“It takes a village”

Waiting so patiently.

Waiting so patiently.

Friday morning I received a phone call from Link’s school.  He was hurt – he had a bad cut on his thumb and needed to go to the doctor or hospital.  Link’s school is 30ish minutes away from my work, plus Ellie pick up time, and they said he couldn’t wait that long.  I called Justin, who could have responded faster, but he didn’t answer.  So I called his parents, who are 5ish minutes away from Link’s school.

Calmly as I could, I communicated that “Link is bleeding, needs to go to the doctor, can you go get him?!?!?”  I’m sure I freaked them out.  Then I packed up all of my things at work (except my wallet – oops!), called Ellie’s daycare and said I was on my way, called my mom, called the dr., and called Justin.  Picked up Ellie, and sped as reasonably fast as I could to the doc’s office.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

We arrived, everyone close to the same time.  Link’s hand was wrapped in a bandage and he was wearing a glove over it.  He was fine, but wanted his mommy.  We got in the room, and the doctor thought it was best to head to Children’s Hospital.  So my mom went with Link and I to the hospital, and Pat and Ron took Eloise home with them.  When Link heard we were going to the hospital he said, “but mom! I don’t want to go back in your tummy!”  Where he got that idea, I’m not sure, but the only time he’s heard about a hospital or been to one is me having babies.  I assured him they were just going to make his hand better.

The staff at Children’s were wonderful, and they took such great care of him.  Link was great, until he saw his cut, and then he cried a bit.  If it was covered, he was fine.  Especially once they have him apple juice and cheese crackers, neither of which he gets at home.  He was also able to watch cartoons.  They put numbing ointment over the area, and when the Nurse Practitioner came in, she evaluated the cut.  She described it as a very deep papercut, and it was fortunate to be on his thumb, and not in the webbing.  She said she rarely recommends glue, but in this case gluing the cut shut would be enough, and would save Link the trauma of stitches.  One popsicle and a few minutes later, Link was all bandaged up and ready to go home.

All glued and wrapped.

All glued and wrapped.

This was hard on mommy, of course, but I was thankful to Jesus for so many things during that experience.

First, I was so thankful for my village.  Link’s wonderful school took great care of him and reacted quickly to clean his injury well, keep him feeling loved, and were truly sad that he was hurt.  Three grandparents were able to respond so quickly so Link got right to the doctor and Eloise didn’t have to come along to the hospital.

Second, I was thankful that we were the family that could wait.  We waited in the hospital room for awhile, and there could have been many reasons for that.  But what I know is that Link was not injured so badly that he couldn’t wait. On that note, while washing his bloody clothes, I was thankful that it wasn’t worse – I never want to have to wash blood out of my child’s clothes for anything more than a bad cut.

Last, I was thankful for my sweet boy.  He was so strong.  He only cried a little when he could see his cut.  He was so kind to the staff at the hospital.  He didn’t pull off his bandages. He isn’t upset when talking about it.  Our neighbor asked him what happened to his hand, and he said “At school, I was working with a tape [measure], and suddenly it cut me! I have a bad owwie, but the bandage is making it all better”.  (The metal tape measure retracted and sliced his finger).

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

I truly believe that raising children and cultivating a family takes a village.  You can do it without one, and do it well.  But I’m so blessed and glad that I have the support of my village walking alongside my parenting journey.

Prepare for and plan for the best

photoJustin and I are going on our first vacation sans children in a couple of weeks.  It’s a work conference for myself, but we are adding a day so that we can spend some quality time together. It will be a great way to strengthen our marriage.

I’m terrified.

We haven’t left the kids yet, but for a night away here and there.  Link tells me he misses me when I leave his room at night!  How will he handle 5 days?  And sweet Eloise, who doesn’t sleep… what will she do when she can’t snuggle with mommy all night?

I know they will be fine. But I worry – I am a worrier.  It will be so good for Justin and I, and it will be great for Link to learn that we leave AND come back.

I did get my will finalized, so if we end up in the Indian Ocean or anything, the kids are protected.  I didn’t put a directive for Alabaster – so hopefully someone will take him.

All this being said, God has us in His hands.  We will all be safe, and loved, and protected.  But say a prayer for us anyway… please.

It is good to stray from the norm

My mom has referred to me as a hippie mom.  I’m not sure that I’ve gone that extreme, but I have chosen some parenting techniques that are not as common.

I breastfed Lincoln and took him to baby yoga. I made all of his solid foods, many of which were organic, and we taught him baby sign.  But he did wear lots of blue, started his solids right at 6 months, and had some formula in his first weeks of life.  It was a wonderful blend of the traditional methods and some newer trends.  We learned a lot about parenting an infant.  There were a few things that I’d wished I’d done with him, and I planned to do that with the next pregnancy and baby.

I found out I was pregnant again (with Eloise), and I considered the things we did with Link, and the things I wished I had.  I decided I would do more prenatal yoga to prepare for birth (I did it almost 5 times… but I was on restrictions a lot of her pregnancy, so I’ll blame that) and that I would get in a place where I wouldn’t need an epidural (I totally had one).  I prepared to breastfeed her without using any formula to supplement, but I knew, based on Link’s experience, that the needs of the baby outweighed my wants.  Eloise was born, perfectly.  We were able to breastfeed right away (thank you Jesus!) and I was able to store up enough extra milk that I was able to donate some, as I wished I could have done with Link.

