Success and Pressure

Let’s talk about success in today’s society, with our children, with ourselves, and with our ability to emulate and imitate the Lord’s merciful acts. 

Technology has become quite my friend, just as easily as it has become my enemy.   While I rely on technology, and more specifically social media, to keep me up to date with the news of the world, I also find it to be quite stressful especially where my children are concerned.  

Podcasts are one of my favorite things to listen to.  I enjoy getting snippets of news via NPR podcasts, or listening to 60 minutes while I’m doing laundry or the dishes.   In a lot of cases, I’m listening to news specifically through my Amazon Echo and Echo Dot while I read and write blogs, pay bills, and finish up any writing projects I’m working on.   It’s a different level of multi-tasking, than what my parents were used to.   One podcast I enjoy listening to is Focus on the Family.   In most cases, they have short little 20 or 25 minute devotionals and/or anecdotes about family and living a Christian life.  Last week, one of the podcasts focused on success and pressure.   They asked the question, “How do you define success?”   And obviously, in today’s society success is defined in a more superficial and at times egotistical way as opposed to a spiritual one.   So, today I wanted to discuss that in this blog. 

Many parents will say their child is successful if he or she gets into a good school.   If he or she wins the MVP trophy in soccer, scores the most goals in basketball, wins the geography bee, the spelling bee, is the valedictorian, or makes the President’s list.   I don’t want to take away from these parents, because they are right…their children are successful, but they’re falling short at times in the way the Lord asks us to be.   The Bible tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, to live for something bigger than what is on the surface.  

So many parents these days have created a thin line between a child doing his or her best and satisfying the egotistical needs and desires of his or her parents.   Ok, ok, friends, I know what you’re saying to me, “let he who doesn’t sin cast the first stone.”   It is not my place to judge or to “preach” because I am just as guilty.  For any of you who follow me on Facebook, you’ll see my often times shameless posts about my children completing tasks, some of those tasks are completed at an earlier age than their peers.   That is my pride shining through and some could call it my gloating, and this is where I state that technology and social media, specifically, are my worst enemy.   They encourage me to not focus on success in a Christian manner.

How many of you out there post photos of your children online?   I’d be willing to bet that every one of you who reads my posts and have children, do this.   You’re proud of your children and you want to share it with the world.   I get it, I do, but does it add too much pressure on us as parents to encourage (and some of you go a few levels above encouragement) our children to succeed?   Are our children becoming an appendage of our own superficial egos?   Think about that for a moment. 

This past Sunday, my pastor discussed “The Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises of God” from 2 Peter 1:5-11 and it correlated a lot with how we determine success, or at least I was able to relate it in my Christian struggles to be a good mom and mold my children into successful adults.   I want to look at two particular passages from 2 Peter 1. 

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.  For if you do these things, you will never fail, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:10-11

Peter wrote a second letter because false teachers were troubling the church and disturbing the faith of some by their heresy, immorality, and greed.   Perhaps I’m seeing a parallel in what Peter found and how we, Christians and non-Christians, are determining what makes our children successful.   We are placing realistic and un-realistic requests and stresses upon our children, and why are we assuming these are the only ways to be successful?  Thanks to social media, the competitive factor amongst parents has increased.   Our children’s success, or lack thereof, becomes a direct reflection upon how well we are raising our children.   We can be seen as failures.   We are labeled as dead beats and disconnected parents.  We allow ourselves to dwell upon a shallow view of success.   I struggle daily to make sure that what I’m conveying to my children as “success” isn’t something that is just defined by our society. 

So, what was my point with the post?   To encourage all of you to relax a bit, to let go, to not pin your child’s goals upon what Nosey Neighbor’s kids down the street are doing.   God created us in His image and He has a higher purpose for us and our children than what society leads us to.   This is not to encourage an indolent nature with our children, but continue to guide them and influence what true success is.   And just like Peter says in 2 Peter 1: 5-8,

                “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

And isn’t that how true success should be defined? 

Happy 2016

2015 is in the history books, roaring it’s way out of the Doser household, quite more vehemently than that of a lion.   It’s the dawn of a new day, a new year, and a whole new world of possibilities.

