Little Man Letters: For Such a Time as This

Dear Enzo,

For as long as I can remember, I have been in pursuit of excellence. No matter the arena, the game plan was the same: climb as high as I could, as fast as I could. I wanted to make a name for myself, as someone who worked hard and achieved great things.

So when my first grade teacher gave out a coloring sheet that said “If you ran the circus, what would you be?” Other kids were writing “Lion Tamer” and “Tight Rope Walker.” I wrote “Ringmaster.” Because that was the correct answer to the question (very technical 7 year old, apparently) and because even then, I knew I wanted to lead.

In third grade I dressed up as a Principal for career day. Later, as an athlete, I strived to be both the captain and the MVP.

My dreams evolved but the lofty aspirations always remained. Eventually I finished my education, and told anyone who asked that I was a children’s librarian, but my ultimate goal was to be a public library director.

So when I decided to stay home, you can imagine all the visions of success and superstardom, dancing in my head.

Then you arrived. And I waltzed into motherhood with all the composure of a bug in a bathtub. There was a lot of scurrying and flailing and general dying.

Because for the first time, whether I succeeded or failed would directly affect someone other than me. God gave me exactly what I wanted: a perfect, healthy baby. And when I looked into your innocent eyes I felt the weight of the world come crashing down on my heart.

The first few months of your life, the phrase “Oh son, what have I done.” crossed my mind a thousand times. I would turn on the TV or pull up Facebook and the news would bring me to tearful knees.

I wanted you. I wanted a family. I dreamed of your Christmas stockings, Halloween costumes, park adventures and sunset walks. I couldn’t wait to watch you grow. But suddenly all that felt so selfish.

This earth is full of beauty, but it is also overflowing with evil. Wars of every kind sprinkle, in some places flood, the landscape. Whether you choose to fight injustice/terror/whatever on your own, or it comes knocking on your door, at some point you will encounter the ugly truths that accompany living in a fallen world. And it will hurt you.

That’s not what I focused on when I planned for you, but it’s all I could think about when I held you.

Then at the height of my inner turmoil (as I was contemplating homeschooling and work-from-your-mama’s-home careers), I found this poster for your room.

Which lead a friend to send me this blog. 

What they have in common is the “You were born for such a time as this” bible reference.

Messages from heaven, reminding me that yes, you are mine and I am yours. But we were both made by God, in His image, for a purpose, first. He brought you, your dad, and I together because we each have something the others need to effectively fulfill those purposes.

So while it is my job to protect you from avoidable harm, it is not His will that I let fear be the guiding force in my parenting. You can’t be a world changer if you’re locked up and hidden from danger. As much as I love you, God loves you more. Far be it from me to block the path He laid out for you. 

Motherhood comes with some heavy emotional burdens, but it also brings such hope. I don’t know yet what you were put here to do, but I know you were created for a time such as this. I promise to set aside my worry and pick up courage, as I do all I can to support you.

Godspeed, Little Man.
I love you.
Mama

 

 

Who is this angel, sent here to change me,
Sent here to take me where I’ve never been?
Long I have wandered, weary and waiting,
For something to shake me and life to begin.

Holy water from my own veins,
Come and save me where I lay.
All this longing for beauty unnamed.
It has broken me open to welcome the hop
e that you bring.

Enzo Alan: 7/8 Months

 

Age: 7 & 8 months

Stats: He is 19 pounds right now. I’ll update the rest of the specifics after his next well visit at 9 months. 

What’s New: 

Enzo is an efficient crawler but spends more time pulling up to stand or climbing on top of things. He is ready to walk and will take steps if we hold his hands. 

2 teeth and a third close to breaking through. 

Likes to feed himself puffs and is getting better at picking them up and putting them in his mouth every day. 

Eats a wide variety of food, currently a big fan of black beans, zucchini, squash, broccoli, strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, roasted peaches, pears, and apples (all puréed or chunky blend.) He doesn’t love bananas, carrots, peas, or sweet potatoes. 

No words yet, but a lot of high pitched screeching. He recently whistled 3 times on accident. 

Will give a high five if you ask. 

In an unfortunate stage where he is too small (and wiggly) to safely sit in store carts or restaurant high chairs, even with padded inserts, but he won’t tolerate being restrained in his car seat or stroller. Therefore venturing out is a workout. 

Fights sleep during the day. We call him Energizer Enzo. I can spend hours trying to wear him out and calm him down, only for him to take two 30 minute naps total. Nights are generally pretty good. I get enough sleep to be able to workout around 5-6am each morning. I never thought I could be a morning person but I love it! It gets the day off to a great start. Motherhood, man. Full of surprises. 

I am closing in on my goal weight, down to single digits! It is going to take me all of 9 months to regain fitness and be comfortable in my old clothes, but it has been MUCH easier to get weight off since I quit pumping at 5.5 months. 

