When Your Toddler Becomes a Big Sister

From what I understand, it’s fairly common for parents expecting their second child to have some worries about how their oldest child will react to a new sibling. My husband and I have had the same concerns about Babykins. After all, she will be just over 2 years old when Sweet Pea arrives–there really isn’t a way to talk to her about her new little brother or sister. I realize that we aren’t the first family to have kids close in age and we’ll find a way to make it work, but doubt still lingers.

However, I have moments of hope that Babykins will easily slip into her role of big sister. Recently she has started to play with her baby doll more. She can be very sweet with Dolly–she rocks Dolly, pats Dolly, pushes Dolly in a stroller, and (attempts to) swaddle Dolly.

baby love

“Ah,” I think to myself during these moments, “Babykins is naturally so caring. She’s so sweet! Maybe we won’t have many issues with her adjusting to the new baby.”

Of course, these moments are usually followed with scenarios like this:

graham cracker

tossed

forgetten

And, with the promise of food, Babykins’s “natural” care promptly disappears and Dolly is left abandoned on the floor.

Conclusion: There’s a reason why toddlers aren’t in charge of another human life.


Lower Your Expectations

Dear Self,

After doing this SAHM gig for over a year, I would hope you could come to the realization that some weeks things don’t get done.

Now please look at the calendar. See how your husband is going to be gone at the district pastor’s conference for 2 days? Do you remember that he comes back and needs to catch up on those 2 days of missed work? And don’t forget he has a council meeting Wednesday night.

See how your daughter has a doctor’s appointment today and will get vaccinated? Do you remember how awful she feels after these shots?

It would be in everyone’s best interest if you would lower your expectation on what will get accomplished this week. Dishes will pile up. Vacuuming won’t get done. Meals will be thrown together. And that piece of writing you’ve been trying to finish won’t be completed this week.

Realize this now and perhaps you can prevent the hysterical feeling that arises when your week doesn’t operate smoothly. Oh, and feel free to buy some chocolate from the grocery store.

With much love,

Your Pragmatic Side


WWMIS?

My husband told me the other day that I’m into competitive parenting. What he meant is that I’m determined to find the best way to mother Babykins, as well as become intensely focused on finding the perfect solution for any problem she displays.

While the desire to do what is best for my child certainly isn’t bad, the obsessive tendencies I display in this quest can quickly consume me. That doesn’t help either Babykins or me.

Unfortunately, people like me have all too easy access to information to fuel this parenting obsession. Browse a bookshop and you’ll find shelves devoted to keeping your child happy and healthy. Likewise, Google anything child related and you’ll easily have a hundred websites and blogs to peruse. Most of these books and websites have conflicting information, making the search for the perfect parenting plan even more maddening. But it’s also an addiction that I can’t seem to quit.

0701151102

My parenting books. The only one I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone is “Dad Is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan.

I’m finally starting to realize that obsessively researching all things baby doesn’t give me any perfect answers. Rather, it just slowly drives me insane (yes, Mom, I know you told me this months ago). So to help me take a proverbial chill pill, I’ve started to take up this mantra:

WWMIS?

What is “WWMIS?” It stands for “What Would Ma Ingalls Say?” Because nothing can help you take a parenting chill pill more than thinking about a pioneer mother.*

For example, sleep is often an issue that tortures parents of infants and toddlers. Do you let them cry-it-out or do you cuddle them throughout the night? Is it okay to feed your 3-month-old during the night? What about your 9-month-old? What if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by 6 months, have you failed at parenthood? What if your baby only naps on you? Will you emotionally scar your baby if you sleep train? Will you kill your baby if you co-sleep? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say:

Sleep

Food is another issue that causes great divides among parents. Is exclusively breastfeeding far superior to any other form of feeding? Is a little bit of formula okay? When should you offer a bottle? When should you start solids? Should you start with rice cereal? Purees? Finger foods? If you don’t give your baby organic produce and grass-fed meat, will they sprout a tail? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say**:

Eat

Play is another hot topic issue among parents. How much time do you spend focusing solely on your infant? Are you hindering their budding genius if you skip over Kindermusik and don’t bother with the “Mommy and Me” classes? How much “free play” do you schedule into your day? If you let your baby watch a Baby Einstein DVD, will their brains ooze out their ears? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say:

Play

 

There are many more examples of things that parents get worked up about today that didn’t matter one whit on the frontier. Education decisions? You hoped there was a one-room school house within a couple of miles. How many children a your family should have? Well, contraceptive options were limited and you usually assumed a few of your children would die before adulthood. Parenting style? You went about your business during the day and hoped your children stayed close enough that they wouldn’t get eaten by a bear or a wolf.

