Saturday, November 3, 2012

Conversations About God: Part One

Rocking with Gus: always a bewildering experience.

Gus: "There ghosts."
Me: "There are? Where?"
Gus: "Ober there. In the dark. They scary."
Me: "Ghosts aren't scary." (absently, not really paying attention)
Gus: "Ghosts scary. I scared."
Me: (oh. hmmm) "You know what to do when you see a ghost?"
Gus: "Uh-huh."
Me: "You look it in the eye and say 'In Jesus name, go away!' Here you try it!"
Me: "Did it work?"
Gus: "Yeah, ghost gone."
Me: "Do you know why that works? Jesus's name is very powerful because Jesus is the Son of God. Whenever you need him, you can call him and he will be right there with you, even if mommy and daddy aren't. Jesus watches over you and takes care of you."
Gus: "Jeemus jump?"
Me: (huh?) "Does Jesus jump? I suppose he can."
Gus: "Yep, Jeemus jump high! And slide!"
Me: "I suppose he could slide if he wanted to."
Gus: "Yep, he slide down the big, big slide! Jeemus like ice cream?"
Me: "I would imagine that he does."
Gus: "Mommy, I like ice cream."
Me: "Me too baby, me too..."

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Love Means Yellow

We have some fun conversations while we are rocking at bedtime. Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, I just get to listen to how his little mind works.

Me: Gus, I love you
Gus: Momma, love you!
Me: Do you know what the word love means?
Gus: Yes! No!
Me: It means that you care so much about someone else that you try to do as much as you can to make them happy.
Gus: Yeah! Love! Yellow! Big bird, momma. See his head? (Big Bird was rocking with us) Oh! That's daddy! Daddy drink pop! Daddy cooking?
Me: No, daddy's getting kitty his medicine.
Gus: Daddy feed kitty now mommy, oh! there water! Daddy play in water! Feed kitty and play in water daddy, good daddy (I find it fascinating that the kid can narrate daddy's movements downstairs when he 'can't hear me' say his name in the same room). Hans nigh-night momma? All friends nigh-night? Trains nigh-night? Need eat? no...Speecee (Spencer) in mud momma, Hiro helper! Hey momma?
Me: What baby?
Gus: Love you momma. Night!
Me: I love you too baby.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Humiliated? Or Humbled?

"They are so darling!"

Checkout ladies love my boys. 

I HATE that by the time we reach the checkout, it's all I can do to grit my teeth and growl "Thank you," and listen to the cashier and patrons behind me in line coo to Teddy. "Oh you were an unhappy boy weren't you! I could hear you two aisles over! There, there now, dry those tears, aww, there's a smile! You're a happy baby aren't you!" And to Gus (as he adoringly strokes the top of Teddy's head and helpfully loads the conveyor belt): "What a good helper you are! Are you a good big brother? So handsome!" And to me: "Oh I remember these years. This is such a great age, cherish every minute, they grow so fast. You have some really great kids, you know."

Rewind a few aisles...Gus is throwing stuff out of the cart. I tell him no. He smashes chips or bread to let me know he disagrees with me. I tell him to stop and move yet another item to the overflowing bottom of the cart. Helpful patrons point out the stuff falling off the cart as I trundle down the aisles at warp speed. To express displeasure at being thwarted Gus reaches over the top of the baby seat and pokes Teddy's eyes (or hits him on the head, or pulls his arm, or something else guaranteed to provoke screams from the baby and wrath from mom). I give the whole if you want to ever want to eat ever again spiel...he may or may not get disciplined...usually I have to abort the shopping trip and leave immediately. When we get to the checkout, Gus is pretending he can behave for more than 12 minutes at a stretch if only I'll reconsider and not make us leave because he LOVES grocery shopping and it's SO MUCH FUN!! ("Store! Not bye-bye! Fun! Store! NO GO HOME!!! MY fun store! I be nice! Puh-LEEEEASE!")

And now, we get to go grocery shopping AGAIN in two days because I didn't get everything we needed.

That night, while rocking Gus for the second time because, "Need more rock, more hold, mommy PLEEEASE!" he begs to pray again. 

