Sunday, January 30, 2005

We’re still struggling with sickness here. Both boys have colds that have morphed into more. Both have awful coughs and we took Will to the after-hours doctor yesterday. Today, we added bigger fevers and diarrhea. Fun, fun!

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday. My good friend M turned 30 about a month ago, but our kids are the same ages and so I really don’t feel she is that much older than me. Thirty is a few years off still and so I am trying not to let it loom too large. M and I talked about her turning 30 and she handled it with such grace. It still seems daunting to me. I hope that I am as contented in where the Lord has me as I age.

Do any of you struggle as I do to keep the right perspective on beauty and aging? As my post-baby body adjusts back to what it will be like from now on, I am tempted to be discontented and regret the changes. But I do rejoice in my boys and know that my goal in life is not to keep a flawless body. My goal is to glorify God in my daily life as a wife and mama. For me, that means dealing with the age and decline of my physical self as I nurture and welcome little ones into the world. The bodily effects of motherhood are a result of the blessing of my children and part of God’s marvelous plan for my good and sanctification.

So, tonight in the few minutes that I have had to reflect, my mind has flown in a million directions and I’ve only been able to write one tenth of my thoughts. Mainly though, I have been reminded again of God’s sovereignty and of His blessings. Body image and aging—yet another place where I need His eyes to see the truth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Latest adventure in our household….Will is old enough now to take a bath in the normal bathtub and so now the boys take baths together. It is the best thing in the whole world (okay, one of the best) to see my two little naked guys splashing and giggling and playing with the bath toys together. They have such a blast that Joseph asks to take a bath. He asked yesterday morning and I told him he would after dinner. About 10 times after that during the day I heard, “It’s bath time, Mama!” “Not yet, Joseph. After supper.”

So, the long awaited bath time arrived and I had taken Will out and was getting him dressed when I heard Joseph fall. Joe was right there with him and scooped him up right away. His hand slipped on the rim of the tub while he was trying to get out and his mouth/chin hit the rim of the tub hard. Joe and I were both relieved to not see any blood and after cuddling him and getting him to calm down, I started to put on his pjs. He said something and smiled at he, and I almost shrieked in horror. His front tooth was chipped in half! (Okay, so I admit on further examination that it was only 1/4-1/5 chipped off, but to a panicking mother, it looked pretty bad.)

We went to the dentist this afternoon (me and both boys since I didn’t have anyone I know who could watch Will on such short notice), and he got x-rays. The nurse that dealt with Joseph was so sweet to him, and Will did pretty well in the stroller. Dr. T thought that it might have been fracture below the gum line, but the x-rays were inconclusive. So, my big guy might loose his front top tooth at 2 years old! I have to watch to see how it does.

I know that as a mom of two boys that I should get used to this sort of thing, but I only had sisters growing up and so I know that I’ll be in for a whole bunch of new things. I don’t always want to be squeamish about them getting hurt either and don’t want to baby them too much. But still!!! They are my little guys!!!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

First, a disclaimer: After writing this entry and rereading it, I realized that it contains a lot of info about bodily functions that might not be something usually in polite conversation. I’m so wrapped up in this phase of life that sometimes I forget that most people do not deal with these things all the time like anyone with little children does. I guess what I’m saying is that this is a very “mom” post and if you don’t want to read about my son’s potty training….you’ve been warned now to skip this one! J

Well, I have good news to report….It seems that Joseph has finally gotten the idea of using the potty! YAY!!! Since Monday, he has been asking to go himself and has kept dry without accidents. He still wears pull-ups for nap and a diaper at night, which is fine with me. I am so proud of him and happy to be able to see a very tangible skill that he has learned. He’s 2 years and 4 months old too and so I consider this to be no small accomplishment.

We did have half-hearted try at potty training just before he turned two, but gave up for a few months. When I realized that Joe was going to be off of work for Christmas and that we’d be out of the usual routine therefore giving us both more time to focus on Joseph, I decided that we had the perfect opportunity. No feeble attempts this time—we were going to do it. As of December 23rd, no more diapers!

