Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Crazy, Good Night

Kachi turned three months old last week. 

He's the dearest thing.  

He's bright and chatty, a good sleeper, a cranky teether, and sweetheartedly content.  (Teether - crazy, I know! He already has one tooth, and another is just about to break through the gums.)

I totally thought life with three kids would be insane.  I pictured harried evenings with Patrick and I stressed as we took turns juggling screamers, pukers, and poopers.  I thought their neediness would increase as they needed to compete for attention and time.  I thought it would be a lot harder right now.

It was a little tough at the beginning, when Kachi was still getting up in the night.  But we have wonderful little sleep-lovers, and all three of our kids slept through the night early.  I think that might be the life-saver ;).  

We have our busy moments, where I'm rushing from one need to meet another need and yet another is calling out for me - but overall, the kids are learning to be independent and patient, and I'm learning to prioritize ;).

Most evenings find us kissing Sam and Vava goodnight quite early, feeding Kachi his last bottle, then enjoying a few hours of solitude and rest.  It's awesome, and I'm so grateful for every moment.  

Tonight though - tonight was one of the nights I'd worried about.

Kachi woke up five minutes after I put him in bed for the night, jamming his little fists against his gums and squirming.  Patrick left for a meeting, so I turned on a show and just cuddled and paced with Kachi (his favourite soothing technique).  After a few angry screams, I realized he wasn't settling as he usually does, and it finally dawned on me that he was hungry - half an hour in his jolly jumper had really worked up an appetite.  So I mixed up a bottle for my squirmy, out-of-sorts boy and we wrestled our way through a bonus feeding.  Finally, he let out an enormous grunt and I realized he needed a fresh diaper.  Just then, I heard a huge wail from upstairs.

Sam occasionally has nightmares.  He has a recurring one where Spiderman takes him away and I don't come for him.  So I left stinky Kachi in the livingroom and ran as fast as I could up the stairs, hoping to interrupt the nightmare before it got worse and woke up Vava as well as Sam.
  
I dashed across the room and leaped onto the bed, wrapping Sam in my arms ... only to realize I wasn't leaping, I was skidding, and slipping, and sliding - in an enormous puddle of vomit.

I squawked, and woke Vava, who somehow had managed to sleep through the puking and wailing in her room ... 

And so I found myself running a bath, changing my clothes, stripping a bed, spraying a mattress, washing two toddlers (Vava couldn't sleep anyway) all at the same time - and then finally changing that longsuffering bottom and popping the baby in the tub too, because why not? 

After a few stories, cuddles, and kisses, all three of them fell back asleep.  

It's the silliest thing - and I wouldn't want my nights to usually be like this, because I'd be an exhausted wreck - but I loved feeling so needed and capable.  Taking care of them makes me feel so much more family-y.  I love that Sam was sobbing for Mama, that Kachi lit up with delight to join Sam and Vava in the tub, that Vava didn't want to sleep without "my boy, my Sam."  I loved seeing her hug him gently and kiss him goodnight.  I loved Kachi smiling at me as his eyes grew heavier and heavier, and he cuddled closer in my arms.  I love that there were fresh sheets and blankets folded in the cupboard, diapers stacked in Kachi's room, cozy clean pyjamas to dress them in, and stories to send them contentedly off to sleep.  I love that they're all sleeping soundly, the washing machine is humming, and the scent of Burt's Bees Baby wash still hovers in the air.

I know that they will grow and their hearts will break and their lives will grow complicated and there won't be anything I can do to make it all go away.  It will take a lot more than fresh bedding and a hot bath to make everything all better.  But right now, I get to be the one who comforts them, cleans them, makes them cozy, and sends them into peaceful sleep.

For this messy, brief moment, I'm enough.

And oh - 
it feels good.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3611 to 3620

3611. Flowers that smell like spring.
3612. Sam and Vava playing happily together.
3613. Kachinvya's happy alertness.
3614. Love-texts.
3615. A new book.
3616. Sunshine.
3617. Micah playing with Sam while I cleaned unhindered.
3618. Vava wanting to sit on my yap :D.
3619. Our church getting a new pastor.
3620. Laughing with Patrick.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ohhh Mama!

My tender-hearted Sam had such a rough day yesterday.

His gorgeous hair was overdue for a trim this weekend, so on Saturday I popped him on a stool and snipped away. I am never very sure what I'm doing, and while the back was tolerably even, I messed up above one ear, and took a little too much off one side.  So yesterday, Patrick asked Sam if he wanted a haircut like his, with the clippers. Sam was ecstatic at the thought of using papa's clippers, so we went upstairs.
The first pass with the clippers was fun - "that tickles!" Sam giggled.  But partway through the process, Sam started crying. "Put it back!" he wailed.

His gorgeous curls! Gone! Ahh I know it grows back but his stricken face completely pierced my heart. And there was nothing to do but hold him tight and finish the job. He thrashed and screamed and fought until he saw I was crying too. Then he sobbed "ohhh mama!" and threw himself into my arms.

