toddlers who don't listen

and other things that make me think... this will be a multi-part series... probably until it becomes "tweens who don't listen".

wren is definitely getting into the defiant age. it's been *interesting* to deal with her choices. she has figured out that if she gives a big grin that we will laugh and she could basically commit murder in our presence. we've had to hide our smiles and stifle our snickers and continue to discipline her even when she's stinkin' adorable. it's hard folks... just plain hard. also, she can now open twist tops, take her diaper off (that one's been a long time coming), get into drawers, climb on ANYTHING, and get things off the counter.... and open baggies... and eat mommy's very special cake bites. (made with cake, icing, and chocolate.... play therapy after one and a half of those puppies was pretty much pointless. it was like toddler ping pong in my living room.)
as i've posted on facebook several times (if you're friends with me you'll be bored- so feel free to skip this) i absolutely LOVE Raising Godly Tomatoes. her approach to child-rearing has been pretty life changing around our house. i had previously lamented that i had one of those kids that "spanking just didn't work for". (i definitely believe there every child is different and their discipline has to be specifically targeted to the need.) this approach has completely changed my mind. she teaches consistency and immediate responses to disobedience. those two things work like a charm.
here are the underlying tenants she asks parents to address:
1. what are your priorities? 
2. what are your beliefs in regard to authority? 
3. how willing you are to separate your children from the world?  
4. do you have a willingness to reject worldly parenting theories and adopt biblical principles and godly standards instead?
these questions are things that we've had to address, and then re-address, when new obstacles pop up (what about a big sister who doesn't want to share, has never had to share, and doesn't even really know what sharing means?), and when new parenting methods or ideas are presented to us. 
my favorite excerpt (from just the opening page) is this:
"Throughout the Old and New Testaments are stories of faith mixed with obedience, one working together closely with the other. As our Lord loves us and teaches us, He continually gives us commands and expects us to obey them. These are all very clear examples to us of how we are supposed to love and command our own children. In following our Lord's example we are not only painting a picture for our children, of what their relationship with God can be like someday, we are also instilling in them the type of faith that Jesus praised in this Roman centurion. Embrace the authority God has given you over your children, combine it with love and diligence, and use it for their good, to train them in the ways of Lord and lead them into eternal fellowship with Him."
what in innovative idea in this day and age! that we have an obligation to teach our children about authority, to teach them about rules and guidelines. 

i recently read an article in parents magazine. i always enjoy reading that magazine because i rarely agree with their discipline advice- and find it a useful tool in re-examining what i believe and why. back to the story.... they had some great points! i (surprisingly) agreed with the first 2 points. 
number one: stay calm, mom. this is something i seriously struggle with sometimes as wren and emeline are doing their "anti-vaccuum" thing and the dog is knocking off my glass on the table with her tail and the hubs is tracking mud in with his boots and then em pukes and i look over and wren has pulled every single wipe out and is flinging them in the air giggling. they're all adorable.... but sometimes it's a lot. it's really a lot. i try to take a deep breath, think about what's important... and be thankful for all the chaos. they're all signs of my many-MANY- blessings.
number two: set limits. they even went so far as to say "don't be afraid to draw lines that you expect your kid to never cross. but don't make too many of them." <-----i like that.  
ok. now, number three is what gets me thinking. number three: encourage cooperation. sounds great, eh? but when you read on it says "just recasting a directive as an option creates less resistance." ummm.. so, are you saying "don't tell them not to do something. just make it seem like they have a choice between two things you want them to do."? the idea of basically manipulating my children into doing something by not *telling* them to do it is crazy to me. absolutely crazy. i was talking to a friend today and she mentioned she'll be interested to see this generation of children grow up. how is this manipulation- this world of choices- going to effect their behavior and perception of adult life and the "real" world? of course, i think it's perfectly acceptable to give my kids choices- but not as a permanent parenting tool to get them to do what i want/need them to do.
i want my girlies (and any future children) to be prepared for life. to be ready for what this world is going to throw at them... the good and the bad. but, most importantly, i want them to understand authority. i want them to learn to submit to me so that they will ultimately understand submission to God. our job, as parents MUST be to get our children to heaven.
of course, the Godly Tomatoes way teaches to discipline consistently... it also teaches to discipline the heart. (ie. you won't be getting any soap in your mouth the first time you say a swear word. but if you defiantly fling poo at me when you know it's wrong you'll DEFINITELY be getting a spanking.) we'll talk more on those, equally important, ideas next time... here at the crazy morris mom discipline hour. :)

Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
- Colossians 3:20

Kristin's Story

It was Christmas Eve when Kristin McCollum dressed up for the 
family gathering at her parent’s home. She wore her black dress with red sweater, creamy red lipstick, and infectious laughter. The family celebrated the evening together and looked forward to the rushing in of the Christmas Day festivities. They had presents, home cooked food, and a family get-away to the beach. Unfortunately, while driving on the rainy roads from her country home toward the city, she swerved off the road, possibly to avoid a deer, and came to a life-threatening halt, pinned against a tree inside her car. It took over 45 minutes to evacuate her. For Kristin the only trip she took on Christmas Day was the rushing of an ambulance to Valley Medical Hospital where she has spent the last several months recovering from multiple injuries, included many broken bones, and a most traumatic brain injury that put her in a coma.

Kristin, a native San Jose, California, manager at Pizza My Heart, and extremely well-loved sister, daughter and family friend has been on the long and arduous road to recovery since that fateful Christmas day.
Kristin and her sisters,  Katie and Jenny

She has been under constant and intense care since the day of her horrible accident. She is a fighter, and God has blessed her and her family with new progress, hopes, and goals every day. Kristin was in the hospital for over 4.5 months and is now in a physical care facility in Bakersfield, CA. Her days are filled with a variety of therapies including speech, motion, memory, and routines for daily physical tasks.
Some of what lies ahead for Kristin is unknown, but with the goodness of God, all things are possible and have been made possible. You can be a part of that goodness.

If you would like to celebrate Wren’s 2nd birthday with us, in lieu of gifts we’re asking for donations to put toward Kristin’s recovery. Please use the paypal button in the side column.
We will be sending one lump sum check to the special account that has been set up for Kristin.

Your thoughtful generosity is an incredible blessing and aid in the fullness of Kristin’s recovery. 
<3 to you all.
Kristin @ CNS in Bakersfield where she continues her journey toward recovery! 


wren says a word

yeah. just this one word.... but we were thrilled. she's seriously delayed in speech, and while we're almost 100% convinced that it's a will issue not a skill or development issue, it sure is great to hear her talking.

we absolutely LOVE ms. amy, our play therapist. she's fabulous and works so hard to get my stubborn child to speak.

on a side note we've been teaching her to sign. (i wish we would have done it from the beginning.) it's eased so much of her frustration to be able to sign what she wants!

our little bird is a big sister!!

emeline- our little bear
Over the past 6 months we've had the joy of raising daughter #2! Emeline joined us on November 8th of last year and has been in a hurry to catch up with Wren from day 1. :)

She's already crawling (started scooting at about 5 months!) and is babbling away... actually "talking" on par with Wren for the most part. (Wren being still delayed in speech.) Wren is a totally awesome big sister and is happy to give Em her pacifier when she's crying... or a piece of cheese... or some dog food.. you know- anything to make "mei- mei" happy! :)


from the experts

that is, other preemie parents. i've collected these from a preemie message board i frequent (ok, i live there really). my friends have come up with some fabulous advice that they would love to give their pre-preemie selves. if you're a woman with a high risk pregnancy... or an impending preemie... take heart and listen to what these amazing women have to share.

