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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

I made a list this summer of some of the things that I want to remember.  Time to add to that list!

The boys aren’t significantly older than they were then, but we’re always adding to the list of things that I hope I can hold onto in my mind.  Lately:

  • When Phinehas wakes up earlier than Stephen, he asks to make Peanut Butter toast.  We then sit outside on our back deck and look at the stars.  Our house backs up to a trail and a wooded area and it is DARK outside and you can see the stars perfectly.  We don’t stay long — either a toddler’s attention is hard to hold, it gets too cold or we hear Stephen wake up.
  • We look for the turkeys every day and we see them most days.  I think they sleep in a tree right behind our house.
  • Stephen usually always has something in his hands.  It started with a plastic toy magnifying glass, but lately, it doesn’t matter — a spatula is often a favorite thing to hold.
  • Both boys love to be naked after their bath and to “run” down the hall.  When there are no more babies at our house, I’m gonna miss the sound of giggles and the sight of little baby butts running down the hall.
  • We’re using up our last days of being a family without a mini-van.  We just bought one last night and we’ll have it on Saturday.  For 2.5 years now, the boys & I have done quite well in my little Corolla, but I’m looking forward to a car that Finn can get in and out of by himself (obviously, he’ll still need help with his carseat.)
  • How every once in a while, Finn wants to be rocked before he falls asleep.  “Mama, Rocky You”.  He really means “Mama, Rock Me”.
  • Phinehas’ language has just skyrocketed in the last few months.  Out of nowhere, complete sentences are there.  Common ones: “I do all by myself” and “Mama, stop doing that.”
  • I’m struck at how much they look alike.  Will this continue?  So intriguing!  Here are pictures of both boys at the same ages:

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It seems that Stephen (8 months old) is learning new skills every day.  And his personality is starting to reveal itself more and more.  And there are times that I think “Did Phinehas do that?” because I can’t remember.  And they’re only 18 months apart!  And I still can’t remember unless I’m prompted by something or someone mentions it.  I don’t want to forget:

  • What Phinehas’ belly button looked like.  For at least the first year of his life, it was a cute little cinnamon roll shaped.
  • How he used to point to the lamp and whisper “Hot”, either like he knew a secret or that he was afraid that you didn’t know it.  I’m not even convinced he knew what “hot” meant at that point.
  • When we called Uncle Kyle for his birthday last weekend and he just knocked out a great rendition of “Happy Birthday” song.  Wasn’t perfect, but I don’t know how he even knew what he did!
  • How he ‘chases’ up after Stephen on the steps, “pretending” to catch him, just like we do with him.
  • How he (kindly intentioned, but not so kindly in action) pulled Stephen down the stairs trying to help him learn how to go down.
  • How lately he wants one last hug and kiss from me when I drop them off at Aunt T’s…that’s a new thing and I love it!
  • The way he says “tickle” when he wants Jeff to chase him around and tickle him.
  • And the way he says “No!” when you ask if he wants you to tickle his tummy, but then he lifts up his shirt so that you have easy access to tickle him.
  • How he asks for “some”.  It used to be that everything is “some”.  Some watermelon.  Some M&Ms.  Some cheese.  Doesn’t matter – he wants “some”.
  • Him playing with my hair dryer in the morning as I get ready.  His love for the vacuum is being replaced by that new toy.
  • How we have to read “Dog” (Go Dog Go) at least 5 times/day even though he rarely seems to be paying attention.
  • Playing in the bathtub asking me to “shoot” which means fill up this little syringe with water and shoot it at the wall.

 

What saddens me is how much I’ve already forgotten and that he won’t remember most of this…but that’s okay.  I’m creating good bonds between us that I hope to strengthen the rest of his life.

