Posted in Christian songs/ faith, Personal growth, Raising kids

Making meaning of this not-so-glamorous life of motherhood

Mommy life is full of growing pains along with your kids and it is NOT glamorous. It entails sorting piles of dirty laundry, cooking, cleaning after crumbs, getting annoyed by the sound of your own voice as you constantly tell the kids to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, stop jumping, etc.

Mother rubber duck leading several rubber ducklings
Getty Image from TIME Magazine website

One time my friend picked off dried rice pieces from my shirt at a bible study meeting. Last week I got annoyed with Ellis for losing the new nail polish I got from Target. I assumed she misplaced it after tinkering around with it on the drive home. Well, I didn’t expect to find it there but it was chilling out nicely in the fridge next to the carton of milk. As my kids would say in these situations: “doy- yoy- yoy-yoing.”

I thought it’s be fun to list some things I hear most often. Maybe you can relate and we moms can give ourselves a big hug: you’re not alone.

In the ellipses you fill in whatever your kids say most often. Each family dynamic is different and has a lot to do with kid’s and mom’s temperaments.

My list:

  • Could you..?
  • Can I…?
  • I need…
  • I want…
  • I wish you could…
  • I wish we could…
  • Do we have to…?
  • I don’t want to…(followed with huffing and puffing)
  • You always want us to…
  • You should’ve…
  • I’m hungry. What do we have…? (I prepare a lot of meals because of Ellis’ medication for weight gain issues)

I pray that today we moms will have enough patience and grace to pick the right battles with our little peeps. I so need to be encouraged that each day makes a difference in our lives and that it’s not wasted time. It is a beautiful thing that kids love us back with those trusting eyes and will forgive so easily even when we are feeling the effects of hanger and exhaustion.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Do Everything” lyrics speak to me on those days when I’m still in my pj’s and cooking the 5th meal of the day.

Do Everything

Your picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today
Matching up socks
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip
Color on your lips and head out the door

While I may not know you
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long

As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause he made you
To do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Another day and praying us moms glorify God in raising our kids and loving them for who they are.

A child can teach an adult three things. To be happy for no reason. To always be curious. To fight tirelessly for something...Paulo Coelho
Kaleidoscope Behavioral Health
Posted in Personal growth, Raising kids

Frenzied day: juggling kids and their needs on a dentist outing

Wednesday started with a frenzy. I was taking both kids to their dentist appointment and I barely slept the night before: too much coffee too late in the evening. 

As I grabbed the last minute things to take with me, I realized that Ellis’ antibiotic was still in powder form.  She needs to take it 30-60 minutes prior to her dental cleaning to prevent bacteria from infecting her heart. Keeping track of when to give her the medicine within the recommended time frame, in addition to all her morning ones, usually stresses me out. It was no different this morning.

When Chris picked up the medicine on Tuesday, we assumed the pharmacist reconstituted it already. I couldn’t even get mad because the pharmacist probably thought he was doing us a favor: longer shelf-life and convenience to mix it when we needed it.   

I called Chris for help. Ringing, then voicemail. He was probably in a meeting. So I stashed the powder bottle in my bag and decided the best thing would be to reschedule Ellis’ appointment; only Elliot would have his check-up. Ugh, whatever, I’ll figure it out on the drive there. I told Ellis the situation expecting her to be delighted but her response was unexpected.

Ohhhh, the drama that ensued: Ellis moping because she needed professional help to check for loose teeth. The first baby tooth that falls out will magically turn her into a big girl. Elliot, hearing the commotion, asked with a grin if he could skip his appointment too. Sorry dude, you’re still going in. And the barrage of questions demanded answers that I wasn’t motivated to give: “How come she gets to….?” “Why do I have to…?” 

Five minutes behind schedule and I’m running out of time to tend to my OCD counting before leaving the house.

We all had different needs begging for attention that morning.

I asked myself in exasperation: can’t these kids just give me one silent minute to count in peace? I’m not asking for too much. I just need to check the stove like 3-5 times until I’m reassured that it’s turned off. And if the kids don’t need my immediate attention, I can spend a few seconds to check more thoroughly by placing my hand on top of the burner. (I know it hasn’t even been turned on and it’s not hot at all, but I still feel the need to check). This behavior is bizarre, irrational and compulsive.

It was a wild morning. Thankfully, the antibiotics situation resolved. Chris called back and walked me through the steps to reconstitute the powder at the dentist’s office. And to Ellis’ dismay the dentist did not detect any wiggly tooth. 

In the meantime, she can check herself for any sudden shakiness while keeping up with good dental hygiene. The former she does enthusiastically, but the latter with much reluctance and complaining like you wouldn’t believe.

I think God created kids to be adorable, with their small angelic faces and big smiles, to help parents to overlook the small things. There’s so much going on raising kids and living life that I’ve got to learn which battles are worth fighting. 

Photo by Caio Resende on Pexels.com
Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

A birthday drama for Elliot with sister getting sick again

Right next to our parking spot was this tiny orange flower. It stood out brightly against my harried and overwhelming afternoon. Ellis suddenly had another stomach episode that had her throwing up in the carseat. Another bout was imminent and parking was congested.

I sighed. A heavy one. In that moment I just told myself that it can all be cleaned up; let’s just not get hospitalized again.

But Elliot was not having it. He was disappointed and grossed out; we were about to go back home instead of picking up his birthday cake and presents. Something from his sister’s side of the backseat touched him and that set off tears. I felt bad for him: torn between disappointment and worry as his sister moaned in pain. Even promising a new toy for Ellis did not get a smile. That means she doesn’t feel well at all.

