Saturday, April 30, 2005

I used to think I was realistic (part 3)

Continuation of part 2 and part 1.

Expectation #8

I will not speak "baby talk" to my children. They will learn the proper words such as "toilet" instead of "potty," "we're going to leave now" instead of "time for bye-bye," etc.

Reality #8

This is one of few expectations that I've pretty much kept to. My biggest issue in this arena is that I have to use the word "potty" to differentiate it from the big toilet. And I inadvertently called Kevin's stomach his "belly" during a tickle fight before he learned "stomach" so he now calls it his belly. I can live with that. For now.

Expectation #9

I will include my children in my daily tasks around the house and during errands so that they learn so many useful things. Most importantly, I will enjoy imparting my knowledge to them and letting them help in their own special way.

Reality #9

I have little patience to put this into practice. I try and hopefully I will get better at it but by then, Kevin will be too old to care about what I'm doing and he'll just want to go off and do his own thing.

Expectation #10

I will watch TV with my children so that we can have helpful and informative discussions during and after the program. They will watch very, very little TV and not every day.

Reality #10

Now that Kevin enjoys watching TV and he will sometimes sit and watch without me, I take full advantage of my "time alone" to get other things done that are easier done without him, like housework (see Expectation #9, above.) Watching TV first thing in the morning also helps me to wake up more "gently" such that I don't always start my day in a huff because the little guy got me out of bed before I was ready to get up.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Maybe it'll come to me in a dream tonight

I took a bubble bath tonight and read further in The Story We Find Ourselves In. Then I fell asleep in the hot water with my head mostly submerged (is there any more relaxing way to sleep? my blood pressure was probably 50/20.) As I was waking up but before I was completely conscious, I had a tremendous insight. I was able to pull together an idea from the book with some real-life experiences and a bunch of things "magically" made sense. I even spent a minute (probably only a few seconds, actually) thinking of how to explain it to other people because it was so good I wanted to share it. Then I opened my eyes and my great insight was gone. Vanished. Poof. I hope it will come back but even if it doesn't, it's nice to know that I had it and to remember the feeling of really "getting" something.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

He doesn't fit in this sleeper anymore. Posted by Hello

Can you tell which one is the toy? Posted by Hello

Happy Almost-Seven-Month Anniversary

Way back on October 2, 2004, Andy and I met our son for the first time. He was tiny for
his 2 and 1/2 years, quiet and somber, hungry, and coughing. He wasn't malnourished or
underclothed or anything like the kids you see on the charity commercials on TV, but he was
understandably withdrawn and his cough sounded pretty bad.

Skip forward almost 7 months and what has changed?

Kevin still loves to play with balls and blocks and he still eats a lot and he's still short and
he is still quiet when he is distressed (particularly in unfamiliar enviroments or around unfamiliar
people) and he's coughing now because of what we assume are allergies.

However, he doesn't eat as much as he did and he talks a lot around us and his body has filled out.
He loves to be outside instead of being scared and he walks and runs in the grass instead of only on
cement or asphalt. He has
grasped more of the English language than we expected by now and everyday he is better able to
express himself. He has learned to enjoy playing with other children rather than backing away from
them and he loves all sorts of toys and jungle gym equipment.

His sleeping habits have changed but each phase brings new challenges rather than just being easier.
While I was able, at one point,
to put him back into his bed in the middle of the night and he'd fall back to sleep, he now will
come back out of his room as soon as I get back into my bed. He'll do this up to 6 times (perhaps more
but I haven't found out because by that time I'm so aggravated that I just go sleep on the floor
in his room instead.) This also happens now when he goes to bed - he comes out over and over and over
again. And this also happens during what used to be nap time but which is now "quiet play alone time."
I don't really get much alone time with him coming out of his room every few minutes but I'm trying to
see this as a phase and let him work up to longer stretches of time.

He is learning to share and take turns which helps his playtime with other kids. He has become
opinionated about what clothes he wants to wear and he loves to wear pajamas. His shoes are still
a necessity with clothes but he can do without them while wearing pajamas.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I used to think I was realistic (part 2)

Continuation of this post.

Expectation #6

I will not change my childrens' diapers in public.

Reality #6

I do what is most convenient and that is often all about not having to find a suitable private place to change Kevin's diaper (as in this post.)

Expectation #7

I will not ask my children to do things, I will tell them to do things. I will not say, "Ok?" after most of my sentences.

Reality #7

Kevin, like most children, responds best when he thinks that he has chosen to do something. Control is a big issue. He is generally compliant and is comfortable making the decision to do something when asked so he is 80-95% likely to do what I ask. However, if I tell him to do it he's only maybe 50% likely to do it because not doing it is the only way to exert control over the situation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Difference

The real title of this post is The Difference Between Authenticity and Complaining
Or, The Difference Between Contentment and Complacency
but it's too long for a title.

I'm having a hard time reconciling the pull to be authentic with others regarding my feelings and opinions while not being a "downer" or "complainer." A recent message at church revolved around being the person in a crowd to make positive comments about others or situations rather than being the one to complain. One of our church's values is (this is quoted from the church website): "We want Cedar Ridge to be real, honest, and genuine, in our people and in our programs."

