Friday, January 13, 2012

Slowly, Please

This morning Sara came down in a green Reynosa, Mx, T-shirt.

"Sara, it just snowed. Go put on a long-sleeved shirt."

"But Mom. It's green and I don't have a Green Bay Packers T-shirt so I am wearing a green shirt."

Oh-yeah. Sara mentioned that her class was all going to wear Green Bay Packer gear, but when she told me last week she didn't know when. There wasn't anything in the weekly class newsletter about it. I suggested she find out when this was going to happen and then we would take a trip to Kohl's, but Sara didn't bring it up again until this morning.

I sent a sweatshirt she could put over her T-shirt in case she got cold. She came home excited about the Packers earrings her teachers wore.

I am proud of Sara for managing part of her life without me, for figuring out how to get by in this big world. But at the same time, part of me misses being her entire world. I had that same sinking feeling when she started pre-school, went she joined Awana, and when she began kindergarten. It was harder on me than on her.

Kids grow up and become increasingly independent. It goes so fast.

Now she attends school three full days each week. That's about right for me. She will add a day at the end of January, and another day by the end of the year. She will be gone five days a week, and I am not ready for that.

I want her to become independent, but slowly, please.

That gives us more rationale for homeschooling--she will become independent, but we can savor our short time together. We're considering, when Todd quits working, he might homeschool her while he is able. What a valuable use of time.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Doing My Own Thing

As I was showering Sara off after her bath she stomped her foot and splashed me. "Sara, stop it." She looked defiantly at me and splashed again. "Sara, don't splash me. I don't want to get wet." She stomped her foot again. "What are you going to do Mama?" her little face asked. I picked her up and sat her on a stool in the bathroom. "Two minute time-out." She refused to sit. "Your time doesn't start until you sit." She was wailing. Isaac who was watching the action in the exersaucer started wailing. But she sat, wailing. It was a long two minutes. I patted Isaac's back and sang to him while I counted down the time. Back in the shower. "This time don't splash Mama." "Okay, Mama." She reached over to get the conditioner and stood up banging her head on the shower bar. More wailing. More of Isaac wailing with empathy. "Sara, we need to rinse your hair." I rinsed off my screaming child, wrapped her in a towel, and picked her up like a baby and comforted her. The crying immediately stopped. "You are lucky that you have a Mama who takes care of you when you get hurt even when you are naughty." "I am not usually naughty when I take a shower, Mama." No she isn't. But sometimes I am like Sara, just doing my own thing. Then something bad happens and I turn to God who loves and comforts me. Being a parent and loving my daughter so much makes me realize how much God loves me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I often end up editing library books as I read to Sara if I don't get the chance to preview them. Some I just close and say they are mean. Arthur was one of those. On the second page of Arthur and the True Francine Arthur's friend Buster says of one of the teachers, "He sleeps in a coffin and drinks human blood." What?!! Why would a children's author include that description? I also disliked Pinkalicious. Sara loved the concept of everything being pink. I also thought the idea was cute but we can do without the negative attitudes modeled in the book. Sara comes by that naturally and she doesn't need more material. The other thing that annoyed me about that one was the way green vegetables were portrayed, as "yuck" food. The the pink "yummy" food was sugary, nutrition-less crap.

I just finished reading Nurtureshock which presents and discusses a bunch of interesting research on various parenting topics. In a study on sibling relationships, the researcher concluded that having children read books such as the Berenstein Bears which deal with sibling conflict actually results in a negative impact on their relationships because of the negative modeling. The books always resolve the conflict and the kids in the story learn to treat each other better but the majority of the book is devoted to the conflict and includes a lot of negative modeling and that is the part the kids pick up. We have closed a couple of Berenstein Bear books. The other thing that annoys me about them is the way Papa Bear is portrayed like a doofus while only Mama is the competent parent. I can usually manage to edit that out.

Reading Children's Bible Stories is also interesting. In the story of the plagues on Egypt when Pharaoh would not let God's people go the final plague is that the firstborn sons will die. The Children's Bible we have says they will disappear which I thought was an appropriate way to put things for a 3 year old. I have never realized how much violence there is in Bible stories.

Poor Little Waif

My mom told me that when I was a month old my dad's godmother came to see me and bring a baby present. She was an old Finnish lady who looked at me and said in Finnish, "Oh poor little waif. This is such a miserable world." My mom speaks Finnish so she understood what the woman was saying and thought, "what a thing to say to a new mom" but she says the older she gets the more she understands what the woman meant. There is so much suffering in this world.

