Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Trials, Tribulations, and Hope of the Young

As much as it broke my heart to see Peter's suffering the other night, it has been gratifying since then to see Romans 5:3-5 worked out in the life of a two-year-old:

He has been asking, with sincere devotion, to pray before bed. We'd not been saying bedtime prayers together before this. I always felt like it was something we should do, but somehow we never did.

Though we talk about Jesus on a fairly regular basis, this is the first I've seen it take on personal meaning for him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008


We celebrated the 4th Sunday of Advent by purchasing a Christmas tree. (Actually, Lowe's almost paid us to take it.) We'll decorate it after church tonight, then I'll tell the kids about St. Nicholas as we hang stockings on the fireplace.

At present, my folks are on their way in town. Nana is looking forward to decorating a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake with Peter.

I'm particularly excited about our celebration this year, even though Tom will be working 90% of the time. It's the first we'll spend in our own home.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Night Fright

Being able to put Peter to sleep quickly and without incident is no longer a luxury. With Charlotte to take care of (and her evening fussiness), it's a necessity. Yet it broke my heart to leave his room last night.

"I want you to lie with me longer," he had said.

"I can't," I said. "I have to do my chores."

"I don't want to fly in the sky," he said.


"I don't want to fly in the sky," he repeated, in a pitifully small voice.

I realized that he must have had a flying dream recently, and that it scared him. Weissbluth warns that at this age, when kids have a developing imagination but an inability at times to distinguish fantasy from reality, bad dreams can be a true source of terror.

But I don't need Weissbluth to tell me that. I remember it vividly. Between the ages of three and four, I used to lie in bed practically trembling with fright. I wouldn't admit my fears to anyone, not wanting to be thought a baby, but many nights I'd seek refuge in bed with one of my brothers.

Peter has no big brother to crawl into bed with.

"Did you know that Jesus is with you, all the time and everywhere?" I asked. "We can't see him, but he is here, and he is watching you and taking care of you. He will watch you while you sleep. Would you like to pray to Jesus to help you sleep well tonight?"

He did, and we prayed. I also told him that Mama and Daddy were watching over him tonight, and Daddy came back to give him an extra goodnight kiss.

Peter woke happy and well-- and said that he did not fly.


But I've got an extra crib mattress in the garage, and I'm ready to put it on my floor if his fears overwhelm him. Solitary sleep is fine when my child knows he is safe, but when doubts creep in... I'm just not going to force the issue.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life's Little Pleasures

By the grace of God, since the day we brought Charlotte home, she and Peter have taken their big afternoon nap at the same time. Since she still stays up later than her brother at night, this is the only time right now that I can count on unadulturated peace.

How do I spend it?

The same way, every day: first, my computer time. Then I eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich, with whole grain chips on the side and Smarties for dessert, while I watch Little House on the Prairie. I watch through two episodes, working on my embroidery after I eat.

Sometimes Peter wakes up before the second episode is over. Since he doesn't get much tv besides football, this is a pretty big deal. He calls it the "horses" show. And he's right: there are horses in every episode, in almost every outdoor scene.

I've uncovered some interesting facts about the real Ingalls-Wilder families on Wikipedia. Did you know that some consider Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose to be the founder of the Libertarian Party?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hanging Head in Shame

I'm sure this is wrong on so many levels, but I'm desperate:

Peter will soon be eating dinner with a timer. If he doesn't finish before it goes off, too bad. Off to the bath.

For almost a week, he's been stalling over dinner. Like, really stalling. He spent thirty-five minutes tonight eating a pile of rice the size of his fist. It was one thing for him to eat one grain at a time at ten months old. It's another thing when he is using a fork.

Is he trying to avoid a bath? Enjoy table time with his dad? Or simply push my buttons? I don't know, don't care, and don't want to hear what the experts say. I just want to have a peaceful meal unpunctuated with, "Peter, eat... Peter, keep eating... Peter, you should be finished by now... Peter, it is getting late..."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rainy Day Activities

It's been raining for a month of Sundays, and there's nothing but rain in this week's forecast. And next week's forecast. To top it off, Peter's last day of school is today, his regular babysitter is out of town, and I'm not wanting to do a lot of public outings with a newborn.

Ordinarily, this would have me in sheer terror. Peter too, because never in his life has this child been content to stay indoors all day!

Yet we both seem to be taking this in stride. He no longer expects that we are going out, and with some recent maturation in his imagination, enjoys his toys more than ever. His cars don't just roll. They go places. To Mimi's, to Belks, to the Hospital. It cracks me up to sit and listen to him play.

Nevertheless, I've found that giving him a special activity sometime during the morning prevents monotony. Here are some of our tricks:

1) Rice Play. Pour a bag of rice into a roasting pan. Throw in some spoons, cups, scoops, even a funnel. Let him have at it. Hint: Put this on the floor on top of a blanket. This way, when he's finished, you can shake the blanket over the garbage to clean up stray rice.

