Category Archives: Babies

My First Mother’s Day

This weekend was my first official Mother’s Day! I say official because I’ve been a mother of furry babies for quite a while, but now I’m the mom of a fabulous, super intelligent, totally adorable little boy!

Gazing lovingly up at his daddy

I absolutely LOVE being a mommy! God has been so good to us and given us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4)

I had a wonderful day – went to church (where they gave out chocolate to the moms, always a good thing!), lunch, stroll around the mall and relax with my family. My gift was a beautiful glass pandora bead addition to my charm bracelet. Just beautiful!

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Filed under Babies, family, holidays, kids

Things I’ve Learned So Far as a Parent

So I have officially been a parent for 4 months! Crazy how fast it seems to be going! I thought I’d start a little blog series about what I’m learning along this journey.  For so long I’ve been working with children (and their parents) – 14 years professionally as a teacher and children’s pastor – but it’s totally different on this side. Back when I did my student teaching, my mentor teacher told me that she believed she became a better teacher after becoming a parent. I think she’s right. Not that people can’t be great teachers (and other things) without having children, I’m just learning that life with kids has a way of driving points home!

So my first lesson from parenthood is…

Phases are a natural part of life – just relax.

When Isaiah was itty-bitty he had terrible gas pains. We would have to hold him in the colic poses and walk him around until we finally heard him…um-hm…pass the gas. But that phase is gone and now he toots with the best of them!

We’re on to another phase…spitting up and drooling. I realize this won’t last long and just requires a bit more laundry than normal. And so what if I smell like milk for a few months from all the spit up – one day I’ll cuddle someone’s new baby and the spoiled milk smell will take me back. So I’m learning to relax and wait it out.

Life is just like that too. Whatever you are going through, just keep going – it will not last forever. My pastor says, “ You are either in transition, going into it or coming out of it.” Change is the only constant we have in life- changing seasons in nature and in our own life.  So enjoy the season while it’s here and make the most of it; it won’t be here for long.

And so what if it’s a little uncomfortable or inconvenient; I guarantee there are other people who have it worse than you. Living here in Africa has really changed my perspective. Whenever I find myself desiring items I think I need I just think about those who have even less than me. They are all around. We pass their little shanty homes on the way to the super mall in the suburbs. It’s surreal.

So I strive for contentment with little or with much. And pray that those who are struggling with little right now would find what they need- a job, food, health care – and I do what I can with the season I’m in cultivating contentment in my heart.

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Child (of God) Development

I’ve always been fascinated by children’s development – the timing and order skills are developed and how the skills they learn now will affect the rest of their life.  Now that I have my own, I am continually amazed how God created our bodies to develop. Things that baby’s instinctively do ultimately fulfill purposes in their development .

For instance, did you know that by sucking on a bottle or breast, babies are developing the muscles they will need later on for speech?  By bonding with their mothers (or primary caretaker) babies are learning to recognize strangers. By putting everything in their mouths, they are learning different textures and shapes, plus practicing the most important survival coordination skill – hand to mouth. How else are they going to learn to eat?

I started out my career with children by teaching special needs children – hearing impaired and multi-handicapped. I saw firsthand how skipping any of these developmental milestones can have devastating effects on a child. One child I taught was so sick his first year of life that he had to be fed through a tube. He had recovered, but was delayed developmentally because he missed sucking on a bottle, putting everything in his mouth and so many other things. He had the capacity to eat normally, but lunchtime was a nightmare because he hated it so much.

Right now, Isaiah is almost 4 months – 16 weeks –he’ll be 4 months this Friday.  And I’m having so much fun watching his development.  He gave me the biggest belly laugh last Tuesday, he’s smiling and cooing, grabbing at things and holding them. And attempting to sit up – with lots of help from mom and dad.

