Saturday, March 5, 2011

I can do anything

BigMan is indestructible. While playing on his slide today he would yell, 'I CAN DO ANYTHING!' before throwing himself off it into his father's open arms!

Oh, to be young again!

Last night was not a good night for sleep in our house and it seems as though the youngest two family members cope with the lack of sleep much more admirably than the older two.

LittleLady is stoically recovering from her immunisations. She has reacted a bit to them, but isn't letting it stop her from melting our hearts with her smiles. She has also found a food that she loves now, thanks to Aunty E: Farex and apple! Better get that pumpkin cooked before too much longer!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Side effects

“The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.” Lawrence Kutner, child psychologist.

What, then, should be said of a toddler on Prednisone?! I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the joy of experiencing high doses of the steroid, but I have, many times, and the side effects are nasty. (Difficulty sleeping; feeling of a whirling motion; increased appetite; increased sweating; indigestion; mood changes; nervousness, hyperactivity). I hate having to give it to my son, but even more I hate listening to him cough and cough and cough until he gags, day and night. So I do it, and wait not-so-patiently for the last day of his dosage, and pray fervently that maybe this time we’ll have a longer spell in between his ‘pre-asthma attacks’ as his doctor refers to them. 

Yes, he ate his dinner. Apparently it does take four spoons.
While I write this, I can hear BigMan outside playing with his Aunty E. It is wonderful having her up here. She is a nurse (an exceptional one in fact, but she is even better at being an Aunty) and she knows how to care for her nephew and niece and their parents! She even swapped hats with him this afternoon...

And what of LittleLady? She is so precious! She continues to astound us with how beautifully peaceful and calm she is. Despite having had her four month jabs yesterday, LittleLady has been charming us all day with her gorgeous smile, helping me forget (even momentarily) how exhausting this vocation can be! Turns out she’s also in the 90th percentile for height and weight. No wonder she’s already wearing 6-12 month clothes! LittleLady is also mobile now. No matter where I put her, she ends up metres away in no time, keen to play with whatever may be nearby – BigMan’s toys, BigMan’s Tiny Teddies, hats, shoes…

Oh, and on Wednesday BigMan assisted the Townsville sun in destroying our plastic peg basket. Rather than be annoyed, I saw it as an opportunity to sit down at my sewing machine and make something pretty for myself! It does make me smile now, when I hang out those cute little clothes that my precious ones wear.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Only, wholly and forever his

“When a child is born, there is a candle lighted that must burn to eternity, either in heaven or hell.” –Matthew Henry, ‘Christ’s Favour to Little Children’-

Picture sourced from here
Since becoming a mother, I have become immeasurably more aware of the weight of eternity. When BigMan was only a few months old, we heard a sermon that will stay with me forever. The preacher’s words were like a sword. They cut right to what my heart and mind knew to be the truth from the time we knew we were to be parents:

If you are not prepared to crawl over burning coals to get your child into heaven, then you do not deserve them.

Around the same time, my dad gave us a copy of what has become a well-thumbed text in our home: ‘Family Religion: Principles for raising a godly family’ by Matthew Henry.

Now, as a good child of the Reformed traditions, I know that my salvation, and the salvation of those I hold dearest, is NOT works based, however there is no way I’m going to rest easy hoping that my children will come to see the depravity of their own selves and their need for the Saviour Jesus through some form of osmosis. I pray God that my husband and I never fall into that trap of apathy and complacency and forget that just because our children have been born to Christian parents does not in any way ‘inoculate’ them against the sin that poisons them. “Every child you have has a precious and immortal soul, that must be forever either in heaven or hell… will it not be very sad, if through your carelessness and neglect, your children should learn the ways of sin, and perish eternally in those ways?” (M. Henry, A Church in the House).

What ought our response be? Matthew Henry (a man born in 1662 whose writings on this matter are some of the most eloquent and valuable I have found) goes to great lengths to stress that as homes in the Old Testament were dedicated to God, so should our homes be. He believes that “even little families, jointly and entirely given up to God… become churches… It is a good thing when a man has a house of his own, thus to convert it into a church, by dedicating it to the service and honour of God.” And to do this, he proposes that both mothers and fathers “must be as prophets, priests and kings in their own families; and as such they must keep up family doctrine, family worship and family discipline.” 

