A Helpless Letter to My Sick Kids

Kids,

As your mama, I’ve been extremely lucky that you’re almost unfailingly healthy. In every manner of the word, you kids have been healthy, never catching colds or stomach bugs, and tirelessly playing and eating like horses. But all at once, I was faced with a situation I hadn’t encountered: not one, but both of you sick at the same time.

At the point when I realized one of you had a cold and the other had a cold plus an upset stomach, I was stumped. I mean, yes, I was concerned with your symptoms and how to treat them and what might be causing them. I was concerned with calling the doctor’s office and whether we had enough children’s Tylenol. I was concerned with the fact that Hubby had to leave to go to work and I was on my own to take care of you.

But more than anything else, I was acutely aware that I, your problem solver, day-saver, and magically-make-it-better hero couldn’t snap my fingers and fix your problem. I’m so accustomed to providing for your needs easily and quickly. Have a wet diaper? Boom! Here’s a fresh one! Hungry? Boom! Here’s a healthy snack! Fall and bump your elbow? Boom! Here’s a kiss, a snuggle and an ice pack! But this time- runny noses, coughs, fevers, one upset tummy, and what can I do? Make a phone call, administer Tylenol, and put a movie on. Oh, you aren’t feeling better yet? Well crap. What do I do now?!

There were copious amounts of snuggles, special allowances (ie: snoozing on the couch an hour before bedtime), stuffed animals and favorite blankets. Noses were wiped (and suctioned, poor little J), tears dried, temperatures taken one more time, and prayers said. I know it has to be hard when your vocabulary doesn’t allow for an explanation of how you feel or what you want/need. You’re inexplicably feeling yucky and Mama, who has always helped you out, hasn’t made you feel any better.

Well, Mama feels just as bad about that as you do, kids. Every tiny cough that didn’t wake you up woke me. Your sniffles kept me awake half the night with concern. Prayers for your fevers were said as I tossed and turned. When you guys woke up, groggy but smiling, at 6:30, I was tired but happy to see smiles under the snotty noses. Because truthfully, I love you. I’m always doing my best to make sure you feel your best and more comfortable. You’re mine and I’m yours, sick and sad or healthy and happy.

Currently

I’m an avid reader of Kristen’s, over at When At Home. This week, she co-hosted a link party, and we are all sharing what is going on with us currently. I am currently:

thinking about my new role as stay at home mom. I’ve always been the one who worked all day (teaching) and now I’m all of a sudden not the money maker, the worker, or the go-outside-the-house-and-do-things-er. I am reinventing my schedule, my perspective, my identity aside from a job.

listening to a lot of Jesus Culture and Bethel, trying to add some new songs to my worship set lists. I love their hearts, their leading ladies and the versatility of their songs. Mmmm, so good.

reading the Outlander series – specifically, I’m still in the first book. I had friends and family members who had read them ages ago, and have raved about them for years. Now that the tv series is coming out, I figured it was time.

thankful for the stages of life that my kids are in. EK is becoming more and more independent (and curious and brave and insolent, haha) every day. J is really mommyfied (I think my mom coined this term, for me at least) but it’s actually sweet most of the time.

photographing my kids, all day every day. Well, not that much. But they are easily the cutest thing I see all day, and they change so quickly, and do new cool things so often that I feel like I need to document it!

There ya have it! Check out When At Home because I love it and you will, too. And while you’re here, tell me what you’re up to lately!

It just takes one. And sometimes, that one is you.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been writing for My Big Jesus once a week or so. You also know that I love Jesus. You ALSO know a lot about me. So, you won’t be that surprised when I tell you that I had a total Jesus moment today.

I was at church for a worship team meeting, and was stopped on my way out by one of the sweetest ladies ever. She’s a long-time buddy of my mother-in-law, watched Hubby grow up, and is a fixture of wonderful ministry at our church. She had a really cool story to tell me.

She had seen my post Like a Litter of Puppies on My Big Jesus, loved it, and shared it with her kids (who are a little older than me). Her daughter, who had read it, got a call from a friend who was in shock at finding out she was (unexpectedly!) pregnant with her fourth child. Can you imagine?! You have three kids. You think you’re all set., then BOOM. One more is coming! She obviously is going to love that fourth child, but you can see why it’s a shock, right? So anyway, the daughter sends my post about Hubby and his brothers being like puppies, and big families and close siblings, and she is totally encouraged! She was blessed by the words that The Lord had put on my heart. That blows my mind.

This story is an inspiration to those of us who desire to bring people closer to God. Whenever I write a post like that, for My Big Jesus or just for my own blog on a whim, I hope it touches one life. If my words reach one life, encourage one soul, spark one mind, or help heal one heart, I am satisfied. Sometimes when I write, that one person touched is, in fact, me. Other times, it’s a friend who saw me link it on Facebook. Or even still, a total stranger, like the story today. It was a very “six-degrees-of-separation” feeling to know that a friend of a friend of a friend read it and was touched. But that’s why I’m doing this! I wrote that post just for her, in that moment of her life, when she needed to hear a little encouragement in a situation in the midst of which she was surprised to find herself. I never know who you are that needs to hear this, but hey – this one’s for you.

A Toddler’s Wonderland

Recently we’ve been visiting the playground at EK’s preschool she’ll be attending in a couple of weeks. I can’t believe we’re already to the preschool stage, even if it is just two mornings a week.

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Almost everything on the playground is toddler-sized. If she fell off something, she’d be fine. The swings have little belts, and the slides aren’t too tall.

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Don’t worry – I know that swing wouldn’t really hold him in, but I was standing right there.
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First time trying monkey bars! She only swung on this one bar, but she did it repeatedly!

IMG_7254.JPGThat’s an accomplished face on a big girl. Cue the tears from the mama.

