Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Elliott: Twelve Months






One whole year. Boy oh boy did that go fast. Chris and I have enjoyed watching Elliott grow and change, and we can't wait to see what happens next! This past month has brought his first steps and lots of fun. He continues to try to say a few words. Da da, ma ma, buh (for buh bye) and den (for dance) he now responds to questions about his diaper with "ba ba" and tries to say ball with all his might. We practice saying our words when we change his diaper, which also helps with the fussy, screamy, squirmy little worm he becomes the second you lay him on the change table. He loves to play in a pile of laundry like no other, and perks up at the sight of yogurt. He can't possibly get into Daddy's arms without trying to take his hat off his head (and gets very confused if he's not wearing one) If he hears our bedroom door open he giggles and crawls at lightning speed towards it, and if you happen to forget to lock any cupboard in the house he will find it and he will get into exactly what you are trying to keep locked up. He is constantly babbling and when he becomes quiet that is the cue to find him asap!! We love learning more about his personality each day, and anxiously await more words. Elliott loves to give kisses- especially ifChris or I are laying on the couch. He will walk up to your face and lean in for a kiss, then walk away a couple steps and then come back and do it again... over and over! It's incredibly sweet and cute. He is still a very cuddly little boy. Loves to snuggle!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Comparison Is A Real Jerk

Yes, I know I am incredibly late with Elliott's 12 month update, but yes I am going to write this post first. It's just been burning a hole in my heart the past couple days!

Comparison is a real jerk. Leading up to, and since Elliott's first birthday I've been feeling really introspective about the past year. Unfortunately, not in the good, warm and fuzzy way. I found myself thinking about all the areas we got things wrong. Off base. Missed the mark where others obviously got it right.

I mean, surely he should be eating better by now. So and so's one year old eats all solid food. Why is Elliott still throwing everything off his tray and then when I try to fill his belly with oatmeal or purees he whips the spoon to the floor? I highly doubt other Mom's experience this much trouble at every single meal. That stupid stupid food list we were trying to follow must be to blame. Better believe we won't be making that mistake again!

And then there's his sleep. (Or lack there of?) Well, so and so's baby has been sleeping 12 hours since 6 months old. There was a good 4-5 month stretch where I was up every 1.5-2 hours. I heard it all. I need to stop nursing him to sleep. I need to stop bouncing/rocking/shushing/patting him to sleep. I need to give him a comfort item at bedtime. (Which is confusing because I thought you weren't supposed to put anything in the crib??) Put Lavendar in his bath and on his feet. Give him a bedtime massage. Bathe him every night. Oh wait, he has dry skin? Stop bathing him every night. I should wean him off night nursing. I should wean him off breastfeeding altogether. Why doesn't Chris get up with him? Why don't I let him cry it out?

Side note. Vulnerability is the key to relationship. If we can't be real with one another about our struggles, we'll never grow real friendships. However, if being vulnerable means inviting unwelcome advice, where does that leave us?

Well first of all, it leaves me so thankful for the few friendships I have where it doesn't feel like a "who's baby is better" contest, but instead just two Mom's swapping notes. You know who you are, and your friendship has been invaluable to me this past year! Next, it leaves me humbled by my lack of knowledge and compelled to keep my mouth shut, because I've been the one who broke down crying from a simple suggestion to "just fill his belly before bed" Oh, I hadn't thought of that, thankyouverymuch. Thanks for solving all my problems and then going home to sleep a full night's rest because you have a fifteen year old. But yes, by all means, give me ALL THE ADVICE.

Ok, but really.

Comparison is a jerk and steals so much from us. I'm embarrassed to say how much I have obsessed over this kid's sleep. It caused me so much anxiety I started seeing a psychologist. And you know what he said? I need to allow myself a little grace in this stage of life. I don't need to handle sleep deprivation with a smile. Sleep deprivation sucks. What makes it suck even more though, is trying to figure out why my baby isn't acting like her baby.

Here's the thing. None of us understand babies. If we're lucky, we might become experts on our own babies, and while that makes us uniquely qualified to give advice on how to care for our own child (to say, a babysitter) it does not mean that what worked for you will work for me. Or maybe it will, but your method doesn't work for me. 

Back to my point. Comparison steals joy. Instead of deciding what balance works for you, you spend all your time trying to juggle someone else's ideals. I'm not an attachment parent, a free range or a helicopter parent. We don't cry it out, and we don't co-sleep. I don't fit in any category which sounds tricky, because how do I know what to do if I don't have a specific book to follow? My meter stick for what is right is not, and can never be the woman in the fancy parenting blog or the Mom in my Mom's group who has all the answers everytime. It can't be my best friend or my Mom or sister. My meter stick has to be Jesus. That is where true joy is found. 

