Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Knots In My Stomach

I lean toward "natural," alternative baby-rearing techniques in a lot of areas.  I cloth diaper (mostly),
make my own baby food (mostly), baby wear (mostly), and do cry-it-out - HOLD IT!!!  How does cry-it-out fit in there, and WHY would I do that since it is such a horrible, traumatic experience for a baby?

Well, first of all, I'm pretty sure that cry-it-out (CIO) is not really mainstream anymore. Most of my friends who have spoken about getting their babies to sleep, and most bloggers that I have read, do not do CIO.  It seems that the attachment parenting way to get babies to sleep has taken hold in the mainstream now, at least in my circle of friends.  So that's why I think it fits into my above list (though the same could be said for baby-wearing...).

As to why I do it, well, the attachment thing wasn't working. At all. And as soon as I tried CIO (which wasn't until Svanja was about 5 1/2 months - I wasn't doing this on a newborn!), it worked and she began sleeping for 12 hours. She sleeps for about 13 hours now, and she fusses at first when I lay her in her crib, but rarely (as in once every other month) does she cry longer than 5 minutes.  She's usually asleep within 2 minutes, and she wakes up blissfully happy.  (which makes for a blissfully happy mama!)

However, because I have chosen to do this particular technique, I often feel condemned.  Not by my friends - none of them have ever berated me about it - but by the parenting/blogging world in general.  I see articles and blog posts and status updates about how horrible CIO is for the baby, and how you're a selfish mom only thinking of yourself if you do it, and how your baby is going to grow up and be completely ruined because you did CIO.  I love reading blogs of moms who are into DIY and thrifting and cloth diapers and babywearing, but my stomach turns into knots as soon as they hit on the topic of sleep.  And even worse than the articles and posts are people's comments on them.  Oh, the hatred spewed by moms (from both sides of the aisle) toward each other! I also have a love-hate relationship with Dr. Sears.  I have tried to put into practice a lot of his attachment parenting techniques, but I don't buy into all of them (or all his claims).

I finally realized something, though, and while knots sometimes still form in my stomach while reading such posts, this has helped a lot:  One parenting choice you make for your baby is not going to ruin your child for the rest of his/her life.  You choose to bottle-feed instead of breastfeed? Great; I'm sure you have good reasons for it. I was bottle-fed because of breastfeeding complications and I turned out fine.  You choose to breastfeed for 3 years instead of weaning at a year?  That's your choice; it's certainly not going to hurt the child and I hope you both really enjoy that special time together. You choose CIO and a crib instead of co-sleeping or something else?  Your baby is not going to have major issues just from that or develop an unhealthy attitude about sleep.  And vice versa - choosing to co-sleep and rock to sleep and nurse to sleep is not going to cause your baby to have dependency issues for the rest of his life.  And in terms of a CIO baby growing up - my siblings and I were all CIO. And we're all really close to each other and to our parents, and none of us have fears of the night (in fact, as long as I can remember, even as a small child I loved going to sleep because I always had awesome dreams!).

Each family is different; each child is different. I may not do CIO with my other kids, but time will tell. I was that pregnant girl who thought I knew exactly what I was going to do - attachment parenting all the way. No way could I ever even think about doing CIO. And the tables turned on me!  I look at that attitude now as one of prideful, wrong thinking.  CIO is not a sin, nor is using disposable diapers, nor is using a swing.

So here's to the moms who have felt judged and condemned by other moms - you are trying to do what's best for your family, and you know what? No one else can tell you what that is because they have not been in your shoes! Your child will not be ruined by the parenting technique you chose!

P.S. The picture is of Svanja and I when she was a newborn...we kept her in our bed occasionally, and I happened to snap this picture (yes, I was faking sleep, haha) for Instagram.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wait

I heard this poem the other day at my church's moms' group.  It spoke incredibly to me. I hope God uses it in your life, as well.