I’m like everyone else, well most everyone else, in that I do create some sort of resolution.   And why not?   It’s a new year, time for a fresh new start, and perhaps the opportunity to not just become a better person, but also to live my life as a better person.   I tried to be a bit more realistic this year.   I’m not setting some lofty weight loss goal or quitting some vice (I don’t really have any unless you consider eating peanut butter straight out of the jar a vice).  No, instead I’m taking the opportunity to use the new year as a sort of strategizing session.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve sat back and pondered what was wrong with my life.   Why did it seem that I was constantly spinning my wheels daily and not feeling any sense of accomplishment.   I have a self worth, after all, and in order to feed that dreaded devil, I have to feel as if I’ve been productive.   The Christmas holidays nearly wiped me out, but I continued to trudge forward, and in doing so I decided that once and for all I needed to treat my stay at home lifestyle as a “job”, a career per se.

When I worked in the corporate world, I maintained a daily list of items that needed to be accomplished in order for me to move on to the next day with a clean slate.   Lately, I’ve felt as if I haven’t had any sort of clean slate with my life and that not only have I been spinning my wheels, but also sinking into mud.

Last week, I decided to go back to 4 years ago, when I was still a working mom, and do what I did then.   I’ve made a schedule beginning at 5a with the boys (don’t worry, they get to sleep until 6:30).   It allows for everything from personal writing time, which I’m doing now, to 2 hour work outs at the Y, lessons with the boys (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history and Bible verses), lunch, nap time for Henry, my personal time with God, and even chores before collapsing at the end of the day with a good book or movie with my husband.

I’ve written out my schedule, what it will be daily, and have even allowed for Friday to be a free day for all of us!   I hope this has become a more realistic resolution and that it is something from which we’ll all benefit.  I hope this allows for me to start breathing again, to not feel so overwhelmed and to feel beneficial.   And of course, I hope this also allows for me to maintain this blog a bit better as I continue to share with you our daily adventures.

I hope you all rang in the New Year in the happiest and best ways possible, and that the Lord will continue to guide you, be merciful, and most of all that you will find Him this year, if you haven’t.   Happy 2016!

Allowing My Love to Permeate

We had a wonderful lesson in Sunday School today.  It resonated not only with me, but with the other members in my class.   My husband and I had nursery duty today, so we were unable to attend our Pastor’s sermon, but my understanding is that it followed along with our lesson.   The lesson was about returning to your first love…Jesus Christ.   As Christians, we are taught to always return to a love for Christ that permeates everything we do.   At times, we find ourselves straying.  Perhaps, day-to-day life gets in the way.   Other times, we get settled into our routines and sometimes those routines are not allowing room for Jesus.   I’m definitely guilty of this.

Once upon a time, when I would get frustrated with my boys or life, I would retreat to a chair in another room, whip out my Bible and start reading.   Davey used to say to me, “Mommy, do you need Jesus?” when I would start counting to 10 in order to calm myself down before berating him or his brother for flushing legos down the toilet.   These days I’m afraid that I’ve allowed my relationship with God to start sliding.   One thing I was most proud of was that my boys would see me taking time to read the Bible.  They would see me in quiet prayer or reflection with God.  I hang my head low now as I admit that they haven’t seen that in a while.

So, tonight I made sure to carve out some time, any time I could to read a Bible study and a couple of passages in the Bible.  It’s funny how God always know when you need Him most.  He knows that today is the best day to start back over with me.   He forgives me for my laziness and my sinful nature.  He loves me and He encourages me and today’s Bible study reminded me of that.

It starts with the commandment to Honor Thy Mother and Father and takes me into Ephesians, Chapter 6, verses 1-4.  I want to take this time to share verse 4 with you, more specifically my fellow parents out there who find themselves overwhelmed.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4

I reflected on this passage for quite some time and I’ve looked back over the past few weeks as Henry has become more strong-willed and Davey more head strong.   I’ve started developing a lot of gray hair (my stylists calls it glitter) thanks to these two and I feel that lately I’ve been quick to anger and raise my voice.  This isn’t the way the Lord wants me to discipline my children.  I know this, but I haven’t exactly heeded His words or commands.  I haven’t been allowing God’s Love to permeate and I definitely don’t think I’ve been allowing my love to permeate as well.

