There once were two brothers who ventured on a journey in search of a better life. They had prayed for years asking God to lead them to where they need to go. One day, they decided that it was time to start their journey. For many days and many nights, they continued along his journey. They grew very weary but kept trusting in God the whole time. Finally, they reached a fork in the road. They were not sure which way to go, but they knew they had to pick the right road because they would be too weary to turn around again to take the other path.
They looked down each road and evaluated the options. Down one road, it appeared to be a straight road leading to a set of hills. This road was to the left. On the right, a road had a big curve in it, and it lead to very high, seemingly impassable mountains. They felt God telling them to go right, toward the high mountains. The most weary of the two brothers began to doubt God. “God,” he cried out, “You have been so kind to me. However, I am too weary to take the road you told me to go. I will go toward the hills instead.”
“But, brother,” Said the other man, “Will you not trust God? He has told us to go toward the high mountains. We must trust that He will give us the strength and carve a path for our passage. We have prayed for a better life, we must trust that He will deliver. We have set out in search of greener pastures with enough water to support our livelihoods. Let us trust in him, and turn toward the mountains.”
Wearily, both brothers yielded to God and started off on the path toward the mountains. Along the way, they passed many kind and wonderful people who provided them with food, water, and a place to lay their head all along their journey. They slowly gained their strength back and for this they praised God. Their confidence grew along with their strength as they rounded the long road and the majestic mountains came into view. They were shocked to see that the road did not in fact lead over these mountains, but rather through them! Again, they praised God. They journeyed through the mountains, coming at last to the end of their road. Before them lay a land of riches more then they ever dreamed of.
They found a temporary home with a kindly widow until they could set up their own place to live. Once day while eating supper, they began to tell their story. Upon hearing this, the widow said to them, “You were both very wise to trust in His promises, for the road to the left, leading to the small hills, lies beyond them a desolate desert. You would have perished like many before you. Praise God you are here!”
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
My one year old has a little issue with his temper. In fact, he has been slamming his head on the floor when he does not get his way. Anxious to nip this joyful behavior in the bud before the Terrible Two’s hit, I scoured the internet for advice. To save you the time of doing a ton of reading, I decided to summarize what I read for you:
Tantrums are the result of a frustrated child, except for when they are being manipulative. Young children are NEVER being manipulative. You should always try to talk to the child to help him understand his feelings and to give him the words to express himself. One year olds cannot express themselves. Temper tantrums are the result of kids not having the right words to express themselves.
You should always ignore a tantrum. Never leave a child alone when he is in the midst of a tantrum. You should always comfort a child when they are overly upset. If ignoring the tantrum does not work, physically place them in a safe place and leave them there until they calm down. Always pick them up and hold them after a tantrum and reassure them that you love them. Never reward a tantrum, make sure you let them know that such behavior is unacceptable. Tantrums are a normal part of childhood. Things will go better for you if you just accept this.
Children know exactly what they are doing when they have tantrums, and children are often scared and unable to regulate their emotions. Try to keep them well-rested because tired children tend to have a difficult time regulating their emotions. It is perfectly fine to allow children to experience tantrums because this will help them learn to regulate their emotions better. College-age kids will still throw themselves onto the ground in a tantrum if you do not teach them when they are young how to regulate their emotions. One year olds cannot regulate their emotions.
Hope this summary helps you struggling parents out there! Hang in there.
I recently read an article written by a mom on the topic of needing breaks. You can read it here.
I’ve always explained it as feeling “touched out.” Touched out is a term to describe my total lack of personal space and dignity that comes with being home all day with two young children. It also refers to sensory assaults. Everyone has their own threshold to what they can tolerate, and every situation is unique.
Sensory assaults…my kids are having some lower GI issues. The cat is having upper GI issues. I woke up this morning to my floors being covered in vomit ranging from just-eaten food to liquid to finally a liquid puddle with the offending hairball finally expelled. The kids have had several massive bowel movements and I have no clue what is up with that.
There is a lack of physical space…throughout the day I am constantly hit, tapped, or flat-out headbutted because I am deaf and that is how they get my attention. Empty sippy cups are tossed or thrown at me. All of my food and drinks are begged for and I frequently look down into the cup that I have been drinking to see a wad of spit from a four year old drink sampler deciding he did not, in fact, want to drink my water. So he just spits it back for me to discover later. Fun times.
Lack of dignity….potty breaks and baths are communal events. These occasions are basically parties as far as the kids are concerned.
I am at the mercy of these little yet demanding clients 24 hours a day. I am ok with this and this is what I absolutely want to do, but it is healthy for Moms to take time for themselves to recharge, and husbands need to be understanding of this. So moms…TAKE A BREAK. Recharge your batteries and you’ll back on top of your game in no time.
