Category Archives: Parenthood

Things we worry about

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When Ivalee was a baby, I was a typical first-time mom – worrying about every little thing and stressing every single decision as though the world would spin off its axis if I chose the wrong path. I’ve found that with Naomi, I’ve been able be a lot more low-key and stress less and thus enjoy her infancy more. She’s a good and easy baby too, so that helps.

She’s been a champion sleeper since the beginning. We’ve only had three sleepless nights with her in the nearly three months she’s been on the outside. (And two of those three nights were direct results of poor dietary choices I made during the preceding day.)

Last night marks one week of her sleeping through the night from 10:30/11ish to 11 on mornings I don’t have to work; 7 on mornings I do (when I wake her to feed before I drop her and Ivalee at my parents’).

She cluster-feeds like crazy in the evenings – squirreling away food for the Great Hibernation. I lay her down as soon as she appears to be nodding off. Then she wakes up 10, 11, 12 hours later. And after all that, I would expect her to wake up starving and angry. But that’s not been the case. She’s never fussy or anything. Always just laying there with her thumb in her mouth. It’s the craziest thing.

So naturally, my reaction is to assume something is wrong.

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I have friends who are moms of new little ones who are having a hard time sleeping at night. So I feel guilty and silly complaining and worrying about how much Naomi is sleeping at night. Is there a point where it becomes a concern? I guess.

But she’s very healthy; she’s active and alert at certain points during the day; she’s got a healthy appetite; she’s doing new things all the time.

I’ve decided not to worry about it and enjoy the extra sleep I did not expect to be getting this early in the game. I just wanted to write this down so everyone can laugh with me about how I can take this huge parenting blessing and turn it into something to worry about.

Bless my heart.

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She’s Not Ready to be a Princess

We have a bedtime routine with Ivalee that has always consisted of a story (or three) and a song before lights out, hugs, and kisses and one last “I love you”.

These days, she participates in the nighttime singing as much as we do. Most nights, she’s learned a few lines of a song from a Disney movie or a song from church and I’m able to help her with the rest. But recently she’s learned a song from a show that she watches at my mom’s house — Sofia the First. The first time she sang the song, I was amazed at how many of the lyrics she knew and sang correctly – even without prompting.

So the premise of the show is that Sofia’s mom is marrying the king and so Sofia is having to become a princess, even though she doesn’t feel ready. So she – in true Disney fashion – sings a song to that effect. And it is the sweetest song to hear Ivalee’s little voice singing.

Tonight, I’m sick with a cold and don’t have much of a singing voice, so I asked if she would sing the Sofia song for me. And I got teary as soon as she sang the first word. I’m not a crier, but this pregnancy is quickly changing that. I sat with her, listening as she sang this sweet little ballad with all her heart, tears dropping off my chin and the little songstress keeping on singing despite her weird Momma’s reaction.

So glad we get the chance to know what it’s like to have the love we have for our kiddo multiply with the addition of this next little one.

Party Day

Somehow we’re celebrating a third birthday this weekend. I’m dealing with that common parental confusion: “I don’t remember a time when you weren’t here, but I can’t believe you’ve been here this long!”

We had Iva’s birthday party yesterday at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Asked what she wanted for her birthday party, Iva said, “I wanna play at the pirate ship!” Since I couldn’t imagine building one in my backyard, we booked the museum. Best decision! She and her cousins and friends had a blast!! That place really is fantastic!

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Cousin Wesley serving up some milk with a grilled cheese sandwich he made at the “deli”

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Shopping for bananas.

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Captain Iva’s got this under control.

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With Baby Riley in the the dinghy.

Pretty.

Y’all. I have a two year old. I shouldn’t be dealing with these issues yet. Give me at least a few more years!!

I blame Veggie Tales.

Specifically this story:

Iva got Sweetpea Beauty as a gift for Christmas and we’ve watched it a couple of times. (She loves the Silly Song more than the movie itself, I think, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I have some incomplete thoughts about Princesses and ’emphasizing beauty’ to a generation of girls that are inundated with not-so-subtle messages about where their worth lies.

  • On one hand, I see that cutting out Disney Princesses and all that they stand for would benefit in that it keeps you from having to deal with these types of issues … for a while.
  • And on the other hand, I think that’s the easy thing to do — to try to cut out someone else’s influence rather than being a parent whose voice is able to speak truth over the noise of the lies that your child is GOING to be told as they grow up.
  • Avoidance may serve to delay the tough work of affirming character and personality over beauty, but you won’t be able to avoid it forever. The message is pervasive.