Being a parent is a hard job.  It’s the toughest, most stressful, and yet most rewarding job you’ll ever have.   If you mess up with your kids, then there’s not really a do-over.   You can’t take a “pay cut” or find another job.   This is it.   But when you get it right, man does it feel like you’ve hit a grand slam in your final ever at bat.

I’ve allowed too many other things to “interfere” with my life and my boys’ lives.   My backsliding from God has hurt us all, but I want to remember what it was like when I first became a Christian and committed my life to God.  I felt relieved.  I was happy.   My stress level plummeted and I felt like for the first time ever things were going right in my life.   It’s time to get that back again and to start letting that permeate through to my boys.

I encourage you all to take that closer look.   To ask yourself how it felt being a Christian for the first time.   Find a way to let the love permeate.

Stories From Davey

I watched from my perch above, having just opened the window. The fresh, warm air pushed in like water bursting forth from a dam. I felt it smother me before a breeze of the wind flushed the heat from my face. I laid hidden from my entertainers, they unaware of what they were, and me, their unseen audience.

The sun danced between the branches and the little buds of leaves starting to form. Shadows began forming and almost gesticulating on the grass below. I watched as the occasional breeze blew a stray leaf into a frenzy of somersaults, while the others were forced into their gymnastics by my husband’s and son’s rakes.

They, more specifically my husband, were taking advantage of the beautiful, Spring-like day to attack are neglected yard. What few trees we have are bare to the bone and have been for months now after shedding their foliage. As usual, we put off yard work as long as possible. We’re not afraid of the work, the character or strength it builds, or the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day’s work. No, we’d just rather be outside doing other things.

As Davey has grown older, he’s idolized his daddy more and more. To quote the words of King Louie from the Jungle Book, Davey likes to say about his daddy, “I want talk like you, walk like you, be like you.” There are a lot worse things in life than a young boy worshipping his father. So, to see Davey “working” hard alongside his daddy really just swells my heart.

I, unfortunately, was banished inside over the weekend, suffering the consequences of a stomach bug that seems to be floating around. My husband took over parenting responsibilities solo and managed to maintain the house as well, but decided to go a step further and rake the leaves. This is where my entertainment began.

I stood above, at our bathroom window, watching and listening as Davey talked to his daddy. I watched my husband continue to rake, not skipping a beat regardless of what Davey told him. I stifled a chuckle, but still smiled happily when Davey dropped his rake and patting his chest said, “Daddy, this is my Captain America shirt.” My husband responded with, “that’s right, buddy.” Then the conversation continued much to my amusement.

“Mommy, bought this shirt for me at Wal-Mart,” Davey said.

“It’s a good shirt, buddy,” my husbanded replied while attacking the pile of leaves.

“I wore it to the Y and mommy came in and said, ‘what’s going up, Captain America?'” Davey replied.

“Are you sure mommy didn’t say, ‘what’s up’ or ‘what’s going on’?” my husband asked.

“Mmmm. She said, ‘what’s going up, Captain America’, because I was wearing a Captain America shirt. Isn’t it a great shirt, daddy?” Davey asked.

“Captain America is a great shirt,” my husband said as he viciously shook out the folds of a lawn bag, before stuffing them down into the garbage can. I tried to imagine being down on the ground with them, to see the look in my husband’s eyes as Davey became the reincarnate of a Chatty Cathy doll with a broken string.

Davey continued on, as my husband raked. With each heave of the rake, Davey had something new to say. Was my husband truly listening to him or was he just going through the motions? Was he rolling his eyes? Was he silently chuckling? Or was he doing just as I was doing and becoming amazed at the thoughts that were rolling forth from our son’s mouth.

Once upon a time, my husband and I used to work our yard in peace and quiet. We focused on our task at hand and girded ourselves for what needed to be done. Our work went along much quicker then, especially seeing as how every five seconds we didn’t hear, “Daddy, turn your eyes around and look at me while I’m talking.”

