A Day in the Life

Put Him Down.

Put him down. I’m told this on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve been told this on a regular basis since my first baby was born. Yet I didn’t. Put her down. Ever. Then with baby #2 I was cautioned again. Put her down. I couldn’t. I would miss something for sure.

I was wracked with guilt and plagued with fear about something terrible happening to me…to us, because I held my babies too much. I wasn’t sure if we would implode, explode or spontaneously combust, but I couldn’t stop. I was addicted. And they were too.

Then I noticed something strange. All of those well meaning voices cautioning, urging me to put her down, would allow a moment or two to elapse, then they would pick her up.

Baby #3. Put him down. He’s too big. He needs to crawl, walk, whatever. Put him down.

Then they would pick him up. I won’t say it was intentional, I can’t. Yet I would say its cultural.
And now I know.

I hold them. Each of them still. Maybe only for a moment here and there. If they are hurt, disappointed, sleepy, happy, nearby, accomplished. You name it, I will drop what I am doing and hold them. Now completely guilt free. They are well adjusted, socially balanced, independent, creative, confident, intelligent, silly, loving, occasionally cranky, stubborn, intense and periodically engage in meltdowns of epic and sometimes comical proportions. They are…wait for it…normal kids.
Catastrophe averted.

And I still hold them. I don’t carry them all…no way. Besides, I plank to strengthen my core, and I pray that God have mercy on my back. But I figure if we are going to do life together, the six of us, we might as well do it in close proximity to each other, while we still can.

As I type this I sit, holding my.last.baby.ever. And he is sound asleep.

I have grown completely accustomed to the pressure applied from the weight of his head against my chest. Him inhaling while I exhale and exhaling while I inhale. The soft melodic sound of breath passing through his tiny nose and the sucking sounds he still makes although he doesn’t breast feed anymore. I have grown accustomed to his scent and tiny body radiating so much heat that the both of us don’t need a blanket and our skin gets a little bit tacky from the sweat. I used to sit and try to figure out ways to get him off me and lay him down without waking him. But not anymore. I feel as though I’m on borrowed time. As long as he wants me to rock him to sleep, I will suck it up and do it…sans complaints.
I will breath deeply and memorize the sound of his breathing. I will dream of what kind of man he’ll become. I’ll think of how much more pressure the weight of his head against my chest now applies, and how it may be suppressing my lung capacity ever so slightly making my breathing a tad more shallow. I’ll think about everything. Everything, that is, except putting him down.

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A Day in the Life

I Just Love You…

Today by some unexplainably wonderful turn of events, my two year old began calling me ‘Mama Bear’ which sounds more like mama beew. And my four year old will be turning five soon, and has been flexing his proverbial muscles trying to show us who’s boss. My six year old freshly turned seven is budding socially and affirming her position in the family as the resident “sweetheart”. Then there’s my nine year old, who I will be holding for the last time tonight. Tomorrow, she will be ten. If I am being honest, and I am. I feel a sense of grief. Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed, I’ve got a good life, but what I don’t have anymore is a nine year old. I blinked, quite by accident, and she’s gone. Six year old, seven year old, eight year old M. Gone. Nine year old M…gone. And what I have here before me is a lanky, articulate, intense 10 year old, who just wants to sit on my lap tonight.
If I have learned anything it’s this. Life is short. As the Bible reads “All men are like grass. All their glory like the fields, the grass withers and the flowers fall.”
I may not have those sweet fat legged babies anymore, but I have now. Right now. I have another moment, another glimpse, another fit of laughter, another walk in the sunset.
Because I have now, I must make the most of it. I must breath deeply and take it all in. That means there are days that I do not turn on a single screen. Hours of my day when social media is a distant memory. Moments however intense, I grab a member of my tribe and say “I just love you.” Sometimes I do it at the height of the intensity, the meltdown, the whining, etc. After all, if I only show love when they are behaving perfectly, and not when they are not. It sends the wrong message, that my love and perhaps even God’s love is conditional. And it is not.
His love never fails.

A Day in the Life

Bye Bye Baby

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It’s official. And unofficial. My childbearing years are over. I may still be childbearing age, but my childbearing years are gone forever. And this time next year…I will be fresh out of babies.
I will have a three year old preschooler, a kindergartner, a second grader and a fifth grader. Yikes!
The truth is, I am very blessed. God has not held back His goodness from my life.
But tiny feet are becoming less tiny. Baby talk is becoming big boy words. And unbridled independence is rearing its ugly head.
You see, I have a conundrum of sorts. For the last decade I have been pregnant, having babies, or chasing babies. I’ve been nursing, rocking, patting, cuddling, swaddling, changing, bathing, soothing…babies for nearly a decade.
While I realize that new exciting adventures loom on the horizon, part of me…a big part of me, will miss those babies. I will miss those poopy, crying, melting down babies with snot running down their nose tantrums, fever in the middle of the night, vomit down the back of my neck, pee on me, little babies. But as I pen this cathartic post, I realize, that I will miss them because it defined who I was. I will also miss them because they were sweet, snuggly, and adorable. I will also miss having babies because I loved it. I drank it in, I soaked it up! It was hard, it was fulfilling, and it was incredible!!
It was what I was created to do. I know that I have purpose beyond that, but they are a huge part of my purpose.
But now I must raise my proverbial glass to sky, and propose a toast to babies. My sweet, fat legged babies, Momma will miss you. But you will still be enjoyed, celebrated, loved and taught. We have many more years by the grace of God, and together, your father and I will prepare you to fulfill your purpose. We will seek out adventures to share with you, distant lands to see. And I will never cease to pray for you. That always be found in the will of God. That your lives be marked with the love of God. And that it will be said of you as it was of Enoch, that you walked with God all of your days.
I look forward to meeting the children and people that you will become. And I will sit down with you and tell you all about four of the most beautiful, cuddly, amazing babies I’ve ever known.

