Thursday, October 25, 2007





Sunday, October 21, 2007

What is this face capable of?






I got the flu this weekend. Yuck. I guess it's been a while since I had the flu, because I really can't remember the last time I felt that awful. Thursday night and Friday were the worst, but Saturday wasn't too great either. Today is better...I'm not on tylenol, and yet I'm also not shivering and feeling cold in an 80 degree room. Progress.

Tom's parents took Eve on Friday for most the day and then overnight. Friday was supposed to be a great day for us--I was going to spend all my time embroidering, and Tom was going to play Xbox 360 (did I tell you he won a free xbox 360? I'm happy for him, but not so much for me, being an xbox widow is at least as bad as being a football widow...except there is really no end to's there 24/7). Well, my head was killing me all day with or without the mild drugs that I can take, and without electricity, huddled in the basement where it's warm and sunlight not exactly spilling in through the windows, I got very little embroidery done, and didn't enjoy my day in the least. And Tom was worse off--at least I could sleep and feel I was doing all I really wanted to. Tom was bored and xboxless...and he doesn't like to read or do anything crafty, so he was totally bored until about 3 P.M. when the power came back.

Thursday night after it took just a bit longer than expected to get Eve to sleep, Tom and I fought about Eve and sleeping and our vastly differing parenting philosophies. I hate when that happens. Actually, it's been long enough since we fought about parenting philosophies in general that I was lulled into a false sense of security thinking maybe Tom had come to see things my way. We called a truce fairly quickly, but it just brings up all of my conflicting thoughts on how far to go with I "submit" and let him take the reigns so our children can be neither seen nor heard? That's really too harsh...he loves his kids, but he thinks that it's my refusal to let Eve cry it out in her bed that has made her a poor sleeper, he thinks co-sleeping is designed by the devil (tongue in cheek) to prohibit parental intimacy and sleep (his, specifically), and thinks that if we just bottle fed, our children would have no preference between he and I, and either of us could take care of their needs at any time of day or night. I disagree (of course, right? That's why we fight), I don't think that bottle feeding would remove the children's preference for their mom when they need compassion and comfort, and if we kicked the kids out of our bed entirely, Tom might get more sleep, but I would be up a million times a night to feed or comfort, well, unless I could somehow render myself def so I could just leave them to cry themselves back to sleep. What it comes down to, is I feel that the way he wants to do things is entirely about his comfort and convenience, while my motivation is to do what is the very best for my children, even if it costs my comfort and is inconvenient.

Sigh. It's been a constant struggle since Eve came, and it would be so nice to be at peace together about this, but I don't see that anywhere on the horizon. If I do give could I? But if I did, I would feel my children were being robbed of precious and irreplacable commodities, and I'm sure I'd have to resign myself to that each day, as I would also have to forgive Tom each day or stew in unrelenting bitterness toward him for harming my children.

Either way, I can see why Tom doesn't want more kids. I really do, but it would be nice to get past the time in their lives that seems to cause us the most strife and move on to older childhood where breastfeeding is in the distant past and sleeping in their own bed is a given. Plus, we'd never have to deal with the circumcision question again or imperfect births.

Like I said, we've called a truce. I don't even know if Tom has given this stuff another thought...but I can't stop. I never know if I'm doing the right thing. I know I'm doing what's best for my children, if I separate it from the fact that I don't know if I'm doing what's best for my marriage with their father, but I do know the relationships are deeply entwined. If I say I am in the wrong in my marriage, then I guess the question comes down to: What's worse for my children? My behavior toward their dad or taking away breastfeeding, responsiveness to their cries, and warmth and comfort in the middle of the dark and lonely night? I really, honestly don't know.

So...I think I might be making all this sound worse than it's the conflict in my mind that is most bitter. Tom and I are doing fine, though there's always room for improvement.

And now that I'm feeling better, Peanut has the flu. Poor little guy. I guess it's good that I got it first so I know what he's going through. He was not himself last night, and now I know why. Today he's listless, but sleeping peacefully and cheerful as long as the tylenol controls his fever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thoughts on God

Israel is 9 weeks old now. Time has flown by. It's strange, even though I wouldn't say it's been easy I was *so* afraid of how things would be with Eve, but now I see there was no reason to fear, or simply God has given me peace about it.

Eve doesn't seem jealous at all. And Peanut has been such an easy baby, I have plenty of time to spend with her. Yes, there are definitely behavioral challenges, but those are par for the course, I think, with or without a new little brother.

I've had a much better week in parenting than I was having when I last posted. I was feeling so angry and even hateful (I hate to admit it) toward Eve, and every little thing she did, even very innocent things, seemed to push all my buttons. The thoughts I had were really awful, 180 degrees from loving and gentle. As I mentioned last time, I have totally been, simply put, just too busy to spend much time with God, and doing so seemed like such a...well, waste of time when I have so many projects and responsibilities that require productivity. But, after that last post, I faced the fact that I was suffering for it, and so was my family.

So, over the past week I've been reading Amos, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and John. I'm reading Amos because that's what our Pastor is preaching on. Proverbs, because I can just choose the chapter based on the date of the month, so it's easy. Ecclesiastes on a whim, and John, because it's the gospel with which I am least familiar. I find my days simply go better, and I have more Patience and peace when I start my day relating with God before I face the challenges of parenting (and, erm...wifing?). Tom's been great in trying to give me a somewhat uninterrupted time in which to read, drink my tea, and eat breakfast.

I'm not doing any deep study, just reading and reflecting. I notice that Solomon, or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes is bitter. The great wisdom he had didn't bring him happiness or peace. Contrast this with King David, his father, and this "man after God's heart" shows that Love is better than wisdom. I am a knowledge seeker...and this, combined with some other reading I've been doing, convicted me that I need to seek God more and rely on his spirit when parenting, and that will serve me much better, not to mention my children. I can't be the parent I need to be under my own power, and when I try I feel defeated and frustrated, and my goal of having a deep and loving relationship with my children is hindered by my behavior and reactions.

Praying for guidance in parenting is not a new idea, and I've frequently in the past realized I needed to do it, and then failed to follow through, a total un-piphany.

I've also been reading Heartfelt Discipline. It's not new to me to read a different perspective on the "Rod" verses in Proverbs, but it was a fuller explanation than I'd previously had. Common Christian belief about these verses is that they constitute a Christian imperative to spank and punish our young children. One really interesting point the author made is that the word for Rod is not a symbolic word, so if you're going to implement it biblically, you're talking a big heavy stick, used to beat slaves and animals. Additionally, the age group that is being addressed, contextually in Proverbs, is young men and fathers of young men, who need to be guided to the path of life and light--not to young children.

The book reminded me, again, to seek God for guidance in parenting, and to be led by the holy spirit. It also has some practical guidelines for relating to our children. So far it's covered having sympathy for our children, and encouraging them biblically. I especially like one idea for encouragement that points back to the stone monuments in the Old Testament, which father's were supposed to point out to their children to tell them about God's faithfulness. The author suggests as a family reflecting on God's faithfulness over the past year, month, whatever, and then drawing pictures to represent those instances of God's work in our lives, and collecting those in a notebook that can be reviewed whenever we need encouragement or are facing tough times. Seems like a good Thanksgiving activity.