The Bible may not have verses that tell me what foods to feed and how to get a baby to sleep, but it is chock full of wisdom on heart posture and where I need to be placing my focus. And when I focus on Jesus, the food splattered on the floor gets a little bit easier.

This year has been amazing. Hard? Sure, at times. But so bonkers jam packed with joy that it dries up all the sleep deprived tears and points me straight towards Jesus. The joy of the Lord is my strength, and it renews me each day!



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Thanks for stopping by :)

~M

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Unveiled Wife




I started reading Jennifer's blog a few years ago, and was immediately struck by her vulnerability and commitment to transparency when it came to her struggles with her husband. When she asked me to review her new book, The Unveiled Wife I was delighted and honoured.

I was also terrified.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Elliott: Eleven Months Old




Eleven months! This year is going by so quickly, but we're having a blast the whole way through. I'm loving each new stage even more than the last. It constantly amazes me how much Elliott understands what we say, and how he interacts with us. It may be a little early to claim a love language for him, but he definitely seems to lean heavily towards words of affirmation. This kid will do anything for praise and applause, and it's not hard to teach him new "tricks" as long as we praise him each time he accomplishes it. Something I have realized just in the past few days is that he definitely understands what I mean when I say "let's check your diaper" If he's dirty and has been fussing he immediately perks up and says "puh puh" Not sure how that translates to diaper, but he seems to think it does! I'm also appreciating that when he wakes up from a nap or in the morning more often than not he no longer cries, but just whines and says "mama" Soo much nicer than screaming! He's SO talkative these days, and seems to really be trying to say something with all his babbling. It's so hilarious when he declares something emphatically and looks at you as though he expects you to respond or do something that he's told you to do!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The One Constant In Our Parenting.

This whole parenting thing is such a new experience. We make decisions, then learn something new and make new decisions almost on a daily basis. One thing that we know won't change is how we feel about bringing Elliott up to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. Obviously we can't control what happens once he's older, but for now it is our responsibility and our privilege to teach Elliott about Jesus. It's an exciting thought, but also a little daunting, given that we don't have a model or example from our own childhoods of how to do this. It's an ongoing conversation between Chris and I, and I imagine it will continue to be during our entire parenting journey. We've come up with a couple of things so far that I'd like to share.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Vaccines. Why We Couldn't Do What Was Best For Our Family.

Vaccines. Here we go.

I didn't think I was going to write this post, and in fact fought the urge quite a few times. I felt a little intimidated by the topic and the task of gathering all the right resources and links was daunting. Instead of providing link after link of questionable resources, I'm just going to call this my opinion.

Unless you live under a rock it's hard not to hear about the vaccine debate. I became interested in it long before we got pregnant, but it wasn't until I saw those two little lines that I started taking it seriously. I was unsatisfied with the somewhat apathetic answers I was hearing from the pro-vax side, and felt myself leaning more towards not vaccinating. It seemed to me that the anti-vax side aligned more with my philosophy of overall health. I don't want to make choices because that is just what you do, I want to know it is the healthiest and best choice for me. While I am certainly not against traditional medicine I definitely lean more towards natural options. It seemed to me that I was finding more like-minded people in the anti-vax camp.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Elliott: Ten months




This year is closing in on me much faster than I expected! I'm starting to have that feeling that you get on Sunday afternoon when you know you only have a few hours of weekend left. I'm not going back to work in the traditional sense, but I am opening a Dayhome in our home and I know I will be very busy! For now I'm treasuring all the quiet cuddles and times he falls asleep on me, knowing these sweet little moments may come a little fewer and far between once I have four other littles to run after!

This has been a big month for us! Elliott start crawling and pulling himself up on everything. I find I rarely get to sit down these days as I spend all my time chasing him and stopping him from touching/pushing buttons/pulling things down on himself. I think we have our work cut out for ourselves with this one. He knows exactly what he isn't supposed to touch and finds it hilarious. That's right, the word "No" now brings giggles, and when you remove him he thinks you're "getting him" and will crawl right back to where he was so you'll do it again. I know things could be worse and I could be dealing with a stubborn screamer, but I'm not sure that this is all that much better! I do wonder how this will play itself out in his personality as he grows..

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