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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

By two or three o’clock each day, my house looks like a toy monster exploded in a library.  Schooling my elder two children while keeping the youngest three entertained, fed, happy and out of trouble takes its toll on the house.  By this point in the day I have started laundry, started doing dishes , and started (sometimes) supper.  But all the unfinished tasks seem to scream for my attention all at once.  In the laundry room I notice that my washer and dryer haven’t been wiped in ages and there’s a strange  green substance spilled over the dial panel on the dryer, but as I’m closing the door to the dryer and turning the dial to start another load, Punky, who was “helping” put in the laundry, falls and needs to be consoled.  Then  I notice that Bud’s math book is on the counter and I haven’t checked it, yet, like I’d promised.  Oh, and there’s that letter I’ve been meaning to find an address for so I can mail it.   But before I can do any of that,  I need to find out where Li’l Britches is because when he’s quiet, it usually isn’t a good sign.   And I can’t forget to call the doctor about that prescription that needs refilled….

The list of things that I never get to seems to be multiplying.   I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been feeling angry, and I had a good idea it had something to do with the condition of the house.  I honestly am tired of feeling embarrassed about and making excuses for it.  I clean.  I just don’t ever seem to get the house to look like it’s been cleaned.  I can’t clean as fast as the kids can “unclean”. 🙂   So the situation isn’t really going to get better until my little ones are older and my older ones are better helpers– or until they all move out– so I need to do something, instead, about my anger.  

Last night as I lay in bed it kind of hit me.  The real problem is not that the house needs more attention than I give it.   It isn’t that the kids don’t put their things away (though that would help!).  It’s not that we have too much stuff (although we do).  It isn’t that I am not organized enough (though that, too, would help!).  No the real problem is that I feel like a failure, all the time, because my house is not as clean and neat as I would like it to be.  Somehow, even though I’m teaching my kids each day, reading to them, loving on them, training them (some!), and even though I am fixing meals to meet the special diet needs of my oldest son, teaching Missy how to sew, recording firsts and funny moments with the camera, and keeping clean clothes available — if not always folded– for all…. somehow it all seems to mean nothing.  The stacks of clutter on the counters, the dried toothpaste in the sink and  and the crumbs under the couch seem to be whispering to me, ” If you were a really good parent, like ________, then I wouldn’t be here.  You aren’t good enough.”  And it makes me feel like I’m failing everything because I’m not great at everything.  It’s no wonder I get irritated when I see the tupperware scattered  over the floor or the school work scattered on the dining room table instead of filed neatly. 

I’m glad I recognized that I’ve been having such negative “self talk”, as they say in psychology circles, because now I can confront it with truth.  Just because I’ve had the same can of dusting spray for five years, that doesn’t make me less loved by God.  I never did anything to deserve His love in the first place, so there isn’t anything I can do to make Him love me less, not even sitting down for a cup of tea when I know good and well that there’s a sticky spot on the floor under the couch.  

So, again, I’m reminding myself of the goal, which is to seek Him first above all things.   I may never have a spotless floor and a counter free of clutter at the same time.  Some people can do that, and it amazes me.  I look on it as a gift that I obviously didn’t get.  So, I’ll keep the house livable as best I can and try to ignore the condemning taunts of the cobwebs and dust bunnies.  Really, when I’m 80 will I think back to these days and sigh, “If only I’d scrubbed the tile more….”    I doubt it!   I pray that God will help me prioritize the important above the urgent.

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1

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Here are some things I wish I was doing:

  • Writing everyday
  • Singing more
  • Getting up before the kids
  • Spending time with God each morning and night
  • Teaching my kids logic
  • Sighing at my children less and laughing with them more
  • Eating healthy
  • Making DH feel like a super hero
  • Living simply
  • Taking more risks
  • Calmly training my kids
  • Remembering the important things
  • Letting life experiences teach my kids most of the time and using the textbooks to supplement, instead of vice versa
  • Managing our home well
  • Spending more time looking my kids in the eyes
  • Finding contentment in the now 😀

Ok, so that’s just some of the stuff I feel like I could improve or start doing.  Sometimes I get a little discouraged thinking of how imperfect I am and how I “should” be doing better — but that kind of thinking only leads to defeatism.  The real challenge is seeking after the One.   If I can do that, the rest takes care of itself.  Wait…. that reminds me of a verse I learned long ago.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Alleluia!

