On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Friday, August 22, 2008

"I Swim Like Michael Phelps"







Future Olympic Gold???










Caedmon has been taking swim lessons since he was 6 and 1/2 months old. Tom really wanted him to learn to swim early since Tom has never been a strong swimmer. Thus, we searched out swim classes almost as soon as Caedmon was born and found that 6 months is the earliest starting time for most programs. In November 2006, Caedmon and I began our weekly treks to Emler Swim School. Until June of this year, I had to suit up and join Caedmon in the water. Kudos to Emler for having a great program and outstanding teachers.

The teachers had Caedmon swimming under water in no time and by the looks of things, we were going to have a world class swimmer on our hands. It was hard to believe that our 7 month old could swim under water for several seconds at a time. However, things changed after a few months and suddenly, I was dealing with a crying boy for at least part of every class. Over the next year Caedmon had his ups and downs. He would swim great and fully cooperate for a few months and then suddenly, one day he would scream for the entire class. The worst episode was in February of this year. He had been doing amazingly well and suddenly, he started screaming for the entire class. In the past it had only been for parts of the class...namely the part where he had to swim under water with the instructor. However, this particular rough spot consisted of all out sobbing and clinging to me like he was never going to let go. Let me tell you, it was not fun AT ALL! I was fervently praying for it to end and end quickly. Fortunately, it was yet another phase and passed after a few (very long) weeks.

As I already mentioned, in June Caedmon graduated to a class where he doesn't need mommy to swim with him. It was perfect timing since, at that point, I was very pregnant with Libby and shortly, it was going to be difficult enough to juggle two kids let alone factor mommy & me swim class into the mix. In early June, Caedmon was swimming pretty well. He would go under for a few seconds at a time and seemed to enjoy doing it. He used his legs really well but wasn't really moving his arms at all. Tom even encouraged me to sign him up for an additional backyard swim program to see if we could improve his skills.

Fast forward to today and we have a toddler who proclaims, "I swim like Michael Phelps" and proceeds to kick and pull and swim the length of the pool. Wow! Swimming for Caedmon was one of those skills that just came together over night. We were waiting and waiting for some kind of improvement and it seemed like one day he just got really comfortable and started swimming.





This morning we had friends over to swim. I had to run inside the house to get something and I forgot to tell my friend that Caedmon can hold his own. When I got out of the pool, Caedmon was in an inner tube. My friend was still easing her way into the cool water on the opposite side of the pool. Caedmon decided to leave the inner tube to swim but my friend saw trouble. All of the sudden I heard a big splash and I instantly realized that she thought a rescue mission was needed. Caedmon couldn't quite understand what all of the hubbub was about. Yes, he is truly starting to swim like Michael Phelps. Maybe someday he'll bring home gold...

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Daddy's Ramblings... and Rumblings

Life with baby#2 has been more stressful and tiresome than I could ever have anticipated. I would not change it for the world because Libby is just about 8 weeks old now and starting to begin to interact with us. We are finally able to get some sleep... once in a while. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to her development as Caedmon has really blossomed into quite an active and engaging toddler. No matter how much I feel about this time, it in no way compares with what Lynette has had to do in order to get through each and every day of the past 8 weeks. I cannot imagine it. When I asked her how she does it... she says it is not by her strength, but by what God gives her. When I think about how exhausting and time-consuming it is to take care of both Caedmon and Libby (and the house) when I am home post-call or on the weekends when I am not working, I often feel guilty that Lynette is by herself most of the days when I am just at work.

My job comes with a great sacrifice of time... time which can never be gotten back. Even though there is great financial security, there are times when I wonder if it is worth it. The fractured friendships in my work-life have never truly healed and at times the strains of those torn relationships continue to push my mind to wish for greener pastures. I even look forward to taking weekend call shifts because I don't have to be in the hospital with the rest of my partners. God made us for work, but so often we do the work we want and not the work He has called us to do. I do feel that I have gotten to be a part of Caedmon's life so far and I now take five or six 24 hour calls per month to ensure that I get to spend more time with everyone. I plan on continuing that as L-girl continues to grow. However, I must remember that the quality of that time is more important than the quantity. Being around more is not helpful if what we do together is not memorable and productive.

