Jesus in Shantytown

31 July 2010

Hey friends. My dear friend started a blog that's beautiful. Well, I think it is anyway. It's all about her walk with Christ and the Church through her eyes. She's a beautiful soul, woman, mother, friend as well as an amazing writer, singer and song writer! Here's how she describes her blog:

Mandie Oliver
I am a writer, a Christ-follower, and formerly homeless. Yes, that's right. I used to be one of those people you wouldn't give money because you "know" they'll just blow it on a bottle of Schlitz Malt Liquor. Today, when I encounter the American church I feel homeless again-- disconnected, misunderstood, out of place. I'm Mandie and Jesus is my life support. I'm smitten with His mission and in love with His Church, warts and all. This blog chronicles my reflections on American Christianity through the eyes of a former spiritual vagabond. I hope to provide a space that allows the plight of the poor and marginalized to be seen in the light. Here's to finding the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jesus). Welcome to the conversation.
Go check out her blog and giver her some lovin'.

Discipline

I feel like I'm at a loss. Some days, I even feel as if I'm at the end of my rope. Some days are fine...but other days, I find myself angry at my darling child. I love Asher. He seriously is the coolest kid I know...though I know I'm biased. He's super smart, and witty, and spirited...so very spirited. He loves on people, all the time....all the time! He loves to give hugs and kisses so much that there are times I see him pinning down 7 year old friends to give kisses! He loves to snuggle and share his snacks and drinks, his laugh is infectious and he's super sweet to babies.

But there's this other side of him that can be discouraging. He's a brute. I don't think he means to be...but with his nearly 40 pound, 40" stature, he kinda just is. Last night was a perfect example. We were at the East Lansing Concert Series down at the fountain having a grand ol' time...singing...dancing...when all of a sudden, a little 12 month toddler came by to say hi. Asher, having to show his dominance, smacked the kid on the cheek and then proceeded to cram his granola bar into the kids mouth. So, one part of me thought, wow...he wants to fight this kid, but within the next moment, he wanted to share his snack with him...so what is he doing? What is he thinking?

I think sometimes he smacks kids as a 'hello'...which I'm not sure where he gets. He likes to smack peoples butts or backs as a hello. But he doesn't do it softly...And all of a sudden, especially when he's excited, he'll reach out and smack a child's face or grab a hold of their cheek and pull. I of course feel horrible and embarrassed and I don't know what to do to stop the behavior. And more importantly, where does he even get this behavior from?? And lately, he's been running up to someone and ripping a toy out of a child's hand...which I think he may have learned from a friend...but still...how do you stop it?

What do I do? How do I discipline? I'm at a loss. We do time-outs, and yes, they remove Asher from the situation, but a gentle description of what he's done wrong and time by himself, doesn't seem to phase him. We talk about his behavior, I ask him why he's acted out, I ask him to go apologize and give hugs or show gentle touches....but seriously some days, not a few moments later, he's acting out again. He does great in time-outs. All I have to say is go to time-out and he'll find a place to sit down...and he stays...but the whole process doesn't seem to change his behavior.

I don't like hitting. I think it's silly for us. I don't condone it...and I think there are situations where it may be the best choice, but I think it's hard not to over do it when you're angry and I don't know what I'm teaching my son if I'm telling him not to hit, yet I hit him as a response to his hitting. How can I say, don't hit...but then hit. In saying that, I've tried smacking him. I've smacked his hand and his bottom. The other day as he continued to hit a 10 month old's leg with a plastic spoon, I chose to show him what it felt like...again though, I instantly thought, 'what am I teaching him?'.

I don't know where this behavior comes from. We're not violent people. We never spanked him, or hit him, or grabbed at his skin as an infant...so where does he get it? I sometimes wonder if it's because he still doesn't have a large vocabulary...maybe it's his way of communicating...but how do I re-direct it into a positive touch, rather than a brutal one?

I think the hardest thing with me is that I get sick of being around him. After disciplining him day after day and seeing no change in his behavior and having no break until Steve comes home or the weekend hits, I just get burned out. And I hate that feeling. Not only does it make me feel like a crappy, mama. But it also makes me feel totally ungrateful and selfish because I have too many mama friends who would give anything for a living child...and the worst part, is when I'm feeling angry and I'm yelling at my wonderful child...I think about what Jorai and Selah are thinking about my behavior. I wonder if they're looking down at me disappointed. It's a horrible feeling.