Wait 

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
 I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint. 
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hello, I'm Your Lifeline.

"My brother is on the floor by his bed, and I think he's dead!"

"There's someone outside, and they're trying to get in."

"What time is it?"

"Help me - I've been taken by a man in a truck!"

"My 8-year-old son will not go to school."

"We're at home, and my wife is about to give birth!"

"My chest is hurting, and I can barely breathe."

"My neighbor's shed is on fire, and it's about to catch the house!"

"There are aliens in my attic!"


There are certain lines of work that get under your skin, whether you want it to or not, and begin to run in your blood and change you, for better or worse.  And one of those lines of work is emergency services.  I used to work as a 911 dispatcher, and every. single. day. I am reminded of that job.  I am reminded of specific calls and incidents, of feelings that coursed through me as I answered the phone or the radio, of the people I worked with, of how I was changed by that job, and of how much I loved being a dispatcher.  Because I did love it.  With all my heart.  It took me forever to realize I loved it, and then once I  realized I loved it, the end of my time there was starting to come into sight.

Each of the lines written in the introduction were lines I heard when I answered 911.  I would answer the ringing line with "[town] 911; where is your emergency?" I waited with half-held breath for the reply.  Was this call going to be one that I dreaded, with an active shooter or someone needing CPR or a child that was kidnapped?  Sometimes I would internally breathe a sigh of relief as I began entering an already-occurred vehicle burglary call, and I would relax.  Other times, though, adrenaline would course through me as I began entering a high-priority call - an accident with injuries, a fire, a shooting, a burglary of a home in progress.

You only hear one end of the story.  You don't know everything that's going on.  And you try to picture in your head what is going on through snippets as the phone is handed from one person to another, or is placed down on a table as people scream and fight. The snippets come in even farther apart when a story unfolds over the radio.  "Uuuuuuugggghhh..." an officer moans over the radio, "I've been hit." Hit by what? A bullet? A person? A car? Other voices chime, "The vehicle is flipped over!"  "Fire..."  "We need JAWS now!"  You're so afraid that the officer is going to die, and you don't know exactly what happened.  You want to help, you want to rush to where you saw the officer's vehicle's GPS was on the map, but then you realize that you are helping by sending the fire trucks and ambulances and other officers.  The only other thing you can do is pray.  Only later do you learn the full story - a drunk driver hit the officer's vehicle and flipped it; the officer and passenger was trapped inside, and a fire started (but was quickly put out).  They all survived, but only by the grace of God.  Often, these stories end in death.

And sometimes the voices over the radio do tell of tragic endings.  Wildfires are spreading over the land, and your agency is working with other agencies, all teaming together to fight the fires.  There aren't enough men, aren't enough trucks.  Homes are being destroyed.  "There are supposed to be people in that trailer!" you hear someone from another agency cry out over the radio as he calls for more units to the location.  Twenty minutes later, there are confirmed dead in that trailer.  And a day later, you read in the news online about a dead mother and baby in a burned trailer, and you cry as you recall what you had heard on the radio.   You try not to imagine what happened inside that trailer, and you succeed, because you have built a wall around your mind that keeps that type of empathy out.

But then there are those times when you get to witness wonderful things, things like a husband helping his wife give birth to a healthy baby as he is coached over 911 on how to do it.  Things like officers stepping in to take another officer's report call when that officer had a rough day.  Things like firefighters volunteering to take the time to help an old lady with her fire alarms that just keep going off.  Things like a 911 caller calling back a day later to say "thank you" for helping him on the phone and "thank you" to the officer who took his report.  People's lives are saved, property is kept safe.  Children are found, and hysterical callers are calmed.  Suicides are prevented, violent men and women are locked up, and families are reconciled.

