The Kids

The Kids

Monday, March 30, 2009

Battle Of The Will

It is official. Caleb is two-years old.

Yes, he has been this age since October, but lately we are finding him to be the "typical two-year old." He has been testing us, arguing with everyone, and showing his very strong stubborn streak.

Fun times.

Today, I asked him to pick up his lincoln logs off the floor and put them back in the box. He said, "I don't want to!" I then told him to help me pick them up and got him started. He dared to say again, "I don't want to!" Still (amazingly enough) keeping my temper, I showed him the instruction sheet and told him to pick it up and put it in the box. The child actually repeated the phrase, "I don't want to!"

Bye-bye Mommy's loving tone.

We actually spent the following twelve minutes battling over picking up one piece of paper and putting it in the box. After a couple of spankings (not that they really hurt when he is wearing a pull-up) and the phrase, "Put it in the box" wearing thin, I sent him to his room. He actually continued to cry and cry all the while he knew Abby was downstairs, eating lunch and watching their beloved "Olivia" show.

I went back upstairs with the box and paper in hand (if I took him downstairs, he would just stare at the tv, thus winning the battle) and placed it at the doorway. He knew he had to put the paper in the box in order to get out.

He still said "No" and cried.

After being locked in his room a second time, it got quiet so I thought he was ready to apologize. I was wrong. The little stinker was playing with toys in his closet.

Are you kidding me?

Finally, after another time of discipline and the chance to pick it up, he finally gave in. Then he received his hug from me and his lunch.

I had to keep from laughing when he looked at the tv and asked, "Where's Olivia?" Well, Caleb, you missed it. Crying over the ridiculous request of your terrible mother to pick up a piece of paper and put it in a box kept you from watching one of your favorite shows.

The question is, will this become a lesson for future battles or will he actually fight me on something so trivial again?

Sadly, I think I know the answer to this question and I am not looking forward to seeing it played out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Good Daddy

I knew when I married Nick he would be a good dad. I am not sure what made me think so-he had absolutely no experience with babies and obviously neither of us had any clue what we were doing when we first became parents (not that we do now, either). It was his caring spirit and sacrificial way of giving of his time that assured me I was marrying the right man.

This month has proven my first thoughts by leaps and bounds. Caleb has been sick off and on for the last few weeks and I believe it is Nick to have the bigger amount of patience with him. Every night that Caleb wakes up with coughing fits, Nick goes in and lays down with him, comforting him back to sleep. I never hear him complain about it-in fact, he just keeps expressing his worry for how his little guy is feeling.

Even last night, while Caleb threw up in my arms, instead of running the other way, Nick took him in his arms, not even worrying about the possibility of more outbursts on its way (which did happen two more times).

He did manage to grab a towel and cover himself with it first, but takes a real man to hold a kid who is vomiting.

I have married a man who works hard all day, teaching rich kids who treat him like their personal servant, then rushes off to coach whatever sport is in season, who then comes home and sacrifices his need for rest in order to spend time with his children. Whether they are happy or sad, laughing or crying, healthy or sick, pleasant or moody-he loves them unconditionally.

I know I do not tell him enough, but I am very proud of him and humbled by the fact that I am blessed to have him as my spouse.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Love Her

It was the typical argument. Caleb had announced that he pooped and neither of us wanted the job of changing him. The poor child was walking back and forth between us, begging for relief.

Nick said to him, "Who do you want to change you, Caleb?"
Caleb answered, "Mommy!"
When Nick asked him why, he answered, "Because I love her."

I have never had love expressed to me in such an unusual way.

(Thankfully my husband expressed his love to me by changing Caleb anyway, without complaint.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What A Week

*Note: The following post is through the eyes of Caleb, who has had quite a week.

This past week has been rough. Not just on me, but I seem to get the feeling that Mommy and Daddy are quite exhausted. I don't really understand why they are tired-I am the one who has been sick.

It started with a cough. I decided to start coughing like a seal right about the time when they were falling asleep (I tend to have a talent for timing these things just right). After scaring them a little bit with my gasping for breath, throwing up (in the toilet and on Mommy's shirt), and sweating it out in a steamy bathroom, I calmed down and started to fall asleep. I made sure to cry just enough that Daddy slept next to me for most of the night.

After a few more attacks like that, I managed to get my hacking down to a simple cough. It's too bad that my cough only got bad at night. I usually waited until Mommy's foot hit the top of the stairs and was heading to her bed when I woke up and started crying.

Like I said-I have a talent for timing.

Then came the runny nose, slight fever, and overall crankiness. Can I help it if I whine more when I'm sick? I guess I did start to sound like my sister when she doesn't get her own way, but is that my fault? I just couldn't figure out why Mommy always looked like she was losing her mind every time I complained. I think she needs to work on her patience.

I did try some new things this week. I tried really hard to poop on the potty. When Mommy was not looking, I pushed and pushed and then ran to tell her about it. I guess I ran too fast because for some reason, the poop followed me. I could not tell if Mommy was crying out of laughter or frustration while she cleaned up my mess, but at least she told me she was proud of me for trying. She even gave me a couple of M&Ms for effort.