2) Make Play-Dough. Yes, yes, I know: play-doh can be cheaply bought just about anywhere. But making it at home brings new life to an old activity. The internet has tons of recipes. I'd share my own, but I discovered that it molds upon storing.

3) New Toys. What mother introduces new toys right before Christmas? Yet giving Peter the $20 train track I happened to see on sale at Target is The. Best. Decision. I've. Ever. Made.

4) Build a Car Track on the floor using painter's tape. (Thanks, Keriann!)

5) Build a Fort. Retailers will try to convince you that your child needs a $50 indoor tent in the shape of Thomas the Train or a giant frog's mouth. True, kids like small places. But I remember too well the joys of fort-building not to give my child the opportunity. Peter's too small to do this on his own, but he's learning from an expert.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

Almost a year ago, I decided that my hair needed shaping. I found a new hairdresser who gave me what he calls the Angel haircut (think Victoria's Secret). Oh, the perfection! I felt like I had satin sheets billowing behind me for the rest of the day.

It would figure that I find the best hairdresser in the world several months before I left town.

Yesterday I attempted to replace him. I had asked someone with great hair who she sees and made an appointment. I mapquested directions to the shop. I enlisted my husband's help with the kiddos. And with optimistic anticipation awaited the moment of truth.

Well, mapquest let me down. At least, I'm fairly certain that the shop is not located in an unmarked shack in a... "questionable" neighborhood. But with childcare in place, and in dire need of a haircut, I did what a mother has to do: I went to a strip mall.

Mean Lady cut my hair. Her way of initiating conversation was a gruff, "We close at 5:00" (it was 4:30) followed by, "So what do you want?" I explained my layers and the fringe about my face and asked her just to take off just enough to lose the split ends.

As Mean Lady brushes out my hair, and begins to cut it dry, she turns up her nose. "Your hair is just all different lengths." Duh. Didn't you just hear me say "layers"? Then she notices the shorter length underneath. "What is this?"

"Well, my old hairdresser thinned my hair from underneath, so it would still be smooth on top."

More turning up of the nose. "I sure wouldn't let that person cut my hair again." At this point, I'm ready to get out of the chair.

Instead, I say, "It was the best haircut I ever had."

Meanwhile, Mean Lady has no idea what to do with my hair. Not that it stops her from cutting. Over and over I watch her brush out a lock of hair, pull her fingers to the end, get that confused look on her face, then snip. I'd have had more confidence if she didn't look so clueless every time she cut. I wanted to get up and say, "Nevermind"-- but I didn't know when I'd have childcare for both kids again. So I just sat there trying not to cry.

I'm not sure what made her decide when she was done. She was pulling up locks of hair so randomly, and never touched the shorter layers (particularly around my face), I guess she just decided it was getting close to 5:00 and stopped.

My husband could have done a better job. With a chainsaw.

But at least it's helped me sort out my priorities. If I can go to the Big City once a week for prenatal appointments, I can certainly go there every couple of months for a haircut.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Speaking of Evenings

I've pretty much given up on accomplishing anything after 5:00. Or at least, counting on it. And though a neighbor just dropped by some homemade spaghetti sauce, and I've got a couple of leftover meals in the freezer, the dinner brigade from friends is over. It's all me.

So I'm turning to the crock pot, and a friend just led me to the blog of a woman who is crock pot cooking every day of the year. What a goldmine!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Evening Fussiness

I cherish holding Charlotte, even though old voices die hard (you know, that voice that says I'll "spoil" her if I hold her all the time). The thing is, she sleeps three hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, and has a good 4-6 hour stretch for the first part of the night. Since she's sleeping so much, having her awake is somewhat of a novelty. I love to hang out with her on the couch, balancing her on my knees as we make faces, throwing her little monkey body over my shoulder, reading a book as she nurses. Peter plays with his toys through all this, and he has yet to show anything less than enamoration with little sister.

Evenings with Charlotte are another matter. She's a fussy, cluster-nursing machine. I'm able to write this only because she finally went down for an evening nap. I'm hoping she'll sleep through dinner so I can eat with both hands.

I hoped that Kellymom might solve my problem, but all she really had to say is that I'm in good company.

The great thing, though, is that I have the perspective of life with an almost-three-year-old. I know how fleeting this period is. I know that Charlotte will be past this before I can blink. And so what I'll do tonight-- as I have most every night-- is settle on the couch with Miss Priss, find a good movie on tv, and nurse, love, and cherish my newborn babe.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Caught It!

Not her first smile, but her first one on camera:


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Signs You Have More Than One Kid

When my child had a 30-minute tantrum at the door today after his babysitter left, my only thought was, "Well, at least he's occupied."