Thursday, March 18, 2010

If it it!

My sister-in-law and her husband just had their first child a week and a half ago. We saw them last week after mass and we were discussing many important baby issues. Sleeping, pacifiers, bouncy chairs, and nursing. She was telling me how well Mary sleeps in her bouncy chair. So well, that she is only getting up maybe two times at night. She was thrilled that Mary was sleeping so well, but was concerned that she shouldn't start this habit of sleeping in the bouncy chair. I reassured her that it is just fine and for heaven's sakes, "If it works, do it."

I wish I would have had this wisdom before I had children. My mother and grandmother gave me a great piece of advice (that I didn't follow),
"Do NOT read anything!"

I thought that was absurd and a little irresponsible. So, I read everything and made myself so confused about sleeping, pacifiers, bouncy chairs, and nursing. Everybody has a different take. My mom grew up in the school of ONLY put a baby to sleep on his stomach, but now at the HOSPITAL you pretty much have to take an oath that you will NEVER put a baby to sleep on his stomach. A friend invited me to a La Leche League meeting before I had Dominic. I really didn't know what LLL was so I went. The topic at that meeting was why you shouldn't use pacifiers and why you should nurse whenever, wherever. It made sense so I decided to not use pacifiers.

I read that you should never start any habit unless you intend it to be the norm. For example, never co-sleep with your baby because he will never sleep in his own bed. Don't let them fall asleep in the swing because they will get use to the motion. Keep them on a strict schedule or they will always be cranky and unmanageable.

I did all this with Dominic and wished I never had. Dominic (and the rest of my babies) liked to sleep only on their stomach. I remember crying one night when we brought Lillie home from the hospital because she would only sleep well on her stomach. I kept flipping her over on her back and she would wake up immediately and never get into a sound sleep. Once I would flip her over on her belly, she would sleep great. BUT, they told us to never do that. My sister finally said, "Lindsay, God is not going to take your baby because of a certain sleeping position. If He wants her to be in heaven, He will take her regardless." It really helped me although I am still a Nervous Nelly the first couple months with a newborn's sleeping habits.

Dominic needed and wanted a pacifier. I would nurse him and then 15 minutes later he would be fussy. The poor guy just needed a binki. BUT NO, the LLL meeting said that YOU should be the one to comfort him so that is what I did. I think I nursed all over Nebraska and Oklahoma for 12 months. Lesson learned. I now find great delight in picking out their pacifiers! Side note, I have nothing against LLL, but merely trying to state how I was so influenced by the differing opinions.

Dominic was not a good sleeper at first, but developed into a great sleeper. I would nurse him and then put him right back in his bed like the books said because I didn't want him getting use to our bed. I attributed this habit to him becoming a great sleeper. With my next children, they all slept in bed with us off and on for a year and they are all good sleepers. So that theory isn't true.

I thought all of these issues would determine if I was a good mother or a bad mother. I forgot that they weren't moral issues and didn't concern his soul AT ALL. So, my advice to my sister-in-law, "If it works, do it" Let her sleep in her bouncer if she sleeps. Give the baby a pacifier if they want it and you don't mind it. If you and your husband want the baby in your bed and it's working, do it. Sure, you may have habits to break in the future, but I am learning that most habits can be broken when the mother is ready to stick with it and break it.

I told my good friend the other day that I feel like my time with them is like an hour glass and the sand is constantly running and soon it will be out. I feel these years and days going so fast. I think one has to go through the early stages of motherhood to get to the point of being able to relax. We all have to carve out our own path and find what works for us and our family. I pray that I never tell my daughters or daughters-in-law how something should be done. I don't think my way is the right way, just what works for us. I have only learned that recently. I am not saying that the kids should run the household or dictate how things should go. Personally, I am a big fan of the parents being the parent and the kids being the kid. We do have many rules in our home, we work diligently on manners, we have schedules, bedtimes, and routines, they aren't allowed to be sassy to us, they must ask our permission for most things, we demand respect to John and I and also their siblings, I am constantly reminding the girls "to please act like a lady" but I am working on not expecting perfection and we are both works in progress.

When we began homeschooling, I once again adhered to all the rules and regulations I had heard and read for the hundreds of people I consulted. Once again, I should have followed my own instincts and just listened to John. I am now much more relaxed when it comes to our schooling. I am not disturbed when we take days off just to go thrift store shopping. Dominic loves it! He and I did this yesterday and it was pure joy. We went to his favorite store "The Dollar Tree." He had a whole dollar to spend. I let him take all the time he wanted to roam every aisle and decide what to purchase. He went back and forth between blue plastic police men and a water gun. Oh, the decisions! Finally after an hour, he settled on the blue police men. What is beautiful is that he has no idea how I stood and watched him. I "acted" busy, but was truly only there to watch him. I made sure I paid attention to every question and answered them very seriously. You know like, "Mom, Do you think that the police man with the megaphone is the captain?" I would seriously think about my answer and respond appropriately. Vianney and Zellie needed to head home for their naps so I told him we better get going. He came up to me and said, "I hope I wasn't causing you any trouble. I hope it wasn't hard on you to wait for me pick out my toy. I kept watching you and you were smiling so I thought we had enough time."

