I'm a Texan born woman transplanted across the ocean to live in England with my husband and four boys. Aside from being a stay-at-home mom, I teach birth classes for couples who want to birth naturally. My blog is about my life and how I stay sane through it all.
Aaarggghhh. Pirate Ewan. Here is our pirate joke: What do pirates eat for breakfast? Aaarrrrgggghhnge juice! hahahahaha!
Graham and his 2nd cousin Graeme. When we were thinking about what to name Graham we liked the name and Jon had such great memories with his cousin Graeme (same pronunciation) that we decided to go for it and name him Graham.
Ewan and his cousin Leah checking out a dead fish on Lake Ontario.
We traveled up to Canada again to spend time with family. Jon's parents are with us and we all traveled in the mini-van together. It was a tight fit to say the least but all 7 of us fit with the luggage. A miracle! The ride home was long because Graham had to stop and eat several times but we made it home in good spirits. I thought I'd post some pictures of our trip.
Graham looking rather handsome.
On a walk at Niagra on the Lake.
Isaac, Jon, and Graham on the beach at Lake Ontario.
Apparently this year is the year for parental debates....First circumcision, naming Graham, and now Santa. Now that the boys are a little older and Christmas season is here I have become more aware of what they are learning about Christmas and Santa.
The more secular and consumer driven our world becomes, the more Santa there is and the less "Jesus is the reason for the season" there is. With all the emphasis of companies turning Christmas into "Holiday Celebrations" it makes Santa stick out like a sore thumb.
I started to notice that the boys were suddenly talking about Santa and asking us whether or not he was going to come to our house and bring presents. You see, we don't actively talk about Santa at our house so the fact that they were getting super excited about Santa bringing them presents made me a little concerned. You think I'd have been a little more prepared to answer their questions but I still wasn't sure WHAT I wanted to tell them about Santa. Jon and had talked about it a little bit but I guess in my mind I didn't feel settled about what we had decided. I didn't feel like we had decided anything.
My main concern is that I don't want my children to believe in Santa so much and then when they find out he doesn't really ride around in a sleigh and deliver presents that they feel betrayed and then think that Jesus isn't real. It somehow seems a little sinister that we purport this lie. I also don't want to take away from what Christmas is really all about--Jesus, our Savior who was born. We tell the boys who St. Nicholas was and what he was about and WHY he delivered gifts to children. I want to tell them that Santa is pretend and doesn't really come to houses on Christmas eve. If they still choose to believe that Santa is real it is on them, not me. The only problem with that is that you don't want them to go around telling other kids that he isn't real. Although, I think that most kids will think they are crazy for not "believing" in Santa and will continue to believe it anyway. Only those that already doubt will be convinced.
The thing that bugs me most about Santa is that it is all about whether or not you are good or bad and that it (for some parents) becomes a way to manipulate their children to behave. Who wants to live in fear that they won't get presents on Christmas if they are bad? We wouldn't do that with our kids but it bothers me that it is sort of the ultimate expression of pluralism. As long you are good enough you'll get the good stuff.
Jon thinks I am being a little over cautious (as some of you probably do too). He thinks that we should not encourage Santa but also not discourage it either. So when the kids ask if Santa is going to come we should say, "do you think he will?". We aren't going to put any gifts under the tree and say they are from Santa. He thinks that if we blatantly come out and tell the kids Santa isn't real it takes some of the fun and mystery out of life. I see his point but I still feel uncomfortable with the idea of blantantly lying to my children. So far our strategy is to talk a lot about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. We talk a lot about the Christmas story and have even gotten some children's books on Christmas.
Part of me wishes that we were some of the more countercultural Christians who don't exchange presents at all at Christmas or don't spend any money on the presents they do exchange. It would put more of the emphasis on what Christmas is all about but it would be a challenge to the kids. It feels like it is a little too late now to do anything that radical.
I have had lots of conversations with friends about the Santa debate and some share my concerns and some don't. Jon's point is that we both grew up with Santa and we turned out okay. We both believe in Jesus (although I didn't become a believer until I was in college). Maybe I am being a little paranoid about it all but I still feel worried about it.
What do you do about "the Santa debate" in your house? What do you tell your children?
