The Reality of Life with a Little One (And How I Feel About It)

I wrote this a year ago today, because it was on my heart and I felt the urge to write it down. I wrote it as a blog post, because I already had this blog in mind then, months before I got it up and running. It’s encouraging to me to revisit what I wrote when Aria was not quite 3-months-old, and realize that, if anything, it’s become more resonant over time.

Aria in March 2012

Aria in March 2012

This is going to start out pretty darn whiny-sounding, so bear with me, pretty please? I’m just trying to set the scene, and I think any mamas out there will understand just where I’m coming from.

This has been a long week. The first couple of days were very busy, and I had later nights than usual. Aria hit her three month growth spurt, I think, because she suddenly started eating twice as much at each feeding, and was fussy in between. This is Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday, she slept only 2-3 hours during the day, eating and being generally discontented the rest of the time. The notable exceptions were our daily walks, which calm her right down, sometimes even putting her to sleep for the time we are moving. (This 70-degrees-in-March thing – I could get used to this!) Tuesday I started to develop a cold. At first I thought it was allergies (did I mention it’s in the 70s in March?), but I was SO miserable yesterday, and by the time I went (tried to go) to bed last night, it was very obvious I had myself a full-blown, snotty-nose, sinus headache, sore throat, cold. Did you know that Sudafed can dry up your milk supply? And that I’m allergic to Phenylephrine? This is just not “my week”.

Blessedly, since she hadn’t been sleeping much, Aria conked out at 7pm. I fed her at 9pm before I went to bed, and then never heard another peep until 5am. But guess what time I fell asleep? 1:30am. For those of you who struggle with math even more than I do (and if that is you, please get help – you need it), that is 3½ hours of sleep between the day that felt like it would never end and when Aria needed me again. I am dead tired. I feel rotten. I’m afraid to breathe anywhere near my baby, because the last thing I want is for her to get sick. I haven’t been able to keep up with a single thing this week. And you know what? I don’t mind.

In fact, when Aria woke me at 4:55am, I was happy, because I wanted to go take care of her. The biggest surprise to me about motherhood thus far is not any of the hard stuff. I knew about all that going in. I did have some little duh-type revelations earlier on, such as, “Wow, I actually can’t do what I want when I want anymore, ever!” and “Huh, we can’t even make a ‘quick’ grocery run…” But those were things I knew and just had to absorb when they became reality. I knew there would be a lot of sleeplessness (and trust me, I’ve had my nights when I did not appreciate being awakened!). I knew I would be with this little one almost all the time, around the clock, because no one else in the world can provide for her what I can. But that’s just the thing – no one else in the world can provide for her what I can! How cool is that?

These past couple weeks have been a revelation to me. I LOVE being a mommy. You know how some people talk about how much they love their job, that they just know they are doing what they were made to do? Well, I’ve always enjoyed the things I’ve done, but I never felt that settled feeling of being right where I was supposed to be. Now I do.

What’s been surprising to me about motherhood is how much I love it. I knew I would love my children, but I thought I would feel little resentments, even now at the beginning. You know – I thought it would be upsetting that I can’t just do what I want every so often. I thought it would bother me that I can’t get everything else done and get around to what I want to do. I am not a patient person. But with Aria, I am. I just am. I don’t have to work at it (much). In fact, within a couple of weeks of Aria’s birth, I was thinking about giving her a sibling. Now, if that is not amazing, I don’t know what is, because it took 37½ hours of labor, mostly epidural-free, complete with hours upon hours of back labor and then 4+ hours of pushing (blessedly I had an epidural by then!) to give birth to Aria. I would think that would scare me, but it doesn’t. Hey, if I did it once, I can do it again! (Lord, please don’t let me have to do it again!!)

I’m in no way naïve. I’ve just started this motherhood gig, and Aria’s basically immobile and dependent, and has absolutely no words with which to talk back to me (that I can understand, at least). I know there will be days (weeks? months?) where I find the good attitude doesn’t come so easily. There are likely going to be times when I just plain don’t like her very much. But I am 100% certain I am right where God wants me to be, and I am looking forward to every stage of learning to love and teach my daughter about the good things of God. I’m loving these days of showing my daughter, through the grace of God, what a blessing it is to be her mommy.

