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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Life Lessons Learned from the Baby: Triumphs

   Lately I've been learning about life from watching the babies.  Here are a few things I think all parents learn:

Sleep is so underrated before you have kids.  You will NEVER sleep as well as you did before you had a baby. If you have no kids, be thankful for the sound sleep you get now.  

Poo stinks no matter whose bum it comes from.

You will say and do the weirdest/silliest/most embarrassing things to get your kids to laugh, because their laughter is worth your very best crazy dance.

Life goes by so quickly! -Except in the wee hours of the morning when you wish they would sleep so you could too. - (Jonah's got a head cold and it's making him kind of miserable, which is making us kind of miserable).

If a baby refuses to eat and you force them to, you may just get puked on.

Then there are some things that I feel the Lord is teaching me lately:

Sometimes when we do things as parents, we are doing them with a little pair of eyes not far away watching every move.  We frequently take showers with Jonah sitting in the bumbo on the bathroom floor, playing with a baby einstein standing thing singing in front of him or his toys.  Recently, he has begun to stare at the shower curtain in anticipation of me poking my head out to talk to him.  It's really cute.  He'll play for a little while and then get fussy, and I'll pop my head out and say "Here I am!" or "You're not alone!" or simply (and possibly his favorite), "BOO!"  He lights up and smiles, and rocks back, and sometimes even giggles.  He then will either then continue to stare at the shower curtain waiting for me to keep on playing peek-a-boo or will happily go back to playing with his toys a minute or two more.  However, he doesn't like to be or feel alone, and so he wants me to talk to him.  Sometimes talking is enough, some days I have to wash my hair and play peek-a-boo at the same time or he'll be very upset.  I'm not sure if he knows yet what it means to be alone, but I know that he doesn't really like it.  It occurred to me that this is how God is ever-present with us.  We just have to look for Him, and all around He can be in our midst saying, "Here I Am!" If only we would stop and look for Him.  He wants to be our ever present help in times of trouble, but we must let him. Psalm 21 - I look to hills, where does my help come from?

     On the same track of thought, I find myself often staring at Jonah as he plays or sleeps, and he has no idea I'm there.  I adore this little baby.  I love him more than I ever thought possible.  I think God looks at us like that.  It's so humbling. I am so thankful I have that Heavenly Father who watches me every second of the day. Psalm 139

     The other day I was running while pushing Jonah and the other baby in a great donated double jogger stroller, enjoying the beautiful countryside (we found a little ROAD!!! No longer running down the driveway to the mailbox and back!).  I generally begin my runs in the Lord's Prayer and let it go from there, adding on to each piece and personalizing it as I have heard several different sermons explain.  I was at the "Forgive me for my sins and I forgive those who sin against me, God reveal my sins to me, show me what I need to fix, reveal who I need to forgive." When I felt the Lord saying, "You sinned by being so frustrated feeding the babies and speaking harshly to them."  Now, John had to take one of the older kids to a doctor's appointment, so I was home alone trying to feed both babies in their high chairs lunch at the same time.  This isn't normally that bad, but that day neither baby seemed to want to eat their food.  I'd offer one baby their spoon full of mush, get the closed lip refusal, face turning, little hand reaching and knocking off food and making a huge mess, only to wipe that hand, wipe that tray, put down that bowl of food, and pick up another bowl of food and offer different food to a different baby but get the same rude refusal. I was angrily trying to force feed them and then wiping their little faces and hands off grouchily saying, "You're going to be hungry later because you didn't eat your lunch!" while frowning and clenching my jaw as if they understood.  I knew I needed to get out of the house, so I layered them both in fleece pajamas under snow-suit type full-body cover ups and fleece hats. It was in the upper 50s outside and very sunny.  They silently took in the scenery from the stroller.  I felt God telling me I needed to ask forgiveness for my anger toward the babies being difficult to feed.  My flesh quickly argued, "But I made them that good food and I knew they were hungry and needed to eat it and they were just being bratty and wouldn't eat!" Then it hit me, clear as the blue sky above, "That's how I feel when you don't read the Bible.  I gave you that good word, and I know you are hungry for it, and need to read it, but you don't." I. Was. Speechless.  I was really convicted to read the Bible more. Jesus' words echoed through my mind: Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