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A Day in the Life

The Night Shift

Apparently I am working the night shift tonight. Or should I say this morning.
Not in my old rocking chair this time. I am nestled between my sweet husband and our two year old who is running a fever, and woke up to vomit on me, hug me and drift back off to sleep.
My husband woke once or twice during my hazmat containment phase to mutter “I love you.” And something else I couldn’t quite make out.
I am exhausted and now thinking about what my day might be like tomorrow in lieu of baby’s symptoms and my sleep deprivation.
But what comforts me is this: the Healer is here tonight and He doesn’t sleep or slumber. He works not only the night shift, but the life shift. He’s got me. He’s got my son.
And my dear husband may never know the impact of those three little words uttered between snores. But I will cherish them tonight, on the night watch, and years to come when our kiddos are gone and its just he and I again. I will remember how even in his sleep I am on his mind. A love like that is just the fuel I need to keep on going, to keep on working the night watch and handling hazmat containment.
And as for my precious son, I’m prepared to stand my ground and fight this virus with everything I’ve got.

Not on my watch virus, not on my watch.

” And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14 NKJV

Neurodiversity

The Next Step

Once you check the checklist and have them tested, what happens if you test and find out that your child is not gifted? So what?! A gifted person and average person have the exact same value to the Lord. One is not better than the other. Just different. Pat yourself on the back. You still have a child with potential.

However, if you test and the child or children do turn out to be gifted, you have your homework cut out for you. Research, study and search out all you can on how to meet the educational, emotional, social, etc needs of the child or children that you’ve chosen to educate at home.

Here is a good starting point: http://www.teachersfirst.com/gifted_strategies.cfm

After that develop an action plan. Re-evaluate your lesson plans in light of your new awareness of their educational needs. Have fun and stay creative!

Lastly, find a community of people with similar challenges to you and your family for support.

It can be a wonderful yet challenging journey educating the gifted child at home. Trust God to lead you and be patient.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes…” Prov 3:5-7

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6

*Be careful of online schemes to charge you for “free” IQ tests.

Neurodiversity

First Things First

The first step should be to identify whether or not your child is gifted. Some parents struggle with this because they don’t want the child’s life to change or the child to somehow pack their tiny bags and go on an ego trip. The truth is, that even without the test results, their lives are already being affected.

The main benefits that I ave found from testing and proper placement is that
1) the child no longer feels as though there is something wrong with them. 2) The teacher or caregiver can now be pointed in the right direction to best help the child be guided through the learning process.

Prior to testing, check the checklist.
Here are some links to get started.

Could Your Child Be Gifted

I found this one the most helpful:
Identifying Gifted Children

And here’s another:
Characteristics of Gifted Children

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Neurodiversity

The Angst

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” -Albert Einstein

I’ve dreaded writing this post for many reasons. One of which is that regarding the topic of intelligence I find it to be open ended and worthy of further research. Secondly, it forces me to deal with my own childhood issues. Thirdly, I would have to admit that my child/children are gifted. Lastly, if in fact they are, I’d have to come up with answers to the difficult question…now what?

So often parents lay awake at night and dream about having and raising a gifted child. Not me. I know what it means. I know the isolation that the child and parents can feel. I know the frustration the teachers teaching them can feel. I know the ridicule that can be endured living in a culture that idolizes ignorance. (Dumb and Dumber and it’s sequel, and viral videos of self inflicted injuries)
But don’t break out the Kleenex just yet. If I have learned anything I’ve learned this: it’s neither better or worse to be gifted or raise gifted children. It’s not cause for celebration nor is it cause for mourning. It’s simply a condition in life to which one must adapt.
The problem is however, that it is not always easy to tell if a child is gifted. They often are perceived as difficult, problematic, high maintenance anarchists who resist authority, in varying degrees. Not only that, but people who are not gifted in the traditional sense can be talented, hard working and determined, and achieve the same results as (and in some cases better) than the gifted person. In fact, there are many gifted people in life who end up utter failures or at least falling short of what they could have been.
Why? Because of simple misunderstanding.

There are traits common to the gifted, that without proper understanding, can seem more like a burden than a gift. Take, multipotentiality, for example. Or you could say, “good at too many things.” On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be a problem, yet it can be. Many people select a career based on their strengths and abilities and their interests follow. Now imagine standing before 12 doors and being told you must choose one. The average person faces these same doors, but only one or two may even open. With multipotentiality, 10 to 12 doors may be open and in a conventional education setting, you are told to pick one. Yet in picking one, you are saying no to 9 to 11 other doors. Furthermore, any door you say yes to will not lead to complete satisfaction because all of the strengths and abilities that opened the other doors will not be used. This dissatisfaction can lead to “bouncing” around from endeavor to endeavor, because we still erroneously assume that only one choice can be made.
Now assume that there actually exists the potential for a thirteenth door. One that utilizes all of the gifts and abilities and interests of the gifted child or adult. The only stipulation is that you have to create it for yourself.
The gifted child will never be satisfied stuck behind a desk, in a classroom surrounded by tasks that present no challenge, or within a class in which there are no opportunities for discovery, exploration or synthesis of information aquired. Moreover, the gifted adult will never be satisfied in a cubicle, office or traditional 9-5. The needs of the gifted don’t change as we age…we just learn to adapt our behavior to conform to societal norms.

Many professional educators will admit that having a gifted student or a special needs students requires the same patience and additional attention diverted from the main group.

Traditional ways of educating the child don’t work for gifted children. ( I would argue that traditional ways of educating the child don’t work for all children-Children are diverse and so are learning styles). It won’t work at home anymore than it will work in a more conventional setting.

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