Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lessons from a Crying Baby

I told Matt what Allie’s doctor said. Sounds to me like colic. Hang in there. That’s it. That was the extent of his advice. Hang in there. Well, I could have told myself that. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past month.

Allie cries through the evening almost every day. Every time there is a lull in the pattern, I get my hopes up that things are getting better, but it never lasts. We’re getting in a routine where Matt and I take turns walking laps with her around the fireplace. He tries a pacifier. I try to nurse her. We walk and sing and swaddle and bounce and do our best to eat our dinner and talk over the wailing. We switch back and forth between walking with Allie and playing with Reese and our alone time is rare. This is our life.

She’s only been doing this for about four weeks, but to us it feels like forever. It’s affecting my ability to enjoy the newborn stage, and lowering my patience for Reese and Matt and myself. One night after Reese was in bed, I handed Allie off to Matt and buried my face in my hands.

He put a hand on my shoulder, “Are you ok?”

“I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

“Are you saying we should put her on Ebay?”

I laughed through the tears, and asked if he would mind if I took a shower before my next turn.

For the past month, I have been asking God to make this go away. I begged him to calm her, heal her, and bring her peace so I in turn could have my peace. I want to remember this stage of her life as a happy time. I don’t want to look back and think, “Gee, that was awful. I'm glad that’s over.” I have said over and over to God what I had just said to Matt, I don’t know how much longer I can do this, and I've been angry that God doesn't seem to be listening.

Alone in the bathroom, I prayed as I often do in the shower. This time, however, I put my agenda aside and I asked Him only for acceptance:

Dear Lord, please help me accept my circumstances. Help me to be calm in this storm and grant me the peace of knowing that this will pass in your time. Let me be thankful for the things that are going well, and help me find greater joy in smaller moments. Please give me the strength and patience to be the mother you created me to be.

Then I returned to the living room to take my turn with Allie. Matt went to bed and I continued walking laps around the fireplace. Remembering my prayer, I started thinking about all that I've been thankful for in the past month - moments that made me smile and all the wonderful parts about having a newborn. I recalled the moment of her birth, her first bath, her first smile, the way Reese kisses her forehead, and the feeling of her tiny head resting in the palm of my hand.

Before I knew it, I was crying again, but instead of the tears of frustration, anger, and exhaustion to which I had grown so accustomed, they were tears of gratitude and joy. At some point, Allie had stopped crying, and her little head rested peacefully on my shoulder. As I continued walking, I sang three verses of Amazing Grace and thanked God for answering my prayer. Then I set Allie in her bed where she slept for six hours, her longest stretch to date.

When I first told Matt, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” I wasn’t even entirely sure what I meant. That statement doesn’t even make sense in a situation where there is no way out. Yet, I tend to say that during times when I’m faced with circumstances I’m not willing to accept.

I realize now what my heart was feeling when my mouth made that statement. I meant that I can’t continue through this challenge while focusing on the negative. I can’t face it without God’s grace. And I can’t continue holding onto the image of the circumstances I want rather than accepting the circumstances I have.

I don’t know how much longer this will continue, but I do know that if I continue drawing strength from God, keep picking myself up when I fall, and focus on being thankful for all that is well, I can do it. For as long as it takes.

Because although there may not be peace and quiet in my home, I can choose to walk through it with peace and quiet in my heart.


This is a Bigger Picture moment.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Kid Logic: Cute Stories from the Mind of a Child

Reese just turned two and a half last month, and my favorite part of this stage has been watching the development of her language skills. It seems like she finds new ways to express herself every day, and I am amazed at her ability to learn and remember new concepts and words. I love the way she pauses in deep thought as she tries to reason through various aspects of her world, and her responses in those moments are often creative and downright hilarious. Here are just a few of my favorites from the past few weeks….

~~~~~

We were getting ready to leave the grocery store and she asked why she had to buckle up in the car. I said, “Because it’s very dangerous to ride without a buckle and if we get stopped by a policeman, mommy would get in trouble.”

The next time we got in the car she said, “I have to wear my buckle so mommy doesn’t get a time out.”

~~~~~ 

She looked out the window and saw a rabbit perched up on its hind legs and said, “Look, mommy! A kangaroo!” 

~~~~~

We were playing with alphabet magnets and I held up the letter R.

“R is for Reese.”

She looked confused and handed me the letter U.

“No, this one is for Reese.”

“Why is that one for Reese?”

“Because you say, ‘This is U.’”

~~~~~

We were at a friend’s house and she was having a hard time sharing the toys. Every time her friend touched something, Reese would cry and say, “No that’s my ball!” or “No, that’s my doll!” Finally her friend got so frustrated that she gave up trying to play with Reese. She sat on the couch and started singing, “Old McDonald Had a Farm….”

Reese interrupted her and said, “No, that’s my song!”

~~~~~

She and I went to get haircuts together. When Matt got home, he asked her what we did that day. She said, “We went to the hair doctor.”

