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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Night shift

Exit Mary Poppins, enter the reinforcements. Having Mike and Wendy here--mostly known as Grandma and Grandaddy, was WONDERFUL!! They basically took up right where Mom left off (and Dad too!) ... How blessed are we to have two GREAT sets of Grandparents??!! They have taken the boys to and from school, bought food, played games, handed out prizes, held the baby, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned toilets! You name it.
Below 3 or 4 wks... I have got to do a better job of journalling...

Below: Caleb @ 4wks.

They left last Saturday, and so we have been on our own for a week. The first week for me to have all three kids alone during the day has gone well overall. The trickiest part has been figuring out the school routine. We are still figuring it out. Luke's school starts @ 12:00. I pick up Jon David at 2:45, and then Luke at 3:10. On Monday, Luke does not go to school, which worked out extremely well for me this week, b/c Caleb cried on the way to and from us picking up JD. Thankfully, the other days he did much better. He fussed some, and then he would just settle down and go to sleep in his car seat--yay! But that was this week. What does next week hold? I feel like my entire day is structured around preparing for drop off, or pick up, or actually dropping off or picking up... Pour Caleb. Third kids really do get lugged around everywhere.

Spiritually, I have had a couple of epiphanal moments (I don't think that is really a word). I remember when I first had JD and Luke, I felt like God taught me a lot about his nature. For instance, Jon David used to fight going to sleep a lot. As we struggled to settle him down, I envisioned God doing the same with us, wishing so much that we would just let go of whatever it was... Just let him have our worries, fears, and just relax in His arms.
Also, in the same way that I watch my children play, I think that God enjoys watching us go about our day. Sometimes I feel that I stress over how to spend time with God, how to pray, how to study the Bible, how much to do in church, what to be involved in, etc...
While I absolutely believe that God takes joy in us doing all of those things, I believe that He also wants to enjoy his creation (us), and loves to see us loving life, and just "being," the same way that Jon David and Luke don't always have to do certain things "to" or "for" me. I mean, I LOVE it when they talk to me, or want to tell me about their day (good and bad), but I also love watching them play games together, playing soccer, walking to school, eating, even sleeping (they look so angelic when they sleep).
Well, recently, with Caleb, I feel that God is teaching me some new spiritual life lessons. I hope that I can express this the right way. It's difficult to express something that I feel so strongly.
Not too long ago, I learned of my sister Sarah and her husband's loss of some very dear friends to a car accident. Also, a friend from Tuscaloosa randomly lost her husband to a freak virus that attacked his heart (I think) earlier this year. Last year, we heard about a 5th grade girl who also died suddenly of unexplainable health issues that occurred out of the blue... I could go on with various stories of friends, family, acquaintances, or strangers who have suffered untold losses, or sickness, or just harshness of life. I really struggle with these types of stories. I guess sometimes I handle them better than others. But I think at the root of my struggle is: the more I get to know God's nature, the more I don't understand "why..." I mean, it seems so horrible. I find myself grasping desperately at explanations, whether realistic or not... perhaps finding someone to blame at times, and then realizing that blaming is absurd...
Anyway, sweet Caleb is a typical newborn in that he gets fussy occasionally, or a lot :). One of the things that I have found that works with him is to let him suck on my finger. One day, I was rocking him and he was sucking on my finger. As I watched him, I noticed that he seemed so frantic, in pain occasionally even. He would start to get revved up again, and then chomp down on my finger and settle down fitfully. In that moment, I pictured myself as the infant and God as the parent. In the same way that sweet little Caleb has NO IDEA why he is hungry, or upset or in pain, or whatever, I have NO IDEA what the reasons are behind tragedy and heartache. And so just as Caleb sucks on my finger as if for dear life, so I am just supposed to cling to God, without understanding-- even if just by the hem of his garment. There is a sense of desperation in a newborn when he/she finds something that is soothing (Caleb is the same with nursing... If he has been screaming, when he is finally offered my breast, he sometimes will latch on fearfully with his whole body. Again, as if it's the only thing he knows to do). As tears formed in my eyes, I realized that I am to "latch on" with that same sense of desperation.--when I don't understand, or when I'm afraid for myself or my own family frankly... Just cling to the Father for dear life, because my life really does depend on me doing just that.

