Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Adventures of...

Super Sister and Potty Training Boy!!! (aka Super Brother!)

So Cora emerged from her rest time as this: Super Sister 
SUPER SISTER!! (she dubbed herself - see her ring of power, see her super tights (with matching pink undies, shirt and cape? The girl has style!) Super Sister and Potty Training Boy 
With the Power to Fly! (off of the furniture) And not to be outdone by his sister, and at her insisting that Judah also be Super...
 Potty Training Boy 
Potty Training Boy was born! (She calls him Super Brother, but I think my name is more appropriate) 
Super Sister and Potty Training Boy
  Super Sister and Potty Training Boy
Super Sister and Potty Training Boy
And so the daring duo lept from furniture, shared, and in general got along for an hour! Hurrah! Triumph! Humanity was saved by kindness! (and underwear worn over tights!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cloth Diapering - from the other side of the trenches

Diaper boy! 
When I wrote my previous cloth diapering posts, I was still a mama of one kid.  One kid who had not yet finished potty training and got all of my attention.  Now I am the mama of two (and a third on the way).  One kid out of diapers and the other one on his way out.  My lovely pile of cloth diapers has been through the wringer.  Literally.

Some thoughts from the other side of this adventure.
1. Diapers suck.  Paper, cloth, whatever.  Having to be responsible for the poop of another human being is just gross.  Especially after they start eating solid food and even more so when they are toddlers.  We did as much Elimination Communication with both children as we could and still, there was poop in diapers and sometimes on the floor during the potty training phase.  (And that is why we pulled up the carpets.)  I still stand by my 'shake what you can shake and leave the rest to the washing machine' mantra.  The less contact one has with that stuff, the better.

2. High Efficiency washing machines don't actually clean diapers very well, or clothes for that matter.  And the ones with the short agitator just shred the heck out of my diapers.  I am serious!  They are quickly going to tatters.  Very frustrating, especially when I had planned for them to see me through all of our children, not just the first two.  We saved up and bought our HE washer in September 2011 and I am over it.  It was made for people who gently wear their clothes, not for kids who think it is their job to coat themselves in mud or who pee their pants and then stash the offending undies at the bottom of the laundry basket to be found later when the stench has infiltrated the entire load of clothes.  When you can't get the smell out after 2 hot wash cycles and extra laundry boosters thrown in, the washer is just not doing a good job.  I'm on the hunt for a used washer that actually fills with water, warranty be danged!

Diaper boy! 

3. Cloth diapering loses it's 'fun' aspect after one kid and just becomes work.  This is the reason our mother's generation gleefully dove headlong into the paper diaper movement!  Who needed the extra work?  I'm sure glad these kids are cute!  Don't get me wrong, we still cloth diaper and I'm still grateful for the savings, but it's not fun anymore.  I don't get asked about it much anymore since most of my friends CD as well or have potty trained their kids.  So I rarely get a chance to enthuse about CDing to strangers, educating them in the ways of the cloth.  In hindsight, that was one of the things I loved about CDing...talking about it.  Because who in their right mind really loves a pee and poo soaked piece of cloth?  Am I right?

4. The overnight diaper dilemma.  I'm sure there is a cloth diaper solution for a kid who is a nighttime super-soaker, but I have not done the research on it, apparently.  I've tried inserts and doublers and still, it's not enough.  And without being able to get them really clean (see HE washer paragraph above), the nightime diapers sit on my little guy's bottom so long and have the tendency to burn his skin. (Pee reacts with laundry soap residue left by that stupid HE washer and can cause problems for sensitive skin. Super awesome.) So for now, Judah wears a paper overnight diaper and often still pees through it.  He has a bladder of a cow, I tell ya!  If you have any good ideas for a super-soaker kiddo, let me know. I'm guessing I won't solve this one until we get a new washer.

