Friday, November 21, 2014

How am I supposed to know?

A few weeks ago, Jude was up almost every hour during a night screaming.  I'd go in, try to comfort him, ask him what was wrong.  He doesn't have a ton of words, but generally he can get his point across.  When I'd ask what was wrong, each time there was a different answer: TOES HURT!! Tummy owie!! EAR!  (the toes thing is a Jude specialty usually indicating some general discomfort)  At some point I gave him a little tylenol, and weathered the storm, but getting more and more tired, frustrated, and angry with each awakening.  At one point I'm sure I even yelled at him, "what is wrong with you?!?!"

The next morning after fighting over breakfast, getting Milo to school, Mike came home, and I had to leave for a meeting.  I told him about the night, suggested that if he didn't get any better that we get him in to see our family doc and check his ears.  Sure enough, he had blown out his ear drum, and we started antibiotics.

This week on a walk, Jude started out happy and chatty, riding happily in the stroller.  As the walk went along, he started whining a little bit.  I asked him what was wrong, he whined some more, said his shoes were owie.  Okay Jude, I'll loosen them.  Still whining, not crying like in pain, just whining.  What's wrong?  More whining.  I turned on some music on my phone trying to distract him and me.  More whining, louder and more insistent as I tried to ignore him.  What's wrong Jude?  More whining.  I finally took his shoes off and threw them in the basket under the stroller.  He erupted, thrashing and screaming.  I got down on his level and tried to reason with him: if your shoes are owie, you can ride without them, we'll check them out when we get home.  No reasoning with him, screaming, hitting, kicking.

As I walked the last 10 minutes of our walk thru the neighborhoods, I thankfully only passed one person who gave me a condescending look like, "what is wrong with you? your poor child needs something from you and you are neglecting him"  We finally got home, Jude still screaming.  I put him on the deck, put away the stroller, and walked into the house.  I held the door for the wailing minion, and he followed me in, still screaming.  I made sure there wasn't anything scary out, filled his water bottle and left it within his reach, and I went and took a shower.  He calmed down while I was in the shower and finally stopped.  Mike came home shortly, and Jude was all cute and smiles.  Rascal.

How am I supposed to know when there's something I can do/should do, and when he's simply being irrational.  There's no indicator lights or concrete warning signs.  And now that time-outs are being yanked from my parenting tool belt, I'm left with a feeling of powerlessness and parental guilt.  Yippee.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brotherly manipulation...

Both my boys are smart, and this isn't just a proud momma talking, but Milo's starting to understand the strength of his knowledge.  He recognizes what Jude likes and prefers and is completely using that for his own benefit.

Case in point:  Milo's favorite show right now is Octonauts on Disney, a cute show that teaches about marine animals and features a crew including a dog, cat, penguin, and others, lead by Captain Barnacles, a polar bear, thus the appeal.  Jude's favorite things include kitties, candy, cars, etc.  In the morning, especially if I'm moving a little slow or need a little time to myself, I do turn on the baby crack, ur I mean the TV.  I usually try to let them discuss and agree upon what to watch.  Milo asked, "Jude, want to watch the kitty?" "Yeah! Sure!" says Jude.  "Okay, Mommy, Jude wants to watch Octonauts!"


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quirky tales of the Dude...

Some hilarious moments in the life of Jude this summer.  Tale one opens on Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh on the 4th of July.  The city does an amazing festival with live music, fair food, performers, craft tents, bouncies, train ride, and lots and lots of red, white, and blue.

While meandering the fair a little earlier in the day with Nana and Booka, we happened upon an orchestra playing on the lawn of the capital, stayed and listened for a bit, then headed back up the street to meet up with Daddy and Milo.  Just off the lawn was one of those performers painted and dressed like a statue, standing next to a placard in the lawn, and he was working it.