Ok…so I saw that one of my absolute favorite children’s shoe maker was holding a contest. For this contest, you submit a shoe design. The shoe first gets voted into the top 10 shoes, and then the Livie and Luca shoe team will select one shoe to go into production for their spring/summer line.
I got to work! I poured over popular children’s clothing makers to see what colors and styles of clothing is selling well now. Then, I looked at children’s artwork and found some cute flowers made out of cupcake wrappers. I put my heart and soul into creating a shoe that would be relatively easy to produce, a show-stopper yet a shoe that would coordinate well with many different outfits, making it well worth the purchase.
I need your vote. PLEASE take a moment to do literally two clicks to vote on my shoe. You can see it on livie and luca’s facebook page. It’s the mint green shoe with the name, Minty Boquet. Just click on the link from your computer and you will help me get these adorable shoes onto the feet of sweet little girlies!
Or, if you can, ask a few of your closest friends and family to help. I just need to get into top 10, just a few votes away.
Ok…maybe he doesn’t. But I certainly feel like Nathan doesn’t like me sometimes, and I’m well aware of the reason why. I am the “strict” parent…but just because someone has to be, and only because I love and want what is best for him. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier and I hate having to be like this with him.
I don’t tolerate being talked back to, or disrespect toward me or any other adult, including his dad. I expect him to do what I say within a reasonable time of whenever I tell him. I prefer him to say please, thank you, and yes ma’am/sir when speaking to adults. I never give in to tantrums or whining simply because it is more convenient for me to do so. All of this, plus the fact that I have eyes in the back of my head means that I end up getting onto him quite a bit. This disqualifies me as the fun parent and I am pretty sure the boy is well on his way to hating me.
Another issue is that I am the busy parent. When I am home, I have a house to clean, food to buy, put away, and cook; I have to clothe them and laundry to do; organization and a budget to manage; a little brother who nurses a million times a day and needs tending to…plus the five hundred other things that go along with being a at-home mom. So if Nathan needs something he has to go to his dad. He is now a daddy’s boy.
I wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, I subscribed totally to the whole “I am my child’s partner” parenting model. I followed their doctrine and worked alongside him to create soft boundaries based on love and respect. This resulted in a wild, headstrong child who lacked respect for adults and would not follow any rules or take no for an answer. I was embarrassed at his behavior in public and had nightmares of him growing into a juvenile delinquent of some sort. I definitely didn’t end up with even a hint of the sweet, respectful child or partnership that this particular parenting model promised.
I have since learned that some children need hard boundaries and firm consequences with total consistency. It may be just their personality, temperament, parents’s personality, environment, or whatever. Regardless, not every child is the same and not every parenting technique works for every child. I am the only person who fully does this, and as a result I am the only person he actually listens to.
I invest my whole heart and soul into looking after his well-being and future, and he likes me the least. That bothers me, even though I know my goal shouldn’t be to focus on myself and what friendship I can get from the relationship with my child. It is not about me but about HIM. I just wish that he could see and appreciate what I am trying to do for him and how much I love him.
I hope, truly hope, that he will grow up and one day understand. I hope that he is successful at whatever he sets his mind to because I taught him self-control, self-discipline, and delayed gratification. I hope he has successful relationships in part because I showed him to respect the boundaries of others and to do what is right and to just be respectful in general. I hope that he will be happy in life because he has been taught a sense of appreciation, optimism, and not a sense of entitlement which can ruin happiness and destroy relationships. I hope one day he will see that everything I did, I did it for him, because I love him more than he will ever know.
Our Halloween here was pretty much rained out, so I took Nathan to the local mall to Trick or Treat. C was working, so he offered to keep Mr. Teething Fussypants (Chunky) while we went. I dressed up Nathan in his transformer costume and off we went.
When we arrived, the mall was PACKED. The lines were ridiculous. Each child had to stand in a giant circle that spanned the entire mall and slowly (SLOWLY!) inch toward the next store front where they would receive a single piece of candy or tiny printed coloring sheet. I decided just to take Nathan to the Mall’s playground and then to get a treat at the food court.
I read recently that sugar does not make kids hyper, according to a research study somewhere. I should have taken a video of the playground filled with candy-fueled kids and sent it to the researcher who published that study! These kids where literally ricorcheting off of each other. I tried for a long time to keep track of Nathan in the midst of this buzzing mass of kids, but started to feel motion sickness from it all. It was insane!
A particularly rough-looking couple was staring at me and made me feel nervous, so I decided to get Nathan and go to the food court. We claimed our table and waited for our food. They messed up the order so it took a long time. Finally, I got my Taiwanese food and we sat down to eat.
