Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trouble at the Water Cooler

Since we live in the country and drink well water I get our water checked every year to make sure it's safe for drinking. Turns out that we have way too much fluoride for anyone under the age of 8. This means that I need to use bottled water for Caleb to drink and to cook his food with. We recently bought a water cooler for this very purpose. Plus because it's cold water my hope is that Adam will begin drinking water instead of iced tea all the time.

Why oh why don't they child proof the cold "tap" the same way they do the hot one?!?!?!

I can't tell you how many liters of water Caleb has spilled all over the floor. He really enjoys drinking a little bit of water, dumping the rest on the floor and going to the water cooler to put more in his little glass. As cute as he looks carrying his cup (and mine, and basically any other cup that is within his reach) to the water cooler to put a bit of water in, I don't enjoy the mess that this makes. My floor is soaked, my son is soaked, my feet get soaked, our chairs are soaked, and it's all with freezing cold water! Not to mention that Caleb slips and falls on the flood of water.

Caleb had a huge fascination with the garbage can for a while and with a lot of patience and repetition, he learned that the garbage is dirty and off limits and not a toy. He will now put garbage in there if I ask him to and is (usually) really good about not taking it back out. This same strategy is a little more difficult for the water cooler. He will grab his cup and my hand and bring us to the cooler, puts his cup on the little shelf, then makes sure I'm watching while he puts water in his cup. This is the tricky part: he's allowed to put water in his cup while I'm there to supervise, he's not allowed when I'm not there to supervise.

Cute side note: I was away one evening and Adam was playing computer while Caleb played around the house. I came home to find about 10 cups, filled with anywhere from a centimeter to an inch of water in them, all on Adam's desk. Apparently Caleb was on a mission and wanted to make sure his papa didn't go thirsty!

I tried to "baby proof" the water cooler to take the temptation away from him. I check my house constantly to find stray cups and put them on the counter out of Caleb's reach. This worked for about a week. He then discovered that water can go in all the plastic containers that he's allowed to play with in the kitchen (great entertainment for him while I'm cooking dinner).
Another method that I tried was when I was in another room I moved the chairs in front of the water cooler and then put the table in front of them so he couldn't move the chairs out of the way. This only lasted 2 days. His little arms can slip between the backs of the chairs with a cup or container and presto! Water everywhere.

Needless to say this has been very frustrating. I've never had to deal with this much "defiance" before. Partially because Caleb just isn't a boy who gets into a lot of things and partially because this toddler stage means a whole bunch of new developmental adventures to deal with. It's hard to have so much patience with him sometimes. I've tried these different measures and he still gets into trouble and it's hard to react with the love and support that I know I'm supposed to give him. There have been a number of occasions where I kneel beside him and tell him very sternly that the water cooler is not a toy. He either just doesn't seem to care or he gets scared of me and cries. I don't want to resort to him being "obedient" out of fear. I want him to understand consequences.

I've looked into all sorts of "methods" of disciplining and "training" a child with things like this. I don't like most of the responses. I don't want to spank him for something that he obviously doesn't understand is not allowed and I don't want to give him a time-out because he's just too young to understand why he would be getting one. I would rather he stop playing with the water cooler because he understands that it's not a toy and/or because mama will be disappointed in him if he does...

I'm going to end this entry right now because I don't want it to get too long. Those are just some of my thoughts and frustrations about the concept of discipline at this point. I've been doing a lot of reading and praying about this subject and God is steering me into a good direction on how to deal with this. I'll share some of those thoughts in my next entry.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Commitment to a Newborn

Caleb is currently out in the tractor with his papa and I started thinking about when he was just born and we thought this day would never come. The day when he is able to sit in the tractor all by himself while Adam gets work done has finally arrived. He sits in the little passenger seat and Adam buckles him in. It looks totally cute and he wants nothing to do with me. He waves goodbye to me and tries to close the door! (I’m going to get a picture of it but I forgot my camera.)

Times have changed so much. He used to need to nurse every 1-2 hours. He used to need to be in my arms at all times. He used to need a clean diaper every hour. I’m so glad that I filled his needs. Mothering is a hugely front-end loaded job. Caleb was not a high need baby by any means, by he still took a lot of time and energy. One of the biggest things to adjust to as a new mom was how much he completely and utterly relied on me to survive.

I was his source or nourishment, comfort, stability, warmth, and comfort. That’s a huge responsibility, to truly be the world to someone. It’s no wonder that so many moms suffer from post partum depression, and lack of sleep and the baby blues and mostly (I think) just a feeling of being overwhelmed and lost. Up until you become a mom things in the world make sense. You can have plans, and schedules, and goals. You can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want. With a baby a lot of that goes out the window.