****Instead of making a separate post I thought I would add it here. If you are visually sensitive while watching movies (i.e. freaky looking people) I don't recommend seeing I Am Legend with Will Smith. We went to see it not knowing that there were scary people in it and I couldn't get the images out of my head for days. ****
Today Ewan's class did a participating pageant at his preschool. That means that they didn't rehearse it before performing it. They were all familiar with the Christmas story and each child got to decide if they wanted to dress up as an angel, wiseman, sheep, or shepherd. Ewan wanted to be a shepherd and he did such a great job. The leader asked the kids questions as she went through the story and Ewan answered several of them correctly. He especially knew all the questions pertaining to the shepherds. We were so proud. Of course I had a brilliant plan to record it onto our video camera, upload it to youtube and post it here so you could watch it but when I charged the camera last night I forgot to check that the plug was actually plugged into the wall. Oops. Of course the video camera ran out of batteries during the best part. So I just have still pictures.
Ewan was very proud of himself too and most of all had a fabulous time! Here are some pictures:
I attended a brunch at our church a few weeks ago and the speaker told a funny story that inspired this post.
You know how before you become a parent you silently observe other people with their kids and say to yourself that you will either 1) NEVER let your kids do XYZ or 2) see something you like other parents doing and try to remember that so you will do it with your own children?
I know from my own personal experience that I do more of the former rather than the latter. One thing I always said to myself was that I would teach my kids not to ever pick their noses in public. Well, let me tell ya, that is something that is nearly impossible to accomplish--especially in a cold climate where runny noses are rampant. What is it that is so satisfying about picking crusty or slimy boogers from your nose?
I never wanted my kids to be meeting someone for the first time while picking their noses. "This is my son, Ewan (picking his nose proudly)" who then extends his hand for an introductory first meeting hand shake. This happened the other day and I told my friend, um, you may not want to shake his hand.
Truth be told, in my big bag of goodies, um, diaper bag, and in every room in the house I have tissues but by the time little fingers get to their noses it is too late for me to dig them out and the nose picking has already happened.
So, I have decided that the best thing I can teach them is to at least wipe their boogers on tissue if they haven't reached for one in the first place. Or perhaps I should teach them the fine art of booger flicking? I know, ewwwwwww!
Isaac prefers to stay in his car seat until all the boogers are out of his nose. This is a note to self....pack some tissues in the back seat of the car that are in reachable distance of booger picking fingers!
Other things I swore I would never do as a mom.... 1) Yell at them in public (or private for that matter) 2) Run around with chocolate or other food spread on their faces 3) Pick their ear wax with my fingers 4) Use my own spit to wipe something off their faces 5) Run around with a poopie diaper
Unfortunately people, I have to tell you that I have done ALL of these things. Sigh.
What things have you swore you would never do or let your kids do?
I couldn't decide between the two because they are both so cute! Isn't my baby absolutely gorgeous?!
He is laughing, squealing, chewing on his hands, and cooing up a whole lotta conversation! He is by far the easiest baby we have had and so full of joy. I'm thankful, so, so thankful that God gave us this precious baby to love on. He has even been napping and putting himself to sleep without fussing for more than a few minutes! How awesome is that??!!
We are definitely over the hardest part of babydom and everyone is enjoying life a little more these days. Now that Graham is napping in our bed instead of my arms all the time I am freed up to play with Ewan and Isaac more which they love too. I was missing some good play time with them so I am glad for this new season.
Graham's hair continues to be the first thing people comment on when they see him. It is still crazy and long. If I had a dollar for every time someone comments on his hair I would have some nice pocket change to spend!
The blankie bandit strikes again! Ewan LOVES satin on blankets and here he has found a way to snuggle with Graham and get some satin-lovin' time with Graham's blankie. I thought it was pretty cute. Ewan tucked both of them under the blankie and then he played patty cake and talked to his little brother. Awwww.....
It snowed! A big blanket of snow covered the ground and everything else last week. Here are a few pictures.
We are doing well with the cold too! Maybe it is simply the mentality of living in a colder place but I haven't felt as miserable as I thought I would. It has gotten down into the teens a few times and it hasn't felt that bad. I am a master at finding blankets, robes, or sweat shirts to keep me warm in the house--which hovers around 58 to 61 degrees. We have fully embraced it so far. I think I will get sick of the cold, don't get me wrong but for now I am truly thankful that I haven't felt totally homesick for sunny skies!
Jon is shoveling the snow. You have to shovel your sidewalk within 24 hours of the snow fall here. A little winter exercise.
Isaac wanted to come inside the second he got outside. This kid has never been much of an outside kid but we make him go outside anyway. He doesn't like getting snow on his hands or shoes. He doesn't know what he is missing. I am hoping that once we get a chance to go sledding he will change his mind!