Nathan got a special drink with these berry-looking things in the bottom. He kept spitting the drink all over the table in his attempt to expel the berries. I told him to stop several times in between my furious attempts to slurp my food as fast as possible before the Toddler Meltdown occurred. He did it again, so I took his drink away. He started screaming that he was so thirsty, but I refused to give him the drink back as to stick to my guns with him. Finally, I let him have a few sips of my water, but he knocked it over and water went all over my table on him. He freaked out and started trying to strip his clothes off right then and there. I closed my eyes for a split second to take a deep breath as to not get angry and make the situation ten times worse.
When I opened them, I was alarmed to see a perfect stranger, a woman a little older than myself, and her older daughter tossing huge handfuls of napkins on the table and mopping up the spill. She had a ton of breast cancer clothing on, so I thought maybe she is dressed as a breast cancer survivor for Halloween. I started to jump and take over the cleaning, but she smiled at me and said, “No sweetie, you just sit there and finish eating. We’ll get this. Just go ahead and eat.” She must have picked up that I am Deaf because she sort of mimed and exaggerated her speech to be extra-clear for me.
I was in shock at this random act of kindness, and it must have shown on my face. I told her thank you so much several times. She just smiled and pointed at the table next to me, saying that she has four kids, including four-year-old twins and totally understands how it is trying to eat and tend to kids at the same time.
She started up a little game with all the kids where they tossed a balloon in the air like a game of volleyball, and invited Nathan to play. This allowed me to finish my soup dinner. I was so very deeply touched by the kindness from this perfect stranger. I thanked God for reminding me that there are still very good people in this world and for sending someone to help me.
I have this thing where if someone does something nice to me, I try to multiply it by returning the favor (if I know them) or by paying it forward twice if I do not know them. So I am on a mission of sorts to look for opportunities to help other moms in public places.
Just had to share this story. 🙂
So there is lady who is now stationed in Cambodia and doing some pretty amazing work there. The other day, she saw what is highly likely a scene that should simply not exist in the world: a child being sex trafficked.
She wrote about it here.
At first, I tried to think of a million other things that could have actually been going on in the scene. Perhaps the man was a family member of someone who babysat the girl. Maybe the money had nothing to do with the child at all. I wondered how the writer could hear the verbal exchange so well over the loud motor vehicles, maybe she simply misunderstood since it is not her native language.
Then I realized what I was doing is exactly what half of the problem is. I was denying that such a scene was taking place. Here was someone who clearly felt that this child is being sold for sex, and I, having only to rely on her words, was finding myself choosing to deny this. It is so easy to sit here having had a safe childhood in a culture who values children and refuse to accept such notions. But really though, isn’t that a huge part of the problem? Does that not lump me in with all the other people who inadvertently allow this to happen because it is easier to simply look the other way?
A feeling of guilt and helplessness washed over me. Then I remembered that I am not helpless at all. I can write about this and hope that this gets the word out about what is happening to precious little girls, babies really, all around the world and especially in Cambodia. Believing in the power of prayer, I prayed for them. I prayed for the writer to continue her amazing work and for taking the time to write about this little girl. I prayed for the men involved that they will somehow have a change of heart. I prayed for the little girl to stay strong after being abused so horribly. I prayed and I prayed. And now I am praying that some of you, those reading this, will pick up the prayer chain and get the word out about this precious child in her blue pajamas and all the other little girls just like her around the world.
You may or may not recall, but for the last six months the Hubs has been working two jobs trying to switch over to working full time from home. His job hours required that I tend to the kids and all of the household things during the week and a lot during the weekends. The last few weeks were extremely challenging due to us being sick and just not feeling well. But by the grace of goodness I held on to the bloody end and survived. Hallelujah!
So last week was his first week working from home. He has been helping me in the evenings with baths and after-dinner clean-up, and I swear I died and woke up on vacation. I will never complain about how hard this is now that I have some help around the house….or at least until Chunky starts walking. 😉
For random news/updates:
Still praying hard and trying to move “home” to Georgia. The main (only?) thing holding us here is this house. Right now the market is so bad that selling at what it goes for would put us in debt and we will have to rent for quite a few years in order to build back up a savings and down payment on a new house.
Chunk is doing well. I think he may be another smart-tater like his big brother. He is still a joy but I can tell he is a strong-willed child. As with his big brother, I am hoping to help nurture the trait and help gently mold these traits into the natural-born leaders that they seem to be. No clue at all where they get this outgoing, outspoken personality from as I was hopelessly shy growing up and I know C doesn’t have a social butterfly bone in his body (he’s more of a quality over quantity kind of fellow when it comes to friends). I may just have to give credit to genetic recombination on this one. 🙂
I have noticed that Chunk is experiencing some separation anxiety now and he definitely prefers me (though it may be due to nursing him). Nathan was always a go-to-anyone, see ya later kind of baby. Just very independent from day one.