5 Quick Takes: No More Cast

  •  Aria is no longer a cast-wearing toddler! Mom and I took her first thing yesterday morning to have it removed and get an x-ray to make sure everything looked good. As soon as we stepped into the exam room, Aria started crying loudly. Clearly, she remembered this place. She cried while the nurse showed us how she would take the cast off, and she cried while the nurse got ready to do so. When the nurse turned on the incredibly loud saw, Aria stopped crying to stare at it. In any other circumstance, that loud saw probably would have been a source of great interest to Aria; however, when the nurse immediately placed it to Aria’s arm, she started crying again (wouldn’t you?). She cried through the removal, which took only a minute or two, and kept crying until we got back out to the waiting room and broke out the Cheerios. Then she happily fed me for a while. They took the x-ray right there at the office. I couldn’t go in, of course, so Mom took her. Mom said as soon as Aria saw the machine she recognized it and began to wail. I didn’t need to be told the wailing part, as I’m pretty sure everyone in the entire hospital could hear her. The poor baby did NOT want to get another x-ray. It took entirely too long to do the x-rays. First the tech tried to do it with just Mom helping. Then she came out and went to get another nurse to help her. Then they both came out, and a few minutes later a man came from some mysterious place and helped. That time they got what they needed. My baby’s a fighter. 😉 The end result is that you can no longer see the fracture, and there’s nothing else that needs to be done. I thought it would take her some time to realize the cast was gone and adjust to using her arm again, but it took her approximately 10 minutes. She was already using it before we left the doctor’s office (he actually stopped mid-sentence while telling us she might favor it, when he realized she was already using it), and it was obvious that she understood that the pink thing we were now carrying around with us was her cast. Her entire demeanor has been far more sunny since we got home from having the cast removed. She’s delighted. So! That chapter of our lives is happily closed.

Here she is happily unloading the contents of her Aunt Joanna’s purse.

  • I still feel fairly out of it this week. I tire easily, and am coughing consistently. I knew this would be the case, as I’m about the gazillionth person in the area to catch this particular bug this winter. It’s frustrating, though. I feel so demotivated by the lack of productivity. You know how that is? The more things have piled up, the more I just want to bury my head under my covers and never do anything about it, ever again. The house is dirty, there are toys everywhere, the counters are covered in clutter (I HATE clutter). I have managed to keep up with the laundry, and this week I’m keeping on top of my work, so there are a couple of victories in there.
  • I’m working on making long-term blogging plans. I’m excited about several ideas I have for posts, and am looking forward to getting things rolling more consistently around here. <crosses fingers> Ooh! I’ve also added an email subscription feature to the blog, so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up (it’s right over there –> – you can’t miss it).
  • Today marks 21 weeks for Mr. Noah! I consistently feel his movements now. Sometimes I can even see and feel it from the outside. I love this part of pregnancy! Friday is my next midwife appointment, and we also get to have an extra long ultrasound for measurements. It’s an optional ultrasound basically to check for any abnormalities. I opt out of all the testing, since I am not high risk and it wouldn’t make any difference to us anyhow, but I love this ultrasound, because it takes a nice long time and you get to check out everything. 🙂 I’m excited about it!

 BabyFruit Ticker

  • Saturday evening my mommy and I are going to attend The Phil’s Masterworks concert A Night for Fighting. This is the concert I had to bow out of singing due to missed rehearsals, and I am EXCITED to enjoy it from the audience! I’ve only seen a couple of Chorus concerts in my life, since I am always in them, so it’s a rare treat to sit back and enjoy it. Afterward we’re hitting up the Gashouse with the Chorus (we always go out afterward). It’s going to be a great evening! Tickets are still available, if you want to come!

Yep, I’m Still Alive

Hey there. <hack hack>

Aria and I have been a wee bit sick this week. Sorry about my long absence. I would have written, but…I didn’t want to. You know, ’cause I felt like crap.

Last Saturday we drove three hours southish to visit with family, and we had a wonderful day. Friday night I had noticed that Aria had coughed a couple of times in her sleep, which is unusual for her, but then she seemed fine so I didn’t give it much thought. Whoops. She was behaving a bit strangely while we were gone – a little withdrawn, a little starey – and I chalked it up to being overwhelmed by the people and commotion. She didn’t get her afternoon nap, and she was asleep about as soon as I buckled her into her carseat for the drive home. Right. That should have been a clue, because she doesn’t fall asleep THAT fast. When I got her out of her carseat after our three hour drive home, I noticed her cheeks were super-flushed. Again, I thought that was strange, but it still wasn’t all clicking. I also thought “Oops, I shouldn’t have left her coat on her for that entire car ride”. It wasn’t until I took her in and she clearly didn’t want to wake up, then went to change her and found her whole body was hot, that I got worried and took her temperature. 102.1 under her arm. Since that was her first temperate ever, I promptly became concerned. (Promptly. You know, hours and hours after the first warning signs she was getting sick.)

We got her temperature down quickly and easily, and she slept through the night. Unfortunately, by that time I was starting to cough. Have you ever had deep, hacking coughs while living with a pregnant person’s gag reflex? (Some of you who already have a sensitive gag reflex will also understand.) Boy, does it suck. And then there’s the fact you can’t take any of the really good meds while pregnant. And also, like half the list of holistic cold remedies are also off the table. Aria got well pretty fast, though her cough is still hanging on. I, on the other hand, had a couple days of misery, followed by several days of discomfort. I am also still coughing. All-in-all, though, I’m quite grateful. We did not have to go to the doctor, Aria was fine despite my oblivion (I’m an attentive mom – I stand  to testify that this sort of thing will happen to all of us). I’m also extremely grateful for my in-laws, who brought us supplies, and my mommy, who came over and took care of us all day Monday and part of Tuesday. Sadly for my in-laws, we seem to have made them sick. And also possibly my nephew. Sorry, guys!

