Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Love This" repost

Read this article today on the Rookie Mom website. It puts exactly into words something I have found to be a great tool in living with an active toddler. We try to give Quinn opportunities for getting to 10 in positive, structured ways that are under our control (even though she doesn't realize this), and it has been really helpful in meeting this need. We can tell when we haven't given her enough venues for "10's" because she takes herself there on her own, which involves tantrums and writhing and screaming, and the like.

Some of the tactics we like to use are encouraging her to make animal sounds or say words really loudly. She loves playing this "game" with Daddy in the car where they take turns yelling out words or sounds. We also strive to give her running around time outside every day--she loves to be chased! Climbing at the park is another great outlet for her. She thinks it is so fun to jump from bathmat to bathmat in our bathroom (we have 3 mats), and we encourage her to run up and down the hallway and flop onto her bed. These are all simple ways for her to get into a fun frenzy, exert some energy, stretch her muscles, and use her vocal cords....all the while doing it at times where this behavior is not disobedient or adversive. Whitney explains it so much better. Read below:

Brace yourself: The zero to ten scale

by Whitney on March 12, 2010

in Month 2


The best advice Ryan and I got during our first days with Julian came from a source that I can no longer remember, perhaps the pediatrician who made rounds in the hospital. It was this:

Babies need to go from 0 to 10 on a daily basis. A sleeping baby is at 0 and may spend most of his day that way. At 10, loud and incessant crying, your baby is also doing his job. At 0, 1, and 2, you probably feel like a pretty good parent, while at 8, 9, and 10 you assume you are doing everything wrong, your baby is in terrible pain, and wish that someone, perhaps the real mother of this baby, would come show you what the problem is.

Remember this scale, rookie moms. Your own baby’s crying is surprisingly difficult to endure. And it’s not because you’ve been reinvented as the most empathetic person on the planet or because you are so completely bonded with your baby. It’s because the sound is blood-curdlingly horrific and you know that no one else is responsible. Whatever the problem is, it’s yours to solve.

There might not be a problem is the point, however. It might just be your baby’s daily visit to the number 10. Rock her, change her, shush her, swing her, feed her. Even put her down in her crib and leave the room. Hey, for some kids, that works!

Remember this tip, pregnant readers, so that when your baby is at 5, 6, or 7, you can maintain a little perspective and save some energy for the rating of 10 that typically arrives around 4 or 5 pm.

Toddler and preschooler moms, are you still reading? Here’s my advanced patented theory of parenting: Your walking, talking child also needs to go from 0 to 10 on a daily basis. That’s why he’s hyperventilating over a light switch that you flipped on when he wanted to DO IT BY MAH SELF! He’s just exercising his ability to get to 10.

Maintaining perspective for the preschool set: When your kid is bouncing off the walls with glee, rolling around in the laundry you just folded, and hurling plastic tractors down a slide toward other kids, at least it is a happy 10. Isn’t it more pleasant than a tantrum about getting in the car seat that forced you to brace your knee against your child’s torso while you buckled him in? What? I do this to my daughter on a regular basis.

Find some positive ways to help your child get to 10 every day, to run around like a maniac; to jump on a pile of pillows, stuffed animals, and scarves; to throw rocks into water; and to scream “HOORAY!” and “POOP IS FUNNY!” loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Then hope that you’ve bought yourself another day.


Does your child reach 10 every day? What tip have you passed on the most to new parents?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Like Sidewalk Chalk

My little one is loving sidewalk chalk. She's not alone...I've seen lots of pictures of her toddler friends decorating their own driveways with the chalky goodness.

She loves saying the initial sounds of family members' names. P-P-Papa! D-D-Dada! A-A-Alie! You get the point....Her favorite chalk activity is to say someone's name and have me write their letter. She hands me the egg-shaped chalk (our favorite--great for toddler hands to grab onto and it makes bold strokes on the cement!), nodding, and administers my orders for which name I should write.

