Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning From 1st Graders

My oldest daughter, Tenly, has started going to a new school this year for First grade. It has been wonderful to have her friend, Lexi- my friend Joanne's daughter- in her class. Because they are going to a charter school, it is about a 10-15 minute drive from our home- UGH!

Joanne and I are so lucky to live near each other and be able to carpool- so we pick Lexi up and take them to school and Joanne brings the girls home!

We have all been amazed, and amused, by the girl's conversations during the car rides to and from school. There was a conversation that took place last week that I stood out and made me proud of these 2 young ladies.

Gianna, my youngest, loves to tag along to drop the girls off for school and on this particular day decided to bring one of her leap frog writing games along. When Lexi hopped in the car, she and Gia started playing together with it.

Well, it didn't take long for Tenly to start feeling upset that Lexi was not giving her the attention that she felt she deserved. She kept trying to lure Lexi over to focus on her, when it did not work Tenly began to pout and cry.

I tried to explain to her that she needed to relax and join in on what Lexi and Gianna were doing. She refused, and I just left it alone for her to work out.

After a few minutes of hearing Tenly whine/pout/cry, Lexi very calmly tells her, "Tenly, you know how you are feeling very sad right now?"

"Y-e-s.." Tenly responded in hiccupped cries.

"Well", Lexi continued, "that's how I feel when you don't play with me at school. I play by myself sometimes and wish you would come over and play with me."

"You do?" Tenly asked.

"Yes, sometimes it makes me sad too." said Lexi.

Tenly was very concerned, "Lexi, I didn't know that. I never want to make you sad!" She looked at me not sure what to do with what she just found out. "Mommy, I never want to make Lexi sad, I didn't know she was sad."

I explained to her that it was okay that she didn't know, and then asked what she was going to do now that she did know. She told me she didn't know what to do. I could tell that it was really bothering her that she had hurt her friend unknowingly.

"Maybe next time you see Lexi playing by herself you can ask her to come play with you. And Lexi, if you are by yourself, go over to Tenly and ask if you can play with her- do you both think you could do that?" I asked.

They both responded with an excited "YES!" and then Lexi also committed to Tenly to do the same thing for her if she was ever playing alone.

A few minutes later in the middle of another conversation Tenly says, "Lexi, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, I didn't know and I want you to be happy."

Lexi responded with, "I know, Tenly- thank you for making me happy."

I was so impressed by the way Lexi communicated to Tenly how she had been feeling, how Tenly took responsibility for her actions and committed to doing her part to make it better.

This Mommy learned something from a couple of 6 year olds that morning, and was very proud!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What If....

I have been wanting to post all week! But, some other commitments took priority and have kept me VERY busy! With that behind me, here I go...

I am writing on the other side of my 38th Birthday! Yay, Happy Birthday to me! It was a strange Birthday this year, I am suddenly realizing how close I am to 40...and it is very strange. It isn't depressing, sad or anything...just strange. Do you remember when 40 was old? I do! I remember my parents turning 40, and (sorry Mom & Dad)- but I do remember thinking how old they were, lol.

For many this feeling came a bit at 30, but 30 was a wonderful milestone for me! I married the man of my dreams at 30, so that foreshadowed any type of negative feelings. Very shortly after, I became pregnant after being told that would be medically impossible. So, the beginning of my 30's were some of the best parts of my life.

My Birthday this year had me reflecting a bit. You know, some of the "What-Ifs".

For anyone who does not know, I became a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 21..overnight a lot of things changed for me- so it is a large part of any reflection. I was a very healthy 105 pounds, running several miles a day, working out and a strong relationship with God- who would of ever saw Diabetes coming under those circumstances?

Years after the diagnosis, I made some very poor choices regarding my health that held some very bad consequences for me- a couple of those being severe nerve damage (that I still deal with today) and so much damage to my body that the doctors said I would never have children.

One great thing being a Diabetic did for me, is make me eat- although it took me years to appreciate that. I had to embrace food and eating the right ways. I could no longer survive on 5-10 Ritz crackers a day. If I was going to exercise, it had to be planned around testing my blood sugar and eating. I did resist following the "proper diet", and it almost killed me...literally.

