Daughter, Wife, Mother... this is what I do

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life and 8 month olds...

This little lady is officially 8 months old (on 12/23.) Time has absolutely flown. In the name of documentation, here are some things that are new in her world:

-Eating finger foods like a champ. She would probably prefer solely eating finger foods, because whenever I bust out that little plastic spoon and the pureed goodness it's war. (Slight exaggeration, she's actually a very good eater. She just enjoys feeding herself and doesn't seem to enjoy as much when she doesn't have control.)

-Crawling everywhere. She was a little wobbly and slow at first (starting around 7 months) but she is actually quite speedy now.

-Pulling up on anything and everything that her little chubby hands can reach. Quite often that includes my legs.

-Has FOUR teeth! She got her first two teeth (the bottom middle 2) at about 5 months and the two on either side of those teeth broke through yesterday. I love her little snaggle-tooth smile :)

-Making raspberry sounds. She loves to play the imitation game. If you blow a raspberry at her, she'll do it back to you. So much fun.

-Waving! She started this when her Great Grandpa was waving at her on Christmas and all of a sudden, a sweet little hand went up and down in the air! Sometimes she puts her whole arm into it, sometimes she just grabs the air with her hand. Love seeing her learn and associate words with actions.

-(Speaking of words...) I think she has a growing understanding of the word "no"... actually "no ma'am" which is what we say to her most frequently. Tyler and I have both seen her stop what she's doing when we say, "No ma'am!" firmly. Still hasn't worked in trying to teach her not to stand in her crib or in the bath tub. I feel like my life lately has been spent sitting/laying her back down and saying, "No ma'am. Elle, we don't stand in the crib/bathtub." Sheesh

-Still crying herself to sleep... this has been not so fun for me. Or anyone really. It brings lots of anxiety and stress. We decided, after we were done traveling for the holidays, to buckle down. I committed to not going in and interacting with her for as long or as often. It. Has. Been. ROUGH. I think, in large part, due to her teeth coming through. I've struggled with this, because everything in me wants to abandon our plan because she's been teething. I want to blame all her sleeping struggles on this. And it MAY be that, but I don't think it's wise for me to cave in and rock her to sleep or let her sleep with us every night because she's hurting. I've been giving her baby ibuprofen and trying to stick with it. There have been several days where she has cried right through every nap and then falls asleep eating in the evening because she's so exhausted. We're on day 4 of this bootcamp and I'm giving it until Sunday. Hopefully we'll see some progress by then. Progress at this point would look like less than 45 minutes of crying :(. And naps longer than 30 minutes after falling asleep. Not fun for anyone, I say.

[We did have one night where she fell asleep after only 2 minutes of crying AND put herself back to sleep in the middle of the night after only 20 minutes of crying. I think this was God's gift to me to help me press on. I can totally handle 2 minutes of crying!]

I hate to end on that note. Because this has been the best month by far.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Building more than I see...

I meet weekly with a group of young moms in our neighborhood. We mostly spend time processing through scripture, which is good, necessary and challenging for all of us. But, today we spent time sharing how we were doing.

Mostly prompted because I have been struggling. Struggling with the insecurity and discontentment that "merely" taking care of a child can bring to a heart that's not finding it's worth in the truth that God calls me worthy in Jesus.

I found that the lot of us were all struggling with this insecurity and discontentment of staying at home. Are we really doing anything that's important? Are our husbands mentally rolling their eyes as we explain the stress of a baby that didn't take as long a nap as they should? What are we really spending our days doing?


But here's where I'm encouraged and uplifted. The gospel. God, wrapped in flesh, became a baby. He became small and insignificant. He spit up and cried and pooped on Himself. and His mother spent her days cleaning Him up, rocking Him to sleep and taking care of Him. And one day, Jesus would bridge the eternal divide that existed between His Father and creation. One day, Jesus would defeat sin and death. Crazy. Mary's mundane was made into the greatest gift humanity has ever been given, and God was glorified in the small things.

Here's what John Piper has to say about it:

"There is a principle here that applies to you and me: God takes small, imperfect things and builds them into a habitation for his glory. O, how we should take courage in our little spheres of influence! And is this not the message of Advent and Christmas?

What more appropriate word could God have said to Mary as Jesus was growing up: Take courage, young mother, you build more than you see. And so it is with every one of us. Nothing you do is a trifle if you do it in the name of God. He will shake heaven and earth to fill your labor with splendor. Take courage, you build more than you see."