I have a TON of these little stories about my kids and their faith. I will try and remember to share more of them with y'all. I think they strike me as particularly poignant or funny now that I am studying theology. Without knowing it, they can offer the best, simplest explanation to a huge theological issue or simultaneously land in the middle of a monstrous heresy that bothered the church for hundreds of years.
One day not too long ago during family devotions, I was asking questions about the fruit of the Spirit and seeing if the kids could name them (after I had just read the Bible passage where they are mentioned). (The family devotional we use starts with a parable using Veggie Tales characters, then it tells a Bible story, then it asks questions, then we pray.) Ewan got excited and started giving himself "points" whenever he got one right. Ever since then, he looks forward to the question time after the Bible passage because he wants to earn more "points". (Mind you, he doesn't get a prize for any of this. He just likes to "win".)
Anyway, last night I was asking them: "How does Jesus saves us from our sins?" Ewan answered, "By being a shepherd!" I gave him a half point for this answer since the the parable was about a shepherd who goes into a pit to get the sheep out rather than lowering a shoelace or a pot. It accented the incarnation.
I said, "Yes, Jesus is like the shepherd because he came down from where? Ewan: "Heaven!"
Me: "Right! Another half point! Now, how did he save us from our sins? What did he do here on earth?" Ewan: "Uh...P...P... Baking!" Amelia & I stifle grins. =) Pictures of Jesus standing in our kitchen with a flour-dusted apron on flood to my mind.
Amelia: "No, you were going to saying something with a "P". Were you going to say, 'Prea..." Ewan: "Preaching! Yah!"
Me: "Yes. That's right. Preaching and healing and then dying..." Ewan: "On the cross for our sins!" Me: Very relieved that my son has just given a clear statement of the atonement... In the back of my mind, I am thinking, 'Could he get into heaven with that answer? I think so.' But just as I am resting in this eloquent restatement of the central Biblical truth... Ewan: "Yah, because of if he died for his own sins, that would not be good." Me: Ah, yes...Well...I guess I'm not the master theological trainer of the young I thought I was. But, alas, a good opportunity to talk of Jesus' sinlessness.
Me: "Well, Jesus didn't have any sin. He didn't do anything wrong." Ewan: Blank stare. Me: (In my mind) OK, I think I'll move on to the next question.
We went on to talk about the Holy Spirit and ow he speaks to our hearts (which went very well). Then it was Isaac's turn to pray and he prayed as he always does (with his little palms covering his eyes as he peaks through his fingers):
"God, thank you for the birds and trees and fruit and clouds and grass and...TV's and movies. AMEN." (He ALWAYS has to get TV's and movies in there somewhere.)
Blessed are the honest thoughts and prayers of a child. If we were only all so "unvarnished" in our dealings with God! Amen.
When Ewan was born we quickly discovered that he was not gaining weight like he should have been. He was very fussy, difficult to put to sleep, and always seemed like he wanted more to eat after he emptied my breasts. We started giving him additional supplemental food after he nursed so he would be satisfied. I was taking herbs, a drug called Reglan (a drug that promotes prolactin to release from the body that stimulates milk production), and pumping. It was a lot to do and I was willing to do what it took so that I could hopefully breastfeed Ewan exclusively. My milk supply never caught up to what he needed and I was devestated. By the time he was 5 months old he had completely weaned himself from nursing. It was much easier to get formula from a bottle. We figured out that a small complication of blood loss and anemia at his birth were responsible for my low milk supply.
When I had Isaac, I was very nervous about whether or not I would be able to supply enough milk for him. Because he was born early it was even more important to me that he get breastmilk to eat. It was the best choice for him since he was more susceptible to illness as a preemie. I had to start off our nursing relationship by pumping which was difficult. Within the 2 weeks Isaac was in the NICU he was nursing. We took him home and all was well. He was gaining weight and healthy. When he was 4 months old his weight gain slowed down significantly. I was worried but the pediatrician wasn't and said to keep doing what I was doing. When Isaac was 9 months old his weight gain picked up again and all was well. I continued to nurse him until he was 15 months old. I loved it so much and was looking forward to nursing my next baby.