Some days, I cringe at the thought of what could possibly come out of my child’s mouth. What sort of story is he going to regale us with today? Will it be true or something fictional and of the own inner workings of his brain. Some days, I watch him as he tells us stories. I’m convinced I can see the wheels and cogs spinning in his brain as his heart pumps out the love that fills the stories. I wonder how long it takes for him to come up with what he wants to say. What sort of effort goes into them? But for the most part, I love my daily stories from Davey, everything from dragons who fight, planes who speaks, and penguins who karate chop their way into the storybook of our lives. We even hear stories of Jesus, Noah, and Moses. It’s never a dull moment and I’m thankful for them every day.

Summer Break…Just a Day Away

I remember the first day I dropped him off. I was nervous, more so about whether I would remember everything I needed. Would I forget to pack his lunch and what about diapers? But then, I got us on the road and walked my little man into his first official “class” (more of a mother’s morning out, but he’s still in a classroom setting). I smiled as he proudly walked in with his backpack and Toy Story lunch box. He was excited and I was sad. I thought for sure he would cry or grab onto my legs and beg me to stay, but not Davey Doser. Instead, he pushed me away and said, “Mama go. Davey stay and play.” So, I kissed him goodbye and walked out the door before he saw the tear fall down my cheek.

I’d been looking forward to this day, just because being a stay-at-home mom can be tough. I longed for a day to have to myself, to clean the house, to read a book, to take a nap. I had anxiously counted down the days and had convinced myself that it would be a piece of cake to take him. Never did I imagine the feeling in the pit of my stomach. Never did I think he wouldn’t want me to stay.

Days went by and weeks became months. We developed our routine and Davey quickly learned that Tuesday meant he was going to see Mrs. Beth (his teacher). He was excited, always waking up and knowing when Tuesday had arrived. He came home with stories of friends, playground misfortunes, and even the blessing that he says now before every meal.

Every week, there was a new craft waiting in his cubby from the week before. Some days it was especially made for me and other days were just little paintings to go along with the Bible stories, shapes and colors of the week. He was learning so much and was proud to show it to me.

One of my favorite crafts from Davey.
One of my favorite crafts from Davey.

The days during Christmas break were hard. Davey had a new baby brother AND he was away from Mrs. Beth for almost four weeks! He cried for her a couple of times, but quickly told me that he loved me most. He woke up on Tuesday mornings with the anticipation of going to see her, only to be disappointed when I would tell him not today.

Finally, Christmas break was over, but the frigid temperatures and snowfall began. School was closed and Davey’s heart sank. When the snow melted and everything began to thaw, we were back on our routine once again. I was relieved and Davey was happy to have someplace to go where his little brother wasn’t.

And now we’ve come to the end of the year. I’ve explained to Davey that tomorrow is his last day with Mrs. Beth. He says he’ll see her again, which may be true. I don’t think he fully realizes that next Tuesday morning when he wakes up, it will just be the three of us (me, him, and Henry). I think he’ll be alright. I know he’ll be alright, but it still saddens me to know that this chapter of his life is now over. I almost want to cry. This wonderful woman has been a blessing not just to me, but also to my son. He loves her and tells her this every time he leaves her class. When we pass the church, Davey exclaims, “That’s Mrs. Beth’s house, let’s go see her.” Usually I answer with, “we’ll see her on Tuesday.” That won’t be the answer anymore.

So, to thank her and her assistant for taking such wonderful care of my precious cargo, Davey and I decided to make them a couple of teacher appreciation gifts.

Davey's gifts to his teachers.
Davey’s gifts to his teachers.

And as a side note, thank you to all of you teachers out there who sacrifice your time to take care of those that are precious to us.

Welcome Back to Corporate America

I know I’m not the only stay at home mom who’s had days like this. They’re the kind of days when you daydream about your old life. The days when you think about the money you used to make. The days when work was left at work and once you walked into the door of your home it was a whole new world. The days when you were paid to put up with sh*t instead of being literally covered in it for free. Please tell me I’m not the only one to actually consider going back to work just to escape my 24/7 life as a stay at home mom. Please?!?!?!