For Halloween, Nathan will be a Transformer and Chunk will be a Chunky Robot. I will try to take pictures with my good camera and get them posted. 🙂
I have also started a little store to sell boy’s clothes. The local consignment stores here are getting a bad reputation for ripping people off and I prefer not to sell through them. I try to sell outgrown clothes or clothes that I don’t think I will want to dress Chunk in by the time he is big enough to wear it. This lets me build up a paypal account balance so that I can just buy them clothes using the money I’ve “earned” by selling their old clothes. It’s mostly fun and has a the added benifit of not putting a burden on my husband’s income for us. He really appreciates that I am being resourceful, the moms appreciate cute clothes at decent prices, and I enjoy getting to dress up two very cute little guys. So for now, it def seems to be working for us.
Nathan also started some classes at our local family gym. He is doing a sports introduction class and just had his first class this week. It’s so funny watching adults around him. Nathan, as I mentioned, does not have a shy bone in his body. He will walk right up to a stranger and give them a high five, and remember them so that if he ever sees them again at any point he will walk right back up to them for his high five! So this sports class, he did soccer. He actually has quite a knack for soccer! He soaked up the terminology like a sponge and mastered the little techniques the first or second time he tried.
I’m a little nervous for future classes though because he doesn’t have any patience with boredom. So if they review the techniques or practice something he already knows, he starts acting up quite a bit. He also is picky about changes. I noticed at the last practice that he made sure no one used a different color ball than the one they started with. Some high lights of the class, things that only Nathan would do:
I think it is pretty evident to all who meet him that this kid of ours is just in a league of his own, marching happily to his own beat. Like them, I am baffled by him but aside from some rough edges he is a hoot and I am proud of my charismatic little boy.
Nathan also just turned four years old last week! He refuses to accept that he is no longer three years old though. If you ask him how old he is, he’ll say, “I’m three. I’m too tired to be four.” Whatever works.
Gotta run…Chunk is waking up….
So I went downstairs to load some laundry. I came back upstairs and Zane was nowhere to be found. Nathan was looking more than a little guilty so I asked him, “Nathan? Where’s brother???”
“Um, I don’t know? Um…” Replied Nathan [insert The Thinly-Vieled Smile of The Guilty.]
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the pile a pillows on the floor move. I picked a few pillows up and lo and behold, there sat Zane with a smile on his face.
“Nathan, we do not bury brother. It’s not nice” became yet another item on our Things We Do Not Do To Brother list.
Other items on this rule list:
We do not put bowls on brother’s head. The same goes for food, blankets, water, paint, play dough, and dirt.
Speaking of his head, it is not to be used as a mountain for his matchbox car to conquer, a helicopter launch pad, and absolutely under no circumstances may it be used as a t-ball stand[!!!!].
We do not put a laundry basket on top of Zane and sit on it. I don’t care if he is a “lion” or an “alien” or whatever he is therein deemed to be. No laundry baskets on brother, period.
Brother may not be blamed for bringing a chair to the counter, climbing on it, and eating all the frosting off of the cupcakes I just made. He’s eight months old, for goodness’ stakes and only one of the boys have frosting all over them and it’s not the little one, so there.
To be continued….
The majority of days are good days in our household. We definitely have our weird flare-ups where the stars align just so and create the perfect storm of cranky kids and sleep-deprived adults struggling to survive the latest antics that so-called “child development” brings us. We are definitely kept on our toes.
Then the rest of the time, I look around and see evidence of our children, our blessings, all around us. I know some people do not like to have toys scattered about but not me. The way I see it, I worked really hard to bring these two knuckleheads into the world and I’d like to see some evidence of my efforts around my house. Except for
foot-killers legos. Legos I can do without. I see the greasy handprint on the glass of my antique china cabinet, the TV blares a re-run George, and a stray sock is static-glued to the side of my couch…and I absolutely love it.
I love watching the boys play in the bath together. Anytime Zane starts giggling at his beloved big brother, Nathan will repeat it to make him laugh again. Before bed we have our tradition of sitting on our bed and I read and discuss a passage from our toddler bible devotion book. It’s our little time away from TV, iPhones, and other typical American distractions. Nathan squirms and Zane tries his absolute best to eat the book…but still. I love it. Then, as little boys are wont to do, Nathan reviews with us both that everyone’s tooty makes the sound, “toot-toot” but babies have special tooties. The tooties of babies says, “Gaga.” This is of course followed by peals of laughter and I can’t help but to smile. A child’s laughter is God’s gift to mankind.
This time in our lives is hard in that unique way that parenting two small children can be, but it is precious. I know without a doubt that we are in the midst of the best years of our lives.
Stop what you are doing and enjoy it. Savor those innocent little faces and cherish those little feet and giggles. This time will be over before you know it.