Wednesday, March 26, 2014

8 months.

Dear Henry,

It's been a big month!
classic pose

As always, I cannot believe how big you are, and how quickly time passes.

You grew 4 teeth this month.  In 4 days.  You were a champ.  You were only slightly fussier than normal, but honestly, most people couldn't tell that you were teething, because you are that awesome.

Due to you growing teeth and your extreme interest in trying to feed yourself, I decided to let you try to feed yourself those little dissolving puffs.  It took you a few minutes to understand that this was food, and not a toy, but once I let you take a bite, you were hooked.  It took you another few minutes to understand the best way to pick them up.  You alternate between your left and right hands equally, so no signs as to which hand will dominate.  Sometimes you get frustrated with getting the puff into your mouth, so you just hold it in your hand and suck your thumb...whatever, that's close enough.

whatcha' doing Mama?

The greatest invention of all time is this little mesh bag that holds chunks of food like carrots or apples so that you can bite on it and suck the juice, but it's not a choking hazard, since you are still working on the whole chewing thing.  It's tough with only 6 teeth.

You are an accomplished sitter.  You can sit for long periods of time, and typically only fall over if you get pushed, or reach too far behind you or beside you.  We have even started putting you in high chairs when we go to restaurants, which allows Mommy 10 minutes to eat her food instead of 5.

Henry discovers his pillow

You have a sense of humor.  You still think pulling your socks off is the greatest trick in the world, and if you can put them in your mouth and chew on them, you think you've solved all of the world's greatest problems.  You know that you are not supposed to do this, so when Mommy catches you with a sock in your mouth instead of on your feet, you laugh hysterically.

You are beginning to discover what us learned adults called "object permanence."  Basically what that means in kid talk is that you look for something after you drop it, and peek-a-boo is a lot of fun.

This pillow is the greatest thing ever!

You are not crawling yet, but I feel like it is coming around the corner.  You can pull up onto your forearms and knees and rock back and forth, but no crawling yet.  That's ok by me, because we haven't baby-proofed the house yet.

Speaking of which, your favorite things to play with are cords (specifically iPhone cords), dog hair on the carpet, empty water bottles and Mommy's keys.  Of all the toys, these are the things you will go for when you are loose on the floor.

Teething stinks!

We love you so much Henry!  We're so excited for the next month and all the new things it will bring!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Fear...the other four letter F-word. The F-word we NEVER talk about.

I don't think I truly knew the meaning of fear until I became a Mama.

Sure, I have my irrational, childhood fears just like the next person. Don't laugh, but I can't watch ET. He's terrifying. I won't even eat Reese's pieces for fear that they will mystically summon his presence. Not really, but I honestly don't eat Reese's pieces.

Recently, I have been battling fear. Fear of SIDS. Fear of failure. Fear of sickness. Fear of separation.  I have more nightmares now than I did pre-Henry.  For me, fear is a living, breathing entity, that sulks around in dark corners, just waiting for any opportunity to creep into my life and take root in my soul.  Let me tell you, fear has deep roots.  Roots that wrap their way around your heart, incorporating into the things that you hold most dear.  Sometimes it can be difficult to separate fear from real life.

Since I've become a mama, nights have become scary times for me.  Nighttime is when I put Henry in another room and shut my own eyes, trusting that he will be happy and healthy the next morning.  Nighttime brings dark, quiet, loneliness.  We naturally fear the dark.  Kids grow up knowing that bedtime is a scary time.  It could be monsters under the bed, or a magic wolf that lives in the shadows and waits for you to move before it attacks you and tears you to pieces (I'm not speaking out of personal experience here...)  It seems like it is human nature to fear the dark.  This small fear points us toward Jesus, proving that we were created for a different place.

We crave light.  We crave warmth.  It comforts us.  It makes us feel safe.

When you fear the night, there is no greater comfort than the morning.  When I'm lying in bed, tossing and turning, I pray this verse over and over until I fall asleep.

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You."  Psalm 143:8

I've been thinking about fear lately because I'm starting to notice it in my son.

I took Henry on a walk recently and when a car drove by (too fast I might add...) he cried out of fear.
When Henry is in a large group of people and they shout or yell, he cries out of fear.
When Henry hears loud noises, such as banging or loud machines, he cries out of fear.

This is something I have only noticed in the past month.  It never occurred to me to think about when fears develop.  We certainly aren't born with them.

We weren't born with fear because we were never meant to live in fear.