I attribute part of it to the fact that I’ve suffered through round 2 of the dreaded stomach flu in less than 2 weeks. I attribute it to the fact, that not only was I unable to eat, but I was spending every 15-20 minutes in the bathroom for myself and then another 15-20 minutes with my toddler while potty training him (or attempting to). I blame it on the lack of sleep which has affected my lack of patience. I point a finger at my husband’s job which seems to have him working 20 hour days and traveling overnight. I basically blame it on my ability to get too easily overwhelmed.

I spent Wednesday night crying, not just crying, but sobbing. I found myself asking, “is this really the life you want, Amy?” I started perusing online for jobs that I was qualified for and began worrying about whether I would even get a job after taking a 2 year hiatus. I started thinking about the military wives who have husbands away on tour for months on end. These moms have to raise their children on their own and yet I’m complaining about having a bad day. How pathetic am I to gripe about my life? Yeah, I went down that path too.

When I started looking for jobs, I started feeling conflicted. Do I really want to go back to work? Do I really want to miss out on my boys growing up, their adventures, their firsts? I’d be taking the easy way out and what would all of those other stay at home moms think about me when they saw I couldn’t cut it? Yep, I started thinking about that stuff too.

My patience had entered a whole new realm with Davey, one that I’d never tried to navigate before and one I’d hope I’d never have to go down. I yelled at him on Wednesday, not once, not twice, but three times for stupid petty little things. Maybe I should go back to work!

Henry refused to be anywhere except in my arms. Davey refused to have Henry anywhere except AWAY from my arms and the darn dog nearly caused me to break my neck multiple times because she needed her share of attention too and was constantly under my feet. Why must everyone be so needy all at the same time????? Is this really the life I chose for myself?

Well, yes, it is. Wednesday was only two short days ago, but I’ve managed to FINALLY move past the stomach flu, although I’ve entered the allergy continuum. I’ve managed to get some sleep, not spend nights hugging a toilet. I’ve managed to actually develop some level of energy which means no more putting Davey in front of the t.v. because I feel too terrible to do anything with him. And putting him in front of the t.v. has only made me feel worse about my parenting duties.

So, I’ve since tabled my grand plan to walk back into Corporate America like the less scarier version of Joan Rivers. I’ve since taken a breath and looked at both of my boys and sat in awe of who they are. I’ve since reminded myself that my life is blessed not cursed and I’m on a path that was destined for me, chosen for me, and one that I can and will endure and love even during the bad times, at least until the next time Murphy’s Law decides to knock on my door and knock me off my feet.

But you want to really know what has gotten me through? My Bible and the stories of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers and the entire book of Job. And in the words of Gloria Gaynor, “I will survive.”

Success

14 years ago, I sat in a Modern Political Theory class at Clemson University. I had just two more semesters left to go before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Communication Studies and Political Science. I was already studying hard for the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and had eager aspirations of attending the University of Maryland in order to get a Master’s Degree in Political Communications. From them on, I was going to attain a job at the State Department and possibly get myself a job somewhere overseas. Then and only then would I consider my life to have been a success. Needless to say, my life didn’t go down that path, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a success.

14 years ago, the thought of a husband and children was not a part of my life’s dream. It didn’t seem to fit into the equation of the goals I’d set for myself. Plus, at that point in my life, being a wife and mother was just ho hum. It was average and there really wasn’t anything spectacular about it. I needed more than just average. There would be no success story found anywhere there, or so I’d told myself.

The past few years of my life have helped me to change my view of what success really is and I’d like to share it with you all, especially for you other mothers out there who are perhaps not doing what you thought you would be doing with your life years ago. I do have my Bachelors Degree from Clemson University and I did manage to go to grad school, albeit not at Maryland, but through Webster University and it wasn’t in Communications, but instead Business Administration. I’m not exactly using any of my degrees at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a success.

