Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Belly Buttons & Birthmoms

You just never know when the questions will come. "Mommy, where did my belly button come from?" Today was hair day and after we got the old style all undone it was time for a bath and hair washing. It would be really easy to just give answers that didn't embrace the opportunity that is peeking it's way through.

As I was talking with a friend the other day, she mentioned how she knew of a woman in her life that doesn't even know her story. It happens all too often. Children have a right to KNOW their story. It IS in fact THEIR story. Even when it's infiltrated with pain and loss, they deserve to know it.

I want my children to trust me. I want them to know that what I say is true. If I desire to have healthy relationships with them in their adolescent years, then I had better be laying that foundation of truth and honesty NOW, while they are young.

The conversation continued something like this ....

"Sweet girl ... that is where you were attached to your birth mom when you were growing inside her tummy.", I said. "OH!!!", she said. "You mean the mommy plugs it into her tummy?" she said. "Well, not exactly, but there is an umbilical cord that attaches the baby to it's mommy and that is how the baby is nourished while they are in the tummy.", I said. "OOOOHHHH!!!", she said, completely impressed with this new knowledge!

Back when we were in the adoption process, it was engrained in us how important it is to talk with your kids as they begin to put the pieces of their story together. To be honest, that made my heart ache at times, just not knowing what all to expect. How would they handle that kind of information. What I've come to realize is that it will just come up as we live life together! And really, that's the best way. There is no reason to keep these big secrets from our kids and then sit them down when they are 18 and bury them in a heavy load they were never intended to have to carry all at once. No, instead, they should receive bits and pieces as they are ready.

What happens though when the womb wasn't a safe place for them with their birth parents? What then? I know a lot of you are walking that journey! You are living out the ramifications from birth parents choices before you were even in the picture. What THEN? I'll tackle that in an upcoming post.

We went on to lotion her up, get dressed and tackle the new hair style. Just as I want my daughters to know they can come to me when they are hungry or thirsty or scared .... I also want them to know they can come to me with their questions. I want them to know their story. Because, it is just that ... THEIR story.

If you're an adoptive momma, I'd love to hear how you are sharing your child's story with them. What opportunities have you had to tell them bits of their story as you go about your day? What fun questions have your kids come up with? What areas do you find it most difficult to talk about? Leave your answers in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Think About Such Things

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil4:8&9

I don't know about you, but my mind can really drift at times. Especially during times of stress or change, I can fall into areas of discouragement. I love how God provides direction for us in His Word. Phil 4:8&9 is such a great check-list of where our thoughts should be. This passage always draws me back to thinking more about the LORD and less about the circumstances that surround me. That's a great place to rest my mind.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cool Water

Nehemiah 9:19-21
"Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness
By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out
nor did their feet become swollen."

Ever been in the wilderness? Ever wondered if the Lord truly even remembered you? At times like those I am encouraged by digging into the book of Nehemiah. Can you even imagine being in the wilderness for 40 YEARS? When we are parched and dry and needy .... HE offers to be our living water. He longs to refresh us and renew us. He promises to SUSTAIN us. Just as my girls were SO excited to get out in the cool water on a hot summer day, SO SHOULD I be eager to seek my Father for the cool water that HE offers.

Are you in need of refreshing? Do you need to be reminded that you have a Heavenly Father that cares SO DEEPLY for you? You might want to open up the book of Nehemiah today. I promise you will be encouraged & strengthened.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Blessed Nap Hour

Moms, am I speaking your language? If not, I should be. ;)

One of the key things that has kept me sane over the last eighteen years of mothering is "The Blessed Nap Hour"! In our home, it typically last longer than an hour. ;) But an hour is a great place to start!

I hear some of you now .... "well, my child quit taking naps when they turned ONE!". Yep, most of ours would have too, if we'd let them. So bear with me. Also, here is a great 'lil secret, just because your kids don't actually SLEEP doesn't mean they don't need REST.