It was a hectic car ride with two little people: both emotional and both needing different things. Only one me with not enough arms to drive, tap the back of a nauseated child, and hug the other one who felt unloved.

But God refreshes a weary soul with his grace in these moments. As I turned the corner in the busy parking lot, I was amazed to see two side-by-side empty parking spots next to a tree and bush. No other cars vying for those spots either.

All I could mumble was “Really? Where did all the other cars go? Thank you Jesus!” I pulled her out of the carseat just as she was about to hurl. (In case you are worried: it was not on a walkpath. I later covered it with leaves and sticks.)

It was just a parking spot but the timing and the location of it couldn’t have been more perfect. I felt uplifted and grateful that God cares about the struggles that deflate me and answers unsaid prayers.

God is good. Life is not perfect but God journeys with me. I don’t see God but I know His presence is real.

This little orange, right by the throwing up incident, reminded me that God is near and full of grace. Thankful!!

Birthday cake time! All was well later. Still best buds.

Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth, Raising kids

Thoughts about daily life’s hiccups

Having small kids means getting comfortable with last-minute changes. Winter is harder with all the bugs going around too.

My ongoing challenge has been dealing with missing out on regular kid’s activities that I think will give them a fun childhood. It’s all the expectations and assumptions that I think we should be doing. You would think that after years of practice running to and fro Ellis’ medical emergencies I should have become accustomed to it by now. It’s still hard!!!!

We were all recovering from a recent bout of bronchitis, sinus infection, and cold; the kids and I were on antibiotics. Then, we were physically well for about three weeks. And Elliot has come down with a cold again! Pediatrician said it’s a virus so he needs to ride it out; no antibiotics this time.

It’s been a wacky week with him feeling under the weather, on and off, and this morning his symptoms are full blown. Another bout? Called the pediatrician to see what we should do. While he is still coughing and has a runny nose, he’s considered contagious. Another bubble existence?!!!!!

And Ellis keeps whining that she’s not getting personal attention. She holds her blankie and softly cries into it making puppy sounds saying “I need ten’tion.” I explain that when she’s sick I give her all my attention, but when brother is sick I need to tend to him. She ignores what I’m saying and continues to whine. Pediatrician says it’s because she’s so accustomed to all that attention since birth.

“where is my attention?!!” That’s her show of discontent.

The little one hasn’t caught it yet and I’m hoping she doesn’t. When she gets sick, our whole family goes on high alert.

I need to take these life’s hiccups with more stride. Life gets messy with small kids…they go from one cold to another. It takes time to build immunity. I realize it’s harder to be the person who is sick, so I need more patience on this road to recovery. See, this is where I feel disappointed in my attitude.

I wonder what God wants me to learn through these experiences. Maybe: let go of my plans and trust God with my days?; let go of personal disappointment and ask for God’s wisdom?; trust that God will fill in the gaps?; stay teachable?; or get my priorities in order?

Learning is hard; it brings mixed emotions in yourself as you wrestle with old and new beliefs. It also asks you to have the courage to create new paths in your thinking. Motherhood is challenging and it’s a self-refining process. I realize the depth of my selfishness and that realization gets me down.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

I’m telling myself to have a good day before the day is over. I would feel worse to have spent the day with a cloud hanging over me, but I know today can be salvaged with God’s help!

Posted in Personal growth, Raising kids

Who loves plush animals?

Our family is outnumbered by stuffed animals!! What is it about those soft, plushy things that I (ahem, I mean the kids) can’t resist?!

It’s a good thing we share the same penchant. When I was growing up, I loved dolls more than plush: dolls with yarn or silk hair, eyes that closed, dolls that pee’d (weird I know), dolls wearing frilly dresses or corduroy overalls, etc.

If you are aware of the doll craze in the 80s, you may remember the popular and beloved Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. It was the toy to have. They cost a fortune back then. My mom couldn’t fathom spending $60 for my new obsession, so the next best thing was getting an imitation. Sure, it didn’t come with a birth certificate or the designer’s signature on its behind. The stitching was a bit off on the fingers and toes, but the face was still the same. I carried that doll with me everywhere and even strapped seat belts on it in the car.

I finally got an armful of authentic Cabbage Patch Kid dolls when I was recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident. I was stuck in bed all summer, and my family knew just how to cheer me up: Cabbage Patch Kid dolls!!

I wish my kids liked dolls, but they’re more drawn to stuffed animals. Every time we oohh and ahhh over a cute new plush at a store, Chris sarcastically asks if we have space for ANOTHER one. Thank you for asking, and of course we do!!

Image result for Cabbage patch kids picture
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-cabbage-patch-kids-battle/
Image result for Cabbage patch kids picture
By Andrea Barcellos on Pinterest

He asks, “Is the plush for me or for the kids? Obvious answer. Kids, of course!!

Most have a special story, person, or memory tied to how they became part of our plush family: memory artifacts? Our collection began to grow with frequent stressful doctor’s appointments for Ellis and friends sending us plush during hard medical times. And brother gets one too for being a good sport and going with the flow. Through all these years, our plush stash is kind of getting out of hand now.

BUT, decluttering our stuffed animal collection is something we avoid. How do you decide which ones to keep, give away, or toss? We all have to vote on it, and no one gets the boot.

As the kids get older, their interests will change and the process will be natural then. For now we’re good.

Chris, if you’re reading this, can you finally order those shelves for us? I would do it myself, but I’m pretty sure it would result in a crooked shelf with extra holes in the wall.

I found this funny quote about bears on Pinterest by Zazzle.com.

(source unknown but found on Pinterest)