Then I had Graham. Still nervous about being able to make enough milk but excited to have the bonding experience that nursing brings, I dove into nursing Graham. It took him 3 weeks to regain all his baby weight. That can be a red flag but he seemed content and not hungry after feedings. At the end of his first month he had started gaining but very slowly. We went in for weight checks and he looked and acted healthy and not like a starving baby. Then, from month 1 to 2 he had no weight gain. We were perplexed. He seemed to be getting enough to eat but he should also have been gaining weight. We thought that maybe because he was so big to start off with he was finding his natural balance. I started taking a drug that increases milk supply and pumping after feedings. Graham gained 10 ounces and all seemed to be going well. Two weeks ago I got mastitis and it decreases my milk supply. I weighed him again this past Monday and he had lost weight. I decided that he really was not getting enough food and that he needed a supplement after feedings because by now he should really be gaining weight.
I have a supplemental nursing system which provides a way to give a supplement by placing a tube in the baby's mouth while he is nursing so that it stimulates your milk supply and gives baby a supplement at the same time. The down side to it is that it is difficult to use and I hate it. It took an additional 30 minutes to feed him 1 ounce of expressed milk using the SNS. That made the feeding session take 1 hour and I don't have that much time to feed the baby. I have 2 other kids to take care of too. I decided for my own sanity to give him the supplement in a bottle. He is almost 3 months old so I wasn't too concerned about nipple confusion. Since giving him the supplement I think he has gained about 8 ounces. Apparently Graham is a fairly "content to starve" baby. His personality is pretty laid back and he just wasn't fussing about not being hungry.
That is all the facts of what happened but this whole issue of breastfeeding has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me. When I was pregnant with Ewan and learned all the benefits of breastfeeding I got so excited about the experience. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to make enough milk to feed my baby. I did everything I could possible do and it really made the entry to motherhood a rocky road. I shed many tears and asked God why I couldn't feed my baby. I felt like something was stolen from me.
When Graham started not gaining weight I felt sad and depressed. Again, why is this happening to me? God, don't you know how important it is for babies to get breastmilk? Don't you know how badly I want to nurse all my babies? I know you are able to make my body to make more milk...can't you do this for me? I asked for lots of prayer and wisdom to know what to do. What was the right program for me to do so that my supply would increase? I had so many options to try that I felt like I had to DO the exact right thing in order for it to work. But where was the faith in that? Eventually I felt like I had exhausted all my options and that I just had to trust God to come through for me. I asked some other birth teachers what they would do if they were me. People had good suggestions that I tried. Nothing was working the way it should have been. Breastfeeding is such a natural thing, why does it have to be so difficult for some people?
My body was failing me--a symptom of our broken world. I think that other women might feel similarly when they have trouble conceiving or birthing their babies. As I was praying about my milk supply and asking God to please speak to me the phrase, "Breastfeeding is a badge of motherhood to you." came to my mind. At first I wasn't sure what that meant but after praying about it some more, what came clear to me was that to me part of being a good mom means that your nurse your babies.
***As a disclaimer, I don't judge other women who have difficulties nursing and choose to bottle feed--I don't hold the same standards to other women that I have for myself.***
When it came down to it, I felt like in order for me to be the best mom in the world, I needed to exclusively nurse Graham so I could have the best bond with him and provide the best nutrition for him. I mean, what kind of mom would I be if I provided MY kids with artificial milk? After praying about it, I believe that God is teaching me that my ability to be a good mom comes from HIM alone, not on my ability (or lack thereof) to nurse my children. It sounds so simple but this has been such a hard lesson for me to learn and to embrace. I am learning more about the GRACE of God and how any goodness that comes out of me and my ability to be a mom is from Him.
Since my epiphany, I have felt so much more free to enjoy my baby. I felt angry early on that this whole issue was stealing the joy of having a sweet little baby to nurture and take care of. This could be my last baby and I want to enjoy every minute of it! I don't want to miss out on all those sweet moments because I am to busy stressing out about why my body doesn't work perfectly. Now that Graham is gaining weight I am even more happy and full of joy. One of the birth teachers I talked to has a lactation consultant friend who has in big letters on her binder FEED THE BABY. It is so much more important that my baby get the nutrients and food he needs and part of my job as a mom is to make sure he gets food no matter what the means. Knowing that Graham is gaining and growing makes me happy.
So I am still nursing Graham and giving him a supplement afterward. I will continue to nurse him for as long as he wants to. It feels inevitable that within the next few months that Graham will gradually switch over to bottle feeding. And I am okay with it. I have peace. I have done just about everything that I knew to do to make it work. I could have chosen to use the SNS for longer but I figured that my sanity and ability to take care of my other kids was more important. I feel nervous about how the natural birth community will respond to my decisions but I feel like I am being the best mom I know to be right now. I feel like my experiences have given me the ability to have compassion on moms who have difficulties nursing or even birthing their babies.
