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Tigger enjoys her nativity set sheep, last year and today

It’s Advent, the season before Christmas where we expect and wait for Jesus! I honestly have to say that to me, Advent is the most wonderful time of the year. Just like at Lent, during Advent I look backwards and forwards both.

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I remember confiding in a friend when Tigger was a week old: “Everything’s fine… I’m just exhausted.” Months later, I bought and read The No-Cry Sleep Solution when we just couldn’t seem to get naps worked out. Finally, I found Sleepless in America, realized that our problem was not anticipating her tired times early enough and needing a consistent naptime/bedtime routine to help her ease into the slumber her body needed. Now, I’m typing as she sleeps for multi-hour stretches at night, resettling if necessary with just a pat.

This isn’t a post with advice for getting your baby to sleep… I just finished this pagewith the resources that most helped me (you should click over for the photo at the top if nothing else!) As I was searching for a photo to stick on that page, I realized as I found picture after picture of our peacefully slumbering baby that she really did sleep a lot! Here’s a trip back in time to remember that she really did sleep, even in the early days. Feel free to comment with your infant sleep stories or links to photos of your snoozing sweeties.

in Baba's arms sleepy yawn! snuggling & sleeping in Mama's sling pouch

by Lori Ann

skies at dawn

6am. The air seems crisper, the sky meditative. Something about the still quiet seems to enter my body with each breath, helping me think clearer. No distractions, nowhere to go. Just my daughter and I, enjoying a new day together. Tickling, giggling, playing peek-a-boo. Quietly, so as not to wake Baba. Which makes it all the more fun, like a secret between just the two of us.

Tigger’s bedtime has been 7pm since she was 5 days older. As a newborn, she slept (barely interrupted by nursings) until 9am. As she got older, morning wake-up backed up to 8am, 7am. Now 6am.

And I couldn’t be happier.

What’s your morning routine? Is it dreaded or enjoyed?

by Lori Ann

Indestructibles

Sometimes, on the hard days, I think to myself, “Come on baby, Mama has needs too, and who’s meeting them?” Then Jesus answers my heart, in the most loving and tender way possible, “I am, and if you’re seeking for someone else to meet your needs, you’re the one in the wrong – not her.” And I look at my darling baby, and have compassion for her neediness, and know that He’s right.

How do you cope on the hard, everyone-needs-you, no-one-gives-Mama-a-break days?

by Lori Ann

sick day stuffed animals

Ever wish you were a little kid again?

Last week, Tigger didn’t feel very good (diarrhea throughout the day and keeping us all up at night) and developed a cute after-nap habit to replace her usual one, which is standing up and walking over to her stuffed animals to play the moment she awakens. For three days while was sick though, she woke, called for me, pointed to her shelf of stuffed animals, and requested, “ng” (it means “want”). I handed her a stuffed animal.

She played with it for a few seconds, pointed back at the shelf, and another “ng”. Then repeated until she had all the stuffed animals. I thought it was so funny I had Baba take a picture the second day she did it (above). I even had a few meditations on the way she depended completely on me to provide for her that which she wanted, which helped me notice in my reading in John the next day that Jesus fed the five thousand “as much as they wanted” (not just “needed”; from chapter 6).

I often wish I were — or at least acted more like — a little kid again. With a child’s trust, problem solutions, and complete dependence on Mama and Baba to make everything better. And to bury all yucky feelings in a pile of soft cuddly animal friends!

by Saruskabeth, of http://www.threeinthree.com

Feb 10, 2007

At midnight, on a cold february day in 2007,  I held in my hands a tiny, wrinkled, screaming infant. And I fell in love. Every day, all day long, I would kiss his little fingers and belly and toes and  nose and tell him “I love you.” When he gazed up at me in awe, I told him, “I love you.” When he cooed and smiled and (finally!) laughed, I told him, “I love you!” When he cried and screamed, I told him, “I love you!” He learned to roll over, crawl, walk, talk…and everyday he heard, “I love you! I love you!”

I love my children with everything I am. They are my world, my priority above all else. But as they get older, as the “novelty” wears off, so to speak, there are moments, sometimes days, when I don’t express my love as easily as I once did. When Dewy spills his juice for the fourth time, or when Paby looks me in the face and screams, “YOU’RE NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE!” When Mazzen throws a fit because I won’t leave my boobie hanging out all day, and when the boys destroy their room moments after I finish putting everything away.

And to be completely honest, in those moments I don’t feel very loving. I feel angry. Taken advantage of. Disrespected. At the very least frustrated. And, rather than speak out of love, I sometimes speak out of anger. I say, “you’re driving me crazy!” And “why are you trying to make me mad?” In those moments, I put the boys in time out and say, “you’re being very naughty,” and “I don’t want to hear it.”

One particularly rough day I became more agitated than I can ever remember being at a child. I was so angry I couldn’t speak. I clenched my fists at my sides, felt my jaw grow stiff, when to my surprise, I heard a voice in my head say “I love you.” I looked at my child’s tearful face and realized that he was fully aware of how angry I was; he didn’t need to hear me say it. What he did need was reassurance. So I knelt down, took him by the hands and said, “I love you.” And oh, the relief that flooded my body and my son’s face!  To know that, despite his misbehavior and disobedience, he was still loved!!!

It struck me then how important it is to express your love; not just when the warmth of it overwhelms your senses to the point you can’t help but say it, but when you are so angry you don’t want to.  Kids are strong, yet fragile. They aren’t fully in control of their actions, and can become frustrated at themselves when they feel they have disappointed a parent. Just to know that, despite their outburst, their behavioral faux pas, they are still loved…it can change everything.

Now, when one of my children does something that makes me angry, I remind myself of a few things.

1.) I’m not going to actually go insane because the kids are acting up.

2.) No, they really don’t try to infuriate me.

3.) This is the child I carried in my womb for nine months, in my arms for many more, and will carry in my heart for eternity.

Paby, Dewy, Mazzen, Baby#4: I love you. I always will.

Easter, 2011 photo by Jessica Johnson

by Lori Ann

Messy Face

“God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” — this playground chant was popular when we ate outside on nice spring days, especially if an especially tasty treat fell to the ground. 10+ years later and the chant comes back to mind frequently these days as I realize how futile (and scientifically speaking, harmful) it is to keep Tigger away from every bit of good-old-fashioned dirt.

Unfortunately, the local Grandmas don’t agree, and “dirty” will probably be Tigger’s first word in Chinese.

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by Lori Ann

Village Bedroom

In the local (Yi minority) culture where we live, a married couple who has grown attached to another family’s child can propose a “new name” for that child. If accepted, the married couple becomes the godparents for the child, and there is a special relationship between the birth parents and these godparents. If the child was formerly naughty, it is also hoped that this new name and these new parents will change that, too (our friends joked about this, but I don’t think they took that part seriously).

We were excited and blessed to enter this relationship with close friends of ours who named Tigger, “Snake-Flower Girl” in the minority language. I don’t have any photos of our family — villagers rarely sit still long enough for a photo, which I suppose is true of most traditional farmers! — but here we are enjoying the hospitality of their home. Ah, the simple life!

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by Lori Ann

Guess who’s one entire year old?

Smiley Birthday Girl

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by Lori Ann

IMG_5636

No, we certainly did not find all of the above items under the couch at one time. No, Baba is not right 90% of the time when he answers “probably under the couch” to any “where is …?” question. No, Tigger does not hide plastic bottles like a puppy buries bones. No, there is not only one actual toy in the collection we found.

And, in case you weren’t sure: yes, this is a “Not-Me Monday*” post.

What did you absolutely NOT do today?

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

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