I cloth diaper Eloise, which I am so happy about.  I love not buying diapers (we are almost not buying any for Link either).  My family was supportive of my decision, although I’m pretty sure they thought that I was nuts, and would give up.  But I was alright with that, and it did encourage me to give it the best go of it that I could, so that I knew if it was right for us.

The next thing that we are doing different with Eloise is baby-led weaning as a way of introducing her to solid food.  It’s going pretty well, although we are on a hiatus to figure out some issues she’s having otherwise.  You can read more about the benefits here if you’d like.  Before my mom read the benefits, she was certain I was nuts.

But here is the important part: It’s alright to do things different than how your mom (mother-in-law/sister/neighbor/friend) did them!  If you, as the trusted parent of this little one, feel that this way is right, do it that way.

I do feel that it is important for family members to be involved in raising your children.  If you, as a grandparent, don’t understand why a certain method is being used, ask!  I am grateful that Link’s and Ellie’s grandparents care enough about them to ask why I do things a certain way.  My children are so blessed!  And I am so incredibly blessed that my husband, parents and in-laws may seek better understanding of what I’m doing, but then they support it.  They know that I am choosing the best for my kids.

I feel that listening to people’s concerns and questions, and then making my own decision, is an important thing to demonstrate for my children.  They need to know that it’s alright to do things different than what is expected of them.  If Link wants a pink balloon instead of blue – great!  If Eloise is dressed head to toe in boy clothes (ok… not quite her own decision yet) – great!  Their mommy and daddy love them, they were designed by God.  That is what matters.

Now… some pictures of Eloise trying to eat food.

photo 2

This is an avocado?

photo 3

It’s mushy.

photo 1

Apples!

 

Kids these days

Yesterday we drove past the hospital, and I pointed out to Link that the hospital was where he and Eloise were born.  Then when we got home, he asked me, “Mommy, how did all those babies get in your tummy?”  My 2.5 year old basically just asked where babies came from.  Not sure I’m ready for this.  But they are growing up so fast!

Link loves to play out in the puddles, and thanks to the weather, we have gotten to this week.  I am so happy that we can get them out – the fresh air is so good for my children.  I mentioned the love of dinosaurs already, but we are also big into cars.  We have been using little Matchbox cars and dinosaurs for some potty-learning incentive.  I’m not one to broadcast the potty habits of my kids, but I will say that there has been very impressive advances in that area.  We are very proud.

Eloise is sitting now!  She is also doing a lot of “crawling”, or at least her version.  She gets up into a perfect crawl stance, and lunges forward, repeat, repeat, until she reaches her destination (often something that will go in her mouth).  We are still trying to figure out her dietary needs.  I had been dairy free for awhile, and that relieved a lot of her acid reflux.  I introduced it again, and that hasn’t been going well.  A combination of that, the beginning stages of teething, and a cold that will not leave our house, has led to some unhappy moments for her.  Overall though, she is the happiest little girl.  We are so blessed by her smiles.  She is also a big fan of not sleeping at night, so that’s been fun.

I will leave you with a few photos of the rugrats.

Eloise after some outside time

Eloise after some outside time

Link loves to eat the snow!

Link loves to eat the snow!

3 generations of Gehring men

3 generations of Gehring men

Daddy and Eloise playing ball

Daddy and Eloise playing ball

The greatest gift

I mentioned last time that parenting was a second incredible challenge in my life.

Loving my children is not a challenge.  Even if I wanted to resist, I have no choice in this matter: I love them with my entire being.  They made me who I am; who I was meant to be.

It’s the parenting them part that is the challenge – and mostly worrying that I am not doing it right, or that they will remember each mistake I made.  Or worse yet – that each mistake I make will harm their development!

Lincoln is just over 2.5 years, and is a very happy little boy.  He is not a big boy – if you call him that, he will correct you.  He is very smart and speaks and understands well beyond his age.  He loves dinosaurs as much as anything, and in turn has become a little bit aggressive.  We have toned down letting him watch dinosaurs on television, and are working on helping him understand who he can rough-house with, and when it’s appropriate.  This weekend was wonderful.  He was so incredibly well behaved and loving.  If we aren’t good parents, he isn’t well behaved.  It’s a vicious cycle, and hard on sleep-deprived mommies and daddies of two.

We do our best, and we can always do better.  When we do better, he is better parented.  Like I said, a cycle.  A dance.  I absolutely love this dance.photo 1(1)

As having nothing, and yet possessing everything

During Lent, many people give up certain things as a form of penitence.  I have been taught in my Christian journey, that although is is important to give up, it is also important to take on.  Some years I chose to do one or both, and sometimes I did neither.  I am Lutheran, and wasn’t raised with this being a requirement during Lent.  In recent years I was either pregnant or nursing, and I felt that I was making a large enough sacrifice as it was.  This year, I wanted to put Jesus first, instead of me.

So I decided to give up Facebook.  That sounds trivial to a lot of people, but it had become an idol in my life.  I would check it while driving if I saw I had a notification (mostly at red lights), I would check it while nursing Eloise, and I would check it while playing with Lincoln.  My smartphone would be on at the dinner table, in the car, everywhere.  It was my idol.

Giving up Facebook is a true sacrifice in my life, and one that I am hoping leads to taking on.  I will be taking on more time with my husband.  I will be taking on precious moments with my little girl who is growing up so fast.  I will be taking on wrestling with my adorable toddler.  I will be taking on God.

I am so excited.