Sunday, April 29, 2012

nature AND nurture

Adam and I were at Mike and Sarah's for a visit and Sarah and I were recalling Evan calling horses "wheety", with a windy wh- sound, compared to Adam's version "eet-eet". Later, I was visiting with Mom and Ilisa, and we were trying to remember which of the kids used to pull the clean/dirty wheel off the dishwasher like Adam had just done, and why some of the kids didn't. And Dad and I were noticing how Adam is saying "da-doh" similar to Evan's "da-doo", and Adam says "buh buh buh" like David did. When kids are in the same environment and they do different things, or are raised differently and do similar things as other kids, it strikes my curiosity.

We've [likely] all heard of "nature vs. nurture". The Program has me thinking about things differently, sorta like how amazing the world looks to G through the upside-down lens as she sticks her teeny bum in the air with her head on the floor and giggles gleefully at the view between her legs. I'm using the word AND instead of opposition words (but, or, versus, etc.). I'm thinking more along the lines of I love your sounds AND it's time to be quiet cuz you're making me bonkers, or I know you'd rather play than have your diaper changed AND you're gonna just have to lay here and deal with me doing this.

In the same way G looks at the world with a new view, I find myself thinking about the mundane through a new view. It's refreshing. On my way home I was thinking Why can't it be nature AND nurture? Wouldn't it help us raise our kids better if we used the two together?? Much of my mission as a teacher was to help the students learn their learning type. I wanted to know the best way to tailor my lessons to my students and classes. Sometimes I taught the same lesson very differently because my audience was not the same.

Simple enough, right? No! I felt like I had to teach the same thing 8 different times in one class period because I wanted the students to hear the lesson in their own language, if you will. The term "lost in translation" comes to mind. I found that I lost the students' interest if I wasn't speaking at the level of understanding to them all. I got frustrated on a regular basis because I found myself starting at the ground and working my way to the clouds every day. That gets exhausting! With my "spirited" students I felt like I had to dance and shoot off fireworks to keep their attention with the challenge of getting the lesson across. With the gifted students I had to keep their interest and stay a step ahead of them without dumbing the lesson down or the point would be lost and they would end up seeing through me to the chaotic dance I was trying to perform.

I was always tired when I taught.

When it comes to Adam, my inquisitive, busy toddler, I want to give him the space to learn on his own and I want to nurture his curiosity by sharing the wonder of the simple things in life with him. I want to be there for every new word, association, and revelation. I also want to get out of his face enough to let his curiosity take the wheel. As a SAHM, I admit that I have a difficult time knowing when to give him a break because it feels like he is changing so quickly that if I miss out on the chance to dance with him or teach him an animal sound, I'm worried that I'm not doing enough to give him what he deserves. I know he has what he needs, so that's not a point of concern.

I want to encourage him based on the kind of person he is. It doesn't appeal to me to push him or discourage him, unless it's about his safety/health (of course). My point of this long rambling is this: how can I nurture Adam's nature to raise him to be a well-rounded, resiliant Christian with integrity and discipline? Whew! What a mission! It's what I'm alive for; I believe to my core that God put me here to bring my family to His service. I want to do what I can to achieve the grand goal of hearing Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

So enough of setting nature against nurture. I'm trying to get them in sync to make my family's future a bright one. After all, my family is what God blessed me with so I could do his bidding to bring more people to Him.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

let go, and let God

I just had a whirlwind of a day (and a half). I brought Adam to his great-auntie Connie's for the night and spent my first night away from him in over a year. Tim and I had a date night and we went out to eat at The Laurel (mmmmm... salmon...). 2 1/2 glasses of Champagne later, I admitted to Tim that I was fighting exhaustion. You see, whenever Adam is not around, I. Get. Tiiiiiired. *sigh*

We came home and Tim took Sophie out to do her business. I decided to let go of my consciousness and wind waaaaay down. I showered and put on my comfy pjs. I stumbled out of the bedroom, over Adam's toys, and plopped on the couch. I queued up Netflix, "How I Met Your Mother", and proceeded to pass out.

I don't remember Tim getting in with the dog. I don't remember talking to him (which I apparently did when they got in). I don't remember ANYTHING except waking up to a lovely soaked shirt and aching boobs. I squinted to make out the clock; if it wasn't 5, I wasn't getting up. Dang it, 5:30.

Then I had the thought settle over me that my baby wasn't home and I loved the fact that I could take care of me. And that's it.

