Thursday, February 21, 2008

Old Shoes

I have to say that I was getting a bit stressed & worried earlier this week. You see, the time was fast approaching when I would have to say goodbye to my days filled with little smiles & poopy diapers and return to teaching in order to finish out the school year.

That would leave me with just a few hours of awake & playing before I would have to tuck the boys off to "sleep" and not have much interaction with them for the rest of the night. How many milestones would I miss? How many little smiles would be directed at someone else instead of me?

I'm still sad just thinking about it.

The transition was made a bit easier by the fact that my parents have practically moved here for three and a half months to be "nannies" to the boys. At least I don't have to entrust my little sweeties to a stranger.

I know that I need to finish the year -- and not just for selfish reasons like seeing my first homeroom class graduate and getting my salary for a few more months (although those are minor perks as well). Mainly, I just know that for some reason that's what God is asking me to do. So I've been praying for Him to help me through this and give me some enthusiasm for teaching and for the kids at school.

And so, yesterday morning I began the familiar trek southward for 9 miles. I was the first one at school -- no surprise there, I always was. Slowly but surely, familiar faces began to trickle in the building. First teachers, then students. Some had grown. Some had changed their hair. But they were still those same kids that I left back in October. I think the 6th grade class even had the same seating chart I had given them in the Fall.

I slipped so comfortably back into my role as teacher, it was almost as though I had only been gone for a day or two & had to catch up in some lesson plans that the sub hadn't managed to get through.

It was like putting on that old pair of tennis shoes that have been sitting at the back of my closet for so long. Perhaps they aren't as comfortable as they used to be, but then, it's hard to remember what they felt like when they were first purchased. All I know now is that they feel nice. They are full of memories of good times.

And that now is the time to wear them. After all, they won't last much longer.

God didn't necessarily answer my prayers by giving me enthusiasm or excitement to leave my boys and head back to work. But he sure did give me peace and comfort in my current situation, knowing that there is a reason he wants me to finish the year. There is a reason he wants me interacting with these middle schoolers who will grow up and move on -- and many of whom I may never see again.

I have a lifetime of smiles ahead of me with my boys -- and I look forward to every one.

But right now I am smiling at someone else who apparantly needs me, too.

Isaiah 41:10 For me, it always comes back to this verse. . .

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Parenting, Advice, Books, and More!

Get around a group of moms and it's inevitable. The talk begins of when you stopped (or plan to stop) nursing; how old your baby was when he first rolled over, smiled, clapped his hands; does your baby sit up, spit up, roll over. Then the big one comes out.

How is your baby sleeping at night?

If the answer is -- and mine *sigh* is -- that your child is still waking up like clockwork every 3 hours and demanding to eat, everyone has a piece of advice.

Have you read this book? Oh, you mean the one where it says to let your baby cry himself back to sleep and assures the reader that after 45 minutes, the screaming will stop and then proceeds to explain that each night the child will cry for less and less time? Yeah. Read that one. Tried it. After 45 minutes my guy was screaming more loudly than before. After an hour, I thought he was going to shatter the windows. So I comforted him. The next night, it was the same routine. He works himself into a frenzy (and wakes up his brother in the process). So that one was a wash.

Strange, I read another book, too, that promised that after 3 rounds of crying, all babies fall asleep. Maybe I'll explain that to little Mr. W. the next time he starts in at round 4.

What about that book that says to go in and feed or hold the baby every time he starts to cry? Read that one, too. Tried it. The first night it was great. Babies woke up. Babies were fed or rocked. Babies went back to sleep for another 3 hours. Unfortunately, they decided they liked being rocked more than they liked going back to sleep on their own after a cycle. So the next night, they were up and demanding attention every 45 mintues. Doesn't that seem a bit counter-productive?

Some other well-meaning mother asked how much they were eating and how often. Four ounces of formula every 3 hours. Pretty much like clockwork. Have I tried 6 ounces every 4 hours? Yeah, hadn't thought of that one. Too bad about that GERD thing. Six ounces comes right back up and makes them scream from the burning stomach acid in the throat. That one worked like a charm, let me tell you.

Cluster feeding at night? Hmmm . . . again, with reflux, that's not going to work.

What about rice cereal in the bottle to fill up a little tummy and keep it feeling full longer? Tried it. Made no difference whatsoever. Thanks, though. As much as I appreciate all the helpful hints and advice, all babies are different. Each family is different. Everyone has to figure out what works for her family and for her baby and roll with that. If that means that I'll still be getting up in the middle of the night when my boys are 6, 8, or 9 months old, so be it.

I can't wait for potty training. I'm sure everyone will be full of wisdom then, too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sweet Dreams

It has been a particularly trying couple of days with the Stink-meister. We think his reflux is really bothering him & even got a stronger prescription (which means differentiating between his bottles & his brother's).

