Thursday, August 20, 2009

potty training and preparing for charlie

so i have many reasons for not being superblogger these days, computer problems and potty training being at the top of the list. definitely not lack of time, because here i am again on the computer at 12.30, trying to put myself to sleep! i remember last time, i was awake all night but then i slept in till nine and had nothing to do all day. now, my beautiful precious terrible two year old changes things a bit.

she is such a big girl, she always wants to participate. "i want go with my mommy!" "I want help my mommy!" "please see mommy, please see!" all. the. time. she is quite proficient at pulling a chair over to the counter so she can see everything i'm doing. i figure if i have the patience for it for the next few years, by 6 or 7 she could be quite helpful! we've worked on colours when I sort the laundry, and this time she helped me put things on the drying rack. she had sock detail, and she got every one on there, i was so proud of her. normally she'll do one, get bored, and pull all the rest off. i didn't fix any before taking the picture, she actually hung them properly herself. i was very impressed!

her first time eating a popsicle. it was hilarious, and i wish we had it on video. she had a really hard time holding on to the stick, so she kept using two hands, or even leaving it on the tray and bringing her head down to it. apparently even the sweetness wasn't enough to motivate her, because she gave up very quickly!

she was much more committed to eating the onion. yes, the onion. we were cutting up toppings for taco baked potatoes. well, i was cutting, she was putting in bowls. and she just picked up the onion and started eating it. actually taking bites. top R was taken as she was chewing it. apparently it was that enjoyable. strange child!

oh, potty training. just those two words now make me want to collapse in the floor in a heap of fatigue, physical and emotional. i had no idea it was this hard! i dont' think it has to be. my daughter is simply the headstrong product of two headstrong people. she is fully capable of controlling herself and not having accidents. she simply does not want to use the potty. the first time, when we took the picture up top, was such a fluke. nevertheless, it motivated me. better now than after the baby, right? and do you know what the diaper bill is for two children? even generic. wow. so, i said, she's smart, she's highly verbal, she always wants to use the potty and i've been telling her later later later. today's the day! or the 3 days, which is supposed to be how long it takes with this intensive method. 3 days of caging you and your child up in a tiled area next to the evil potty, doing nothing but staring at her waiting for her to go, then putting her on the potty. except my child will stop midstream because she is so stubborn. she will hold it for 2 hrs, and keep telling me i have to pee pee mommy. i say ok, let's sit on the potty. no, I don't want to! (there is no way i can convey the depth of sassy attitude that goes along with that sentence. it makes me quiver in my boots about teen years). so she holds it until she absolutely can't anymore. when i put her on the potty, she kicks and arches her back and cries. screeches hysterically, actually. (and yes, patrick is working from home. sounds great to potential customers, over the phone!) and then there's the 9 3/4 mos pregnant, sitting hours on end on a tile floor. except when i'm on my hands and knees mopping the floor. or trying to squish my watermelon belly close enough to the sink to rinse out elmo or cinderella underwear. patrick came out a few times today to find hannah and i crying hysterically, surrounded by puddles on all sides. it has nothing to do with her not being ready, i think it's just a battle of wills. i will end this potty narrative by saying it got a little better this afternoon. so, pray for us tomorrow. or today, since it's almost 1 am.

