Roly Poly Holy Moly!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, we've made it! We arrived in the world of baby mobilization. Matilda can officially roll all the way over...and over...and over...with no help at all! She finally conquered the tricky back-to-tummy move and ever since then has been rolling like a tumbleweed in a tornado. I mean, this girl can move!
So long, limitations!
So long, comfort of the boundaries of the playmat!
So long, mommy's sanity in being able to leave baby put!
Let the baracading begin!
Matilda's development seems to be skyrocketing by the day right now. I feel like I blink and she is figuring out something new. It is kind of a surreal experience having someone change right before your eyes - and yet, the progression is so subtle and so seamless that even when you know it is coming it still seems like a surprise!
Within a day or two she went from completely rolling over for the first time ever to mastering the art of 360s across the living room floor. Um, what? It was like she was a little boulder sitting at the top of a hill and once she finally figured out how to dislodge the wedge from underneath herself (that stubborn arm) - voila! Off she went!
I am so proud. To watch her do something that she had never done before - to see her face light up when I squealed with joyful response - well, it was awesome. She was eager to repeat the action as soon as daddy got home, and we continued to encore her performance, watching with proud amazement.
As proud of her as we are, however, neither Josh or I were too anxious to want her to explore the exercise of movement. In fact, I'm not sure who it is more of an adventure for - her or us? It's not that we didn't want to encourage her movement, but we know that it is just a stepping stone to things to come...things like walking! Things like getting into cabinets and bonking heads on coffee tables and chasing kitties!
Little does miss Matilda know that this little rolling action has opened the gateway of mobility...of expanding her horizons...and much to my chagrin, her ability to escape her mother. Even in this littlest of ways, her rolling over is a tiny reminder of how I have to let her go, let her grow, and let her learn for herself.
I know that as her mother I have years and years ahead of me of trying to master the balancing act of loving and letting, of control and compassion, of permission and perseverance. (Not that I'm anticipating ever coming to a point of complete mastering!) When to encourage her, when to cheer her on, when to let her just try and even allow her to fail with grace...and when to be there for her after the fall. It's a daunting task to think about and I'm glad I'm not alone on the journey! It's also exciting to think about all that's in store for Matilda - where this little roll will lead her...what path lies before her? I'm so thankful to be her mother and get to see this adorable creature conquer the ups and downs that life will present her.
I know that's getting ahead of myself a bit. I'm trying not to think about that too much...besides, there is too much happening in the present to worry about the future! Things like talking (she recently started saying "nay nay" very distinctly...I'm hopefuly it will quickly morph into "ma ma" somehow!) and eating (ah, the world of solids...that's for another blog entry coming soon) and many other changes in expression and laughter and wiggling...
Look out, world! Matilda is on the move.

What's That, You Say?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's rare that I read an article and have the immediate response to repost it and get it out to anyone I know who will read it - but that's exactly how I felt when I started reading THIS ARTICLE about "Building your Children's Resiliency". My husband sent it to me (no, I'm not an avid reader of the "Art of Manliness" - but I'm glad he is!) after reading it and finding it entirely insightful.

I agree. READ IT.

You don't have to be a parent to appreciate its relevancy, its application, or its candor. To sum up the article, it explores the importance of children becoming resilient in today's world - and how well-intentioned self-esteem building parenting methods of the past have backfired by producing children more vulnerable to fears, depression, and other issues than perhaps ever before. It then gives what I found to be extremely logical, helpful, and fundamental skills of how to communicate with your children in a way that encourages them to develop a healthy and balanced worldview.

While I found this incredibly insightful as a new mother, I couldn't help but realize that these skills have yet to be mastered by many adults as well. In other words - it's not just how I communicate to my child, but it is how I communicate to people that inevitably shape the way I look at the world and how people respond to me.

One of the best things the author of the article says is actually in a postscript:

"PS-What goes for how you criticize your kid, carries over to how your criticize your spouse. Remember, your child is watching and modeling your behavior."

I couldn't agree more.

While many of us would agree that "communication" is the key to any healthy relationship - what are we investing of ourselves in order to develop that?

How many times have you heard, thought, or said "It's not what you's HOW you say it"? Yet all we do is repeat ourselves, nagging and nagging for change to come about. What does that say of us - considering that the definition of insane is continuing to do the same action while expecting a different result. Hmm.

I'd encourage you to read this article and think of one thing you can do to help communicate more effectively with someone you love. Maybe it's your child. Maybe it's your spouse. Maybe it's even a parent, sibling, boss or co-worker.

Josh and I feel strongly about choosing to empathize with each other when it comes to communicating. It's not always easy (ok, it's never easy) but I'm always amazed at how much more understood I feel when he puts himself in my shoes. It takes time - and practice - we've taken multiple classes on the subject and still have to be intentional about making time to show understanding to each other. There are a LOT of resources out there if you are interested in pursuing greater communication in your family. I guarantee it will be worth your while.

