Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Abraham: 8 Months

My sweet little peanut is growing up.


You've learned how much fun it is to play outside on the few warm days we've had this last month.  You were content for hours just to be outside watching all the activity going on around you.



You've learned how to get into things you aren't supposed to and you give me this face when you get caught.


We have to start putting up baby gates.  My least favorite part of this stage.


You've been gaining weight steadily on your new diet of amino acid formula and are now above the 10th percentile at 16 lbs. 8 oz.  You take about 6 bottles during the day and one in the night.

I call this your stinker face.


You crawl like a sea lion all over the house.  You drag your legs behind you like they are dead weight.  It looks like so much work, but you are determined to get where you want to go all on your own.

Pulling up on things is a new favorite.


The dishwasher is a favorite.  There are so many things in there that are off limits, it's just too tempting.


You can also sit independently really well.


 You are slowly transitioning down to 2 naps a day, which makes you really sleepy and snuggly in the evening.  I'll take it.

Hopefully we will be able to finalize your adoption before you turn 9 months old.  I'm ready to say you are forever ours!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Response: Dear Mom On The iPhone

A blog post has been making it's way through social media and I've seen it referred to a few times.  Sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.  Every time I see it though it just rubs me the wrong way and I go through a whole list of thoughts in my head.  I feel as though it's time that I write them out. 

I preface this with a couple things though. 

First off, I can't imagine writing a blog post, having it go viral, and having to deal with the backlash of inevitably differing viewpoints about that.  I don't envy the author having to wade through that aspect and I don't write this post to be one more person speaking down about what was written.

Second, I understand the original intent of the blog post.  I see some value in what was said.  I just have some real issue with a few things about it.

I see the intended message of her blog post as being: Let's all be more aware of how often we are using the technology that is available to us.

Here's what else it did though in my mind.

The way it is set up leads the reader to put themselves in the shoes of one of the two characters.  Either you are mom "A" looking on at the iPhone user and finding yourself steeped in self-righteousness (as seen by the comments this mom makes in her head to the other mom and by the comments in the comment section of women going on and on about how they see horrible mothers do this themselves) or you are mom "B" on the iPhone living under the judgmental eyes of the other mother.

If you see yourself as mom A I beg you to stop.  What you have done is written a law by which others must abide by to be in your favor.  In this case, if you are on your phone instead of focusing on your children while under my watchful eye, you are in the wrong.  Mom B is not living up to that law and you therefore feel free to judge her.  Tell her all the good she is missing out on by not living up to your standards.  You find yourself thankful that you are not like her, or maybe that you used to be like her but now you have risen above that.  You've written a law for everyone that is right at a standard that you can meet.  Self-righteousness.

If you are mom B you find yourself struggling under the weight of this law you have just been put under.  You read the blog post and find yourself scrambling to explain why it is ok that you were on your phone.  Maybe you are a work-at-home mom who has to answer emails, you are dealing with family crisis and are texting others to keep everyone informed, your friend desperately needed to talk so you came to the park so your kids could play while you had peace and quiet to focus.  There are a myriad of reasons why you may be on your phone.  Maybe you were just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.  But in the end it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter why you are on your phone because mom A (regardless of how good she may feel her intentions were) is not God and does not stand in the judgment seat.  Mom A does not have the power to make laws to lord over you.  The only God who has that power has already sacrificed himself so that you no longer carry the burden of being under His law!  Rejoice! 

The issue still remains though.  Is it a good thing to be on your iPhone at the park (or restaurant, dinner table, wherever) instead of focusing on your children.  The problem is, it's not about whether I'm on my phone or doting on my kids.  The issue is where is my heart. 

So rather than ask, should I be on my phone?  I should ask, have I set up an idol of my own comfort for myself that must be appeased by me spending inappropriate quantities of time on my phone in a vain effort to fulfill my needs.  If I am reliant on my phone to bring me comfort in an area where I should be relying on Jesus to bring me comfort, then rather than focusing on getting off my phone, I need to focus on finding my comfort in Jesus.  Getting off my phone will solve nothing.  I will simply seek a new area of life to sacrifice to my comfort idol.

Let's also ask while we are on it, should I be focusing solely on my children?  Again, I have to ask myself the same questions.  Am I looking to have the time I spend with my children fill a void in my (for love, companionship, joy) that I should be looking to Jesus to fill?  Am I relying on my child's smile, hug, good behavior in public, or antics to make me feel as though I have value?  If so, choosing to shift my focus from my phone to my children does nothing (other than maybe appease their desire for constant attention).

So to respond to the blogger's intention, yes, we probably are a too tech-focused society.  But you know what?  That's the not the problem.  The problem is that we are broken.  If we weren't filling voids with technology we would be filling them as generations past did with other things and would be in no better place. 

It's not that we need to get off our iPhones, or focus more on our children, or any other list that anyone wants to try to guilt us into.  It's that we need Jesus.  And when we are filled up with Him we don't have to look to other things to fill us.  We are free to love our children, to love our spouses, to love our neighbors and to love our cities without anyone's law of how to be good - how to be enough - hanging over our heads. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Baby Fro

Abraham has some ah-mazing hair.  He was born with a full head of it, and it's been part of his look ever since.