so, we've had charlie's bassinet ready in our room for awhile, stocked with diapers and pjs and what not. hannah knows she isn't supposed to be in it, but since when does that matter, right? very short term memory. this last time she got into the diapers she wanted to put on one elmo. i almost got frustrated with her again, then i thought, i want her to associate positive thoughts with all things charlie, so i let her have a diaper and we practiced putting it on elmo. she loves it! takes it off often, and then i have to put it back on, but later when i'm changing charlie she can change elmo. maybe?
we are all ready for the birth, except our midwife is out of town this weekend. (in kenora, actually, the very small town in northern ontario where my mom lives. talk about a small world.)
anyways, what we do to get ready is a little different from how hospital birth parents prepare, so i wanted to have pictures of our birth supplies and what not. but i didn't get around to it: clean towels, washcloths, sheets, crockpot, a syringe to clean out his mouth/nose, shower curtain for the bed, thermometer, propel for me to drink, hydrogen peroxide. we supply those kinds of things, and sorani, the midwife, brings all the medical things, like the fetal monitor (she even has one for underwater), oxygen, fetal rescuscitation stuff, equipment for doing the cord and suturing, if need be, drugs for excessive bleeding (those are the only drugs she brings).
then it's pretty easy: she supplies the necessary direction, patrick provides the emotional/physical support, and i provide the baby.
the other side of preparing i've done is for the nursing problem thing, which also probably isn't familiar to most people. but this time around we are much more prepared, and will hopefully get in to the swing of things much more easily as a result. I ordered the supplies i needed for my lactaid supplementers (i got 4 this time, so i won't have to wash it out every 2 hrs), some drugs that are supposed to help, some of the supplements i had last time, and also a hospital grade pump and a scale, so i can keep track of his weight every day. we also have accumulated a small stash of donor milk in the freezer, and i'm praying for more! i wont' talk about that much more, but if anyone has questions, criticisms, ideas, encouragement, or anything, please let me know. many people have helped me, and i'm sure there's someone out there who is in the same situation or similar. or just if you're curious.
one more thing, to put anybody's mind to rest:
we will NOT be putting up a detailed birth story. so you dont' have to be afraid to check the blog, over the next few weeks. or get your wife to screen for you :-). you can expect to hear when we go into labour, and when he's born. that's about it. i'm not really into personal details. again if you're curious or whatever, or just one of those crazy people who love birth :-), let me know and i will be happy to share with you. but not here. and in case you don't know me personally, also be reassured that there will be no personal pictures. much less a video :-) just the thought makes me cringe!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How much is enough?

So tonight, as usual, found me unable to fall asleep, so I got up again, thought i'd check my email before I read to make myself fall asleep. I noticed a post on here from a girl I know (my old roommate's sister in law :-), and that reminded me to check on how they're doing. Her name is Kate, and she works for an organization called World Orphans. She has the unique blessing/curse of living in both worlds: physically being here in America most of the time, but often travelling and probably always being mentally, emotionally, and spiritually occupied in many other places. Places that some of us can't imagine, and others of us are very aware of just tend not to think about most of the time. I heard very little about their personal life as I read her blog, but I was reminded about that something else: the rest of the world.

Many of you know I had a really hard time leaving Senegal and "re-entering", as they call it, life here. (Patrick bore the brunt of this transition.) $4 coffees? How many clothes? How important is that car? How many church "programs" and how few people actually being baptized? How many ice cream socials or ladies brunches and how few unchurched people actually being reached? Yes, I came across as judgemental, I'm sure. It's been almost 4 yrs, believe it or not, since I've been "home." And my "perspective" has changed again. But I am still very torn. We don't have much money, so we don't spend much money. New clothes, eating out, entertainment, such things are very rare. But nor am I as consumed as I once was. Every one of us who calls himself a Christian fights this battle. Where is the line, if you will? I'm pretty sure Jesus never said there was a line, it was an all or nothing deal with Him. You're either in the world or part of the Kingdom. Light and darkness. Selfish or selfless.

So, do we all just live in 2 bedroom apartments, take the bus, have 4 outfits and eat beans and rice? I can't imagine how that lifestyle would make everybody else feel? Like I said, Kate works with orphans. I am about to have my second baby. He won't be lavished with material possessions compared to most of his 'colleagues' in the church nursery. Nearly all of his clothes will be used, and those new will have been bought on clearance. But he already has way more clothes than he needs. He already has 3 or 4 teddy bears waiting for him. He already has a variety of baby equipment to make his, or my, life easier. Are those things wrong? No, I don't think so. Just like the occasional special night out with my husband isn't wrong, or family vacation, or $4 coffee. But then again, what did Jesus mean? How much money is ok to spend on yourself? If we support one orphan, or two orphans, or three orphans, then does that balance things out? Or if we give money, then are we exempt from going ourselves, or spending serious time in prayer for the rest of the world? Or if we live more simply than those around us, so we can afford to give more to those far away, is that ok? We are, after all, Americans. $4 coffee is simply what we do, right?

Again, where is the line? And why do we define our involvement by how much money we give? Our churches have a missions program because it's a line item on the budget. We send off a shoebox or two every Christmas. We even support a child through Compassion or a native missionary through GFA. But where are our hearts? Where is my heart? To be honest, I am usually much more concerned about keeping carcinogens away from my daughter than I am about the millions of children starving to death (without the hope of eternity). I believe wholeheartedly that right now my primary mission field is my children, and my primary ministry is simply supporting my husband and being the strength behind my family as they grow. But where does everything else fit in? I don't know. I want to be poured out as an offering, not just for my children but for children who have no mother. I want Patrick to be my leader and provider, but what about those who have no leader and provider? Is there enough of him and me to go around? How far does our responsibility go? To the least of these?