Lynette so clearly to me is a shining light for what a wife and a mother should be. Her calling to me is clear. But what about me? Yes, firstly I am a husband and a daddy. In spite of that, my profession as a physician is not all I hope there is when I look back years from now. It is not enough. It does not challenge nor fulfill me. For the most part, I don't see God in it. My job right now is the means to financially provide for my family... period. The joy in daily contact with patients is fleeting. We've been in our new home for a little over a year now and the costs of maintaining it are still in it's early costly stages. Our children do not lack for anything. We are able to buy whatever we feel they need. That is one of the great ironies of money though. Money allows me to do and obtain things that I should have sought God in prayer for (and probably would not have been allowed to have by God). For example, would God have given me a $900 vacuum cleaner even if I had earnestly prayed for one?!? That is another story, one which I hope I won't have to someday shamefully tell. Suffice to say, I forgot to consult Lynette when I went out to make this major purchase. I may never indulge in buying a Porche, but I certainly can afford a creme de la creme vacuum!

As the Bible teaches, money is not in of itself evil... it is in fact neutral. It's what you do with it that shows your true valuation of it. It is an aspect of stewardship that many fail to grasp. For if I truly believe that it is really God's money, would I spend it so freely and frivolously at times? Why don't I use it more to further His kingdom? Why don't I use it more to ease suffering of the poor and needy in the community and in the world? If it weren't for the fact that Lynette, Caedmon, and Libby can have comfort in life, then making money in this manner for me would be intolerable in the long run. I would seek out something that is truly fulfilling, but I wouldn't know where to start. Being a physician is all I know. And since I don't have any other directions in life, then being a money making machine should theoretically allow me to be a funnel of God's money. What is truly missing right now for me is a solid ground in God. We hope to begin a neighborhood Crown Financial Ministries Bible Study with Ashley Hodge, but that undertaking has not materialized yet. Being a part of Crown has always led to some of the closest walks I have had with Christ. I haven't read my Bible this year and it definitely shows. It is during these empty times that I realized that the roots of my faith are not as deep as I wish to believe they are.

My mom had been here this past week and we have sent her onwards to Arizona to visit my brother & sister. She returns here next week for a few days and as she leaves, Lynette's sister Heather will be taking her place. Though having house-guests may be trying at times, we have been blessed by the abundance of family who have loved our children and us enough to come and help us during this time.

I'm back on call again tomorrow, but I had the blessing of having today off (since I was on-call this previous Saturday). Over the past week, I got to watch Michael Phelps win 8 gold Olympic medals (breaking 7 world records) in China. I got to swim with Caedmon this weekend and saw his version of swimming like Michael Phelps - this was a grand display of making as much water splash with his arms as he swam in our backyard pool. I look forward to being able to go and see Caedmon in swim school when I get home Wednesday morning and spend the rest of the day with him.

Lynette is out this evening with her friend. She should be back soon. They both have the baby girls with them. I am thankful for Erin's friendship with Lynette. They have been a source of encouragement for one another as the girls are only a few weeks apart in age. Going through the roller-coaster ride of the first few months of caring for a newborn while chasing 2 year old toddlers has taken it's toll on both families, but we all know that we are so very blessed to have these children and each other in our lives. God has truly shined his light on us and I need to remember that the greatest gift has already been given by Him. We shall all someday stand with Jesus - together, as we enjoy the adventures of eternity. It is our hope to raise our children in an environment that enables them to decide to follow Jesus and someday stand with us as we fully understand all the whys of our lives. Re-reading what I have written... Yes, I can keep on working like this. It is all worth it to see that they are all ok and taken care of. They have become my reason for work... and for now, that is all I need to know when I am in the hospital doing what I do.