We talked a LOT about being a big boy, what to do when you felt you needed to go (i.e. “run to the potty!”), etc. I used pull-ups only when we were going away from the house because I wanted the immediate effect of accidents to be obvious to me and very noticeable to Joseph so we used mainly old-fashioned training pants. Those first few days, I took him to the potty frequently and he started to resent going. He also didn’t seem to mind the accidents even though we talked about how they were messy and weren’t “what big boys do.” Also, I wanted him to develop the processes to ask to go.

When we got back from my mother-in-law’s after Christmas, we recommitted to the process and decided to use several incentives to push him along. In addition to the M&M that he got after a success, we wanted to make accidents more unpleasant since we had noticed that he didn’t mind them. We talked about how if he used the potty, he could go right back to playing, but that if he went potty in his pants then he had to wait in the bathtub to be cleaned off and changed and couldn’t play again right away. This is a really hard concept for a little one because he doesn’t want to stop playing to go.

Now this is where some people will probably disagree with me and think that I’m horrible. I had read some potty training tips and we decided to put one into practice. Joseph had gotten to the point where he would go into another room to have a bowel movement in his pants. So, I calmly explained to him that now that he was a big boy, we were no longer going to use wipes to clean his bottom. If he had a BM on the potty, he could use toilet paper like Daddy and Mama. But, if he BM’ed in his pants, then his bottom would need to be washed off with cold water from the spigot in the bathtub. All of this was explained very matter-of-factly and without any anger or disapproval on my part, just a simple explanation of the way things were now that he is big.

We had 3 cold bottom showers over the next few days, but there wasn’t any antagonism or frustration shown towards him (although I must admit there was some frustration felt since I wondered if he’d ever “get it”). We talked again and again about what big boys do, how proud we were when he used the potty like a big boy, and how he could go right back to playing after going to the potty.

Well, this past Monday was the big turning point. We had added one more incentive. Only big boys get to eat desserts and I had just baked brownies and so that was a very visible incentive. And I brought his potty chair to wherever we played that day so that he could see it. Amazingly, he started asking to go! What a breakthrough!

Since then, he has done so well and is SO proud of himself. He talks about how he is a big boy and gets to eat dessert. He got a small piece of chocolate cake today after lunch and was on top of the world. Of course, when he was done he whined for more and then said he wanted mine, but that can be (and was) dealt with. He is two, not perfect! Who wouldn’t want more chocolate?

So anyway, my firstborn is potty trained! I’m sure you veteran moms may laugh at my meager attempts, but smile sympathetically remembering how the first one is always such a learning experience for parents. And for you moms of littler ones or not yet moms, beware the potty! J

Now, does anyone have tips on how to teach a boy to go standing up? That is his newest request (to be “like Daddy”). I think I’ve been explicit enough here—perhaps to keep some semblance of delicacy on this blog you could email me tips instead of posting them.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I had an interesting experience today at Joseph’s little playgroup that I want to mull over. Playgroup is a group of about 6 moms and their children who have been getting together since the little ones were about 7 months old, which is about a year and half now. We all go to the same church, and we meet about every other week at someone’s house or at the park or at Chic-fil-a.

Today, there were 5 moms there and the talk turned to M, who originally organized the group but was not there this morning. Our hostess informed us that M was absent because she was taking a day at the spa, which was one of her birthday gifts (she’d just turned 30). We all like M and so we talked about how we were happy that she got to do this. Then, however, G said that she was happy because she bet M didn’t get to do things like this very often because her husband’s residency salary is small and they only have one income. She said that she knows that they don’t have much money left to just spend on fun things. Now, G can say this knowledgably since she and her husband went to medical school too, and so she was saying that she understood the circumstance because she had lived it. However, now G works as a pediatrician and her husband works at the hospital. She has a two-year-old daughter who is in day care and one on the way.

