We've had quite an exciting weekend here in Wake Forest! As you know, April Brock Scott (one of my closest friends from college) lives here in Wake Forest with her family; they are also here in seminary. It's a precious treat to have them so close to us.
Well, April & I were treated to a special University of Mobile weekend here in Wake Forest! Kate, one of our dear, dear friends, has been in Indonesia for 3 years. She managed to make it up here for a visit this week - we were so excited! When we found out she was coming, our friend Melis immediately booked a plane ticket to be here for her visit.
So we all got together to eat dinner on Friday night; strawberry picking together on Saturday morning; Kate, Melis, April, and I got to have a girls' night out on Saturday night (THANK YOU, Dustin!); the four of us and the kids went to the Six Sundays in Spring concert on Sunday night, along with some of our other wonderful seminary friends.
All in all, it was a wonderful, refreshing weekend spent with women whom I have a history with...who have known me at my best and worst and love me anyway, and vice versa. The Lord is so kind to grant us moments like this.
And poor Dan....he came down with a terrible throw-up virus and felt generally terrible this weekend. My poor husband.
During our time here in NC, we take advantage of the NC State Zoo in Asheboro by visiting in the spring and the fall of each year. Last year, we went during the summer because Dan's family was here for Lana's birthday. It was lots of fun, but it was HOT! Lana was young and still needed 2 naps a day, so it was tough for her to be out and about for so long.
Yesterday, we spent the day at the zoo, and the temp was perfect. Lana doesn't need a morning nap anymore, so that made it easier to spend all day there.
We headed out by 7:15, arrived at the zoo by 9:30, and were pleasantly surprised by the drive. Allana is notorious for hating the car seat, but we warned her before we got in that it was going to be a long drive, let her eat breakfast in the car, and sang lots of songs. She didn't fuss one time!!
The weather was perfect when we arrived. It was very cloudy, but that ensured that it was nice and cool. All the animals were out playing and eating because it wasn't hot, so that was a special treat, too.
Allana loved it. She walked and looked and ran and played - it was such a joy to see her enjoying herself so much. We had a great day together.
We left the zoo around 2, and gave her a snack in the car. She fell asleep while eating it, and slept most of the way home.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. Click on any one to make it larger.
A blog I read inspired me to feature some of the toddler items we have for Lana that I truly love. Here are some of our latest favorites:
Seeds Worship CDs - this is Scripture to music. Love it! When I get tired of kids music but Lana is begging for "Music, please," this is what I turn on. Our friends the Jimersons gave Lana the Faith one for her birthday last year; we're hoping to acquire the rest of the collection soon. Check it out: www.seedsmusic.com
Our new IKEA easel! Wow...super inexpensive, and just right for Lana. With several different use options, we have only had this one month, and have already gotten our money's worth. This one will grow with us. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50021076
"Oh, David!" board book. We checked this one out at the library this past week, and Lana has fallen in love with mischevious David. There is an entire collection of David books, and I'm now on the hunt to add them our library.
This is a bit late for this year, but during the winter time, we LOVE Babylegs! http://www.babylegs.net/ They are wonderful leg warmers that fit even the chunkiest little legs. They come in all sorts of patterns and fabrics, and they last for quite a few years, it seems. They stop at the top of the thigh, and are held in place with elastic (that doesn't pinch or irritate, by the way), eliminating the need to pull down the tights for diaper changes or potty time. EXTREMELY useful during the first winter we're potty trained, I bet.
Crocs! Uncle Bro & Aunt Nik bought Allana her very first pair for her birthday last year, and we wore them until she completely grew out of them. Sue Sue & Baloo just bought Allana 2 new pairs, and she has figured out how to take them off and (here's the big deal!) put them back on all by herself! She is so proud. I have found that the name brand ones just handle the wear and tear of toddlers better than the knock-offs.