what would you tell your pre-preemie self?
  • hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  • To take my concerns/worries seriously, and insist on a pelvic exam sooner. 
  • Enjoy every moment being pregnant. 
  • To enjoy my son for who he is and not worry so much about what he is/is not doing, that it's a tough road, but it is survivable, also that I will find an amazing group of women who are all so amazing and strong.
  • Change OBs, demand better care, quit work sooner, and you are stronger than you think. 
  • That it's worth it. That you can stay on bedrest longer than you ever thought possible and do things that you never imagined having to do because in the end you get the most amazing child out of it.
  • Find better doctors, even if it means traveling across the state.
  • It is all worth it.                                                                                                                              They will be okay.   
  • When told to take it easy/relax - do!                                                                                              Take lots of pictures, even if he is tiny!                                                                                      Demand that your BP is under control BEFORE they discharge you the first time. 
  • That it's going to be WAY harder than you already think that it's going to be.                                                                                                                                               
  • That you will get through it and they will be okay.                                                                      
  • To try to get therapy right away, don't wait. 
  • Relax more.       
  • Get a better OBGYN and MFM. Gaining 30 lbs in 2 weeks is NOT normal.                                                                                                                                        
  • Join a support group.                                                                                                                 
  • And remember, everything will be ok!                                                                                       
  • Not to blame it on myself. 
  • It really WILL be okay. 
  • I would definitely tell my pre-preemie self about the signs preterm labor. Every time I hear someone is pregnant now I have a strong urge to tell them the signs. I'd tell myself to DEMAND to see the doctor if anything seems wrong to me even if the nurse says it's all normal. And I'd tell myself to take pregnancy pictures. I don't have any pictures of myself pregnant. I always thought there would be more time.
  • There's no such thing as a "safe" preemie age, and just because lots of babies are fine after XX weeks doesn't mean yours will be just like that. There are worse things than being told you are "over-reacting" to symptoms you are experiencing. If you think you need to go to L&D, GO TO L&D. 
  • To enjoy being pregnant. To rest more. Talk to the doctor before my emergency c-section to see if there were any other options. That it will be OK. 
  • I'd tell myself what a contraction feels like, so that I'd go to the hospital instead of trying to ride out the 'gas pain.'                                                                                                                       
  • That it's not normal to feel THAT bad while pregnant.                                                                
  • To cherish the feeling of them moving inside, as it won't last long enough.                                
  • To stop working when I started feeling like crap.                                                                      
  • That things will be very hard, but we won't lose BOTH boys, and that Hunter will be okay. (Granted, had I followed my own advice back then, or known then what I know now, we might have had a very different outcome.)                                                                                           
  • And that it's not my fault, despite my own ignorance. 
  • That it isn't my fault. Everything will be okay in the end.  
  • Don't compare your baby to others. ALL babies are different.....no matter what size they were when they were born or how soon. ALL babies meet milestones when they are ready. It is not your fault and you do not deserve this. You were chosen to handle the situation. Pray and always believe! And.....if you think you have taken too many pictures take more! 
  • To celebrate my daughter's birth, even if it's too early.
  • Go out on leave at least a week before you think you're going to have your last week. Oh and those 'mild cramps?' They're contractions so lay down and keep your feet up.
  • It CAN happen to me. Nothing worth having comes easy. You are emotionally stronger then you think you are. To push for my doctor to take my concerns seriously. 
  • My gut instinct was right. You can handle way more than you ever thought you could! You are not to blame, you did not fail your precious baby! You & your husband's relationship will be strengthened beyond what you could imagine. You'll find a way to love him even more.  
  • If I knew I was gonna have a preemie I would tell myself                                                             1. That you can do this.  2. It is not your fault.   3. Prayers will be answered. God & angels are watching over.  4. Find the great and supportive ladies of the preemie palace and the bump sooner.   5. She is sooooo worth it. 
 (with few exceptions they're quoted directly.)

i literally cried while reading some of these... they hit so close to home. i think my answer to the question can only reinforce what's already been said.
trust your instincts about your body. demand attention and care. enjoy every single kick. cherish every single stretch mark. you will get through this... 98 days is going to seem like an eternity... but you'll have her home sooner than you know. get therapy... it can't hurt. take pictures of everything. help others with the experiences you've been through.

if you have any advice to share, please feel free to comment and let us know your experience.

if you're a preemie parent looking for advice or support you can join the private board mentioned above [www.thepreemiepalace.com] no lurkers are allowed and you will be asked to provide some details of your experience... i cannot stress enough the friendships that i've developed and the help and support that i've gotten from these ladies. this is a moderated and private board.
[thebump.com] also has a board that can offer lots of support and answer many questions. (it is a public board though, so there can be some drama, and sometimes some real idiots who have no business posting there.) it is a great place to lurk if you're looking for information but aren't ready to talk. :)