For all of you mama's out there with spirited, and sometimes aggressive children, what do you do? How do you re-direct their bad behavior into positive behavior? How do you encourage their spirited nature, yet change bad behavior...and how do you keep your sanity in the process. I think the worst part in all of this, is how I feel after I lose my cool. All I want is to give my child the best, most nurturing, loving, open and caring upbringing as I can...yet sometimes I feel as if I'm damaging him with my anger and yelling. It's the worst feeling. When I look into those big brown eyes of his, I feel as if I've already failed him. And that is my worst nightmare.

ignorance

26 July 2010

I wish I could be ignorant. I think about it every day. How wonderful it would be to be a blissfully, ignorant pregnant woman. I wish I could be hopeful and gitty about every little thing. I wish I could go to appointments without fear of hearing the dreaded words 'this is the heart, and I'm sorry to tell you that it's not beating'. I wish I could take medications without a thought...without fear. I wish I could only think about the future...I wish I could start preparing the baby's room and start buying the baby things. I wish...

But I can't. Even as I type this, I look up to see the pictures of my babies...one dead...one living...another dead. The odds are stacked against me. The positive side of me says 'well, it's the order to now have another living child'...but I know the odds. I'm no longer ignorant to the hell that can come.

Here's a current dilemma. I have asthma. It's really only sports related...or is aggravated by high humidity or altitude...in pregnancy people with asthma either see it completely go away or see it get worse. Mine, for all 4 pregnancies has gotten worse. Way worse. From the minute I get pregnant, I feel as if someone is sitting on my chest. I never have had an attack, but it's a constant, feeling as if I'm breathing through coffee stirrer. I'm suppose to be taking singulair to open up my airways...but it scares me. Everything scares me. Even tylenol scares me. The thing with singulair is that one side effect in kids is depression and suicidal thoughts. In my mind, I wonder about what effects of me taking it could happen in the developing brain of my baby. So...I try not to take it for a while...but the thing is, the brain is always forming...it's mostly forming from conception to 28 weeks, but even from 28-40 weeks, stuff is happening and nerve cells are forming connections.

So I'm constantly at odds. Do I take it, because I can't breathe..which not only makes me feel crappy, but I know that if I can't breathe super well...the baby isn't either...or do I not take it because it's a catagory B drug, which hasn't been tested on pregnant mothers and they have no idea what it could do to a developing child?

This is where I wish I was ignorant. In my pregnancy with Jorai, of course I was careful..and weary of drugs, but if my doctor told me to take something, I would have. And I would have left the office with a big fat smile on my face because I 'knew' everything would be wonderful. That's no longer the case. I even refuse the diabetic test @ 28 weeks because we lost Jorai 3 days after that test. Though I don't think the test caused her death...the stress of all that sugar couldn't have helped.

It's been nearly 13 weeks now in my current pregnancy and I'm struggling. I'm breathing. But I'm struggling. I almost broke down today and started taking the meds. But I didn't. I'm no longer ignorant. I'm freaked out about every little thing. I used to love being pregnant. I no longer love it. There are things I love. Many things. But I'm also scared...all the time. And for that, I hate it. Is there a way to catch the hand of ignorance and hold on for dear life?

baby 4.0

18 July 2010

I'm trying really hard to be excited about this baby. Really hard. I feel like a horrible mom by protecting my heart like this. But I can't help myself.

I'm 11 weeks 3 days. Nearly out of the 1st trimester. 8 weeks away from the point where I'd have to deliver this child if we were to lose it. That is the scariest thing for me. I can't go back there. I can't do it again. Can I?

I had an ultrasound on July 8th. I was 10 weeks. We saw the heartbeat and the little bean. It was such a blob...a blob with little arm and leg buds. It was cool seeing our child at that stage, because I know the next time we see him, there will be legs and arms and fingers and a face.

I'm being sent to the perinatologist soon...not sure when. The local doc is a jerk, so it'll be interesting and I'm already preparing myself to walk out of his office...but hopefully it will go well and he can be professional and caring. He'll do a high resolution ultrasound and look closely at the cord and baby. And of course we'll find out the sex. Which is such a strange concept to me. I'm unsure about it, yet excited at the same time . We never found out with Jorai, Asher or Selah...but I think I may relax a tiny bit, if I find out that it's a boy. Maybe a little.

I bought a belly book journal a few weeks back and yet it still sits unused. I know I need to start it...it's just so hard. I keep talking to Asher about his baby brother or sister...but every time I do, I also wonder if I'm just setting him up for sadness. I want to be a normal happy pregnant woman who is gitty and buying fun things for her child...but how can I be, when I know the possibility of loss is so great?