So, if you’re a competitive parent like me and you find yourself becoming consumed by your quest to find the perfect solution for every problem, just ask yourself:

WWMIS?

 

*Note: I realize pioneer life wasn’t perfect and that infant mortality was high. Likewise, I also realize that many pioneer families went back East because it was a hard life. I’m not saying I would do everything that pioneer family would do, I’m just trying to give myself some perspective on parenting options. Remember, I’m trying not to go insane here! 😉

**Another Note: I also realize that breastfeeding didn’t work 100% of the time even before the introduction of commercialized formula (even what is “natural” isn’t perfect because of a sinful world, blah, blah, blah) and sometimes babies were given something other than mother’s milk. Again, I’m not saying we should do everything a pioneer family would do, I’m just trying to give myself some perspective!


Where the Church is Built

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware now that SCOTUS ruled yesterday that state bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. Based on media coverage and businesses’s rainbow displays, you would think this ruling was in a strong majority. It wasn’t. The court was once again divided and passed the ruling 5-4.

However, the ruling also doesn’t take me by surprise. I have many friends and family members who fully support the SCOTUS decision. I’ve known where they stand on this issue for many years. But I also have many friends and family members who disagree with this decision.

For those of us who disagree with this decision (and yes, I’m one of them), it’s easy to let our fears run away with us. I have heard fears expressed that our fellow citizens will turn on us for holding an unpopular belief. Or that the government will force the Church to embrace this ruling. . . or else. Or even that this ruling ultimately will bring the fall of Christianity.

It would be easy for me to succumb to these fears. But then I remember that we have always lived in a sinful world, the SCOTUS  decision certainly didn’t bring about sin. We have always been battling the world, the devil, and our own sinful flesh. And marriage has been far from perfect for a long time–really, since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. That doesn’t make the SCOTUS ruling okay, just remember that there is nothing new under the sun.

Likewise, it’s important for me to remember that Christianity isn’t about the issue of gay marriage. It’s about love. And not this Love Wins nonsense going around the internet. No, it’s about God showing His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It’s about the life-giving faith found in the waters of baptism. It’s about the forgiveness of sins given to us in Holy Communion.

Finally, I remember that God’s church doesn’t depend on the United States being a “Christian” country. The Church is built on Christ. He is our cornerstone, not the laws of this nation. I find my peace in this.

Built on the Rock the Church shall stand
Even when steeples are falling.
Crumbled have spires in ev'ry land;
Bells still are chiming and calling,
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the souls distressed,
Longing for rest everlasting.

Here stand the font before our eyes,
Telling how God has received us.
The altar recalls Christ's sacrifice
And what His Supper here gives us.
Here sound the Scriptures that proclaim
Christ yesterday, today, the same,
And evermore, our Redeemer.

Grant, then, O God, Your will be done,
That, when the church bells are ringing,
Many in saving faith may come
Where Christ His message is bringing:
"I know My own; My own know Me.
You, not the world, My face shall see.
My peace I leave with you. Amen."

-"Built on the Rock" LSB 645:1, 4-5

Will You Treasure These Moments With Me?

I know this is a favorite topic of mommy blogs everywhere.  Post after post have been written about young mothers’ abhorrence of being told to “treasure every moment”.  Why is this?

Because it’s freakin’ annoying to be told that you should love every moment of motherhood.  Because it’s a lot of pressure to feel like your heart should be overflowing with happiness during every tedious task.  And mostly because the people telling you to “treasure every moment” are the ones who are least likely to know your parenting struggles.

Last Sunday morning provided a fine sample of moments to “treasure”.  The 2 a.m. feeding for Babykins, which wouldn’t have been bothersome except that it was followed by a 3:30 a.m feeding and a 6:15 a.m. wake up.

Awake

The battle to get ready for church with an overtired Babykins.  The half-mile walk to church over icy roads in a desperate (but ultimately futile) attempt to get Babykins to sleep before church.