June2014

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Working Part-time

I’m not a President Obama supporter, but I’m far from a hater too.  In fact, I really dislike how people disrespect him and his office just because they don’t agree with him.  I’m talking about people that call him “Barry” or other disrespectful names.  There was a candidate for governer here in Nebraska a couple of months ago who had a President Obama bobblehead doll and knocked it off a fence post during one of his ads.  Just for that alone, I wouldn’t have voted for him.  (He wants to be the head of our state, but can’t respect the head of our country?  No thanks.  There were other qualified candidates.)

All that to say that I don’t normally get too excited about politics.  I definitely have my opinions, but it’s not an area that I spend lots of time on.  I just have other things that excite me more.

Until I read Parade Magazine’s article a couple of weeks ago with an interview with Michelle & President Obama on family issues.  And she said the following that really bothered me:

“Now I realize that that’s one of the challenges that we have as women:  We don’t negotiate for ourselves. We don’t negotiate hard. And I realized that again later on when I had Malia, my first child. After a while, I asked for part-time work [at the University of Chicago]. And I did the same job, part time. Essentially, I just got paid less. That was the first time I realized I would never again work part time, because that’s not a good deal for women.”

Now, I recognize that this was a short magazine article and had she been giving much more time and space to say what she really thinks, there might have been a different picture presented.  And it seems like her experience working part-time really colored her position on this.  But here’s my position on this:

Working part-time (compared to full-time) is wonderful.  And I wish more women would choose that option, not less.  (In full disclosure: I also wish more women would choose the stay-at-home mom route too.)  Working part-time might not have been a good deal for her, but it was probably a better deal for her children.  Maybe the solution isn’t to forget about working part-time (instead of full-time).  Maybe the solution is to work part-time and mean it.  And set boundaries around it.  (Easier said than done, I know…but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.)

I jut can not imaging working full-time at this time.  I just can’t imagine both my husband and I rolling in at 5:30 p.m., getting dinner thrown together, getting baths and bedtimes and cuddles and reading and instructing all in before 7:00/7:30 p.m. at night.  I just can’t imagine it.  (Well, I can imagine it, but I’m miserable in my imagination).

And maybe our kids go to bed earlier than most, but I far prefer that to waking a sleeping baby and toddler up at 7:15 a.m. just so that I can take them to the babysitter’s house (as wonderful as my babysitter is) or a daycare.  Or even letting them sleep in and having a nanny/babysitter be there when they wake up in the morning.

For women who want to work:  For women who need to work: Part-time can be a wonderful option.  It’s definitely worth looking into.

/rant over.

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Thousand sacrifices

One last thought from “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  In a letter from Sally to Sarah, she writes:

“I always wanted to be a hero – to sacrifice my life in a big way at one time – and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal. “

I’ve often wanted that.  I wished weight loss worked that way: one big effort (over the course of like 1 day), then you just coast.  Or financial success: one big effort (over the course of like 1 week) and all your past financial mistakes were fixed.  Or if you worked one really hard project at work, you wouldn’t have to work hard again (like ever!).  But life doesn’t usually work that way.

And mothering is one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.  When you don’t feel like being touched anymore.  When you feel like reading something meant for an adult.  When you feel like eating junk food.  It’s lots of little sacrifices.

The good news is that I can’t remember regretting a sacrifice.  I can’t remember climbing into bed at night and thinking “man, I really regret reading ‘I Love You Stinky Face’ 20 times today.” I can’t remember saying to myself “I really wish I wouldn’t have made vegetables at dinner.” I just don’t.  Sacrifices – even the small ones – have a way of reminding you how cool these people in your life really are.

 

 

 

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Another lesson learned from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  The quote:

“Many voices in motherhood today want to make a law out of everything – the activities that are best for a child, how to spank or not to spank, and how to secure obedience; working outside the home or staying at home; what clothing is acceptable for our girls; what movies, music, or books are or are not acceptable; dating or courting; adopting; drinking; even eating – there is no place where the grasp of legalism cannot and will not reach.

And yet, Scripture clearly speaks to the opposite.  It tells us in Romans 14:22, “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”  The worry of what others are doing or are expecting us to do will indeed kill our souls.”

