Monday, January 31, 2011

Tough Love?

While reading the local news tonight, I stumbled upon an article entitled: "Utah Relatives say 'hot sauce' Mom Getting a Bad Rap" (horrible writing, I know, but that's KSL for you!). I have heard of parents disciplining their children with hot sauce before and was interested in what the article had to say about the parenting style. The article shared the story of a woman who was arrested for child abuse after her story of being an "angry mom" was aired recently on the Dr. Phil show. I read the article and thought: "Well, that is definitely tough love...but to be arrested? She must have taken it too far." I then watched the video clip of her "teaching" her adoptive son not to lie.

Half an hour later, I am still in tears. I was speechless, horrified, and sickened. I usually use my blog to talk about my family, job, or random life events, but I felt as though I just had to say how much I disagree with this approach to disciplining your children. I showed Nathan parts of the video (I couldn't watch it all before turning it off), and he made a wise observation. He noted: "None of this is done out of love for the child. It is done out of frustration."

Lately, I have been frustrated with Eliza. She enjoys throwing her food on the ground, turning off the computer as I attempt to work (or blog), breaking cell phones, ripping important papers, and turning the television off repeatedly with a mischevious grin (not the end of the world, I know). I often find myself comparing her to other children and feeling frustrated she isn't a calm child in any sense of the word. However, after listing these so-called grievences of mine, I feel so embarrassed that menial things (and acts of a BABY) could upset me. She is one!! She is normal!!

I am lucky to have a husband who is so patient and laid back. With his help, I know we can continue to parent Eliza with love instead of harsh words and ridiculous forms of punishment. And although most parents are typically driven by well-meaning intentions, it seems as though many acts of physical punishment/tough love result from the parent's inability to control their own anger and frustration. I'm definitely not saying this is the case all of the time, but I know it happens more often than not.

I keep thinking the phrase: "I was spanked, and I'm ok." I heard that line somewhere ages ago, and I have often repeated the sentence when defending the way I was disciplined as a child. I remember telling Nathan: "Maybe I needed it? Right? Maybe some kids need to be spanked." Just a few short months later, I have definitely changed my tune.  Secretly, I always hated the fact that I was spanked. I just ignorantly assumed it was what was expected of parents. I , therefore, thought I deserved the myriad of spankings I received as a child and believed I would probably have to spank my own children if/when "they really needed it." Mr. Nathan Robbins has told me that will never happen, and I couldn't be happier.

Proverbs 15:1 comes to mind: "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." I think the words "answer" and "words" could very easily be replaced with the word "reaction" or "actions." Don't you think? Easy.

Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing other thoughts/suggestions on the topic. What works, parents? Am I being too idealistic?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

15 Month Check Up

We went to the Doctor. He said this:

Height: 33.5 Inches        (95th Percentile)
Weight: 24.5 Pounds     (50-75th Percentile)
Head: 47.5 Centimeters (75-90th Percentile)

Overall, compared to other children her age, Eliza looks something like this.

Good luck once you hit grade school, baby. High School should be ok though.

PS - My comparison of baby's head with Stewie Griffin did not fly with Celia. Deleted.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Injured. Injured Bad.

While at work this afternoon, I sent Nathan an email saying: "I just cried for the last hour on the phone with a Federal contracting officer. This has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I don't even remember the last time I cried because I was angry/upset."

His response: "Sorrryy!!! I love you! Also, don't freak out.....but baby got hurt today."

Of course, I freaked out. He assured me everything was okay and explained that earlier, Eliza had cut her mouth on the side of the table as she attempted to crawl off of a chair (yesterday's post was serious foreshadowing). I imagined the worst; however, all seemed to be well when I arrived home. Shortly afterward, we put her down for her afternoon nap.

An hour later, Nathan emerged from the nursery with Eliza in his arms. She was covered from head to neck in blood. It was all over her sheets and even in her hair. Freak out number two. Nathan was even convinced we should go to the hospital for stitches when we saw that her gums WERE COVERING HER FRONT TEETH. I don't even know how that's possible.

I immediately called Dental Urgent Care and spoke with a dentist, who said: "We don't stitch gums, especially not on children. The mouth heals quickly. She probably just tore the gums and bit through her lip. Apply pressure and don't worry about coming in unless her teeth become lose or seem as though they could fall out."

And with that advice, we have been hanging out with a 16 month old, who loves touching everything with her bloody little hands. She puts her hands in her mouth (no matter what we do) and then touches us..or the carpet..or the cream chairs...or HER STRING CHEESE. And there is blood on all of it.

