Sunday, January 31, 2010

But what about forgiveness?

We are reading through the Bible with Lana, and tonight we read about David.  We ended with David killing Goliath.  I was tucking Lana in bed so that we could pray together, and we had this conversation:

L: Mommy, where was Goliath?  Was he in that cave?
R: No, baby, he was in the field.  Remember, the Philistine army was camped up here, and the army of the Lord was camped up here, and David and Goliath met in the middle.
L: So where did Goliath go after the field?
R: Well, he didn't.  Remember, David killed Goliath.  The Lord won the battle for him.
L: He was DEAD?!  Aw, Mommy, that's so sad.  (She was really grieved by this fact.)
R: Hm.  Lana, Goliath was an evil man.  He was not for the Lord, so he was against him.  David stood up against him in the name of the Lord.  God protected David and the rest of the army.
L: Goliath was evil?  And so David killed him?  Because God said to?
L: But what about forgiveness?
R: Lana, God promises to forgive us.  But Goliath wasn't sorry.  He didn't repent and ask forgiveness.  He didn't believe and trust in God.
L: Oh, that's like that other evil one, Mommy.  That really bad king?
R: King Herod, you mean.  (She was quite interested in King Herod this Christmas season.)
L: Yes, him.  We don't want to be like King Herod and Goliath.  
R: No, Lana.  We want to be like David.  The Bible calls David "a man after God's own heart."  David sinned, but oh how he loved God.  
L: Yeah.  I wanna be like David.

Life with Lana today (3 years, 6 months)

Celebrating her half birthday at preschool with Mommy
Sleeping: Thankfully, bedtime has gotten much easier.  I think part of it was just a “stage,” or whatever you call it when your child inexplicably, temporarily loses their mind.  The other part of it was relatively simple…her sheets were cold.  I bought her a twin size electric blanket and put it on her bed.  When I put her in the bathtub, I turn it on and let it warm up her bed and sheets.  After I tuck her in, I turn it off so I’m not worried about it during the night.  She loves, loves, loves her “cozy” bed and will sometimes ask to go to bed early so she can get in it.  Funny!

Eating: Just in the past week or so, she has been trying to say she “doesn’t like” things.  I’m guessing she’s probably picking that up from friends at preschool.  We are just handling it like always….”That’s fine.  Try one bite,” and then we don’t push anymore.  I made a major mistake the other night….we had friends over for dinner, and they require that their children eat all of the veggies on their plate.  (They really do just put a couple of bites!)  This is not something we’ve ever required of Lana, but they were having a conversation with their son and asked him to eat all of his, and so I told Lana she needed to eat all of hers.  It turned into a small struggle; she did eat them, and then went on about her business.  However, later I regretted handling it differently than I ordinarily might just because we had company.  It was a reminder to me that every child needs to be parented differently, and I need to parent my child the way she needs, no matter what others are doing.  Because, of course, they are generally parenting their children in the best way for them.

Talking: I have been so proud of the kindness that Lana has shown around the house this month.  I literally can’t remember spanking her more than once in the past month.  She really has been respectful and obedient.  We are working hard on the “tone” of her words – i.e., not whining.  This is not something she does on purpose; I really just think it’s a sin she struggles with.  When we remind her, she can usually correct her tone.  Obviously she has more trouble with this if she’s tired or hungry.  So do I, if I’m being honest.
She's become quite the storyteller, too!  Here's an example: Shark story

Discipline: My sweet girl…this month has really been a joy.  A few minor things here and there, but overall, she has just been a blessing to us in so many ways.  Discipline this month has been focused more on instructing her how to love God well, and how to love others well.  She’s been asking some questions that lead into great discipleship….”How do we get to heaven?” and “How can I do EVERYTHING the Bible says?  It’s got a lot of words,” and “What if I don’t want to consider my friend first?”  Sometimes as we’re talking and praying through the things she asks, I am reminded that her tender little 3 year old heart is struggling through things that lots of adults are struggling with, too.