~~~~~

Ok, this is my all-time favorite moment, and it doesn’t even involve my kid, but I have to share it…

On my mom’s 40th birthday we all went out to dinner. At the time, my two younger brothers were four and five. During dinner, my mom shared the story about her 30th birthday and how my oldest brother started crying and said that he was afraid she might die soon because she was so old.

We all laughed but my five-year-old brother looked confused and asked, “Why did he think you would die?”

The four-year-old chimed in to explain, “Because back then people only lived to be thirty.”

~~~~~

What funny moments have you shared with your kids?

Leave a comment here or follow the link to the facebook page and tell me your story along with the age of your child (I will change names to protect identity). I’ll share more from Reese and other readers in future “Kid Logic” posts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Sign of God's Plan

In October 2002, during my sophomore year at ISU, an acquaintance invited my roommate and me to go out with some of his friends. We gathered in his dorm room at Watterson Towers where he made introductions and one guy in particular immediately caught my attention. He reached out to shake my hand and flashed me a smile in a moment that is permanently ingrained in my memory. He was a life-of-the-party kind of guy and so easy to talk to. Early in the evening, he mentioned that he was in a long distance relationship, and I told him about my Army boyfriend who was beginning a four year tour in Germany. We spent the evening laughing and dancing, and our whole group had so much fun that we started going out together almost every weekend.

We spent the next two years dancing at frat parties and blasting country music through the halls of his apartment building. We remained respectful of each other’s significant others, and I never mentioned the butterflies that stirred with every smile, every wink, every not-so-inadvertent touch.

Eventually, I ended my long distance relationship and embarked on a series of mediocre dates and short-lived flings. He still had the same girlfriend, so I never did get a chance to share my true feelings. Over time, our little group started growing apart, and soon I stopped scanning the room for him at parties. I stopped trying to run into him on campus, and even when I did see him I only waved from afar. After I graduated, I wondered if it had been a mistake not telling him how I felt. In my mind, he would always be “the one that got away.”

That fall, I went back to ISU to start my graduate degree. All my friends had graduated and the party scene lost its luster. I had just ended another relationship with someone who didn’t quite measure up to the guy I still couldn’t fully forget. I laid on the bed in my one bedroom apartment wondering where the next phase of life would take me.

Then the phone rang and an all-too-familiar voice asked me on my last first date.

In October 2012, I gave birth to our second child and that child entered the world in a hospital room with a picture window. In the middle of the view from that window stood Watterson Towers, the place where Matt first shook my hand exactly ten years before.



The view from that window will remain forever in my heart as a reminder that God is behind every unanswered prayer, every time of uncertainty, every phase of waiting and wondering. He orchestrates each stage of our lives from beginning to end, and every so often if we are paying attention, He provides us with wondrous moments that bridge the gap between the past and present and fill us with assurance that He really does have a plan.

This is a Bigger Picture moment. Share with us today at Brook's place.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Brief Update

Well, it has been quite a month, and I think I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel. I thought I would share a brief update before I attempt to get back into my normal posting routine (if that’s even possible. We shall see).

Allie is five weeks old now and perfectly healthy. (I know. Time flies, right?) We had a difficult first month with her sleep schedule, and she began showing signs of colic which makes for some tense evenings around our house. Lately it feels like things are getting better, but I think maybe that’s because Matt and I have simply grown accustomed to the walking zombie lifestyle.

Reese's broken collarbone is completely healed and we got the official okay last Monday. She handled the whole situation like a champ and never complained about wearing her brace. By the time Allie was born, Reese was back to normal and you never would have known she was injured. She loves being a big sister and - just like every other major transition in her little life - she has handled the change marvelously. 

As for Matt and I, well, did I mention that we’re pretty tired? This whole sleep deprivation thing is quite new to us. Reese was born in the summer when Matt was off work, and by the time he returned to a full-time schedule, we had a ten-week-old baby who slept through the night consistently. Not so much this time around. With Allie, Matt stayed home for one week; my mom came down the second week; and after that I was on my own with two kids and feeling like a first-time mom all over again. 

Already in this first month, I’ve had so many moments that I wanted to share, but each time I had the opportunity to get in front of the computer I found myself choosing to sleep instead (which was probably the wiser choice anyway). So I will likely backtrack a bit to some of those earlier blog-worthy moments I missed and as much as I would like to jump right into them all now, doing so would likely make this a contender for the longest blog post ever written.

For some reason it just seemed weird to start up again without filling in the gaps from the past four weeks. So that’s my only purpose today – to say that we are all alive and well and starting to get used to being a party of four. I hope the demands of my evolving role as a mother allow me the time to continue sharing my heart through this incredible journey. I thought I had learned a lot about things like life, love, and patience as a mother of one, but if the past month is any indication of what lies ahead then I have a feeling that the lessons have only just begun so stay tuned…

And remember that there are now two easy ways to follow along and receive automatic updates. Enter your email on the right or click my facebook link and "like" the fan page. Thank you for taking this journey with me. There's plenty more to come!