I was not disturbed by G’s lack of discretion in talking about M’s finances because she was speaking kindly, almost jokingly sympathetic to M’s “plight.” What I am dealing with is G’s attitude and underlying assumptions about money, motherhood, and the purpose of M’s life (and subsequently mine). G felt sorry for M and her family because 1.) they didn’t have much money as they were living on one income, 2.) therefore they didn’t have money to do “fun” things with, and I think without directly saying so 3.) because M is a full time mom.

I did not know what to say at the time and so I said nothing and talk moved on to other subjects. Should I have said something? Tried to point out the truth that money is not the chief end of man, but only a gift from God to be used for his glory? Was I a coward for not saying anything to “defend” a one-income family who places importance on raising children over money? (I wonder: Did G realize that Joe and I are a one-income family with “no money left over to do anything fun with?” M’s husband is done with his residency this spring, and then will work full-time as a doctor. Joe will be in the ministry until God leads him elsewhere and so we will always be in that circumstance.) How should one handle times of polite conversation with acquaintances when someone says something that shows a lack of understanding about Biblical principles (in this case the value of motherhood and children over careerism and the pursuit of money)?

Sometimes I am able to turn the conversation by calmly pointing to sound reasoning without offending the person who made the contrary statement. (i.e. Today, everyone was joking about a mom they knew about who was about to adopt two toddlers and was looking into trying to breastfeed them. They thought it was funny to try to nurse toddlers and adopted ones at that and were laughing at her. I was able to change the conversation a little by inserting that we all could understand that she was trying to do what is best and trying to connect with these kids. I felt that I had at least stood up for my beliefs and encouraged sympathy and kindness for this mom.) Other times, I am not sure that I could say anything without directly contradicting someone and risking offending them. My tendency would be to do so anyway, but I want to have a Christ-like gentleness about me. And I know that does not just mean that I don’t contradict people. Jesus was bold in his teaching and did not shy away from pointing out sin and wrong thinking. However, there is a time and a place of appropriateness, and today I struggled with those.

Sometimes, as Christians we are called to stand up in ways that are uncomfortable for us and for those around us. John 15:19 records Jesus saying, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” This means that if we are Christians, then we will be unpopular—the world will HATE us. This is such a hard teaching for us to understand sometimes, isn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be liked and well thought of? Moreover, apply this to your children and it gets even more difficult. I see so many of the parents of the children in Joe’s youth group who are not willing to help their children make stands for Christ that would also make them unpopular.

“Lord, teach me to rest in your grace, content in your love. Focus my eyes on what you value and help me not to conform to the pattern of this world. Help me to live with a gentle and quiet spirit that knows when and how to stand up for your truth. Give me the grace to teach my sons to do the same and to prepare them to boldly stand under the world’s hatred. For your glory and in Jesus name. Amen”

Monday, January 03, 2005

I’ve got a blog etiquette question for you all. I’ve only been doing this for a few months now and so I just do not know the protocol on this. I have several blogs that I have subscribed to and I get a daily email with a digest of all of the entries from my subscriptions. Occasionally, I will click on the eprops link in the email and make a comment on a blog. However, I don’t usually remember to go back to that blog to look to see if the writer comments back to me. I read their entries daily, but don’t look at the eprops since it comes in an email and I read email offline (we have dialup). And anyway it can get tedious to read all of the comments and eprops.

Similarly, occasionally I get comments on my entries. I want to respond, but don’t know how to do so. Should I write a comment on my own entry and trust that those that left comments will check back and see that I responded? The downside being that perhaps they won’t see my comments and know my appreciation or what I said. Or do I do a new entry that responds to the comments from the previous? The downside being that perhaps the new entry would be too boring or redundant.

So, my question is this: how does one handle eprops and comments? I need some feedback from more veteran xangans than I—which would not take much considering that I’ve only been doing this for a month or two.

We’re off to the zoo this afternoon as soon as Joseph wakes up from his nap!

Thanks for the encouragement! He's had a good day today (really good--asking to go and keeping dry so far), so I'm thinking that perhaps it has all clicked for'll probably get a post from me tomorrow saying otherwise, but until then....