I hope that I don't forget my identity in Christ and continue to put my hope in him. I am thankful that he has met my needs through this time and that he has spoken to my heart and brought me closer to Him.
We have finally found a way to do a little family devotional together. Since Jon and I have been married we haven't been consistent in having prayer time or devotional time together. Then we had kids and it got even harder. As Christians, we want to teach our children the Scriptures and to help them value time together with God.
We got this book from my mom and the kids enjoy going through it together. It is a Veggie Tales family devotional. The kids love Veggie Tales so that makes it attractive to them to read together. We have discovered that the best time to have our devotional time is at dinner after the kids are done eating. The devotional starts off with a little Veggie Tales story to get the kids interested. Then it has a short passage of scripture we read and then some very practical and applicable questions. After we read and talk about it we each take a turn praying. It has really opened up some interesting conversations about God and it of course is super cute to hear the boys pray.
The other night the passage was from Galatians 5:16-26 which talks about the fruit of the Spirit. As we went through each one we asked the boys, "What does love mean? Joy? Peace? Patience? etc... Ewan is usually pretty quick to answer and to our surprise he defined all of the words except for faithfulness and self-control (which ironically is probably what he struggles with most as a 4 year old). Every time he explained what a "fruit" was and we told him that was right he was so proud of himself and said, "I got a point for that one." He counted all the points he had for knowing what all the fruits meant. Then we each picked a fruit that we wanted God to help us with.
It is hard not to smile and laugh during our devotionals. Isaac usually has something to say about movies....For example, last night we were talking about how God helps us with our biggest problems. Isaac said his biggest problem was not getting to see a movie. Oh, to be 3! Actually his biggest problem might be loving TV too much. Of course he doesn't see it that way.
This has been a great way to teach our kids about prayer and talking to God. At bedtime, Ewan is typically reluctant to pray for others. When I put him to bed he prefers to pray for Charlie, the cat. His prayers are very sincere for Charlie and good too. I'm not sure who he prays for when Jon puts him to bed. Ewan is much more open to praying at dinnertime and the devotionals have been good for us to learn more about each other too. It makes our time together as a family feel a little deeper.
We don't do it every night but Isaac, being faithful to his love for books, asks almost every night if we are going to read our special book. I LOVE how it is becoming a tradition in our house.
I don't know what we will do after we are done with his book but I have a few ideas. If anyone has found any kid friendly devotionals I would love to hear your suggestions!
Superman and Batman were seen last night roaming the streets of Pittsburgh. They were freeing candy being held hostage on the front porches of the whole city.
Much to their delight they were able to eat some of the candy they saved from all the candy terrorists.
This was the first time we let the boys go trick or treating and they had a GREAT time! Nothin' but utter delight on their faces. We saw lots of our friends in the community. The street we live on is THE street to trick or treat on. I think our whole town came down to our street. It was a blast because the sidewalks were full of people out having a good time. It is a law or city ordinance that trick or treating is allowed inly from 6-8. I thought it was a great idea.
And here is why...
We only had one incident. At 9:30pm our doorbell started buzzing like crazy. Our doorbell sounds like a fire alarm. Very old and very loud. Someone was ringing it over and over again. I was concerned that it was one of our neighbors needing something but I thought it was weird that no one called before coming by that late. I turned the porch light on and pulled the curtain aside only to be looking at a grown man (in his late 30's at least) holding a bag out as if he were asking for candy. He had on a hoodie but I could see his face. I closed the curtain and ran upstairs to get Jon who had fallen asleep putting Ewan to bed. When Jon came down the man was still there and Jon told him we didn't have any candy and to go away. My heart was beating a hundred miles a minute. What on earth was a grown man doing at 9:30 at night trick or treating? No way am I opening my door to a stranger doing strange things like that! Creepy!
The other night Jon and Isaac were sitting next to each other. Isaac reaches over and says, "here, dad" and brushes his finger over Jon's lip. He looked down at Isaac and felt his lips. At the same time Isaac said, "It's my booger. Here, take it daddy."
Isn't it fun when kids discover that boogers live in their noses?
We borrowed this van from some friends in seminary because we were hosting a fellow from Zambia at our house while he attended a missions conference. His wife gave him a list of some things to pick up while he was here in the States. I also needed to get a few things at the mall and our Volvo fits only the 5 of us. We don't have any extra seats for guests, hence this very cool van. Jon's mom is also coming today and we needed our family +1 to get around in.
