Today I am 34 weeks pregnant with Tucker. I'm feeling him so much more strongly now! He loves to hang out on my bladder. It's so funny, I can feel him turn and then I'll suddenly have to pee RIGHT AWAY.
If the old wives' tale is true, then he's going to have LOTS of hair - I've had crazy indigestion, especially when I lay down. It's fun to think about what kind of hair he'll have! Lana was born with dark hair, and then by her first birthday, it had lightened up and turned curly. Now she's got a head full of ringlets. I can't wait to see what his hair looks like!! And his toes....and his nose....and his eyes....oh, I can't believe I'm having a son!!
Just in the past week, I've started to FEEL more pregnant. I'm just heavier and moving slower, and everything seems to take a lot of energy. My sleep at night is restless because I can't get comfy. I am more emotional, and have way less energy. I feel like I could sleep all the time.
Nesting has begun in earnest....all of a sudden, I feel like I'm running out of time and have to get everything done right. this. minute. It's so funny - I know I'm acting crazy about something, but I just can't help it! Dan has been very accommodating, and is doing everything he can to help get us ready.
Lana & I have checked out and read TONS of children's books from the library about being a big sister and having a new baby. She's really getting excited - I hope she continues to feel that way after he arrives!! I'm trying to slowly let her know about the "rules." She can only hold him after she's asked mommy, she can't give him anything to eat or drink without asking mommy or daddy, etc. She really is such a nurturer - just a first born girl in every sense of the word!
Several people have asked me if I'm getting nervous as my due date approaches, especially about delivery issues. The truth is, I'm not. I know the Lord ordains each of our days. As scary and horrible as Lana's delivery was, I know that the Lord was sovereign in that. He had lots to teach me, and surely something to teach the doctors that cared for me! I know the same will be true for Tucker. He has placed our family in Raleigh, delivering in the research Triangle, for a very specific reason. If the worst case scenario happens and I again go through some of those same delivery/postpartum complications, I am in a wonderful place, rich with medical knowledge and personnel. I really am at peace with this.
The only source of anxiety I am experiencing right now is about Lana and what our plans are for her when I go into labor with Tucker. Our family is 12 hours away, and will not be able to get to us any quicker than that. Lana thrives on routine and knowing what to expect, so the thought of having to take her and drop her off at a friend's house, possibly in the middle of the night, makes me worry. I know she'll be okay, but it makes me cry to think about her being anxious, or being so out of her routine that she doesn't sleep well and starts having meltdowns and needs me....on and on my mind wants to take me. I have been praying about this for weeks, and trust that the Lord knows what we should do. Right now, I am praying specifically that the Lord will send us someone who is willing to come stay with her in our house, especially if it's the middle of the night. He may or may not answer that prayer; either way, I am choosing to walk in the knowledge that He knows the desires of my heart. He knows what my little girl needs most.
Please pray with me over this....and if any of you have had children away from family, I'd love to hear your stories/suggestions!
Lana didn't nap well. I took her to have dinner with a dear friend and her kids, even though I KNEW she would probably have a meltdown. I was being selfish and really wanted to visit with my friend. I pushed her way past her limit.
When she had the (expected) meltdowns, I grew increasingly frustrated with her. As we left our friends' house, I responded to her continued crying by raising my voice at her and giving "full vent to my anger." I WANTED her to feel bad. It was NOT about discipling her or training her in righteousness. It was much more about me being embarrassed and wanting her to feel bad. The WORST motivations ever.
Thankfully, the Spirit is so good to speak to my heart, and before we even arrived at our home (5 minutes away), I was fully repentant. After parking in our driveway, and before we got out of the car, I unstrapped Lana and sat her with me in my seat. I apologized to her for the poor choices I made in speaking to her and asked for her forgiveness.
She is SO tender and quick to forgive me when I've done wrong. Of course that just makes me cry....what a precious child she is. We had a sweet time of cuddling and praying, both of us asking God to forgive us. I explained to her again about how when we ask for forgiveness, God is faithful to hear our request, and then our sin is gone - done with - paid for.
This morning I had an early doctor's appointment, and Lana stayed at home with Dan.