That's where I am. I'm happy...but cautious...guarding my heart. I want to start preparing the baby's room, but I know that it may be for nothing and that petrifies me. I feel car sick all day everyday and exhausted and though I know those are good signs...I was sick with Selah for a long time too. I want to only feel joy, for I have so many baby loss mama's who don't have a living child...or can't get pregnant...or keep having miscarriages...so I am trying really hard to be happy...but I'm just cautions and really trying to guard my heart. But how can't you feel a bit of joy, when you have a little piece of heaven growing within you? That's truly amazing.

I'm just so utterly scared that this little piece of Heaven will be ripped out of my arms again. That's a pain that scares me beyond words or descriptions. How do I train my heart and mind to ignore the truth? How can I become ignorant again? Can I pretend the fear away? I just hope and pray that this child will come to us screaming and pink and warm...and SCREAMING! Let me hear those lungs my child.

Nursing my boy

17 July 2010

Well, it's been nearly an entire week since Asher nursed. It's a bit bittersweet...mostly nice and freeing..but a little sad. It's something we've shared for over 2 years now...minus the 6 week break we took between the time that I originally weaned him and when we lost Selah.

He's doing really well minus the few times where he saw others nursing. He still asks for it, but when I tell him no, he's fine. There's no fussing or crying, he just goes about his daily destruction. It's almost as if he's testing me to see if I'll give in and whip it out for him.

It just seems so strange...to be done. Really, truly done. I wonder, if I lose this new child I'm carrying...will I see if he wants to nurse again? I don't know. It gave us both the comfort we needed while grieving...but I don't know. I shouldn't even let my mind go there...but it does...for obvious reasons.

So yeah...for memory purposes, the last time I nursed my sweet boy was at 8am on 12 July 2010. He has become more of a cuddler now. He wants me to sit on the couch with him so he can lay his head on my shoulder or on my chest as he watches curious george. I like it. Snuggles are such a blessing.

preggers update

03 July 2010

I hit 9 weeks last week. Though my belly looks like the baby's 4 months along! Oye. I'm starting to 'feel' pregnant. My belly feels full and tight. I can't lay on my stomach anymore and even when I lay too far over on my side, I get ligament pain.

I have an ultrasound next week Thursday and I'm nervous. I keep getting a feeling that the baby will already be gone. I'm dreading the appointment...but there's another side of me that thinks that the news would be a kind of relief. Does that make me a horrible person? I mean, I want this child. More that I can express. But if I lose the baby now, I won't have to deliver and hold another lifeless child. There won't be a blood stained blanket wrapped up in a painted box to place in my 'hope' chest. There won't be another canister of ashes resting on my piano or photo's of another lifeless child hanging on my wall.

I want this child, but I'm so afraid of what's to come. I'm afraid to bond with this child...and if I see him or her on that screen, I can no longer ignore that there's a child growing within me. I keep thinking of things that I may need when this child comes home, but I refuse to buy anything. Well, I did buy one thing. A plush giraffe for the crib that you can wind up and it plays twinkle, twinkle little star...Asher's favorite song. Even that though made me feel as if I jinxed myself.

2 nights ago, I had a dream that I went to a memorial...it was vague and I'm not sure who's memorial it was, though I know it was for a child and I had asked my friend if she wanted me to bring something in remembrance of her son Charlie. I woke in a panic. Both with Jorai and Selah, I had death dreams. With Jorai, I just played it off...with Selah, it startled me...but I pushed it off to the side. I never had a death dream with Asher. So I keep wondering...was my dream about this new baby? With Jorai and Selah dreams, I held them and knew they were mine...this dream was really vague...so was it just a memorial dream...or was it a miscarriage dream?

I'm trying to push it away. I'm trying to ignore it. But it's still lingering there...haunting me.

I'm not sure what they'll see at my ultrasound next week. I'll only be 10 weeks...I know we'll be able to see a heartbeat. But what else? I'll be going to a perinatologist soon too. I hope he'll be able to take a good look at the cord...and I pray I'm carrying a boy. I know it won't take all my fears away...but it will sure help a little.

There's your update. I'm excited about the possibility to birth and raise another child. Too see Asher with a living sibling would be amazing...but I'm nervous. Petrified really...and I think it will only get worse once 20 weeks hits. I'm dreading it.