I got better, though. The next day, I pooped on the potty and made sure it stayed in there before I stood up. I have never seen Mommy so happy-she gave me lots and lots of M&Ms that day! Maybe I should do that more often-I really like chocolate.

Perhaps it was all the M&Ms or maybe it was the medicine I was on, but for some reason, I started having some diaper issues. I kept hearing Mommy and Daddy talking about something called "diarrhea?" All I know is, the first time that happened, they did not seem too thrilled. I seem to recall Mommy rushing me to the bathroom before trying to change me, my diaper falling off, lots of stuff running all over the floor, Daddy climbing over me to grab toilet paper, Mommy cleaning me and the floor up and Daddy making some kind of gagging noise.

All I know for sure is after six times of this happening, I was very sore. I decided to make my point by crying all afternoon and refusing to sit. I felt bad because I really thought Mommy might have been losing it, but what's a kid to do?

Lately, I have been feeling a little better. My diaper issues are clearing up, my cough is not as bad and I have tried to be a nicer person. I still do manage to cough and cry a little at night-just enough to get Daddy to cuddle with me until I fall asleep. He makes me feel safe.

I am very tired after such a long week. It is hard being two-years old. I think Mommy and Daddy need to remember that-they have it much easier.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life's Passion

While in college, I used to wonder how anyone could lose their passion for their faith. It came so naturally to me to be excited about everything. Perhaps that is because I attended a Christian college where the opportunities for growth were endless. And perhaps it is because I was surrounded by people who were excited as well. Most likely it is because I was a youth ministries major so I was constantly in the Word and given opportunities to spread the good news.

Flashfoward nine years and here I am-tired, worn out, and almost numb to the passion that once existed. Instead of having all the time in the world for my thoughts and ideas about what I want to do with my life, I am constantly scrambling to accomplish the next thing on my to-do list. My morning quiet times have been shortened by the early rising of two children. While I used to enjoy every moment of a walk or run in nature, it is now interrupted by the needs of children in the stroller who are begging for snacks and drinks. Instead of thinking about where I think God is calling me, I have to think about where He is calling the entire family.

I used to laugh when people said college was not as busy as real life. I did not think it was possible.

In the midst of my pity party of longing for my freedom, I was reminded of someone who had such a different attitude about life. Michael Barbato was one of the Pisgah leaders in college (for you non-Geneva people, the Pisgah Program was full of outdoor experiencial education-ropes courses, rock climbing, camping trips, etc.) and he probably had the most impact on my college life than anyone else.

Michael worked for the Coalition of Christian Outreach and had a vision for the Pisgah Program at Geneva. My favorite classes were always with him and not just because we spent most of them up in the hills on the ropes course or on camping trips. But, because of what I learned through him. He absolutely loved what he was doing with his life. He was one of those rare people who glowed with genuine joy. His patience and kindness surpassed that of anyone else I know.

One thing that stuck with me was when he said, "Think about your favorite thing to do. Now, go and make a job out of that." Impractical? Maybe. But, when you think of your passions, wouldn't those be from God? He gives us our desires for a reason and the world would work much better if we were all doing what we loved to do and what we were gifted for. Michael was an example of that.

After college, I heard Michael was diagnosed with Stage Four Metastatic Melanoma. During his treatment, he kept working for Pisgah. I was working as a youth director and took my group to the ropes course for a day. When watching Michael that day, one would never think he was sick. The image of him "skiing" down a big hill on a bunch of logs, laughing the entire way, is forever in my mind.

That was the last day I saw Michael. We moved to Cincinnati, I eventually got pregnant with Abby and the day I got home from the hospital after her birth, I got an email saying that Michael had passed away.

He died on October 4th, two days before I had Abby. He left behind his amazing wife, Kristi, and two small sons, Peter and Zachary. As a parent for an entire two days while reading that email, my heart immediately ached for his family. And then it ached for an entire world that suffered a tremendous loss. Over four years later and I still have to wonder why God took him home so early.

Someone on facebook recently started a group called Michael Barbato Memories. As I am writing this, it already has 97 members. I have enjoyed reading what others have said about him, each story bringing tears to my eyes.

After going back in time and remembering his passion for life, it was like being hit with a ton of bricks. My complaining attitude and longing for what used to be is ridiculous. I can no longer wish for more alone time or amazing people around me as the answer to my renewed passion. True joy only comes from Christ and no matter my life situation, the passion should remain. It might look different and not appear as exciting or come as easily, but that is part of the Christian walk. We were never told it would be easy.
(The picture is of me jumping from a tree on the "giant swing" and Michael is the one standing behind me, encouraging me to take the leap.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dr. Caleb

Since Caleb is doing really well with the potty training and has been using pull-ups, he has decided to drop his drawers whenever he wants and run naked.

(Not too bad at home, but we might have some issues if he starts doing this in public.)

So, yesterday I was running around trying to pack up a few things for a quick visit to my parent's house and was not really paying attention to my son. He suddenly walks into my room with only a shirt on, holding a toy stethescope. The problem was, he was not checking his heartbeat, but was listening to another part of the body.

He stood there, with the stethescope in his ears, holding the end on his you-know-what and said, "I'm listening to my _____, Mommy!"

It took every bit of restraint not to ask him what he heard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy

For those of you who have not seen this yet...