Playing: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

**Because Lana has a July birthday, she doesn't get to celebrate with her friends at preschool.  This year, we had a 3 1/2 birthday party for her!  She was so happy, and now she proudly says that she is "3 and a half" when asked how old she is.  She requested Daylight Donuts with sprinkles on them to share with her class:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to Wreck Your Church in 3 Weeks:

**Received this from our discipleship pastor/small group leader, who read it on a blog. Solid stuff; convicting.**

How to Wreck Your Church in Three Weeks

Tonight at our evening service, a dear sister prayed for our members’ meeting next week. She prayed for the Lord to continue to bless us with the sweet unity and peace we’ve been enjoying for a long time now. I was moved by the prayer, and deeply grateful for the evidence of God’s Spirit among us. There are no conflicts in the church that I am aware of. There are no signs of division or unresolved disagreement. It’s peaceful. It’s sweet. It’s not easy; we’re all sinners. But we’re redeemed sinners and God is giving us such mercy. Things are good–actually, much better than good. They’re great–imperfect to be sure, but great.

That’s why it’s a perfect time to post this powerful note from Christ Is Deeper Still. Read, pray, repent if necessary.

How to wreck your church in three weeks

Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you.

Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.”

Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”

As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition quietly. Gathering support will be easy. Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing. Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.

Week Three: When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands. Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward. Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.

Whatever happens from this point on, you have won. You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances. To some degree, you will get your way. Your church will need three or four years for recovery. But at any future time, you can do it all again. It only takes three weeks.

Just one question. Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wiggle worm

I was holding Tucker in my lap this morning, and Dan and I were laughing about how he is ALWAYS moving.  His hands, his feet, his arms and legs - they never stop.  Even when he's eating, he's moving.  

Then we remembered our pediatrician saying that the reason they didn't detect his heart murmur in the hospital when he was born is because he moves so much; he said he almost missed it because Tucker just wouldn't stop squirming.

Is it bad that this makes me nervous?  If my 4 month old is this active - wonder what that looks like at 4 years old?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A girl, through and through

Last night we had our friends the Creswell's over for dinner.  They have 3 boys, ages 6, 4, and 1.  We had a great time...they were so gracious when the dinner I prepared for them was a bust, and were just as happy with the pizza Dan picked up.

The funniest part of the night for me, though, was watching Lana interact with the older boys, Jacob and Isaac.  

Jacob was out in the living room playing, Isaac was in the playroom, and Lana came out from her room to say, "Jacob.  I'm scared and I'm lonely...will you come and play with me back here?"  And off Jacob went!  It was simultaneously funny and shocking - how do girls know to ACT like that, from birth?  How do they know just what to say to appeal to a boy's masculine side?  And isn't it incredible that God just CREATED us that way?  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bye, bye, swaddle?!?

Dan & I realized this afternoon that perhaps one of the reasons Tucker is such an early bird is because he's waking up around 5 or 6 a.m. as a part of his regular sleep cycle, and kicking out of his swaddle.  Because he's always swaddled for sleep, he can't figure out how to put himself back to sleep, so he's just awake.

This obviously means that his swaddle has become a sleep prop. We've got to get rid of it SOMETIME, so we figured that there's no time like the present (especially before Dan goes back to school next week).

Tonight we had dinner with friends, and got home about 7:45.  He fell asleep in the car on the way home, so he was super sleepy when we got inside.  We changed his diaper and laid him in his bed, no swaddle.  Then we held our breaths.

He laid in his bed waving his arms and kicking his legs for a while....he looked like a fish out of water, which is probably kind of how he felt.  Then he started talking to himself, and after about 20 minutes, he fell asleep without so much as a whimper.

He slept for a solid two hours, and woke around 10:30 p.m. crying.  He was obviously going through a sleep cycle, woke up, and couldn't put himself back to sleep.  He cried for exactly 8 minutes, gnawed on his fingers for another minute or so, kicked his head back in typical Tucker sleep-style, and went back to dreamland.  YAY, buddy!

It will probably only really be a problem when it's closer to morning, and he wakes up and thinks he wants to be up for the day.  Nap times tomorrow are probably going to be pretty sketchy.
To be continued....

He woke up around 5:00 this morning, which he does in the swaddle, too.  He cried for about 5 minutes, rolled around, discovered his feet (!!!), played and fussed of and on for about 30 minutes, and then kicked his head back and went back to dream land.
He woke up at 6:30 for the day, which is exactly the same time he's been getting up when he's swaddled.  So not a perfect night, but no worse!
Dan will be at home with him today while Lana and I go to preschool....this is the part that I think may prove to be difficult.
To be continued...