I found myself wondering where I would be if not for the Diabetes? For the first time, probably ever, I found myself ever-so-slightly appreciating becoming a Diabetic. I know this goes against a lot of things taught in Christianity, but just hear where I am coming from.

I kind of think I would still be dealing with an eating disorder if I was not a diabetic. Even after becoming a Diabetic I slipped into a "Diabetic eating disorder" (when blood sugars go high you lose weight) which almost killed me from the ages of 25-27. It took that to force me to take my health seriously. I am healthier now in a lot of ways than I was before becoming a Diabetic.

IF I was still dealing with eating disorders, I probably would not be surrounded by these 2 beautiful little girls who call me Mom- the best title ever. The determination to have children became stronger than ever after the doctors told me it would probably never happen.

Would I love to not test my blood sugar several times a day? YES! Would I love to not have to walk around/sleep with my constant fashion accessory and best friend the insulin pump? YES and YES! Would I love to avoid low blood sugars causing me to be very mean and ugly? YES! Would I love to not have to explain to my 6 & 4 year old how to take care of me and call 9-1-1 if I pass out and/or act strangely? YES!

But, in a certain way becoming a Diabetic kind of saved my life and became a "gift". It's a big deal for me to smile when I think of Diabetes and not be angry and bitter screaming "WHY?" I still pray and hope for a cure and for a miracle- but in the wait I can embrace Diabetes a little bit.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mommy Confession: Callie, Diet Coke Made Me Cry!

My beautiful friend Callie, Mom of 3, is giving us a "Mommy Confession today! I met Callie while living in Texas, while we were both on staff at the same ministry.
Callie is one amazing Mom, for many reasons you will have the opportunity to read about. She embraced me with open arms after I was newly married in Texas and new pretty one! Callie is a woman of The Word, and a beautiful example of a Godly woman, wife and mother. I hope you gather a lot of wisdom from her daily walk....
Is it so hard??? I sit home with these three babies all day and my reward; the only reward I ask for is a large diet coke, that’s it! My house is dirty, and I DETEST a dirty house- I need a Diet Coke. But I am strapped to the couch with a baby on me, I feel like I should have a sign on me that says “baby on boob”.
When I do finally get the house clean like I like it, they all have to eat again. There go the dishes, floors & laundry. And speaking of laundry…who needs this many clothes- we should have one outfit per day! Why does this laundry stack never go away?
Oh and Hi you!!! You are the love of my life and I miss being with you but “make love…I can’t even think of It.”, my house is filthy, my kids are fussy, I am feeling fat and cranky. I just want a diet coke but we have none and you have the car at work. Why oh why????
Hi, that is I; Callie Scott, and just recently I have given an award winning performance as the most dramatic sounding stay home mom. Sad thing is, it isn’t verbatim but very much how a recent fall apart moment of mine sounded.
You see in June I gave birth to our little boy Malachi. In 2.5yrs, Malachi is our 3rd child. Yes, 2.5yrs & 3children is correct. If any mother knows the emotions that follow having a child as you are figuring stuff out, add to that a 1yr old throwing fits and cutting molars and a 2yr old discovering himself, his voice, his limits annnddddd cutting molars- and that would be what I do daily.
I’ll be the first to say the first 10wks of my sweet little boys life, I have not quite been the woman resembling grace and poise, but rather of emotion exhaustion. Now please let me state early on, I know I am not the only woman who has had 3 children, or 3children all 1yr apart…but, I have simply not handled it so gracefully.
My husband, Dereck, and I met at the ministry we both attended Bible College at and eventually joined staff with. We dated for a year, engaged for 6mos & then married on Dec 15, 2007- the most perfect day, 5yrs this coming December.
We wanted to start our family early so we set the date to start trying after two years of marriage. Well, by the time we celebrated our 2yr anniversary we had a 5day old beautiful baby boy, my pride and joy for sure!

15 months after that, we welcomed our little beauty and they have since have become best friends and she is a Daddy’s girl.