I’ve met quite a few mothers who feel that they need to find a way to balance it all in order to be successful. Many of my friends still feel that having that illustrious career is what makes them successful. They feel that the world judges them because they are women who have children and a career. But, here’s an idea…maybe your children could be your career and you could be just as successful at it or more so than at some corporate America job.

The past couple of weeks I’ve found myself reflecting upon my life and the choices I’ve made…where they’ve led me and how I feel about the end result. And here’s what I’ve found, my life is more successful now than I could have ever imagined stationed at some Embassy or political post overseas. How have I come to that you ask? Well, here are a few examples of how I measure success, especially as a stay at home mom to a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 2 & 1/2 month old.

Last week, Davey met one of my former colleagues from my days in Corporate America. He reached out his hand, shook her hand and said, “Nice to meet you.” Success! I have a very well mannered son.

Davey saw another child crying over the weekend at a rugby game. He walks over to the child and says, “It will be alright, would you like to play with Davey?” Success! He’s empathetic and concerned.

Davey walked over to his friend at church on Sunday and began singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with her and even held her hand. Success! He’s learned the words to the song and is such a happy little boy to sing along with his friend.

Every Tuesday morning that I take Davey to school, he immediately walks over to his teachers and hugs them both. Success! I have a loving child.

Every Tuesday that I pick him up from school, he tells all of his friends goodbye, taking the time to hug each one of them. Success! He’s a friend to all.

At every meal, he doesn’t eat until he’s said the blessing and thanked the Lord for what we have. Success! He’s learning the importance of thanking God.

And at least once a day, I’m asked to read Jesus to him, which means Davey would like a Bible story. Success! He’s learning about God!

These are only just a few small examples of what makes me feel successful not only as a mom, but as a woman and as a person in general. I don’t make tens of thousands of dollars and there are days when I feel like my job as a mother is just a complete failure, but when I see my son, outgoing, loving, smart, and well-mannered, I know I’ve been a success. When I see his smile every morning (and Henry’s too), I know that I’ve been the most successful person I could ever be. I’ve birthed two beautiful boys, both inside and out, and I’ve managed to mold them into children who will become successful adults as well. And again, their success won’t necessarily be measured by awards and dollar figures, but more about the character and integrity they have as young men.

I am a success.

Another Day, Another Adventure

It’s never ending and it’s always something new. That’s motherhood! It’s not always exciting and fascinating. Sometimes it leaves me feeling downtrodden and weary, but I’ve come to look forward to the next adventure on my walk down Mommyhood Lane.

Henry is 6 weeks old today! I can’t believe how quickly time has flown and it makes me happy to know that I’m home with him especially when you consider that maternity leave in the US is merely 6 weeks and I was preparing myself to go back to work at this time with Davey.

Henry is sleeping better at night (last night we were at 4 hour intervals) and he’s just growing into this wonderful little man. I relish the fact that I’m a part of his life and I get to call myself his mother even on the days when he decides to go through 4 outfits because he’s had diaper blow outs like today. Sheesh!

Davey, on the other hand, is a different story. He’s well past the diaper blow outs, but still in the diapers. He’s getting physically bigger and is quite the intelligent little boy. One day we’re making muffins in the kitchen and he’s reading a cookbook and the next day I’m cleaning out egg salad from his nostrils. Yes, you did read that correctly. I’m not sure what the fascination is these days with cramming things up the nose. I’m not really sure why any toddler seems to enjoy doing that. For those of you who have a toddler who seems to have completely avoided this phase, count your blessings. It’s rather disgusting to have my child sneeze on me two hours AFTER I’ve cleaned out his nose, and be covered in snot laced egg salad. You can gag at that…I am!

But I guess one of the things I’m loving about my adventures is the fact that no matter where I turn, whether it be in my house or outside in the world, I find some little item that makes me smile. Even on the days when I’m exhausted with a toddler who refuses to take a nap, I can’t help but chuckle when he grabs his Bible and tells me he needs Jesus.

And then there are the days that I’m scrambling to get ready for church and I slide my foot into a pair of shoes only to discover that it’s become a garage for Matchbox cars. It’s the little things that impact me the most.