I'm really surprised by the number of families I see with whiny-in-the-afternoon/evening-children. It really doesn't have to be this way! It really SHOULDN'T be this way. Often when a child is cranky, whiny and irritable late in the day, it's simply because they are tired. Kids (and MOMMAS) get over-stimulated and need a bit of "down time". Even children who don't sleep much need REST. Children who are often labeled as "busy" {dare I say a tinge hyper} NEED down time!!! They need an opportunity to calm down and regroup.

Isn't it amazing how we wonder why our kids don't know how to sit and be quiet at places like doctor's waiting rooms and church, but we never incorporate QUIET into their lives during the week? Ding-ding-ding!!! :)

Interesting to me is that we live in a society that is SO overly obsessed with their babies sleeping through the night, but see NOTHING unusual about toddlers and young children who are constantly over-tired and whiny from 2 o'clock on! So, moms of littles ... if your children are cranky and irritable from 4-7 each evening, don't lose heart! There is a GREAT way to fix this!!!! Those hours can be some of the BEST you've ever experienced!

So what does this look like? Here's a few practical tips. This post isn't targeted for newborns and babies, so we're gonna start at the toddler phase.

  • Be sure your child gets lots of opportunity to be busy and work off energy in the mornings. Unless it is 150 degrees above or below zero, TRY to get in at least a half hour of outside time! Nothing like running/playing hard and fresh air to wear a kid out!
  • Work their BRAINS and their BODIES in the mornings. If they've spent the majority of the morning vegging in front of the TV they aren't going to be ready for a good rest in the afternoon. Esp on rainy days, be sure to work in some puzzle time and/or game time with your kids! Sleepy brains rest better.
  • Give your child lots of "mommy time" in the mornings. You want their tanks filled up in this area so they won't be clingy/needy when it's time to go rest. If you've spent good quality time with your kids in the morning you'll feel more confident to tuck them in for their alone time in the afternoon.
  • Provide a healthy lunch with some good protein! Filling your kids up with only sugar and caffeine for lunch will hit hard against you come rest time. :) Half an apple, some carrot sticks and a PB sandwich and/or yogurt will fill up those tummies and will hold them over.
  • Don't use "rest time" as a PUNISHMENT!!! It should be a NATURAL part of the day!, just like meal time, play time and potty time! I cringe when I hear moms threaten their tired/fussy kids ... "if you don't stop your whining you'll have to GO TO BED". HELLO?!!!! ... your precious kiddo NEEDS rest! It shouldn't be a punishment. :)
  • Expect your child to stay in their bed QUIETLY (or whatever location you have set up) until rest time is over. During years of tiny apartment living with 3 littles we had to get creative on location, but we always made it work. It was a key to our family thriving.
NEWSFLASH!: Your kids might not be super excited about "rest time". It's OK! You only need to require them to do it with a good attitude. Having something to look forward to AFTER "rest time" is a great way to set up their day as well. Often my girls will ask me ... "Mommy, can we do that after nap time?". They've just grown accustom to knowing that nap time is GONNA happen and when they get up we're all about having a GREAT TIME again together until bed time!

It's very normal for a child to begin not sleeping every day between 12 months and 3 years old. Four out of five of our kids have done this. They might go a whole WEEK or so without "sleeping". This is often when parents think they have "outgrown" naps. STICK WITH IT. Change your language from "nap time" to "rest time" if you need to for older kids. Guess what? Parents that have done this, almost ALWAYS the kids start sleeping again! At least several times out of the week. It's a fact. :)

Even most Kindergarten classes and children's camps have times of REST! They are smart! They know that kids NEED down time.

So other than the fact that REST is SO important for young kids, there is more! Moms, this is the key to having more peace in your home! Having an hour or more break each afternoon helps YOU in more ways than you can imagine. Knowing there is that block of time where there won't be a thousand questions asked of you also gives YOUR mind, heart and soul time to REST. This is NOT selfish mommas!!! It is NEEDED and GOOD for you! It is ALSO good for Daddy!! Daddy deserves to come home to a place that is not complete chaos filled with whining children and a basket-case momma! :) Evenings can become some of the BEST of family times when the children are rested and happy until bed time. Blessed is the man of a woman who has had a little bit of rest mid-day, let me tell ya! :)