I think the same principles in child development can be applied to our spiritual development – child of God development. The things that we are going through right now might not seem to matter much, but navigating successfully through those trials and tribulations is going to help us in the future. Learning to trust God when things are not so bad can really pay off when we have to trust Him when things really are rough. I can remember being fearful at home in Memphis when Greg was away and God speaking to me – “How are you going to trust me when the danger is real when you can’t trust me when danger is not imminent?” It was a milestone of development for me.

There are many more – small things that don’t seem to really make much of an impact – but in fact they are milestones in our spiritual development. If we don’t learn them, we will not develop into the person God intends for us to be! I want to meet all my spiritual development milestones that God has for me.  Just like I play with Isaiah to stimulate his growth, God has opportunities all around me for growth. Opportunities to use patience, kindness, self-control…you get the idea! And for me, most of them are just around the house.

Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.   James 1:2-4

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Filed under Babies, Bible

Reflections on Mommyhood

My heart is so full and happy being a mom! I’ve been voicing my gratitude to God lately in all my prayers. I’m just so thankful to finally be a mommy! And I just love that little boy so much.

Along with all the smiles and cuddles come some “fun” mommy moments where my mommy fortitude has been tested and I realize just how much is out of my control and requires humility, grace and a good sense of humor.

My hubby is away right now and I had to go to the bank to make deposit (so I could reserve a cute little cottage near the sea for a little holiday when he gets back – our first proper vacation in 2 years!). It was the first of the month, so there’s a long line.

My adorable little one of 3 months is doing great sitting up in his sling resting his head on my chest. All of sudden I hear him grunt. Oh no. He grunts again. Yes. He’s decided, right there in the bank line, to make a dirty diaper. He proceeds to turn pink then red, a common occurrence when he’s working so hard.

A sweet African lady turns and comments about how red he is. “He’s so hot! You need to put a wet towel on his face,” She exclaims. (Umm, second time this week his “redness” has elicited such responses!)

I assure her he is ok and not too hot. Did not really want to go into the explanation about WHY he’s so red.

So we just stand there. Waiting and grunting.

We finally finish our business (at the bank) and head to the grocery store. By this time little boy has snuggled into the sling so he can lay his head back and is sound asleep. I vaguely smell something but decide to just carry on with grocery shopping and not stop to investigate unless he wakes up.

He sleeps the whole time we are shopping. By this time I think my nose has gotten acclimated to the smell and I forget UNTIL we pass a mother with two young children and one of them says – “What smells?!”

Uh-oh. I think it’s us.

Then we go down the cleaning aisle headed for the check out lane and there’s a person peddling – of all things – air fresheners. Now I’m getting paranoid.

We finally get home and sure enough, it was us smelling up the grocery store.

I’m just glad it wasn’t where I normally shop.

Would love to hear about the “fun” moments your children have given you?

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Learning About My Little Man

One of the best things about being a new mommy is how fun it is to discover your little one’s personality. I love taking personality tests and talking about categorizing personality but I figured all that would happen when he was older. Little did I know there is a lot to learn during those first few months. I’ve learned so far that…

Isaiah hates to be wakened up. Most people do, but he really does and will let you know.

Chillin out in the tub

Isaiah loves water! In the bathtub he is hilarious. He just leans back and chills. I hope he’ll enjoy swimming one day too.

Isaiah gets warm easily. Here in Africa, for some reason many people bundle their babies up against any chill. We’ll be at the mall and see parents in tank tops and shorts but their child in the stroller has a fleece blanket bundled around them. Crazy! Isaiah gets hot very easily and dislikes it a lot. Many times I’ll pick him up out of his car seat only to find him sweating on his back. So we love onesies and very light blankets.

Isaiah loves music. A friend gave us a lullaby cd – he loves it! Anytime music is on, he’ll quiet down and listen.

We just navigated through a 6-7 week growth spurt. Hoping to come out on the other side with the ability to sleep through the night – we’ll see. This motherhood thing is challenging but the most fun job ever! Can’t believe I get to raise this little boy – so precious!

What did you learn early on about your little ones?

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Filed under Babies, family, life