Henry is starting to smile. He rolled over three times all by himself last week! How crazy is that?!?!? 5 weeks old and he’s rolling over. Davey was a walker at 9 months, so am I to expect the same from Henry? Who knows!?!?! I’m in no hurry because if I could really just bottle up these days, even the nights when I’m getting no sleep, I would gladly do it in a heartbeat and revisit them.

Yesterday, I opened up my nightstand drawer only to find a piece of paper that Davey had colored on. Was it meant to be a gift for me? Maybe not, but it still made me smile to know that even when I am not physically with my boys, they are constantly around me. How blessed and fortunate I am!

There are days when I can’t wait to see what the next adventure to unfold will be. Do I lose sleep over them? Not really. What a truly wonderful life I have.

And That’s A Wrap

I’m always torn when the Christmas holiday comes to an end. There’s a side of me who is anxious to have my house back in some semblance of order, but then there’s the side who’s regretful as to how quickly the time passed and what I didn’t get to do. This year, thanks in no small part to the birth of Henry, a lot of the plans were left to the wayside.

We did; however, have the opportunity to make cookies with Davey. I did at least get two Christmas trees up (leaving the other 5 packed away in the attic for another year of hibernation). We were able to celebrate Christmas with my family, but as for my husband’s family in Western NY, we were forced to celebrate with them via Skype and Face Time.

Decorating Cookies
Decorating Cookies

I’d had grandiose plans of getting cookies and milk out for Santa and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Story (directly from the Bible in Luke Chapter 2). I thought this year would be a great year to start that tradition with Davey. He loves to read and it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Alas, that was not to happen because Christmas Eve already seemed much too packed for him, not to mention the fact that he didn’t take a nap so he was suffering from a quadruple dose of the Terrible Twos.

Christmas has started taking on a new meaning for me, the older I’ve become and especially since I’ve become a mother. Gone are the days when I was anxious to open presents. Instead, they’ve been replaced with the joy of seeing my son open his presents. I loved seeing his expression, his genuine happiness and sincere hugs and “thank yous” to those who bought him gifts. I’ve enjoyed watching old classics that I grew up on like “Frosty the Snowman” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, with my son. He comprehends so much and nothing brought a tear to my eye more than the fact that he watched Charlie Brown so much, he was then able to learn the words to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Unwrapping Presents
Unwrapping Presents

Fortunately, we have a wonderful church family who have been able to step in while I was on bed rest before Henry was born. Davey learned the true meaning of Christmas through them and even brought his Bible to me during the Christmas season and asked for me to read the story of Jesus’ birth. So, I did get the opportunity to read it to him, just not in the Norman Rockwell romantic way of sitting by the fire with our warm socks on, a cup of milk, cookies placed strategically on the table beside the fireplace, and Christmas music playing in the background.

As with everything in life, I have these grand visions and when I don’t seem to accomplish them I feel like I’ve had a huge let down, like my balloon has been deflated prematurely. I felt this way as I undecorated one of our Christmas trees yesterday. I took a moment to look at the new ornaments we’d added this year…one for Henry and his first Christmas, another for Davey (these two courtesy of my mom and dad), and three new “handmade” ornaments from Davey. I smiled as I remembered how excited he was to bring them home from church and school and how he’d chosen exactly where they needed to be hung.

Another Christmas has come and gone. We’ve added a new member to our family and celebrated our many blessings with family and friends. I’ve already started planning for next year, Henry’s first to actual participate, and I’m feeling with joy and excitement with the new memories we’ll be creating. And to all of you, I hope that your Christmas was as stressed and relaxing, happy and boisterous, and memorable and loving as ours.

Mommy Has Poopy Hair

It’s glamorous being a mom, regardless as to whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or one who is working outside the home. Things change a lot. For example, before I became a mom I would have NEVER considered walking out of my house without make up on and my hair styled. These days? I really don’t care, or perhaps I’m just too tired, or maybe just maybe my child has beaten me down.