5. Lest I sound like a complete ingrate, I still would and do choose cloth over paper any day.  We have saved our family thousands of dollars this way and that is no small feat.  We have it down to a science now, with the diaper pail kept only in the laundry room.  Yes, it adds an extra step to the change, but getting rid of the stink from our main rooms was so worth it.  Judah looks cute as all heck when he runs around in those little cloth diaper covers with trees on them (Thirsties).  He is out of the full time diaper phase and into the running around naked and practicing going potty phase so we use a lot less diapers.  We have even introduced undies but at this point, but he uses them like diapers and it's just more for me to wash. We are working on it.  He does loose shorts much better.

All in all, cloth diapers serve a purpose, save some money, look cute and are a great step for reducing waste, but don't feel guilty if it's not for you.  I encourage parents to try it and like everything else we do as parents, give yourself some grace if it isn't perfect. 

Diaper boy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Please, oh please...

I've never greeted happy news with such fear and trembling.  I had my fifth positive pregnancy test today.  Fifth ever.  That means, for those of you who might be confused about the importance of that, I have two living babies, two babies in heaven and now...this one, who is living, as far as I know.  I am equal parts ecstatic about his/her arrival and terrified that I will miscarry again.  Each loss has pulled loose a chunk of my heart, and for a time, a chunk of my sanity.  I am grateful for the love and support of our families and wonderful community as well as deeply sensible of how blessed I am to have our two living children.  But since this is a place for me to be honest I have to say I don't think I can keep it together very well if this pregnancy is not viable.  

Conventional wisdom might dictate that we keep this under our hats until we know for sure, but wisdom seems to be more about not showing grief if something is wrong and I just can't do that either.  I am going to find joy where there is joy and hold on to hope.  We had planned to have this third baby, but I realize now that I've been putting it off, almost hoping it would take longer.  But no, true to form, one month of trying equals pregnant.  Thanks, Mama, for those genes.  (Really. I mean it.  I am kinda impatient.) And now, there is nothing to do but wait, take my prenatal vitamins, and pray that this baby stays.  Please, oh please, stay.

Join us in our joy and won't you say a prayer for me and this little one?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Give up, give in, rest

"Stop fighting me!  I'm trying to keep you from getting hurt."

I said that to my son this morning as he attempted to dive off of the back of a chair and through a window.  The words left my mouth and I was suddenly flooded with all of the words my parents said to me over and over while I was growing up.  In spite of how I believed they felt about me as a teenager, they were, in truth, trying to keep me from hurting.  How I fought them.  I sneaked around, I lied, I did what I wanted in covert ways that kept me from trouble, but did damage to my heart.

I see the sneakiness in my daughter and it terrifies me.  Granted, it's three year old sneakiness of coloring on walls, raiding my closet for clothes to dress up in when I ask her not to and in general doing what she wants as long as she thinks I can't see her.  I see the fight in my son and it frightens me, even though it is only the fight of an eighteen month old.   Oh, that stubborn face when he gets determined to do something.  Even after I've just caught him in mid-air or pulled his hand from the flame (sometimes literally).  I didn't think I was a worrier, but it seems this is my first instinct as a parent.

Our culture says YOLO! (you only live once)  Our culture encourages us to live and love recklessly.  There seems to be some mysterious beauty and allure in the untamed heart.  I have felt that.  "'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" they say, but somehow that mostly applies to sleeping around.  We aren't there yet.  My kids are small.  But seeing their resistance to the wisdom of my years even now brings that worry.

I see the willingness in myself to still have those sneaky, stubborn, rebellious traits in spite of the fact that they do damage to my health, my relationships...everything!  I can hear God saying the words I say to my children.  Granted they are more gentle, but there are those words in my heart. Give up, Give in, Rest.

Give up the stubborn need to be right.  Give up the worry about these kiddos, give up the secret desires of my dark heart that threaten everything around me.  The fear, the anger, the selfishness, the shame, the covetousness. 

Give up the insanity.  Give in to my Grace.  Rest.

Sweet rest 
Sounds like a plan.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No more 3x5' least not on this hike.