"What do you want to tell Jesus?"
"Tell Jesus I sorry."
"What are you sorry for baby?"
"For poke Teddy's eyes and make him owwies."


So this is me.

Cherishing every minute. Crying. Laughing. Rocking as many times as he wants it because he's rapidly outgrowing my lap. Leading him through repenting the first time. Repenting myself for not showing the same patience with him that God has shown to me time after time. Awed that our two-year-old desires to "Not make Jesus sad." Rejoicing over one less time-out a day. Thankful for the many, many opportunities to teach him how to behave in grocery stores.

They are pretty great kids you know...

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. -Matt 18.4

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Come Join the Pity Party

It's just one of those weeks. The kind you have to write about or you'll cry... One of those weeks that even though you manage to take a shower every night, you still smell like you haven't bathed in a week by 10.30 a.m. The kind of week where every time you put the baby down he screams like he's covered in fire ants. The kind of week where your kitchen floor smells like baby vomit and oranges. One of those weeks where your husband brings home his ear plugs from work.

What is this? Teething? Even medicated, he's completely miserable. And then I looked in his mouth and it's completely white. Thrush? That's not an emergency. So I'll wait till tomorrow to get him looked at. So 14 more hours of dealing with a squalling 12 lb. bundle solo. The other boy is covered in a "heat rash" (says the allergist) that gets worse every day. Heat rash? It's been anywhere from cold to downright beautiful here. Is that worth a doctor visit?

Where is this stuff in the parenting books?

My industrious two year old has taken advantage of my somewhat distracted state to teach himself advanced climbing, beginner lock-picking with a twist-tie and fastball pitching with oranges and tomatoes.

At least one of us is having a productive day.

I need a high five. Or an expresso. Or a massage.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just 'Happy Mother'

So much has happened this year, but these two pictures sum up the best of what has happened to me between last Mother's Day and this one:

My first-born brought me my first mangled dandelion. I've been trying to think of a clever title for it. "Mangled Love" or "The Thought That Counted" or "Sob, Sniffle, Choke." Or how about just what he said when he handed it to me... 

"Here Mommy, I Bing You Frower!"

What a smart, calm, fascinating child Gus is turning into! I love that he genuinely seems to delight in my company (most of the time). What a joy this little person is that God sent to me to teach and mold.

The second wonderful thing that happened to me this year:

A long awaited child. Our answer to prayer. Our sweet, snuggly, charming, happy little boy.

My heart is full.

I am so blessed.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Outnumbered Party of One

Depending on the age of your kids, this post will make you laugh, cry or be very very glad your kids or grown. Or you will think that I am extremely disorganized which means that 1)You are correct 2)You are a better person than I am 3)I'm not having the type of week that I can be happy that you have it all together so I don't want to hear about it. 4)I'm still new at this being outnumbered thing and the only way I'm not losing it is by telling myself that it (and I) will get better in time (like when the last one leaves for college...)

Some mornings make me want to cry...or nap...or never EVER leave the house ever again.

Here is an example of what might happen on any given morning that we have to leave the house early in the morning (before say...10 am).

Probably somewhere around 530 or 600: Teddy wakes up and wants to nurse. He is too tired to do an effective job, so he keeps falling asleep, and waking back up outraged and 'starving.' By the time he is actually done eating, it's 30 minutes before I have to get up and I'm so stressed about getting every possible minute of sleep I can't fall asleep until 5 minutes before the alarm goes off.

Alarm goes off. For a more concrete example, we'll say 700. I get up trying very hard to not wake the baby sleeping on my arm. I get dressed very quickly, use the toilet and sink two floors down so I don't wake the kids before I get a chance to get coffee made. The flush of the toilet wakes Gus. C'MON! I hear his door slam. I race up two flights of stairs to head him off. Too late! He jumps into my bed with the baby. "Hi baby!! Mommy look! Baby is awake!!" He gives him a germ laden kiss and a pat on the head then runs downstairs yelling "EAT-EAT!" Now the baby is screaming, but if I don't follow Gus immediately, half my fridge will be on the kitchen floor by the time I calm the baby and Gus will have picked out breakfast, whether that's strawberries and yogurt, or pickles, or raw eggs (apparently, eggs are "ucky" when eaten raw with shells on...). Why don't we lock the fridge? Well, that would require remembering to do so before bed...and knowing where the lock is at any given time.