We filled our whole back patio right outside our door with family initials. Everytime we went somewhere, Q would race to her chalk drawings and start pointing at the letters, wanting us to read them to her. This has gone on over a week.

Yesterday night it rained. When she went out this morning she was a little confused as to where her letters had gone. I didn't really address it, thinking later in the day we'd do some more chalk and rewrite what had washed away.

This afternoon I was cooking and turned on some vintage Caedmon's Call to sing along with while I worked. A song that had never been one of my favorites grabbed my attention today. Especially this part.....

A wise man once told me
When I was dying just the same
The past can be like sidewalk chalk
If you will dance and pray for rain

Wow....of course my mind instantly fled outside to our back patio, now washed clean. I've never thought of my sins as sidewalk chalk and forgiveness as rain, but in my Mommy world of toddlerdom, it makes such clear sense. And the best part? I can even explain it to my 19 month-old....she knows exactly what rain does to sidewalk chalk.

I can't keep this image out of my mind.....because as many times as Q and I chalk up that back patio, the rain will was it away every time. But God requires a little something extra...He asks for me to "dance and pray for rain." Yikes I need to hear that. I need some major rain on my chalky self. And I want my little one to see this pattern in me, sorrow over my sin, asking for forgiveness, and being washed clean. And the dancing? That's when the dancing comes....because God is more faithful than the crazy Texas rain. He will flood me every time I ask.

I hope sidewalk chalk can take on a new light for you as it has for us this week.

Here's another verse of the song, which I can't leave out:

You fear you’ve walked too far
In the hemlock forest and you are lost
But what error could you invent
With more power than the cross

Caedmon's Call

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lord, make me a hand-raiser!

So I explained my newfound joy of singing during my quiettime. This week at my Bible Study we read in 2 Kings 4 a story of the prophet Elisha that I’d never heard before.

It was during a time of famine and Elisha was with a group of prophets. They were hungry, of course. The men started making a stew, and one of the prophets saw a vine with gourds on it that were “unrecognizable.” He cut them up and put them in the stew (duh, what else would you do with something you can’t recognize but eat it? My toddler lives by the same strategy…). The men ate one bite of the stew and said “There is death in the pot.” I’m sorry, but I can’t help cracking up at this. Tell me you haven’t had a “death in the pot” cooking experience where whatever you are making turned out horribly gross. I had that just yesterday when I tried to invent my own chocolate-peanut butter smoothie blend. Definitely death in the blender…….
Anyhow…Elisha put some flour in the stew and the men were able to eat it and the scripture says, “and there was nothing harmful in the pot.” Through our class discussion we talked about how this points to Jesus and someone mentioned that Jesus is our remedy. I started thinking about the David Crowder Band song “Remedy” and printed out the words for my quiettime today. I sang the song as I watered…….which leads to part 2.

The song explains that Jesus came to earth. Loved us in a way we can’t understand. Freed us from sin. Saved us. Embraced us, cured us and serves to be our remedy that brings relief.

Here is the next part of lyrics:
So we lift up our voices
And open our hands
Let go of the things
That have kept us from

I started thinking about worship and the “hand-raisers.” I’m not a “hand-raiser.” I grew up in a church where there was no hand-raising, no eye closing, and hardly even any swaying. I remember hearing the story about King David dancing before the Lord in his undies and being mortified but also fascinated at his lack of inhibition. Lately God has led me to a place where I understand the intentions of my church family where I grew up, but I want something different for my daughter. I want her to worship God with David’s unabandonment, yet I want her to understand why God deserves this, and not merely be exercising raw emotion. Perhaps the word I am looking for is balance.

So back to David C. and his Remedy lyrics. In corporate worship we strive to explain to our little one everything that is going on. To teach her the “why” behind the routines and liturgies. I pray she will grow up questioning every single act performed in corporate worship because I want her Daddy and I to get to sit down with her and teach her the reasons explained in God’s word.

