I just took a relaxing bath with a handsome guy - Enzo. We were making up with cuddles and kisses for the difficult day he and I had today. He simply just cried the whole darn day. As I was telling him, I'm not only his mommy, I'm also sister's mommy. I cannot pick him up every time he cries, and I asked him if he was ready to start getting a bath every night since his sister started getting one every night around 2 months of age. We'll see what happens, I don't think I'll have the energy to bathe two children every night, on my own.
Emerson left to Walmart and there is a little bit of silence right now, being almost 9 pm. I cried a while ago because I tried to kiss Libby night nights and pray for her, but she refused to pray or even hug me. I think she is going through a thing called the terrible twos. Sometimes I don't know what to do... Today was the first time I spanked her. I tried to do it like the book suggested I told her the spanking was coming and why. I took the diaper off, and BAM! Three very controlled pats in the butt, no anger on my part. She cried. I held her, and said I was sorry I had to do that, but that she was behaving in a completely unacceptable manner with Mommy. I asked her to say she was sorry for disobeying so willfully, and being so rebellious. She signed I'M SORRY. We hugged, and we kissed each other, and after that she was so sweet... that I felt like a monster.
Loving her brother
The thing is she continued with that rebellious behavior most of the evening, I feel like I have to be saying NO to almost everything she does: climbing the bench, jumping on the couch, poking Enzo's eyes, grabbing Dori's food- she is in charge of feeding Dori now, worst mistake of my life teaching her that, because now she wants to feed Dori every five minutes. The thing is she knows what I want her to do or not to do, and completely refuses to do it. That's what willful disobedience is, right? Then I would be spanking her every five minutes? I don't think so... I don't want to threaten her because that doesn't work, but I want her to obey me.
I keep telling her it is because I love her that I have to teach her to obey, that obedience doesn't come easy, that I want her to trust me that I know better. That I understand how she feels when she gets angry and throws herself to the floor just pouting, but that being self-controlled is a learned beahvior. That this, that that... Just today she threw a tantrum outside the patio door because she didn't want to stop walking, and as much as I love that she likes to exercise, she needed to have lunch, Enzo needed to nurse, and I needed to take a shower because I had to talk to Jeff - not to mention I hadn't had a bath like in 3 days!!
The ground was all muddy, her shoes were a mess, her pants got dirty, and there she was, just crying and rolling herself on the grass refusing to get in. I told her I was going to count to three, that I was giving her the opportunity to choose right. She chose wrong. And with Enzo in the sling and all, I got her in. And today I remembered this, I knew I was doing right in saving it for days like today. I was very pregnant with her when I read it for the first time:
May 4, 2011
Lessons from the Bamboo Farmer
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9 NASB).
Friend to Friend
For years I told people that I was in labor for 23 hours. However, the truth is more like 21 years. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, mind-boggling, hair-raising thrilling tiring, stimulating, soul-stirring, delightful, difficult, consuming, laborious, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, captivating, and rewarding job I've ever had. Did I mention difficult? I should have gotten a clue when I was told that having a child begins with a word called "labor."
I've had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, "I quit!" Is what I'm doing making any difference to anyone? I want results! Show me results! Then I think about the bamboo tree.
When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens.
The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.
The question is, did it grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn't applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.
It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results.
If you are in the midst of raising your children, or even a parent of grown children waiting to see the results, I want to encourage you to press on. Don't give up! Keep praying! Keep encouraging! Keep loving! And one day, when you least expect it, your child will "rise up and call you blessed."
I hope my love, prayers, and all that I do for them will pay off one day. It has to because I'm doing it with all my heart, following what God said I should do. It's not like I'm blackmailing Him, but there are promises involved when it comes to His ways in raising children. His promises, not mine :))
Anyway, today after my Toddzilla and my Puppy (you did know it was because of a dog we named him Enzo, right?) gave me together the very first difficult day of many, I'm ready to calm down... and write some awesome things about how wonderful they are, because my children are truly wonderful.
Libby, for instance, had her first shopping trip to HEB to buy her own milk. Of course there was a tantrum involved going there because I asked her to bring her cart to the car, and I guess she thought we were going on a walk -sometimes she takes it- and I put the cart in the trunk. She cried I don't know how long, and I got really mad, not at her personally, but at the fact that she had no idea what was coming. I told her I had a surprise for her, it was a surprise!! But she got caught in the "I don't have what I want now" mood. When we got to HEB and I took her out with her cart, she couldn't believe her eyes. She was looking at me -I also had a cart- in wonder. She was just looking around, everybody had carts. It was like she was in wonderland. She was happy, she even came home happy. Emerson noticed it :)
Libby buying milk
I wonder if God feels like that with us sometimes or most of the time. We pout and complain because we don't have what we want now. And when He buckles us like I did with Libby in her car seat, He exhales like I did, feeling sorry for us. I was almost yelling at her, "I have a surprise for you, it's a surprise, you don't know...", but she didn't listen. I wonder if God wants to scream at us, "I have something better for you, you have no idea, just wait for me", but we are so upset that we don't listen.