He had a suitcase in front of him with a sign that said something to the affect of, put a dollar in and maybe he'll move, maybe he won't.  We gave Jude a dollar and sent him to put it in the suitcase.  He walked right up, placed the offering, and walked away.  When nothing happened, he walked back toward his dollar, the man moved, and the poor kid jumped out of his skin, screaming louder and higher than I've ever hear him!  He leapt into my arms, hugging me tight, peaking around my neck, eying his nemesis.  The statue-man may have been just as startled, and he appeared to feel badly.  He reached behind him and pulled an over-sized $100,000 bill and handed it to Jude.  Without releasing me, Jude eyed the man, and reached for the treasure.

Needless to say, Nana, Booka, and I laughed and giggled and cuddled my poor, traumatized child until we met up with Mike and relayed the adventure.  Milo instantly swiped Jude's "money," and Jude stayed in my arms for a good long while.

Tale 2 happened while we were at the beach with the Rohls, staying in a hotel suite larger than any of the apartments I've lived in.  Our family shared a room with 2 beds, Jude was in a little nest we built on the floor at the end of Milo's bed, big brother was in one bed, and Mike and I in the other.  At one point, I'm fairly certain that Milo fell out of his bed and onto his head.  He started this half-awake crying/moaning thing.  I pushed Mike out of bed to go soothe his son.

Mike did his best, even snuggling in bed with the mostly incoherent Milo.  Milo just kept crying out for me, and though we were pretty sure that he was mostly asleep, we placated and placed him in our bed, between me and the wall.

At this point, Mike was taking over Milo's bed, and tossing Milo his various sleeping buddies.  He said something like, here come the blankies, at which point Jude wordlessly popped up from his nest on the floor, ran around the side of the bed, snapped up Milo's beloved duckie blanket, ran back to his nest, snuggled in, and we didn't hear a peep out of him until the morning.  Mike and I tried to contain our laughter as the boys slept on!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Theological discussions with a 4-year-old...

While driving in the car today, this is the conversation that occurred between Milo and me while Jude was taking a little baby-reboot.  I'll try and relay it as verbatim as possible:

Milo: Is Jesus in everyone's tummy?
Me: No, you have to ask Jesus into your heart.
Milo: Is God in my tummy?
Me: Have you asked Him to come into your heart?
Milo: Yes.
Me: Then yes, He's in your heart.
Milo: Why do you have to ask Him?
Me: Because He doesn't want to tell you what to do.  He wants you decide if you want Him to come into your heart.
Milo: Will He always be in my heart?
Me: Yup.  He'll never leave you.  Once you ask Him to be with you, He'll always be there.  Like at night when you have scary dreams, and we talk about how you can ask Jesus to be with you and calm your heart so you're not scared.  God wants to talk to you all the time, about whatever you want.  You can talk to God about when you're mad or excited, happy about something or scared.  Yesterday I told Jesus how thankful I was that He gave me two sweet boys who are such great brothers.
Milo: How is God in my heart?
Me: {I'm imaging his brain working out the idea of a tiny man running around in the 4-chambers of his beating heart} God is not always a guy.  Jesus was a man when He came to earth, but now He's just God.  It's kinda tricky to explain, buddy…  God's more like a spirit.  God's kinda like the wind, you can feel Him, but you can't always see Him.  Like when I blow on you, you can feel my breath, but you can't see it, right?
Milo: Yeah…
Me: So God's kinda like that.  You can feel Him, but you can't see Him like a regular person.  I know this is tricky, it's still really tricky for me, that's why I go to church so I can try and figure this stuff out too.  Does that kinda make sense?
Milo: I think so.

{Maybe not, but I'm praying I'm not totally messing with him and Jesus.}

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Dude abides...

Though I haven't seen the Big Lebowski, this seems ridiculously appropriate for Jude.  Maybe because we always called Milo, Milo Man, so when Jude came along he needed a label too, so it was naturally Jude the Dude.  Before we knew anything about his personality, he was The Dude.  And he abides.  As he has grown in his personality, it works.  He abides.