He wouldn't even look in the mirror. 

The storm passed and we went out for supper and a little playdate, and he wore the cutest hat to keep his head warm. It wasn't until after bathtime, though, that he finally peeked in the mirror at his new look.

He grinned at himself, and then smiled shyly at me. "You're so handsome!" I said, kissing him.

"I know," he laughed, streaking down the hallway toward his pyjamas.

This mother-heart is sore today, and I'm sure I have more silver in my hair than I did yesterday morning. But hey, I can always buzz it away, right? ;)

Friday, January 16, 2015

3601 to 3610

3601. My patient Patrick.
3602. Snowsuits.
3603. Great grocery prices.
3604. Dancing with the kids.
3605. My kids' forgiveness.
3606. Heat!
3607. Kachi laughing so loudly he startled himself.
3608. Sam speaking tenderly to his brother, "hi Kachimbeewa, are you my tweasure? Yes you are, yes you are!"
3609. A reminder to parent gently.
3610. My night to sleep on the undisturbable side of the bed ♥.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

3591 to 3600

3591. Happy kids who don't seem to feel the cold.
3592. Kachi being so cute and content while I fed the bigs.
3593. Aunt D picking up Patrick and brushing the snow off our car.
3594. Vava, super absorbed in playing with her toys.
3595. Sam's single tear at the sad point in his movie.
3596. Sam asking for "a yittle candy?" (I can't resist that "yittle".)
3597. Finding a duplicate of Sam's long lost and deeply missed dinosaur.
3598. Watching The Musketeers with my OTL.
3599. Having book-nerd friends who really get it.
3600. The prospect of heat returning tomorrow!! Hooray for a fixed furnace!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

3581 to 3590

3581. Patrick zooming home when I was scared by the furnace noises.
3582. Vava telling me she loves me, for no particular reason.
3583. Sam holding my hand while we cuddled on the couch.
3584. Making awesome plans for February.
3585. Kachi trying so hard to smile at me, as sleep took over.
3586. Fleece sheets.
3587. Patrick knowing me so well.
3588. Huge slow snowflakes falling.
3589. Meeting a nice mom.
3590. Eating from a pretty bowl.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3581-3590

3581. Kachi's laid-back morning awesomeness.
3582. Vava looking so pretty in turquoise.
3583. Sam laughing uproariously.
3584. Friends.
3585. Dark chocolate cranberry coconut cookies.
3586. Vava putting herself in timeout because Sam was there.
3587. Finding Waldo with Sam.
3588. Dancing in the kitchen (again)!
3589. Finishing another gymbook.
3590. Getting lost in my year-plan Bible and reading a few days ahead.

Monday, January 12, 2015

3571-3580

3571. Kachinvya smiling up at me whenever I catch his eye.
3572. Sam's duplo robot.
3573. Vava singing and dancing in the kitchen.
3574. My reading buddy at the gym.
3575. Everything I went to buy being on sale at the grocery store.
3576. Patrick being so good at putting the kids to bed.
3577. Vava wanting to sit in a big-girl chair at the table.
3578. Fun songs.
3579. Sam helping Kachi in the jolly jumper.
3580. Kachi loving his soft book.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

3561-3570

3561. Homemade banana, pb, & chocolate chip ice cream.
3562. A sleeping baby to cuddle.
3563. Selfies with my Vavalove.
3564. Sam in a suit.
3565. Teenagers praising.
3566. Kind smiles.
3567. Running across the parking lot with the kiddoes.
3568. Sunshine.
3569. Homemade dressing that's plate-lickin' good.
3570. Vava taking Kachi's jolly jumper for a spin.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bow

Patrick took Sam to the store today to pick out something with his Christmas gift card.  I'm glad it wasn't me.

Buying things for Sam is seriously fun.  He receives presents as if it were an Olympic sport.  His eyes grow huge, his grin is enormous, and his gratitude? Adorable.

But buying things with Sam?

He forgets what he loves, what he has been asking for, what he can actually do with the toys in front of him.  All he sees are the pictures on the package.  He wants the toy with the most amazing picture.  Some part of him truly believes he will be dirtbiking through a mud puddle if he buys the cheap plastic toy bike with a really action-packed picture on the package.  And the lamest toys seem to have the most wildly promising pictures.  Patrick and I try to steer him toward the things we know he loves, like the lego train set he's been dreaming of, but once he's captivated by an empty-promise picture, it's like he's blind to everything else.  He refuses to see the other toys - his eyes close and he just says, "no no no no no!  Stop it! I want this one!"  And - since it's his purchase - we don't override his decision.  He gleefully grabs his choice and clasps it as tight as he can all the way to the checkout, eyes bright and heart pounding with anticipation.  He surrenders it just long enough for the scan before fishing his beloved treasure out of the bag.  He hugs it the whole way home, then races inside, kicks off his boots, opens it and ... deflates.

