lunes, 10 de marzo de 2014

Mexico 2014

"I am a mother of two, and most days - like seven per week, alright- I think I am a wonderful mom. But then Mexico happens" ~ Karla Nunez

Excerpts from "Heaven in Her Arms"

 by Catherine Hickem

We are often puzzled by our children's behavior, confused by their personalities, bewildered by their emerging thoughts, and scared of our increasing lack of control in their lives.  Many times we find ourselves totally uncertain of who our children are and how we are to respond to the issues they face.  Is there any wonder we need [God's] help?

Being a mother is a very daunting experience.  It is one you really never master because children change just about the time you figure them out.  Thus, it is the wise mom who invites God to participate in her motherhood story.

God is always looking for a woman who will let Him come in and redeem her past mistakes, heal her heart, and make a new future for her family.


Overcoming the Doubts of Motherhood

by Tracie Miles

When my children were younger, parenting seemed easier. I nursed their little wounds, played their favorite games, helped with homework and tucked them into bed each night with prayers and goodnight kisses.

But years passed and my sweet little ones started maturing, with their own opinions, hormones, friends, social lives and tempers. My heart broke with each disagreement. Frustration rose with every disrespectful word. My fears elevated, worry became my middle name and at times it seemed every ounce of patience had dripped out of my body.

When we rely on God in everything we do, including raising our children, we can be confident He will equip us for this calling of motherhood.

On those days when we doubt our strength, we can ask God for His strength to persevere.

On those days when we feel like the least-liked person in our homes, we can ask for confidence to stand strong in our beliefs.

On those days when we question whether or not we're cut out to be a parent, we can find assurance knowing God will surely stay beside us during the journey.

Most importantly, on those days when we find ourselves hiding in our bedrooms, we can boldly approach the throne of God, knowing with full confidence He hears our prayers and will give us wisdom to carry out this task of parenting.

The question we should ask ourselves when doubt creeps in isn't whether we're perfect parents. Instead, we can ask whether our children will look back and be thankful we loved them enough to pray and persevere through the hardest of days.

He actually smiled :)

I'm not gonna kill myself over Libby's behavior, obviously, but the last two weeks were really tough on me :( It's really hard to take crap from your three year-old, especially knowing that if you just told her what you are feeling at that particular moment (even if you don't mean it), you can scar her soul forever. FOREVER. At the same time, it's hard to find that balance... I couldn't let Libby disrespect and mistreat me like she had been doing, but I needed to correct her in love. Correcting in love takes a lot of energy from me, because honestly, I would rather spank her in anger trying to communicate this message across: "Don't mess with Mommy".

Anyway, in case you are wondering the whole story about what happened in Mexico, I just want to say I'm happy we are back home. I made it through the trip, and we are enjoying time in Houston before leaving to Chennai - which I guess will turn my Libzilla on again :)

There were lots of good things in Mexico, don't get me wrong. We had so much fun with family and friends. Everything was good, except our sleeping arrangements. We tried to use the pack 'n play the first night at the hotel, but Enzo was crying and we didn't want him to wake Libby up. So we brought him in the bed with us. Terrible idea. He slept fine that night, but all the other nights he was just playing with Libby, tickling her, and just jumping up and down his dad or me.

"Sleep where you want, we don't care"

Enzo blowing raspberries on Daddy's belly

It took them at least one hour to go to sleep every night. That's fine, I like playing and cuddling with my children. I am not this awful mom, you know... But most days, we were getting to the hotel at 10 pm or 11 pm, so they were getting asleep at 12 am, and waking up at 6 am! There were no formal naps, except the ones they got to take in the car, driving from one place to another.

Add to this super combo the fact that Libby was getting candy every time she pooped PLUS more candy just because it was available. If that's not enough, both children got sick. And that SOB doctor from my Mexico Trip 2012 post, paid us a visit, AGAIN. In case you don't remember him, here are some reminders:

  • So, this... doctor, welcomed us to the fucking third world country, as he warmly referred to Mexico. He asked how she [Libby] had fallen, and how far had she fallen from. I told him I didn't know, that I had asked my mom, and that she didn't know what to say. To which he responded, "Well, with that fucking face you have, you probably scared her! Look at you!"
  • He [the doctor] said, "You'll be fine, Sweety, you just need to shit your diaper." And at the sound of "Fuck it!" he inserted a suppository in my daughter's precious anus.


