Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pink Blankets

Naptime is typically drama-free with my daughter. She has always been the type of child to crawl in her bed, give you a hug and a kiss on each cheek and be out as soon as the lights are off. Yesterday, though, I spent the first hour of naptime consoling, resisting negotiations, and keeping my patience in check.

At the beginning of nap, she laid down just fine, but within fifteen minutes I could hear her over the monitor and she was full on bawling. Of course, I headed upstairs to see what was going on. Inbetween sobs, she explained that she wanted her pink blanket. And not just any pink blanket, either. The very same pink blanket that she had just negotiated to trade with her brother so that she could have his blue polka dotted blanket. It wasn't an easy sell. How many five year old big brothers would be willing to trade their awesome blue blanket for a pink blanket? It took some doing, but he (as usual) was willing to make her happy and made the trade.

However...the pink blanket was, at that moment, wrapped up with big brother and he was in his bed asleep. Which I told her. And you can guess what happened next. We tried to talk it out, we tried to hug it out, I tried laying down with her for a minute but to no avail. It was as if she had just received the news of the demise of her best friend. Or that Chick-fil-a had closed or something. To put it simply, there was a whole lot of really loud crying going on. And she was even starting to get angry that she couldn't get what she wanted!

This story ends pretty well...sort of. Her crying woke her brother up, who understood the situation (and his sister) enough to bring her the blanket. While I was glad to see her settled down, I really was concerned by the message that was sent: If you cry loud enough and long enough, you'll eventually get what you want.

Is that really what I want to teach her? Absolutely not. And it made me think...this is exactly how God teaches us. Sometimes we cry long and loud for what we want, only to be left with an unanswered prayer. But these are the times that God teaches us the most. It's hard and it hurts, but it's for a good reason.

So I'm just reflecting back today...what have been the pink blankets in my life? Which ones were never made available to me? What did I learn from that? Which ones did I cry out for and eventually receive? What was the lesson in waiting? And who did God use to give them to me?

Only God can put together puzzle pieces like mine and make them fit perfectly.

Check out this great sermon clip from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC:
What To Do When God Doesn't Come Through

May 31, 2012


Ever the teacher, today my kids learned three things at the beach.

1. Clams live in a hinged shell.
2. Sand is made of teeny tiny pieces of broken sea shells.
3. Those little holes you see in the sand at the beach...crabs live in them.

While I took on the first two, number three was taught to us by our littlest scientist. She was, as it appeared to us, digging harmlessly to the right of our beach chairs. Within a few minutes she was crying and said that something "bit" her. We thought it was probably one of the many fire ants we had seen during our stay or maybe even a sharp shell buried in the sand. We had her rinse her hand in the ocean so that we could see through the sandiness and found no mark.

After calming her a bit, she and I went down to the edge of the water to play some more and Josh stayed in his chair. Thirty-ish minutes later, I saw out of the corner of my eye that Josh has darted half way up the dune with a sand bucket(illegal BTW, you can be fined $500 for that). Clearly capturing something, he ran (yes, ran) down to the edge of the water to show us his catch. This is what we saw:
The Crabby

This dude meant business. He filled out the bottom of our sandbucket and I was actually pretty proud of Josh for the gutsiness of his bounty hunting! Teach him to mess with his baby girl! As we later found out, there was a "little hole" that L found interesting and was digging around it and stuck her fingers in. No wonder. The kids were not too thrilled about the fact that these guys were sharing the beach with us, but they were soon distracted by minnows and sandcastles.

We let the crabby go in the dunes before we left and wished him well. least three of us did. E's words exactly, "Dad, I think you should destroy him for hurting my sister."

Beach Jedi



Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Irish Twin Phenomenon

Technically, Irish Twins are two children born to the same mother from two separate pregnancies within 365 days of each other. The term is intended to be derogatory, which is a total bummer, me being quite Irish and all. Interestingly, it's pretty much become American vernacular to use the term to define any two siblings who were born less than two years apart or so. You know, the ones that are so close in age that they really look like they could be fraternal twins but you're just not quite sure.

My "Irish Twins" are exactly 14 1/2 months apart. Over the last three years I've discovered just how common this really is. Just about everyone I meet for the first time either knows someone who had little ones close together or perhaps has a sibling so close in age. I even worked with someone who was born on her sister's first birthday.

But the best of all is the chance to meet a mom with her own Irish twins, especially a pair that's still little. The conversation almost always goes like this:

Her: How old are your kids?
Me: 3 and 4 (or insert whatever age they were at the time)
Her: And how far apart are they?
Me: Fourteen months (I leave off the 1/2 so I don't sound like a nut to someone I've just met.)
Her: Oh, mine are 15 months apart!
Me; Oh, so you KNOW!

Always, it always goes down that way! There's rarely ever even a deviation from the script. We instantly bond because we both KNOW. We know about the two years straight of lost sleep. We know about the assault on your body from back to back pregnancies and nursing. We know about the infinite, infinite diaper changes. We know about the ease with which contagious illnesses spread and continue to circulate. We miss our bodies, our husbands, our short term memory and our sanity.

But...we also know so much more about how to do it all better the second time because we just did the very same thing a few months ago. We know what to buy and what not to buy. We know how to get two babies and ourselves ready and out of the house in the time it takes one husband to shower and shave. We know how to maximize the space underneath a double stroller and can pack in everything you or I would need on any given Target run. And we know that hand-me-downs are a precious thing, regardless of gender.

The best part, though, is that we also know how two siblings can truly love one another. We know that they can and will develop their own version of twinspeak (and can probably translate). We know how much one child can miss the other simply from being apart while sleeping at night or naptime. We know that empathy develops far earlier than textbooks claim. We know that these two little souls will be eternally tied to one another in a way that only they will fully understand.

Some days I look at my children and wonder what they will be like when they're older. Will they stay this close? (I know they will.) I wonder if there are more babies in our future. (My kids would make a great big brother and big sister.) But I just can't imagine tipping the balance of this perfectly unplanned little family.