I find the greatest joy in hearing BigMan talk to us about the Bible stories that he knows. It warms my heart to hear him sing “Ohhhhh yes, Jesus loves me!” and “Do you want a pilot? Signal [unto] Jesus!” and “Build on the Rock! The Rock that ever stands!”. Such times are to me are the essence of joy. And I wait, and pray, for the day when our children recognise the burden of their sin and trust in the Risen Saviour to release them from it. What joy!

And so I continue to pray for God to guide our little family, our own private ‘Bethel’ (House of God). I thank God for his faithfulness and for the godly heritage that our children have inherited from their grand-parents and great-grand-parents. And we pray, “Let me and mine be only, wholly, and forever his.”

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

So now I’m asking you: what do you do you/did you do in your homes to make them ‘little Churches’? What do you remember from your own childhood? (Come on Dad, I know you'll have something to say about this!)

These are a few of my favourite things...

Things I love about my BigMan:
  • Him standing in the backyard, arms stretched skyward, asking, "Mummy turn the rain on? Mummy turn the rain on please?"
  • The way he comes up to me from behind when I'm sitting on the ground trying to 'study' and gives me a big bear hug.
  • How he'll climb onto me, wrap his arms around my neck and say, "Push! Puuuuuuuuuush!" when he wants me to go somewhere with him. 
  • 'Flying' with him.
  • His smile.
  • He says, 'Tebby Dare'. He's starting to say 'Teddy Bear' sometimes which makes me sad - he's growing up.
  • He tells me, "Lob you Mummy".
  • How he can recite his favourite books back to me.
  • The way he refers to himself in third person. "BigMan thirsty." "BigMan read to?" 
  • How he loves his grandparents, aunts and uncles so very much.
  • He tells us, "God made diggers. God made rollers. God made cement mixers."

Things I love about my LittleLady:
  • Her smile.
  • How she lets me cuddle her forever.
  • Kissing her on her chubby cheeks and in that soft part of her neck below her ear.
  • Her smile! Her smile, upon seeing one of her family, is enough to melt Scrooge's heart faster than Tiny Tim could say, "God bless us every one!"
  • The way she absolutely adores her big brother.
  • She still has that beautiful baby smell.
  • The incredible personality that she's already introducing us to. I think she's going to be just as stubborn as the rest of us...
  • Have I said her smile?
  • How she reaches up, grabs a handful of my hair in her sweet, pudgy little hands, pulls my head towards hers and then covers my face with beautiful, wet kisses, while trying to eat my nose!

Why have I listed these things? I read a blog from Mars Hill's 'Diagloguing Wives' and a quote has stuck with me all day:

"This is a season and it will pass, but I don't want to just grit my teeth and bear it."
I want to cherish these moments, not simply tolerate this 'season' until it passes. Nappies and night time wake up calls Much of the above will one day be but a distant memory...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

we love weekends

Last Friday, BigMan woke up, came into our room and happily announced, "It's Friday today!". How does a 22 month old know such things? I'd say it has a bit to do with how much his parents love that period of time traditionally know as 'The Weekend'!

Back in our pre-kid days, our weekends were generally very busy affairs, filled to the brim with long bike rides along the Brisbane River, impromptu family gatherings, spending too much money on books at Borders (I think they miss our custom!), Church, fun runs and triathlons, attempts to stay on top of marking school work, cleaning and groceries. We would invariably arrive at Sunday night feeling as though we needed a weekend to recover from our weekend!

Check out that grin!
So how are things different now that we have BigMan and LittleLady joining us? Well, the biggest change that we have noticed is that since moving to Townsville we have a lot more time! We miss our families, but at the same time, we have a lot more time to invest in our little family... so we do. We no longer go for long bike rides (it's too hot and LittleLady is too young just yet... I'm hanging out for that 12 month mark when we can finally get all four of us helmeted up and on the bikes!), but we do love going to The Strand together to 'explore', see 'Misty Island', chase birdies and play with the dugong.

Daddy teaching Micah how to share.

Gotta fit it in somehow...
The other weekend we thought we'd treat ourselves to an icecream, so we went and bought three. We should have expected it, but BigMan was not the least bit interested in it. He just wanted to explore (and eat Daddy's icecream). LittleLady was trying to eat her O-Ball (one of the best toys I've ever found for littlies - Grandma and Grandad introduced us to them). And Mummy was trying to take it all in and wishing she could have photographic memories of times such as these. Those times that find their beauty, their merit, their value in how unremarkable they are.