If I'm going to be genuine, then I'm going to say sometimes "That's a bad idea, I wish it wasn't that way" or even, "I think such-and-such person is not a good fit in the task that they've been given."

The tug-of-war inside me is a stalemate but it is not at rest - both ends are working hard to win. For example, on one end of my rope is the understanding that worship is about God, not me. I should focus on God and not on the external things in my environment. However, at the other end of my rope is the understanding that if those external environmental factors aren't to be an issue, then why does the church even attempt to make an environment of worship with music, singing, dim lights, etc.? That leads me to believe that the church expects that environmental factors can and do affect my worship of God. So why can't I make comments about how those factors affect me negatively? Isn't it genuine of me to do so?

I never expect the church to change because of my opinion (stated or otherwise.) And I don't want to seem like a complainer or someone who comments on how every aspect of the service should be more suited to me (I know some people do that and it is not uplifting to the people working hard to make the church a home for everyone.) But I do feel stunted regarding giving comments about our church service or how the church is being managed or even asking questions about how things work around there.

Church isn't the only place that this is difficult for me. We tend to honor those in our personal circles who seem always in a good mood with never a bad thing to say about how they feel. I agree that this is honorable when it is true. But it seems unrealistic that some people always feel this way. I feel that it dishonors me when people who claim to be close friends never share their difficulties. It's possible that they are sharing them with other people and don't need me for that, which is fine. But if our relationship claims to be based on deep understanding and trust then I want to be trusted with their genuine, authentic feelings. It's difficult for me to be genuine with someone who only wants a one-way street between us. When I'm not genuine I feel superficial. Again, this is fine if that is the way the relationship works and I'm not saying that everyone I come into contact with needs to share their deepest secrets with me (I'd rather they didn't) - but if we're claiming to be in true community or really good friends or however you want to say it, then we need the mutuality of vulnerability.

End rambling. Suffice it to say that I'm torn between how to be genuine and authentic in my relationships (personal and institutional) if I'm not allowed to be honest when I have negative thoughts or feelings.

I used to think I was realistic

I've always considered myself realistic/pragmatic and I've been told the same by others around me most of my life. There are some things, though, which can't be realized until they are lived. One of those is parenting.

Expectation #1

My life will not revolve around my children. Their lives will revolve around what’s best for the whole family.

Reality #1

The needs of the family are the needs of the kids and it’s impossible not to change one’s schedule and priorities upon assuming the role of parent. And the level to which this must occur is unfathomable until one becomes a parent. No matter how much one thinks that one knows better. It’s unfathomable. It can’t be determined until one is in the situation. Unfathomable.

Expectation #2

I will not discuss my childrens’ diapering and toileting habits with anyone but immediate family or those who ask.

Reality #2

Just last night I discussed this in public but was nicely reminded that it’s better not to.

Expectation #3

I will not expect everybody else to change their lives to fit our families’ needs.

Reality #3

I believe I’m doing well with this one so far. Our ability to fit into others’ lives has changed but we expected that and we’re fine with it being our decision to make that be the case.

Expectation #4

My children will do what I ask them to do because they know it is the best thing for them.

Reality #4

While I knew this would not be instantaneous, I thought I could mold Kevin better than I have so far. And to think that he is fairly compliant compared to a lot of kids I’m not sure what I’ll do when we have more.

Expectation #5

I will enjoy providing my children with the attention that they request.

Reality #5

Um, yeah.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Another reason why I'm not the best mother

I fight with my 3-yr old when he gets near to touching my Paint With Water masterpiece with his sloppy, dripping paintbrush.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I rode my bike with Kevin in the trailer this morning. Despite that fact that he fell asleep when I didn't want him to and I had to deal with yard sale traffic, I had 2 bright spots to make the ride feel better.

I often see joggers, walkers, dog walkers, etc. while riding the neighborhood streets I was on today and I often wave and/or say "Hi." Today a man saw me from his driveway and let out a big smile and gave me a thumbs-up after pointing to the trailer. Then I was on my way up the last hill to our house (we apparently live on a mountain because everywhere I go is down on the way out and up on the way back but you'd never notice it in a car.) Anyway, I was on my way up the last hill to our house when I passed by 2 children riding their bikes. I waved and said, "Hello" with a smile and I heard the younger one say, "Wow, she's flying!" Which, of course, I wasn't, but I'll take that kind of compliment anyday! In fact, that's probably the first time anyone has thought I was riding fast.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Overheard at our house this morning

"No more cookies until you finish your Fruit Loops."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

You call that science?

In a disheartening announcement yesterday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton from competition for 2 years for blood doping. Tyler Hamilton has always appeared squeaky-clean with honor and integrity and I have to say that I was shocked to find out that he was guilty. As I read more about the case on Tyler's website I knew I was reading a one-sided argument against the guilty verdict but I felt that there were some compelling points. Then I read the report (starting on pg 14) written by the dissenting voter on the 3-person panel and I'll be darned if there don't seem to be some gaping holes in the argument against Hamilton.

