March 30, 2009

how great is our god

i have to begin today by telling you about a challenge i made to myself a couple of weeks ago. at a sunday school lesson on the subject of prayer, i was disheartened to realize that my prayer life was far from being the way i desired. i made a commitment to try to stay more focused on god's presence throughout the day and have an ongoing conversation with him like i used to do. this may sound strange to some of you, but it is simply about taking the time to pray for my needs and the needs of others as i go about my day. and- most importantly- tuning out the other noise in my life to make me more in tune to what god is trying to tell me. the lord has been amazing to me in all the days that i have focused on our communication, but today i had to share some specifics.

so this is not the best day in our household. today i should be working, and the kids should be at school playing and learning. instead- my sweet everett woke up with the stomach bug that lorelei had late last week. poor thing, at almost 16 months old, he was impossible to console this morning as i first tried a bath to wash all the nasty off of him. he fought me tooth and nail, and it was physically impossible to get him to sit down in the tub. he kept grabbing me around the neck, trying to climb out of the tub and into my arms. he didn't understand that i was right there with him, but it was necessary for me to clean him up before i could snuggle him as close as he wanted me to.
god spoke to my heart: why do you fight and scream and try to scratch your way out of the cleansing flood i sometimes bring? can't you see that in those moments, the filth of your sin is coming between the two of us? don't let anyone convince you that you are drowning- i will not let you. just allow me to clean you up so that i can fully embrace you and wrap you up in my arms.

i pulled him out of the bath tub as quickly as i could, but some of his stench still lingered. i held him close, kissed his head, and loved him anyway. that's just what a mother does.
the lord said: even when you are caught up in the guilt and the shame of the way you've been living... even when you're just sure that all those around you can still smell the odor of your indifference, disobedience, or unworthiness, i hold you close and love you anyway. you are mine. that's just what your father does.

the next battle of the morning was that he was hungry. starving by his standards i'm sure, and genuinely confused as to why there was no breakfast on the table like most mornings. i tried to explain, "baby, your tummy is sick. putting food in there right now would only make it worse." he- of course- didn't even hear my words because he was too busy begging and screaming, and pointing to the highchair.
i heard his sweet voice say: my child, so many times you have asked me for something, maybe even expected it, but i couldn't let you have it. those things you were begging for would not have saved you or brought real comfort or satisfaction. only i can do that. they would have made the situation worse, but you couldn't see that. in my time, you may still have the things you've been pleading for and waiting for, but for now you must trust that i know my reasons, and you could not even understand them. be patient. i'll never let you starve.

i just held everett through the rest of the morning, and i let him cry in my arms when he needed to. i hate that my sweet boy is sick, but i relish every moment i have to hold him close and comfort him. finally, he decided he was too hungry to wait any longer, and he again began to cry and beg for food. i felt it might be a good time to test the waters because he hadn't been sick in awhile. so- i set him down- which he hated, and ran to get the saltines. he literally stopped in his tracks, wiped tears off his face, and smiled when he saw them coming. the first cracker made his day. a few minutes later, i gave him another, but this time his response was different. he took this wonderful, square piece of yummy goodness, and he began to run to me. i thought he wanted to sit in my lap while he enjoyed it, but he did something that really surprised me. the precious baby held out his cracker and offered it to me. when i took it in my hand, he didn't fuss, he took the last two steps to my arms, embraced me with his, and laid the biggest kiss on my face.
i prayed: father, god- make me more like everett as i pursue a deeper relationship with you. help me to be grateful for every blessing you give me, while offering it back to you as a sign that nothing brings me more joy than our fellowship together.

what a sweet sick day i had with my son and my heavenly father.

