Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby Dedication

Mother's Day is also baby dedication Sunday at our church. I love love love the way our church does baby dedications, so getting to dedicate Claire on Sunday was very special. The dedication ceremony is a little more formal than I was used to growing up, but I think I like it more because of that. Our pastor read us five questions, which we verbally affirmed with the other parents. Here are the questions:

- Do you today recognize these children as gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God’s blessing?

- Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?

- Do you pledge as parents that, with God’s fatherly help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?

- Do you promise to provide, through God’s blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?

- Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that, by God’s grace, your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?

In some ways, these questions hit home even more this time, because having a two-year old to parent makes me realize how easy it is to do some things that I used to consider unthinkable, like using my children rather than serving them. Even caring for a child's emotional and spiritual well-being is an impossible task without help from God, as I am now more aware than ever.

Just as we promised on Sunday, we are praying that Claire will trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of her sins and for the fulfillment of all God's promises to her--even eternal life!

After we affirmed the questions Mark asked us, he went to each child and prayed over them. This was his prayer:
Claire, together with your parents, who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God for ever .

And because we were surrounded by people who love us dearly, the auditorium filled with a heartfelt "Amen" from the congregation.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. Vance made me breakfast, did the dishes, submitted an article to the very prestigious "Journal of Mothering" in my honor, and made a very delicious dinner. It was a beautiful day, I got to take a nap, play with my kids, and watch my husband win his basketball game while Isaac sat happily beside me for a whole hour. :) It was a great day.
I am a very happy, very blessed woman!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Boots (obsession)

Who said that women were the only ones with shoe love? Isaac is currently in a near obsessive-compulsive relationship with his camo rain boots. The first thing he demanded when getting up from his nap this afternoon was "Put boots on!"

His fashion sense, though, has a little way to go. He spent this afternoon stomping around in the aforementioned boots, with an old pearl necklace draped over his ear (yes, it must be OVER his ear, prefereably both ears), and his "digger" shirt on. He found the phone before I put it away, and started saying, "Hudoh? Hudoh?" over and over. Then he took the phone over to Claire so she could have a turn listening. Hey, at least he's sharing!
Things have been better in Isaac's world today, and I dare to hope that we may be climbing out of the funk that he spent the last week wallowing in. I realized that I was exacerbating the problem by pulling away from Isaac in my anger and frustration. I turned into Lady Justice: demanding obedience without fail and without assistance. Justice is not a bad thing, but mercy is far better. Today I realized that I needed to come alongside Isaac and clear the pathway toward obedience as much as I could. It's been one little way for me to imitate Christ in my mothering, and a way for me to realize how much I need God to mercifully come alongside me when I am nearly incapacitated by my sin. Praise God that he is gracious--and may I be so, too.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Isaac and the Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Morning

But first, the news....

Claire rolled over today! This time, she rolled from back to front, which is the harder roll. She was pretty pleased with herself, and did it several times in a row. Claire has been trying for awhile, but couldn't get past her shoulder.

And Isaac learned how to climb out of his crib yesterday.

Should I be scared? I don't know yet. Frankly, I'm surprised that he didn't do it earlier. Seems like most boys are climbing out of their cribs before they're two, so I should be grateful he lasted this long. Hopefully he won't make a thing out of it.

my son the Jedi

Jedi puzzles

And now, our story... I thought yesterday was going to be a nice, relaxed day. Everything seemed fine, until Caleb came over to play around 9:45. Usually they play very well together--Isaac shares with Caleb better than with many kids. But yesterday, Isaac decided to be the Control Freak. It went something like this:

"No, Caleb!" (jerks trains away. Caleb shuffles away to do something else)

"No, Caleb!" (rips the chainsaw out of Caleb's hands. Caleb goes to play with the farmhouse music. This is a tried and true winner...they love to dance together.)

"No, Caleb, it's my music!" (usually I applaud original sentences, not ones like this!)

I decided a change of pace was in order, and we went with Caleb and Alicia to get some gardening stuff...I'm planting my herbs in pots closer to the house this year, and needed pots, soil, etc. Do you know those big carts that lumber stores have to carry plywood sheets and big items around on? Isaac and Caleb wanted to ride around on that. I was suspicious, but hopeful that Isaac would handle his freedom well.

Not so much. After the first five idyllic minutes, chaos descended on our local Menard's. Isaac got off the cart, ran away, got lost in the Garden Center, refused to be buckled in the cart (which had no buckle, much to my dismay), screamed when the pallet loaders left his sight, refused to stand still while I picked out broccoli plants, and generally sent my blood pressure through the roof.

And Claire? She napped. Bless her little heart.

I was pretty angry by the time we got to the car. I dumped him into his carseat, and spent a good long time in the chilly rain loading everything into the trunk, and reluctantly got into the car. I apologized to Isaac for my anger toward him, and we took a successful trip to the co-op.

Home was chaos again, though, and when I called Vance to see if he could calm Isaac down, he thought I was watching a few extra kids, the screaming was so loud. Everything was "NO!", and everything made him cry. Never was naptime such a sweet event in the Whitaker household. But it came. And things calmed down.

Today has been 100 million times better...we all slept in til 8am, played outside in the sunny weather, planted seeds in the greenhouse (oh joy!), and had a lovely family Saturday. Things are looking up in this little house. But I'm realizing, too, that those terrible, awful, no good, very bad moments are productive. Isaac is slowly learning self-control and obedience, and I am slowly learning patience, perservering love, and the value of consistent discipline. Yesterday made me wish I could call Mom and thank her for sticking with me during the times that I was like Isaac (and worse, from her stories). And days like yesterday make me grateful that God is more perservering in his love toward me than any parent possibly could be.