21

 

This is a picture of my life right now. The makeup (or lack thereof), hair, outfit (or lack thereof), or the desire to be even cognizant of it, has been exchanged for the constant adoration and involvement in Tatum’s life. The label I have donned for decades now of a hard-working professional has been replaced gloriously (for a season) by hard-working (and devoted) mommy.¬†IMG_1973The positive changes I have seen in Tatum have far-outweighted any twinges of concern for my career which have been very difficult to relinquish. Why? My educator label has been my existence for over a decade, and I don’t apologize for this for it was my passion (and still is!)
But, for the past month, seeing Tatum grow as we grow together has been the most rewarding thing ever.

This particular week, WE got to experience rain together; and not just a few sprinkles…a STORM! As we walked outside, she spoke “wet” and “rain,” and now she truly gets it when we read about it. This experience would not have happened if I was at school because it was a Tuesday at 10am.

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The relationship builds with pure time together. There is no secret to being a SAHM. I show up everyday with a positive attitude and a goal to create experiences for her which not only teach, entertain, but build a bond. Also, I can talk her through her breakdowns, her questions, her fears, falls, and foibles. She is also there for ME with my falls and foibles.

For example, on Wednesday, she helped me build a bookcase. As I screwed the screwdriver and hammered the hammer, she joined in with some of the bolts. It was endearing to see her grab a screw and try to help. She also took a rag to clean the floor as I did the same. At one point, the whole thing fell and partly on me! I yelled, “OW!” and she rushed over, “Mommy!” and hugged me. EMPATHY! at 20 months?

Yes, she goofs up and will lash out when she does not get what she wants, but my job is to teach her that it is OK to have emotions, but there are proper ways to express them. A learning process definitely. All I know is that when we come across something that is not something I would have her see or do, I can guide her through it with (hopefully) some wisdom.

In the meantime, she continues to be fascinated by any and every book

IMG_5231We now are becoming regulars at the local library. Gotta love FREE and QUIET! ūüôā


 

 

 

Can a 20 month old be that powerful?

When it comes to overtaking my heart, Yes. When it comes to overtaking my heart as it breaks while she tests me, Yes. When it comes to overtaking my heart as it breaks as she CONTINUES to test me and I have to enforce tough discipline, Yes.

Why is it so hard? Because, my sweet compliant child all of a sudden transforms into an unrecognizable little _____. Then, I am faced with what do I do right now?¬† Impulsively, I want to do something un-pretty and (maybe a bit) painful to her. My transformation becomes immediate as well. No longer am I the sweet silly mommy, but now, I turn into “THE ENFORCER.” The hard part is seeing her enjoy being a ____. This occurred after 4 timeouts upon not doing what I asked her to do and then throwing what I asked her not to throw. Eventually, she did what I asked and she, upon prompting, said she was sorry, and I gave her the biggest hug and kiss. Back to fun mommy. Over.

This scenario gave me ANOTHER reason why I’m so happy I’m with her more. It allows me to balance the fun with the necessary molding and shaping.

For example, this morning she had a blast taking babies for a ride in her shopping cart.

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Then we went to church and PetSmart. She wanted to get Coti a toy, so she picked the PiggieIMG_1969 IMG_1970 IMG_1971 IMG_1972

Very happy little guy after that, although the squeaker broke after about 30 squeaks, 15 minutes later. No wonder it was in the clearance box.

Whatever prompted the “occurrence de la testing” is unknown. She will continue to try to press her power buttons and find mine, but we will come through. With Jesus help! Amen.

 

Daily, I praise His NAME

Thank you, dearest Jocelyn. She encouraged me to read this everyday as I stay home with Tatum. I bolded what resonates with my soul.

 Psalm 145:

I will extol you, my God and King,

and bless your name forever and ever.

2  Every day I will bless you

and praise your name forever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,

and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another,

and shall declare your mighty acts.

5  On the glorious splendor of your majesty,

and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

6  They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,

and I will declare your greatness. 

7  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness

and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8  The Lord is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9  The Lord is good to all,

and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,

and all your saints shall bless you!

11  They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom

and tell of your power,

12  to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The Lord is faithful in all his words

and kind in all his works.]

14  The Lord upholds all who are falling

and raises up all who are bowed down.

15  The eyes of all look to you,

and you give them their food in due season.

16  You open your hand;

you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17  The Lord is righteous in all his ways

and kind in all his works.

18  The Lord is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

19  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he also hears their cry and saves them.

20  The Lord preserves all who love him,

but all the wicked he will destroy.