     Another thing that has crossed my mind is the way I love Jonah so much, no matter what kind of messes he makes.  We're talking disgusting messes on his face from homemade carrot baby food to the nastiness in his diaper a month after adding solids twice a day to his previously breast-milk-only diet to the way he sneezes with a cold and blows out huge snot rockets that don't quite comprehend take-off and instead just are stuck to his upper lip.  I don't love the messes, but the messes don't make me love the kid. I love the kid despite the messes.  I just love him for the little person he is under that mess.  God loves us for the people we are under our mess.  I have much bigger life "messes" than Jonah's at this point, but I know that Jesus' blood covered all my sin, all my mess, so God just sees me and loves me, despite my mess.  That's so awesome!

Hebrews 9:14

New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds[a] so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

     Most recently, we found one of Jonah's first real fears.  The only other fear we knew about up until yesterday was his fear of the dark.  If Jonah is in complete darkness he screams and cries.  Travelling in the car at night we have to give him glowing toys. We just got this little plastic bodied animal that glows and projects stars all around.  He also has a toy lantern and glowing musical flowers.  We also use our flashlight app on the phones if we don't have any of these available.  However, because it's in the dark, we've only heard him crying about it, we have never seen his reaction.  Yesterday John blew up our big blue weighted exercise ball.  Jonah was eating puffs in his high chair on the other end of our long living-room-attached-dining-room, and didn't see it.  Then we sat Jonah in the floor and rolled the ball toward him.  My little baby was PETRIFIED! He visibly trembled, shook, and screamed in fear at the sight of the ball rolling toward him. We were shocked, but also highly (and maybe a little insensitively) amused.  Because we were so amused, we decided to catch this on video.  We start by showing you his crazy reaction to the ball, then rolling it several feet away, calming him down some by pumping air at him (he really gets a kick out of a little rush of air for some reason), and then rolling the ball back so you can see his whole reaction and that he wasn't just throwing a random a fit the first time.

I assure you though, after the filming of the video we comforted him and hid the ball and have not scared him again with it.  When I got over the fact that I cruelly found this hilarious, I examined why he would fear such a funny thing.  I came to the conclusion that it is because it is so much bigger than him from his sitting down height. My guess is that he thinks it can just roll over him and squash him.  He doesn't know that the ball is full of air and some tiny beads and that it weighs less than a pound.  He doesn't know that he weighs over 20 pounds now and he is big enough to push that ball wherever he wants it to go.  He doesn't know that when standing he's much taller and it will look smaller.  He only knows what he sees: the visual size of the ball is gigantic from his perspective.  I think this is what many of our fears are like.  We see only one aspect of something that seems so big it's overwhelming.  However, God, our merciful Daddy, (hopefully doesn't laugh at us quite as much as we laughed at little Jonah's fear) knows the exact dimensions of what we fear, and it is so small in His eyes.  One of the biggest fears I've had to overcome was driving again after my car wreck.  I remember shaking and crying and praying hard every time I drove for almost a month before I gave that fear up to the Lord (and some key Bible verses helped).  I think God must have thought, "You have no idea how many more great years I've got planned for you.  These roads seem scary now, but you're going to drive in cars for years to come with no problem."  He had a different perspective.  What is it that you fear?  Try to see it in from God's perspective.  I think it will seem much smaller than you originally thought.

Isaiah 41:10

New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

I am so blessed to be Jonah's mommy.  I am excited for the many more things I will learn through this amazing journey of parenthood.  You will see more posts like this, because I am constantly amazed by what God can teach me through babies. Being a lifelong learner has taken on a whole new meaning!

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