I had some really rough days. There was even a point where I started applying to other jobs.  But God gave me the strength to get through the hard times and the hard hours.  He pulled me through that point in time where I wanted to leave, and He showed me how much I had learned and how much satisfaction the job gave me.  And I realized I was in love with it.  I left because we had a baby and we moved, but I know one day I will go back to it.  I enjoyed helping the callers and the officers and firefighters more than I knew, and I enjoyed the occasional (ok, maybe a little more than occasional) rush of adrenaline that came with some of the calls.  I enjoyed the laughs shared at the crazy stories and people we encountered. And I enjoyed the camaraderie with my co-workers, both dispatchers and those out on the streets.  There is a strong bond between emergency services personnel that many of the public don't realize.  Maybe it's that way with other occupations, but it's different when your lives are in the hands of your co-workers and when you hold your co-workers' and others' lives in your own hands.  You have to trust, and think quickly, and get it right the first time.  Because whether you are an officer, a firefighter, or a dispatcher, you are a lifeline to someone, and you don't want to let them down.

Someday I will go back to it.  For now, though, I will enjoy the memories I have and the lessons I learned, and I will focus on what God wants me to do right now.  And I will always be kind to the 911 operator and to the officer pulling me over, because you never know what kind of day they had yesterday, are having today, or will have tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Untimely Death of a Never-Read Post

I had a lovely post all written out. I started editing some html, then went into the normal view, and Blogger kindly informed me that part of a tag was missing.

I hit save before I edited that tag, but while it was trying to save, I went back into the html view and somehow accidentally backspaced my whole post.

And then it saved.

And the last thing I had copied was a simple link.

*sigh* Maybe it was for good reason. I was talking about God in that post; perhaps some of my theology was off.  Or maybe (probably) it was just a simple mistake.

In either case, I unfortunately lost about 45 minutes of my time because of that terribly-timed save.

So, my prayer for the rest of this day: "Lord, do not let the rest of my time go to waste."

I usually hate clipart, but right now, I feel a kinship with it. I feel like this right now:



Maybe my prayer for the rest of the day really should be: "Lord, please help me control my anger toward non-animate objects that I'm placing the blame for human error on...and keep any destructive weapons like knives or axes away from me and my laptop..."

Amen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Party Time!

I turned 24 years old today. 24! That's like...the hours in a day...so it's like I'm a day old? Excuse my weird rabbit trail. I got to choose where to go out to eat for lunch today with some folks I dearly love, so I chose Sahara, the Middle Eastern restaurant we have in town. Small, simply-decorated place, but DELICIOUS food. I love their chicken shawerma (sp?), and I tried babaganoush as well, and it was yummy. Shawerma is a vertical piece of seasoned meat on a grill...so put meat on a stick and hang it by a fire (or grill)...that's basically what it is. I think our chicken was seasoned with curry. It came in a piece of pita bread with a white garlic sauce and red onions sliced thin and seasoned with spices. SO yummy. Babaganoush is eggplant mashed up with tahini and served with pita bread for dipping. Also very yummy. I could eat this type of food every day. Their salads are super good, too. I absolutely love the Mediterranean diet. And tomorrow we're having a family birthday party with some relatives who are in from out of town. I got to choose the menu, as well: enchiladas verdes; bean, corn, and avocado salad; white queso and chips; Spanish rice; mandarin orange jello salad; and for dessert, black forest cake. We're also having Jarritos (Mexican soda) to drink. I've been craving authentic(ish) Mexican since we moved to the Midwest from Texas, but I've never had homemade Mexican food (outside of American-ized burritos and tacos and taco pie). So this will be very interesting and fun to make. Can you tell I love ethnic food? Give me any culture's ethnic food, and I will enjoy it and eat it eagerly. I've always been this way since I was little. I'll take sushi over fried fish, gyros over a burger, curried lentil soup over tomato soup and grilled cheese, lefse and lingonberries over crackers and peanut butter. I am off to sit with a content belly now...I could actually fall asleep. I feel so much better when I've eaten healthily than when I eat the typical SAD (standard American diet) food.