We regularly get comments and questions about it.  And I don't blame anyone, it's pretty fun to see a little baby with so.much.hair.

My White friends often ask if it's hard to do (and Black strangers have been known to ask me if I know what I'm doing with it), and the answer is it's really not hard and yes, I know what I'm doing with it.  I actually find Abraham's hair to be easier to care for that the girls' super thin, fine hair.  Abraham's hair can hold up to product and is easy to make look cute, whereas the girls' hair has a mind of it's own and doesn't want to stay how I do it.

At birth, his hair was very straight and soft (as you can see above) and required little to no care at all.  We washed it weekly and added just a touch of coconut oil before it dried to help seal in moisture.  Every month his hair slowly changed texture.


You can see here at a few months old that his hair is still the same soft texture, but has started to develop curl.  At this point, I switched from washing it regularly with shampoo, to washing it mostly with just conditioner and only using shampoo once ever 3 weeks or so.  It's a technique known as co-washing and is really adequate to get the hair clean without stripping it of oils.  I would still put a coat of coconut oil on the hair while it was still wet after washing to seal in moisture.  I started needing to spray it down with water and adding oil again a couple times a week at this point as well.

In the last month his hair has been changing texture again.  The hair coming in at the scalp is in much tighter curls and has a slightly courser texture.  The soft baby hair is still on top of that though, so our routine is changing again.

He gets his hair washed with conditioner once a week.  While it's full of conditioner, I detangle it because it is starting to get matted up if this isn't done regularly.  I use Aubrey Organics conditioner as I like the nice thick texture of it and the fact that it's free of any stripping ingredients like sulfates.  When I do use shampoo, I use Beautiful Curls - Babies and Up line.  When he gets out of the tub I use the Beautiful Curls Nourishing Curl Oil to seal in moisture.


On non-bath days, I thoroughly wet down his hair and add Beautiful Curls Leave-in Detangler.  If you just use water, it's really fuzzy and gets matted again within a few hours.  The detangler is really light and seems to be just enough right now to keep the curls in check.

We also let little man sleep in the lap of luxury.  He has satin crib sheets.  I know.  Fancy.  But natural fibers like cotton pull moisture out of your hair and the texture roughs up his curls, so satin it is.

And that's it!  It's really not that hard, and on days when we are just staying home I often don't do a thing with his hair.  Here's what it looks like when we go that route:


Some day the back will fill back in!

It's so adorable that everyone loves to rub his curls.  Now that the texture is changing though, I'm going to have to start asking people (and telling myself) to keep hands off as it dries his hair out to rub it and it messes up those curls.

It's normal in Black culture to give your little boys a short buzzed haircut around their first birthday, but I just don't know if I can do it!  I love the curls.  The plan for now is to keep them and see how it goes.  I'm going to try my hand and cornrows when he has enough hair.  If it gets to be more work than I'm up for I will probably cut it, but for now his curls are just such a part of his look I can't imagine him without them.





Thursday, February 14, 2013

What I Love About You

To my littlest loves on Valentine's Day:

 Abraham



  • You are always ready to laugh.
  • You get so snuggly when you're sleepy.
  • Your hair is amazing.
  • Your sea lion crawl is endlessly entertaining.
  • You make the funniest boy noises that I never heard the girls make.

Annie

 
  • Your extroverted nature, you never turn down a chance to get out of the house or to play with friends.
  • The sweetest little giggle comes out of your mouth.
  • Watching your get so, so excited about treats and licking beaters.
  • You spend almost every day in a tutu telling me you are a ballerina or Cinderella.


Evelyn


  • You are a home body, just like me.
  • You are a determined.
  • Your imagination runs wild on a daily basis and watching it brings me joy.
  • You are matter of fact about things in life and aren't afraid to say what you think.
  • You never turn down a chance to snuggle.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preschool

Evelyn has been my shadow lately.  She has be attention crazed and never wants to leave my side.  There have been times over the last few weeks where I have snuck into my room for a few minutes to just have a few minutes of quiet before she inevitably realizes I'm not on her radar anymore and she hunts me down.

My natural response to this is to cringe and try desperately to convince her that she doesn't need to by a cling-on.  Knowing her though, that will only make things worse.  So I'm embracing it and finding ways to give her some special one-on-one attention.  I've had some preschool materials laying around for a while, so I went ahead and planned out a few weeks worth of activities and have dove in.  She's loving it!  I'm really enjoying it too.  Rather than feeling annoyed that I can't just sit and read a book without her squirming under my arm to have as much of her body physically touching mine as possible, we can sit together at the table enjoying an activity together.

I really like the preschool materials I have.  They are simple, inexpensive, don't take a lot of planning, but are engaging and educational without being boring.  The preschool program is divided into two books, each with 25 weeks worth of activities.  The first workbook is for 3-4 year-olds and the second for 4-5 year-olds. There is an additional book you use with both workbooks that has all the poems, songs, short stories, and other readings you need to supplement the activities in the workbooks.

The first week we worked on identifying and writing the letters in her name, learning what it means to compare by finding similarities and differences, worked on fine motor skills, and learned a simple poem and song.

Here's the first activity book, second activity book, and book of readings.




This is the first time Evelyn has written her own name.  Sniff, sniff.




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