I mean, I like the doctor because he is a good doctor, I guess. He is just not Dr. Pope, that's all. And what was I expecting, really? That this time he would say, "How are you doing, ma'am? Welcome to Mexico!".

NOPE. All I got was, "Fucking Emerson... Your poor children don't know how to deal with this fucking third world country... Ya ni la chingan!"

Chennai, here we go! Ha ha ha!!!

Anyway... that being said, Libby and Enzo had a wonderful time. And I make emphasis on Libby and Enzo. Ha! No, I'm joking, we really had a wonderful time. I think this is the best time I've spent with my family. I really got to hang out with my sister a lot, which hadn't happened in a long time. The children are older now, too, so we went to lots of places, and eating and feeding them is not a chore anymore. It takes time, but Libby is such a good helper. Enzo is growing up fast, too, and learns from his sister almost everything :)

Having fun with irresponsible Momma

When we got to the airport I was having so much fun. For the first time I was letting my children do whatever they wanted. Well, not really... but Libby and Enzo were having so much fun on the walking escalator, and I was just letting them run on it. I was being very careful that nobody was using it, and that the children wouldn't fall down. But Emerson got upset and told me blah, blah, blah... Honestly, as I try to think objectively, letting your children have fun -anywhere- could mean a broken arm anywhere you go.  Enzo was banging the glass windows because he was so excited to see the planes. Then I took him away. THEN he cried :(

Okay, so, put him in the stroller if you cannot control him... then he cries. I've been trying to be more understanding with them lately. God has been really pressing on me the fact that I need to understand that my children do not do things to get on my nerves -which they excel on doing. It is just that they are children their age. The act like a three year-old and a 18 month-old are supposed to act. I am the adult. I should be more aware of what children their age can actually do. I am NOT excusing my children, okay? But if I take them to a place where everything is new and exciting, I should not expect them to be able to sit by my side like nothing is happening.

Anyway, we made it inside the plane, and we all had grapes, crackers and cheese cubes. Then Libby played with the tablet for a little bit, and read her books. Enzo was very tired and soon he took a nap.

Mommy eating snacks

Take Off

I think Libby got a fever during the flight. She was very hot, and she was just getting a runny nose. She really seemed exhausted, and she was. She was so tired that she actually fell asleep on my lap. She never does this :(

Out for the flight
About to go night, nights

Using the Bible App. She calls it, "Playing Jesus"

Aaand we lost Enzo

When we got to Mexico, our families were there waiting for us. We borrowed Emerson's cousin's car for the week, and we went to the hotel to leave stuff. Emerson's family prepared like a "small" get together so that we could hang out, and they would get to enjoy Libby and Enzo. Some of them hadn't met Enzo before.

I don't think I'd mentioned this, but after my mother in law left, Libby did great with the toilet training for two days. But then she stopped going poo poos. She was always going in her underwear. ALWAYS. I felt really frustrated because she would go pee pees like it was nobody's business, but she would hold the poop for a long time, and then just go, but NOT in the toilet. I adore my daughter, but it was hard for me to wash that. I did it, but it was hard. I was very tempted to put a diaper on her every time we went out, but I didn't. I honestly just hoped that she would get it. I knew she could do it. It just so happened that I didn't think she would do so great in Mexico. She was amazing!! Libby went from pooping her underwear two or three times a day to not pooping her underwear at all.

So she was getting rewarded. LIKE, A LOT :)

Which brings me to what I originally wanted to say... It was so cute to buy my daughter candy that I used to eat when I was a child!!

That's it, Nena!
Eating Duvalin

Family photo

So... everything seemed to be okay, I guess. She was sick but not terribly sick. My mom was just telling me over and over and over that Libby had a fever, but I didn't listen. Then my mother in law says Libby's hot, and then the aunts get involved, and whatever... they called the doctor without asking, which was a good move. You know, they just wanted to see everything was okay, especially because Libby's throat seemed to close during the flight, and she had difficulty breathing. After hanging out at the party, she began coughing with a lot of phlegm, almost choking with it. Again the throat sounded awful, almost like asthma or something, like when you are about to lose your voice.