The failed attempt to discreetly feed Babykins in the Sunday school area.  The poop on my hands when I changed the blowout diaper.  The wrestling match to get Babykins in a clean outfit because the poop on my hands got on her.

diaper change

The mad dash to leave after service before Babykins had a meltdown.  The half-mile trek back home over icy roads in which Babykins finally fell asleep.

Granted, last Sunday morning was a particularly difficult one for Babykins and me.  But are those the moments I’m really meant to treasure?  Am I a bad mother for not enjoying Sunday morning with my baby?

For once, I’m not racked with self-doubt by these questions.  I realize the “treasure every moment” mantra is said with nostalgia and the expectation to love every second of motherhood is foolish.

There are many moments that I treasure with Babykins.  I treasure the moment when my husband excitedly told me “Girl!” as he saw Babykins for the first time.  I treasure her smile that she readily gives me but has to be coaxed to give strangers.  I treasure having her by my bedside at night (when she’s peacefully sleeping, of course).  I treasure the snuggles.  I treasure her bright eyes and long fingers.  I treasure many things.

But I don’t treasure everything.  Like any vocation, there are crappy moments (figuratively and literally) and it’s a ridiculous sentiment to treasure every moment.

But those precious, treasure-worthy moments make the gut-wrenching, frustrating moments worth it.


Our 4 Stages of Moving

It’s moving week for my husband and me.  That means we are now in the throes of the 4 Stages of Moving.

Stage 1: Denial

This stage usual begins about 3-4 weeks before our move.  It’s generally when we haven’t actually starting packing but we’re seriously thinking about starting packing.  We try to convince ourselves that this move will be better then the last move and that we actually don’t have as much to pack as we think we do.

stage 1

Whether or not this is true, this keeps the panic at bay so we at least start filling boxes.

Stage 2: Panic

This stage usually begins somewhere around 1-2 weeks before our move.  As boxes begin to pile up around us and more and more things get added to our moving list, nerves and panic start to set in.

Stage 2

Things to panic about include having enough space in the moving truck, having enough boxes or packing material, and having enough help to load up the moving truck.  There is also the option to panic about the fact that we’re moving to a new town where we don’t know anyone.

Stage 3: Celebration

This stage occurs after we get everything into the truck/trailer.  We can breath a sigh of relief because everything is packed and we can check off one of the biggest things on our moving list.  This stage lasts about 10 minutes before reverting back to Stage 2 because, well, we still have to finish cleaning the house, make a long drive, unload the truck, meet new people. . .

Stage 3

 

Stage 4: Acceptance

No matter what we do, how much we plan, and what we tell ourselves, moving is an exhausting ordeal.  At the end of the move, we just have to accept the physical and emotional exhaustion that always follows.

Stage 4

*Note: We are loading up the trailer tomorrow and moving to Iowa on Friday.  The bad news is that we’ll be sans internet for a bit.  I know, I know, you’ll cry yourself to sleep knowing that there will not be new post coming the next few days (not that I’ve been posting consistently anyway).  The good news is that I have some ideas percolating for blog posts and even a new blog title!  After all, I can’t be the Seminarian’s Wife when my husband isn’t a seminarian.  🙂  


Babies and Bicycling

I’ve always enjoyed bicycling as an alternative form of transportation.  While I don’t consider myself a bicyclist because I’m not interested in things like racing and going on a bike ride for the sake of riding a bike, I am quite happy to ride a mile or two to get to a coffee shop or a job.  This mentality probably started when I was a kid and my parents somehow convinced my siblings and me that getting to ride our bikes 1 mile to school was something to get excited about.

Anyway, living on the outskirts of a bigger city hasn’t been conductive to my style of bike riding since I graduated.  Most streets are not bicyclist friendly and those who do ride on the roads often do stupid things like ride against traffic.  However, we are moving to a much smaller a town where things like the church and the library are less than a mile away.  I’m hoping to use my bicycle once again as a mode of transportation.

Because of this, I had the motivation to take my nanny toddler for a bike ride yesterday.  It was a lovely summer morning and I wanted to get us outside (plus I wanted to get in some sort of physical activity for myself since I’m inclined to be lazy during my free time).  I hooked up the child trailer to my employer’s bike, buckled in the toddler, and off we went to the playground about 2 miles away.