Lots of people said "oh you'll miss him" or "you're gonna cry" when I mentioned him having his first over-night away from me. I couldn't stop smiling when I dropped him off with Auntie Connie! I called Hailee and laughed because I felt free! I trust my aunt to take care of Adam. He was only 2 miles away. He was happy when I left and I got lots of text-pics that showed that he was happy. One of the best things I've learned through my progress in The Program is to let God be in control. That alone not only made this possible, but also easy and truly enjoyable.

I have noticed that when things don't go like I thought they would, I need to slow down and look around at what God would rather have me do. I'm here to do His bidding and I feel good for doing it. If traffic is moving slower, fine. If Adam's out of my hands, okay. If the dog eats cat poo, whatever. If circumstances make me late, hungry, double-think, and yes, even upset, I'm learning to turn my attention to God. I'm getting faster at recognizing these instances and I'm happier when I shrug my shoulders and think, "that's okay," or, "this might be better than the other possibility".

My next challenge is to quit being a doormat and to stand up for myself. I'm okay with things going a different way, but I'm unhappy and hurt when I let people trample on my feelings. I will learn (soon, I hope) to bring my feelings to the surface and deal with them before they turn ugly (like my last post to a hacker that I deleted).

When God is in my heart, good things will happen in my life. When God helps me choose my words, better things will happen. When God guides my actions, great things will happen. I am my thoughts, my words, and my actions. If God helps me bear the weight of my troubles, the world will be a brighter place!

As I work to sleep-train Adam (again! after 10 weeks of sickness and being away from home) I need to remember to let go of what's going on for the sake of letting God's plan fall into place. I need to tell myself to let go, and let God take over. One day at a time!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

love you forever

We had a great day as we celebrated Adam's First Birthday. My baby is getting so big so fast! I read "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch and cried (of course). I wonder if I'll ever get through that book without crying. I took a few pics as the party went on, and some of the boys in the tub tonight. We missed some special people today, and we are so blessed for the ones who came and the great gifts they gave to Adam. Happy 1st Birthday, Adam Isaiah!

(pics to come when i get them edited/uploaded)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the look

I'm having my own special day. Those of you who know me might point out that every day is a special one for me. Yeah, yeah... you're right. But even more so, I'm in a goofy frame of sleep-deprived mind. Today there's one thing I'm keeping in mind so my tired mouth doesn't cause more trouble than it already has. I'm remembering something I'm learning through The Program: "There's a reason God gave me 1 mouth and 2 ears." I'm amending that to include "... and 2 eyes". Que The Look (girlfriends, wives, moms, aunties, teachers, and women in general know what I mean).

This morning Tim pointed out to me that he's tired. I offered The Look. He thought I was flirting and laughed, saying something to the effect of "are you busy right now?" Fail. Just remember, readers, that this is a guy who knocked me off my bike on a paved trail and made me bleed and limp, and he said, "I was trying to flirt!" I'd hate to see if he succeeded at it.

This morning I changed G's diaper. Adam was across the room (and although he can walk, crawling is a safer, faster way to go). He put his head down and charged across the room to us. He got up on one knee and held his hand over G's face and looked at me. I gave him The Look and he proceeded to pet G's hair and face in the "pet nice" fashion. Success.

I had my nephews here for a sleepover last week. Three-year-old Nolie is a spirited boy: he's passionate. He was pretty unhappy when nearly-one-year-old Adam took his toys and wouldn't share, so he gave Adam a shove with one hand while he held a car Adam stole with the other hand. Adam was un-phased but I had to address this. No words needed: I presented The Look. Nolie promptly pulled Adam back up, hugged him, kissed him, and said "dowwy" while he handed the car back. Nice. Nolan looked back and I gave him a wink and thumbs-up.

I am learning (and sometimes failing) to keep my mouth shut. I remind myself repeatedly every day to look and listen before I turn emotionally reactive (a term I learned from my sister through a book I read when I started teaching from a book series that I should get back into). Save yourself from an arguement and give the gift of The Look instead. Happy scowling.

I told you I was in "a mood". ;)

On a related note: I love Oreos. If you know me you know how that's related.

I'll quit typing now.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

root beer

What a busy day! If I don't journal on whirlwind days like this I feel like they'll be forgotten sooner. The little things, like Nolie asking at 9:15 tonight if his mommy was here, or the look of exhileration on his face when we walked up the pop and chips aisle at the grocery store while he pushed his tot-size grocery cart, shouting, "Katie! I found the woot beeah! I found the sips!"

I'm getting way ahead of myself here. I meant to write like my day went: starting with the morning. The sleep thing, waking up alive thing? Not today. I cleaned like nobody's business until 2 am. Tim got up with Adam (as he does 2 or 3 times a week these days). I got up around 7:30 and tidied some more while Tim helped because Ilisa came over to do Adam's 1-year pics. Her photography business is picking up speed and she has great ideas that are coming to life. It's exciting and inspiring to watch her on this journey.