Of course...the glue that holds this all together isn't coming from a blog or a class, but from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Lucky for us - there's a BOOK for that too. ;)

Music City Easter

Monday, April 12, 2010

Visits to Nashville are never as long as they should be. It is nearly impossible to see absolutely everyone I would like to - so, if we saw you, you'll know you must be a favorite (wink, wink). I guess that's what I get for trying to cram 6 years of friendships into 6 days of vacation. Still, we managed to max out our time there and eat our way through the south one big helping of fried hospitality at a time. (Ok, I'm mixing metaphors - but you can do that in the south and people will still smile at you.) :)
We caught up with MANY wonderful friends, most of which got to meet Miss Matilda for the very first time. It was a beautiful thing to see how loved this girl is! It was awesome to see her eyes sparkle with the meeting of each new friend. It makes me so thankful for these people who hold up our family in prayer - who rejoice with us in her birth and will help carry us through her life one little milestone at a time.
Then...(dum dum dummmm...cue dramatic music here) the family arrived! FIFTEEN of us all together now. Wowza, that's a lot of family.
I know there are families larger than ours. I know there are families even louder than ours. But, when I say "that's a lot of family" I don't mean how many people...I mean it like you'd say "that's a lot of look" to Liberace in neon feathers and sequence. When you see our whole family together - we are quite a sight. My siblings have three kids each, and now that we've started adding to the pack, even with only one little baby, we've significantly increased the volume level of any room we enter. Matilda was THRILLED to be hanging out with her cousins. She simply adores Grace and Lily who are more than happy to play dress-up with their new live-doll-cousin. The four older boy cousins get along swimmingly - just don't interrupt their Bakugon building battles or Wii time unless you are ready to serve them food.
The most manic part about our family togetherness, however, is absolutely without a doubt (and I think my siblings would agree) hands down - is picture time. Pretty much "picture time" starts whenever my mom arrives until she leaves. Now, my sister and I have only added to the chaos since we both purchased new cameras this year - so, we can no longer pass the blame completely onto my mother.
Though picture time is an ongoing event, it is truly at its highest point of craziness when the children are begrudgingly forced to wear matching outfits. Yes, the matching outfit cousin picture never gets old, does it? Well, my mom is here to see that we will push it as long as possible - or until the first boy outgrows the rest of the clan and they no longer have matching shirts - whichever comes first.
Posed, matching outfit picture time is the highlight of our family time. (And by highlight, I mean it is an agonizing, ridiculously loud feat that happens to be the means to a worthwhile end - IF you can snap that photo at JUST the right moment.) I might add that my adding a 5 month old into the mix was no help in the volume level of directions given upon said photo shoot. Everyone who is NOT in the photo has naturally taken on the daunting task of getting all the children to smile and look in the somewhat-same-general-direction at the same time. If someone were to drive by at just that moment, you'd be able to see half my family leaping up and down, holding rattles and stuffed animals, squawking directions like they were auditioning for the circus.
"LOOK HERE!!! HERE! No - HERE! Now SMILE! No - HERE - smile! - Put your hands down, no, over here. No bunny ears! Okay, very funny - now be serious, but SMILE! Over here, look HERE! SMILE!!!"
As long as this chore remains padded by several hours of eating and merriment, then I suppose we will still get together. :)
Besides family time and friend time - we also enjoyed plenty of eating time in Nashville! We hit many of my traditional favorites (Corky's BBQ, Fido, Monell's) and splurged at some new joints as well (Las Paletas, Taco Mamacita's, Athen's). If there's one thing the south never disappoints, it's my appetite!
Thanks, Nashvillians, for a lovely stay and a memorable first Easter for Matilda. Well, she might not remember it, but we'll always have the pictures to prove it. SMILE!

Babes on a Plane

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The next time you are waiting in the airport for your flight and you see a family with children who get to board before you and you think "Man, they are lucky..." stop yourself. Here, all this time I thought that "pre-boarding" was a perk, a bonus, an extra-exclusive benefit of having a baby. I was wrong. It's a REWARD. A well-earned, completely deserved, totally warranted prize that parents get in SPITE of bringing their child and their entourage of baby gear along for the ride.
This whole time I thought that parents were issued pre-boarding passes because it was necessary to have them on the plane first - making sure there is room for them to sit together and for all their belongings to make it on the plane. Nope, it's because people feel sorry for you.
"Oh my gosh, look at all that crap. How are they possibly carrying all that stuff with only two arms? And what is that noise? Can they turn that off? Oh - it's their baby - nevermind."
Okay, okay, it's not that bad. I mean, it is my own fault for overpacking and hardly having room to carry my own child. It's like "Sophie's Choice" to get ready for a trip with a baby. "Do I bring the glow worm or the snuggly elephant?" (Both) "Do I bring the practical jammies or the cute ones?" (Both) See what I mean? You can't overpack for a five-month-old really, because every outfit is considered a "back-up"...totally necessary "just in case".
Nevertheless, we woke up blurry-eyed at 3am last Thursday morning before Easter and drove to the metro station which would take us to LAX. Metro is really the way to go - cheap and easy and free parking for a week! What's not convenient, however, is toting a purse, a backpack, a diaper bag, a toiletry bag, two overnight suitcases, a stroller with a carseat and carseat base on and off the metro, in and out of the airport and through security. If it weren't for Josh, his extraordinary patience and his remarkable octopus arms, I don't think I would have made it.
But...we did!
Luckily the 3am wake-up call (OH, and did I mention that it was an Easter Miracle that I woke up on time - no thanks to the alarm that never went off?! Amazing - thank you Jesus! Turns out God IS awake at that hour!) got us to the airport with plenty of time to spare (hello Starbucks). Security was no fun, but no surprise either (yes, you have to take off BABY SHOES as well as your own).
Matilda stayed awake since we stirred her in the middle of the night - so she was sound asleep by the time our plane took off. She slept quite a while and happily woke up for about half the flight. I was very proud of her - she remained happy and observant (though I was sympathetic to a screaming baby several rows in front of us, I was just glad it wasn't mine!) We landed safely in Nashville, and a week later we got our rental car and baggage (well, it seemed to take that long!) and made our way to my brother's house. Whew!
(I'm happy to report the flight home was equally successful. She slept for about 3 hours and was happy till the last ten minutes - at which point Mr. Glow Worm paid his dues for being brought along on the trip - thank you!)
More about our time in Nashville to come...
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