I’m not saying that to discourage anyone. It’s quite an amazing change of lifestyle actually. Your baby is completely dependent on you but it’s not a bad thing. I made the choice to have my son’s needs as number one on my list. That meant a lot of my life had to get put on the back burner for a while. I think that’s the part of being a mother that scares people. You have to learn to be selfless. We live in such a selfish and instant gratification society. It’s pathetic how little of ourselves we are willing to give to someone else. Commitment phobias run rampant, whether it be to a career (the average person changes careers 10 times in their life), a relationship (50% of marriages end in divorce), school, a vehicle or house (we buy new ones every 5-7 years) and pretty much anything else.

My parenting “philosophy” consists of meeting Caleb’s needs. That includes his needs for a clean diaper, for play time, for food but it also includes his need to nurse, to be comforted to sleep, and even something as simple as his need to be with his mama. I believe that if I meet these needs when he’s young, they won’t hinder him when he’s older. I know that by showing Caleb a full commitment now he will learn what commitment means. He will be confident in his career and relationships, and everything else that he does in the future. Will he be a perfect adult? Absolutely not. But he will defiantly know what a real commitment looks like.

Do I miss some aspects of my life before Caleb? I don’t usually notice it actually. I enjoy being with Caleb so I don’t often need a “break” from him. I usually just take him with me. Now that he’s getting older I leave him with his Papa or his Oma (my mom), both people that he knows and trusts. I can’t even think of any other sacrifices I’ve made in my life for him. Sure I pee with the door open (and often a toddler on my lap) and cooking dinner takes a little more time than it used to but in the big picture, those amount to very little. The big picture is that my son is happy and healthy and our family has a lot of fun just being together!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Milkies for Everyone!

I am nursing my toddler. There, I said it. He's 18 months and going strong. We both enjoy it and we don't have any plans to stop nursing any time soon. That being said, nursing a toddler is completely different than nursing an infant.

This morning I nursed a zebra...

A friend was over with her little guy (5 weeks old) and sat on the couch nursing him in the football hold and he curled his little legs around his mommys back and sucked (for the most part) contentedly. Caleb is a little different. He comes up to me, tugs my shirt a bit and I have to remind him to ask. So he makes the sign for "milkies" and gets himself into position to nurse. Most of the time he's really good about either just sitting on my lap or laying in a (large) cradle hold. Sometimes he decides to attempt to stand while nursing and winds up with his head down and butt in the air. Sometimes he decides to look around everywhere while nursing. But he's usually pretty calm about it, which I appreciate.

Recently he has decided that milkies are for sharing. He grabs the Teddy bear and tries to stuff this teddy up (or down, depending on my neckline) my shirt. The first couple times he did this I just started laughing, which of course encouraged him to continue this new game. It's very sweet of him to want to share. Although most of the time I pull out the milkies and teddy's needs get postponed while Caleb sits down to have a snack and cuddle. Caleb is a very generous little boy as he has shared milkies with...
Sorry, break from blogging to find Caleb knee deep in the cats' water dish. Dry pants and socks and porch privilages revoked for the day. And now I'm typing with a botb (baby on the boob).

Now where was I? Oh right, sharing milkies. So far he has shared with the teddy dog, teddy bear, dolly, the "Little People" zoo animals, Noah's Ark animals, one of our housecats (the cat didn't co-operate with turning his head the right way so Caleb gave up quickly on that one, thanksfully) and one time even a fire truck. I wonder what he thinks a truck needs with milkies?

I'm just waiting for the day that he tries to nurse things himself. And in the meantime I try to take pride in the fact that he thinks Mama's Milkies are good enough to share with everything.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Car Seats

So this isn't really a post on parenting... well it kind of is. It's more about a pet peeve though. Regarding car seats. The law states that an infant must be rear facing until 20lbs AND 1 year old. Just because you have a big baby does NOT make it safe for you to turn your child around before they are 1. The reasons for this law is to protect your baby. A baby's neck muscles aren't well enough developed until they are AT LEAST 1 year old to turn forward facing. It drives me crazy that parents think that just because they have a big baby it's okay to turn them around. It's not safe and it's against the law.
Also, if you have a small baby, you can't necessarily turn them forward at 1 year. You may have to wait longer until they reach the appropriate weight (as was the case with Caleb). You don't have to complain about carrying the heavy bucket seat around because you are totally allowed to take the baby out of it just like you would a forward facing seat. The longer a child is rear facing, the better.
Oh, and don't try to used the excuse that a rear facing car seat doesn't fit. Lots of people have smaller cars than you and they manage it just fine. If you can fit a bucket seat, you can fit a convertable car seat. A convertable one may be more expensive that a forward facing, but isn't your child's safety worth it?

I won't even get started on the safety (and legal) issues of booster seats (law till 6 years old and at least 40lbs) and sitting in the front seat (not recommended till the child is 12).

Common errors: not tethering a forward facing seat (what's going to happen when you break hard?), tangled straps (is it really that hard to straighten them?), harness is too loose (kid's may complain that it's too tight, it should be non-negotiable), not using the right size car seat for the child, not having the seat secured properly (it shouldn't move more than 1 inch in any direction), not putting the chest clip at armpit level, and having the carrying handle (on bucket seats) sticking up (stroller toys are cute but not meant to be used in a moving vehicle).

