When Your Kid Is THAT Kid

When your kid is THAT kid

For most people, it seems like it’s the second child who is THAT kid. The wild one, the one for whom you have to create the rules, the one who is causing you to run wildly all over the place while your friends sit and sip coffee and their obedient children give you the side-eye.

For me, it wasn’t. My second child was an awful baby. He was lactose intolerant, wanted to be held nonstop, and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 15 months. But then he became the easiest toddler in the world. At 4 1/2, he is still quiet, focused, brilliant, and altogether pretty easy to parent.

But then we had a third.

And my Joshua is THAT kid.

See above: while waiting for his brother and sister to be done at the dentist’s office, Joshua grabbed a Sesame Street book and climbed into a stranger’s lap and insisted said stranger read him the book. (Note: the stranger obliged, for which I am very grateful.)

When your kid is THAT kid

I’m pretty sure Joshua exited the womb with a sneaky grin on his face. He has always been giggly and finds everything hilarious. At 2, he makes silly voices and tries to trick Mommy and Daddy by hiding behind doors.

It’s not all fun and games, of course. He also runs away in parking lots, refuses to obey any and all rules, swings from stair rails, and I live in fear that he will break all his bones or bust his head open on a daily basis.

So what do you do when your kid is THAT kid? When people give you funny looks because you’re nonchalantly watching at your child runs laps in a public place or dives from chairs onto your lap 36 times or is singing loudly at the grocery store?

You take deep breaths. You try to keep him safe while letting him have free reign and make his own mistakes. You remember that he belongs to God and not to you.

blue tongue toddler

You make peace with the fact that most parents see the inside of the ER with their child. You figure out what is a big deal and what is not. And you pray. And pray and pray and PRAY.

Most of all, you try not to worry about what other people think. It’s what God thinks that matters. So others may think I need to discipline more/less, structure more/less, school him, unschool him, go back to work, work less … but I have to keep my mind on what God has for him and our family.

I pray that one day my sweet Joshua will aim that joy to rejoicing in Jesus.

smiling toddler

 

I Love Valentine’s Day! by William Summey

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One of my favorite parts of Valentine’s Day is helping the boys pick out their Valentine cards for school. They are not that much different than the cards I picked out as a young boy, except for the characters on the front of the cards (although I think Scooby-Doo® has remained popular across all these years). And this year? My sons both picked out NASCAR® cards to give to their friends!

Although Valentine’s Day is about more than giving chocolate and flowers, these tokens of love still remind us of the source of unconditional love — God. Perhaps our greatest task in parenting is to show our children unconditional love on a regular basis. If you are like me, when I am tired, frustrated, or angry, I realize that I can only love my children unconditionally with God’s help. So as you open your cards and eat candy hearts, remember to give thanks to God for sending Jesus — His greatest gift of love!

What do you plan to do this year with your kids on Valentine’s Day? What are your Valentine’s Day traditions?

Originally published February 12, 2009. 

Resolution Baby Steps by Jessie Weaver

Resolution Baby Steps

source: Emily Price

I went to see my chiropractor today. He asked me how I was feeling, I guess wanting to gauge how things have been and where to start.

“I actually feel great, ” I told him. “No lower back pain at all.”

For me to be able to say that is enormous. Over the last 4 years, I have struggled through immense pain; numerous episodes of my back being thrown out, spasming, and being unable to get out of bed; and who knows how many chiro, doctor, physical therapy, and spine specialist appointments. During my last pregnancy, my disc herniated, leaving me with sciatica that didn’t dissipate after the baby was born. (So a newborn and constant pain in the calf – woohoo!)

As I talked to my doctor, I realized the baby steps I’ve made toward healthier living and taking care of my back and myself. I started with physical therapy exercises. In September, I joined the YMCA and have been going faithfully to work on the elliptical or take water aerobics or Zumba classes. And then last week, I decided it was time to tackle diet. I made a fairly drastic change in my diet, but have taken so many baby steps toward healthier eating in the last few years that I know what to do and how to eat for health. I just haven’t always done it.

It’s not how most resolutions work, is it? We like to jump in, erase the drawing board, get results as fast as we can get a Big Mac at McDonald’s (which of course we would never do anymore … until January 20 or so rolls around, and we are hungry and tired of salads).

Whatever your resolution this year, may I suggest you take the whole year to establish it? Break it down into 12 baby steps to implement over the year. It may not be as fun or drastic. But I am guessing it will be a whole lot more feasible for you. And yes, parents, this may involve taking time for yourself. I know it’s hard! But we want our kids to see us as people … not just as their mom or dad, who gives them whatever they want and caters to their every demand.

Read a chapter of the Bible … exercise for 10 minutes … drink one glass of water. Just do something! And gradually, change will come.

 

Raising a P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S.

