The Life Not My Own

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the Way He Should Go

As I write this my little son is asleep in his car seat.  This is a rare moment for him, as he usually screams his head off back there until we take him out.

There are those that will tell you all babies fall asleep in the car.  Those people would be wrong.  If there's anything I've learned since becoming a mom, it's that every child is different.  Personalities are not shaped, they are born.  My baby boy has had a strong personality from the moment of his birth, and he most definitely hates his car seat with a passion.  It's just the way he is.

My son has also turned into a very poor sleeper this past month.  Until then, he was sleeping at least one 4-6 hour stretch a night.  Last night his longest stretch was two hours...and that was a good night.  I've already had people scold me for not "sleep training" my babe...or for not putting him on a schedule set by me.  I assure you, we are working on helping him sleep better again.  However, I'm not doing it in the way prescribed by some "expert". 

You see, the truth of the matter is that no expert knows my son.  He is a unique little person, and there is simply no one-size-fits-all solution.  I'm using what I know about my son, God's wisdom, as well as my own instincts l, to parent.

There are so many Christians that are quick to say "train up a child", yet they miss out on one of the key parts: "in the way HE should go".  It doesn't say "in the way you think he should go", or "in the way experts say he should go", but "in the way HE should go". 

As parents, it is our duty and privilege to find out what that path is for each precious blessing entrusted to us, and help him or her walk in it.  Honestly, that's sometimes a hard task.  We crave control and security, yet our children often challenge that simply by being them.  Now, I'm in no way advocating an absence of discipline or training...that would be just as bad!  What I am saying is that our discipline and training should be tailored to each individual child.  And, frankly, there are definitely areas we need to let go of.  We need to give our children space to grow and bloom into the person they are meant to be!

And so, as I work with my little man, helping him to sleep better, I'm going to do it in the best way for him.  I'm going to be patient, loving, and supportive.  I'm not going to see his cries as manipulative or controlling, because I'm not so needy for control that I turn his own needs into wants.  And you know what?  If he's not the best of sleepers, that's okay.  In the long run, some extra night cuddles aren't going to hurt anyone.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

3 Months

Sunday before last (yes, I’m over a week behind) our sweet Miles turned 3 months old.  I am absolutely loving this stage.
Every day it seems like he gets less cranky and fussy.  The weekend before last we were able to visit our new nephew again, and ended up staying two nights in a hotel.  We realized how nice it was to not really have to worry about him crying much and disturbing people.  Generally, he is the happiest little guy!
IMG_1484Miles has been growing like a weed lately, and seems to get stronger and smarter every day.  Just a few weeks ago he started batting at toys, and now he’s gotten pretty good at grabbing things.  He also enjoys knocking over his playmat...probably more than playing with it!  Friday he finally rolled over from his belly to his back.  I thought it was an fluke at first, as he wouldn’t repeat it for me (Andy says he’s not a circus clown…he doesn’t perform).  But, he did it again at his Grandma’s house that night, and then again the next day.  He’s been really close to rolling himself over for awhile now, but he doesn’t really like tummy-time, so he usually just fusses.  Of course, since then the little bugger won’t perform for me.  I’m on my alert now, though, because I know he can!
I’m telling you, we’re in for it big time with this kid.  He gets so frustrated that he can’t just move and go wherever he wants yet.  Lately he’s taken to grabbing the side of his bed, swing, or car seat if he’s not strapped in yet and trying to flop out.  If we weren’t careful, he’d already have been on the ground many times.  Crazy nut!
People, this kid is also teething like crazy.  The weird part?  He’s trying to get his lower eye teeth in first (although he now has a bottom middle tooth competing to erupt first).  This kid can’t just go with the flow?  He’s been pretty cranky and fussy from it, and has all but lost his longer sleep stretch at night. 
Anyway, we’re learning so much about parenting…and taking everything one step at a time.  Oh, and loving every minute. :)


Monday, November 5, 2012

I Vote Because of Miles

*Warning: This is a political post.  If you tend to get upset about these types of things, then please don’t read it.  I don’t want any scathing comments.  These are just my thoughts and opinions, so be nice. :)

Tomorrow morning my husband, my young son, and I will stand in line to cast our votes in what has turned out to be a very historic election.  I will proudly wear my “I Voted” sticker, and that night I will watch the news as the results come in.

I’m not the political fanatic in our home.  While my husband spends much of his free time following the latest polls and debates, I generally try to avoid them.  I do follow the election, but only to some extent.  I already know who I’m voting for, and I prefer to not let politics dictate my emotions and moods.  I prefer to stay away from debates, as they usually don’t result in anybody actually changing their minds.

Tomorrow, however, I will eagerly cast my ballot.  I will do so because of my son. 

Having a child changes everything.  You can talk and talk about wanting the best future for your children, but if you don’t actually have any, then it’s just talk.  This year, when I vote, it’s with the best interests of Miles’ future at heart.  Suddenly, the “future of my children” is very real, because I can see it in my son’s big blue eyes.

I have friends who aren’t voting this year, or who will be writing a name in.  They don’t agree completely with the Republican candidate, so they are holding their “principles” high and not voting for him.  They are voting with their “conscience”.  They say that they cannot in “good conscience” vote for someone who is more Moderate, for gun control, not opposed to abortion under any circumstances, not against homosexuality, not wanting to do away with the federal government completely, a Mormon, or any other reason.       

I cannot in “good conscience” not vote for him.

No, I don’t agree with Romney completely.  I’ve made it very clear before that I am against abortion, even in cases of rape.  I lean more Conservative than Moderate any day, and I firmly believe that the federal government has become far too big.  However, I will most assuredly be casting a vote for Romney tomorrow morning. 

Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  Many will vote for a third-party candidate or a write-in because they are voting on “principle”.  They insist that they are not wasting their votes.  They may not be in the sense that they are standing firm in their beliefs and voting based on them.  In truth, however, they know that there is no chance that anyone but Obama or Romney can win the election.  It’s just the facts of life. 

Those same people may criticize me for “voting for the lesser of two evils”.  They are entitled to their opinions.  But so am I.  I could not in good conscience vote for someone tomorrow who has no chance of winning.  Why?  Because when I imagine four more years with Obama in office, my son’s future starts looking very bleak.  I know that in my heart-of-hearts, I’d do whatever it takes to prevent that.

In a perfect world, Romney may not be my choice for president.  I hate to break it to you, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a fallen world, and we must do the best we can in it.  In my opinion, casting a vote for someone besides Romney is, in essence, voting for Obama.  That vote that could have been used to prevent four more years of Obama has been made basically null-and-void.  It counts, and it’s not a waste, but it’s not going to change this world or the future of our country.     

So, before you cast your votes tomorrow, look deep into your children’s eyes.  Think about the kind of world you want to leave for them.  In voting for Romney tomorrow, I am not “voting for the lesser of two evils”…I am voting for the best option.  Someday when my son asks me what part I played in this election—in helping decide the future of this country—I want to be able to tell him more than that my vote counted.  I want to be able to tell him that my vote mattered. 

Tomorrow when I vote, I am voting because of Miles. 

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