Little does he know. I reassured him that everything was just fine and it was by no means any trouble. He will never know how sweet his face was. He will never know how time stopped and I looked down at him in awe of his generosity of heart and thoughtfulness of me. He will never know how everyone listening to our conversation was smiling at him. He will never know how my heart was melting when he was talking to me about his concerns and decisions. Thank you, Lord for today. Thank you for homeschooling ME. Thank you for the time spent with him and the girls. Thank you for letting me relax when in the past I would probably have never of gone thrift store hunting because it might disrupt our schedule or be during nap times.

The time with our children is precious and very short lived. I really want to be very selective how I spend my time away from them and with what I am involved in. Just enjoy them, love them, and do your best. Ask our Lord to guide you, tell Him your heart and your worries. The point of this post is that there really aren't any "wrong" decisions when it comes to parenting if your whole goal is their soul. You will not be penalized on judgment day for pacifiers, bouncy chairs, and nursing habits. God sees into your heart. Even if they go down the wrong path, it is all part of HIS big plan and picture from all eternity. Many great saints came from very ugly beginnings. St. Monica was made a saint because of her wayward son, Augustine. I just told a good friend "Our job is to be home forming and to love them. The results are up to God."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

To make you giggle...

My mom told me this hysterical story today which happened a few years back with one of her older lady friends. I had forgotten the story and fell over again at its funniness.

My mother has a friend named Kathryn Eilert. Kathryn truly is a saint on earth. What a holy, holy woman. My mom was in the confessional line and out comes Kathryn. She told my mom she was in the box pouring her heart out about her wretchedness, concerns, shortcomings. She said that she really thought she was having a good confession.

After she lets it all out, she then waits for the priest to give her advice, her penance and absolution. Nothing.

She waited and waited. Nothing.

So, she peeks around the wall where she was kneeling behind...and no priest was there. She confessed to the wall.

I was dying of laughter. I can just see her pouring her precious little heart out only to find nobody listening (but God).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Franklin W. Dixon

Dominic wanted to swing by the library to get a different Hardy Boy's book and The Chronicles of Narnia on CD. We went to a different library than we normally do so we went up to the lady at the resource desk and asked her to point us to where the Hardy Boys were located.

She said while trying to look them up, "I can't quite remember the author's name."

Dominic said so innocently, "It's a Franklin W. Dixon."
He gave the lady the author's middle initial.

I am always having moments with them, but that was precious. My favorite part was how he replied so nonchalantly and had NO IDEA how sweet it was to me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

what Haiti taught me

I realized today the depth of my lesson learned. I began this course a couple months ago and today proved very satisfying.

It was a very cold January night, I ran over to Starbucks to get a beverage. I was driving home and found myself rather disgusted with the condition of the streets. Like most of America, we were pelted with snow in Nebraska this winter so the streets were a mess to drive down. I was jostling along and was thinking "Gee, it sure would be nice if they did a better job plowing the streets. It sure is cumbersome to hold a beverage and drive at the same time in these conditions."

And then it hit me.

Really, Lindsay. Really. Is this the extent of your pain and suffering? Look down. I'm driving a Surburban with heated leather seats, just returned from a necessity like Starbucks, and then was heading home to our very warm and comfortable home. Really. Shame on you.

The events of Haiti had just surrounded this event that night and I was embarrassed of myself. I may admire the people who lived during treacherous times, but for heaven's sake DO NOT ASK ME TO LIVE THROUGH SUCH treacherous times such as a very blustery winter. What shall we do? I thought of all the events in history that I will probably never even come close to experiencing. Haiti. Concentration camps. Rwanda. Shame on me again for ever complaining.

Even if an earthquake were to hit America, the situation would be completely different. We are a land with incredible depth of resources and would have immediate relief. They had nothing. No cranes, no heavy machinery. No hospitals with high tech equipment. We have it all. So even our earthquake experience would be different.

So, I began my internal and external mission:
I WILL NOT COMPLAIN my head or out loud.

The next day I was standing at the Hy-vee Deli ordering my fillet of cod fish. I asked the young chap how his day was. He said, "Good, until I walked outside and felt the cold." I replied, "Well, at least were not in Haiti."

Call 9-1-1. Really. I think he may have passed out. He stopped everything, paused, and looked up and replied, "Thank you. Thank you so much for reminding me." I said, "No really, I need the lesson too, but it really does make you think."