So Libby's feeling really tired, and the doctor comes and we explain him everything. Then he leaves (he works just across the street) and comes back with a tongue depressor... Tells us he needs a towel and that I need to hold her. Then he begins to almost play with her uvula to make her vomit. I'm here holding my daughter, who is screaming,  as she begins to choke with her own vomit. Then she finally just vomits her face and her hair, and it's just a mess. But there was a lot of phlegm, stinky phlegm, in that vomit :(

The doctor said she didn't get sick in Mexico, but the change in environmental conditions just made this thing appear. It was originally a virus, but we didn't notice in Houston. But then, since it didn't clear up, it became an infection. So she needed pum pums (antibiotic) and some other epinephrine shot, otherwise her throat is just going to close during the night, and she is going to end up at the hospital being unable to breathe.

Whaaaat? We just landed like six hours ago, man...

Beauty and the Beast. She is the Beauty :))

I'll give you the skinny on the sicknesses. I got sick, Enzo got sick. The doctor said Enzo could get as sick as she got when we came back, since we were changing environments again. Thank goodness that hasn't happened. But it is awful in Houston lately... A week ago, we dropped sixty degrees from one day to another. SIXTY! And just last night she got a fever again, but she seems to be doing fine.

The doctor did the same to my poor little boy, almost choking him. But he didn't throw up. Anyway, they were taking drugs like crazy, and we ended up paying the doctor $50 for all services for both children: home visits, medicine and consultations. A sweet bargain if you ask me. That's something Dr. Pope cannot do.

My sister also gave me tons of medicine so that I could breathe, and antibiotics, too. Plus medicine for my allergies, just in case :)

Completely out

Sweetie, I know you don't want to poop. Maybe it hurts. Maybe you are scared of pooping because it hurts. But listen, Sweetheart... Sometimes there are things you don't want to do, but you have to do them. You don't want to poop. I get that. Sometimes I don't want to wash your dirty underwear, but I have to. You have to poop...

I had been telling Libby this for more than a week... After watching her scream in my arms, to be honest, I couldn't care less if she pooped her underwear again. I know the doctor did what he was supposed to do - no feelings attached. But when all this happens to your little girl, what do you do? She cried herself to sleep after throwing up. She was so exhausted that she didn't even feel when the doctor gave her the two shots. She cried when I gave her a shower to clean the vomit on her face and her eyes. She doesn't like the water on her eyes...

Nooo waaateeer in my eeeeyes, she says.

What do you do? You are honest while you are taking a shower together. I asked her if she felt better. Of course she said no. She actually said she didn't like the doctor. I was nice talking about the doctor with her, and I said God was going to heal her through the doctor. You know, doctors are people God can use to give us our health back, they can help us get better. Still, she said she didn't like him because he made her vomit.

Yeah, that son of a bitch made you vomit, Sweetie. I didn't like him, either. But it's okay, you'll be alright. 

To this day I am glad she is not repeating those words :)

Mommy, I do not want to poop... but I have to. That's how she started, and now she poops like it is nobody's business. Of course I had to stuff her with candy to keep her motivated and pooping!! And I mean, would you have said no to Paleta Payaso??

Paleta Payaso after pooping

Let's see...

Come here, you Clown!

On Monday with both children feeling better, we spent time with my mom and my sister in the evening.  We spent all morning with Tia Pam, who gave Libby tons of toys and dolls to play with. Also, Libby borrowed some markers and crayons, that I faithfully carried all the time with me. Tia Susy had balloons at her house, so they were having fun with those, too.

Playing with Enzo
My mom and me
Coloring with Tia Susy
Trying to entertain them :)

Feeding Brother
Coloring on her own

Balloons with Nana Angeles

On Tuesday, Emerson spent all day with his cousin brewing beer, and I spent all day with my sister and my mom. I was told the park I visited when I was a child had a really nice playground now. Of course, I didn't know what to expect, but I was floored once I saw it. Man, I still wish they had one of these for grown- ups! Although, I always get on them when I play with my children.

We past by to check it out, I just wanted to make sure Libby would like it. As soon as she saw it, she got so excited that I realized it had been a bad idea. We needed to go have breakfast first, but she did great. She was asking all the time for the slides, and of course she didn't eat because she wanted to go play; but all things considered, both children did great at Applebee's.

Apparently, neighbors pressured the authorities to build this :)

Oh, also, I helped a guy translate something at Applebee's. He was asking the people there four meals to go. But they said the people needed to be there, because the price for those meals only applied if the people were there. So this American guy got frustrated since he could hardly communicate with them, and I just approached him and asked if he needed help. And so he explained that to me, and blah, blah.