Our Summer Infant Video Monitorwww.summerinfant.com/videomonitors.htm We have the Day and Night Quiet Sounds version with the handheld monitor. This video monitor is a lifesaver! If there were one item I would tell every expecting mother to put on her registry, this would be it. We use it every single day, almost 2 years later! We love watching her wake up and fall asleep. When she was very tiny, it kept us from running in her room at her first peep. We could watch and listen to her and make a decision on if she needed us or could settle herself back to sleep. Priceless! Best of all, Summer is wonderful about standing behind their products. Almost a year ago, our battery wouldn't work anymore, so we called and they sent us a new battery, completely free of charge.
Miss Pattycake (www.misspattycake.com)! If you haven't heard of her, you must check her out. Allana is not interested in watching TV of any sort...cartoons, movies, even Veggie Tales don't hold her interest. Praise Baby is still her very favorite (www.praisebabycollection.com), and Miss Pattycake is loved almost equally because she does lots of singing and dancing.
Her Step 2 climber and slide! We bought it for her with Christmas money from Sue Sue and Baloo, and she is having the time of her life on it. She can climb up and slide down all by herself, and just today she learned to climb up using the holes in the side instead of the stairs. She just beamed!
Unbelievably, her Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Soothing Seascapes turtle is still an item she uses every day! It's still in her crib, and she turns it on before she falls asleep and as soon as she wakes up. There was recently a recall on this item, but it was not on our particular model, thank heavens! I cannot for the life of me remember who gave this to us, but if it was you, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
What about you? Any favorite products we should know about? Any questions about the products mentioned above?
For about a week now, Allana has not been herself. Last Thursday at small group, she screamed and cried so horribly in childcare that we went and got her out. Not like her at all. She has not been eating well (just a few bites at each meal), and not sleeping normally (10 or 11 hours at night instead of 12 or 13). But mostly, she's been super emotional. If she asks for a snack, and we suggest a banana, she dissolves in tears. If we ask her if she wants to go outside, she dissolves in tears. On and on it goes....she's will fall apart at the drop of a hat. Not pitching fits, just crying like her heart is breaking.
At first I was puzzled, but I chalked it up all week long to teething or a growth spurt or whatnot. By yesterday, I was just tired of it. I was just weary of the meltdowns. I had coffee with Stephanie Lyon (a dear friend and mentor here in Wake Forest) in the afternoon, and I had to confess to her that I was just tired of my child that day! She was so reassuring, and really encouraged me to just love my baby through this. Thank our sweet Father for friends like Stephanie. I returned home better prepared to love my daughter, even when it's not easy!
This morning, my ornery little angel woke up with a high fever. My spirit told me that something wasn't quite right....a fever combined with her being out of sorts for an entire week is a red flag for me. So off we went to see Dr. Dirk. (An aside: in the car, Allana kept saying, "See Dr. Dirk. Fun! I excited!" We are so blessed to have him as a ped.)
He ran a strep test...negative. No rashes, vomiting, diarrhea. Nothing. Because Allana had a UTI almost a year ago (July 4, 2007, to be exact), it was necessary to check for that. Dr. Dirk didn't want to cath her, so he sent us home with a cup and a prayer. If we didn't get a sample by late afternoon, we would have to cath her.
I've never prayed so hard for pee! I wish you could have seen us. I stripped her down, covered the living room floor with towels, put her potty seat in front of the TV, turned on PraiseBaby, sat her on the potty, and gave her a juice box. I knew I could keep her on the potty with a juice box because it's such a big treat for her....she very rarely gets juice at all, has had very few juice boxes in her life, and NEVER gets to eat or drink in the living room. I gave her saltines to make her thirsty so she would want to drink more. I pulled out all the stops!
Within minutes, I knew it was a UTI. She would try to tinkle, but only a drop or two would come out. So pitiful....after several hours, we finally got a good sample, and took it back to Dr. Dirk.