What a wonderful surprise this day turned out to be!!  Lana & I went to preschool this morning, and I felt so bad for leaving Dan for what I thought would be a tough day.  I was SO wrong!
Tucker went down for his first nap at 8:15, and was asleep with minimal fussing by 8:30.  He woke up at 9:45, rolled around talking for a few minutes.  Around 10, he fussed off and on for 5-10 minutes, and then put himself back to sleep around 10:15, and slept for another hour.  HOORAY!
He ate at 11, went back to sleep at 1 (very easily!), and slept until 3.  We almost think he's sleeping better without the swaddle.  It's so funny how parents are usually the ones who are more nervous about are so resilient!

Update 4 days later:
The swaddle is gone forever!  He hasn't looked back for a minute...wowzer!  This kid has NO sleep props.  No pacifier, no swaddle, no "lovey."  We do use the sound machine, but that's more for our benefit.  Amazing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The neck of my booty

Lana's lower back was itchy, and she kept scratching at it.  Here's how our conversation went:

Me: Lana, are you itchy?
Lana: Yes, Mommy!!  I just have to keep scratching it.
Me: Let me put some lotion on it.
Lana: Right's itchy right here on the neck of my booty!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tucker's 4 month check-up

This morning we took Tucker to the pediatrician for his 4 month well baby check.  

He weighs 16 pounds, 12 ounces, which puts him in the 80th percentile for weight.  
He is 27 1/4" tall, which puts him in the 97th percentile for height.  

When Lana was 4 months old, she weighed 17 lbs. 11.5 oz., and was 26 1/2" tall; in the 97th percentile for everything.  

Dr. Dirk said that Tucker is developing perfectly.  He hates tummy time, so I was a little concerned about the development of his head/neck control.  Dr. Dirk reassured me that he's right on track!  

He also said that it's okay that we're still swaddling him; it's not going to hurt his growth/development in any way.  I told him that we might need a doctor's note to turn into our parents about that one!

He encouraged us to go ahead and begin spoon feeding him rice cereal, veggies, and then fruits.  He said that normally it's fine to wait until 6 months, but that solid foods will likely help his reflux not to flare up.

We're so grateful for a healthy, happy baby boy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prayers for her brother

Dan and I were laying in bed listening to Lana on the monitor, and we heard her saying, “Please help him not to cry.  Please, God.  Please, please.  We love you, God.”
Dan sent me in to find out what she was praying about.

Rachael: "Lana, were you just talking to God?"

Lana: "Yes, ma'am."  (big smile)

R: "What were you talking to God about, baby?"

L: "I was asking him to help us obey and do good things, and to help Tucker not cry when he eats."  

May this be the first of many times that she intercedes for her little brother.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life with Tucker today (4 months)

Sleeping: Since we’ve returned home from traveling, Tucker has seemed to settle back into his routine.  He wakes up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, although he sometimes doesn’t wake us up until 7:00 if we’re lucky.  He can stay up about two hours until he’s ready to go back down for a nap, so if we’re at home, he’s back down by 8:30 for at least 2 hours, sometimes 3.  He takes another long afternoon nap, from 1 or 2 until 4 or 5.  He can’t stay awake very long in the evening before he’s ready to go back down, usually no later than 6.  Ideally, at 6 he would take a short nap and get back up for some wake time, but usually he just sleeps until we wake him up at 8 to bathe and feed him and put him back down.  We’d love for him to sleep from 8 to 8, but we’re not going to complain about 6 to 6.  Obviously he’s a great sleeper at home in his crib – we couldn’t ask for better!  It’s a different story when we’re out and about, though.  He’ll nap for short periods of time in the sling or car or at preschool, but definitely not for extended periods like he does at home.  Both of my kids have been this way – we think it’s partly a personality thing, but partly because we just put them in their beds to sleep, so they sleep best there.  A trade-off, I guess.  The only other sleep “trouble” we have is that he will sometimes get out of his swaddle in the middle of the night.  He tries and tries to go back to sleep without it (I’ve watched him for up to an hour), but his hands startle and he wakes himself up.  As soon as we swaddle him back up, though, he’s off to dream land again.
Eating: Tucker is eating 4 times a day, 7-8 ounces each time he eats.  That’s a lot for a baby his age to eat at one time, but it works for him.  He’s eating at 8, 12, 4, and 8.  His eating has improved so much that we expect that he’ll be discharged from the dysphagia clinic soon.  We recently had a barium swallow study done and learned that he does much better drinking thick liquids because he doesn’t aspirate on them like he does thin ones, so we continue to thicken each bottle with rice cereal.  It still feels funny – I didn’t feed Lana rice cereal on a spoon until she was 6 months+. 
Other happenings:
*He still hates tummy time.  With a passion.
*He is trying so hard to roll over from his back to his belly.
*He’s found his voice, and will spend a minute or two at a time “talking” to us.  He’s also got a great little laugh.
*He has discovered his hands and has them in his mouth almost all of the time.  He doesn’t suck on his fingers (his suck reflex is limited – one of the things we’ve been working on at the dysphagia clinic), but he loves to gnaw on them.
*He is reaching for objects on his play mat and bouncy seat.
*He has big smiles for us in the mornings when we come in to get him – I love that he wakes up happy!
*His favorite song is “Oh, how I love Jesus.”  It calms him like nothing else, especially when Mommy sings it!
*We are still swaddling him at night and during naps because he sleeps so much better that way!  If we unswaddle him or even loosen the swaddle, he just flails his arms around and makes himself mad.
Tucker's schedule today:
6:00 a.m. Wake up and play in crib for up to an hour
8:00   Eat 7-8 ounces
8:30-11:30   Nap
12:00         Eat 7-8 ounces
12:00-1:00  Run errands, play on the floor, read books, etc.
1:30-4:00    Nap
4:00          eat 7-8 ounces
6:00-8:00   Nap
8:00          Bath and bed