His argument was that if it wasn't in black and white, he should get the deal. Nowhere in the coupon said what these guys were saying. So, I think I understood where he was coming from... This is really like living in Oz, like Jeff says. But Mexico is not Oz. And he was still trying to argue, until I pulled him away, and just told him, "Look, man, I get it. But I'm sorry to burst your bubble, this is not the USA. This is Mexico." 

And then he left. Then the manager comes and everybody is blaming the guy. And I told the manager without getting even more involved that they had messed up. The guy was right. If they are not gonna give that deal unless people are present, they should print it out in the coupon or whatever, because they had just lost a customer forever.

Enzo was out for an hour

Libby loved el sube y baja

Bonding with Tia Susy

I think Tia Susy was not supposed to exercise because of her back or something like that, but she couldn't care less while playing with her niece and nephew. She suffered for it the next day. Like never, we stayed at the playground for almost three hours, and they never stopped running around. I do not think my children have some kind of hyperactivity thing, they are just children being children - very active children. But I sure wish I could have a little bit of their long lasting energy.  


Go, Sister
Sube y Baja

Nana Fail. Ha ha ha!

Dirty face

My mom needed to go to the hospital that day, and Tia Susy needed to go visit some patients. So we had her house for ourselves. We had lunch, and all of us took a nap. That day when we left, my sister told me she was wiped out by my children. I believe that, I feel like that almost every day :S

Taking a nap
Libby took her photo :)

On Thursday we went to our alma mater, the glorious Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Oh, let me brag about my husband! So he gave a talk about the role of Metallurgy in the oil and gas industry. My sister, my dad, and everybody whom they told about this were so proud, and happy, and clapping for Emerson, like if he were Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. I don't know, choose your favorite celebrity or business man. 

I felt really stupid about this, because I never ever commented anything to my family about this talk.  For me it wasn't that important. We went to Mexico to visit them, and one of Emerson's professors organized it because we were going. My uncle is also a professor at the Metallurgy buiding, so when he found out about the talk, he called my dad. Then my dad told everybody else. But I hadn't told anybody, so they thought I was hiding it from them. You know how family drama can escalate. It wasn't that I was hiding it, but I just didn't feel like telling everybody, "Hey, look how important my husband is". 


The truth is I don't feel that way... and I apologized to Emerson if I didn't make a big deal out of it, especially if he would have wanted me to. To this point I still don't know. I am very proud of my husband. You should see his presentations. My children are part of one of his slides... I should be there, too. Ha! I know, I know I have been part of all this. Actually, he finished graduate school thanks to me, ha ha ha! (Inside family joke). But really, I know a great man such as my husband has to have a great woman behind him. I know it, and that's enough for me. 

Anyway, conference aside, it was really great to see the old building again. It wasn't there where I spent most of my time because the School of Chemistry has several buildings. The one we visited was Building E (where Metallurgy is). I spent a significant amount of time in Metallurgy once I started dating Emerson. I told one of the guys who studied with him that it was awkard to see my children running around the place whre their Daddy used to kiss me, yeaaars before them. I took Libby and Enzo to a classroom where I used to sit with Emerson, and eat his sandwiches and drank his juice bottle. 

I was neglected by my mother at that point in my life (which means she would give me money to buy food instead of making me a sandwich), but my father in law would make for Emerson these awesome sandwiches,  and he would share them with me. We would go running in the mornings, and spend together almost all the free time we had in our hands...

Isn't that funny? Things change a lot when you get married, and then when you have children. There was a point in Emerson's life where he actually loved me, and wanted to spend ALL his time with me...

Following Sister's steps

I'm just yanking his chain... because that's what a great woman behind any great man does every now and then :))

So yes, it was so funny to realize that this time instead of carrying all the caguamas my backback would hold, I was carrying diapers, and coloring books, and wipes and all the stuff that makes you survive your daughter pooping her underwear, or your little boy vomiting.

Actually Libby threw up lots of orange juice he had in the morning. In case you don't know what a caguama is, it is a 32 oz beer bottle as big as the loggerhead turtle.


So it was important for me that Libby, and Enzo and I were supporting Daddy. But there was no way we would go into the auditorium, so I had to entertain the children for about three hours in a place that was not designed for children. Everywhere I looked around had broken leg, broken nose, dislocated shoulder, or even worse, concussion all over the place. So when Libby said she wanted to go play at the slides, I agreed. It was the least of all evils. They weren't really slides, but a set of bars and stuff for people to do crunches and sit ups. Libby and Enzo were having such a great time. It was terribly dusty, tough. I tried to clean it up a little bit, but it didn't matter, Libby's green pistachio pants ended up being brown. 