Fear brings worry.  Worry brings doubt.  Doubt brings unbelief.  At the end of the day, our fears point to the weaknesses in our faith.  Isn't our God bigger than our fears?  Didn't He conquer this life, doing so by dying the worst death imaginable?

If nothing else, I hope I can teach Henry to live a fearless life.  I hope I can teach him that life is meant to be lived in utter abandon, that we are not meant to be crippled by our fears.  I want that kind of life for him, just as I want it for myself and every other believer.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Ok, folks, get ready for an honest-to-goodness, bare-your-soul, kind of post.  I have been pondering these things in my heart for weeks, and have not had the words (or the courage) to let it all out.

Motherhood is both everything and nothing like I thought it would be.

Yes, there are so many precious moments.  When Henry snuggles his little head into my neck.  When he mumbles "ma-ma-ma-ma," even though I know it doesn't mean a thing.  A smile saved just for me.  The way only I seem to be able to find his most ticklish spot.  His chubby cheeks when he falls asleep in his car seat.  His sweet face when he finally gives up and gives in to falling asleep.

But there are not so great moments, also.  Moments where I want to scream, yell and pull my hair out.  I've come close.  I've looked my child straight in the eye with my deepest, baddest Mommy voice and said, "No!" which usually brings about a look of hurt and confusion, sometimes followed by a whimper, and always followed by a rush of guilt, and sometimes tears (from me.)

Today was one of those days.  I was feeding Henry his lunch, which is quite a task these days.  As I was feeding him carrots, a splatter fell onto his tray.  I have learned that Henry will play with anything and everything on his tray, especially food, so I stepped 5 feet away to grab a paper towel.  As I did, his spoon flipped off his tray onto the floor, splattering carrots all over the floor.  (Granted the cleaning ladies were there, but I didn't want to leave a huge orange mess for them to clean up--how rude!)  So I stepped the same 5 feet away to grab another paper towel.  This time, when I came back, I discovered Henry had dumped the entire container of carrots on his tray and was poised with his hands, ready to play.  My first instinct was to yell.  I did not give in, thank God.  Instead, I calmly took the tray off of his high chair and took it to the sink to wash it, my eyes brimming with tears.

These days, I feel invisible.  I've transitioned from the awkward teenage-young 20's female screaming "Notice me, notice me!" to the tired, strung-out Mama who just wants someone to whisper in my ear at night, "I see what you're doing."

I'm not cut out for this.

I never saw myself being a stay at home Mom.  And I'm really not.  I get out of the house 6-8 days a month to go work my paying job as an emergency room PA.

Being a mother is an impossible job.  When I'm at home, sometimes I would rather be at work.  When I'm at work, most of the time, I would rather be at home.

We were posed with a win-less situation.  No nanny, no family close to home, which meant no one trustworthy to stay with Henry.  So I made the biggest sacrifice of my life and decided to re-arrange my schedule and drop my hours so that I can stay home with Henry.  When I am posed with a no-win situation, I am always going to make the choice that gives Henry the best possible circumstances.  I made my decision and I don't regret it.  I would make the same decision one-hundred times over.


But I miss my job.  Most of all, I miss doing something completely independent.  I miss the look of gratitude and appreciation when I have truly helped a patient.  Calmed a mother's fears.  Taken away someone's pain.  I miss the admiration and respect that comes with my profession.

I traded this for days where I go hours without adult conversation.  Days where I'm lucky to squeeze a shower in, let alone blow dry and fix my hair.  Days where I never make it out of my pajamas, and I end up covered in baby foot.

No one told me how hard this would be, y'all.  Or maybe they did, but I tuned it out.

Before you jump to conclusions and start screaming, postpartum depression, let me just tell you: I am not depressed.  I have simply found myself in a situation I have never been in before.  This is motherhood.  Constantly adapting to the growth and change that each new day brings.  Learning alongside your child.  Being able to admit that you don't have all of the answers, but that you're taking each day as it comes and striving to make every day better than the last.

So, hats off to all of you truly stay-at-home-moms.  Being a mom is truly the hardest job.

So let me take this opportunity to introduce you to someone I know.  His name is El Roi.  His name means "The God Who Sees Me."  His name is only mentioned in one book of the Bible, in reference to Hagar's cries of desperation.  You see, Hagar was in a truly win-less situation.