When I read this, I didn’t automatically think of the supposed “Mommy Wars”, but, instead, I thought of the tendencies inside me.  Oh yes!  This is me!  I want rules that pretty much guarantee good results – in my child(ren) and in me!

I have got to chill out when it comes to thinking that there are easy answers to be had.  I have got to chill out when it comes thinking that there is 1 way to raise a kid.  To have a good marriage.  To live a happy life.  Chill out Jayme!

 

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Enjoy them!

Another thought from from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  They say:

So many moms try to micromanage every single behavioral issue with their children and feel a need to win every battle, especially when they are young.  As I observe how God treats me, I realize that I keep learning and growing in my weaknesses, sometimes in areas I was not even awar of.  It seems He shows me one area at a time.

And yet, other parents let their children misbehave and be out of control so much of the time that their children are a burden to all who come into their wake.

And so discipline is an issue of training, little by little, year after year.  Do not expect a toddler to behave like an older child who naturally has more self-control and maturity.  Learning to be consistent in teaching and training is a way of life.  It is quite exhausting if a parent makes everything an issue for the child and the parent.  And be sure to enjoy each stage of your children-have fun, giggle, distract, lighten up, and win their hearts.  Children are more likely to respond to discipline if they feel loved and affirmed.  Be sure to extend grace to your young children, and also make sure they have lots of time to play outdoors to wear out their energy and fill their need for activity.

This kind of hit me between the eyes, so to speak.  For a while there, I was so concerned about getting the right behavior out of my child, that I wasn’t really enjoying my child.  Certainly, life will never be 100% enjoyable – not with a child.  Not with a spouse.  Not with myself.  There will always be “I wish I didn’t have to do this” moments.  But I had forgotten to ENJOY HIM!  I had forgotten that he was still VERY YOUNG!

I heard it once that “Children define love this way: P-L-A-Y!” and “Your child’s favorite toy is you.”  May I remember that more often!

 

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When did I stop?

A few weeks ago now, I was reading “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  I had seen it referenced by quite a few of the bloggers that I follow, so I checked it out.  I can’t say that it was life-changing or anything, but it was a very encouraging read.

I don’t feel desperate about parenting right now, but I did several months ago – about the time that Finn was 20 months old.  It seems like that was a very rough time.  Stephen was just a month or two old, but that didn’t seem to throw me any curveballs.  It was the beginning of the Toddler stage that was giving ME fits.  He was starting to challenge things he never had before.  He seemed to suddenly get super tall overnight, causing him to be able to reach things that I thought were safe (i.e.: knives on the counter!).  He developed the ability to open closed doors.  Before, countertops and closed doors were boundary-defining.  Not so much any more.

It’s all normal, of course, but this was the beginning of “true parenting” for me.  Until then, I had pretty much just been keeping him alive.  Now the real teaching and instruction was beginning.  And I was uber confident that I was doing it all wrong and it was just a matter of time before the police department brought him home in a squad car for spray painting a bridge or something.  (Remember: He wasn’t even 2 yet.  I was clear over-reacting!  This I know.  But this I didn’t feel.)

Anyway, a quote from this book stood out to me:

“As the undeniable reality of my own sin nature convicted me of how I view my children, I was reminded of something I had read in one of Sally’s books.  In Mission of Motherhood, she wrote about being frustrated with her children.  She felt like her efforts weren’t proving fruitful, and no matter what she did with her children or how many times she told them what to do, it wasn’t working.  Clay said to her, “Honey, at what age did you stop sinning?  Because that’s when our children will stop.”

That really helped drive home the concept that I am in this for the long haul.  There are some things that I’ll have to tell him once and he’ll listen.  But there are many, many, many, many things that I’ll have to repeat myself for.  Just like I know that it’s wrong to be short-tempered or jealous (but I do it anyway), my son knows it’s wrong to put his feet on the table or to throw his food (but he does it anyway).

It was just a nice reminder that I am no better than my son; just a little more sophisticated!

 

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