It looks suspicious for a UTI (white blood cells, traces of blood in the urine). He's sending it off to be cultured, and we'll know for sure in 24-48 hours. Because she's already had one before, this is a pretty big deal. If it grows something, she'll have to have a VCUG (they use a catheter to inject dye into the bladder and kidneys) to determine our next course of action.
2 UTIs in her 20 month life is too many. It's a signal that something is not functioning properly. A main concern is that if she associates pain with urination, potty training will become very difficult. Other concerns include scarring in her kidneys, or inflammation of the kidneys. Treatment for the problems we could find range from daily antibiotics to surgery, worse case scenario.
Sweet Dr. Dirk is so calm - we're just taking it one step at a time right now. He is so good at keeping everyone (read: ME) cool, calm, and collected. We'll keep you posted. Please pray for the antibiotic that she is on to work quickly to give her some relief. That's all right now. Today has enough worries of its own; we'll pray for tomorrow's issues tomorrow.
Our little girl is talking up a storm! She is now speaking in complete sentences that are sometimes 4 or 5 words long. She said today, "I dropped the water!" when she dropped her sippy cup in the car. And I was playing my kissing game with her, asking her where Mommy's kiss was, and she replied, "I can't find that kiss." I laughed so hard my sides hurt. I'm going to try to be better about writing down the funny things she's saying now, especially since she's using longer words or phrases.
And not only has she been talking non-stop, but she pee-peed in the potty twice today - right after nap and right before bed! Her diapers aren't dry by any means, but at least she's using it now. I think I've found the right motivation for her....stamps for her hand! She loves them more than anything, and I love that they're not a food reward. She is really proud of herself when she goes. She'll hop up and look down, saying, "I pee peed in the potty! I did it!" We do a little dance and clap and celebrate big, and then she helps me dump it in the potty and flush it down. We're not going to try to really train until the summer.
They don't train in her preschool class, and I know it's got to be consistent for it to take, so we'll wait until summertime and give it a try when we're at home together for a few months.
The Bible says that the Lord disciplines those He loves. And that if a parent wants to avoid spoiling their child, if they want their child to seek after the Lord, then they will discipline them. And it also says that discipline is good....that it's about training in righteousness.
Because we believe that the Bible is completely true and completely sufficient for all of our needs, we trust what it says about disciplining Allana. It is not easy, and sometimes it causes us pain to be obedient to what the Lord tells us to do, but it works. It doesn't make sense to us how bringing momentary pain into Allana's life through spanking will correct her heart and bring her into repentance and right relationship with us and with the Lord....but it does. It works. It isn't easy to isolate her when she is out of control to teach her self-control...but it works.
We have been fortunate enough to spend time in churches under the leadership of many godly parents and in the company of parents who provide us with much wise counsel about how to discipline our child. We both grew up in homes that valued good behavior, and our parents are to this day incredibly encouraging as we raise Allana. We learned from Pastor Mark at COTES that we should spank for deliberate disobedience and defiance, because in the Bible, those things bring pain and suffering into our life, and we want to teach our children to be obedient to us so that they are obedient to the Lord.
That wise counsel started us down a path of searching Scripture and seeking out wise counsel in this area. We have read Tedd Tripp's bookShepherding a Child's Heart. We have gleaned much wisdom from blogs likewww.prayerofhannah.blogspot.com and www.allthingshendrick.blogspot.com. We have spent hours sharpening ourselves through discussion with trusted friends and members of our small group.
Dan and I strive to be consistent and like-minded in our approach to discipline, and to come before the Lord regularly to seek His counsel and guidance. We want Him to be at the helm of this thing, and He is so faithful to us. We are nowhere near spot-on; it's a constant process of learning and becoming more like the Father. Here's what discipline looks like in our house right now:
We spank for defiance and disobedience. That includes things like telling us "No!", doing something immediately after we tell her not to, or running away when we ask her to come.