March 17, 2009

hey hey! we're the monkeys.

very early in everett's life, we began to call him "monkey." i have always loved monkeys and longed to have one for a pet- except that whole thing about them throwing their poo deterred me. anyway, i believe that rett got this nickname because he was so chunky.

i guess this nickname has become a self-fulfilling prophesy, because lately i cannot think of a better way to describe my chunky, adorable, mischievous boy. it is physically impossible to keep up with him through every minute of the day, so i thought i'd share some of his shenanigans. every one of these things happened during his waking hours today- between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm.
#1: within 5 minutes of pulling him out of his crib this morning, i noticed a red spot on his head. after further investigation, i realized that right under his hairline on his forehead he had a mark that looked like a rug burn. he likes to kick his legs and bang his little head on his crib mattress largely due to the drum like sound it makes, so my only guess here is that he was doing this when he woke up this morning and somehow managed to rub that spot almost raw.
#2: the moment we walked into the kitchen to get his breakfast ready, i let go of his hand and turned to get his milk out of the fridge. by the time i grabbed it and turned back around, the boy had crawled up on to my small kitchen step stool, grabbed onto the sink, and pulled himself up to a standing position. by the time i could lunge and grab him, he had lifted up one leg in an attempt to scale the cabinet and climb into the sink.
#3: about an hour later, lorelei and i sat on the couch in the living room to put her shoes on. everett james entered the room with us, and by the time i got sister's foot into just one of her shoes, he had opened the door on our coffee table, pulled out an old set of head phones, tried to put them on his head while already dancing to the "music" and began to scream and cry. he had his back to me, so i leaned over and grabbed him to give hugs. when i did, i saw that he had somehow managed to pinch his eyelid- i guess in the adjustable band on the headphones, and it had left a red, almost bleeding mark.
#4: from this incident, we headed to lorelei's preschool registration. it was quick and easy. we were in the building maybe 8 minutes. i knew it was close to rett's nap time, so i brought him his cup of milk and a small bag of cheerios. he has eaten out of a small ziplock sack many times before with no problems, mind you. i was filling out the form for lulu, and i looked down at him in the stroller just in time to see him dump the last of the cheerios out of the bag and onto the carpet in the church foyer. there was a large circle of snacks surrounding him on the floor, and he looked up at me with a grin and the expression of true accomplishment as if to say, "look mommy! i got every last cheerio into my floor art!"
#5: sophie came over to play this afternoon, and rett was napping most of the time. at the end of her visit, meg came to pick her up, and the 3 kids were playing in the family room. suddenly i hear meg say, "everett james! mandy- does he do this all the time?" i look and see that he has launched his chubby little leg up and over the side of our tall basket full on blankets that we have always used to block him from the buttons on the tv. this is not the first time he has hurled his body into the basket, but this time he got up to his knees in front of the tv and pushed the power button. "no, everett," i said firmly, and he proceeded to look at me and do it several more times despite my warnings. i finally grabbed him to take him to his crib for his 1 minute time out.
#6: he was awfully quiet during the time out, and when i went to get him i found the reason. he had been up on his tippy toes on the bumper pad, and he was able to grab the first letter of his name hanging high above the crib and drop it down into the 1 inch space between the crib and the wall.
#7: he was a great eater at supper. so was sis. hallelujah!
#8: tonight, after about 3 repeat episodes of the climbing into the basket and up on the kitchen stool, i needed to do some dishes. i let him play in the kitchen with me, and he found all kinds of "treasures" that had fallen between the refrigerator and the cabinet. he brought most to me, but took a couple to the trash can and disposed of them himself.
#9: the worst news is that i realized that the boy can just about climb onto the ottoman that we use to keep him blocked in the family room with all his toys where he's the safest.
#10: i didn't mention the squirming, hollering, rolling, and running away he does each time he needs a change of clothes or diaper, but there was plenty of that. i have actually started to pray before we go out in public that my baby will not have a poopey diaper because it is almost impossible to change him anywhere other than home. this wiggle fest, however, came before bed when i realized he needed a good nail clipping. i had him sitting on the counter beside the kitchen sink while i (obviously) held on to him tightly. during the experience of trying to trim toe and finger nails, i found myself actually breaking a sweat because it was so crazy. he wasn't crying or sad in any way. he just decided he needed to grab everything in sight, and when i moved those things, he continued to slide his sweet bobo into the sink over and over again without me being able to stop him. i seriously stopped 3 nails short of finished, kissed his precious mouth, and put him to bed.
maybe after a good night's sleep, i will have the energy to tame my monkey man tomorrow. the biggest problem in the situation is how completely smitten i am with him. i suppose it might have something to do with the fact that every time he flashes me that silly grin, i feel as if i'm looking at a baby version of the adorable man i married. i'm going to have to stop melting at the sight of the kid and become a better disciplinarian before we end up making a trip to the ER.