I don't handle this kind of stress/trauma well. Seeing your child covered in blood is not something I ever want to go through again. Thankfully, Nathan has been cool, calm, and collected. While he entertained a blood covered baby, I bought this:

It helped.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sassy at 16 months. It happens.

Eliza is the cutest thing on two little legs. She laughs, she claps, she chatters, and she runs (never walks). She is a constant whirlwind of energy and can be found wreaking havoc on our home daily. Recently, her precociousness has reached a new level.
She climbs into her toy boxes, crawls onto chairs (which she then leaps off of), stands on top of anything she can find (boxes to spherical toys), and has no concept of what danger is. This mischievious grin is actually quite worrisome.
She enjoys puzzles, toy cars, shape sorters,
 eating books, and playing the piano.
 She also continues to look exactly like Nathan and obsess over her green blanket.
 Her favorite activities are dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba (we watched the same four episodes for 14 hours on our drive home to Utah from Washington), chasing us around the house, going outside (regardless of how cold it may be), and rocking with Nathan when she first wakes up in the morning. She could live off of wheat thins and cheese if we let her and she can never have enough rice and beans.

However, her cutest recent achievements are her attempts to speak. For some reason, Eliza tends to only say new words in the morning when we first change her diaper. Weird, right? That is the golden minute. She has said: "Papa, Ty (her uncle), purple, dino (as in word ever!), mama, Gabba, and monkey" while we change her diaper. Afterward, she pretends as though it never happened and goes about squealing with happiness (because she is no longer trapped in her crib) and running around the house.

And then, then there is the attitude. She wants my cell phone. She NEEDS my cell phone. When she can't have it, she throws herself on the ground and scrunches her face as she screams. It is alarming. I am still not completely sure how to react to these tantrums. Instinctively, I want to give her whatever she wants to make the screaming stop, but I also know I do not a child who has a fit over every little thing. Hopefully, with enough patience, Nathan and I can put an end to these sassy moments. 
But of course, despite any attitude changes, Eliza is a treasure to be around. She is so happy and full of life. Her sweet personality is beginning to become more pronounced daily. Just this week, she began giving us kisses and today, she rubbed Nathan's hair and kissed his face as he lay on the couch. Adorable. What's not to love about that?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blogging Hiatus?

Over the last two months, I unintentionally went on a blogging hiatus. I have planned a million blog posts in my mind, but never seem to have the energy, desire, and ultimately the will to post any of my thoughts.

Of course, there is the real reason. There is always one of those hiding beneath all the excuses.

I had a miscarriage in November and for some reason, I have felt an infinite sadness that is almost too painful to talk about or even acknowledge. However, it is hard to write about anything else when these kinds of thoughts are always at the front of my mind.

I was surprised when I found myself pregnant the week before Nathan and I left for a family trip to South Carolina. Was I ready yet to be a mother of two? Was it too soon to be pregnant again? To be honest, I wasn't even 100% I was pregnant as the results of the pregnancy test were somewhat inconclusive (they are seriously impossible to read sometimes). We excitedly/nervously laughed as we saw the test, saying: “Is that a line? It’s faint, but maybe there are two lines? I don’t know!” We then tucked the excitement away and decided to take another test when we made it back home.

On the flight home, I began feeling weak and dizzy. An hour before we landed, I began to miscarry. I knew everything was wrong and kept telling Nathan: “This isn’t normal. I know it isn’t.” He, of course, tried to comfort me, but I felt completely alone in my physical pain. The doctor confirmed the loss the next day and sent me home to recover. Blood tests showed I was approximately 9 to 10 weeks along, which was somewhat shocking to me.

The next week included emotional and physical pain, days in bed, multiple trips to the doctor for blood work and tests, and of course, an abundance of love. Friends offered to watch Eliza, brought meals, sat with me at home, and even brought flowers to cheer me up. I never realized how amazing a bouquet of freshly cut flowers can make you feel.

It has almost been two months, and I am trying to remain “normal.” I try not to think: “I would have been 17 weeks today,” “Why me?,” or “Was it my fault?” I have come to the healthy realization it was simply not the right time to have another child. Perhaps my body wasn’t ready or I wasn’t ready to have another child yet. Through everything, I have gained the ability to empathize with those who have had a similar loss. I have cried with my sister, sisters-in-law, and loving friends who have known the pain of miscarrying; I now feel a closeness to them and have a sense of understanding that would have never been possible before this experience.

Whatever the reason, I know Heavenly Father will send us another spirit to love when the time is appropriate. In the meantime, I have the love of an amazing husband, a crazy little girl, and a number of friends. And with that being said, I am ready to return to blogging!

p.s. I apologize for the “Debbie Downer” post (as Nathan would say). However, good things are coming!