I never would have survived in America had I not become somewhat more comfortable with life here. But does God really want us to be comfortable? Or are we supposed to be uncomfortable when what is around us doesn't necessarily reflect God's nature and priorities? I remember that movie about that guy who was fighting slavery in England. Amazing Grace, or something. He said he had nightmares, hearing the slaves, and picturing them. He was unable to live in regular society because he was so burdened for those slaves. I have often wondered why we aren't so affected by the less comfortable, physically and/or spiritually, around us. Myself included. Why can I put it out of my mind? Is it because the task is too great? My bank account is too small? My husband/children need me so much? I don't have enough time right now? If I can't actually be there full time, than I can't do anything that counts anyways? What if we substituted, say, half our Bible study or fellowship times for service opportunities or ministering to others?

How much is God really asking of us? I dont' pretend to know in specifics, for me or especially for anybody else. But I do think it's more than being in church, giving our exact percentage for tithe and an occasional special offering, or even teaching sunday school. Or even having this amazing strong relationship with God myself. What did He mean when He said to live is Christ and to die is gain? To put ourself last? To not store up treasures on earth? To seek first the kingdom of God? Again, I don't have the answers. But I think God will lead us if we at least ask the questions. Thanks, Kate, for reminding me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

so even though there are babies all over the place at my church, and this is my second, some of my friends gave me a baby shower. it was so sweet because we have been somewhat distracted by potential changes in the work situation and that these days and honestly haven't really focused on the baby much.

i almost didn't put this picture up because it's so obvious how huge i am. (height, not necessarily belly. that's huge too, you just can't tell) whoever said being tall was a good thing has never stood out so much from everybody around them! but anyways, these are my fellow pregnant people, in order of due dates. and each of the women not in this picture has a baby under a year. so i'm in good company.
hannah enjoying helping me.
hannah and her little friend andrew, keeping themselves occupied. andrew is my friend kim's son, and she is having her baby a day after my due date. busy busy!
she didn't even ask for any cake or chocolate fondue. just sat and ate her tortilla chips.
the two ladies who hosted my shower. chandra (L), has a 6 mos old, and she is going to come over and help with Hannah during the birth. Camille has twin boys, and she's having a little girl this fall.
we enjoyed a special last date before the baby comes.
hannah and i have both not been sleeping well, and the other day she woke up before seven. since i was already awake, we left the house so patrick could sleep. we walked to starbucks, and i packed ernest hemingway for me and strawberry shortcake for her. which do you think got more attention? there was a woman there who stayed for quite a while reading the latest jodi picoult book, who happens to be one of my favourite authors. i had a moment of envy, then looked back at my daughter and realized how precious this time is.
playing outside. she loves to roleplay that she's leaving. she'll get a bag, her toy phone, even keys if she can get ahold of them, then come and say, bye, have a good day, i'm leaving. then she'll come back and say, I'm back, or something. it's especially fun with her car, of course.
bonding with our friends. Hananh calls the older brother Bubba, because the other ones do. I think it's pretty cute!
this, on the other hand, was not cute. it came in a bag of donated stuff, and i showed it to patrick as a joke, and hannah decided she liked it. honestly, she wouldn't let me take it off all day. she doesn't even know who sponge bob is, i have no idea why she liked it. and even her hair looks like a mullet here!
so i wanted to get some good pictures at the sprinkler park, but the kids didn't co operate. we really like going to the sprinkler park, it makes being outside more bearable!
the other day i was trying to make muffins and Hannah was driving me crazy, so i stopped trying to distract her and instead asked her to participate. that made things take twice as long and twice as messy, but i think we both had fun.

my mom got Hannah this puzzle for her birthday, and the 3 of us put it together the other day. after i got them to stop fighting over it!
She also got this adorable little case from Jeana, Patrick's aunt. She loves putting things in it and carrying them around!
Am I allowed to start complaining now about being uncomfortable? because I am definitely uncomfortable! I guess it's a good thing we have company 4 days/wk, because it'll help keep me distracted. I'm dfinitely in a zone where it's hard to get motivated or excited about anything, all I want to do is have this baby. so, join me in praying for early!