Okay, so really back to David C. now. He opened my eyes to another reason for raising our hands to God. It can be a visual representation of the act of “let(ting) go of the things that have kept us from Him.” This is so very scriptural. God calls us to “let go” when we come together in worship. To let go of division (1 Cor. 11:18). Let go of selfishness and self-focus (1 Cor 11:19; 1 Cor 14:26), tradition (OUCH!) (Mk 7), and that’s just a few. Paul calls us to “examine ourselves” (1 Cor. 11:28). Perhaps raising our hands in worship is a way for us to show God and eachother that we have examined our hearts and are letting go of whatever it is that keeps us from Him so that there’s room for Him in our heart. What power there is in this simple act! Imagine if I trained myself to do this every Sunday. Imagine if I trained myself to do this every DAY!

So that’s my answer when the day comes where my daughter asks why people are raising hands in worship. And my prayer? That we can lead her to the spiritual discipline of locating and releasing the things in her life that distance her from God so that she might live her life as a “hand-raiser.” I don’t think I will look at my hands the same way ever again……

How Very Deep....

I’ve been really convicted of my need for quiet time with God lately. I need it. My panicky, frantic, busy soul demands it. And when I do it? I am centered. Centered in Him. I can deal with this, make it through that….

I’ve found a routine for quietness that is working well for me in this season of my life. I have some little gardens spread around my yard in different spots. No sprinkler system, though. Right now a lack of sprinklers is one of the greatest paths through which God is blessing me. That’s when we “talk.” In the mundane activity of holding a shower of water above my tomatoes and snowpeas and rosemary, I’m forced to be still. I’m horrible at stillness, but am learning to love it. Through this “forced stillness” in the mundane activity of plant-watering, God speaks to me. And because I’m tethered to a 50-foot hose, I’m forced to be still enough to listen.

Besides my amateur “quietness skills,” I also lack any inclination toward music. I’ve never been drawn to it the way some are, and in the past it hasn’t been particularly magnetic in drawing me close to God in worship. In the past couple of months, though, I have been touched in deep ways by some songs. It seems that about every other week a different song touches my heart in a deep and powerful way and I can’t get the lyrics off my mind all week long. Last week it was:

How deep the father’s love for us;

How vast beyond all measure.

That he would give His only son,

To make a wretch His treasure.

These words literally brought tears to my eyes, and I am not a crier, believe me! The contrast in the words “wretch” and “treasure” convict me, and the rest of the song goes on to describe the entirety of what is required me, a wretch, God’s treasure.

All week while I watered my seedling plants I sang these words. I meditated upon them, and I listened to God tell my heart of His “vast beyond all measure” love for me. I “understand” (who can really understand….but you know what I mean) the crucifixion at a whole new level, and I spent the week feeling true sorrow over my sins. I sang “restore unto me, the joy of my salvation” and God answered.

So…this is a teaching blog….about teaching children. How does my quietness with God and the power of some different songs in my life relate? I’ve been singing my current song to my baby, over and over again. When it’s been applicable, I’ve said things like, “I love that part!” “Do you know what that means?” I’ve told her some of the stories referred to in the songs. But mostly I’ve just sang. And I pray that God will speak to her little, 18-month old heart, and that He will impress upon it the meaning behind the words in these songs.

We are constantly teaching our children through song. ABC’s, Twinkle, Twinkle, etc. I am touched that God put it on my heart to lead my daughter to Him through some of the songs that are also leading me to Him. Of course we sing her the “baby songs” about our faith—Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine….but I don’t want to stop there. Because I want my baby to know, right now, in any tiny degree that she can begin to understand…I want her to know the depth of her Father’s love for her. And I want to be the one to tell her.

So sing to your babies. Sing to them the deep truths of God’s word and explain to them what those precious words mean to you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another easter bunny tutorial

This one is made out of a baby sock! Go HERE for the tutorial.
Posted by Picasa