Saturday, May 25, 2013

Letters to my Littles....personalities

As summer begins, I find it hard to decipher the bruises from the dirt at the end of a long, fun day.  Evan alone falls at least 60 times before 8 am, and most of the time, in true boy fashion, he stands up unaffected.

The first time out to the playground at the beginning of the warmer season found me an anxious mess.  Having a three year old little girl, I am not used to impulsive jumps down a slide too steep or handfuls of mud lovingly thrust in my direction.  Nora is ALL girl.  A tiny hair on her shirt sends he into a tizzy, and I am so serious.  I actually need to make it a point to record this phenomenon  because you would think her skin was peeling off by the way she screams.

Anyway...back to the playground......I kept making that know the one where your breathe catches in your throat.  That sound has a way of making every person in a 3 mile radius look over worriedly, only to see me, a panicky "new to boyland", mom, with wild eyes.  Evan is a maniac.  He runs, jumps and dives into every dangerous situation you or I could imagine.  He doesn't think before he acts, he just acts, and gets hurt...a lot.  My husband and I have finally resolved that God must have a HUGE plan for his life solely based on the fact that he is still with us.

Nora, much less impulsive and incredibly dramatic has zero pain tolerance.  She will literally cry for 10 minutes, like "crocodile tears streaming down her pretty little face" cry, because of a scratch undetectable by the human eye.  Sometimes a "ban-ban" (Band-aid) is the only thing that can fix the "gaping wound", and after giving in and retrieving one from the bathroom cabinet, she is struck with the extreme task of actually finding the scratch.  She creates elaborate tales of great adventure and has at least 2 imaginary friends, "Macy and Walnut", that she has apparently given birth too.....20 years ago.  "Walnut", in particular, troubles me a bit with his wardrobe of panties and a green Dora sweatshirt.  He sleeps in our study and works at the college (at least he is gainfully employed).  She lifts them up in prayer and cares for them the best way a 3 year old knows how.  The actual baby dolls don't go without either.  She has tons of little dolls with strange names and daily ailments.  She will stand right in front of a person in the middle of conversation and tell them of the daily adventures of her dolls named "Cutty, Natalie  Jayden, Megan (boy), En, Jackson, David, Roberts, and Loby".  We are convinced God has a plan for her, simply because she won't let him get away with leaving her out.

Grant will not be forgotten, either.  Amazingly, but not surprisingly, God has given us a third child who won't stop "talking" and/or crying.  When he's awake, he cries until someone picks him up, and when he is picked up, he will look right at you and gibber and gab until he gets tired.  He will fall asleep and then the cycle begins again.  This might sound weird, but one of my biggest fears is forgetting one of the children or leaving them in the car.  You hear those horrific stories of really great moms and dads who, by way of the exhausting and overwhelming lifestyles they lead, had done the unthinkable, and left their small children behind, in hot cars.  If there is one thing I am, it's tired....and overwhelmed.  God has made a way for Grant....he hates the car...he hates being alone....and he hates not being attended too.  I must say at least 10 times a day, "Poor Grant, crying again."  I don't think he is in pain or feeling uncomfortable.  Babies who are in pain don't stop crying when you pick them up.  He just simply will not be forgotten, and I am looking forward to seeing how this personality trait plays out when it comes to his path in life.

My daily struggle, the one that keeps me wondering at night, staring at the ceiling or sometimes thinking out loud into the silent night, what do I do with all this diversity??  How do I teach them how to use their personalities for good.  How do I discipline without breaking their spirit.  I want the littles to exercise the God given personalities they have in the way they are meant to live them out.

How do I keep Evan's impulsive, adventurous behavior from killing him, 

Nora's imagination thriving, 

and Grant's curiosity and assumed love of people alive?  

How do I encourage the littles to be who and all they are meant to be?  

How do I incorporate discipline without breaking their spirit?

Truth be told, God will do with the littles what He has planned, but I, in no way, want to be a hindrance to this plan.  The God of the universe has whispered these precious babies into my life and now, with all of my clumsy ability, I must use God sized strength to build them into big people.

I love watching them grow....watching them discover things.....watching ideas form and come to life for them.  I sincerely can't wait to see what God has in store for them, to watch His plan unfold.

Nothing has made me more aware of my shortcomings as parenting has, creating in me a desperation that can only be filled by the spirit's leading in times of chaos and unbridled joy.  I have so little time, and so much to do.  Too much laundry, too many dishes, too many crumbs to sweep and too much dust.  Cakes to bake and pies to make, dinners to perfect and pillows to fluff.  I could work my hands to the bone to get ahead, to gain ground, to achieve June Cleaver like perfection.

But for today....I will focus more intently to the fleeting hours of my littles.  The personalities that need molding and the perfect way they find their way into my always busy arms.  The perfect way their heads fit next to my face and I can smell their sweet smell and feel their breath on my skin.