First, she was asked by her boss, Sarai, to provide an heir for Sarai's husband, Abram.  After fulfilling her obligations, and becoming pregnant, Hagar became proud, and began treating Sarai with contempt.  So Sarai reciprocated.  She outdid herself.  Sarai mistreated Hagar so badly, that Hagar chose a desert over spending one more day under Sarai's roof.  In the desert, Hagar encountered the Angel of the Lord, who told her that she had conceived a son, to be named Ishmael, and comforted her that the Lord had heard her cries of affliction.  So Hagar called on El Roi, for He had seen her in that place.  Although Hagar returned to Abram and Sarai, as the Lord asked her to, a short time later, she would find herself in the desert again, this time accompanied by Ishmael.  As they were slowly dying of thirst, the Lord again appeared to Hagar and promised her that her banished son would become a great nation!

What an incredible story!  Ishmael was born out of Sarai's impatience and unbelief, that God could truly provide her with an heir.  Ishmael was born into jealousy, between two women, both desperately wanting to provide an heir for Abram, who would become the father of many nations.  Ishmael was left in the desert out of desperation, because Hagar couldn't bear to watch her son die.  And finally, Ishmael was rescued and redeemed, made into a great nation himself, by the God who Sees.

El Roi is truly the God who sees us, mothers.  Whether we are on our last thread as a stay at home mom, or beating our brows at work, or desperately clinging to our marriages, or raising a child alone, whatever the circumstances, call out to Him, for not only does He hear your cries, HE SEES YOU.

There is no greater comfort for me in this season of life than calling on the name of El Roi and knowing that not only does He hear me, he sees me exactly where I am.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

7 months.

7 months is kind of an awkward stage.

6 months is 1/2 a year, 8 months is 2/3 a year, but 7 months?  Just a random number.  A place-holder if you will.

This is life.

Happy boy, can't keep his hands out of his mouth
Henry is sitting wobbling on his own.  Depending on what is entertaining him at the moment, he might sit for 5 seconds, or 5 minutes.  Naturally, when I tried to video him sitting on his own, he made it for a smaller than usual amount of time and ended up falling backwards and hitting his head....then crying...LOUDLY.  All of this is captured for eternity on my iPhone because I was trying to show off his new skill instead of sitting on standby to catch him if he fell.  Parenting fail.

Henry now prefers spending a lot of his time on his tummy.  He can push up into a modified plank position, where his entire upper body is off the ground.  He is painfully close to crawling, but hasn't made so much as a little scoot yet.  

Henry has gotten to the stage where he thinks he can feed himself.  He is constantly trying to grab his spoon, or just shove his fingers into his mouth along with whatever food happens to be there.  I tried to give him a spoon the other day to see what he would do with it.  I was oh-so-proud that he knew that it belonged in his mouth, but he quickly shoved it so far into his mouth that he gagged himself.  He thinks he is a big boy, but doesn't quite have the hand-eye coordination to carry it out.

Henry has also regressed to a not-so-great napping phase.  I blame it on the teething, but I think he might just be caught in the in-between.  He doesn't need three naps, but doesn't sleep long enough during each nap to only take two.

chubby legs

As I announced on Facebook, as of April, I will be working part time hours.  I was already kind of working part time hours, at a whopping 12 days a month, but now I will be cutting back to 6-8 days a month.  It has been a weird dynamic to continue working and putting in the effort for my full time schedule, knowing that it is only temporary.  I'm ready to fast-forward to April already.
Another notable moment from this past month was our first trip out of town, sans Henry.  JP was standing in a wedding for a dear friend in Nashville, so we made the trek up while my parents kept the baby.  It was a healthy exercise for all of us, but not without the requisite tears (on my part only.)  Henry was in great hands, but it was extremely tough on this mama.  I considered it training for June, when I will leave my little guy for a WHOLE WEEK to venture to Guatemala on a medical mission trip.  I am so looking forward to the trip, but I don't let myself think about it too long, because I go into a mini-panic-attack just thinking about leaving Henry behind.  Yikes.  Pray for me, y'all.

Sassy face

Those are the highlights from month 7.  I cherish these days where Henry will still let me hold him for small amounts of time.  I know as he develops his sitting, crawling and walking skills, there will be less of this in our future.  I cherish his sweet little hands that are always reaching for my face.  Most of all, I cherish the nothing days.  The days that turn into nights where I honestly can't remember what I did all day, but every single second was spent with Henry.  These, my friends, are the truly blessed days.