Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh, How I Wish I Could Protect Her

Aside from the obvious tragedies that life can bring, the one thing I so wish I could protect my sweet girl from is...mean girls. 

I think we can all agree that girls can be really mean.  It starts at a young age. The little girls in our subdivision are always shouting, "I'm telling on you!" for some reason or other.  They push each other around and they're so demeaning.  I've even found myself in the presence of toddler girls who are kind of snotty.  A two year old in the church nursery gave my sweet girl a dirty look a few weeks ago and I was floored!

As women, we must work hard to keep a tight grip on our thoughts, for our thoughts effect our facial expressions and thusly, our words and actions.  I know that I can't protect her from the heartache of mean girls; I guess it's just a fact of life.  But what I can do is work to keep her from becoming a mean girl.

My earliest memory of a mean girl was in elementary school.  There was a girl who I think was in special ed that I would try to be nice to but she would slap me at recess.  Additionally, we lived in a large neighborhood with lots of kids and lots of opportunities for hurt feelings.  Little girls are full of drama, and I remember being right in the middle of it.  I was always yelling in defense of someone else but wasn't necessarily the object of meanness.

In middle school, we had moved to a new state and there were these two girls who were very popular.  Everyone worshipped them because girls with fake tans who smoked behind the gym were apparently fantastic.  My first week at this new school, all of my books fell out of my locker onto my head, and they never let me live it down.  They tormented me and called me "big ugly".  I was neither ugly or big, but I maintain the fact that my low self-esteem came directly from the first week of the second semester of 8th grade.  Those girls were mean.

Things seemed to level out through most of high school.  I was pretty good at laying low.  In college, I made lots of friends and things were different.  No one made fun of me and people actually wanted to be my friend.  I had several really close friends but life has taken us in different directions.  Thankfully, having children has brought some of us closer together as we've bonded over sleepless nights and stretch marks.  I had this one friend in particular that I thought would stick with me through it all.  Out of nowhere she retracted her invitation for me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and basically stopped talking to me altogether.  It took me almost 4 years to get over that.  It made me hesitant to grow close in new friendships.  I have forgiven her but I'm not sure what I would do or how I would feel if she wanted to talk to me at this point in our lives.  We had been inseperable for about 5 years and then it was gone.  When something like that happens, you start to question everything about yourself.  I felt so unworthy of friendship after that.  She left a huge hole in my heart for a long time.

Then there was the job I had when we were newlyweds.  I started this job right after our honeymoon.  My coworkers were other seminary wives.  They were so cruel.  They wouldn't talk to me and loved having little inside jokes that they rubbed in my face.  The joke was on them because I didn't really care; I was just happy to have a good job.  Long story short, they led me to believe that the boss didn't like me and they manipulated me into believing I was a bad employee.  One of them fired me.  It was only after the fact that I learned the boss liked me and they had been lying.  It hurt so bad because like me, their husbands were depending on their income as they studied for their degrees.  I could not understand why they had done the opposite of what the Bible we all believed taught us to do.  They gave no reason based upon job performance, just that I didn't "fit". 

By far, the worst experience I had was with my last job in Atlanta.  Only now, 2 1/2 years later, can I speak of it without my blood pressure going haywire.  I worked hard and put up with a lot for 15 months to find that the boss' wife/acting office manager was searching for someone to replace me.  Once again, I didn't "fit".  Worst of all, the girl who worked most closely with me, another follower of Christ, was so rude to me and took the side of the business owners. I will even go so far as to say that she was whispering things in their ear that were not true.  The boss' wife wrote in the unemployment report that I had stolen, lied, and a host of other negative things that were untrue.  I was shocked.  I still feel nervous that people in the same social circles think that I'm a bad person.  I expect the type of people I worked for to do sleazy things like that, but the coworker who is supposed to be on my team really let me down.  I know for a fact that I was an upstanding employee because when we had my unemployment hearing, my former boss was under oath and could not speak ill of me.