When we told Ewan and Isaac we would be traveling in the van they were giddy. Jumping up and down giddy. They think this van is the coolest car ever. 10 years from now and I know they would have a different opinion.
This van is so cool because everyone can get in the side door and walk around freely. It is sooooo easy to buckle all the kids in because there is so much extra room. Someone could sleep on the floor if they wanted to. I have to admit that it is even tempting to feed the baby while we are driving because it sort of feels like an RV. I won't, don't worry. For practicality purposes, the van makes a lot of sense. In cold weather you don't have to stand outside while buckling in the kids. They have lots of leg room and let's face it-- It's cool in a vintage, 70's sort of way--even though this van was made in the 90's.
Don't hate me cuz I'm driving the coolest, gas guzzling, conversion van ever!
By the way, Stevie, thanks again for letting us borrow the van. We are all enjoying it!
Always pee BEFORE feeding the baby in the middle of the night.
It makes the feeding feel much longer and its no fun to pee and feed the baby at the same time. The danger in doing it after the feeding is that I run the risk of the baby taking longer to get to sleep. I'm not that much of a daredevil. What takes 1 minute before the feeding can take up to an additional 30 minutes if I wait until after.
Does anyone else get totally irritated when your sheets get all twisted in the dryer and you have to pull out EVERYTHING else that is dry, untwist the sheets, pull out any hidden shirt, pants, socks etc. that got tangled up in the twisted sheet mess, and then re-dry the sheets?
I have been thinking a lot about circumcision since we found out that Graham was a boy.
It is quite the hot debate in some circles--mostly in the natural living community. I have learned a lot from the natural living community and have been influenced in my own thinking on several things, circumcision being one of them.
To put it plainly, I did not want to get Graham circumcised. Yes, both Isaac and Ewan are circumcised. When it came to deciding the fate of Ewan's foreskin it felt like a simple decision. Sure, let's do it. We said all the typical things that you hear most people in favor of circs say...."We want him to look like his daddy, most people are, it is cleaner...".
When Isaac came along I felt more hesitant about getting the circumcision done. Partially because Ewan had some minor problems with his circumcision. His skin reattached itself and had to be pulled apart which caused him some pain and discomfort. I was worried that the same thing might happen to Isaac and I didn't want him to have the same issues. I was starting to feel hesitant about the whole procedure.
When we found out we were having another boy I felt very strongly this time that I did not want to get him circumcised. It just isn't medically necessary and they cause a lot of pain and discomfort to the baby. Sure, they are small and won't remember it but I think there are some benefits of the foreskin staying attached. Otherwise why would God have put it there in the first place? It seems unlikely to me that He put the foreskin as an advanced plan to set the Hebrews apart later on down the line when he told them to get circumcised. I can't say for sure, but it seems unlikely to me.
There are some things that can go wrong with circumcision. Too much can be cut off, scar tissue, major bleeding to name a few.
I wasn't buying all the "typical" stuff this time. So my son's penis won't look like his daddy's. No two look alike anyway. You learn how to keep an uncirc'ed penis clean. You teach your child how to do the same. It isn't true that most boys ARE circ'ed anymore. There are supposed to be benefits later on in intimacy (wink, wink) with an attached foreskin.
Here is a website that lists some more information about why NOT to circumcise. You can read more if you are interested.
Up until a few weeks before Graham was born Jon and I could not come to a decision about whether or not to circumcise the baby. Jon was for it and I against it. Jon felt strongly about all the previous mentioned reasons FOR circumcision and I felt strongly that it is not medically necessary. There isn't really a way to compromise and meet in the middle when it comes to circumcision....you can't take half the foreskin, ya know? Both of us thought we could convince the other but neither of us were budging.
What to do? What to do?
We went out for coffee after attending Ewan's preschool orientation and had a chat about it. Both of us were frustrated and feeling disappointed that the other person would not give in. That is when it happened. The Holy Spirit. As we were talking I heard the unmistakable whisper of the Lord speaking to my heart...."You need to honor your husband and let him do this." What? "Honor your husband."
I cried. I had to die to myself and my strong opinions so that my husband would feel honored and loved. We sat on it for 24 hours to make sure it was from God. I still had my fears that something would go wrong with the circ and Jon had his fears that IF something did go wrong I would be mad at him. I told him that it would be on God because I was doing what HE wanted--I was ultimately submitting my will to Gods so I wouldn't have any "right" to be mad at Jon.