Here's the link to the Government website that is on the back of the pamphlet that I got when I first had Caleb. The public health nurse gave it to me when she did the home visit. I'm pretty sure that it's standard in Alberta. There's no reason why mom's shouldn't know this stuff.

In conclusion, stop bragging about how big your kid is and that he/she's able to switch over to a "big boy" car seat at 6-12 months and do the right thing for your child.

I'm glad I got that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My History

I figured that today would be a good day to tell you a little about my journey up to this point in my life. 25 years ago on this day my parents recieved the wonderful gift of their second child, their first daughter. I was born in a little farmhouse in the Netherlands with a doctor, a nurse-midwife, and my mom and dad in attendance (and probably my older brother was there somewhere as well).

About 4 years (and one more daughter) after that my parents emigrated to the "land of opportunity," Canada. I've lived on a dairy farm pretty much ever since that. Not the same one mind you, but we stuck around central Alberta and finally my parents were able to purchase their very own dairy farm back in 1994.

I have had the opportunity to attend public school, Christian school, as well as homeschool for a couple of years. I liked them all! My last year of high school I met the man that became my husband. We actually met at Youth Convention (in Edmonton) and discovered that we had many mutual friends. The second day that I knew him, God whispered in my ear that Adam was the man that I was going to marry. And sure enough, we started dating about two months later and got married two years after that. We were 19 at the time and just this past summer we celebrated 5 years together.

In our 5 years he's gone from mechanics, to dairy, to pigs and back to dairy. I was in the financial services industry for about 5 years and have also worked for a few months at a coffee shop as well as doing bookkeeping/reception for a heating/plumbing company. I have typically enjoyed working and actually planned to continue working my business in financial services/education until I realized that as much as loved my work, I love my son more.

A few months before Caleb was born Adam and I decided that we wanted to pursue dairy farming. He decided that he didn't see much of a future for himself in pigs. Not long after we decided this we got a phone call from my dad saying that my brother (his current hired hand) quit! We talked about it with eachother and with God and there was no doubt that my parents farm was exactly where God wanted us to be. So 3 weeks before my due date we renovated my brother's old house and moved into it. It was a lot of work but we had a lot of help and got most of the renos done by the time we moved. Unpacking.... well that's a long-term goal.

So we've been living in our little farmhouse for just over 18 months and despite the fact that we're still unpacking, it really feels like home. I guess it probably helps that I'm right across the yard from the house that I grew up in for 10 years of my life. Plus since I gave up my career to be a SAHM I've been able to discover who I am without having to rely on work for my identity. Another bonus of living on the dairy is that Adam is able to be inside for brunch, and snacktime, and then supper and the rest of the evening. We have been truly blessed with out time together and he's an amazing man for the way he has stuck by me thoughr thick and thin. Plus he's a great papa to our little man. It's totally true that seeing your husband become a father makes you fall in love him all over again.

I just want to give a shout-out to Christa (my sister) as she was the very first person to make a comment on my blog. Christa also gave me the idea for the blog name. I called her to run a few suggestions by her (they were all taken) to see if she had any ideas. She told me she would think about it and get back to me because she was at a friends house and they were playing Wii Resort, doing the archery game. She said something to her husband in the background about aiming, hence the title of my blog, "Aimed at the Heart." So anyway, have a great day all and I better get some housekeeping done as I have company coming over tonight to celebrate my birthday. I have no problems with turning a quarter of a century because each year of my life has gotten better and better. I'm excited about what this new year will bring!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Up and Running

I've been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time now. I have been experimenting with an anonymous blog related to a mmorpg and decided that I quite enjoy being able to type a few words and letting my friends/guildies know what's been going on in my life. This blog is completely unrelated to mmorpgs though. I am, by nature, a very stubborn, opinionated person. I prefer to call myself determined and confident in what I believe. Here's a short summery of some of my beliefs:

- I believe that Jesus Christ came to Earth to die for our sins and after 3 days rose from the grave and ascended to Heaven. He did this to pave the Way so that we can be called God's children and spend eternity with Him
- I believe that breast is best for babies
- I believe in Attachment Parenting
- I believe that cloth diapers are amazing
- I believe that my calling in life to be a mama and wife
- I believe that there is a better way to parent than "baby trainers" have led us to believe

That's basically the jist of it. I am not sitting here pretending to be perfect in following every single one of those beliefs 100% of the time. But my goal with this blog is to get my thoughts on "paper" for several different reasons. The first is to stay accountable to my beliefs, the second is to learn more about how I can be the wife and mother according to the Word, and the third is to share this journey and these lessons with anyone willing to read them.

That's all for my intro post as my son has just woke up from his nap and my alone time behind the computer is officially over. I will introduce myself and family a little more in my next post.