Back to labor and delivery briefly. Towards the end, before my mid-wife suggested the pitossin, she said that she sensed that I was not letting the baby come down, that I seemed afraid. Afraid of the pain. She said that I needed to stop fearing the pain, and just let go. From that moment on, whenever I pushed, I remember pushing as if I was pushing towards the goal through the pain. Jesus' death on the cross is such a powerful image and comfort during those moments. Talk about acknowledging pain and pushing through it... I can never relate to what He went through, but I believe it's what helped me get through. It was a very spiritual experience.

I feel extremely blessed to have Caleb. God has blessed us tremendously with support and love. Emotionally, I feel a difference between now and the previous two births and post-births. I don't feel quite as blind-sighted. The first week by myself has gone pretty well. I did it!
I am feeling a little down today, though... Call it hormones, or tired of holding a fussy baby, or just tired. I don't know. Hopefully the tomorrow's sky will be a little brighter.
Oh... that's another thing. It has been raining a lot here. So blame it on the rain!

It is now tomorrow, and yes, the sun is shining. But last night wasn't so great. I was a little depressed today, because I was determined to go to church this morning. But when 6:00 A.M. came and I had been up since 3:00... and for a feeding once before then, well, I fell back asleep. And when Don brought Caleb into me to feed after 7:00, we both stayed asleep. The next thing I knew, it was 9ish. And he has been fussy today! Ugh... We knew it would be hard, right? Momma said... But then he smiled at me today! Sweet boy! I can't wait to capture that on camera. It's still too few and far between. But it's adorable!

Yesterday, I was holding Caleb, and I saw Luke put his hands over Caleb's eyes. I said, "Luke, don't touch his eyes." He said "I was just touching his eye growels." Ha! Finally figured out he meant eye brows.
I went to visit him at school on Friday. He and his class went on a pretend camping trip. Their teacher is wonderful! It was fun to see him there. He had a blue popsicle for lunch, so his mouth is a little blue.

And the boys found a new use for the Boppy pillow:

And no, I haven't forgotten about pics. :)

Don has really bonded w/Caleb already it seems. I think for him, too, it's a little less intimidating the third go 'round. (Caleb 5 wks I think)
(Caleb 4 wks)
He has even gotten to feed him a couple of times. The first two did not take a bottle quite this well (I hope it continues!) I think I was a lot more hesitant to introduce the bottle before b/c I didn't want them to have nipple confusion. Anyway, it has been GREAT trying this sooner.
Don sings to him, rocks him, and just holds him when he cries--I guess you would expect a Daddy to do this, but he has also been taking the older two with him just about everywhere. And he has already been letting go for walks--in the evenings! And we all know how evenings can be w/infants...
Below, Caleb@ 5 wks old. Sweet Jon David. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The black hole? Baby boot camp? The infant stage...

Back in the infant stage... It's definitely something to blog a/b... especially when you have been out of it for sooo long!
The adjustement period has been hugely buffered by Mom coming to rescue! Caleb's due date was actually August 31st. Since Jon David and Luke were both late, Don and I thought we could pretty much count on Don finishing his Greek II class before the birth (his final was set for the 27th I think). Mom and Dad were going to drive up Labor Day week-end, and Mom planned to stay on until Sept. 14th. She had booked a one way airplane ticket for Lexington-Atlanta. Well, when Caleb came 9 days early, it was either: Don puts off finishing Greek, or we get someone to help us. Thankfully, Mom had been telling us that she could come sooner. And thankfully, she is not working right now. Again, God's timing is amazing. Sooooo, Mom came up after our first night home from the hospital, and since her plane ticket is not 'til the 14th... you guessed it, she decided to just stay for 3 wks!!!!! I don't know if it's possible to be more spoiled, but I'll take it! In fact, I'm not sure I want to let her go on Monday... We have had so much fun!!! She has been unbelievably helpful. She has done laundry, prepared meals, cleaned bathrooms, cleaned the kitchen several times a day, taken the boys to and from school, played countless games w/them, bought them treats, taken them to soccer games or practices (when Don had to take the other one to a different field), gotten up in the middle of the night to take a shift w/the baby, gone shopping with me and Caleb, gone to Dr.'s apts w/me... Wow, as I'm writing this, I wonder if we have abused her! It is amazing how much she has done. She is truly Super Mimomo!!! Jon David and Luke both love it when she takes them to school, and every night, they want her to read them stories and put them to bed. They have made batches of cookies together, read books, gone to the park, gone to church together, and the list goes on. Yesterday was Grandparents' day at Jon David's school, and today is Grandparents' day at Luke's school. In fact, she is at his school right now as I write this. It is super cool that her visit overlaps with that!
I sort of feel like Jane and Michael at the end of Mary Poppins... I mean, all viewers know that children are supposed to feel most at home and comfortable with their own Mommy and Daddy, but when you've got someone like Mary Poppins... It's hard not to be sad when "the wind changes" and the parrot umbrella says it's time to go, you know what I mean?... Anyway, hopefully we can find a few kites to fly when she leaves to buffer the let down. :)