We went to get the circumcision and lo and behold, something went wrong. The contraption the pediatrician used was a plastic bell cap device. Due to the swelling and placement of the device it covered Graham's pee-hole (technical term=meatis (me-ate-is)) and he could not pee for 8 to 9 hours. He woke up from a nap screaming and when I went to change his diaper it was totally dry. It had been several hours since the circ. It was the kind of cry that you KNEW something was really wrong. We called the pediatrician and went back to the office. He checked the circ, couldn't find the meatis and said that in the 20 years he had been doing circs that had never happened. He sent us to Children's Hospital downtown so a pediatric urologist could take a look. Both Jon and I were getting sick with fever so this was not adding to a restful recovery from the cold. We went downtown and waited in the ER while we were worried that Graham's bladder would burst and it would kill him. (Totally dramatic, I know).
On the way to the ER we prayed--for Graham, our marriage, our sanity.
THANKFULLY, when we finally got to see the urologist Graham peed on him. Way to go, son! The urologist used a q-tip to move things around and I guess the pee hole was somehow dislodged. We were all very relieved since the worst case scenario would have been to have Graham go under general anesthesia in an OR to have the device removed. Not exactly what you want for your week old baby.
As all this was happening I was telling God that I was worried about my baby but trying to trust that HE was taking care of it all.
In the end everything worked out fine. Graham's penis is fine and so is our marriage.
It did feel a little ironic that the thing I feared most would happen did happen. Well, it wasn't the WORST thing that could happen with a circumcision but something did go wrong. It only confirmed my opinion that getting a circumcision is a risk that should not be taken lightly and that it truly isn't medically necessary and is more often a cosmetic choice.
If we have another baby and it is a boy, I suspect that we will be having a similar conversation. Perhaps we will have a girl and won't have to go down that road.....
That is why I am against circumcision but did it anyway.
Since Ewan's birth I have become a consumer of baby carriers. Someone from our Bradley class introduced me to the idea of having a sling to carry the baby in. Of course everyone knows about the Baby Bjorn and we got one of those but there was something appealing to a more non-Western way of holding and wearing my baby. I have to admit that when I first learned about it, it seemed like the cool, hip thing that naturally minded folks do. Now that I have 3 kids I love the benefits and versatility of wearing the little munchkins around.
When Ewan was born I bought the Native American Baby Carrier. He didn't like it too much as a newborn but did like it when he was about 4 months old. We used it quite a bit as well as the Baby Bjorn. The Baby Bjorn wasn't as helpful once Ewan got older. He was too heavy to carry comfortably and we used the Native American Baby Carrier on occasion.
When Isaac came along I carried him around ALL day in the Baby Bjorn because he had to sleep upright due to reflux and that he did not want to sleep apart from me. He also did not like the NABC as a newborn.
When we moved to Dallas I was more interested in trying some different kinds of slings. One of my friends in the neighborhood made (and still does) Mei Tai slings. They are great! Of course Isaac and Ewan were already 2 and 3 years old but it didn't stop me from using it. We took it to Canada and used the sling to carry the boys in while we went hunting for frogs and hiking. The Mei Tai can be used to carry babes on your back or front and the boys loved riding in it.
Once Isaac reached 35 pounds the Mei Tai was harder to use and was more uncomfortable--only because carrying 35 pounds is hard no matter how you slice it. I wanted to try a wrap sling that could do a hip carry. I decided to wait until I was pregnant again to purchase an Ellaroo wrap. These slings can also do different holds--hip, back, front, newborn depending on what size you get. I was interested in a wrap length that would do a hip hold. I was very excited about my sling but discovered once Graham was born that the length I chose was not long enough to do a newborn carry. I have to wait until he is older so I can do a hip carry.
One of my friends from my small group here in Pittsburgh was given a Moby Stretch Wrap. She let me try it and I was sold just by looking at all the different carries you can do from the directions! Not only that but cost wise, it is the least expensive sling and you can wear the baby in so many different ways. I hear from others that it is good until the babies get to be in the 20+ pound range because once the baby gets that big it stretches out easily. For now I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this sling! It is so easy to use--although it looks intimidating at first. Graham loves it. He usually falls asleep in it right away and stays warm and cozy. Jon even likes wearing it and can put the sling on and stick Graham in it all by himself!
The benefits of baby wearing are that it makes it easy to get some things done especially when babies like to be held so much. Baby wearing makes it easier when you have a fussy baby. Babies cry less when they are held and baby wearing even helps stimulate/boost your milk supply, and of course it promotes bonding with your baby.
