Archive for September, 2010

Thankful

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I’m ending my day thankful.

It started terribly stressful.

Esther burned her hand on my cook top while I held her. It happened so fast. Crying for the next three hours, she found relief only with cool running water. Water in a cup or a baggie of ice gave no relief. Thus, I held her over the bathroom sink and prayed for the pain to stop. Her tears flowed like the water running from the faucet and once or twice mine did too. It hurt to see my little one suffer and I felt awful that I didn’t prevent the accident from happening in the first place. I put my huge to-do list aside and comforted my child to the best of my ability.

My friend and neighbor, who happens to be a nurse,  stopped by and recommended medication. Daniel called and  spoke with our pediatrician who called in some pain relief. Though it took a while to receive, it worked its magic within five minutes of application. My prayers were answered.

While I tended to Esther, my older children cleaned up the kitchen, folded laundry and picked up their rooms. I had no idea what they were doing while I stood for hours in the bathroom soothing her burn. I felt love when I realized my older children had been working behind the scenes. They chose to bless me.

When Esther’s tears stopped, I didn’t want to stop holding her so we cuddled and watched Tinkerbell and I cherished her smiles. After her morning of tears, they seemed all the sweeter.We were invited to a baptismal celebration of a dear friend this afternoon. I had no time to cut and prepare vegetables like I’d planned so I decided to stop on the way to the lake and buy a side dish at the store. And then I remembered the homemade canned applesauce in the basement. Delicious. Done! Trip to store avoided.

A child, my daughter’s dear friend, professed her faith in Christ. Her daddy baptized her. We, her friends and family, shared scripture, prayed and rejoiced. Later, as we celebrated with one another over dinner,  I watched little Esther, with her thumb bandaged, play with other little girls as if she had not a care in the world.

My oldest daughter befriended a sweet girl and helped her get to know the other teens. That made me smile.

Esther is darling and her finger is healing. My children attempted my chore list while I tended to her. Medication is a gift from the Lord as is the doctor who called in a prescription without requiring an office visit which only would have delayed relief for my child. I thank the Lord for sending my friend over to encourage me to call the doctor. I’m thankful for applesauce, the perfect ready-to-go side dish. My friend’s daughter was baptized tonight!  What a celebration! What joy to spend time with other dear families! I’m thankful that my teens have such good friends and that they are maturing and learning to exercise their spiritual gifts.

I didn’t grade papers, vacuum or mop, go to the store or plan next week’s lessons. Those were my plans for today. Instead, I treated a tiny little finger and spent the remainder of my day thankful.

I love this card Bethany made for her friend. The blue flap lifts to reveal a sweet personal message.

(more…)

My Twins Are 11!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bethany and Nathan!

Toilet Training In Less Than A Decade

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Written for and shared with my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) friends

I hate potty training.

Had all my children been like my first, I wouldn’t feel this way. Anna passed my potty training boot camp with flying colors. She was an A+ student! I simply checked out a book called Toilet Training in a Day, read it, implemented the techniques and truly had a trained 2 year old within 24 hours. Anna never had more than a couple of accidents, mastered #1 and #2 the first day and within 3 days was also night trained  – all at 26 months. I became a huge believer in this little book and completely admit… a little proud and a little smug. What was all the fuss over potty training? Obviously, mothers with difficulty either waited too late to train or needed to read the book. I found myself entertaining entrepreneurial thoughts of starting a potty-training business. From talk I’d overheard, there were moms out there who could use my expertise! Then came Christina…

I used the same techniques with Christina as I did with Anna. I was even more motivated to get my second-born out of diapers because by this time I was expecting twins! I had no intentions of diapering three children at once! Thus, when Christina became 26 months old, I skimmed over the potty-training-in-a-day guidelines and got to work.

This is how Christina felt about potty training!

Christina didn’t get it. She refused to cooperate. As a matter of fact, she despised the potty game. At the end of the first day, she had not, even once, pee-peed in the potty. She’d pooped in her pants. She’d thrown fits. And I counted the months I had left before my twins estimated due date and decided to give it a little more time –like 3 more months, but not 4… no way! That would be too long!

Two months before my due date, I again attempted potty boot camp. “Epic fail” as my teens would say! Not only was Christina as stubborn as ever, I resembled a whale and was in no condition to squat near a toddler potty fifty times a day! It was inevitable that two and a half year old Christina would not be out of diapers by the time I was due with the twins.

We survived. Eventually, Christina trained and over the next five years, her three younger siblings did as well. Sarah and Bethany were relatively easy. Nathan was not and was over 3 before he “got it.” (WAY too old by TTILTAD standards!)