I know you all love hearing about my adventures in potty training Davey. It’s been an on and off affair, but I’ve stuck with it for THREE DAYS this time. I’m determined. I’m going to get this down and Davey will be potty trained. I’ve picked up on his little cues. For example, he likes to hide and squat when he needs to poop. And when he needs to pee? Well, he starts holding his little “man part” as if he’s trying to pinch it off. I’ve got this! I know when he needs to potty and when he’s actually pottying.

I’ve bought stickers as rewards, given him super awesome underwear (Cars themed, his favorite), and I’ve even created a song to help him go potty. Thankfully for all of you, you don’t have to listen to my caterwauling as I sing to Davey. It remains to be seen if he really enjoys my singing or if he just tries to potty in order to get me to shut up. I don’t care which one it is, as long as he potties.

Lately, he’s hit a defiant state with me and not just on the potty training issue, but with everything. Naturally, it makes the potty training a lot more difficult, but I gotta tell you…Wanna know where I find solace and the encouragement for patience (a virtue I never thought I would learn)? It’s not on the other mommy blogs or from other moms who’ve been in my shoes. It’s from the Bible. So, every morning I say a little prayer for strength, patience and sanity and I begin my trek down Potty Training Avenue.

This morning, I read my Bible and said my prayer. The Lord doesn’t always answer in the ways we hope, but He does answer. Thankfully for me, He answered because after this morning’s fiasco I was about to pull the “Old Amy” response of saying a word or two that wasn’t exactly appropriate for my son to hear.

Davey is sitting at the kitchen table, alongside me, eating his breakfast and listening to today’s Bible lesson (he loves to be read to). After breakfast, I get him down from the chair only to immediately notice the all too knowing sign of a poop. As a side note, why does a child’s poop smell worse than an adult’s? So, I ask, “Davey, did you poop your pants?” I get, “Oh no, Mama.” I ask, “Davey are you telling mommy the truth or are you fibbing?” He replies, “I fib.”

I take him to the bathroom because my intent is to take his poopy underwear and dump the poop into the potty and explain (AGAIN) that this is where poop belongs. What I wasn’t exactly expecting was the fact that it wasn’t just your typical poop. It had eased up his back and saturated his underwear and pants. Sigh! I said a quick prayer. This is the reason I use disposable diapers instead of cloth. I have absolutely NO DESIRE to scrub poop. I just want to trash/flush it and be done!

Gently I take off his shirt, careful to make sure that no poop gets in his hair, a feat which I found to be successful. Next, I took a little toilet paper and wiped off his back before beginning to navigate his pants and underwear. I don’t know where I went wrong. Perhaps it was underestimating the movements of my child because as I started sliding down his pants and then his underwear, Davey decides he wants to immediately step out of the poop infested arena. So, he jerks up his left foot, gets his heel caught in the poop of the underwear, and then shoves down his foot thereby squishing poop everywhere. I try to steady him and bite my tongue, saying yet again another prayer to God, as this thought starts swirling through my head: I gave up a paying job for this crap (literally and figuratively)? At least when I was in the corporate world and people treated me like poop, or even thought about rubbing my face in it (which I’m sure quite a few of my customers desired), I was paid. I don’t get paid squat for this.

So, I stood Davey back up as he reached down to wipe the poop from his foot. “Davey, no!” I screamed, but too late. He then wiped the poop on his leg, started crying and with his hand smothered in poop says, “Mama, clean pleeeeaaassseee,” all the while wrapping his arms around my neck and then stroking my hair with said poop hand. Not only is my child now covered in poop, but it’s also in my hair. Again, Sigh! And thank you, Lord, for allowing me to take it in stride.

I’m still determined on this potty training thing. If anything it’s becoming a battle of the wills and I always win. Trust me, I will kill myself, but I always win. I will succeed. In the meantime, I am forced to endure a song entitled, “Mommy has poopy hair and Dixie has a pee pee mouth”. It was adorable the first thousand times I heard it today. Now? I’m ready to gauge out my eardrums. And as for the really cool Cars underwear? It was thrown in the trash. Davey has 40 pairs, being short one doesn’t bother me especially if I don’t have to clean the poop.

That’s all for today in Potty Training Land. Stay tuned for more shenanigans to come…COUNT ON ‘EM.