to answer, particularly as we are not certain what exactly she means by it. Several days ago I entered the girls’ room to find Harriet crying broken-heartedly on Daddy’s lap. “What happened?” I asked. “She wants to go to Bethlehem,” he said. “And I told her we couldn’t right now.” Since then at every prayer time–meals, bedtime, disciplinary, etc.–Harriet interrupts the prayer with her request: “Go to Bethlehem, pease, Dod.” I think she wants to see the Baby Jesus.


Hugh is a lovely baby. But he has a touch of colic. It’s hard for him to nap well because many days he wakes screaming from internal discomfort every few minutes. This has been difficult for all of us, especially Mommy, who is being Humbled By Her Inability to Get Things Done. A friend helped with the girls this morning so in between Hugh’s screaming bouts I managed to both drink my entire cup of coffee and scrub the kitchen sink–two things that I haven’t accomplished for many weeks. What does it say about me that I enjoyed both immensely?


We always miss our family at this time of the year and all the fun and bustle of a house full of loved ones. Our Christmas will be a simple one. But I imagine the first Christmas was simple, too. We’ll be caring for a tiny baby and thinking on God’s plan to save the world. It’s a very fitting way to celebrate after all.

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8 Responses to little things

  1. Mert Tabbut says:

    Have a very Merry Christmas,
    from across the pond,

  2. Have you tried the double swaddle? Youtube it. Also, he may have reflux (from the mom who missed that for 6 months). But, I hope things settle soon. (I know people love to throw out suggestions and answers, and sometimes it really is colic and will settle soon, but in the mean time…) 🙂

  3. Amy dresser says:

    Ah some good laughs in there Betsy. My first was colicky but I can’t imagine having my third be that way. Rough.
    Merry Christmas to u all

    • betsy says:

      My first had massive reflux issues, but she was happy–just messy. It’s harder when they cry, I find! But we love our Hugh.

      Merry Christmas to you guys, too! Wish you weren’t halfway across the world . . .

  4. Liz says:

    Dear Betsy…I so love all of your posts! These little “snippets” into your life are pricelss. Ah, colic! Had one of those myself and thought I was going to lose my mind, because nobody had “warned” me about that possibility. It will pass – you will NOT lose your mind – and enjoy those little moments when you drink your whole cup of coffee or actually get something done. It’s ok! It’s only a season and it will pass!! Love to you and your whole family at Christmas. The year I was in England for Christmas is my favorite memory – tuck those memories into your memory bank!! They will be sweet to have.

    • betsy says:

      It seems like we are always on the same wavelength, Liz. I had titled this post “snippets” until I decided to illustrate it with Hugh’s toes. Then “little things” seemed better . . .
      Thanks for your encouragement–I feel like such a wimp because he doesn’t even have true colic–just long fussy periods and difficulty napping . . . I AM a wimp!

  5. therigneys says:

    You Skype little Hugh in to Auntie Jen and I’ll sing him a few songs and lull him right to sleep. I mean, you do remember how beautiful your birthday serenade was, right?!

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