The more they played, the more excited they were getting. I looked around and there were no potential threats, until I saw rock - solid, pointy rock. Of course, you silly, you forgot about the volcanic rock all around college. We need to get out of here, they are going to break their heads if they fall down. And so it was that Murphy's law got me. As soon as I thought that, Enzo fell down, on his back, head first. Fortunately for me, he landed on plain dirt, just skipping concrete and rock by inches. Pretty much landed in between them :S

Working the core

And that's how the battle of the wills began. I told Libby it had been my mistake, but that we couldn't play there anymore, since it wasn't safe. She yelled at me at the top of her lungs, "NO!". I told her we needed to leave, several times, but the same thing happened over and over. After a few times of trying my best at controlling myself,  I was so ready -oh, so ready- to give her a spanking in the vecinity of the trees, just behind the building. But I didn't have to spank her because she changed her mind at the last minute. I bribed her with a lollipop at the cafeteria :S

And please, do not judge me. I am sure you have never, ever, bribed your children with anything, but I had to do it. I just had to take them out of there at all costs. Otherwise I was risking Emerson killing me (but divorcing me first) if anything -anything- happened to our children becasue of my negligence as a mother. 

So the lollipop it was, even if I became vulnerable in my daughter's eyes. You know, because Mommy has consistently laid down the law most of the time. But, while in Mexico, I was an easy target. I let it go many times, many times. She noticed, and she took advantage of it  >(

See how clean it looks? I cleaned the one on the left :)

So we went to the cafeteria, and bought a lollipop for her (and one for later, in case she went poo poos). We bought water, and chocolates, too. You wouldn't belive it! We had the most rewarding conversation the three of us had ever had up to this point during the trip. Libby told me all about Tia Susy and the slides, the sube y baja, breakfast, and how we had to leave these last slides becasue Enzo fell down.

By the time we finished our candy, went pipis, and washed hands, it was time to go pick up Daddy. Libby gave Daddy a big hug, and when she was going to the car she fell down becasue I tripped her. It was horrible, because she was so exhausted, and she began crying, and screaming at the top of her lungs. By the time we put her in the car and drove away, she passed out in five minutes. 

Enjoying her treat
Trying to smile

In all this, I've never seen Enzo so happy. He is such a sweetheart. He had so much fun visiting with all the people who were willing to hold him, and give him food. He walked a lot, and he got his clothes so dirty, that I am glad I packed like I usually do. Even if Emerson objected. Enzo is so content. He can be a bully with his sister if I let him, that little ragamuffin. But he adores her. Boy, does he loves her... She adores him, too. Sometimes I think she loves him too much. 

I've actually thought about teaching Libby not to be so noble, and kind, and just... right down forgiving with his brother. But honestly, in God's eyes, would that be okay? How much Christ-like could you be until God told you it is enough? I don't think there is a limit to how much you should love people. I never thought Libby would be like this... I've been training her, to the best of my ability (and following God) to love people, forgive, being kind, being gentle. But I never thought she would be like this. 

You would have to interact with her on a regular basis to really know that she cares deeply about the well being of those who surround her. Even when we are at the slides, she is always looking up for Brother and Mommy. Even for children who couldn't care less about her. 

My little boy and me

I actually have been telling her that people are not always as kind as she is, so she needs to let them know what she wants, otherwise, they will always take advantage of her. It has been a long process, starting with her friend Kori, who used to  kinda bully her. My friend Merritt told me that that's who Kori was. You know, some children are more aggressive than others. That hurt my feelings, but I get it.  She also said that Libby eventually would have to be exposed to situations like these. I told Merritt I knew Libby would have to deal with these things, but not yet. 

I needed to protect my daughter from Kori, because Libby wouldn't fight back. They had been hanging out since they were nine months old, and nothing ever changed. If Libby wasn't hit on the face, she was pushed or crashed into... every single time. I just couldn't take it anymore. Apparently Kori stops if they hit back, but Libby would never do that. So our best approach was to stop getting the girls together. We haven't hung out in more than two months, which has hurt my friendship with Merritt. We are actually supposed to meet in a couple of days, without the girls. We'll see how that goes :)

Horsie ride

Okay, so... after the talk, we had to kill like 2 hours so that we could have dinner with my friend Mariana, from college. We somehow made it, and we had dinner. Libby misbehaved during dinner and Emerson took one for the team.  He was taking care of Libby and Enzo because I was catching up with my friend. We ended up taking them to some slides inside the restaurant, but they were rusty and dusty, and not very reliable. Libby threw a temper tantrum, threw herself to the floor, and was hit by a boy who pushed her. Enzo did great. He cried, but I can still pick him up, and hold him if he tries to misbehave.