Monday, January 4, 2010

Update on Lana's appt at Duke

I took Lana to Duke this morning at 8:00 a.m. to have an ultrasound and VCUG done to figure out the cause of her recurring UTI's.  I have avoided this VCUG for as long as possible, because it's pretty invasive, but the doctors insisted that it's time to figure out what's going on.

I struggled with quite a bit of anxiety the night before this test - so thankful for Facebook in moments like that.  Dan was at work, the kids were in bed, and I was just before the Lord with my anxiousness. I checked e-mail, and updated my facebook status to ask for prayer to calm my heart.  Within minutes, there were close to 20 people from all over the country praying.  Boy, did I feel it.  A friend graciously encouraged me to pray for the nurse who would catherize Lana - she said that nurse makes all the difference.  So I prayed for her last night and this morning, prayed for her to rest well, for Lana to find favor with her, for her to be excited to be at work, etc.

My only tearful moment today happened on the way to Duke.  I was obviously taking Lana by myself while Tucker stayed at home with Dan.  We contemplated all going, but just didn't want to risk exposing Tucker to anything at Duke.  So as I made that long drive alone, I really missed my mother-in-law.  She worked in the medical field for years, and I was just so sad that we aren't close enough for her to go with us to appointments like this.  

It was a miracle that we got to Duke on time and in the right place - it's a big place!  Everyone is so helpful, though.  The ultrasound was easy greasy - she thought it was funny that she got to take pictures of her belly like Mommy did with Tucker.  Then we went a few doors down for the VCUG.  

Get how good God is: we walked in the door, and the nurse immediately reaches out and puts her hand on my arm and says, "Mom, I've been doing this since before you were born.  We're going to be okay."  And then she kneels down on Lana's level and very matter of factly says, "Sweetie, I prayed for you this morning, that this test would go well and quickly, and that you would be brave.  So let's do it!"  Big tears rolled down my face - such a sweet reassurance from the Lord.

We had to change Lana out of her clothes into a hospital gown, and put her on an x-ray table.  The nurse put on a Dora video for Lana (major treat = major distraction!), and got to work.  Essentially, the procedure involves putting in a catheter, filling her bladder with dye, and taking pictures as her bladder fills up and empties to see if her urine is refluxing back into her kidneys.

The nurse was so skilled at putting in the catheter - it was very quick.  Lana was very uncomfortable, crying and begging me to make her stop.  But my brave girl held very still so that we could get it done....I was so relieved that I didn't have to hold her down.

The radiologist and her intern were wonderful, just had a great bedside manner.  

The worst part was at the end when she had to empty her bladder on the table...she begged us to let her pee pee in the potty.  However, they have to watch her bladder empty, so she had to pee there.  It took quite a while and many tears for her to do that, but she finally did.  

And the best part: no reflux!!  

We met with the urologist afterward, and even though we are all relieved it's not reflux, it's puzzling that she has recurring UTI's at her age.  At this point, our strategy is to wait and see.  If she gets up to 1 bladder infection per year, we'll just treat them.  If she gets more than one a year, we will have to go back to the urologist for further discussion.