No mud puddle.  No motocross course.  No actual dirtbike.  Just a flimsy scrap of plastic and a torn package.

Hello, mirror.  Hello, me.

As frustrated and sorry as I am to see Sam's decision making process, I can't blame him.  He's three.  I'm thirty-two, and I do the same thing.

I'm not as easily fooled at the store (although sometimes, yep, still get drawn in by a sale sticker and celebrity endorsement), but when the stakes are higher?  Drawn in like a sucker.
I struggle with knowing my own mind.  I struggle with choosing what I actually want:, the things that bring me deep-down joy or the things that other people tell me will give me joy.

And God doesn't always step in and override my decisions.  He lets me choose.  But He does try to nudge me in the right direction.  "This," He says, pressing my heart toward path A, "is a good and satisfying path.  You will love it."  But I shake my head.  I don't believe Him, not really.  Oooh Path B, now that would be the logical choice.  That's what my friend chose in similar circumstances.

And I try to figure it out, with my limited understanding of the future and my even more limited understanding of myself and the plans God has for me.  I'm Sam, standing in the aisle dazzled by packages, somehow sure that my parents are telling me to choose the lamest toy possible.

Every time Sam listens to us (and we're only telling him to choose the ones that we know he most deeply wants), he loves his purchases.  These are the toys he plays with again and again, the ones that bring him the most joy.  But most often, he doesn't listen to us.  The glitz and marketing fool him into believing that we want him to be less happy, to make a boring purchase and miss out on a really great toy.  Oh - silly, toddler Sam.

We are always looking out for his best interests.  When he's toy-shopping, we want him to have the best toys, the ones that will bring him the most fun ... because we love him.

God is pressing this into my heart and I pray it stays seared like a brand.

When His choice and my choice collide, let me always choose His!!! He knows me and my fickle heart better than I do, and His choices - oh, they will bring me the deepest joy, the most lasting gladness.  Me? I'm fooled by shades of understanding that barely scratch the surface.  I somehow think that the tempting path, the one He didn't suggest, will suit me better ...

Let me throw my own decisions to the wind, and cling hard to His.  Let me submit to His great will, and walk free in His Best path.

Whenever I have, I've never regretted it.

You know, when I was looking into 2015, I wanted a word that captured the feeling of this.  I'd settled on brave, because I want to be brave to say YES to whatever God suggests.  But really, there's nothing brave about it.  It's the most safe, the most sensible course.  I'm renaming it, my word for 2015.  I'm choosing instead the word bow - to remind myself to bow to God's will gladly, fearlessly, with anticipation.

Because He loves me, and He knows me
More than I, more than I.

Happy New Year, friends.
xo.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

No Crib For A Bed

Emmanuel.  God with us.  Yes.  He arrived.

The baby Jesus, long awaited, much anticipated, greeted with angelsong and starlit glory, was born, and they laid Him in ... a manger?

The first few weeks after he was born, Kachi's bed was adorably unorthodox.  He slept at the foot of our bed, cozily swaddled in a blanket, lying in a drawer.  I'd bought him a Moses-basket, but he was so long when he was born that he filled it, head to toe.  So we turned a drawer into his bed - lined it with blankets made by his grandmothers, wrapped him warm, kissed his head, and tucked him in.  He slept soft and comfy, and it made no difference to him at all that the drawer wasn't built for that purpose.

I imagine that the baby, Jesus, knew no discomfort in a bed of sweet hay, warm and well-fed and wrapped for sleep.  But it kind of stabs at the heart, doesn't it, and at first glance makes me think that His arrival was so eagerly anticipated but so inadequately prepared for.  I guess I always attributed it to the fact that Mary was in Bethlehem when He came, not in her own home, nowhere near the comforts and conveniences she might have planned for Him.

But God knew exactly where He would be born.  So why not have a soft cradle nearby?  Why a manger?

I think the symbol is awesome.

It's said that the stables of Bethlehem were used for the keeping of temple sheep.  So the manger where Jesus was laid?  That was where the flock found their food.  Where God's sheep were nourished.

Oh.
Yes.


It's no wonder God sent shepherds to find Him that night.  I picture His tender heart yearning over them as they crowded into the stable to worship the babe.  Who better to understand the message?  The Shepherd had come to feed His flock.  

He came as our Hero, our Saviour, our King.  But He came to be the bread of life - to lay down His life - for the sheep.  His body, His life, laid down for our blessing.

The gnawing emptiness that aches, the dullness of prolonged hunger, it can tear at a heart as well as a belly.  We were made to contain more, and greater, than anything we can find here.

You know it deep and true, don't you - there are some hungers that a meal won't satisfy.   There are some longings that can never be met by the gifts under the tree. But Jesus? He is the nourishment that fills and satisfies the soul.  Here He is, the heart of Christmas: behold the babe, lying in a manger.

This Christmas, I pray you will find yourself worshiping the Newborn King - feasting and satisfied and filled with joy in His presence.

God bless you, friend.
xo.