21  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,

and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Coming to conclusions. Day by day; minute by minute

It was all hearsay. It was written about by countless authors. It’s been researched and discussed for years. And, it dates back to the beginning of time: Rearing children. All of a sudden, it’s become the topic of countless books and millions of blogs. What has changed? Have children become different in the past 30 years? Has parenting become any different than it was thousands years ago? All I know is there are more books on how to solve this or that and surviving motherhood. What has changed? I did not realize that motherhood was something to be “survived” and that there may potentially be so many issues to solve.

The only thing that I can see that has changed is one thing. We don’t parent any longer, and I am part of that statistic for the first year of Tatum’s life. Sure, I did the best I could do, but she was away from me more than she was with me due to my need to earn a living. It’s a necessity, and I am not diminishing this truism.

So, now I can come out with it wholeheartedly. Day care parented my child from 4 months to 16 months of life. When I decided to come home full time for this year, I never realized how much more work parenting really is if I am to truly guide her into a responsible, loving, Godly woman. But, one thing is for sure. Children need their parents full time AT LEAST until the age of 3.

Realizing the importance of making the right decision becomes more apparent daily. Here is one case in point:

Tatum is enrolled in a Musicology class (which I was given as a wonderful gift). We attend this lively 45-minute music, dance, and rhythm class every Friday with about 5-6 other mom or nanny/kid combos. For the most part, the children are well-behaved because they are being parented by their mom and being guided by the instructor. Nevertheless, there seems to be always one in the group who proves that not all parents are equal. (I realize not all children are either, but the discipline still has to exist).

As we sat around the two large central drums “to wake them up,” one of the almost two-ers decided to sit and then stand on them. Upon countless pseudo-warnings from mom (“Do you want a time out?”), the child won and did not have to get off the drum. Mom gave up. Then she proceeded to do her own thing the whole time in class including throwing her toy and having a bit of a crying fit when her way was not accepted. It was obvious who was in charge. Now, my point in sharing this is not to condemn or criticize. It’s only to point out to me that this could be Tatum if I did not have the time to pour into her right now. She demonstrated the kind of behavior that was NOT OK, and I had the chance to SHOW Tatum what was not acceptable. If she was not with me, she’d have to figure this out herself or at least she’d try it out on me in our mini “quality time” sessions which I discuss in “If it were a normal year” post.

Next, during the circle time singing, Tatum wandered off to the corner (which she seems to do often). I did not know this was a normal Tatum thing, but apparently she does this when she is overstimulated or needing a break. She probably did this many times at day care, and now hopefully I can help her through the fears or the apprehension (or the belligerence?)¬†¬†I still did have to take her out a few times and tell her¬†that¬†I expect her to be part of the group and not wander off. “We need to show¬†respect¬†to the¬†instructor¬†or we cannot be part of the class.” She got it, testing me a few more times. Whatever the result, I’m there to guide her, not day care person. Many of the kids needed to be taken out and “talked to,” and unfortunately only one other mother did this. It helped immensely for her LO as well. When a mother warns countless times and does nothing except give another warning, the kid ultimately wins.¬†

Finally, when the children were in the “discovery” mode picking out various instruments from the overly large plastic bin, Tatum was overpowered by many of the other kids her age but much larger than her. During this time, many of the moms tune out and socialize. What I’m noticing is horrific! Kids are whacking each other with their drumstick/rattle/bell/frog, stealing from each other, taking over someone’s space… YIKES! I’m watching Tatum acquiesce and decide she does not need an instrument. NOT OK. I decide I will try to navigate all these kids and introduce sharing and caring behavior. Tatum finally got to play with some. Being a helicopter parent is not my plan, but at least I know I can start her on the right foot with sticking up for herself politely. This showed me even more that at daycare it was probably worse. How often did the day care provider have her back turned when Tatum was poked, prodded or pounced upon?

Each day I discover more and more how much FUN she is to be with and how much more we have to look forward to doing together. Often just being together has been enough. SURE, she has her meltdowns and her testing times, but it’s different now. I know it can be over and done with and we have the next moment to enjoy.

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Day by day. Minute by minute.

Thank you, Father for this opportunity and making it possible this year. Day by day. Minute by minute I am coming to conclusions I already had made. Now the theory is turning into reality.

 

 

 

Sentence = Subject + a Verb and a conversation

Today, babies fell down from the car seat and Tatum had something to say:
“Babies go boom.”

What?

“Babies go boom!”

and now, many other things unfortunately go boom too!