Mostly, he's not terribly worked up about anything, which for a 1-year-old who doesn't really speak, is pretty impressive.  You put him on the floor with a few toys or interesting things to check out, and he just chills.  Put him in a room full of strangers, and though he'll recognize my absence, he'll flirt his way into the hearts of anyone interested.  We've started to use baby-gates to block the downstairs, mostly because I don't want him to meander over there and just fall down, not because I worry about him trying stairs on his own; he's totally happy seeing the blockades and playing within the boundaries.  We've never had a hard time dropping him in nursery at church, and aside from trying to recover him from his journey up north with Grammie and TomTom, he's happy with whomever he's with.

When he does recognize something he wants, he rubs his belly, his version of rubbing his chest, the sign for "please."  He used to sign "more" for everything, but now he's more civilized, and I think recognized that people though "please" was cuter than "more" and thus responded more promptly.  His sign for "thank you" and blowing a kiss are very similar, but really, the meanings aren't too far off.  
 He's started scooting in the last couple of weeks, vastly delayed on the developmental charts at the doctor's office.  He's thinking about pulling up, but has no interest in taking any steps, and mostly I think it's because he's pretty happy where he's at.  He abides.  I observe younger siblings everywhere trying with great frustration to keep up with big brother or sister, and Jude really doesn't seem to care.  Don't get me wrong, he loves Milo, thinks he's hilarious, and does generally want whatever Milo has, but more so because I think he's tuned into what big brother does and wants to take part.  Not because he wants to keep up with him, but because he wants to be a part of the fun.
When I tucked Milo in tonight, Jude was still awake.  I told Milo to be quiet and not rile Jude up, but I could already hear Jude giggling: he knew Milo was there, and that's great.  He shares the space of their bedroom with his brother; he gets to take part.  And though Milo doesn't always see things the same way, I know he feels it too.  When Jude was with Grammie and TomTom, as much as he liked having Mike and me to himself, he told me he missed Jude, especially at night when "who was going to sleep with him?"  I'm so glad that my boys are already friends, I literally prayed for this while waiting in a delivery room at the hospital the morning Jude was born.

That crazy song...

Our neighbor gave the boys an unprovoked gift a few days ago, a CD of scripture to music.  It's a little kidish, but catchy, and there's one song on there that Milo loves, that he calls the Crazy Song because it's really repetitive.  Oddly enough, he wants to listen to it over and over and over and over again.  It's II Thessalonians 3:13, and it says "I will never tire of doing what is good."

Huh, I do tire of doing what is good.  Most of the time I quit doing good long before I tire of it.  Maybe that's how I turned into a mom that yells.  I never wanted to become a mom who yelled, but especially my eldest really pushes my buttons, asking questions all the time to which he already knows the answer, needing help for doing things I know he's totally capable of doing, whining {insert "whining-slash" in my mom's voice}, saying things like "then I'll do nothing" with the snottiest attitude, literally throwing himself on the floor when he doesn't get his way, crying alligator tears over stepping on the toys that he himself has strewn all over the floor, expecting things from Jude that I expect from him, wanting me to hold him, all the time.

As a regular human, I am incapable of following all these interactions with doing what is good.  I can't even muster doing what is neutral or negligibly not wrong, aka yelling.  I guess that's why I really shouldn't expect to do it on my own.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Last Suppers...

Milo says goodbye to Ms. Jackie and buddy Kayla :(
Been noticing recently that significant people have been moving in and out of our lives on an annoyingly regular basis.  My friend Blythe once said that it was her fault that we moved from OH to NC because her good friends always move away, and I'm starting to recognize this phenomena.  Ours has a slightly different caveat, several of my friends flee the country.

Though it makes me sad, I am eternally grateful for the season we shared with them, the ways in which they walked thru life with us, loved on our kids, the memories we have shared, and the many, many unique places we now have people to stay with when we travel.