So I’m feeling really great and ready to start focusing in on running goals. My motivator is 80 before Baby or 82 before Baby 2. My half marathon PR is 1:22 flat and my goal has always been to get under 1:20. Thus I am shooting for 80 before Baby but if I can get in range of 1:22 I’ll be happy. There is a time limit on this. I don’t want to wait too long before trying for another baby. I just want an ambitious goal to help me stay serious about workouts and have fun racing before another 18 month baby/body journey.

All in all, this life is SO sweet right now. I miss these days even as I live them.

 Adventure Awaits, greet it with your fancy pajamas.

 First Carmel library visit!

 Wild man.

 Who is this IMPOSTOR??

 Super soft and cute romper from Roman & Leo.

 We love morning sunshine. 

 Quite pleased with himself after a short nap.

 Fell asleep in Great Grandma Bower’s lap while listening to her favorite songs.

 Toys or book? Both.

 Easter 2017



The World Starts at Home

 

Every January I choose a word to guide the year. Something I feel God has put on my heart to help reshape my life for the better. For 2017 my word is Decrease.

Lately I have felt a strong urge to put my life through a sifter. Allowing what is heavy, distracting, or unnecessary, to fall away. So there might be space on my plate. So I might be able to see and hear more clearly what God is trying to say.

And I’m on board with that, until I’m not. Until the whisper to drop it involves commitments I consider invaluable. Surely God doesn’t want me to let go of that. Right? It’s a good thing. It’s not like it’s a vice or a sin. 

I’m learning though, that it doesn’t have to be “bad” to trip you up or muffle God’s voice. Too much of a good thing is a real thing. You could put all the best musicians in the world in one room but if they aren’t on the same page, they’ll only make a bunch of  noise.

Still, making cuts…as many as God seems to want me to make…stings. I have spent the last 3 months questioning Him. Positive that I was just interpreting Him wrong. Maybe the intense need to dial it down was actually new mom anxiety. Some sort of mental disorder I needed to medicate.

But the harder I tried to hold on, the more roadblocks I encountered. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall an AWFUL LOT. Over multiple things. So recently in prayer time I asked God to make His will abundantly clear to me. Sorry Lord, I simply cannot move forward without a map. I’m too afraid of getting it wrong and making a mess. 

And immediately, two words crossed my mind: Season and Family. I pondered them for a bit and felt reasonably sure I knew what He meant. But still, STILL, doubt lingered. Until I opened my Instagram app and the first post was this:

It was like a gigantic interstate sign reading THIS WAY. 

I carry a weighty burden on my heart to make the most of my blessings. I don’t want to sit back in a comfortable existence, biding my time until I get to heaven. Therefore my first instinct is to give give give. Yes I’ll donate. Yes I’ll be there. YES. Whatever you are asking for, you can have it. My time. My energy. My resources. 

If I’m going to be a Christian I better darn well BE A CHRISTIAN. My walk needs to match my talk. My son needs to see me setting the absolute BEST example. 

It has lead to so much stress and inner turmoil. I’m never doing it right, I’m never doing enough. Until God finally sat me down and said Are you done? I don’t give rewards for the most checked boxes. I give favor to those who listen and then follow through. LISTEN to what I’m telling you. In this season of your life, what is little is big. I gave you a baby and I will give you more. And though raising them may seem insignificant in terms of missions…it’s not. To you the world is huge and full of need, but to them the world is you. There will be a time to look out and give, but for now, Eyes In. 

Eyes In. It’s not about making my baby an idol. Allowing him to grow up thinking he is the center of the universe. (Trust and believe, that will not happen.) It’s about being what he needs, and right now his needs are MANY. He may be little but being his parent is big. 

So I’ll be reigning it in. Hitting pause on the yes train and handing out more Not right now’s. I hope I’m met with grace and understanding. And I hope if you’re an overburdened (that looks different for each individual) mama, or father, you’ll join me. There’s a season for everything and when it comes to parenting fresh faced babes, it’s not time to be everything to everyone. It’s time to be everything to your little ones. <3

 

Enzo Alan: 6 Months

Age: 6 months

Stats: 16 lbs, 13 oz (40%), 26.25 inches (48%), 43cm head circumference (27%)

Sleep: Confetti! Fireworks! Dancing Girl Emoji!

Sleep Training FOR THE WIN.

After waking up every. single. hour. one night, I finally had enough and let Enzo cry it out the next night. He cried for 30 minutes (no puking or anything crazy) and that was it. Now he only wakes up once to eat (sometimes twice if he has a really wet diaper) and he sleeps 11-12 hours a night. I’m working on weaning him off that one bottle so hopefully it won’t be long before he doesn’t need to eat at night. He has already had one 8 hour and one 9 hour stretch, both which were all sorts of glorious.

I expect some setbacks going forward, I know kid sleep is a fluid, not fixed thing, but this is a total 180 from the mombie life I was living a couple weeks ago.