Enzo is at that sweet age where he cannot talk back yet, and that's so good for me right now. Enzo has changed a lot. He is becoming very patient, and sweet with his sister. He shares with her, and hugs her and gives her kisses. He is a snuggler. He really is a sweet, sweet boy.   

So... Being fair, the boy pushed Libby so that she would do what I was asking her to do: get down from the slide. Still, who the hell did the boy think he was to make my daughter obey me? Right? I'm like the women who defend the idiot who is hitting them, if somebody dares to stand up for them...

Anyway... let me back up a little bit. Before dinner with my friend, we had a wonderful time at a carrousel waiting for Mariana. I detest anything, ANY THING, that spins around. But here you go, paying for your child to ride the horsies in hopes she would like them. She did. And every feeling of  Emerson and I wanting to throw up in each other's faces was well worth it. Enzo did not like the horsie ride, but Libby did :)

About to throw up

So we had dinner, and at some point, Libby is about to poop her pants. I am asking her to get up from the floor, which is nasty, to go poo poos with me in the bathroom. She says no. She yells, she screams at me. I had to literally take her with me to the bathroom, kicking away in the air... all the restaurant judging me and my crazy daughter. We get to the bathroom and she is rolling herself on the floor, refusing to go poo poos, when I know - I know- she has to go.

 I don't know if I have ever talked about this in here, but I am really easy to scout. One of the main reasons I could never, EVER, lie to Emerson is because I start laughing uncontrollably when I get really nervous. So when Libby behaves this way, sometimes I don't know what to do. She intimidates me in such a way, that sometimes I cannot hold my laugh. I laugh out of anxiety. But laughing doesn't help my daughter. So when she gets so upset that she yells at me, and starts kicking and swinging away as I hold her, I corner her. I corner her, and I make no eye contact with her until she calms down on her own. And so it happened, just like this. I cornered her on the bathroom floor, and eventually, she agreed to poop. And she pushed so hard... just to please me. She was obviously constipated because she only pooped a ball like a sheep would do. But she pooped. And she asked for her lollipop. I said she would get it as soon as we got to the car. 

But she kept on misbehaving. While waiting for the car, she ran away to the stairs; once inside the car, she exhausted Emerson's patience. She was just screaming for water and her lollipop, and this and that. So I could see Emerson's face changing from white to red... until he yelled, "That's it, you just lost your lollipop!!"

More crying. The whole hour we had to drive back to his parent's house, she complained about it. 

Emerson was faking it, too

Sometimes I wonder if Libby is still just a child, or if she actually is reasoning the things that I repeat over and over, making sense of  them. When we got to my in-laws, she told me she needed to be a good girl so that Grandpa Andres would buy her a treat, because she knew she had lost the lollipop. She said she lost it because she had been a bad girl.  And that broke my heart :(

I felt like telling her, "No, Sweetheart, your Daddy was just a bad boy. It wasn't fair he would take away your lollipop because you earned it pooping. But I have to stick with him, because he is the Daddy, and whatever he says goes."

We were running late to go have dinner with my sister. They invited us to a cantina. But we needed to talk about Libby's behavior first, and then talk to Libby. I told Emerson, in private, that I thought he had made a bad call taking the lollipop away. Libby had earned that lollipop, it had nothing to do with her behavior. He agreed. He said he was sorry, and that he had thought about it just after he had said the words. But he had already said it, and he didn't know what to do. So we needed to come up with a consequence for her behavior.  If we didn't think about something better, he would laid down the law as he saw fit. Fair or not.

Emerson and Fili

"If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." ~ James 1: 5-8. The Message.  

I prayed... I asked God to help us figure this out. We did. Before telling you our solution, I'll give you  the why of our solution. Basically this is how we are raising our children . 

Our philosophy on parenting

If you have children, whether you believe in God or not, this might help you: The main objective in giving your children consequences for their actions is NOT to get even. 