RaisingAPrincess_CVRWith the success of the movie “Frozen” princesses are back in the spotlight, and much is made about raising daughters to be a princesses, but what does that really mean? Former Alabama defensive back John Croyle, and founder of child safe-haven Big Oak Ranch, believes the answer lies in Proverbs 31: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in her gates” (vv. 28-31).

In his new book, Raising a Princess (B&H Books, May 2014), Croyle walks through the importance of raising young women in a biblical, strong, and compassionate manner. Touching on themes of unconditional love, failure, and trust, Croyle offers nearly four decades of wisdom in raising a godly woman from a dad’s perspective.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house we lived in, the kind of car we drove, or how much money we had in the bank,” says Croyle, author of The Two Minute Drill to Manhood, which looks at what it means to raise godly young men. “But the world may be different because you and I were important in the life of a child.”

In The Two Minute Drill to Manhood, he tackles the necessities of equipping young men in the most pivotal moments of their adolescence. However, in Raising a Princess Croyle writes with a different end in mind: womanhood. The end is a Proverbs 31 woman and Croyle provides parenting techniques to help the reader raise their princess to someday be a queen. Croyle’s specific approach to raising young women is spelled out through the acronym P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S:

Praiseworthiness – A princess understands she is worthy of praise simply because she is made in the image of God.

Righteousness – She lives according to God’s normal, not the world’s normal.

Initiative – A princess makes good things happen.

Nurture – God built into girls and women an instinct to nurture that boys and men simply don’t have in the same way.

Character – A girl of character knows what her deepest desires are and chooses accordingly.

Empowerment – Your princess needs to understand life isn’t just something that happens to her. She has the power to choose.

Servant-Heartedness – A princess finds purpose not in being served, but in serving others.

Stability – As stability is provided for daughters, they will grow into the kind of people who help create stability for others.

John Croyle was an All-American defensive end at the University of Alabama during apic_administration4 renowned title run under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Croyle declined a career in the National Football League and instead went on to found and develop the Big Oak Ranch for Boys. Over the next few decades they worked to start the Girls’ Ranch as well as the Westbrook Christian School. He and his wife, Tee, together have raised hundreds of young men and women, including their daughter and Big Oak child care director, Reagan Croyle Phillips, as well as their son and former NFL quarterback Brodie Croyle. For more information, please visit www.bigoak.org.

An Artist, A Friend

This past Friday I went with some of the other moms from my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group to a painting class. You’ve probably seen pictures on Facebook of these classes; everyone paints a version of the same picture. The teacher has a starting image, then paints alongside you, guiding you but also letting you get creative with the base image.

paintingclass

 

That’s me on the far left. And I LOVE my tree.

But what I loved more was being with friends for a couple of hours. We talked about sewing and crocheting, cruise trips and beach vacations, potty training and sleep schedules, and a couple things that are too darn weird and/or gross to disclose here. (I blame Stephanie.) We joked with the artist, maybe drove her crazy with our different attitudes toward our paintings.

It always does my heart good to be in the company of other women, especially without my kiddos. I adore my kids. But I am with them almost 24/7 some weeks. I need some kid-free time occasionally to remember how to be ME. Just like we’re advised to still date our spouses once we have kids come along so we can remember how we function as couples, having time with friends reminds us that we are all women. Not just moms.

I wasn’t sure I’d really enjoy the painting part of the evening. I didn’t especially like the painting we were going to paint. When we decided to switch at the last minute, I knew I would at least like the finished product. But I was sure my artistic skills weren’t up to par.

I found something in me releasing, though, as I started with the beautiful sunset sky. I wanted the lightest of colors, the biggest swirls, and whimsy. I wanted my tree to dip and dive, I wanted a rolling hill, I wanted to feel my picture. I was brought back to memories of oil pastels and watercolors, painting at our kitchen table in Richmond, Virginia, as a child and teen.

I draw badly. But my painting, it’s not too bad! I loved glimpsing the creative side of myself. Usually my creativity is expressed in writing, and it’s nice to delve into a different branch every once in awhile!

So I remembered Friday night not only that I am a woman and a friend but also that I am an artist. Someone who loves to create. We are multi-faceted people. God created us that way! So take some time, as we end the week and get into the weekend, to remember you are more than a parent. Parenting is of utmost importance … but you are other things, too. And that is wonderful.

Reconnect With Your Spouse

It’s important for new moms to remember that new dads have their own share of stress, most keeping full-time jobs in addition to helping with the new baby at home. Both parents should attempt be sympathetic to the other’s needs. One vital need: Time with each other! Consider the following ways to keep your marriage strong.

1. Make time for just the two of you- Finding time to spend together alone is always harder than in seems. Strive to make a date at least once a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate- in every way possible. Schedule a time to talk about subjects other than the baby. Speak on the phone, and send text messages and emails throughout the day.

3. Play! Take up a new hobby together. Always wanted to go antiquing or learn to play golf? Whether you bring the baby along, or utilize caregivers, do it together.