The Conspiracy



Is it possible for a 2 year old and a 7 week old to hatch a conspiracy? Probably not but some days I am convinced that this is exactly what is happening. It is a conspiracy to make sure that mommy gets as little sleep as possible...especially on the days when daddy works 24 hours. Today, AT&T and some solicitor were a part of their scheme, too. I was so excited to get both kids down at the same time. Then, just as I was falling asleep, the door bell rang...then, 10 minutes later the phone. Aaagh! For those of you pregnant with your second child, I think this is by far the hardest part of dealing with two. Sleep is hard to come by...however, God does provide what I need to make it through the day. Praise Him!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Mama






...My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness... 2 Corinthians 12:9









Whew! We've made it through the first 6 1/2 weeks of Libby's life and everyone is still alive...not necessarily clean but alive. Tom & I realized on Sunday evening that poor Caedmon had not had a bath since Tuesday (we did get him into the shower that night so he now smells sweet again).  This also made me realize my sinful, self-centeredness since I was complaining that I was only getting a shower every 2 or 3 days lately. Yes, personal hygiene is one of those things that can slip when one has two children 2 and under to care for each day. Caedmon was also nice enough to point out that mommy has been lax about other areas of hygiene ("what's that, mama?, " pointing to my armpit and the hair growing there...ugh!). Okay, enough of revelations about my lack of perfection (or should I say, cleanliness).

It is certainly different to start this motherhood thing for the second time. It is all at once easier and harder. There is a confidence that was not present the first time around. With Caedmon, everything was unknown and a brand new experience. At least with Libby, we've been here before. We have vague memories from those first Caedmon sleep-deprived days of all of these new and different baby things. Of course, it also feels like it was eons ago and sometimes everything seems new all over again. There is something comforting about looking at Caedmon and realizing that he is turning out pretty well despite the many mistakes we probably made in those first days and months. On the other hand, having two little bodies and souls to care for adds a brand new twist. I realize the blessing of the times I had to just snuggle with my sweet Caedmon when he was an infant. With Libby, there are not as many times to snuggle since Caedmon is in need of mama too.

Tom told me that I should get down some thoughts on Libby so she would be able to look back and see what we were thinking/experiencing during these first weeks of her life. I find it really hard to describe the personalities of newborns. I've read books where they try to categorize babies (textbook, angel, grumpy) but even with those guidelines, I can't put my little one a box. There have been times when we've claimed her to be fussy or colicky, but I'm not sure that's true. She has her days or her moments, but then there are equal days where she is fairly pleasant and sleeps easily in the evening. As I type, sweet Libby is sound asleep on the "boppy" pillow in my lap (of course, she was supposed to be eating but didn't drink much before dropping off to sleep). She's always been fairly good at sleeping in at nighttime. Getting her to sleep is not always clearcut, but once she's down, she's all about sleeping. She wakes only long enough to nurse; then, happily gets swaddled back up and deposited in her bassinet until the next feeding. During the day, she is now having good stretches of awake time. She likes to sit in her bouncy seat and coo and gurgle and smile at everyone or no one.
However, when it's nap time, I haven't quite figured out the key to getting her off to sleep easily. My friend Erin sings the praises of a sling. Libby's not crazy about my "hotsling." However, I am going to borrow a ring sling (the adjustable kind) from Nancy and we'll see if that works better. Libby is often a fan of the Baby Bjorn and also LOVES to be swaddled and patted. We found that the swaddle is the key to car rides. If we strap her in swaddled, she is quite content. Slowly but surely we are learning the likes and dislikes of our 2nd born.