Ms. Carolyn with Annie, Jude's first crush ;)
With one family who recently was relocated to Germany for the dad/husband's work for at least 3 years, I had the privilege to share a meal with them right before they left.  As we sat on their deck sharing this supper, Nathan made the observation that this was the last dinner in their house before they left.  I was struck by this, the somberness of the moment, the finality of it, but the great significance as well.  Nathan and Angela are almost singularly responsible for our current NC family, aka our church.  The first time we visited the church, while I was in the bathroom changing a diaper, Nathan started chatting easily and naturally with Mike.   As many of you know, Mike's not a social butterfly, so this manly conversation amongst scientists was a winning moment for him; we could and did belong here with this easy family of friends.  This family would fill needs that our long-distant blood-family simply couldn't due to geography.  This family would demonstrate what it means to be brothers and sisters in the Father.

Other friends have come and gone in miraculously timely moments as needs have arisen or as other friends have been called elsewhere; Jackie and our perfectly-timed sabbatical in OH who was walking thru an amazingly similar time and situation in life, then sweet Carolyn provided ridiculous love and support during a particularly sensitive time for me before she had to move home to PA.  Just as she was moving, I met my gracious Eunice who continued that loving support and friendship.  Eunice has just moved home to Korea, and I'm anxious to see what's in store for me now.  And then there's Suzanne, the mom I randomly met touring Milo's school, who's son is now Milo's BFF.  Everything covered before I know what to ask for.
Sweet Eunice!

But with all these supplications come the bitter-sweet final suppers.  We'll hold on to the memories, look forward to trips to spend time together again, skype when we can, stalk them on FB, and enjoy the visits whenever the happen, like Sarah and Alex and Blythe and Pete in the past 10 days.  Thanks friends.  We love and miss you, but will always celebrate with you whenever we can!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Milo and Jude's Excellent Adventure: Days 3-8

Convincing Kayla that brothers aren't all bad;
they didn't know if they were having a boy or girl 

Slowly but surely I will get all this recorded!  After staying with the Cotters, we hit the road Sunday morning in time to get to our church in Toledo, OH.  Actually, we were a couple minutes late, but hey, I think we did pretty good.  On the way from Columbus, Milo talked about seeing Miss Jackie and Kayla, and then totally fixated on our friends' kids Isaac and Eddie: were they going to be in Sunday School, was he going to get to play with them, were we going to there house?!?  Yes, Eddie was in Sunday School, though he didn't get to go to their house.

After church, we mingled and saw so many missed friends, too many to mention for sure, but Jude and Milo both kinda melted down, Jude was tired, Milo had a nasty run-in with a dollhouse in Sunday School and had a pretty good scrape up his leg, so with the beloved assistance of Miss Sarah and Miss Miriam, we made it to our car and headed to Miss Jackie and Kayla's house.

Thank you Bryan!!

As some of you may remember, I referenced Jackie in an earlier post about the art of "dating" a new friend.  And she's a winner.  Now one of my closest friends, we shared in each other's lives at a crucial point after randomly meeting at a toddler library time.  She was exactly what I needed and I hope I gave to her in a similar way.  And Kayla and Milo are months apart, and now Jude and Claire are also months apart.  Can we say double arranged marriages?  ;)  Milo and Jude took short rests while Jackie and I caught up, and her sweet husband Bryan fixed us an amazing roasted chicken dinner from his British roots complete with Yorkshire pudding!  Yum!  At the time, Jackie was very pregnant with Claire, and it was so fun to share once again with this new stage in life, me with Jude and her preparing for Claire.

Sunday evening, Mike and I's small group from church got together a potluck dinner and spoiled me and the boys with attention, great food, and lots of love.  Mike and I both miss this great group of people, and though we only spent a few precious months with them, we feel like they are family.  Amazing what busting into the Word will do for deepening relationships quickly and effectively.