Needless to say, I'm bummed. I'm bummed for Tyler but also for the witch-hunt attitude that seems to be pervading the sport of cycling. I'm not saying that professional cycling hasn't had some serious doping problems, but some of the latest efforts to curb the problem are causing more problems on their own.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tour de France - it's never too early to get excited

This year's 92nd Tour de France starts on July 2, 2005. That's less than 3 months away so if you're not getting your yellow jersey out of underbed storage, your TV recorder in top working condition and your tongue re-introduced to a list of French cycling terms, then you're about to be left behind. Without going into too many details before my audience is primed and ready, I'll just leave you with these notes: this year's Tour is destined to be exciting as Lance Armstrong defends his historic reign of TdF victories yet again, Jan Ullrich finally sticks with his plan to be in top racing form just in time for the TdF and the stages of this year's race are set up differently than in the past which could upset the apple cart, so to speak.

Get yourself ready. The Tour will be here before you know it and you have been warned.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kevin's birthday tomorrow

In case I don't have time tomorrow to post a Happy Birthday message to Kevin, I'm doing it today. The plan is to give Kevin his present (a watch - yes, that's what he asked for) and some balloons and then go to the zoo. We'll have cupcakes or cake or something after dinner and then on Saturday we're having our families over for dinner and celebration.

We'll also celebrate and remember his birthparents who gave him life. At the minimum, we will light a candle for them and again show Kevin the pictures that we have of his birthmother and tell him the story of his life so far as we know it.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Ellicott City Hillbillies

I just got home from Wal-Mart. In the parking lot, I changed Kevin's diaper... in the open bed of my pickup truck.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Kevin's new nickname

I just watched a few minutes of the movie Seabiscuit and while introducing the horse the narrator said, "While he was much smaller than the other horses, he ate twice as much as they did."

Have you met our son, Kevin? You can call him Seabiscuit.

Honey, I've Erupted

Andy found some spots on the side of his stomach the other day and the patch of spots grew bigger and became painful. It sounded all too familiar so he went to the doctor today and was diagnosed with shingles. If you Google shingles, you'll find lots of "Senior Health" pages about shingles. I told Andy that although I got them because of a period of intense stress, he must have gotten them because he's getting old. Most people who get shingles are over age 50 because their immune systems are weakened.

Anyway, the title of this post is a quote from Andy earlier tonight referring to the opening of his first set of bumps. Hopefully the pain he feels will be reduced with the early intervention he's receiving. He's on pain medication and an anti-viral. Yes, the same type of anti-viral that you see commercials on TV for related to other sorts of Herpes outbreaks. I wonder why Andy sent me to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription??

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thank Goodness it's not broken

I've had a number of sports injuries in my life. This week I experienced a new one - a blow to the bridge of my nose. I had no idea how painful that is.

I played ultimate frisbee on Tuesday and the disc was deflected off somebody's hands and the edge of it smacked me square in the nosepiece of my sunglasses. I had to walk off the field for a bit to collect myself. I didn't expect to still be feeling it as badly 2 days later.

Fortunately it's not swollen and you'd have to know to look for the bruising to see it but that doesn't mean I don't feel it constantly and especially when putting on glasses, squinting, or touching it. I should've told Kevin that before he (accidentally) punched me in the nose this morning. Owwww.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

No-Nap Saturday went better than we expected

Because of the time change last night, we kept Kevin from his nap yesterday. It was easy to do because we were with my family at my parents' house and Kevin wouldn't have slept if we'd tried to get him to. However, we were surprised that although he was a little more "sensitive" and he whimpered more than usual, he hung in there until it was time to go to bed without any major meltdowns (and there were reasons to have meltdowns.)

He didn't come into our room at all last night and the first thing we heard from him today was at 7:15! That worked out great, I must say. Problem is, that was a good experiment to test how he is without a nap compared to how he is with a nap. The results don't look good for my 1.5 hours of no-Kevin time every afternoon. It seems that he's better off without the nap or with a much shorter one, although that would mean I'd have to wake him up. Stay tuned for more sleep experiments. And pray that we don't see him in our room 3 times tonight like we did most of last week (ugh.)

Two adults and 2 kids overnight does the trick

I'm frantically (well, let's just say "determinedly") cleaning up our house for last-minute overnight guests. While I won't do much dusting or scrubbing, I am definitely having to clean up the place. We're used to using half of our dining room table for eating and the other half for various things but we're going to have 7 people eating there for the next couple of days. And the guest bed? It's covered in piles of our stuff that came out of Kevin's closet when we put in the organizer system because we haven't figured out where it's all going to go. Perhaps it'll just go back in there for now. His clothes are tiny and don't need much room!

I have to say that I really enjoy this kind of thing when I don't let it stress me out. I like to organize, put away, throw out, etc. It feels good to create more efficiency and simplify. I just needed a good reason to do it (somehow my few spare minutes a day don't translate into house cleaning most of the time but into reading, catching up on email or viewing a snippet of TV. Call me selfish; I do.)