Jon David is doing GREAT in school and at soccer practices and games. Talk about answers to prayers! He told me about his best friend, Cindy, and another good friend named Sam. He said Sam was his really good friend, too, because when the teacher announced that it was Jon David's turn to be the teacher's helper, Sam exclaimed "yes!" I think that made JD feel good. Jon David also said "Mommy, I don't even have to think about it, I know Sam's a good guy." Sweet boy. I am thankful for sweet friends! We are in a good stage w/JD right now. He had a soccer game last night and did great! Mom went to have lunch with him yesterday since it was Grandparents' day, and said such nice things! It makes a Mommy's heart go bonk, bonk, bonk.

Luke is doing GREAT in school and soccer, too. His teacher is very encouraging about how he is doing, and it is neat to see him learning so much about soccer. Mom brags on him when she takes him to school, and soccer practice. (And yes, I do realize that I have that Jones tendency to try to be sure that everyone is equally complemented... I can't stand for Luke or JD to feel complement jipped). More on Luke a few paragraphs down. What can I say, I love these boys so much!!!!!

As for Caleb, well, he is doing GREAT too. He is growing, eating, and sleeping. If only we could get him to do the last two things at the right time... Don and I have already had evenings and nights that have been very frustrating: full of crying--and not just from Caleb!
One night recently, Don was going to take a "shift." Well, I could hear the screaming even in my bedroom with the fan on high and the door closed... So out I came to see if he needed some help. He was very frustrated (Don, that is... although Caleb was too!!). To make our 1:00 A.M. situation even more interesting, Don and I proceeded to argue about how we thought things should be handled, etc... Lovely, I know... OH the joys!
Well, the next morning, Mom related a few stories from her battlefield days (or from baby boot camp, as my sis-in-law, Mel so appropriately names these first baby wks at home). She shared a story about Dad that is just too funny not to post... I hope you'll forgive me, Dad! She described asking Dad taking a shift in the middle of the night as going something like this: Dad would get up and fumble around looking for his glasses, then bump into a toy or two left on the floor from the day before. "Oh good night!" he exclaims as he proceeds to the baby's room. Then, Mom would hear him try to "reason" w/whichever one of us it was at the time: "now, you have been fed and changed, you have been burped. There is just no sense in you crying right now!" Too funny. I guess it's just really encouraging that even people who seem to have it all together (like Mom and Dad) go through it just like the rest of us. Thanks for the encouragement and for being vulnerable w/your lives, Mom and Dad!

So Beepops arrived over Labor Day week-end, to make the boys' excitement complete. He joined in on all of the above activities, including helping Mom keep the boys on Monday night so that Don and I could go out on a date!!!! I had a bottle of expressed milk, so Don and I had dinner and dessert together. Sooo what we needed!

Then, on Saturday, David and Eryn joined the fun. BTW, random side note: one day, Luke started saying that he wants to whisper something in my ear, and he would say: "uncle Eryn and aund David" and just crack up at himself! Well, the game has evolved now into "uncle chair and aunt table" or uncle TV, and aunt computer... OK, you get the pic. He cracks me up! Also, he thinks tooting is hilarious -- whether it's him, or someone else. He is pretty good at saying "excuse me" though. One time he said that he won the toot race--whatever that means. Crazy kid! OH, and his newest thing is to give flurburts (sp??!). He will do it on your arm, leg, cheek... random!!
OK, so as I was saying, Uncle David and Aunt Eryn came for a visit. Uncle David had a unique way of trying to settle down Caleb. I call it the Uncle David bounce:

OK, and can we all just say that Eryn is beautiful and super photogenic??

Caleb took right to her. He stared at her like this for so long when they first arrived. I think she must have baby whisperer qualities. We went to the park together the next day, and Caleb was really upset. He calmed down as soon as she picked him up. Amazing.

OH, and Don has started his fall classes again. This is him posing in his back-to-school outfit. :) Doesn't he look cute!
What can I say, I love this man!


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