I called him when I was leaving the doctor's office and asked him if she had told him about our terrible afternoon while he was at work. He laughed and said, "She did! Let me see if I can remember exactly what she said."
And here is Lana's retelling to her Daddy:
"Last night when we were at Kate Kate's house, it was not dinner time, and then it was dinnertime. And I pitched a fit. And I made poor choices. And then mommy got frustrated and got a fit and yelled. And in the car, I had a bad attitude and Mommy had a bad attitude. But she said she was sorry, and we prayed and asked God for forgiveness. And I forgived Mommy and Mommy forgived me, and God forgived us. And that feels better."
For about the past month, we have officially been in the "Why?" stage. She must ask "why" a gazillion times a day, and I'm not kidding. For the past two weeks, we've been at home in Alabama with family, and it was nice to have others to answer that question!! PawPaw was the funniest about it....he would just laugh and laugh at her.
I LOVE that she is so inquisitive. In all truthfulness, I really don't mind answering her questions and explaining things to her. It gives her an opportunity to learn more vocabulary words, and we have some of the best conversations these days! And I'm a teacher at heart, of course, so in my opinion, the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. I'm all about my child asking and learning as much as she can!
However, just yesterday, Dan noticed something that bothered him - I can't believe I hadn't picked up on it before!
When we give her a direction, such as "Lana, please put your shoes away," her first response is always "Why?" Or when she asks US permission for something, and our answer is no or wait, her first response is "Why?" Now, she very rarely responds this way in a rude or disrespectful manner. Instead, it's just become her automatic response - a bad habit, to be sure. And I have just been answering her without thinking about it too much.
Dan pointed out to me (and then to Lana), that he wants her first response to be obedience. After that, it's okay for her to ask why, but we want her to obey FIRST. He had a great discussion with her about how if we ask her to do something like put her shoes away, she must say "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir," obey, and THEN she can ask why. We are always willing to explain it to her - AFTER she obeys.
He did such a great job sharing our expectations with her. He explained (on her level, of course) that the reason we are going to insist on this is because we want her heart to be FULLY trained to respond to God this way. When He asks her to do something, we want her first instinct to be obedience, then seeking to understand. Because sometimes we WON'T or CAN'T understand why God wants us to do something, so we must be trained to obey immediately, and then wait patiently for comprehension.
The past two days have been busy with training her in righteousness in this area. We don't think that she'll get this overnight, but I'm so grateful for Dan's wisdom in this. I would MUCH rather be teaching this to her at 3 as opposed to 13.
Sleeping: Bedtime is still 8:00 p.m., but here lately, it sometimes takes her until 8:30 or 9:00 to fall asleep. She sings, puts her babies to bed, talks about her day, etc. until she drifts off. It kind of bothered me for a while, but then I realized that Dan & I both do things to wind down: I have to read, he likes to watch TV, and evidently Lana has to talk to herself. J She wakes up sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, and takes an afternoon nap that lasts between 1 and 2 hours (although she stays in her bed at least 2 hours).
Eating: We hear all the time what a good eater Lana is. I don’t mean that she always eats a lot in quantity – often she eats like a bird. I think that’s just part of being a toddler. What I mean is that she eats a wide variety of foods: there’s nothing she won’t try and very little she rejects. The only two things I can think of that she really d oesn’t like is green olives and tomatoes. It’s really a pleasure to cook for her or to take her out to eat because she just likes so much! Her favorite right now is broccoli, particularly the stalks. She tried boiled crawfish recently, and loves it. We’ve talked some about why we think she’s a good eater, and what we’ll do with Tucker to encourage him to eat well, too. From the time she was a newborn, we included her in family meal time. Whether she was in her bouncy seat, Bumbo, or eventually her high chair, we put her with us at the table and included her in the conversation. When she began to eat solid foods, we gave her whatever we were eating: perhaps pureed or chopped in tiny bites, but seasoned and cooked the same way. We never cook a separate meal for her – she eats what we eat. If she chooses not to, we know she won’t starve: the next meal is just a few hours away! I try to cook healthy, well-balanced meals so that even if there is one thing on her plate she doesn’t like, there are several other good choices. We never force her to eat anything, only insist that she try one bite. If she tries it and doesn’t like it, our response is always something like: “That’s okay. You might change your mind when you’re bigger. Thank you for giving it a try!” We don’t battle food with a two year old. If, for some reason, we see a pattern of her not eating well at mealtime, we immediately evaluate her snacking habits, and will usually eliminate snacks entirely for a while. We don’t want her to graze all day – we want her to eat well at mealtime.