I can't wear Graham around ALL day because I start to go crazy but it works awesome for grocery shopping, running errands, going for walks etc. My kids never liked being in their car seats and I have always hated lugging the infant car seat around everywhere. It is bulky and heavy and makes you contort your body in ways that you aren't supposed to. We leave ours in the car and I use the sling to carry Graham around everywhere when we are out and about. I find that people also tend not to touch my baby when I am wearing him because it invades my personal space. When the babies are in car seats it is very inviting for small kids and adults alike to spread their germs on your baby. I am a little sensitive about that so it works well for me.
I am now a huge fan of baby wearing. Some women have figured out how to wear their babies and nurse at the same time. I haven't got there yet but if we can figure that one out it will make grocery store excursions a lot easier! Another cool thing is that baby wearing is great for taking baby out for a walk. You carry around the extra weight which also burns more calories. Say good-bye to that extra leftover baby weight.
I think the hardest thing about baby wearing is choosing the right one. Common stores like Target or Babies R Us don't carry all the different kinds of slings and wraps. If you are interested in baby wearing see if you can find someone who will do a presentation and let you try on their slings to see which one you like the most. It is definitely worth it!
This was taken today. Isaac is very sweet with Graham and like to "give him a gentle pat" on the head. His words, not mine.
Hanging out on the porch swing.
I let Graham sleep on his tummy during the day. (I know, Gasp!!!) I keep him downstairs in the pack and play to sleep for n0w. Eventually he won't be able to sleep through all the commotion but if he can get used to the noise it will be good for him. Graham doesn't sleep well on his back and I don't have the patience to keep putting him back to sleep after only sleeping for 20 minutes on his back. I have too many other things to do during the day. He sleeps on his back or side next to me at night. I am still nervous about letting him sleep on his tummy during the day but I am around much more often to check on him. At night when he is sleeping I am sacked out. You can't see it too well in this picture but his hair sticks straight up. He wears a fohawk very well.
Here he is freshly bathed. His hair looks really pretty after it is washed. It sticks up everywhere until it gets oily.
I thought this was a cute picture of Isaac. Wouldn't you be impressed if I told you he made that all by himself? He didn't. Ewan got some Tinker Toys for his birthday and they like to make the monorail. We were enjoying the afternoon weather and playing on the porch. We figure we better get all the outside time in nice weather while we can because winter is coming soon!
I am working on writing a post about circumcision....I think the title will be something like
Circumcision: Why I don't advocate it but did it anyway
Other news: I love our community here! We have had so many meals brought to us by new friends and tons of offers to help out in any way we need it.
I am part of a women's small group that I already love. There are 6 of us...some moms, married, single, spouses of seminarians, seminarians, or former seminarians-- all in different stages of life yet we find ourselves here in Pittsburgh all connected through the seminary. I am looking forward to being stretched in my faith and sharing my life with these women.
Graham is doing well. He is quite the snuggler and loves to sleep on the next available person. I have an awesome sling called the Moby Wrap that I use to carry him around in. More on that later...
Ewan and Isaac are doing great in this transition to a new baby. Isaac has warmed up to Graham and today offered to help me "squish milk in Graham's mouth". I'll spare you the details but he was being sweet by wanting to help me feed his brother.
Ewan started preschool last week and LOVES it. We decided to send him to preschool for a variety of reasons. I have not been in favor of sending the kids to preschool but after considering Ewan's needs we decided that it will be a good thing for him. Ewan will be a very young kindergartener and we felt like it would be good for him to have some experience in school before he has to go every day, all day next year. It is possible that we could hold him back a year but it is too early to decide now. He goes to school M,W,F for 2.5 hours and the program he is in is very play oriented. They do work on writing letters, letter sounds, numbers etc. but all centered around play. Ewan likes to show me his papers and projects when he gets home and tell me about what he did at school. His favorite thing, of course being the extrovert he is, is playing with his friends.
The baby calls for food and I am ready for bed.
That post on circumcision will be coming soon.
Thanks for praying for our illnesses by the way. I am feeling much better as is the rest of the family. The only person who avoided getting sick was Graham. The wonderful benefits of breastmilk!!!!
I have caught a pretty yucky cold and need some prayer. So far Isaac caught it first and passed it to me and Jon isn't feeling great either. I think Ewan might be next on the list as well as my mom. I am praying that Graham doesn't get sick and will be protected by breastfeeding. I need to get better soon so that I can take care of kiddos and Jon can study. My mom is leaving tomorrow so we won't have the extra hand around to help with the boys.