New thing #1:

Asa has suddenly decided to use signs to communicate with us after
months of encouragement.  Please understand that this is not about
enriching our child’s IQ, language skills or ‘self esteem’… It’s just
that about the time our kids turn one, they are screaming and fussing
about and for too many things for sanity’s sake and to avoid developing
a heated, seething frustration with them, we have to cut down on this. 
Signs seem to work well as a replacement.  It wasn’t until after I told
him ‘no more candy’ and offered him a drink instead that he surprised
me by shaking his head and following up with the signs for both “more”
and “eat”. 

He also grabbed hold of the back of my jeans today and pushed me to the
refrigerator so he could walk over to the magnets.  Apparently, I make
a great walker.

New thing #2:

Orion has developed a fascination with sleeping in my bed.  As long as
daddy is going to be gone during the night or naptime that he wants to
borrow my bed, it’s not a problem for me (Lithany prefers her own bed
over snuggling in mine).  However, the other night he woke up (our
furnace was malfunctioning… all better now), leaned over, brushed my
cheek with his hand and kissed my forehead before rolling over and
going back to sleep.  Not sure where he learned that.  Is that
something I do with them?  Is it something he watches daddy do?  He’s
getting muscles and accepting responsibilities.  I can’t remember a
time when he DIDN’T try to do the right thing, but now that he has his
own agendas and definite likes and dislikes, the effort he puts forth
to do the right thing is becoming more obvious. 

New thing #3:

Lithany and Asa are both morphing.  Their faces have filled out and
their bodies are chunking up in preparation for another spurt upwards. 
It’s as if you look at them one week and wake up next week to find that
they are no longer who they were.  Such an incredible difference!  And
Lithany is trying to grow up along with her body.  She brags about her
‘big muscles’ while carrying apple juice to the kitchen and wants to
help with EVERYTHING. She hates failing.  She hates being left out.  She wants others positive attention.

Bunny trail #1:

It hurts to watch her strive for the acclaim of others.  Though I know
this is considered the appropriate age for that, I wish I could see her
focus morph too.  There is far more reward in trying to please an
unchanging God than fickle people… like a mommy who is proud of and
excited about your potty training accomplishments one day and too
distracted to do more than “okay, now put your clothes back on” the
next.  I worry about this acclaim seeker.  This ‘do it my own way’
person.  I look to the end of the road that she will most likely travel
if this is not repurposed and shudder.  I hope I see her become secure
in our love and God’s so much so that she won’t feel the need to show
off and prove herself as she does now.  (Cute, though her actions may
be.)  I know.  It sounds like I’m obsessing.  It is said that hind
sight is 20/20.  Foresight is not so perfect.  I’ve been in touch with
many of my High School friends and had the priveledge of watching many
of my neices and nephews grow from child to adult or baby to teen… it
is SO EASY sometimes to see why they are where they are whether for
better or worse.  It is so interesting to me that some of these who are
in dire straights and slipped far from the good path they were set on
did so through relatively few and often innocent-looking directional
changes.  At the time that I grew up with them, these were just
personality quirks (deciding to be the tomboy or the ‘fragile’ one or
the rebel or the daredevil) or relatively unimportant decisions (in
entertainment choices or companions or motivation)…  We marvel when
we find that they’ve gone so far off track, but if you stop and look,
you can see those mild, seemingly unimportant changes in direction,
purpose, and drive even in your own life.  By the grace of God, we end
up where He wants us either way.  But it gives me a math problem to
think about.

Story Problem:
If you want to walk a straight line to a specific town in CA from the
East coast, and you change your direction by just .2 degrees while
looking at a butterfly,  how far off will you be when you get there?  

So many seemingly innocent and mundane things to consider as a parent. 
Those ‘stages’ that kids go through can’t just be suffered because
‘that’s who they are’.  If we’d done that, our oldest son would be a
true coward by now.  If we do that, our daughter will truly be
unmanageable.  If we do that, our youngest will continue to become a
tyrant.  Whether we like it or not, we parents have HUGE influence on
what our young children like, who they idolize, what they imitate and
who they will become.  With that influence comes so many stupid little
things to consider.  I’ve wondered if my son’s addiction to Zelda is a
problem.  The thing is, he best likes the parts where he gets to be the
hero.  Where he saves the girl or his small friend or the monkey.  I’ve
wondered if his fascination with his dad’s Guitar Hero is a problem. 
Playing guitars sounds much more innocent than swinging a sword and
killing monsters, doesn’t it?  The thing is, there isn’t really
anything redeeming there.  It’s fame, glory and being trendy plus
lyrics that are not appropriate or at least not edifying.  It’s those
little differences.  Those little shifts in focus that worry me most. 
I’ll probably notice if my son or daughter starts having LARGE shifts
in their focus.  Temper tantrums are always easier to spot than the
subtle manipulations and attitude problems that crop up throughout the
day.   Those are the dangerous things.. the things that are insidious
and disguised.  As dangerous for the small ones as it is for us larger
ones.

The encouraging thing is watching those who started off in the complete
wrong direction and how minute changes brought them almost exactly
where they needed to be.  We have examples of that too, you know.  God
likes to not leave us parents despairing and demonstrates that he makes
miracles out of messes all the time.  Not that this reassurance gives
me permission to intentionally make a mess of things, but it gives me
peace with the knowledge that I’m human and will certainly mess up.  
    

New thing #4:

My lungs finally cease to ache!  This is a happy thing as they’ve been
bugging me since before Thanksgiving.  Combine that with stuffiness
that makes it impossible to breathe when you’re laying down (makes for
short nights) and an earache that started up right as everything else
started getting better and you have a tired, crabby person in someone
else’s house with someone else’s stuff trying to keep tabs on three
similarly stir-crazy kids.  It’s been pretty miserable for all
involved, but just as I resolved that I needed to straighten up and fly
right despite being irritated, things started to subside.  I’m still
stuffy.  It’s still annoying. But morning isn’t as daunting and
begrudged anymore.  That makes everyone happier.  Now if I can start
maintaining that happy attitude throughout the day… hmmm….

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