Mean people suck.  I want to teach my girl to be kind, gentle, and clothed in righteousness.  I also want her to know how to stand up for what's right, even if it can cost her. People are going to hurt her feelings, but I want her to be strong enough to move on and not let it get her down for long.  Do you have any experiences to share or tips on raising a confident daughter?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What 6 Months Has Taught Me

After 6 months of mothering my little Kathryn Grace, I've learned a thing or two.  I wanted to share those thoughts with you.  You may already have kids and can relate, or maybe babies are just entering your thoughts.  Perhaps you are waddling around wondering "WHEN is this child going to COME OUT?!" I can assure you, dear one, that not only is your baby is going to come out [I might add that he/she will not be born early but right on time] but that you are going to be just fine.

1. It doesn't matter how your baby gets here, as long as they arrive.  Whether you're induced, use a doula, hpynobirth, water birth, have an epidural, schedule your c-section like a haircut or deliver 10 minutes after your water breaks in Wal-Mart, of all places----in the end all that matters is that your precious baby gets here safely. We all have different opinions [mine are certainly strong] but it's not my goal to make anyone feel bad for their birthing choices/situations.  We're hard enough on ourselves as it is so I think we should all give each other a break.

2. You are the expert.  No, you are not a parenting expert, but you are the expert on your child.  You can read all the books, articles, and blogs that you want.  You can certainly ask questions to your pediatrician.  Just remember that no one knows your baby better than you do and ultimately, you need to make decisions regarding everything from what they wear to diapering, from sleep schedules to when to start solids. Be confident; God gave us everything we need to mother our children!  I have found that when I take the advice of others [even the pediatrician] too seriously, it usually backfires.  You will get weird unsolicited advice everywhere you go.  Just smile and move on. 

3. Beg, borrow, and steal.  Ok, so don't steal and begging would be humiliating, but do borrow.  Don't get caught up in having to have all new things.  Most of what we have is borrowed and I'm thankful because a) baby things are expensive! and b) I can pass things along to others without feeling any sort of attachment to the item.  Find a community of moms that you can barter with.  You'll be able to give things to your baby that you might not have been able to afford and besides, it's always fun to give baby something 'new' to entertain them!

4. Make time for yourself.  I hear this is important, but I'm still working on it.  Something tells me that "me" time has to be more than getting groceries by myself or taking a 7 minute shower while my husband stands outside the curtain with the baby. It's also important to eat right and exercise so you can keep up with your active little one.

5. Believe it or not, you will have a hot meal again.  The days of one of us having to hold Kathryn while we eat are not far from memory, and sometimes we still have to do it.  It will get easier.  In the mean time, buy some foil to keep your food hot.

6. Routines are important.  Notice I didn't say "schedules" are important.  Being a slave to the clock is just not practical for my personality or our lifestyle.  It might be nice if Kathryn would sleep 7pm-7am but if she were in bed that early, she wouldn't get to see her daddy.  We do, however, try to stick to a routine.  Every day is different but for example, at night we do bath time a certain way, have family Bible time, and mellow out until she's ready to go to bed.  Sleeping is quite the issue in our home, but we take a relaxed approach.  There's no reason to get all stressed out about things your baby isn't ready for.  From moving out of her swing to starting solids, Kathryn has let me know when she was ready.

7. Don't blink.  Seriously, don't. One minute they're swaddled up like a baby burrito and the next minute they're sitting up and eating sweet potatoes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Six Months?!

How did a whole half of a year go by that?!?!?!!!
How did she go from this... this?

Officially, she's 6 1/2 months.  In the span of one week she learned to sit up totally unsupported and started babbling nonstop.  She'll say "dadadadada" "bababababa" and "mamamamama".  How'd she get so smart? 

She is also now in her high chair and able to ride facing forward in her stroller.  Too many changes for me to handle, but I don't have a choice do I?

At her 6 month appointment she was 14.13 lbs and 25 inches long.  She's in the 10th percentile for height and between the 10th & 25th for weight.  Her head is 16", which is in the 50th percentile.  Of course it is.  :)

Toes are a very big deal right now.  If she can't lift her foot to her mouth, she just folds herself down to reach them.  Whatever works! Her favorite song is still "The Wheels on the Bus" for some reason.  We still struggle with riding in the car but I think the road trips we've taken in the last few weeks have helped a lot.

I'm trying to keep up with everything she's been learning and growing into but it's kind of hard because I just want to scream "SLOW DOWN!" But we love her so so much and our favorite thing is just watching her little personality really shine as she grows.  We call her "independent at an arm's length."  We are loving [and so is she!] that she can sit up.  The world is so different now!