As a mom I love my babies so much and want to protect them. They are so innocent, helpless, and dependent when they are born and I want to keep them safe from sickness, pain, and mean and evil people. I almost don't want to have anymore kids because I hate to bring them into our world. I wonder if God had similar feelings sending his son -- helpless babe born in a barn in a sinful world, so innocent and perfect. And God knew he would suffer and die in this world.

Last night my friend graduated from Divinity School. The president gave a commencement address on Christ's sufficiency. He told the graduates they would come across people in ministry for whom they would have nothing to offer...parents who lost a child in Iraq or Afghanistan, people with a terminally ill loved one. All they could do is point them to the unlimitless power and love of Christ. He is enough.

I just got my alumni class notes from college and read that the youth pastor of the junior high youth group I worked with during my senior year of college lost his wife to cancer this past July. Now he is single-parenting two little boys.

There was an article in yesterday's paper about how a Florida man was exonerated after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. He was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old boy. Officials used modern DNA testing to determine he could not have been the rapist. He says he is not angry because he has God. I guess he has learned the sufficiency of Christ.

I love and delight in and am thankful for my children and I am glad that there are two of them to go through life together. I hope to raise them to be salt and light in this world. Knowing that they may choose not to follow Christ is heart-wrenching but I pray that they will. I wonder if rather than bringing more children into this miserable world we should adopt some children who are in need. Not right now--I don't have the energy--but if we were to keep having babies we probably never would. There are many "poor little waifs" who need a loving home "in this miserable world."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Newman's Own Butt Cream

While we were at my parent's house for Thanksgiving, Isaac needed a diaper change so I went upstairs to grab the changing pad, a diaper, and wipes. While I was going through the luggage I also grabbed the bottle of Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing I had brought with me for dinner. I plopped them all down on the T.V. room floor ready to change the diaper. My brother Nate surveyed my set-up and inquired, "Where did you read about that?" assuming the salad dressing was going to be part of the diapering routine. My brother has seen me come up with enough unusual ideas it didn't seem out of character for me to be lubing Isaac up with the Olive Oil and Vinegar if I had read about it somewhere. We had a good laugh about that.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sara has been into pretending lately. She likes to pretend that I am a little girl and she is one of my friends from my picture book from childhood.

She also likes to pretend that she is the mom and I am her. We were pretending this yesterday and it was actually quite helpful in getting the house clean while entertaining her. Me to Sara: "Mom, I'll help you do the laundry now"; "Mom, will you help me pick up my toys;" "Mom, I'll help you empty the dishwasher." She was much more into helping when she was the mom and I was a pretty efficient 3 1/2 year old.

When Sara was putting the silverware in the drawer she just threw it in haphazardly. Yeah...I do that some times to save time when I am emptying the dishwasher. When she is herself she does a better job of putting the silverware where it should go but I couldn't really complain about her acting like me.

She also asked me, "Do you need to use the potty? You haven't used it for quite awhile." No, I did not. And I could empathize with how she sometimes gets annoyed when I ask her that and how she feels when I tell her she can only have one pretzel right before dinner. Sara cautioned me to be careful with the knives and careful on the stairs. She "read" me picture books. When I was putting Isaac, "my baby brother," to bed I asked "Mom" if she wanted to turn on the white noise machine. She bent over and said, "Oofta." "Oofta? Do I say that?" I caught myself saying it again today when I was lifting something, "Oofta!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reverse Psychology at Bedtime

For months we have been using THE GATE (baby gate across the door) as a threat when she gets out of bed. "Sara, if you get out of one more time I will put up the gate." "No! Don't put up the gate." And she stays in bed. Two nights ago she decided she wanted the gate up. "Mom, please put up the gate so I don't get curious." And then she was able to knock it down. "Can I please have the gate?" Now I say, "No, Sara. I will not put up the gate. It doesn't help you remember to stay in bed." Hey! What just happened here?

Last night, we threatened to take stuffed animals away from her if she did not stay in bed. Todd told her, "I am not going to tell you to stay in your bed again." As she went back to bed he whispered to me, "I am not going to say anything. The next time she comes out here, I am going to go and take an animal." Two seconds later, Sara is back. "Here, you can take this one," she says as she hands over a stuffed doll. We are being schooled by a three year old.

She went back to bed. The next time she got out, Todd picked an animal and took it away. This resulted in many tears and screaming.

Todd told me that it's like us making an offering to God. When we choose what to offer it's not a big sacrifice. But when God chooses it's a lot harder. Like Abraham being asked to offer his son Isaac.