All that said, it’s kind of obvious that the Sweetpea Beauty thing came as a response to these conflicts. So the point is to give young girls a lesson about how real beauty is inner-beauty and how The King loves us whether we’re pretty or ugly.

But my two year old is too young for the nuance of that lesson just now. So this is what’s happening: She stands in front of mirrors, looks at herself and then says to us, “I don’t feel pretty.” (See the above video at 3:10.)

This has happened three times now. And it is heartbreaking.

So we’re going to table the Sweetpea Beauty thing for a while, at least for a few months, until she’s able to understand the real lesson and not just quote the most heart-breaking line of the whole movie repeatedly. Right now when she says it, we just remove her from the room where the mirror is, emphatically say to her, “Your mommy and daddy think you are sooo pretty. And we love you!”

You guys, where is Abilene in my life? I need her to speak soft, quiet truths into my baby’s ear every day.

Her Mother’s Daughter

Let’s talk for a moment about temperament. About the vast differences in temperament between my husband and me. About how he has a graciously loooooooong fuse with a quick, loud explosion on the end. And about how I am a short fuse with many small, rapid fire explosions along the path — like firecrackers.

And now let’s consider Ivalee. And how VERY MUCH like her mother she is.

One thing I’ve had to work on in my adult life is how I handle stress. How I respond to certain ‘triggers’ is only perfected with practice and learned self-control. And, at two years old, I’m already having to work on coaching her through those things. I know it’s only just beginning, but I guess I’m just surprised that it’s started so soon.

Last night, Ivalee was playing with her kitchen set in her room. She was “cooking coffee for Mommy” and became aggravated when she couldn’t get the pot lid to sit on top of the pot just so. (Yes, we cook coffee in a pot on the stovetop around here. Not true, but in Pretend Land anything goes.) She brought the pot to me and said, “It not fits, Mommy.” So I set it on there and showed her that it fits just fine. She seemed satisfied and took it back to her kitchen.

A few minutes later, I heard her getting frustrated again, so I started back to her room to help her out. By the time I got to her room, she was in full-on melt-down mode, slamming the lid into the pot repeatedly and yelling, “It not fits!! I gotta cook something! I gotta cook something!”

Oh. My. Goodness. I had to laugh. How many times have I reacted in very similar fits and just because one element was beyond my control, the whole thing was wrong? Somewhere, something or someone is conspiring against me. EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG! WHY CAN’T THE POT LID JUST FIT!?!?

I tried to help her redirect her attention somewhere else – it was clear that kitchen playing was just too much for her at that moment. She was having none of it. She wouldn’t be distracted or placated. She needed to be forcibly removed from the situation for a “calm down” period.

I put her on the couch for two minutes. And that was just the ticket. At 1 minute, 45 seconds, she finally stopped crying and started breathing normally. So when the timer went off and I went to get her from the couch, she said, “I don’t wanna cook something.”

Perspective. What a great gift that a couple minutes of separation can give you.

When Kyle came home last night I told him, “Man, I pity you in about 10 years. There will be TWO OF US in this house — two who are big enough to give you nightmares.”

Big Girl Bed

Tonight is Iva’s first night in her Big Girl Bed. We set-up my sister’s old day bed in her room over the weekend. I found a new bed rail on craigslist and got it yesterday. The Dora sheets we used were a yard-saling find from a good friend. And Kyle and I picked up a long pillow and mattress protector and put it all together to try it out tonight.

For the past two days, she’s been pointing to it saying, “Iva’s bed.” (Of course everything is Iva’s these days, or so she thinks.) We’ve read books and laid in the bed together before naps, thinking we’d get her used to it before we tried to really use it.

Well today seemed like the perfect day! We’ve been swimming all day and this was one TIRED kid. So we did our usual bedtime routine. A book, lights out, about five repeats of “Jesus Loves Me” (or “Ni-No” as she calls it), a high five, a kiss, and a final “Night-night”.

She cried for just a minute, Kyle waited outside the door to make sure she wouldn’t get up. She didn’t. She passed out.

We’ll call it a success. And we’ll see what happens from here on out.

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UPDATE: Total success … for night one! 🙂

My New Favorite Mommy Thing

Watching Ivalee play with her favorite toys — currently Pooh and Camden Thaddeus, her CPK aka “Baby” — is quite a treat these days. The way she shows love to those toys so closely mimicks the way Kyle and I show her love. Hugs and back rubs. Constant kisses. (Her first almost-sentences were, “Mommy, kiss Pooh? Mommy kiss Baby?”) It’s pretty awesome to see her learning how to show love to her dolls from us. I hope we can be object lessons for other such worthy virtues in her lifetime.