 

Is there a neat playground for smaller kids where you are?

Like a Litter of Puppies

This post was featured on MyBigJesus.com

Hubby and I have said, ever since we started talking about kids, that we’d like to have them close together. There are two reasons. First of all, my brother and I are almost seven years apart, and we were never very close… at least not until we were both adults. We get along great now, but we were never in the same stage of life till we “grew up”. Secondly, Hubby grew up with two brothers, just a little over 3 years between the oldest and the youngest. They’ve always been best friends – shared everything, fought over everything, loved the same things, and disliked the same things. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses, successes and faults. Yet they had a strong bond. They still have do, and that bond has carried over into their wives and children as well (you know, once the kids have personalities and do their own things).

Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.
Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.

I just spent an evening recently, celebrating one of my sisters-in-law’s birthday, with the whole family (Hubby’s parents, his brothers, their wives and the offspring). The love that every person in the house had for every other person was amazing. We know each other well, know our nieces and nephews well, and we love each other well, too. But the most hilarious thing is to see the brothers interact. When they’re all together, they have a hilarious tendency to revert back into their eight, nine, and ten-year-old selves. They immediately start bragging about their Nintendo skills, talk about how they used to wrestle each other in the basement (roundhouse kick to the FACE!), and possibly give a quick reenactment of one of their fights. Or, they lie on the floor, cuddling, like a bunch of puppies, maybe even with their kids.

Sometimes I sit and think about how much love is in that pile of faces and limbs and laughs. Grown men or babies, love and a sense of belonging abounds. What a great image of the love of a Father, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who knows our thoughts before we think them, and loves us abundantly anyway. To be loved is important; to love others unconditionally is of even greater significance.

So when I think about my children, I want to pile them up like puppies. I want to them to have that sibling love inherently, to not really know life without their best friends. I want them to experience that love early, and first hand. Their siblings and cousins, because of their closeness, will know each other inside and out, and will know how to love through differences or difficulties. What better way to love and be loved?

The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.
The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.

The Double Nap

There is a certain sacred time in a parent’s day: nap time. It’s like Ecclesiastes 3 says: There is a time for every matter under heaven. Reaping and sowing. Weeping and laughing. Mourning and dancing. Casting away stones, and gathering them together. In short, it’s the time where shit gets done.

In the life of the parents of two (or more!), there is an even more sacred yet elusive time of day. This time is the double nap. Some days pass without this time. But on the days that you experience even a few minutes of a double nap, OH THE GLORY! Here is a list of things that might happen during a double nap:

1. Personal hygiene: uninterrupted shower, complete with time to shave your legs and dry your hair!
2. Uninterrupted pee. Or poop. Don’t even act like you aren’t glad of this.
3. Uninterrupted pump (if you’re still breastfeeding, of course).
4. If your spouse is home… I’ll let you guess.
5. A ridiculous amount of cleaning; laundry, dishes, floors, bathrooms, etc. can all magically get done if the kids are all asleep.
6. Phone calls. Catching up with family or friends, bill paying, registrations and more.
7. BLOGGING! (You know where I’ll be.) Or Facebook, email, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. Social media galore.
8. A nap of your own. Never underestimate what Hubby and I coined the “hard shut down and restart.”
9. Exercise. Running laps around your house and yoga to YouTube videos absolutely counts.
10. Meal prep or freezer stocking. You are your own sous chef!
11. Gardening/yard work. Sometimes this can be combined with #9.
12. Quiet time. This might be journaling, praying, meditating, reading, etc. Aka bliss.
13. Home lunch dates. I often find that double nap occurs during a lunch time if I’ve properly used my morning. Have a friend over for a take-out feast!
14. Finishing your novel. No, not the one you’re writing. I’m talking about the one you’re reading that you haven’t had time to read!
15. Eating a meal, drinking a hot cup of coffee, or having a glass of wine by yourself. Maybe this occurs in a bubble bath, or in the sunshine on your back porch. Your choice.

What do you do if you’ve got a double nap opportunity?

Reasons I Feel Sorry for My Second Kid

Let me preface this post by saying that my little boy is a ray of sunshine to all who know him (me most of all) and I love him dearly. I don’t show preferential treatment to either of my kids, and they are both well taken care of. That being said, parents of two or more kids, you’ll be able to back me up on this…

1. He gets really dirty. When EK was not quite 8 months, she was never really dirty. She played a lot, but she had a nightly bath, and her hands and face were constantly being wiped. J usually gets a nightly bath, but that’s the first thing to go if we’re running late or having a rough night. And as far as wiping his hands and face go, he’s left to the mercy of time… either we have it, or we don’t. EK is always trying to feed him something, or hand him something from the ground that’s covered in dirt. Yikes.

2. He wears a lot of hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong – EK did also (they have a lot of cousins). But most of her wardrobe was carefully selected before she was born, in lots of sizes, in sweet little outfits. J’s just wearing whatever I can toss on him before he starts rolling off the changing table.

3. He doesn’t get to play with many toys. EK isn’t a great sharer to begin with, but if it’s her stinky ol’ brother we’re asking her to share with? Well that’s totally unreasonable. Anything he has in his hand automatically becomes hers. And bless him, he doesn’t even cry about it.

4. He doesn’t get as much one-on-one time with Hubby and me. This is one we really try to keep to a minimum. We frequently take one kid each if we’re going separate places, so that each kid gets all the attention. But let’s face it – that first kid got all the attention (from everyone because she was the first grandchild on both sides, also) until J was born.

5. He rarely finishes a nap or night’s sleep. EK is loud. Really loud. And unless she is sleeping when he is waking up, he gets woken up by squeals, cries, or heavy-footed running by his bedroom door.

What are some things you feel like you did for your first that you didn’t (or couldn’t!) with your second?