Monthly Archives: November 2005

Magic Smoochies & Tom Cheese

Never in my life could I imagine the power that a Mommy’s smooch has in healing a wound.

Here are some things I have said this past week that I never thought I’d hear myself utter:

“Don’t lick the bottom of your shoes.”
This one is pretty much self-explanatory.

“Get that plastic bag off of your head.”
Again, another one that’s pretty self-explanatory.

“Hold onto your cheese!”
This occurred in a grocery store parking lot. We have to crash the cart into the cart corral every week, and then run “FAST!” back to the van. George was eating his ‘Tom Cheese’ and I told him to hold on to it while we were running.

(Unkie Tom was eating string cheese at the house one day, and Georgie wanted some. So now he calls string cheese “Tom Cheese.” It’s his favorite snack and he asks for it every day.)

Thanks Living

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day where we take special care to reflect on our lives and how blessed we truly are. And eat turkey.

Jehovah’s Witnesses treat Thanksgiving as any other day; the reasoning is that we should be thankful every day, not just once a year.

This is a very valid argument, but I see nothing wrong with having a day where we take inventory, making sure that we’re living our lives as good stewards of all that God has given us.

So, here is a list (by no means exhaustive, and in no particular order) of things for which I am thankful:

My amazing children. They are the light of my life. I glimpsed the love that God must have for us the very first time I looked into their eyes. I feel blessed to have such strong and healthy little boys.

My wonderful husband. If we had never married, I would still be a better person simply by having known him.

Our (soon-to-be-beautiful) home, and all of the hands that have helped us out during our remodel. The impact of your assistance (through times both difficult and easy) can never be underestimated.

My sisters and brothers and mother by marriage. You have restored my faith in the unconditional love of family.

My mother. I will emulate her strengths and learn from her weaknesses. She went through a lot in her childhood, and if the goal of a good parent is to do better by your own kids… then she succeeded. I hope I can do the same for my children.

The Bible. I’ve been able to read and study with an open mind and heart, and I’m amazed by what I have been learning. I finally have a peaceful and honest relationship with God, knowing what His sacrifice truly means.

Being a stay-at-home Mom. It’s a difficult financial sacrifice, but one that I’ve gratefully embraced. I am so blessed to be able to stay at home and raise our children for as long as possible.

Our troops and their families. There is a special place in my heart for our military, they and their loved ones are enduring so much during this holiday season, and my prayers and appreciative spirit are with them.

“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessolonians 5:18, New Living Translation

Rethinking Montessori

Well, after doing some more research on Montessori, I’m not so sure that it’s a good fit for George. Or me. I just finished a book on early childhood education in the Montessori method (birth to age 3), I’m not comfortable with the approach. While I respect the idea that children need to have ‘purposeful play’ I also think that imagination and fantasy play a very vital role in development. For example, I remember using books to build a Barbie house, and using shoeboxes for our Barbie cars because we couldn’t afford the real toys. Montessori discourages the use of objects for purposes other than what is intended (i.e., books are for reading, not pretending; chairs are for sitting, not playing rocketship).

A big red flag for me was the idea that a mother only has nine months with which to bond through breastfeeding, and after that, the child should be weaned. I strongly disagree with this, since my experience has been that children develop independence based on the knowledge that their needs will be met by those they trust, and they have a ‘comfortable place’ from which to explore the world. Weaning before a child is ready doen’t meet their needs. Nursing is both a physical and emotional connection to the mother for the baby, and to deny the importance of that connection to a child who needs to nurse longer than nine months is unkind.

And since all children have different personalities and different needs, I think it’s obtuse to assume that all children can and will fit into this mold. While I agree that structure and boundaries and very important to children, babies need unconditional love and care — not care mandated by an education method.

Six Weeks Already?

Baby Smiles

I had my six week postpartum visit with my midwife this morning, and I’ve recovered well from Ethan’s birth. I’ve already dropped most of my pregnancy weight, and I’m only 10 lbs. away from my goal of 130. Chasing a toddler around and cue-nursing a baby should help me shed that (safely) by May. Not that I’m keeping track or anything…

We were talking about parenting boys this morning; her two oldest are 21 months apart, same as George & Ethan. She said that they fought like tigers when they were younger, but they’re best friends now (at 23 and 22). I would like these two to have the same type of relationship when they’re grown — I just hope that I can successfully referee them until then!

I look into the eyes of these babies, and I know I’m going to mess up. Isn’t that part of the territory? There are times when I lose my temper with Georgie and say things to him that I regret. Despite this, I can’t just throw up my hands and say “Oh well, I’m going to fail at this, so why bother trying?” I have an obligation to be a good parent to my children, no excuses. Lots of parents that abuse or neglect their kids blame their upbringing, or lack of education, or parenting skills, or money, etc. But they don’t look in the mirror.

So I know my kids are probably going to blame me for problems that they encounter, or personality traits that are less than desirable. And they’ll probably be right. But all I can do is meet their emotional, physical and spiritual needs properly, so that they have a firm foundation for their lives.

Stewardship

I heard an excellent sermon yesterday on the importance of being a good steward (Luke 25:14-30).

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that everything we have comes from God; there are no ‘self-made’ men. We have a responsibility and obligation to do the best that we can with what we have, in order to give glory to God.

I think my favorite part of the sermon was on financial responsibility as Christians. Making sure that we’re spending wisely, investing wisely and paying off our debts. Why? Because when you buy a big house you don’t need, or very expensive cars, and pay 14-22% in interest on the balances on your credit cards, that is money that is being taken away from good works — whether that’s your own church or a charity or ministry that needs your support.

I remember telling my dad when I was a kid that I was going to pay cash for my cars. He laughed and said that I’d never save that much money. And you know what? He was wrong. We paid cash for our car, and the only reason we financed our minivan is because we are earning more interest on our money than it cost to finance.

I have never paid a late fee or finance charge or interest on any of my credit cards. In fact, we only use them because they pay us cash back. We’ve gotten almost $5000 just for using their cards and paying them off every month! Not a bad return on investment.

Some people might say I’m a little overly-conscious of money matters, but that’s largely because of the complete lack of fiduciary understanding I had growing up. I never learned to save, never learned to budget, never learned to be responsible with my money. I didn’t have a good example to follow, as my parents experienced a lot of financial problems throughout my childhood.

When I was 17, Dad tried to help me by taking my paycheck and giving me an allowance so that I could save enough money to buy my first car. And if he hadn’t, I would have frittered it away on worthless stuff. And while it helped me with my short-term goal of buying a car, it didn’t help me to learn responsibility and the importance of self-control.

In my early twenties I learned the importance of budgeting and saving. As a stay-at-home-mom, it’s especially important for me to make every dollar stretch as far as possible. I take this obligation very seriously; if I am a good steward of our household finances, then I will be an asset to my husband, set a good example for my children, and in turn we will be good stewards of all that He has provided to us.

I want to do my best and be able to stand before Him and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”