The best we could get! BigMan was not interested in posing for a family pic. There was more fun to be had elsewhere.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A book a day...

My BigMan loves his books. His book collection rivals that of his parents'! And the sweetest thing I think I've seen yet is when he found his most favourite book 'ever', 'God Made Me', and started reading it to his baby sister. He was able to 'read' the major themes of each page to her, and they delighted in each other's company for a good twenty minutes. Precious, precious memories!

'God made the sky'

I did a brief stint as a Year One teacher a couple of years ago, and I have to say that I can completely understand why the children reading the lower level of books would prefer to do anything but sit and be bored to death read the books that are at 'their level'! Children need to be exposed to exciting, entertaining, funny (and sometimes even rude... you'd be surprised what having the words 'fart' or 'bottom' can do for the popularity of a book with young school boys!) books that engage their minds and entince them to use their imaginations! If their reading level does not allow them to access these books, it is essential that the adults in their lives provide positive role modelling by reading to them and reading with them!

So, time to go find one of the current favourites and start exercising my BigMan's grey matter!

Oh, and our current favourites are...
* Richard Scarry (anything, but particularly Busiest People Ever)
* Wonderful Earth
* Spot Bakes a Cake
* Spot Visits his Grandparents
* Aircraft

Sunday, February 27, 2011

child be still

Somewhere way back in my distant pre-twenties past, I used to listen to an artist called Pink. You may have heard of her? What, you may well ask, does this have to do with the life of mum to two littlies whose head is filled with nappy changes, feed times, healthy snacks and the soundtracks to Bob the Builder, Playschool and Giggle and Hoot?

It’s quite simple really. We needed a new set-top-box because our current one was a dud. We also needed a new DVD player because the one we have pre-dates Scott and my relationship! So, Scott found a bargain bundle and it came with three BlueRay DVDs – one of which was ‘Pink’s Funhouse Tour’. While both kidlets were resting and Scott was out buying bolts to secure the new TV to the cabinet (essential to protect both the TV AND BigMan!) I thought I’d have a quick look at what Pink was up to these days… for old time’s sake.

Wow. Anyone heard ‘Ave Mary A’(find the lyrics here)? Talk about an anthem for a generation in pain. ‘Oceania’ has been though a fair bit lately – bushfires, floods, cyclones, earthquakes. I’ve stopped turning on the news at all because I’m afraid of what impact it will have on BigMan, much less me. And here, in Pink’s lyrics, I’ve found an articulation of the pain, confusion, helplessness that so epitomizes those who live without hope; those who do not know The One who controls the bushfires, floods, cyclones and earthquakes. 

Watching Pink sing, and watching the thousands of fans joining with her, I wanted desperately for them to know that Mary hasn’t gone anywhere – she’s still in Glory, worshiping ‘The Light of the World’ with the angel choirs. How I wanted them to know that ‘The Light of the World’ is saying to them, ‘Child be still. I AM the Light, I AM the one to release you from the chaos around you, you need ME. Child be still.’

This is the world that my children have been born into. Please God equip us, as parents, for the insurmountable challenges that lie ahead in raising a God-fearing family in this ‘world gone mad’.

Welcome to wondrous ordinary...

I've tried this 'blog' thing once before. A year ago, to be precise. The three of us had just moved up here to Townsville and we thought it would be a nice way to keep 'in touch' with family. Turns out good 'ol facebook proved to be an easier forum for that.

BigMan way back in Feb 2010

 So why again? Because now that we're no longer three, but four, and now that BigMan is nearly two years old, I've realised that I want to document some of the 'wondrously ordinary' happenings in our lives. And this 'blog' thing struck me as the perfect forum in which to do that. Oh, and occasionally I'd like to spout forth a few thoughts about random issues that have been occupying whatever part of my grey matter isn't preoccupied with keeping my BigMan and LittleLady out of mischief...

I've heard it said about mothering... 'The days are long but the years are short'. I don't want to look back on the years to discover I've missed the wondrous because it's been camouflaged as ordinary.

They love each other. I don't want to forget this.