The following Monday I was picking up pizza from Sam & Louis. The order wasn't ready so I began speaking with the nice lady about her day. Once again, please dial 9-1-1. She started telling me that she thought the day was going to be nice, but the wind. Oh, the wind. I listened and then replied with my new mantra, "Well, at least were not in Haiti." If I remember correctly, I think I had to look over the counter because she was on the floor in shock. She, like me, saw how her statements were so ridiculous when compared to true suffering.

The following weekend, John and I headed to Kansas City for a conference. It was Valentine weekend so the Plaza was a bust with people and the minimum wait was at least 3 hours at every place. We were with a group of 20 so that made our wait even longer. Our reservations were at the Cheesecake Factory and when we arrived, I overheard a lady getting into a small tiff with the reservation desk about how she was told 3 hours and now it was going to be another 20 minutes. She walked over and stood by me and we had small talk and she voiced her disgust with having to wait longer. Not to be repetitive, but again I gave her my line, "Well, at least were not in Haiti." She won the shock award. She said, "I am so embarrassed. Here we are dining at a beautiful place and I am complaining about waiting 20 more minutes when those people are dying and have no food." We talked a little more and she walked away. She came back up to me and said, "Thank you. Thank you for the reminder."

In the past, every January I do the same thing to John. I start out kind of joking, but mostly serious. Then by February, I am nothing but serious. This year (pre-Haiti conversion) was no different.

Embarrassingly, I said things like "What fun can a person have inside their home for six months." "There has to be more to life then living through six months of cold, for what?" "This seems so pointless when you could be in the south enjoying yourself so much more."

I know I graduated from high school, but I'm not quite sure I've matured past Kindergarten. Did I really say "have fun?" or "Enjoying myself so much more in a warmer place."

You know (sarcrasm), God did create us to exist in such a state of utter bliss ALL THE TIME and IF we happen to encounter struggle He of course wants us to FLEE and move to a much happier place where struggle surely won't exist. Right? I guess I had assumed that if my passions weren't being met, I surely must move or do something different. Did it ever occur to you that you are supposed to be experiencing your very own Haiti right in your own home, enduring a cold winter without complaining, and better yet flip the coin and make it something beautiful FOR GOD. Novel idea. John always tells our children,
"Do the right thing, at the right time, whether you like it or not."

I did. I had a Jerry Maguire moment of epiphany that night and truly have never turned back. The winter became my friend. I found myself really not noticing the cold anymore. I thought "If they can do that, I certainly can do this." When tempted with contempt, I would immediately say something positive back like, "Won't the sun this summer be so beautiful." Or sometimes I simply say, "STOP." There is the beautiful true story of Corrie ten Boom and her sister. They were in a concentration camp together. Her sister displayed a peaceful acceptance of their situation most of the book, but Corrie was bitter about everything. In one scene in particular, Corrie is distraught because all of the prisoners have lice and it was driving her mad. Her sister tells her, "We must be grateful, it keeps the Germans away and they will not harm us."

It was in the 50's today. I watched the kids this afternoon play outside and ride their bikes. I felt joy. I cannot explain how working hard at something so small like not complaining made the sun today even more bright. It must be the same high runners get after training so hard and then do really well in the race. You say, "All the effort was worth it. All the sacrifice was worth it." "All the times I wanted to grumble and didn't, was worth it." It probably is just one of the phases we all experience during our adult road trip of life. I see it. I see the slow peel of acceptance happening. My wise grandmother says, "Somethings just ARE."

Thank you, Haiti for forever changing me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baby Boever #6

We had your ultrasound last Thursday. It is always glorious to see your little self moving around. The tech said you were very active, but it is always funny to me because I didn't feel you moving at the time. You are 19 weeks old in these pictures and weigh 8 oz. The tech asked us if we wanted to know if you were a boy or girl. Dominic chimed in before everybody, "No Mama, Don't! I want it to be a surprise."

I wonder who you are? We all cannot wait to meet you. This pregnancy is flying by. I can hardly believe we are half way there. Stay safe, my little one.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Friday visit to a cute Eye Doctor

On Friday, we went to visit our cute eye doctor. He is such a nice guy and really good with kids. He asked me if I was married. The nerve. I invited him for dinner. He came. What a cutie! We are blessed to have him as our Papa! John wanted to dilate (their eyeballs) all the kids while we had them in and had the time. When your eye is dilated it makes your pupil really big so they all looked funny. They did great and he was able to check everybody's eyes.

Dominic needs glasses. He has his mother's eyes. Sorry.

Lillie loves appoints of any sort so this was all fun for her.
Rose is just cute.
She liked wearing the "special" glasses because her eyes were dilated. She wore them the rest of the day.

Zellie took it very serious.

Big Stuff getting ready of her appointment. The cutest thing about the youngest of a family is the excitement that everyone has for them even to have an eye exam. You should have heard the squeals of delight in the others while watching her.
She just wanted her glasses and be done with it.

John thought these would look best. ha! ha!