Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Word for a New Year

Yes, only 2 years later, and it's time for an update. My, how time gets away from you. I enjoyed reading my own posts... we now know that Xavier probably has some form of autism, so that explains the difficulty correcting him as a toddler. Baby Francis has since joined us - he turned 1 in October. He is a chubby bundle of love, and of course, will. It seems 2 strong-willed parents only produce strong-willed children. But Francis is a delight, and right now we are working on balance. That seems perpetually out of reach, so I am exchanging balance for rest. Not extra sleep, not the elimination of tantrums and difficulties, but a state of being that is deeply rooted in a revelation of God's grace. I realize now that I can't make life fair or easy for my children. And frankly I'm glad, because that wouldn't help shape them into adults with qualities like determination, initiative and resilience that I would like them to have. We are all affected by Xavier's behavioral issues. Claire is no longer an only child, and she can resent the amount of attention he gets. But she also has a natural inclination to teaching, and she emulates his therapists so well. This is all part of God's plan. We have to function slightly differently from other families. We often choose to leave Xavier at home when we go out to parties or restaurants (practically never, by the way), because we cannot handle him. I (Jessica) end up giving in to his demands quite a bit in order to keep the peace, but this often backfires. It is very stressful on a day-to-day basis, and so what I want to do is approach this and other challenges in life from a state of rest.

I have taught 2 Bible studies this year - one on Love, another on Joy. I have a feeling the next one will be on Rest. What is it to have rest? It means having an understanding of grace - the unmerited favor of God - as it applies to my life. Once we let go of the search for human justice and fairness, we can accept grace, and give it, too. Another aspect of rest is authority. What do I have authority over? And what do I not have authority over? A few things come to mind - my children (to a certain extent), my time (same), my money, my thoughts, my words. I do not have authority over - other people, circumstances, or unexpected events. So these are some of the things I'm pondering as the new year begins. And a getaway weekend with my husband. That would be nice.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kiddy Update

It's time for a kiddy update.

Let's start with Number 1 - Miss C. She is our fearless leader. Her recent accomplishments include breaking eggs and pouring them into a bowl without spilling any shells. Nice work! She is working on putting her shoes on by herself (a task she manages without a problem when she is with Daddy) as well as dressing herself. It seems more satisfying to have Mommy's help, and that's fine. The day will soon come when that will all change. Her relationship with her little brother is interesting. She is often overheard saying something like this: "Xavier! XAVIER! LOOK AT ME!" He was apparently born to be her audience, but is still unaware of this. She is also quick to correct him a la Mommy or Daddy, always for his own good, of course. As he is innocently chewing on a crayon, she grabs it from him, not so gently. He, in turn, screams bloody murder, and quickly throws a few objects around in protest. But, she means well, and I ask her to correct him gently, and don't push him out of your way. She has been spotted sneaking up next to him as he hold on to the table, and with a quick sway of the hips he is on the floor. But, they are starting to play well together, and that is a huge milestone in the harmony and functioning of this family. Since Grandpa Charlie bought a tent/tunnel contraption for the upstairs playroom/bedroom/guestroom (mostly playroom), both of them love to go upstairs and are quickly heard squealing and laughing.

Miss C's sense of humor has also developed. The other day she asked me if I wanted some "apple pee" - I guess because she figured it was just apple juice. I told her that was disgusting, but she thought it was funny. She likes to occasionally say "Haha, very funny" out of the blue. She also cracks me up when we are reading a story, and she randomly imposes a different word or character into the story. "Mary and Joseph rode on a tobit." She even manages to hold her laugh for full effect. It is funny, and it makes bed time not much of a wind-down time. She still hates taking a bath, so 2 or 3 times a week she gets a lightning-fast shower. She used to scream but now I bribe, usually for a lollipop. It is so worth it.

Number 2 - Mr X. Ha. He is... shall we say... active. The purpose of every object is to be thrown. Whether it's from his high chair, from his crib, from his car seat... say, anywhere, he throws. Food, stuffed animals, ceramic bowls... everything. This is new for us. And apparently "No" with a gentle slap on the wrist means "Smile real big and do it even more." So we are working on this. He is also a big fan of rocking himself in the high chair... no, not rocking, slamming himself into the high chair. We used to worry about brain damage, but there is no stopping him. And there is no cause. He often has food in his mouth while slamming away, or he could be simultaneously throwing food. He could be unhappy about our choice of food, or he could be laughing mischievously (thank you spell check). On the other hand, he, too, likes his Mama. He is a snuggly little guy, and when he rests his sleepy head on my chest, I am overcome with warmth.

As for milestones, he is still a fast crawler at 14 months, but enjoys the occasional walk while holding my hands. I'm in no hurry to buy shoes, so crawl away.

That about sums it up.

Finally, our great discovery as a family is the gym with $1 day care. That's right - leave your kids for up to 2 hours for $1 each. And they actually enjoy it and have good activities. I have enjoyed the zumba class - it releases the dancer/gymnast in me, and is a great workout. Scott does many miles each day on the treadmill and bike. I have found that I have more energy throughout the day, and am generally more optimist. Of course, the Christmas vacation really helped that was well.

Speaking of which, Claire did not eat for a week, due to an ear infection followed by the stomach flu, so we were glad she was in the 75 percentile for weight before that trial. Her eating is back up, in a big way. I hope she's growing :) Her diet still consists primarily of peanut butter, nutella, fruit and prune juice. Xavier, meanwhile, enjoys meat and sandwiches, and does not enjoy fruit. Interesting.

Well, it's time to run. I'm glad I took the time to give a little update on everyone. I hope to do it more often, so I can talk about my job change, house improvements, Scott's think tank projects, ministry updates and more. Till then, May God Bless You and Empower You to Bless Others.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

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