Adam put on a show for Ilisa, and Auntie Connie joined us to coax more silliness out of my bugger. He danced to Christian rock, pushed around his "super cruiser" (as Tim calls it), jumped on his bed, and played with cake. It is always a joy to see him in his element and he was eating up the attention (and some cake!).

We ventured over to Children's Hospital in St. Paul for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Wolpert. On the trip Connie read some passages out of a book that I'm anxious to get my hands on. I'm scarednervousexcited about my personal spiritual inventory and the thought of it is extremely intimidating. Yuck. I'm having a heck of a time facing Step 4, and as I have made it since Monday feeling like I am happy (pathetic, I know) I should be rarin' to get into and over this Step so I can be even happier. Anyway, the passages I heard are inspiring and make me less sick to my stomach about the next Step.

We visited with Dr. James Wolpert for 15 minutes. Dr. Wolpert has a great bedside manner and is a pleasure to deal with. We will see him again in a year. I want to put this behind us, and it's clear this is another issue I'll be addressing in Step 4. As I type this I don't want to tell people about Adam's hypospadias. There. I said it. Adam was the 1 in 800 babies born with this birth defect. His hypospadias was repaired. It's healing "fine" but we will be going back to see if any cosmetic issues become functional issues. Boo. Until then there's nothing we can do but thank God for where we are from where we've been. Can you tell I don't want to face this? My shoulders are tense and my head is achy just typing this paragraph. Ugh...

Anyway, with a happy boy we headed to Walmart and Fleet Farm and we had a fun time picking out Adam's Easter stuff. Adam got a lawn mower toy from Auntie Connie for Easter. It's really light-weight and we are convinced it gives him the sense of security he needs to take his first steps. Oh, we went crazy watching him PICK THE MOWER UP AND TAKE STEPS but refused to walk if he wasn't holding on to it. Oh, Adam!

On our way home we picked up my nephews Nolan (3.5) and Evan (6). The boys came outside asking if we were gonna have root beer and stay up super late. I said yes to both. Nolie and I went to the local store and had a hay day while Adam was home sleeping with Tim and Ev playing soccer outside. Nolie was unsure about some things, like "is this a good path?" and "is it okay?" I could tell he was missing his mama and dad. He did great with Evan by his side, and Ev takes his big-brother role seriously with an arm around his li'l pal saying, "I'm glad you're here, Nolan." When we got home, Nolan ran from the car yelling, "Evan! We got woot beeah!" Oh, to be 3 and so loved!

We rounded the night off with popcorn, root beer, books, and Veggie Tales. Both party animals were out by 9:40. Tim and Sophie were not far behind, and here I am. I'm looking forward to sleep, and a shower. Probably in that order. Tomorrow we will dye eggs and play at the school. We will greet the day with playtime and peanut butter. I will take a nap. Maybe not. Probably not. I hope I am that blessed, and I'm so glad to have a house full of boys and my Sophie girl ALL SNORING. *sigh* Ahhhh... life is good, God is great. I'll end with some pics of our afternoon.

so tired after such a long day

Tim playing soccer with Evan while Nolan plays golf, sorta

"Katie, we need peanuts!"

little shopper

Monday, April 2, 2012

up & at 'em

I was inspired by the sermon at church yesterday. It was about defeating the devil on a daily basis, and the hope we have in knowing Jesus nailed our sin to the cross. Satan has us like puppets on strings. When we are not looking we get strung up and we do his bidding. When we are careful we snip the strings holding us back. Then we get distracted and he ties us up again. We are bound by the invisible strings of sin.

We get tired of cutting Satan's ties, but we aren't doing it alone. We get frustrated by his persistence, but our hope wins in the end. We get off course because Satan is working at us, chomping at the bit for a chance to hurt us, but we have God backing us. For those of us who have accepted God's help through Jesus as our personal Savior, then what could stand against us and have a chance? The battle has already been won! We just need to persevere through our days and focus.

I wake up every day knowing I have emotional struggles, and that is a bugger of a first thought to greet the day with. It is never gone, but I must face my personal demons several times every day including before I open my eyes. I have never been a morning person (just ask my husband and family). I like to say that Tim is jealous of my relationship with my bed. =) More than ever I'm trying to defeat my unhappiness FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, as if I have the energy.

I just read an article that offers me hope and a challenge. I'm putting it in writing here because it will hold me accountable. With the idea in mind that habits take 2 weeks of daily discipline to form I am committing to do this daily for 14 days. Here goes something!