I have not left the house since last Saturday. In a couple of hours I will have been in this house for a week. I’M GOING CRAZY.

Needless to say, I’m excited to go to church tomorrow.

 BabyFruit Ticker

In other news, while I was lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself, Noah and I hit the 20 week mark. Yay for halfway(ish)! One never knows. I vote for it being more than halfway. (Did you hear that Noah? Mommy says you can come out a couple weeks early if you want.) I am still feeling much better than I did with Aria. Still no swelling, still low weight gain. I’m so very interested to see if things continue like this the rest of time. Also, I’m hoping the vast differences carry right on into labor and delivery.

Speaking of Aria. Her current favorite word is “No”. It’s adorable, because she just uses it for whatever. She clearly just likes to say it, so she throws it out basically whenever you speak to her (you know, when she’s not saying “more!”). She has variations: “No!” “No, no.” “Nuh.” I’m sure it will get annoying at some point, but right now it’s just plain cute. Also, she’s suddenly been saying “Hi” and “Bye” a lot. Whenever I change her clothes, as soon as I put her arm through her shirt, she says “Bye!”. I think she must think I’m putting on her coat and we’re getting ready to leave. I’m not sure. Today she walked all around the living room repeating variations of “Hi” and “Bye”. Cute, cute, cute.

And I shall leave you with this, as it is one of my favorite blog posts of all time, and we all need to read it sometimes: The 1 Thing You Really Have to Know About Your Family.

Parenting From a Position of Faith

Photo By:

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Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

I often hear from people how impressed they are with the way I take things in stride, particularly as it relates to my daughter. When I hear this I tend to say something along the lines of “Thank you…[current issue] is really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things…” as I shrug my shoulders. I am always gratified to hear it, because my actions are intentional, and it is good to receive the affirmation that they appear to be effective. As I look around I see that my calm response is truly not typical. Many of us seem to parent reactively, often from fear. I don’t parent differently because of some super strength or natural ability. While the way I parent is becoming automatic, it is not because of me, it is because of the truths to which I cling.

The world can be scary. If I let myself, particularly recently, I could sink into despair and fear over what the future might hold for my children. In fact, there were a couple of days in November when I did just that. Where I cried over my daughter as I considered the hardships she might have to suffer in her lifetime. As I cried and prayed over her, the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered to me: “Katy, the best thing for your child is not for her life to be easy; it is for her to love Me so desperately, so passionately, that when the difficulties of life arise, she does not falter. Don’t pray for her to be safe. Pray for her to be willing to be unsafe.”

When Aria fractured her wrist, I was concerned that she not have any permanent damage that would impede her throughout life. I don’t want that for my daughter; however, if we had found it to be the case, we would have rolled with it, just like we do everything else. When we found it was not the case, the entire issue of a fractured wrist became quite minor. The pain and inconvenience are temporary. The adaptability Aria learns as she adjusts to this shift in her environment is ultimately good for her. While I would never want her to have a broken arm, neither do I think it is a horrible occurrence. It is an unfortunate consequence of living in a broken world, and thus it is just a part of life. She can start learning that even now.

To the best of my ability, I do not react to life (circumstances, people, all of it). I respond to life with purpose, particularly in front of my child. I do not believe she needs to proceed through life with fear, because I know the truths that the Lord is always with her, that nothing will ever happen to her about which He does not know and which He cannot work for her good and His glory.

While she is little, Aria takes all of her cues from the adults she trusts, and I will not allow her to grow up thinking she needs to be fearful of the world in which she lives. With whatever power I have in her life, and whatever ability, through the grace of God, I have to teach her truth through my actions and my words, I will teach her that she can choose joy in her circumstances. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that our lives honor our Creator. When I respond with fear, I am telling the Lord, and Aria, that I can’t trust Him. That is not God-honoring. When I respond with confidence that, though our circumstances may not be what I had hoped, all is still well, I am showing Aria that she can have that same confidence.

We have yet to face anything in life that I consider truly trying – no long term or life threatening illness, no loss of our possessions, no devastating accidents or attacks. Some or all of those things may come. I am not arrogant enough to think I know how I will respond if they do. More than likely, these things I have learned I will, at least in part, have to relearn. That is okay. By the grace of God I pray that as Andy and I train our children, we would be willing to be unsafe for His glory.

It Is Well with My Soul

Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

This is one of my favorite hymns, and I sing it to Aria often. I sing it when either of us is disquieted. It comes to me when I am tempted to react in fear, rather than respond with faith, and its repetition drives all the fear away – how can I fear when “Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul”?