Spanking is a process for us, and we work very hard to not skip any steps. Spanking is private, not done in public - we do not ever want to humiliate her. We tell her why we're spanking her (in 5 words or less at this age), give the spanking (usually on her leg right now; we'll lay her on our lap and give it on her hiney after she is potty trained), hold her until she stops crying and tell her again why she recieved the spanking. We prompt her (if necessary) to say she's sorry, extend forgiveness with lots of hugs, and then pray to ask Jesus to forgive her and help her have an obedient heart. When she's a bit older, we will begin explaining to her each time we spank that if she disobeys and we don't spank her, then we are disobeying God, and he will have to punish us.
We are consistent, even when we are sick to death of being consistent. There was a brief period when she was doing that running away from us thing. All kids do it, and we've observed parents turning this into a game in public. To save face when their child runs from them, the parents hurries to catch up and swoops the child into the air, laughing. But it's not so funny. It's disobedient and dangerous. We knew that we wanted Allana to listen to our voices and obey, so we were going to treat running away from us seriously. We spank for it. Every. Single. Time. And of course she realized that there was a power struggle, and so she tested me to see if I was really going to spank her for it every time. And there was a week or two when I felt like I was spanking her every hour or so. But we stuck with it...we didn't leave the house for a couple of days, and we practiced her coming to me when I called, and she got it. Every once in a while, she'll return to her old behavior, but most of the time when I say, "Allana, obey Mommy. Come right to me," she obeys. That's priceless and it well worth all the hard work.
We don't count to 3. I know there are a lot of people with many more degrees than we have who write books talking about how this is a good method, but it doesn't line up with Scripture. I want Allana to obey the Lord immediately when He speaks to her, so that means I must teach her to obey me immediately when I speak to her. If I count to 3 before requiring her to obey, I am giving her time to disobey, for delayed obedience is still disobedience. I am teaching her to push the limits, to satisfy her own desires until she gets "caught."
Time-out is very rarely punitive in nature at our house. It is used more to give her a "break" from her emotions. If she is out of control, very whiny, etc., we send her to time-out for a minute or so. We set a timer. When the timer goes off, we go to her, make sure she's got herself under control, talk about what the appropriate behavior is, and go about our merry way.
We work hard to make sure our discipline is truly discipline...not just punishment. For us, that means using our words to instruct her daily in righteousness. We use our words to teach her the right way, to encourage her when she chooses obedience, so guide her to be independent in her thought processes. This is NOT about self-esteem or self-concept....I have an M.Ed. in counseling, and I think a lot of that self-esteem jargon is hogwash, and I'm not dousing my child in it. Instead, I'll cover her with what the Word of God says, and I'll take the time to be proactive intead of reactive. I'll make sure she eats well and sleeps well and I'll set her up for success. I'll speak words of blessing into her life on a regular basis, and I'll pray for her OUT LOUD.
We are willing to put our lives on hold if there is a chronic behavior issue that she is struggling with. If she cannot obey us in the confines of her own home, then we will not be going out to eat, to the park, to storytime at the library, etc. This is not about punishing her....we don't even verbalize it to her. We just put the brakes on our social activities and focus our time and attention on correcting the heart issue that we're seeing. Is that inconvenient? Yes. Is it disappointing for us sometimes? Yes. But we have just a few short years to instill truth and life into her heart, and we don't want to miss our window of opportunity. The Lord promises us that if we train her up in the way she should go, when she is old she will not depart from it. Well, now's the training time. We know we can't wait until she's 3 or 5 or 9 or 13 to begin training her in righteousness....that's too late. If we wait even a year or two to curb unrighteous behavior in her life, we have disobeyed the Lord and have done our child a grave injustice. Not only will it be much harder for us in a few years, but it will be much harder for Allana because she will not have the wisdom that she needs to make good choices.
If you've made it this far, we'd love to hear your thoughts? Any encouragment, admonition from the Lord? Anything you've seen work or not work in your family? Any questions?