Then, this morning she was having honeydew and repeated “honeydew” multiple times.

In the play room, she said it again, and I said,
“Honey, do you love me?”

Tatum responded, “Yes!”

Then a gratefully shared, “Thank you!”

She then said, “Thank you” back.

ūüôā

 

If it were a “normal” year…

I’d be headed back to school tomorrow for the new year to begin. Normal is not in my vocabulary right now as I ponder what is really normal? Is normal putting Tatum in day care from 7:45-4:15 five days a week? Is normal moving back in with my mom after being on my own (thank you very much) for almost three decades? Is normal going full throttle into my career in education, obtaining a doctorate in three years and teaching passionately for the past ten plus years…and then putting it on hold for…a what? A child?

Yes. It should be normal. It should happen without a bat of a questioning eye or a fearful wink. It should just be…normal.

I have a choice here. Do I focus on what I’m giving up? OR do I focus on what I’m gaining? This is a choice I will make every single day as I’m with her e..v…e…r…y ¬† s…i..n..g..l…e day from dawn to dusk.

Oh, there is one more choice. I could go to my classroom every single day and teach my heart out. I’d be fulfilled beyond professional measure because I’m working with my favorite middle school age group with a fabulous staff and a phenomenal school. My career would be going swimmingly as I continue to learn and grow as a professional educator. Then, I’d pick up Tatum from her school at 4:15ish, rush her home and force that “quality time,” making sure we’d have fun fun fun. If she acted out (which she often does by the end of the day), our fun would turn into the magic of “undoing.” The undoing (discipline) would be the focus of our evening instead of the relationship we would have built in the time she would have been with me. (Of course she is going to act out if I’m home all day, but at least we’d have a strong foundation of a relationship. Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.) ¬†Then, I’d have to get her to bed quickly by 6:30 so she could have a quality 12 hour night’s sleep. The next day, then, I’d have to get her up at 6:30 and rush her to school so I could get to school on time myself. The weekends would be “our time.” Isn’t this what is normal these days for working professionals?

Normal. Hmm. Just could not do it this year. Not when she is going from the age of two to three. Just couldn’t do it. (I will give a caveat in that there were incredible benefits from having her in daycare/school for the past 18 months. She made friends, learned to be very social, and gained some skills in learning).

Learning so much about the crucial first three years of life, I opted to make an gargantuan change this year. Case in point:

Girl child starts to exhibit little un-lovely behaviors. (not uncommon for any toddler) Now, some would say…”NORMAL.” Perhaps this comes from an unmet need…. or is it something she has seen in the daycare? The child never ever ever acts out at school, so she comes home and tries it out on mom. What will she do? Will she notice me? Give me attention? Yes! I got a rise out of her!

Moreover, what about the intense feelings the child gets when she walks into school. (some do and deal with their emotions with shutting down or winding up) Her cortisol levels rise and this much activity among peers can be overwhelming to an under two year old. Navigating through this is scary without mommy. THEN, when she is confronted with any stress or negativity, who is there to guide her with feedback? The childcare giver? The childcare giver is navigating 5-10 other toddlers! Plus, how does one know it’s positive?

Finally, ¬†when mommy is with said child, it’s ‚Äúquality‚ÄĚ time. This means mommy is constantly attending to her. When mommy is ¬†not, it‚Äôs not natural for her, and she gets clingy. Also, it‚Äôs difficult to discipline her when mommy sees her so little. Then when mommy does, this is the vision and memory of the mommy…the disciplinarian.

 

I again will repeat, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Without the depth of a tight relationship (through time spent together)¬†,what I tell her or how I guide her may not stick and may lead to worse rebellion. This way, she learns to trust me and know that I truly love her enough to discipline her. The ‚ÄúOTHER‚ÄĚ hours I‚Äôm with her, we can have fun and she‚Äôll WANT to be with me. SO, why would she want to act out?

“Pay me now or pay me later.” It may not be “normal” or even popular and most people put their child in daycare. These three years must be foundational and crucial. Otherwise, I pay it later in the teen years and so will she. How else can I help her to embrace Jesus and her Father God as much as I do? By trusting and believing in Him as I step out of the boat and walk in faith this year. Normally.

 

 

I got this, Mom

IMG_5197Reading is so much more fun with an audience. Now, what could be better than, Pooh, Piglet, Eyore, Tigger, Babies (2!), Baby, and Bolt? They are captive!
How else could I get her excited about retiring to her crib for “nap time?”

IMG_5196“Mom, you can leave now; I have this under control.”