Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Then I stopped, I looked up, I drank in the meaning. First I saw my almost 2 year old, adorable curly haired sitting on Daddy's storage box of church papers, intently pretending the fly swatter was a broom. Then the baby, contentedly curled up sleeping in her bouncy seat on the kitchen table. Then the wonderful man in my back yard, strong and steady, maneuvering the lawn mower with precision.
Yes the counter was messy. The toys were in the way. The sounds and movement of business, abounded. But I was struck by the blessing. I am living the dream.
Never thought this would be a picture of bliss:
But Ahhh...just had to spend a few minutes soaking it all in....
Monday, July 20, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The revolutionary thing about tot school for me was the word exposure. I am not trying to teach babydoll lessons but am trying to expose her to learning. With my academic inclination I felt like I needed to test her each time. Like if she didn't repeat that the duck was yellow it wasn't working. But that is not the point, having fun is the key and exposure to skills and concepts is the accomplishment.
So we started last week. Though I won't always do a theme, 4th of July seemed like a great idea. Especially since we had lots of 4th of July activities planned for the end of the week. We ended up doing not 4th of July stuff too.
So this is some of what we did:
We did U, S, and A letter sheets. They were easy to design on publisher. I just put the letter and one picture (like an umbrella on U) on the page. She colored these w/ red and blue crayons. Then I did another page w/ 3 other different umbrellas. I cut them out - she seems little for scissors, but watching me use her kids scissors is exposure. Then I taught her how to use the glue stick to glue them on. She was surprisingly good at it. I tried to not help as much as possible. She got the sequencing of the task down great! Here she is with her letter sheets:
We also did a parade one day. I got her toy drum and recorder and showed her how to march. The parade mostly consisted of her watching me march back and forth while I played the drum. She found it quite entertaining. When she finally decided to join in she slipped on the tile. In an effort to avoid tears I said a big "swoosh" as she slid across the tile on her bottom. She thought this was hilarious and she ended up running back and forth across the room sitting on the tile and saying "swoosh" As I said the point is fun. And she did go to the parade on Saturday. Though there wasn't much marching, mostly splashing, as it rained all day.
We have a great set of word puzzles that I have now introduced her to. Before discovering Tot School I thought I needed to wait a few years to break this out. But I realized even though she couldn't read the words she loves puzzles. And the exposure to the idea of letters making words would be great.
I found a great idea for putting pasta into a Tupperware shaker. she loves to carry the shaker around so I figured we might as well do something useful w/ it. I used tri-colored rotini, so we could practice colors too. She loved it! She took the pasta out and put it through the little hole for a long time. Then she started having more fun dumping it in and out. She even collected several other containers to dump into. It ended up entertaining her while I was making dinner too.
If you look behind her, on the fridge you can see the flag we made w/ construction paper practicing her new gluing skills too.
We also had a verse for the week, Psalm 119:45, posted on the fridge. Although babydoll didn't even repeat it, exposure is the key and Mommy memorized it!
We did good for the first week. We both enjoyed it and it didn't take a lot of extra time. We actually just made better use of our time.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I'll just say it...my baby sleeps on her tummy. I am pretty settled about this now. But at first it was hard, heart wrenching actually. There I was a hormonal, extremely sleep deprived mommy of a 12 day old. I had a problem. My little lamb would not sleep on her back. This was new to me. Babydoll would sleep anytime, anyway, anywhere - but not little lamb. I was exhausted, I couldn't hold her anymore, I felt like I was going to drop her. At midnight, I knew I had a decision to make. I cried, I prayed, and I realized what I had to do. I had tried putting lamb on her tummy for naps, with close supervision. She slept so peacefully then. But now it was nighttime. I would be asleep and not in control. I was petrified. I feel so bad for those who lost a baby to SIDS. I can't imagine the pain. But as I thought about it, I realized that nearly everyone over the age of 30 slept on their tummies. As I prayed God spoke to me. I was living in fear. God would take care of my baby. And then I laughed, what fear was paralyzing me, a fear of caring for my baby the way my mom cared for me, and my grandma cared for her. So little lamb sleeps peacefully now, curled up on her tummy. When I told people I put her on her tummy I got a surprise. Many friends admitted that they too had a little one who had to sleep on her tummy. Many had been afraid to admit such a "horrible" thing. While it was a huge relief to find out I was not alone, it made me a little sad. Sad that fear kept us from being open and honest about it.