Sleep training has become controversial in mom circles, particularly cry it out. I’ve read articles and statuses where moms act like letting their baby protest until they fall asleep/learn to self soothe is the WORST thing in the world. As in, how dare any mother neglect their baby like that? How cruel and selfish can you be? Did you not know what you signed up for? No sleep is just part of the package, woman up and deal with it.

My favorite comment I’ve seen was She’s probably the type who also didn’t want to breastfeed. 😑

Sleep training is hard, for sure. I hated listening to Enzo cry. But I personally believe it’s crucial he learn how to sleep, sooner than later. Not just for my sanity, but for his brain. Quality sleep is critical when it comes to neurological development, so if I have to show some tough love to help him to a place where he is getting the sleep he needs? Sign me up. It might be the first time I ignore his protests, but it won’t be the last. I’m sure he will fight me on many things that are good for him over the years.

I am not worried one bit about attachment or abandonment issues. He gets ALL the love and attention during the day. And now we all get decent sleep at night. No regrets. No shame. Sleep training may not work for every family, I totally respect that. But it has made a huge difference for us and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Now NAPS, on the other hand. Those we’re still figuring out, in terms of consistency in length and time of day. I don’t expect rigid consistency but a loose routine would be nice and we aren’t really there yet. More on that next month if we don’t have a better handle by then.

Loves:

Music class.

We’ve decided to go with The Urban Chalkboard for weekly music classes. They provide all the education and fun without the LOUD colors and sounds of other places we tried. Supposedly screaming color and noise is good for baby brains, or so I’m told. I personally feel like a lot of what is directed at kids is total sensory overload. But that’s probably me projecting my own sensory issues haha.

Also with The Urban Chalkboard there are no mandatory monthly or startup fees. I can pay a drop-in price and just show up when I want, or sign up for 12 sessions for a discount. It is the cheapest and most flexible of all the places we considered. I’m excited to make it part of our routine! I’ll attempt to get some pictures at the end of class for the next blog. Meanwhile here’s one from our last visit, outside the classroom. It’s also a cafe and play area for children. Super cool concept, and I suspect they will eventually move into a larger space or open more locations.

Trying to crawl. I don’t know why the quality stinks with these Youtube uploads, but this is a video of Enzo making his way to a book. With many breaks. He gets there eventually haha.

 

And then doing his double knee hop, which is pretty cute. I might have several recordings of him doing this. 

 

Baths. This kid looooves him some water. We’re considering baby swim lessons. We have heard great things about starting them this young, before they develop any fears, but I have concerns about ear infections if we don’t get all the water out of his ears afterward.

 

His activity center

Pout Pout Fish. He has a favorite book, and it’s Sweet Dreams Pout Pout Fish. (As seen in the Hop clip above.) He sits still, smiles, and studies that book as I read it, more than any of the others. I ordered more pout pout fish books and he loves them too. Maybe he’ll be into saltwater fish tanks like his Uncle Mark. (And Uncle Todd, there for awhile.)

As I was looking up images of the Pout Pout Fish to share here, I came across a birthday cake. Which CRACKED ME UP, because our photographer will need a theme for his one year cake smash session, and pout pout fish would be perfect. Not just because he loves the books, but because he had the POUTIEST faces during his 6 month session. (You can see our favorites here.)  And during his newborn, for that matter. If a newborn can have a pouty face. It was more serious than pouty but the point is we don’t have many professional photos of Enzo smiling so it would be appropriate that his one year shoot be pout pout themed.

Peek-a-Boo + Where’s Enzo. I’m working on videos of this, but it really needs to be a two-person event. Someone holding the camera off to the side and the other person playing the games. Ron discovered Where’s Enzo. If we put something over his face and say “Where’s Enzo?” he will crane his neck up above whatever is covering his face. It’s the CUTEST.

Memorable Moments:

Music Class

Crawling Attempts

First Fruits and Veggies

 

So far he has loved apples and tolerated bananas on the first try. He learned to like green beans and carrots (albeit grumbling the whole time with the carrots. So maybe more of a tolerate than like with those). Peas have been a total strike out. We’ll try again after we get through tasting the rest of his little spoonies sampler kit from Cafe Baby. I liked using the delivery service and if we have a really busy week and I’m unprepared I’ll use them again. But a friend recommended the book Real Baby Food by Jenna Helwig and I love it.

I’m going to try to make my own…when Enzo’s in a deep sleep or far from the kitchen. He HATES the sound of the blender. It makes him cry.

 

Playing with Facebook video when dad had a break at work, haha.

I slept on the floor in Enzo’s room when we moved him to his crib, before we got a monitor. (Don’t judge me.) I kind of miss waking up to his happy smiles peeking out through the crib bars.

My handsome blue-eyed boys.

Kid LOVES to LOUNGE.

But does NOT love to watch me run. Stares at me with this scared look on his face the whole time.

Pout. Pout. Fish.

THERE’S the smile we had been looking for a few hours earlier.

 

 

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