He squirms & screams while he eats, or he will just flat-out refuse to take any food more than 1/2 an ounce, no matter how long it has been since his last feeding. Sometimes we can coax him into finishing a meal if we walk around the room and jiggle him violently while he eats. On a side note, i keep wondering how THAT would work if I were still trying to nurse him. Hmm . . .

Well, just when I thought I wanted to be done with motherhood entirely, last night happened.

He was screaming, as usual, when I put him down to sleep. I changed him to his car seat so I could rock him while I fed his brother. Eventually he did doze off. And then it happened . . .

He actually laughed out loud in his sleep!

How cute is that? He must have been dreaming of the pendulum on the clock. Or his daddy singing the theme of 2001: a Space Oddyssey. Whatever it was, it really got him going. And it made my day.

This morning we are back to gagging on his bottle and business as usual. But those sweet baby dreams still make me smile.

By the way, you are invited to check out the online proof book for the boys’ three-month photo shoot!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Depende ¿de qué depende?

. . . de según como se mire, todo depende



It all depends on how you look at it, doesn't it? Well, not ALL, but let's not get into some philosophical discussion on the subject of absolute truth. There is, ultimately, truth. There is, in reality, only one way that a particular event occurred.

Funny, then, how our own judgements, perceptions, and biases can completely change the way we remember things. And even more, how we want to paint ourselves (or someone else) to our listening audience alters the "reality" of any given moment in time.

Recently I heard a family member relating stories from when she was a new mom -- a combination of funny anecdotes and experienced wisdom which I was eager to learn from. She was telling me about her middle child, who was extremely fussy and screamed almost constantly for the first few months of his life. He would screech that he was hungry and then scream some more when she was trying to feed him. He screamed with a bottle; he screamed at the breast. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. She told me that there were a few times that she grew so exhausted & frustrated that she actually propped him up with a bottle and had to leave the room for a few minutes in order to regain her sanity. We laughed and joked together about how hard it is to hear your baby cry, but sometimes you just have to block it out for a minute and catch your breath.

Then it hit me. I had heard this story before. Well, sort of.

A few months before, Rebecca (another family member -- not her real name, btw) had been telling stories about this woman. Only those stories were about what a neglectful mother she was. Rebecca told me that this family member bragged about the fact that she had figured out how to prop up a bottle so that she could leave the room and not hold the baby. According to Rebecca, this mother didn't mind letting her baby cry for hours at a time. She wanted to break his spirit.

Could these stories really be about the same incidents?

But what's the truth? How could I possibly know what went on inside a house 50+ years ago when both stories were so vastly different? Was either story true? Or were they both twisted just enough to communicate a particular message?

Another incident that is equally as baffling to me involves some guys who are dear to my heart. My darling hubby got himself a brand new watch to celebrate the birth of our boys. Now, you have to understand that B doesn't do anything cheap. This isn't just some station wagon kind of watch. This is a new sports car. Maybe not a Ferrari, but at least a Mustang. A good friend of his wanted to take a look at it as they were sitting in Chipotle not that long ago. This friend dropped the watch on the cement floor. It still runs, but the case is bent & a screw that should be able to come out to change out the band is smashed in there and unable to move. Of course, B was furious & spent some time looking over the watch. The other guy took one look at it & declared it "just fine." No apologies. Nothing.

My hubby sees this as equivalent to taking your buddy's new Mustang out for a spin & running it into a post, leaving some scratches & a dent, but saying that it's a-ok just because it still runs.

Our cousin heard the story from the other guy. Of course, his version was a bit different. Funnier, perhaps. In this version, B spent a half an hour in the bathroom checking out the watch from every angle & came back in an absolute rage even though there wasn't even a scratch on it.

Again, could there be a bit of truth in the other guy's story? Maybe. I know how particular my hubby is. But I've also seen the damage to the watch.

How can someone discern what really happened over burritos that day?

Okay, I changed my mind, I am going to get into that philosphical discussion.

I have spent the last 2 weeks with various family members, hearing tales told from different points of view, yet I don't know what the reality of any one situation is. How can this be possible? How can one event inspire so many different versions of the truth.

What does that mean, anyway, "versions of the truth?" If a thing is true and real, then how can there be different versions of it?

This idea of absolute truth plays into much more than just figuring out what happened on a particular day with those friends of yours. Ultimately, it can change the way you see the universe, life, God. . .

I've heard people say things to the effect of, "well, that may be true for you, but it's not for me."

If a thing is true, it's true, right?

If the sky is blue for me, it can't be orange for you, can it?

I can believe that I wasn't speeding all I want to, but the the cop who pulls me over isn't going to want to talk about how much I don't like the reality of the ticket he is giving me, so it must not be right.


So. . .what IS truth? Is it my perception of an event? Is it what FEELS right to me? Or is it something else? Something bigger? Something that exists despite the limits of what my finite mind can grasp? Something outside of perception and emotion?

If it is that bigger, firmer thing -- which I believe it is -- I want to KNOW it.
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