I know how it feels to have your child hit you, or being ungrateful for what you do for them. I know how it feels to be disrespected for no apparent reason. I freaking feed them every day, wipe their bottoms, give them showers, and read them books over and over... I'm basically their maid, and they do not show a little bit of thankfulness?!

The main reason I was having such a hard time with Libby doing all this in Mexico was because my pride was bigger than my love for her. The yelling is not all she did. She hit me, pulled my hair, and touched my face aggressively more than once. 

Who the heck does she think she is to be treating me this way? I am her mother. She needs to do as I say! I am to be respected! 

So, yes, my pride was bigger than my love for my daughter. We made it to the cantina, by the way...

How to gain 2 lb in 9 days

(I was shocked, but looking at the photos... it all makes perfect sense)

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”

The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”


God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!”

Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Once they ate from the Tree of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened to the reality of evil. The Tree of Good and Evil made them know a lot of things they didn't know. God had made a perfect world for them, but now they knew anger, revenge, lust, malice. In Eden there was no pain, no suffering, no fear, no cheating, no envy, no rage. But when they trusted Satan more than they trusted God, they allowed those bad things to permeate into this perfect world. Now that world was not perfect anymore. Sin came in between them. Sin separated God from His precious children.

And so God had to take them out of the Garden. Yes, with consequences, after all, they had disobeyed the only rule God had given them. Satan will be crushed by Jesus. Adam (men) will suffer working. And Eve (women) will suffer in labor. 

But see, God took Adam and Eve out of Eden NOT because He wanted to get even because they had disobeyed him. NO. Of course, there were consequences, but there was also forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn't mean there won't be consequences. As I see it, getting them out of Eden was the best thing God did for them. He did it to protect them because He loved them. 

Super handsome

The Tree of Life would allowed them to live forever. They had eaten already from the Tree Of Good and Evil. Remember God created Adam and Eve to be eternal beings, to have a perfect relationship with Him forever. This is exactly what God wants for us today. But God couldn't let them live forever now that they knew pain!! 

Do you see it? God couldn't let His children suffer forever!! Could you imagine living this earthly life forever? It would be miserable!

God had to take them out for a while, and they (and we) would have to die physically once. God warned Satan that his punishment would eventually come: Jesus. So even as God took them out, He provided the forgiveness in His Son, their Savior. Our Savior. 

This is why I make a big deal about Jesus, you see? Because the first time, our eternal life was stolen from us. It was stolen from Adam and Eve, because they were deceived. And we pay dearly nowadays the consequences of their actions. Sure, it's not fair. They messed up, not us. But life is not fair. Haven't you noticed that your actions have consequences that usually not only affect your life, but the life of others?

Their actions screwed us. But Jesus is the way out.

Cheers for Jesus!

But the serpent is gonna get in trroouble when Jesus comes back, Mommy

Yes, Sweetheart, the serpent is going to hell, forever. And boy, will he suffer... But you can live forever, guys. Your eternal destination doesn't have to be taken away from you again. You can choose Jesus. He will save you.

I believe the consequences God gave them were never intended to pay them back. God never wanted to get even or make them suffer. God never said, "That'll teach them..." What God wanted was to restore the relationship between them, which was broken. We are talking about a perfect God who created perfect people. Adam and Eve were perfect before sin was in their lives, but they chose sin, instead of God. 

God cannot tolerate sin. He adored them, just as He adores us now, but He will not excuse sin. So he clothed them with garments of skin (the very first sacrifice that God made, sacrifice that points to Jesus), and took them out, so that they wouldn't touch the other tree. He forgave them, He had grace with them. He loved them, dearly, and still gave them consequences for their actions.

The relationship was restored. That is the point. 

Drinking a smoothie

So... if you are to be a godly Christian parent, it is my believe that you are to imitate God. My purpose in disciplining my children is not to get even, that is why pride has no place in this equation. I was messing up being proud, trying Libby to obey me. I felt entitled to her respect just because I am her mother. But I needed to remember that she has free will, just like me, just like Adam and Eve. She has that sinful nature that makes her want to disobey. I need, like God, to give her the option to obey. 

Emerson and I are focused, ultimately, in changing our children's hearts, not only their behavior. Their heart is changed only by God, that's why we pray for them, and guide them in God's ways. We can change their behavior, by intimidating them, hitting them, abusing them... making their lives miserable. And we'll get results, alright. By golly, those children will never misbehave again. But our children will hate us once they are grown ups. 