When we were about halfway to the playground, I decided maybe having my first bike ride of the year shouldn’t involved pulling a bike trailer or being 22 weeks pregnant–I was getting tired!  I then thought to myself:

bike ridingYou see, pregnancy brings a whole slew of no-nos, many of those things I hadn’t even thought about prior to getting pregnant.  Foods and physical activities are favorite categories to have a slew of forbidden things and I hadn’t checked to see what the stance was on bike riding.  However, we were already halfway to the park, so I finished the ride.  Thankfully the trip back was easier because there was a slight downgrade most of the way.

This morning I did an internet search to see if bike riding was considered a pregnancy-safe activity.  The short answer: Not really (pregnancy is also filled with gray areas of “there’s a chance this could affect your kid, so you probably shouldn’t do it”).  The reason:  Pregnant women’s center of gravity is off balance, so they’re more likely to fall off a bike.

Oddly, this reasoning really annoyed me.  Up until now I’ve taken most of the things I should avoid in stride.  I cut back on my coffee intake.  I’ve avoided lunch meat for the most part.  I still eat a lot of sugar, but I tolerate the lectures about it because I know it’s not good for me.  I’m not playing softball this year.  I’m asking my husband to carry heavy things for me more often, something my pride struggles with.  I’ve even passed along kitty litter duty to my husband (oh wait, that wasn’t a hardship, never mind).  But giving up bike riding simply because I might fall off?  Grrr. . .

Perhaps this annoyed me more because I’m fairly clumsy.  A few weeks ago, I slipped and fell hard enough to bruise my knee while walking across the hardwood floor at work.  Using the reason that I shouldn’t do things because I might hurt myself means I should start living in a bubble.  But rest assured, I would probably find a way to hurt myself inside the bubble.

At any rate, I plan on asking my doctor at my next appointment.  He has proven to be a relaxed, reasonable fellow so far, so I’m less likely to be pissed about the bike thing if he thinks it’s unsafe than if the internet thinks it’s unsafe.


Countdowns and Checklists and Concerns, Oh My!

The last few weeks have been busy for my husband and me–hence the lack of posts.  There have been 4th-year banquets, lots of scurrying to prepare for our new lives in Iowa, and a seemingly futile attempt to continue our normal duties of our present lives.  All of this makes it a bit hard to focus.

At any rate, there are several countdowns running for us:

3 days until graduation

5ish weeks until we move

6ish weeks until my husband is ordained/installed

19ish weeks until Baby arrives

Of course, all these countdowns lead to many checklists:

Checklists for the graduation party

Checklists for packing and moving

Checklists for what we need to discuss with the congregation

Checklists for baby preparations

Then all those checklists lead to concerns and worries, like:

Oh crap, we’re having a party on Saturday!  How will we get everything ready?!

How do you move with cats?

How do you move when you’re 26 weeks pregnant?

What will this new church be like?

What if the people don’t like my husband?  What if the people don’t like me?  What if I don’t like them?

How do you find a new doctor when your current insurance expires at the end of June and you’re not sure what your new insurance covers?

How are we supposed to take care of a baby when we can’t even put up a Pack ‘n Play?

On the bright side, my nausea has fully subsided, so I can eat chocolate and drink coffee to make myself feel better.  And if you tell me I shouldn’t eat and drink those things because I’m pregnant, I’ll come and eat you.  So there.


Waiting for a Call: March Update

It’s funny how two years ago I had already worked myself up into a tizzy about vicarage and now I barely think about call.  It seems me that I got my worry backwards.  You would think that I could keep calm about Vicarage Placement when it’s “only a year” and I should freak out more about Call Night since it’s more permanent, but that just shows you how illogical anxiety can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some concerns about the unknowns of my husband’s call (God willing), it’s just that those worries don’t really come to the forefront until we know where we are going.  Consequently, the thought of Call Night doesn’t bring knots to my stomach because that evening will only be the beginning of the real stress.  Plus, work has kept me busy enough to not have much time to dwell on our uncertain future.

Still, here are some fun facts about call:

52 days until Call Night.

No, we don’t know where we are going.

We haven’t started packing, but our box room is pretty epic.

DSCN2589


No Worries, Right?

Yesterday my husband and I had our placement interview.  For those of you who don’t know, this is when we meet with the Director of Placement and go over our call application so he can have a better idea of what we’re hoping for in a call.  Not only can my husband cross off one more thing on his “Call Checklist,” it also means my part in the call process is finished.  Consequently, this means I don’t have to worry about Call Night anymore. . .right?

yeah, right