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Tag: parenting (page 1 of 12)

Can I Please Just Deal With The Vomit?

Last week my son got sick in the car.

Luckily my husband was able to come home and help me with the clean up.  We stripped down the child, got his clothes in the washer and got him settled next to a bucket, just in case.  Then we got to work on my vehicle.  We took the car seat apart, putting the fabric pieces in the washing machine, wiping down whatever else we could with wet wipes.

It wasn’t fun.

But in the midst of it I turned to my husband and said, “Yannow, I’d deal with vomit every day if it meant we didn’t have to deal with the other stuff.”

“The other stuff” means the ambiguous parts of parenting.  The times when you’re picking the lesser of two evils.  Dealing with “the other stuff” means pouring so much thought and emotion into making the best choice possible…but still feeling unsure with your final decision.  It means making a choice that seems right at this time, yet acknowledging that years down the road you might realize that you made a mistake.

This is what I was thinking about as we aired out my car and wipes down yucky surfaces.

Vomit is gross.  But it’s completely straightforward.  Your kid pukes so you clean it up, you cancel activities for the next 24 hours and you put them on the couch with a bucket and the remote control.

“The other stuff” is complicated.  Multifaceted.  Messy.  Uncertain.

I read somewhere that the first couple of years of your child’s life are hard because they are all-consuming.  But the actual parenting is pretty straightforward.  You’re exhausted and worn out, for sure.  But you know what to do most of the time.

Then your child starts sleeping through the night.  They finish teething.  They can eat without choking.  They outgrow the risk of SIDS.  They learn to use the toilet.

It feels like it should be time to relax and breathe a bit easier.

But that’s when the other issues come in.  And all that other stuff is pretty complicated.  Messy.

Should you let your daughter hang out with the friend who pushes her around a lot?  Will she learn to stand up for herself or will she be vulnerable to bullying?

Do you keep your child in the school that doesn’t seem to be a great fit or do you pull them out mid-way through the year to hopefully find a better option?

How do you deal with moving across the country when you child is already at a vulnerable age and you’re afraid that one more change might just be the last straw for him?

When your child doesn’t mesh well with a teacher, a therapist, or a coach, do you intervene or let them work through it?

If your son hates an extracurricular activity, do you let him quit or teach him to persevere through something unpleasant?

These are the sorts of questions that don’t have easy, clear-cut answers because it’s not just about making the right decision.  It’s about making the right decision for that kid in that situation at that time.

I’ll be the first to admit that we’re at the very beginning of these decisions.  Our son is only three and a half.  Yet in the past year or so we’ve been faced with several of these heart-wrenching, all-consuming decisions.  We turn the options over and over, trying desperately to see into our child’s life, his personality, his strengths and weaknesses, and also to see into the future to predict the best decision.

But all of this – all these prayers, and tears, and conversations, and speculations, and reasonings, and wonderings – all of it comes down to faith.

I believe that I am trying to do the best for my child.

I believe that I am trying to make the best choice based on the knowledge I have.

I believe that I will do whatever I can to support my child.

I believe that this all might end up being a giant mistake that I wish I could take back.

I believe that my child will be resilient, in spite of my choices.

I believe that I will certainly make mistakes along the way.

And I believe, ultimately, deeply, assuredly, that I must do my very, very best and then trust the outcome to God.

May I Please Just Deal With The Vomit--

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Big Kids and Babies

Babies are a popular topic in our house these days, specifically the topic of OUR baby – the one that’s coming in May.

Hadden has gone with me to pre-natal appointments where he learned to imitate the sound of the baby’s heart beat (“swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!” he says with a grin).  He’s watched as I’ve put together a small registry.  He has lay down with me when I’m not feeling well.  He insisted on picking out Christmas gifts for baby at the same time that he shopped for me and Caleb.  And he talks about baby too, asking how big it is now or if he can see the pictures again.

With all this baby talk, Hadden also has a renewed interest in one of his favorite games: pretending to be a baby.  (This game is extremely similar to his other favorite game “pretending to be a doggy” with the notable exception of licking faces.  Hence, I much prefer “pretending to be a baby.”)

In order to gently prepare him for the role of big brother, we’ve been spending lots of time talking about the differences between big kid and babies.  It goes like this:

“Big kids get to go to preschool!  Isn’t it great to go to preschool?”

“Babies don’t get to eat raspberries, or strawberries, or ice cream, do they?  Babies only get milk.  But big kids get milk AND all those other foods.”

“Big kids get to play at Chick-Fil-A.”

“Babies don’t get to get play iPad because they’re too little.  But big kids get iPad time!”

“Are babies allowed to play with marbles?  Nope.  Marbles are for big kids!”

“Big kids get to…”

“Babies don’t get to…”

That’s the language of our house these days.

No matter how careful we are to prepare Hadden for the baby’s arrival and how sensitive we are to his needs once the baby comes, I’m sure there’s going to be an adjustment period as he has to share his parents for the first time in almost four years!  But I’m hoping that his current excitement over this sibling stays strong, even during difficult times, and that they end up being the best of friends.

Big Kids V Babies

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How Five Minutes of Laughter Can Transform Your Parenting Routine

In the midst of my daily flurry of lists, appointments, and tasks, there’s one thing that takes precedence: laughing with my son.

About a year ago I turned this into my daily goal for parenting. Five minutes of each day were to be spent laughing and giggling with my son. It seems like a lowly goal at first. After all, in the tremendous work of parenting there are so many important things to do and so much to teach your children. Still, laughter is of the upmost importance in our home.

My son and I wrestle. We tickle each other. We shoot Nerf guns off our balcony. We make silly noises with our mouths and we chase each other around the couch. We run through the sprinkler, even if we’re fully clothed. We watch Minion videos on repeat. Anything counts as long as we’re laughing and engaging with each other.

Often these giggles happen spontaneously. Throughout the course of the day we find something that makes us both laugh and so I do my best to capitalized on that impulsive laughter. Most of the time those five minutes easily stretch into ten or fifteen. But some days it takes effort to make us laugh. Some day I really have to work for it. Those, of course, are the days that we need laughter the most.

When when we’re frantic or busy, this goal is a reminder to take a few minutes for fun. When one of us is in a funk, we now know that that a few minutes of hilarity can turn that bad attitude around therefore helping out the whole family. In this way, our ritual-of-laughter is restorative. We bring happiness to our home and mend our relationship as well.

My goal is about more than just the laughter, you see. I prioritize this habit because it gives me the chance to step back from being his manager and just enjoy being his mama. I want him to see that I take care of him by folding his socks and making him mac and cheese, but also by ensuring that he has a fit of the giggles once a day. And it helps me too by reminding me to make time to delight in him and to marvel at the person he is becoming.

These moments are magic. The laughter transforms our home. It strengthens our connection. This simple five-minute goal has become a catalyst for becoming a better parent.

So if you walk up to my house one day and hear giggles coming from within, come on in.  We’re just partaking in our daily dose of laughter.

How Five Minutes of Laughter Can Transform Your Parenting

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