And now, 15 months after her…our wonderful sweet baby boy has arrived.

I am absolutely in love with my family. I love laughing every day with them all.
 As a teenager, I became very independent and self-sufficient- which can be a good thing. I thought it was a good thing that I had brought my independence into our marriage- but I realized it wasn’t helpful to my husband. This realization took place after we had our oldest son, Maddox, and we moved away and did not have family close by. Dereck wanted and needed a wife who needed him and not one who would be just fine without him.
The last two years of being away from all we have known and around people who are all too busy to with life (and understandably so), I have had absolute no one to lean on but Jesus and my husband. I have learned how to be not completely “needy”, but certainly reliant on his help. I have certainly learned that we are each other’s helpmates. Moving away from family was a fabulous thing, however, I would be lying to say that it does not and has not
presented some great challenges.
After our baby girl was born, my husband accepted another job in full time church work as we had already stepped out for a few years. We were hesitant but excited, moving to another city further away from family and kicked it in full gear. I was home all day and several nights out of the week with a one year old and newborn- to be quite honest, I was lonely.
I was cleaning house all day, dinner was prepped and I was craving some adult time. So, I started working part time at a grocery store and loved it. My baby weight was falling off, and I began feeling beautifully sassy again. Apparently, a whole lot “beautifully sassy”, because we found out just a few months later that we were pregnant AGAIN.
Oh my dear Jesus! To put it plain and simple, I felt like I was becoming exactly what a wonderful mentor referred to me as recently- A HUMAN PEZ MACHINE!
 WHY? is the question in many people’s mind. Why would you have kids so close together and with no family around?
My wonderful best friend and hubby is 6 years older than I, he wanted his youth and vigor with our children while they are young. Sure we have wondered where money was coming from, where dinner would be coming from, where sleep was coming from…but we serve a BIG GOD and He has never let us down.
While pregnant with my 3rd, it came time for me to take maternity leave to prepare for our new baby. We were without my extra income, so my new treat became the simple satisfaction of a Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke- large from McDonald’s (after the baby, just diet coke). What can I say…I am easy to please and we pinch pennies.
We are down to 3 full months now being at home, 9wks of missing intimate moments with my hubby, 8wks with our new addition and a solid day of fussy babies- and NO access to a Diet Coke.
All I could do was cry, that’s right…I cried. All I wanted was the fizz of carbonation in the back of my throat. I wanted close my eyes and escape for a moment enjoying every sip. Normally, Dereck would bring me home one at lunch- but this day, he was playing basketball and we only have one vehicle. Even if I had had my precious Diet Coke, my 8wk old was fighting sleep and my other two were running a fever and were cranky from cutting 1 & 2yr molars….I would not have been able to enjoy it.
I was an emotional mess for almost 36hrs and though I know the root was exhaustion, it stemmed from my Diet Coke. Please tell me I am not the only one and someone else has been there!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Are Different, and It's Okay!

Attachment Parenting, Instinctive Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Permissive Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Authoritarian Parenting, Indulgent Parenting..

Which is right, and which is wrong? Which is effective, which is ineffective?

It's not a matter of right or wrong, effective or ineffective- it is a matter of what is right and effective for your family.

Recently, a friend of mine made a statement on Facebook declaring her hate of the "BabyWise" method of parenting and pointed out that parents who chose that style were ignoring their child's needs/wants.

I kind of chuckled to myself when I read it, because one of my friends' best traits is her honesty and passion for what she believes. Even though, I did incorporate many of the "Baby Wise" methods into my parenting when my children were young, I understand that it isn't for everyone.

It has been just through the last few months, since I did the "Mommy Confessions" series on this Blog, that I began to understand that what works for one does not work for another. I use to be so judgmental about how others parented, especially when it was different from myself- but I began to realize that I don't know their story, their reasons- so how can I make a judgment.

The comments that began to be made under my friend's statement about BabyWise really started to bother me:

 "..Baby boot-camp..", "..It's a baby, not a dog..", "..completely selfish, detached way of parenting..", "..easier on the parents, not the baby..", etc..