Thank you so much for praying for our sweet girl - this is great news!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Prayers for my children in 2010

I want to be diligent to pray for my children.  Not just in an in-the-moment way, although certainly there is value in "praying without ceasing."  But I don't want to pray only in the moment...."Dear God, please help me discipline my child well right now," "Lord, let them see the lesson here in loving our neighbor well," or "Father, please heal my sweet boy's tummy."

Those are valuable, life-giving prayers; but I also want to pray globally for my children, with an eye toward the future and the disciples of Christ that they will become, with a focus being for God's glory and their good.

In the past 6 months, I've posted Scripture all over my house as constant reminders to me to pray for my children...that they would be clothed in humility; that when the time is right, they will go; that they will not be unequally yoked in marriage; that they will act justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God; etc.  

For the past month, I've asked the Lord to give me a Word to pray over them for the entire year - something that He would see developed in their hearts.

This year, my prayer for Lana will be that she gains a Biblical view of herself: fearfully and wonderfully created in His image, and a sinner in need of his mercy and grace.  (Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27, Romans 3:23)

My prayer for Tucker will be that he is given knowledge and discretion, that he fears the Lord rightly, loving knowledge and discipline, that he would not be foolish and despise instruction.  (Proverbs 1:4&7)

Dysphagia example

Tonight's feeding was a perfect example of Tucker's dysphagia (swallowing disorder)...the modified barium swallow study shed so much light on it, and tonight when he struggled, I knew why and thankfully had some idea of what to do to help him.  

He was very hungry when I finally got Lana settled in bed and sat down to feed him.  He does much better when he's REALLY hungry - he's motivated.  The pitfall that we have to avoid is that when feeding is difficult for him (and it's not always, but when it is...), he would prefer to eat just enough to take the "edge" off, leaving us with a snacking schedule as opposed to a feeding schedule.

So I sat down to feed him, and immediately saw that he was not taking the bottle nipple fully in his mouth.  I didn't know this until I saw the video of the swallow study, and the radiologist pointed out the huge pocket of air in the back of his mouth.  This is why he never latched on correctly while nursing, and part of why eating from a bottle is difficult sometimes - he's doing his darnedest to keep that nipple off the back of his tongue.  

There's nothing to do at this point about him not taking in the whole nipple - Joan, Tucker's dysphagia therapist and owner of the clinic, says that we'll begin working on that next week.  I can't wait to see how she can help us adjust that!  

This problem is only compounded for Tucker by the fact that he has an "underdeveloped, almost nonexistent" sucking reflex.  Most babies have a strong suck need, which is why they love pacifiers, and will suck on your finger if you put it in their mouth.  Not T.  One of the therapists was shocked when she put her finger in his mouth and he didn't suck at all.  She had me wash my hands and try, and he didn't suck.  This didn't surprise me at all, but she was definitely surprised.

Back to tonight: Within the first ounce, I noticed the tell-tale symptoms of a difficult feeding: milk was leaking and he was taking big gasping sucks.

I remember at Abby Lyon's birthday party when Tucker was so itty bitty, probably not a month old, I was putting a bib on him to give him a bottle and Hollie said, "You're having to use a bib already??"  At the time, I didn't think much of it, but now I know (because Joan told me!) that when milk is leaking out, there's something wrong.  It shouldn't happen when he is latched on and feeding correctly.  Well, back then, he was a TOTAL MESS and we would often have to change his clothes after feeding.  Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now!

The big gasps he takes during eating were explained during the swallow study: at the very basic level, when his milk is too thin, he aspirates on it.  Not totally, but not slightly.  
Enough so that he feels like he is drowning.  Joan explained it to us like this: if your hands were dirty, and someone was giving you a drink of water out of a glass, no matter how careful they are, when they tip that glass up, you feel like you have to drink fast and probably will get choked up.  If Tucker's milk is not thick enough, he feels like he's drowning and then OF COURSE gasps while you're trying to feed him.

This is why adding rice cereal to his formula has helped.  Our pediatrician originally recommended that we do it because of his reflux, but it is clearly easier for him to consume thick liquids.  

So tonight when I saw the milk squirting and saw the nostrils flaring, I knew that I hadn't put enough rice cereal in his bottle.  I added another scoop and voila: a perfect feeding!!  

I can't wait to see what Joan will teach us next week.