I get Gus settled with an appropriate breakfast, dress the baby, nurse the baby, clean Gus up and get him dressed shoes and all which will hopefully stay on. It's probably somewhere around 740 by the time all this is done. My coffee is cold and untouched. I have not eaten. I give Gus a coloring book or other task that were I not trying to go somewhere would keep him occupied for an hour and put the baby in the bouncer. I start packing a diaper bag. I'm interrupted about 6 times by requests for food, Gus messing with the baby, Gus messing with the cats, random tantrums, wanton stuff scattering just to make me crazy, or going to the bathroom to eat toothpaste or "warsh hands" (and face and hair and shirt and floor). I'm trying so hard not to plop him in front of the TV all the time, partially because he becomes a miniature zombie, but also because if we have to leave before he's done with his "show," it will be a screaming, physical wrestling match to get him in the car. I digress...

I lose my sense of humor about the delays and strap both kids into car seats so I can finish packing. It's probably 830 by now and I'm still hungry and caffeine deprived...and LATE!

I do a once through the house. Do a cat head count. Double check that I have spare clothes for both kids and plenty of diapers. Make sure I have Blanket and Paci and 'Warter' (that's water for those of you whose toddlers don't have southern accents). Grab a granola bar and a Pepsi for me. Turn the car on. Remember that I forgot to give the cat his medicine which reminds me that I forgot Teddy's medicine...and oh, yeah there's a load of laundry in the washer that will be mildewed if I don't switch it before I leave but there are clothes in the dryer, where's a laundry basket to put these in!

 Run back in two or three more times to get so-and-so's casserole dish or that shirt they left over here the last time they were here or the paperwork for the doctor's visit.

Leave. Maybe make it out of the neighborhood or even to the toll road before I remember what else I forgot. Decide if it's worth going back for. Look in the rear view mirror. That's right, I was interrupted getting dressed. I forgot to comb my hair. AGAIN.

This last part usually has pieces that get missed. For example Thursday when I went to Michigan for the day (I was gone about 15 hours) I came home to find 5 trains in the toilet upstairs, the water in the downstairs sink running full blast, the cats completely out of food not that it would have mattered because one had been locked in the office and one was in the garage because SOMEONE opened the garage door into the laundry room. Once last week Gus went with no pants while his dried in the dryer because he soaked through his diaper and I didn't bring a spare. On a different day he went without a shirt while I hand washed it because an aunt spoiled him with chocolate...while a white shirt. (Chocolate is horrible to get out once it's set). Gus had to wear one of Teddy's diapers when I forgot to bring enough of his. If I forget the blanket or paci and we are going to be out of the house for naptime...oh man...

I feel that I am really at a disadvantage here because the same kids that make getting out the door so hard also stole pieces of my brain in utero. I pretty sure at my pre-children intelligence level I could have handled getting in a car and leaving even with two midgets in tow with a lot more efficiency (or more importantly, dignity).

I caught myself daydreaming on the drive to Michigan. In my fantasy world my morning looks like this.

My alarm goes off, I get dressed, grab my coffee and have a bowl of cereal that is NOT soggy from sitting for an hour while I'm constantly interrupted. I grab my keys, my phone and my purse (which has NOT unpacked itself while my back was turned and distributed it's contents to different parts of the house).

Then I LEAVE. Period.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Move Over Brother

We brought it on ourselves really...

Since before Teddy was born we have been promoting what an amazing helpful big brother Gus was. We may have to scale that back a bit...

"How nice of you to give brother gentle kisses."
"Thank you for bringing mommy brother's diapers! What a good helper you are!"
"Oh, that's so nice of you to give brother his paci when he's sad."

We were trying to avoid Gus getting jealous of the massive amounts of time and attention the baby would inevitably require, especially at first. We were completely successful. Other that getting mildly annoyed when Teddy nurses for more than 30 minutes ("Baby done eat-eat, no more milk, all done"), he seems to absolutely adore his little brother. Considering what a rough and tumble little boy he is, Rob and I are very relieved that he doesn't seem inclined to hurt him out of malice.