I must pause and teach and hold and cuddle because, it's not the falling behind on the home and responsibilities that I have to worry about.....'s the getting too far ahead, to notice what I've left behind.    



Monday, May 13, 2013

Letters to my Littles......Grace

I haven't posted a single blog in 2 long months.  Mothering three children has found me on the opposite end of sane and life is swirling around me like some clip from "Wizard of Oz" or "Alice in Wonderland".  I find myself in a space somewhere between crazy and happy as can be, and that, my friends, is a place we call motherhood.  I feel normal when I look around at my friends, who are also residing uncomfortably in this space.  We live here...together...and that's where we'll stay until life brings us to a whole new realm (Sorry, I've been watching a lot of "Once Upon a Time")......called "Mothering teenagers", which is a strange, scary world.  I encountered this age as a teacher, but when I think of parenting them, it's a shivery kind of feeling.

Anyway, my third Mother's Day has brought me to a reflective place.  Some of it, admittedly, is hormonal.  I keep crying, thinking of how fast this is going.  I want it to stop, yet I find satisfaction in the fact that they are growing up so perfectly, grasping milestones and achievements that they are proud of.  For example, Nora can now buckle her own seat belt.  It was a glorious day when climbing into the back of the mini-van

(scratching every exposed surface of skin on something,
reaching breathlessly,
pinching my fingers,
gripping whatever I could hold so I didn't fall on the baby)

came to a screeching halt.  :)

She screams, gleefully, "I can do it by myself!!"  And I think, "Jesus is Lord!"  :)  Evan can listen, I'm sorry, HEAR, a chain of commands.  Sometimes, he follows them, but, most importantly, I know he knows what I am saying, and I find solace in the fact that one day, he will do it by himself.  Grant has gained weight and started sleeping longer hours.  He's functioning on a schedule and thrives on predictability.  He watches the other littles play and reaches for them, in an awkward, my nervous system doesn't work, kind of way.  It won't be long until he is on the floor chasing them, hitting them back and stealing their toys.  Today, I looked down at him and saw that Evan had placed a train on his stomach next to the car stitched on his onesie, almost like saying, "I know you're almost ready, here's this train, just in case today is the day."  I know he is thinking this because until today, he only acknowledged him to give him a quick smack to tell him that mommy is "mine".  The train indicates he is accepting him into his world.  Sounds corny, but this also made me tear up a bit.  The littles are learning to love each other, whatever way they know how.  I am learning quickly that when a little boy shares a train, it's love....and that's that.      

These lessons I'm learning are worth more than gold, but the curve is SHARP!

Bringing home our third child was a pretty cool experience.  There was no anxiety over every little cry or cough or strange sound.  When he sleeps longer than he usually does, I rejoice rather than panic.  I let him cry when all of his needs are met, because, contrary to the new belief, you aren't going to ruin your kid if they have to work "it" out with some old fashioned crying.  I'm no doctor, but it is my belief that you are actually ruining your kid if you DON'T let them cry, and you can take that to the bank.  I don't care who I offend with that comment....because here's the reality: MY kids, the kids who learned adjustment through crying and self-soothing, will be living in a world with YOUR kids who never had the chance to work ANYTHING out.  After 3 kids, I feel passionate about this, but there is nothing I can do about it, so I'll just complain talk about it.  I'm not perfect....actually, having kids makes me realize how un-perfect I am.  I want to find every parent I scoffed at or judged and hug them until they know how sorry I am,  annnnnd, I suppose even the ones who don't let their kids cry. :)  

The reality of parenting three children - There are days when I yell too much and roll my eyes too easily 

......There are moments when my complacency takes hold and I allow too many hurtful words and a poor attitude to govern our day.

........There have been  minutes, even hours I wish I could take back.  Honestly, ones I would give anything to take back...

....There have been times I hear the still small voice from the One that loves the littles more than I could ever imagine, urging me to calm my spirit and take a step back, and much to my His disappointment, I ignore the counsel of the One who Gave it all and succumb to the evil that is far too easy and much too comfortable to follow.  

I fail.  Over and over again, I fail.

The best lesson...GRACE.  Free for all!  Free for you and me.  Free for all the un-perfect among us.

If I get out of this parenting thing alive, I pray I have taught them to give and receive grace.  As I become a veteran parent (someone said that to me-it made me laugh) I realize how few words I actually need to use when parenting my littles.

The real lessons....

......the ones that go the distance......

...the ones that penetrate their hearts.....

......and teach them how to leave little land, having become what God wants them to strive to be....

are learned in the moments where no words are spoken.

Father, allow my wordless moments to speak louder than the ones where words are many.  Allow my inability to find the right words be covered in your grace.  Allow this to be truth in our lives so that when the littles you have entrusted to me emerge into the world, they are prepared to fail, not because I didn't teach them how to succeed, but because failure is eminent.  Allow me to show them that although failure is eminent, your Grace is abundant. Amen.