When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


1/17/12

210

Big, fat, teardrops are landing on my arms as I type.  Minutes ago I was simply planning my day for tomorrow.  Drop Parker off at preschool, go to the bank, go to the gym, have some special time with Maddie while Jack naps, call some schools...
Call some schools, as in call schools to find out about kindergarten programs.  The big K.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I can't stop crying.

I've had friends whose kids have gone to kindergarten.  At the time I simply didn't get it.  What was the big deal?  These kids had gone to preschool, right?  So now they'd be gone a little longer.  So what?

Well for those of you with the same questions, let me tell you what...

He's my baby.  Yes, he's leggy, but he's still my baby.  I still swoop him into my arms and kiss his soft cheeks.  He still lets me snuggle in bed and sing him to sleep.  His preschool is less than one mile from our home.  On nice days we walk there.  Any school I choose for him will now require a vehicle.  A big, yellow vehicle.  Filled with kids who don't know...

They don't that he is precious.  They don't know that his feelings are easily hurt, though he tries to appear tough when the bigger kids don't let him play their games.  They don't know that he's trusting to a fault.  For the most part, he hasn't encountered any malicious or ugly behavior.  He believes everyone is good. 

Questions plague my heart.  Have I done enough to instill in him the importance of being kind to everyone?  Does he know he is loved and will always have Mommy and Daddy in his corner no matter what?  Does he know he is a person of value even when the world tells him he is not?

It is such a blessing that I can't follow him into school and hover over him (because I am sure that is just what I'd do).  My Parker is an extrovert.  He'll make friends, no problem.  It's just that I know that he'll encounter bad stuff, too.  How I want to protect him!  How thankful I am that my God is big enough to do it for me! 

Psalm 121:1-8 I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Even as I write, I am feeling better.  Reading God's Word just does that to me.  It changes you from the inside out.  I titled this post "210" because that is exactly how many days I have until Parker enters kindergarten.  I had been racking my brain, trying to think of how best to fill those days to make sure he had fun but was still learning, that he felt carefree but continued to be responsible, that he felt loved but not smothered.  It was an exhausting mental exercise.

I just need to breathe and take a step back.  It's time to fix my gaze where it belongs (and it's not on Parker).  My friend, Serina, recently told me that a speaker at her moms' group said, "It's not your job to be a good mom...Your job is to glorify God." 

Think about it.  When you focus on making sure every action you take brings glory to God, everything else falls into place.  You won't be snippy with your kids.  You won't be catty when you chat with the girls.  You won't be rude to your spouse.  You won't be preoccupied with future fears.

*relieved sigh*  I'm looking forward to the next 210 days.

1/13/12

First vs. Third

I love to compare myself as a mother of three to myself as a mother of one.  My, how things change!

First Child: He shall have absolutely no refined sugar until he licks the icing on his first birthday cake.
Third Child:  No hard candy before 6 months.  (Just kidding!  But if the grandparents want him to teethe on a cookie, I'm not going to pitch a fit.  Don't bite the hand that gives you free babysitting!)

First Child:  He shall not watch any television until he is at least two years of age, at which time he will be allowed 30 minutes maximum per day.
Third child:  I'll turn his Bubmo seat away from the television while I hop in the shower and his older brother and sister watch a show, but if he turns around, c'est la vie!

First Child:  He shall consume only organically grown well-balanced meals.  [Note: This lasts for less than one year.]
Third child:  I wonder how old he has to be before he can eat a french fry?? 

First Child:  I will give him whatever sippy cup he wants if he will just stop screaming while I drive.
Third Child:  Cups/drinks of any kind are banned from the van which still emits a funky odor from milk (or who knows what drink) spilled eons ago.  Let the wailing begin!

First Child:  He is toted to the bathroom with me on every trip, often placed in a bouncy seat so I can monitor him at all times.
Third Child:  He is placed in the care of his older siblings [read: baby is in a swing and siblings are told to get me if he stops breathing] while I enjoy a closed-door bathroom break.

First Child:  Older children are directed to be gentle, gentle, GENTLE!  Don't squish [actually, don't even touch] the baby!!!
Third Child:  Kids, please don't press on his skull that hard.

First Child:  He is dressed to the nines to visit the library, grocery, doctor, etc.  Matching socks, shoes, bibs, hats and outerwear.
Third Child:  I know he had on bottoms when we left the house...

First Child: He shall only be left in the care of medically trained (or at least infant CPR certified) adults for very brief periods of time (during which I will call several times to ask how things are going, and by that of course I mean how closely is the caregiver following my three page schedule, notes, and contact information).
Third Child: Anyone over the age of 12 who lacks a criminal record, has a pulse, and can dial a phone is a potential babysitting candidate.

First Child:  His bedtime routine is of the utmost importance and shall not be altered: feeding, leisurely bath, pajamas, books, prayers, and lights out at 7:45.
Third Child:  It's 9:30.  I think he ate about an hour ago.  Diaper change, kiss him on the head, whispered I-love-yous, and chuck him gently lay him in the crib.

The list goes on and on.  I remember when Parker was my only child and I heard mothers of multiple children chuckling about how their own standards and routines had changed.  Where was the structure?  Where was the order?  How were they surviving

I never imagined I'd be one of them.  My plans were ironclad.  Ha! 

What I came to realize is that, for me anyway, multiple children and the demands they impose absolutely necessitated a change in my standards.  I had to re-evaluate.  I had to give myself a little grace.  I held on to what I felt was essential and released my white-knuckled grip on complete control. 

So Maddie refuses to brush her hair and wants to wear her elastic headband Chuck Norris style.  I can live with that.  Parker chooses his own outfits; blue and brown striped sweater with gray and navy striped sweatpants...okay.
Jack sometimes has to wear princess pull-ups that were left over at Grammy's from Maddie's potty-training days because I forgot the diaper bag again.  No worries. 

This is life now, and I'm still loving it! 

 

1/1/12

Baby Mine

Dear Jack,

Though you are only five months old, it feels like you've been a part of our family forever.  You love to watch your brother and sister chase each other and eagerly kick your feet as if you'd like to join in the fun.  You are extremely ticklish and love it when I nibble your little toes.  You have started eating baby oatmeal.  We tried the rice cereal, but you broke out all over, and when daddy accidentally got some peanut butter on your little foot, it was immediately covered in blisters.  Looks like you have your sister's allergies.  No worries, little guy.  We know what to do this time around.

You are such a joy!  Everything I do with you is enjoyable.  Diaper changes become giggle-fests.  Often when I'm feeding you, milk spills from your little mouth because you can't stop smiling.  You play contentedly in the Exersaucer while I clean the kitchen and roll around on your back while I fold laundry.  Most times you don't even cry when I lay you down to sleep.  If I happen to peek over the side of the crib, there you are, smiling up at me. 

Your brother and sister love you so much!  We often have to remind them to hug you gently, as they would literally love you to pieces if they could.  Maddie loves to give you a bath and zip up your pajamas.  Parker loves to make you giggle with his silly faces and is willing to share even his most treasured possessions (transformers).

Your dad and I shake our heads at how wonderful you are.  I love your chunky little thighs, your fuzzy hair, your toothless grin.  I love how you quickly open and close your chubby fingers around my arm, grasping tightly.  I love the way you open your mouth wide when I come in for a kiss, as if you would eat my face right off if you could.  I love how you ride quietly in the van, even with all the chaos surrounding you. 

I just love you.