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Punky in her church dress at 3 weeks old

Well, Punky is 6 weeks old now, and we are getting adjusted.  We restarted our home school schedule when she was 2 weeks old and have been working out the glitches.  She usually sleeps in the morning, so our school schedule has been largely unaffected.  Unfortunately, I still have two toddlers to occupy during our school time, and that has not been so easy.  Li’l Britches learned how to climb, so he’s into more trouble than ever.  Overall, though, we’re getting it together.  My house may not be very clean, but it isn’t  horrible and everybody has clean clothes to wear and food to eat.  Can’t ask for much more. 🙂

I hope with time I will get back to writing more regularly.  This is an election year, so I may get into a few political discussions on here.  Or maybe not.  I’m a little disappointed with how things are shaping up so far. 

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One of Punky\'s first pictures

Well, here she is, finally. 🙂  I’ll call her Punky here, due to her interesting hairdo.  When she was born, she looked bald on top until the very back of her head, which had hair standing straight up.  She looked a bit like an old man. 🙂  Since then, her hair has settled down.  It is still very short in front, but it at least lays down in the back. 

So, Punky was born at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 21, 2008.  (Disregard the camera caption on the photo.  The date is off on our camera and I haven’t taken the time to fix it.  That may come back to haunt me in a few years when I finally get around to organizing my pictures into an album and I try to figure out when we took them!)  She was 7 lbs. 4 oz, and 19 inches long.   I’ll give you the semi-condensed version of how her birth went.

At 11:30 p.m. on the 20th I went to bed, having only had sporadic contractions that evening.  As soon as I laid down, I started having contractions every few minutes.  10 minutes apart, 8 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart… and I couldn’t fall asleep.  At 12:15 I thought, maybe I should get up and get dressed and if they didn’t stop I’d wake DH.  So at 12:30 I was certain these were serious contractions that wouldn’t let up, so we left my mom with the kids and got into the car.  I called the midwife on the way to let her know we were coming in.  I said I probably could have stayed home longer, but given my past record I would rather labor at the hospital in case things went really fast.  I am so glad we left when we did! 

We got to the hospital at about 1 a.m.  and on our walk from the car to the Birthing Inn, I decided that labor really stinks.  I forgot.  How I could forget, I don’t know, but I always do.  And then it hits, and I think, “This really stinks, because there is no way to stop now.”  I also decided that since I had already gone through child birth twice naturally, I had nothing to prove and that I would get an epidural if at all possible.

When we walked in and the nurse met us, she took one look at me and decided to skip triage and send me straight to a labor room.  (I found out later that she also made a bet with another nurse that I would deliver before the other nurse’s patient.)  Well, they get me settled in, and I told them that I wanted an epidural, so they started all the preliminary steps for that.  About half way through their questions, I asked, “So, how long until the anesthesiologist can get here….”  When the nurse said 30 minutes,  I knew I would never make it that long.  So I readjusted my thinking.  I didn’t want to be hoping for an epidural that would never come.  It wasn’t long after that when they checked my progress and I was at a nine.  The midwife said, “Do you want to just try to push this baby out with the next contraction?”  I was like, “Yes, thank you!  There is nothing I would rather do than to end this labor now!”

Unfortunately, the baby was turned face up.  I could tell that something wasn’t quite right because she wasn’t out with the first push.  I pushed a couple more times, and she was born.  She had the cord around her neck and her ankle, but she was never in any danger.   The first thing I said when I saw her was, “She has the longest fingers!”