The ultimate goal in our parenting is that our children will cherish us, love us, and thank us for what we did for them. We want to be truly their friends as they get older. And more than anything, we want to live our lives in such a way that they relate to God by looking at us. That they will see how patient God is because we are patient. That they will se how forgiving God is, because we are forgiving.  

Super dirty after playing

Based on all this, this is what we did: Emerson apologized to Libby. He told her he was sorry because he had lost his patience with her. It had been unfair of him to take away the lollipop she had earned pooping with Mommy. You should've seen her face. She was astonished. This is what I mean. You need to be real. Apologize if you mess up, it makes a difference in your children's lives to see their parents apologize to them. 

After she was all happy, we still said that she had disappointed us dearly that day. She had disobeyed us, and disrespected us greatly, and there were going to be consequences for that. The consequence was no lollipops starting right then. No matter if she pooped, or how many times she pooped, there was not going to be any candy, at all. We enforced the law with Nana Azu (who tried to give her other rewards, but we stopped her). We also asked Libby to apologize to us, telling us the reason she was sorry for. She understood perfectly what was going on. I heard her talking the next day with a doll. She said she had lost the candy because she was a bad girl. But she was happy she got the other lollipop. Actually she didn't even ask for candy the next day.

More importantly the relationship was restored. We said we forgave her. We hugged, we kissed, we prayed for obedience, and respect. We gave consequences, but we didn't hold the grudge. We let it go. Her slate was clean. Wiped away. 

More slides


Braving it
So dusty


Someone told me once that I shouldn't forgive my children over and over, because then they will take advantge of me. As I think about this, my goal and my purpose as a mom who follows Jesus, is to show my children how good God is. That's my main responsibility from my faith point of view. I need to raise children who would like to have a relationship with God because they know He is a wonderful God. They will like to have a relationship with Him because I modeled His goodness. 

My children need to be able to see God in their Daddy and me. If they don't see Jesus reflected in us, why would they care about Him? If I beat them, mistreat them, abuse them, or lie to them... of course they will reject my faith. I am not saying they will embrace it just because I model Jesus, because that's their choice at the end. But I should live as I preach. If they apologize, then I forgive them. Over and over and over. I am not always graceful, sometimes it takes me more than an hour to chill... but more often than not, I give in. We restore our relationship, over and over and over. 

Doesn't God do the same thing with us? He forgives over and over and over. We have that forgiveness because of what Jesus did for us. He died for our sins. He is the One who restored the relationship between God and us. A relationship we couldn't restore on our own. A relationship that is free, based on His grace, but also on our choice

"If there are a thousand steps between us and God, He will take all but one" ~ Max Lucado

The Party

On Friday we celebrated Libby's third birthday in advance, since we won't be able to celebrate with family. There is no much to say... we ate lots pizza, lots of cake, lots of candy, jello. We had a lot of fun, and we hung out with our family. 

Libby's sugar sheet, gift from Tia Susy

Cheesecake. Half raspberry, half strawberry. YUM! 

Very happy about her surprise :)

Happy Birthday

Porra para Libby y Enzo

Blowing out the candle

Mordida Libby

Mordida Enzo

Oh, by the way, I went running with my father in law like three times. Then Emerson said he would kick my butt, and went running with me one day. I don't know what he was thinking. I had just been training for my race, and the altitude in Mexico didn't affect me as I thought it would. Of course Emerson in his prime is way faster that I am. But he is not in his prime :S

C'mon, Papucho Mayor. Really... What were you thinking?

I won't make any comments about my father in law, because he is my senior fellow runner. About Emerson... only he and I can relate to this video. I kicked your butt, butt, butt, butt, butt :)))

Charlie's Butt Dance

I think I've written more than enough. Emerson just told me I'm making my posts longer and longer every time. He is right :) This one, tough, had lots of photos from our trip, and covered lots of things.

We came back on Sunday. We had breakfast at the airport, and once we got to Houston, we waited for Emerson's cousin and his girlfriend who arrived on a plane to come visit with us for some days. So having more family over extended Libby's misbehavior. It's like the children know when they can get away with things, and they try their best. But things are getting much better. Much, much better. 

I have nice stories to tell, because after Emerson's cousin left, Mr. Jeff and his wife, Trilva, came to town. But that's for another post :))

Enzo being silly with Grandpa Carlos

Proverbs 22:6. The Message
Point your kids in the right direction— 
 when they’re old they won’t be lost.

About to board the plane back home

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