You’d think with my experience in potty training 5 children, I’d think nothing of training our 6th child, Esther. However, she, of all six, has been the most difficult! Esther, who is almost 3, is afraid of doing her poopies on the potty. She was completely trained for several months and then became constipated. After going several days without a #2, she finally went and it was terribly painful. She bled, cried for hours and, once done with the job, decided she’d just not ever put herself through it again. That was 5 months ago and she has tried with all her might to keep her promise to herself. Unfortunately, her fear that going potty is painful has become a self-fulfilled prophecy. When poopies are held in, they do hurt when they must come out. Going to the potty is traumatic for her and there seems to be nothing I can do to convince her that she is causing her own discomfort.

So why am I writing about this “trial?” It’s just potty-training… something very common. I’ve heard it said that no one goes to kindergarten in diapers and I believe that statement is usually true! However, kindergarten is 4 years from now… and that’s a long time to wait for her to “get it!”

Our children will, from infancy, test our patience. It’s tempting when faced with a trial, be it a toddler with potty refusal or a teen with an attitude, to turn to the experts.

TTILTAD might call me a failure. With certainly, the author pities my child and me!

So often, I want to “fix” my children’s “issues.” I’ll admit that I am a controller and lean toward finding “potty-training –in-a-day” types of resources. Just give me whatever works fast! However, my children don’t read the books and they certainly don’t respond like the model children described within the pages (well, Anna did… but 1 out of 6 is not a good statistic!)

The parenting books and internet experts are not my sources of wisdom regarding Esther’s potty refusal issue. We are consulting the Bible and we are praying for her. I wrote some of my dearest friends and asked them to pray as well. We are implementing some dietary changes and that is helping a little.

This is the first of many “big things” for Esther to tackle. It’s easy to get impatient. Yet I believe when our children struggle, they often need us to back away from externally controlling them and instead believe in them. This doesn’t mean there is not a place for discipline. All children need discipline. Yet it takes discernment to know when to just be patient.

I Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I am convinced that potty training has been a small trial that the Lord has used to teach me how to love. It takes patience and kindness. Desiring Christina out of diapers at 26 months was a bit self-seeking. She wasn’t ready and was unaware how inconvenient her immaturity was to me – soon to be mother of twins! Why couldn’t she “get it” like her big sister?!? I once was proud and boastful to have such a fast learning first-born child! Yet my future children humbled me in this area just a wee bit! (I know God has a sense of humor!) I’ll admit cleaning up poopy panties can bring out some rudeness in me – especially when it’s the 5th pair of the day and we’ve not even eaten lunch! Yet my frustration brings shame to my young one’s face… and she needs tenderness. She doesn’t need to be reminded of the other times she’s failed in this area. She needs encouragement and the assurance that I believe she will succeed.

As mothers, we all will face trials that test our patience. Knowing when to discipline and when to extend grace requires the Holy Spirit. Does your baby not sleep through the night? Are you tired? Are you frustrated trying to implement routine? Does your kindergartner talk too much in class? Do you wonder if your child will ever learn to read or their basic addition facts? Are you weary of sibling rivalry and bickering? Do you feel like if you’ve said it once you’ve said it a hundred times?

Pray. Read the Word. Consult I Corinthians 13 and be guided by love. Sometimes we must correct and discipline… but we should always be guided by love for our children and one another. When the trials come, there is a place for parenting books. However, resist the urge to turn to a resource before turning to the Word.

Also, the Bible has a commandment to older women in Titus 2:4 to “teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. However, so often we young mamas receive not because we ask not. I am guilty of this. I try to figure things out myself. However, I have never regretted turning to my mother, mother-in-law or older friends and mentors. I know these ladies will pray for me. I’m blessed by their life experiences. It seems that sometimes I need to only hear “This too shall pass.” They can tell me this with assurance because they’ve lived it! We are so blessed in our church to have godly, older women who are willing to pray for our children and us and share their experiences. Take advantage and be teachable!

Hooray for Esther!

I have a praise! Several days ago, Esther, while swimming in a pool, called her Daddy to get her out so she could go potty. AND SHE DID A #2 IN THE POTTY! We celebrated! We rejoiced! And we gave her a lollipop just for triple reinforcement! She has since succeeded two more times! I hope this means we can put the potty training season behind us! I’ve trained six children now and have either “just trained,” “must train” or “will need to train” a child for 13 ½ years. I do not, however, consider myself an expert! I can only say, that with God’s grace, I’ve learned a lot and survived.

Oh, and for the record, I don’t plan to start that potty training business I considered years ago when Anna basked in her star-pupil, potty-trained glory! There just isn’t time for it. Now I must begin teaching the first of all my potty-trained children how to drive!

This gal is still a superstar!

Beach Picture

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010