My recovery time was a little longer than I had expected, and I think it was from the trouble there at the end.  It was reminiscent of when my first baby was born (after 45 minutes of pushing).   I remember feeling like I’d been run over and that every muscle hurt.  It was a little like that after Punky.  I am glad my mom was staying with us for a few more days!

Here\'s the first picture of the whole crew.

This is the first photo of all five of our little ones.  Notice how happy Sunshine and Li’l Britches are. 🙂

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Today was a Monday Monday.  The kind of Monday that makes Garfield throw his blanket  back over his head.  Unfortunately, as a mother of four, two of whom are under the age of two, I didn’t have the option of crawling back under my fluffy comforter this morning. 

The trouble began last night when L’il Britches decided that sleeping for more than two hours at a time was somehow out of fashion.  Also on his “out” list was going immediately back to sleep when I nursed him.  So for every two hours that I slept I was up for 30-40 minutes feeding the baby. 

Then our morning began at the usual time and we had school and chores to do.  Unfortunately, Sunshine was over-tired from a trip to the aquarium over the weekend and skipping too many naps.  So instead of playing quietly while the older kids and I did our school time, she cried.  Over everything.  Over nothing.   Typical toddler inconsolability.  It is very difficult to explain division to an ADHD child with that kind of noise going on in the background.  If you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to come over and try sometime.

 Amazingly, though, by about one o’clock everyone had been taught, fed, read to and put to bed (or seated on the couch for quiet time).   And I got a chance to type up this blog.  So, overall, although it is challenging, having two under two isn’t impossible.  This is good news for me, because we just found out that in a few more months we’ll have three under the age of three.  Another little blessing is on the way sometime around Valentine’s day.  Phew.  I think I’ll head over to Amy’s Humble Musings for some encouragement!

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I just have to report that my husband’s amazing musical gene-ious has been passed on to at least one of our children.  DH was giving Bud a drum lesson in the garage yesterday afternoon while we were all playing outside.  Soon, we all stopped what we were doing and started listening, because our little six year old who can’t even reach the pedal for the bass drum, was keeping a steady beat with both hands and was able switch from snare to tom while continuing with the cymbals.  Just in case you aren’t sufficiently impressed, let me tell you that I cannot do what he did.  My husband, who claims he “doesn’t know” how to play drums (i.e. taught himself what he does know), has given our son enough instruction (and genetic disposition) to be able to play surprisingly well.  We were all quite impressed and look forward to encouraging his skill.  Everybody needs to know they’re really good at something.

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It has been so long since I’ve posted.  If you saw my previous post, you know why!  Adding our fourth child has been so much fun, but also a really big adjustment.  I feel like I am going ninety miles an hour all day long and only getting half of my work done.  There have been times in the past few months when I could have blogged, but I opted for other activities, like blowing raspberries into Li’l Britches’ tummy, or snuggling up with hubby on the couch to catch a little chuckle from Letterman.

I have had several things to blog about, and I don’t know if I’ll get to any of them.  One event in particular stands out.  DH and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in March.  He decided it would be fun to go on a nice sunset dinner cruise.  It was so wonderful, with a seven course French meal, we felt a little out of our class.  It was funny Dinner Cruisethough,  because people kept implying that we were so young.  We were told there was “non-alcoholic” champagne.  Some lady asked if we were going to prom.  Another couple thought we were on like a high school date.  We just had to chuckle.  8 years and 4 kids later, we must still have either a very youthful appearance, or else our inexperience and uncertainty shine through as if we are teenagers. 🙂  Since I just turned 29, I’m going to vote for the former.

 Speaking of my birthday, this year’s birthday was wonderful.  In fact, I’ll have to make a new post for it.  Of course, it may be three more months before I get around to it, but we’ll see. 🙂   In the mean time, Sunshine is standing up in her high chair with oatmeal in her hair and Bud and Missy are ready for school.  My days are full, and my cup runneth over.

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