On another note, we haven't been to church like in at least 4 months, and I don't feel guilty AT ALL. The last two months I was under house arrest because of Enzo, but the months before, we just didn't go for one reason or another, specifically Elizabeth. She cries the whole time she is in the nursery, and although I'm all in for letting my daughter cry for a while, I think it's really unfair to let the child scream like she does for more than twenty minutes. I got her twice with awful eyes because she cried the whole time she was there. Now, that's not the reason we stopped going, but it kind of is. We were listening to some Andy Stanley's sermons online, so it's not like we were disconnected from God. And I actually was surprised that I don't feel guilt for the very first time.
I guess when you have children, you get to understand better or grasp better the concept of what grace is. I know God loves me. I know his love does not depend on my church attendance, I know He is there for me. Do I want to go to church? Yes, I do. Will I go back? Yes, I will. But for a long time I was stuck in the do this, do that, tsk-tsk-you didn't go to church today. I have not withdrawn for a second from God. I thank Him everyday for my life. I haven't had intense Bible reading for a while, but I teach my daughter His principles everyday. We will go back soon.
|Dec 1st, 2012. Huntsville|
We went camping last weekend. Emerson announced it as a surprise on Friday to leave Saturday morning. Only He does that. He said he needed help planning some things. We had made plans with Brad and Merritt to go to the zoo that Saturday, and we went for a couple of hours, and then we headed to Huntsville. We made it with pretty much junk food, but it was okay, a holiday from Libby's good diet. She really eats a healthy diet: oatmeal with yogurt or wheat chex for breakfast; strawberries with cottage cheese or grapes with cheese cubes, for snack; vegetables like broccoli or squash with olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. She is my personal hero. So I guess she loved it when she could have goldfish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She did have some fruit, milk, and spam.
|We look at her...|
|...with the same love :)|
I couldn't sleep very well that night, Libby slept in the middle of us because she was crying a lot in the pack 'n play. Ahhh... sweet, sweet beer - right now I'm drinking a black IPA my husband brewed. That night we waited for them to go to sleep, and we had a bottle of wine. Enzo was wrapped like a tamale in like 5 blankets, and Libby was actually sweating because of her pajamas and the sleeping bags. But she slept very well, after pulling my hair for a couple of hours while she was trying to go back to sleep after we moved her with us. That Saturday she walked almost 2 miles. It' amazing how much energy she has. I'm thankful that we are exercising too, because we have to keep up with them when they grow older.
|2 am - Before nursing Enzo|
There was some misbehavior those two days on Libby's part, like the tantrum for I don't even remember what, but I guess it was compensated with lots of patience on her part, too. There was this time when Enzo was crying like a maniac, Emerson was putting up the tent, and Libby was just playing around. I needed to take care of Enzo, but couldn't take care of Libby at the same time. A lady out of the blue comes and tells me the baby is crying, to what I responded, "Yes, I know, thank you".
|That's my face every day, "Here we go, again."|
She asks with a smile on her face, almost excited about the baby, "Can I carry him?" I hesitated for a second, "No, I'm gonna feed him in a little bit, thank you". She had five children with her. I don't think she had lots of time to spend with my baby. I felt bad I acted that way at the very beginning, but then I thought, "Why in the world would I let you carry my baby? I don't know you." And I know she was probably trying to be nice with me, but I didn't take it that way. I probably broke the etiquette of being nice to every camper around you, if such thing exists, but I don't care.
Anyway... I signed to Libby that I needed her help. I said that Enzo needed to drink his milk, and that I couldn't be behind her for a while. I buckled her in her car seat, and she sat there, patiently, no crying, no whining, until I finished changing his poopy diaper, and wiped his poopy feet. Then she stayed inside the pack n' play while I nursed him, really content, playing with her flash cards. How can I think God is not working in her? It's just days like today that tempt me to think I'm doing everything wrong.
Libby has some serious issues with tidiness. She cleans everything, and picks up everything she sees in the carpet, the smallest little piece of paper. She gives me every blanket she sees on the floor, or that I forget to pick up. She picks up her own coloring table when she is done with it, and doesn't like her hands to be dirty after eating. We took a walk with La Nena the other day, and Libby started jumping in a puddle. La Nena, of course, also jumped in, and absorbed all the water. Needless to say, La Nena got a bath in the washer that day.
Enzo is cooing lots now a days, but he is still a baby. I cannot really talk much about all he does, because he pretty much eats, sleeps, and poops all day long, that's about it. He is really strong, tough. Libby didn't like tummy time at all, but Enzo loves it. He is handsome, and as of today, he still has blue eyes. I'm going to need a gun.
I love my morning walks with Libby. Lately, I'm charging more tax on the planes. It's not a plane, a kiss anymore. Depending on the size of the plane, it's the kisses I charge. Sometimes I get home with fifty kisses :)
She is so funny... Sometimes when I scream PLANE!!, she goes face down to the floor...
I'm ready for more tantrums tomorrow. I just remembered why God gave us these wonderful children: to care for them, nurture them, discipline them, teach them to love Him, and have fun while doing all that. I love my life :)