Talking: I love watching her little personality emerge. Some of my favorite things she’s said lately:
*Dan took us to have Dippin’ Dots, and she called them “Polka Dots.” She kept saying, “I love to eat those polka dots!”
*She says “with” instead of “if.” “I’ll hold it with you want me to.” “With you need it, you just tell me.”
*Lana fell & impacted her front two teeth pretty badly, to the point that she couldn’t eat much solid food. Dan went to the store to get her some soft things like yogurt, grits, and soup. When he asked her what kind of soup she wanted, she told him that she wanted “sick soup.” She meant chicken noodle! The first time she had it was when she was sick with a stomach virus. She also calls Gatorade “sick juice.”
*We were all in the living room together, Dan & I were talking about something, and we heard Lana say from across the room, “Excuse me!” When I asked her what she needed, she said, “Oh, I was just saying excuse me to my body! I pooted.”
*We were swimming in the pool, and PawPaw explained the “No Diving” sign to her…you know, the guy diving with a big red circle around him and a line through it….the universal no sign. A few days later, she & Dan were in the restroom at a restaurant, and as she sat on the potty, she said, “No diving, Daddy.” Thinking that she was just remembering the pool, he said, “That’s right, Lana. We can’t dive in the pool at the condo because it’s too shallow.” “No Daddy! No diving in this bathroom!” He couldn’t figure out what she was talking about until she pointed out the no smoking sign on the door of the restroom.
Discipline: As I’ve been reading and praying about this all-consuming time in my life of discipling Lana (and soon, Tucker), the Lord has been using a couple of passages from Proverbs to train my heart about WHY consistency in important in disciplining Lana.
Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.” Who doesn’t want their children to be a source of peace and delight?? And why are there times when I don’t feel that peace and delight? As I reflect on the times when I’m not delighting in Lana, it can often be retraced to a lack of discipline on my part….an area where I have not been consistent in training her. Perhaps I’ve slacked off, maybe I’ve started making excuses for her behavior, but it usually has something to do with an area that I’ve begun to overlook. Thus, she isn’t disciplined well, she is NOT delightful, and I’m not peaceful. Hmm.
After chewing on THAT a while, I took the time to read through those other verses in Proverbs 29, and God REALLY got my attention with this one:
Proverbs 29:15 “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”
That “left to himself” part really got me. I don’t ever leave Lana alone. Not in the bathtub while I run to answer the phone, not in the car while I dart inside the store, not in the pool while I go to get a drink, nada. Her safety is too important to me. She’s so young, and it’s my job to keep her safe. I’m vigilant about watching over her.
So why would I EVER neglect to discipline her consistently? Why would I leave her alone in her sin?? That’s what it is, I’ve come to realize. When I’m not consistent, I’m leaving her alone in her sin. I’m disgracing myself.
This whole discipline deal, I’m learning, is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, and at the end of the day, I’m just so glad I can run back to the Cross for more grace. I can’t do this alone.
Playing: Dan & I regularly sit down and have a “state of the family” talk. This includes talking about Lana’s strengths, and her “weaknesses,” or the areas in which she needs to be discipled. One of the areas that Lana struggled is the ability to play by herself. She’s just high needs in this way. She might play with her babies or puzzles or blocks independently, but she wants to be in the same room with me. She wakes up in the morning asking us to play with her, read to her, just BE with her. I really do love this….she’s my sidekick, and I don’t mind doing everything together. But I do want her to be content to be alone, too. Part of this, I truly believe, is just how the Lord made her. She loves to interact with us and talk, and she just enjoys people. She’s definitely not a loner. But I’m working to develop her ability to be alone. I can’t wait to see how Tucker’s littler personality is similar or different than hers in this area!