One day, Libby will hate me for sharing this fact, but she is our crazy pooper. The girl cannot keep her diaper clean. I change at least a dozen diapers a day (all hers...Caedmon is a different story) and they are ALL poopy! And no one warned me that changing girl diapers can be equally if not more dangerous than changing boy diapers. If she's not projectile pooping, she peeing on herself. (Yes, I did say, "PROJECTILE POOPING"!) Ugh! I have come to dread changing diapers because it is rarely clearcut. In fact, we've been known to go through 2 or 3 diapers during one changing session. She introduced us to the projectile pooping in her first days at home. Tom and I were completely unprepared. We both happened to be with her at changing time and she was not all too happy to have her diaper removed. In her fit of screaming, she drew up her legs and the next thing we knew there was poop flying through the air. It hit everything in sight (which included Tom, our bed sheets and numerous other things). Gross!!! It was still the sticky brown meconium at that point too. All I could do was laugh because it was so completely unexpected. She has since had another poop explosion at her 1 month pediatrician appointment. I narrowly missed being the target of that one. It was quite an ordeal though with the latex gloves and disinfectant being used to clean the poop covered exam room!

Caedmon loves his baby sister. She is smothered in kisses all day long. However, he is not always keen on how much of mommy's attention she requires. The hardest times are when I'm nursing her. He could care less about me if I'm not caring for Libby but once the boppy comes out, he is in dire need of being as close to me as possible. In fact, one day he decided he could "help mommy feed Libby." That entailed him putting his hand on my breast...ugh! I think he was thinking about all of his big brother books where the big brother gets to help feed a bottle to the baby. Needless to say, I have been trying to encourage him to help in other ways. His big role is to be my burp cloth fetcher. I inevitably forget to have a burp rag around. He is great at finding them and bringing them to me. However, a few days ago, he decided that he needed the burp rag, too. Now, I always tell him to get two (one for me and one for him). He insists on his being placed on his shoulder, too. Yesterday, I told him to get a stuffed animal to burp. He came back with a Superman figurine. "I'm burping my superhero!", he informed me.

One big encouragement in this second round of life with a newborn is that Libby is growing really well. Caedmon was extremely small in his first 4 months of life. Looking back, I can find a number of reasons to blame it on. It really doesn't matter at this point since he's a healthy, active 2 year old. However, it did make me worry a little that I would produce enough milk to successfully nurse L-girl. The first weeks of breastfeeding are always difficult and I think every nursing mama wonders if her baby is getting enough to eat. My fears were allayed when at her 1 month appointment, Libby weighed a whopping 8 lbs 9.5 oz. Okay, for people like Gretchen whose son weighed 9lb 10 oz at birth Libby's weight does not sound that outstanding. However, she did gain almost 2 lbs since birth and she weighed a whole pound more than Caedmon did at the same age. Libby actually looks a little chubby and with Caedmon, he didn't look chubby until he was at least 6 months old. All that to say, I'm feeling much more successful at this breastfeeding thing this time around. Yea!

We're slowly starting to venture out of the house. When Tom or family are here, it's not so bad to try a shopping trip or to eat out, but the idea of just me, Caedmon and Libby was a bit overwhelming. We started slow. Early on, we went to playgroup at a friend's house. That was easy. Next, we tried swim lessons - a little more challenging, but still doable. This week, I really took the plunge. After swim lessons, we went shopping AND out to eat. Fortunately, both kids cooperated and I'm now feeling pretty good about trying again. There are some challenges. One of my big concerns was how well the Babyjogger double (side-by-side) all-terrain stroller would really work. It was fine. I even maneuvered through J. Crew! Lunch worked well because L-girl slept the whole time...and I didn't have to feed her until we got home. We'll definitely be hanging around home more than I did when it was just Caedmon and I, but now I know that outings with two kiddos can be accomplished. I'm sure they won't all be as smooth as our first, but even with just Caedmon, things weren't always smooth. At least I know I can do it!

So, to sum up, although I am sleep-deprived, dirty and feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, I am also blessed beyond words and actually, surviving this adventure of motherhood. I'm really enjoying getting to know my new baby girl and watching Caedmon accept her into his life. I pray that they will develop a loving friendship with each other. I know we will have sibling squabbles in the future but I pray that they will always value each other and the blessing it is that God has given them a family who loves them. Looking back over this post, it is truly rambling...however, it is probably a good reflection of me right now.
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