I could not believe that these Moms were all labeling me, and many other wonderful Moms' I know, such horrible judgmental things.

I suddenly felt the need to justify my decisions and explain my "why" behind the "what". But, I really felt it was pointless. I know I am a great Mom- not perfect- but great. Are there things I would do differently? Absolutely! Have I made mistakes? Absolutely! Do I have regrets? Yes, I do. But, am I a great Mom in-spite of those things? YES, I am!

I didn't create a schedule/routine with my girls that worked around me and my needs/wants, I worked very hard to make sure that anything I needed to do was around their sleeping and eating times. We were all happier when I could predict them and they could predict me. There were many things that I chose not to do so that I did not disrupt my girls needs/wants, I do not think that is the definition of selfish.

Why can't we embrace parents and their methods of raising children whether we agree or disagree? I am not talking abusive situations; I am talking just different approaches.

I know more parents that co-sleep than those that do not- it is not for my family- but that's okay; we are both 'right' because it is what works for us.

My kids are on a great routine that works for us. Many families have no routine at all, and that works for them.

Some parents use cloth diapers, that is NOT for me- but kudos to all of you who are able to!

Working Mom vs. Non-Working Mom. Public School vs. Homeschool vs. Private School. There is not a right or wrong, it is what works for each individual family.

I breastfed my kids and loved every minute, but it is not for some and others literally cannot do it. Some Mom's breast feed their kids until they are 3-4-5 years old. I think that's a bit outrageous to breastfeed that long, but it is their choice.

I made all of my girls baby-food, many of my friends thought I was crazy for doing so- and I'm okay with that!

Yes, I did allow my kids to cry it out at times (and still do), my girls are okay and so are Lupe and I- we could handle it. Many parents cannot allow their kids to cry it out for various reasons; I applaud them for going with their gut and raising them with the convictions and standards that they have. I refuse to think that I am an abusive Mom (and Lupe, an abusive Dad) for parenting with our convictions and standards.

It was so sad to hear Mom's degrading others who had opposing parenting methods, especially to the point of labeling them selfish and detached.

Let's just respect the differences- I am still growing in this area- but I am more determined than ever to not ever let another Mom feel the way I did after reading much of that last night. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Own It!

Are you able to accept a compliment?

Why do many women (men also, but I am speaking primarily to women) seem to find any reason to discredit a compliment?

Compliment: "I love your outfit!"
Response: "Really? My butt looks huge!"
Compliment: "You're hair is so cute!"
Response: "I think it looks like a hot mess. I hate my curly (or straight) hair." or "I always wish I had straight (or curly) hair.."
Compliment: "Your kids are so well behaved!"
Response: "Don't worry, you're only catching them on a good day.."
Compliment: "You look great!"
Response: "I guess that's good, cause I feel like crap."
Compliment: "What a great picture!"
Response: "No, I look so fat.."

Why can't we simply say, "Thank You!"-without following it with an excuse or belittling the compliment? Why is it so hard to accept a compliment? 

Even if we do not agree or are feeling the exact opposite of what the person says, why can't we just accept it and smile (without rolling the eyes)?

It seems that people are so quick to own the things they are not good at it and readily fess up to them, but then also deny the things we ARE good at when brought up! Do not just own your weaknesses- OWN your strengths!

I am sure there are some that readily accept a compliment with much grace and dignity, the rest of us (yes, self included) need to use them as an example and join their ranks.

A sincere compliment deserves a sincere expression of gratitude, not a cursory thanks or dismissal.

Awhile back, I had posted a family picture on Facebook that I received many compliments on. What was my response? "...It's a pretty good picture, I just wish I was holding Tenly and think I look really fat.." A friend corrected me by saying, "Jenn, a good southern lady accepts a compliment with 'thank you very much'.."

I quickly realized she was right- what an insult to another by discrediting their compliment.

As Moms, we need to understand what we are teaching our kids when we refuse to allow our strengths and talents to be acknowledged. I challenge all of us, including myself, to accept a compliment and allow it to bring a smile to our face and warm our hearts.