Singing with Brother Hammond at Arts Camp

And from that night on, we spent our sleeping hours, and quite a few waking hours too, with the Trumbull family.  My sweet friend and mentor Sue, the children's minister at our church, sort of took me under her wing while I was there, and I am forever grateful for her attention and friendship.  Sue opened doors for ministry options for me while I was there, but most importantly to me, just spoke kind, wise words into my life.  And Sue's family, her amazing husband Mike, and her quality 4 kids, made my visit to Toledo unforgettable!  Together, along with countless other souls, worked our little tails off at Sue's brainchild, Arts Camp, where our church partnered with the intercity Toledo Y to teach and expose kids to all kinds of great forms of art; this year they had the incredible opportunity to see an actual potter throw pots, try their hands at painting, drawing, singing, general creating, pottery, drumming, all while hearing the Gospel at every turn.  Ask me some time to expand and tell you more, but for now, I want to tell you about the Trumbulls in all this.

A drum corp came in and taught the kids
and brought enough drum sets for everyone
to actually play, even the leaders :)

Sue is the head honcho: she does it all, sees it all, and hilariously, needs to know about all (try surprising her for her birthday Tuesday that week, but nosey leader that she is... :) Mike, in and amongst working full-time, did a little bit of everything, but was a huge part in allowing me to be part of this whole thing.  Sue let me be a "leader" meaning I was ultimately in charge of a group of 10-15 kids, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Oh yeah, and I had 12 wk old Jude with me, nursing, bjorned and sometimes napping, sometimes in the nursery, but mostly with me.  So Mike and also her amazingly mature and fantastic daughter Jessica were with me, leading these kids, bonding with them, keeping them in line, but also making sure they were having an incredible time.  Her oldest son Daniel was also a leader in another group, Andrew came up with projects for and taught painting everyday to all of the approximately 100 kids there, and Nathan  also helped lead groups.  Her whole family was there from start to finish every day, and then went home to laugh and tell stories.  Tuesday night, Sue's birthday, we ended up staying up until well past midnight, opening gifts, them telling hilarious family stories, and cutting out these amazingly intricate shoes for kids to use in a painting project in Andrew's classes the next day.  Ridiculous side note: all of Sue's kids are incredible with children, but the two oldest boys have this thing with babies and were just lovin' on Jude.  That Tuesday night, Daniel rocked Jude to sleep, and then just sat holding him in his lap for about 2 hours while we all chatted; Jude slept until 5am the next morning, thank you Daniel-voodoo!  There's nothing like staying with a family to really see them for what they are, and I'm only sorry that it took us moving halfway across the country for me to know all of them like that.  I miss the whole family and hope any of them come see us sometime.
Kendra's daughter Layla sharing her beloved
giraffe with Jude

Where was Milo in all this, you ask?  He stayed in Toledo Sunday and Monday, then Monday night, Sue and I and the boys (the only time during the week Sue and I could actually get real face-time) drove down into IN and met up with my dad.  Heather, Dad, and Mom rotated Milo patrol and working so that he wouldn't have so many long days and nights at church.  Considering all he went through in the weeks to come, I think this was good; he got some QT with the 3 of them, and I didn't feel so guilty.

While in Toledo, when not at Arts Camp, I also got to catch up with my gardening guru friend Alison, my dear kindred spirit Kendra from church, and Eddie and Isaac and their parents Blythe and Pete.  I miss all of these friends more than I ever anticipated when we moved to Toledo.  Who knew I would make such strong bonds in such a short time.  I love all these people, and as with the Trumbulls, only hope and pray that they might find their ways to our area of the country so we might love on them as they have loved on us.

Thursday was a tough day for Jude at Arts Camp, and though we had planned to stay for dinner and the closing program that night, we hit the road earlier to head to IN.  After getting there and getting the boys to bed, went through and repacked and shuffled everything in our car so Dad could leave in my car at about 4am on Friday to drive it to the Des Moines Airport.  At about 7am Friday morning, Heather drove Mom and me with Milo and Jude to the Indy Airport to fly to Seattle, WA to hook up with the Cudas for a couple of days.  But that's the next part of this adventure!