So I have another confession. This one I've only just started to share... I don't enjoy breastfeeding. And let me clarify, I don't have difficulty breastfeeding, I just don't enjoy it. As the lactation consultant told me I was "born to breastfeed." The actual mechanics of it are easy. But on a feeling level it is just a task, not much different than changing diapers. I can't relate to those who savor nursing as a bonding time. My baby just seems to be staring at my armpit. With babydoll, a champion nurser, I really didn't have much choice anyway. She would rather wait seven hours to nurse than take a bottle. And she was such an easy baby the rest of the time, it didn't matter much. But little lamb is different. She is a good nurser, but gassy so I have lots of dietary restrictions. And she loves bottles. I actually gave her one, of breast milk, the other day. It was a precious time. I loved looking into her eyes as she ate, and enjoyed eating. If If I wasn't so thrifty (read "cheap") She would have become a bottle baby right then and there. But instead I keep plugging away...But I wonder if there aren't other moms out there who feel like me. I don't want to discourage people from nursing. But I do want to confess, because maybe I am not alone in my lack of enthusiasm for nursing. Maybe I don't need to feel guilty...maybe someone else doesn't need to feel guilty either...
Friday, June 12, 2009
It is good seeing God use the little things to make me grow. Seeing fruit in the rather ordinary reminds me how involved God desires to be in each moment. And although next time I may wait for success before publishing my grand child-rearing plan on the internet, there is something freeing in admitting failure. And while I still don't see myself breaking out the play dough or glue on a regular basis any time soon, it is good to know that when these things happen I can take it...well...with a grain of salt =)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Quitting the paci cold turkey went great until about 5pm. Of course that is her worst popping the paci in and out time. We're used to her hollering 5 minutes out of every 10 then anyway. I put her in her bassinet so I could make dinner, and due to babydoll's love of "buttons" we made an accidental discovery. Little lamb really likes that music the bassinet plays. As long as it was playing she calmed down and was quiet. It is kind of strange sounding electronic classical music, kind of a beeping Canon in D. But it is better than screaming, and it has a volume control.
I managed to survive through the "crying" time in the evening. But alas at bedtime I gave in. It seemed rather cruel to feed her and then expect her to sleep when she was still recovering from eating. This is where the paci truly seemed useful in the past to help control her hiccups and gas. Daddy also had a legitimately rough day, and wasn't up to the screaming. So I gave her her paci and she quietly went to dreamland.
So I guess cold turkey didn't work, exactly. And in rereading my previous post I want to clarify. I don't think her using the paci is some type of deep rooted sin in her 6 week old existence. But I am concerned what we are teaching her when we jump to pop the paci back in every time she hollers at us. I do believe training starts this young.
But training takes some time and is a learning process for me as well. I thought cold-turkey would be easiest. Kind of a lazy approach on my part as it doesn't require thinking just persistence. But a new plan has been put in place. For now the paci will be for immediately after meals/going to sleep. Once it is intentionally popped out, it's out. So far she doesn't even seem to need the paci at all in the morning. Probably because no intolerable food mommy ate has affected her milk. Maybe she'll slowly ween off of it. For now it will be saved for those times when it is truly useful.
I remember this age w/ babydoll. I was mentally exhausted trying to decide the best way to feed her. The experts said so many different things. None of the official ways to schedule her or not schedule her seemed quite right to me. Eventually I gave up the books and experts and just went by instinct. That seemed to work so much better. Of course babydoll, was such a happy baby almost anything would work.
I am kind of glad God chose to teach me this w/ babydoll. I think if I had little lamb first I would have lost my mind trying to find the exact way to do everything. And she still would have fussed and carried on. So I am trying to avoid the experts. I am trying to go by instinct. To pray and do what God prompts me.
Right now both my precious girls are sleeping. Little lamb w/ paci securely in mouth, and babydoll having obediently stayed on her big girl bed. For the moment instinctive - or better God prompted - mothering is working.
Somebody just please remind me of this when I get to potty training...
Monday, June 8, 2009
We have a pacifier tyrant. She must be stopped. Little lamb loves her paci, sort of. She likes to have it put in her mouth, suck for a few minutes, pop it out, and then loudly insist on having it put back. OK the popping out part may be unintentional, more a factor of immature little lips, but the screaming until it is returned is intentional. "They" say you can't spoil a baby, I disagree.