The kids and I went to Beaman Park this morning and I didn't take my camera. I didn't even take my phone.  And I wonder if I saw them more and a little better.  Of course I won't have an image to look back on of our hike, but I have others.  It made me sing John Mayor's "No more 3x5's" as we walked. 

Judah ran ahead of us, as sure footed as a little (cherubic) mountain goat over roots and rocks.  Uphill and downhill, faster than I was comfortable with, especially on the steeper parts of the trails.  His little chubby legs took him quickly down the path while he enjoyed a rare freedom.  It's hard to let them run ahead on city sidewalks when a few steps off of the sidewalk equals death by cars, but here, in the woods, a few steps off the path, while it may have poison ivy in places, is less of a risk.  Granted there were some tumbles, but nothing a quick brush off couldn't fix.

Cora walked more slowly behind me, searching for treasures on the trail.  Her favorite find was a blue-jay feather.  Rocks and leaves and roots and bugs, she saw them all.  She wanted to climb on the rock wall at the start of the trail and was so proud of herself.  I am too.  In all my mothering ways when it was just me and her, I somehow taught her to be afraid.  I'm sad that I did.  Now I spend time teaching her to not be afraid.  To be brave.  To try.  To practice.  To not give up.  To brush it off when she falls.  She's getting better at it every day.

Then we crossed the road to where the creek runs quickly over flat rocks (less bugs) and we explored the deeper pools of water and rocks until we spotted a snake in the water.  Unsure of what kind it was, we retreated to the shallows just to be safe.*

And me?  I soaked in the green, the blue, the earth, the sound of the creek running, the sound of my feet on the trail, the cold water on my feet.  I taught, I watched, I remembered to look up and enjoy the canopy of leaves above us and the glory around us, and not just down at little ones.

We returned home gloriously grubby and quite content. And now they sleep.  The perfect morning.

*Upon researching when we got home, I'm pretty sure it was a Northern Water Snake and therefore harmless, but there is nothing like thinking through worst case scenarios to get a mama to be more cautious!  We were a long way from help and with questionable cell phone coverage if any of us had gotten hurt.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Pouring out

This is the way of my vain heart: My journal gets the bad/hard and the blog gets the good/fun and so when I fall silent here, it's because my heart is full of things that I wish weren't there and I'm afraid they'd come spilling out here and that would be ugly.  Not that you folks haven't seen me in my ugly state in person, but here, I still like to think I am fooling someone into thinking I have it together.  I don't, by the way.  This is one of the things I have been silent about:

Halfway through her pregnancy, my friend Ruth and her family found out that the baby girl, Pearl Joy had alobar holoprosencephaly (HPE), a neural disease with low chances of survival.  Literally her diagnosis was 'not compatible with life'.  I read each email from their family as the pregnancy progressed with hope and anger all balled up in one.  I prayed, I cried, I fought back doubt, I wished for all things to be made new again, I embroidered God's promises on a square of a quilt for Pearl.  And then she came.  And then she lived.  She lives still!  She was born on July 27th at 12:07am.

Written before her birth, Pearl's father's words about her life, even if it was only in the womb, struck a deep chord in my heart.
 "There is a weighty joy surrounding all of her life, but to deny the joy and only focus on the sadness would be doing her a terrible disservice. Like all of us, there is so much more to her than her weakness."

I am continually being amazed by the work of God in the lives of those He loves. (Even when we don't love Him back).  I am in awe of the love and help and community poured out on this family.  I am rejoicing in the reminder of who God is.  In the midst of politics, controversy, trouble, strife and madness, there is a baby girl born to a family and in her birth, there is the boundless love of God poured out on not only their family, but the community where I live and on every person who has read her story.   I pray my life may be poured out in such a way.

Phillipians 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. 

You can read more about Pearl in the following places:
A letter from her mother at my friend Amanda's website.
On her website where her father posts 
You can help support their family financially through this time here or here.
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