My heart is filled with hope because bottles and laundry are not the end of what's being built here. My heart is filled with hope because I am not the dictator of how things will turn out. My heart is filled with hope in thinking on how God made good on His promise to save me when Jesus was born.

You build more than you see...

Sunday, December 4, 2011


A little [embarassing] fact about me. I used to think I was an awesome speller. But then I noticed that I always spell "independence" "independAnce." Maybe I thought it made the word more fun?

Which leads me to my next point. Teaching my kid independence has not been as fun as I dreamed it would be. (Actually, I don't think I thought about it much until recently.) At least at this point. Currently, we're attempting to teach her to be independent of us (me, really) in falling asleep. In the past 7 months I have been vehemently against letting Elle "Cry-It-Out" (CIO). There was something that curled up and died inside of me as a mom in not soothing my child when she's crying for me. I couldn't and just wouldn't handle it. I researched articles and studies that proved why letting Elle CIO was harmful for her. (There's not much... if you're interested.) So, for awhile, even though I had to RUN to her every couple of hours to prevent the cry from escalating to supersonic levels, I stuck by my stance of not letting my child cry. It was too painful for me and for her. And while rocking/nursing your cuddly, ever-growing-and-changing-not-a-baby-for-much-longer baby to sleep really is as wonderful as it sounds and I would do it every single night if I could, it's the constant waking and crying because they don't know how to calm themselves back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night that is absolutely exhausting. Not just for me. For Tyler, too.

After a series of somewhat heated discussions on the topic, I realized my sin in this area. I wanted absolute comfort in raising my child. Even if that meant losing sleep. I didn't want to hurt for her. I didn't want to even think that she might be in pain. This is motherhood, though, right? We want to keep our kids comfortable and happy and snuggled up safely in our arms, even if that means we never get any sleep. Even as I'm writing this, I'm fighting the urge to think, "But that's so noble of me! To give up my rest for the comfort of my daughter! What a great mom I am!"

But is our kids' happiness and comfort really the appropriate measure of success for us as mothers? I think America would like for us to believe that it is. But if I'm looking at parenting through the lens of who Jesus is and what He has created me for, success in parenting would be to usher my child into an independent love and worship of her creator. I don't want her to be a woman who says, "Yeah, my mom really loves Jesus" when asked about her faith. Or even the, "I was raised in a Christian home" answer that most of us utter when asked what we believe.

Thus began the first of many adventures in teaching Elle to be independent. Letting her cry. It has been every bit as hard as I thought it would be (though, not quite as intense and awful as it was the one time we let her cry when she was only 4 months old. If you're thinking of doing it, I would wait until 6-7 months-ish. It makes such a difference that I know her different cries.) I haven't let her cry for more than 10 minutes at a time at this point. (about 4 days in) And I do pick her up and sometimes even rock her a bit if she's super worked up. Maybe this will prolong the process, who knows? But I'm leaving room for that ever intrusive motherly instinct that some books tell you to squash in the name of efficiency. And, I will tell you that it. has. worked. She has actually put herself to sleep a few times. And last night, she even slept until 6 am. 6 IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE! Without making a peep after going to bed. (Well, after the crying...)

[Subsequently, it should have been the best night of sleep I've had since she was 2 months old when she slept 8 hours at a time... but I woke up every hour wondering when she was going to wake up. Go figure. Still! It was a win for the David family!]

However, there is something so so sad about letting your sweet child cry herself to sleep. But, there are going to be lots of those moments, I'm sure. Encouraging her to go to overnight camp even though she is terrified... Teaching her to love and deal with mean kids at school... Disciplining her for making foolish choices... None of these things will be fun. I will probably cry. I will probably hurt for her. I will probably want to swoop down to save her, and I will on occasion! Afterall, God swooped down to save me, and that is what grace is, right?

But, right now, I am embarking on the first of many journeys in teaching Elle to be independent. (Not indpendAnt.)

For the record. I tried lots of other methods in my opposition to letting her cry. Pick Up/Put Down from the Baby Whisperer being the most successful. It just was not sustainable overnight. BUT, this method did help Elle not to be dependent on nursing to sleep and if you have an iron will and a husband with an iron will, then I say DO IT! It's a great alternative to letting your kid CIO. Despite what some doctors and authors say, letting them cry isn't the only way, but other ways just didn't work for our family. The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg is a great resource and is by far the best and most moderate (in regards to attachment parenting vs. putting your kids on a strict schedule) parenting book I've read. Which, I really value.

And, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't leave you with a little picture to oogle? :)

And, just because she's even cuter awake than she is asleep :)