Real Life Solutions With Dr. Linda Mintle

Q: My sister tells me I am too uptight about getting my toddler to sleep every night. She allows her three-year-old to stay up late, sleep in the next day and take naps if he is tired. She does not have him on any sleep routine. What do you think of this?

A: When you talk to sleep experts, they will tell you that a consistent sleep routine is important for a toddler. Sleep actually helps a baby’s brain grow! A study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that inconsistent sleep may contribute to obesity later in life. The study also noted that napping does not replace the benefits of nighttime sleep. According to the CDC, three to five-year-olds need 11-13 hours of nighttime sleep. So, yes, a toddler needs a regular bedtime. Since a lack of sleep can create problems opt for the regular bedtime routine and be patience. A toddler may need help to wind down by reading a book, taking a warm bath or doing something quiet before bedtime. Of course, parents need to avoid chocolate, sodas and even juices before bedtime. A warm cup of milk is calming. Then, make sure there is a consistent wake up time as well, as oversleeping and prolonged napping can create sleep problems. The atmosphere should be quiet and peaceful. Some toddlers like a little music to relax them as well. Even small things like keeping the room temperature comfortable and the house quiet can aid a good night’s sleep. And you are setting habits for the future. Most of us do best with a regular sleep routine as well.

Resource: Take Charge of Your Child’s Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens by Owens and Midell (Marlowe & Company, 2005.

Connecting with your daughter

Are you looking for more ideas for connecting with your daughter after reading ParentLife this month? Here are some outings that might be fun and a few extra resources that might come in handy.

Outing Ideas:
• Sporty girl – walks, bike rides, or a Frisbee make for some free fun
• Artists – bring sketch books to a park, paint pottery, or visit a local museum
• Mind stretches – play a game, write stories together, do a puzzle
• On the go – grab some ice cream, run an errand, keep a deck of cards in the car for a game of War or Slapjack for a quick stop at a coffee shop

Resources:
• The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Smalley
• The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias
• Your Girl by Vicki Courtney
• Passport to Purity by Dennis and Barb Rainey

Real Life Solutions With Dr. Linda Mintle

Q. I am a new mom and love to be out in the sun during this time of year. A friend of mine told me to be more careful and cover up my baby from the sun. Is this really a big deal?

A. Absolutely. Most sun damage occurs in childhood. Sun exposure builds over the years and can create problems later in life. Babies can get sunburned and their tender skin can’t handle the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. A baby under the age of six months should not be exposed to direct sunlight. And even though it is hot, cover your baby with light cotton clothing to protect her skin. Limit her exposure to the sun during the peak hours of ultraviolet rays—10:00a.m to 4:00p.m. Shade her whenever possible. Most baby carriers have sunshades built in, car shades can be use when she is in her car seat and umbrellas, baby tents and other shading devices can be used as added protection. Use sunscreen designed for infants with at least an SPF of 15, even on hazy days. Apply the sunscreen at least an hour before going out and reapply it often. Hats are also a good way to protect the face and they look really cute! Keep in mind that if you live in a high altitude, sun exposure is greater. If your baby gets sunburned and is showing blisters, fever, chills headache or appears ill, contact your pediatrician immediately. Sunburn can lead to dehydration and is treated like a serious burn. So yes, your friend was right. It is a big deal!

Resource: Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby’s First Year by Denise Fields & Ari Brown M.D. Windsor Peak Press; Fifth Edition, Revised, 5th ed. edition (September 1, 2011)

Sick Kids and Self Doubt by Jessie Weaver

When Libbie was about a year old, I was living with her by myself in our condo in Nashville. My husband was in Chattanooga during the workweek, and I was waiting on our condo to sell. (Ha. That’s been a year and a half. Still own it.)

Libbie was playing around our kitchen island, and I picked her up. And knocked her forehead into the edge of the island.

Libbie wailed. I wailed. I felt like the Worst Mother of the Year award was right there for my taking. And I called my pediatrician’s office, who called my doctor, and then my doctor called me. Just so I could find out, really, it wasn’t that big of a deal. As long as she had a bump, it was OK.

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This weekend I’ve been attending to a baby with a mid-grade fever … not quite high enough to panic, not quite low enough to feel at ease with. I find myself in the same battle I always face: should I call the doctor? Is it a big deal? Sure, I’m supposed to trust my mother’s intuition … but I think it’s a little clouded by the worry a mother has for her sick babies.

The self-doubt is my least favorite part of parenting.

It makes me even more glad that my husband and I are not in it alone. Not only do we have friends, family, a church that loves us, Dr. Google, and Twitter, MD—we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us and our kids.

“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

For some reason, it’s struck me as beautiful lately how God and Jesus are Father and Husband—the two things Jesus was not literally on this earth. God, as Trinity, fulfills every role to us. He is beyond measure.

Because of this, I can muster up some confidence. And if I fall flat on my face as a parent, or go to the doctor when it’s just the sniffles … well, both God and the pediatrician will forgive.

originally published june 2011

When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three kids under 5.