Certainly, I don't feel it is possible to love a baby too much. And my little ones get cuddled and played with lots. In fact Little lamb spends much of the after dinner before bed time being held by Mommy or Daddy. But I do believe you can spoil a baby. I do believe you can give in to a baby's every demand and start to teach the little one that she is the center of the universe. Tough love is sometimes necessary, even with a six week old.
I know my view isn't popular among "they" - the "parenting experts." But I feel that it is biblical. God created us in His image, including my little lamb. And we are all marred by sin from the fall, including my little lamb. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I guess I believe that therefore little lamb must be capable of selfishness, even though she doesn't understand it. I believe that it is our soul that gives us human value and worth. To have a soul is to be capable of sin. While it is pleasant to think of our dear little ones as innocents, it devalues there worth as human beings to believe they are without a will of their own.
So back to the paci - It all started innocently enough. Poor little lamb, she had such terrible gassiness. She would scream and cry, painful ear piercing screams. Sucking seemed to help. But putting more milk into an already troubled tummy didn't. So I gave her a paci. Later we discovered she was having trouble with the dairy products I was consuming. So I said goodbye to my milk and cheese and sour cream....all that yummy stuff. Anyway, as long as I avoid those foods she does pretty well. But we still were in the habit of popping the paci in her mouth whenever she fussed. And now, we were no longer responding to pitiful screams of pain, but baby temper tantrums.
I've debated for days what to do. I mean paci's have some good points. I am not completely opposed to them. But I am opposed to jumping at her every whim to pop one in. But being 6 weeks old does have its limitations and understanding when a paci is permitted is one of them. So I decided cold turkey would be easiest on her, and us. It's been over 8 hours now, and so far so good...but evening is coming...
Maybe she'll get it back one day. Maybe she'll soon forget she ever had it. And maybe this is her first tiny step to learning that she is a part of God's plan. Her first hint that there is something bigger than her own little world. Her first tiny push toward learning to seek His will above all.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Babygirl is no longer the baby in this home. Her little sister joined us April 27, 2009. And while there are a few small physical resemblances between the two, I am amazed at how unalike my 2 little girls are.
It seems strange for babygirl to not be the "baby" anymore. Of course in a way she still is a "baby" not having even reached 2 years yet. But all of the sudden I have visions of her growing up, of her someday being my friend and not just my sweet little baby. I guess I feel the need to rename her as far as endearing nicknames go. And I've decided she'll always be my little "dolly".
OK, while it is convenient that her name happens to rhyme, she is really such a babydoll in so many ways. My little girl of the golden curls, rosebud cheeks, big eyes, and long lovely lashes looks like she came straight from a Madame Alexander box (well when she isn't covered in spaghetti sauce etc...) Although it seems vain to admit it, I can't help but notice that my oldest daughter is a very pretty child. This both delights and frightens me at the same time. But my little dolly is so much more than that. She is cuddly and loving, and eager to please. Her easy going and relatively unselfish (she is almost 2 you know) personality are so endearing. And as our first so long awaited child she will always be the fulfillment of my childhood dream. The culmination of all my days playing "mommy" as little girl, my sweet little dolly.
And now we have been joined by my "little lamb". And no, I didn't go for a rhyme this time, didn't seem right to refer to my new little one as my little "feather". For some reason I began referring to our sweet little baby as my little lamb before her birth. Although as a family we called her "Bob"- that's another story. But in those quiet moments when I contemplated this new little life inside of me she was my little lamb. I even bought a lamb as her special stuffed animal. And I can already see her "lambykin"-ness coming through. (Yes I get a little close to baby talk w/ that one) Of course if you ever stopped by the sheep barn at the fair, well she sure sounds like one. Unlike babydoll - her "Does your baby ever cry?" sister - little lamb makes her presence and opinions known. But she also knows her mommy. Unlike babydoll who was happy w/ anyone and anywhere, my sweet little lamb needs a mommy to shepherd to her through the day. I will say that, like different qualities in her sister, this both delights and frightens me at the same time. I also see in her an intent alertness that her analytical momma finds fascinating and wonderful.
So where is this all going. I am trying to enjoy my precious little ones and not project the future. But I can't help but ponder....How much fun and laughter raising such a cheerful one as babydoll will bring...How much delightful discovery and learning an inquisitive one like little lamb will add to our home. Then of course how can my momma's heart help but worry...will babydoll's beauty and tender heart bring her pain...Will little lambs pensive spirit cause her difficulty... I guess I am so blessed to know that God made them each just the way they are supposed to be. They are both so different. I am so glad I can rest in the knowledge that His plan for each one is perfect.