Category: Parenthood

Three Things Thursday [Vol. 21]

If you’re new here, you may not be familiar with three things thursday – but it’s been a year and a half since the last installment, so maybe no one remembers it much anyways. No worries! These posts are just an excuse for me to write about something in groups of 3.

So without further ado – here are three things my toddler is teaching me about God

  1. He (God) will answer my prayers

It dawned on me the other day why God responds to prayers grounded in faith, not eloquence. This is because Torre is in a particularly charming stage of exploding vocabulary and will. He is able to verbalize his wants and insist that they be fulfilled. “Mama, over there!”

“Daddy, open the door!”

“No blanket!”

“No pants!”

“Applesauce, yeah?”

In Luke 11, after teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I don’t give Torre what he asks for (when it’s possible and wise to do so) because he is eloquent or “deserving” or because he builds a good case, and as much as I love Torre and want to give him everything that will help him thrive and mature and enjoy life, God is infinitely more willing and capable of doing the same for me.

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Nicaragua Day 6: Ometepe Island

Moyogalpa

We enjoyed a very relaxed Sunday in Moyogalpa, where nearly everything was closed, traffic was minimal, and we hadn’t planned any tourist activities anyway. We had breakfast at a cafe up the road in a hostel run by a Dutch woman and a chain-smoking rack-of-bones American man with bottles of cough medicine and a big box of kleenex at his table. Torre was busy moving chairs around, climbing and running around while we enjoyed our breakfast and chatted with the owners.

“What brought you to Nicaragua?” I asked.

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Daycare

Torre started daycare last week, and I’ve been kind of a mess about it. In so many ways it has been a solution we needed because our families are not near enough to help, and our paycheques do not stretch to cover babysitters (although we have been blessed with gracious friends who let us grossly underpay them!), and I have been back and forth between finding myself and losing myself in the daily rhythms of outings to the park and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch before nap and waiting-for-daddy-to-come-home.

Writing this out makes my eyes well up because it touches so close to the very tender place of how deeply I love my son as well as to the brittle-as-glass fear that I am not enough as a parent. Starting daycare has been hard because of the gut-wrenching goodbyes, the ache of missing him through the day that is different from when I’d go to work and Matt took care of him. It has been hard because of the relief that is nestled like a peach pit in a big ball of guilt. I can run errands or see friends or paint my nails without timing it around his naps and without wondering what he’s gotten into that is keeping him so quiet in the other room.

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When I picked him up from daycare today, they were outside and we ran toward each other like it was a movie and I was returning from war. I scooped him up and spun around, and the joy of reuniting almost convinced me that this is okay – missing each other all day and having only an hour or two before bedtime to snuggle and read books and watch firetrucks on youtube.

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Mommy Wars

A friend on facebook shared this link on her wall showing pairs of moms who seem to be friends in real life, each holding signs that declare their opposing choices in raising their kids. It’s a great visual representation of the decisions moms (and dads in many cases) make for their families that easily become battlegrounds online but really don’t need to pit us against each other. It’s a pretty feel-good page to scan through and see women beaming about their choices, and I agree that moms shouldn’t be tearing each other down over these things – 99% of moms honestly want to do what is best for their kids, and that is why mommy wars get so intense so often – these are issues that cut to the core of our values and represent our very best efforts, so for someone to question them feels like a personal attack and we want to respond in kind.

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Being the Oldest, Raising an Oldest

I was thinking the other day whether Torre is at an advantage or disadvantage in being my first child. As a plus, he gets much more undivided attention than kids with siblings, everything he does is new and exciting and amazing because we’ve never seen a baby learn to walk or climb before. I have pretty high self-esteem and I’m sure much of that comes from the support and positive reinforcement I have enjoyed throughout my life from family and friends. Hopefully the same is true for Torre growing up – I want him to absorb all the amazement that we feel towards him and internalize it to always know that he is precious.

However, as the oldest, Torre is exposed to my least polished-by-motherhood self: my most selfish, most anxious, most inexperienced version of parenting. Obviously I’m doing my best, but I feel like I will improve and grow with time and experience, and any future children we have will benefit from that. Maybe I’m over-optimistic about the trajectory my personal growth is on, but I do think he’s at a disadvantage in this sense. I thank God he’s so resilient and cheerful and forgiving even after moments when I don’t have the emotional stamina to put his wants before mine (he wants to be in my arms to see what’s happening up on the counter, while I want supper to get made so I’m not hangry). For what it’s worth, I think I do pretty well at putting his needs before my needs, but I feel like this can only digress into insecure ramblings. I’m a good mom, but I could be better, let’s move on.

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