Gus tries very hard to help whenever Teddy cries. He would first find me and announce that "Teddy sad!" I would reply that I could hear that and thank him for telling me. Then he would offer me suggestions for fixing the situation. 

"Baby shooeys?" 
"Baby need milk?"
"Baby need paci?"

...Until this week. Apparently proud of what a great big brother/helper he is, he decided to help even when Teddy wasn't crying. Rob and I are a little worried (read: terrified) that he is going to love Teddy to death (or a broken arm). "Brother need eat-eat!" Or at least that was the explanation I got for why he fed the baby a peanut. Every morning this week he has woken the baby up with the comment "Need brush hairs in morning! Make brother look nice!" And then there was the heart-stopping few seconds it took me to cross the room when the baby started crying on the couch and Gus tried to pick him up to hand to his arm.

Yesterday I had laid the baby down for his nap in a little Moses basket sitting next to the couch. What this picture doesn't tell you is that the baby was sleeping just fine on his own. Gus climbed off the couch, shoved the baby to the edge of the basket, said "Move over brother," climbed in with him (waking the baby), put his arm around the baby, informed me that "I help brother sleep. Need go night-night"

Oddly enough, the baby nuzzled up to him and went right back to sleep. What a good big brother he is!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mr. Mom

How 'bout something different? 

This week was horrible. Rob was out of town for a budget meeting in Missouri leaving me home alone with two sick kids all week. I've barely learned to juggle two kids when they are healthy. Two sick kids? No one can help because we are highly contagious? I'm sure it's not that big of a surprise that Rob came home to an exhausted wife who hadn't showered in three days and two screaming kids. Welcome home honey! Yes we all stink, yes we missed you, oh, and I'm pretty sure there's leftover meatloaf in the fridge-help yourself! What? I can't hear was my week? Seriously?

Thursday night my phone disappeared. I found it Friday morning, checked my messages and discovered that we had dentist appointments that morning. We had already missed Rob's but I could make mine if I left immediately. Rob yelled "Just go, I got this!" I threw on clothes and left. I went to the dentist and then took the opportunity to go to the grocery store (I haven't been to the grocery store for more than milk and eggs since the baby was born). 

I wasn't even gone two hours.

I walked in the door to two screaming kids and an exhausted husband draped in stinky burpy cloths. He expressed wonder at the amount of poop an eight pound baby could produce and seemed annoyed with Gus's new charming habit of only needing things when the baby needs attending to. After professing my sainthood and apologizing in advance for having to leave me part of next week he politely asked me to wipe the grin off my face or at least stop giggling where he could hear me.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Six Ounces

A year ago today, we had the second of three miscarriages. It was harder than the other two because we were 16 weeks along, had shared the news with more people, were a week from the "big" ultrasound. We were out of the first trimester, miscarriage shouldn't have been a concern. Then there was no heartbeat and worse, the baby was big enough that a home delivery was more than I could handle emotionally. Going through labor to deliver a dead child with Rob three hours away, home alone with Gus...I was pretty sure I would have crawled so far into a bottle it would have taken a while to dislodge me. I wasn't willing to test my weak faith in God's tender mercies to that extent. Instead we had him in a hospital and Rob was able to be there with me.

We named him Leo and he was perfect. So tiny. Six ounces. Ten fingers. Ten toes.

God was so, so good to us. I have no idea how we made it through that and the next miscarriage without ever blaming God or asking why. Somehow it seemed so foolish to question the plans of the one who made everything. He worked in my heart all through my pregnancy with Teddy, taking away the fear, helping me to rejoice in the life growing in me. He is helping me sort through the emotions and guilt for loving Teddy whom I never could have had if Leo hadn't died.

Today was a very bad day. Today it feels like I was punched in the throat. Today I can feel an empty place in my belly. But today, I also looked at our two children and I am so very thankful that I will get to hold them tonight as they fall asleep. Thank you Lord for letting me have these. I don't know why you needed them so badly, but take good care of my babies for me.

Happy Birthday Leo. Your mommy and daddy miss you.