Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rambo, Snuggle, and baked beans

The last 48 hours seem a blur.  That's probably because, due to my lack of sleep and over-abundance of concern, I had to focus on just getting through.  This is my "Mommy mode" when my children get sick. 

Isaac managed to get himself a small sinus infection that brought along a viral friend.  Not fun.  103.4 fevers in the middle of the night and day, that nasty bug has been wreaking havoc on my little guy's belly and body as a whole. 

My control issues didn't start as a parent, they were there a long time prior.  I have worked very hard on defining myself based on who I am, and not what I can or cannot do.  But when my smiley, goofy little boy turns into a pale, pile of pain...control freak Christa jumps out of her skin and comes to life. 

Don't mess with my kids, fool. 

I arm myself with cleaning products while making sure Isaac is comfortable and drinking liquids...I fly here, I flit there, I throw a load of Isaac's bedsheets and clothes in with color-safe bleach on the hot water cycle (just to give me peace-of-mind that I'm the Rambo of germ killing).  I've got this. 

Until I sit by my son on the couch, flip his pillow to the "cold side," and look into his eyes.  They're red and fevered.  He begins to cry.  And so do I. 

After we cuddle for a minute, and I let my Rambo side slip away in place of my Snuggle bear softness, the empathy fills my heart.  Wow.  Being a mom requires so many emotions.  I've got this. 

Then, he says it.  With a small, wavering voice, he turns to me from watching a commercial on TV and says, "I want some Bush's baked beans."  Rambo...no....Snuggle?  Definitely not...

"You want some Bush's baked beans?" I repeat with a chuckle.  "I don't think that's good for your tummy right now, sweetheart." 

Fast forward 5 hours, and my once fevered boy is hopping around the kitchen, eating some dinner for the first time in 2 days, and asking me to exercise with him.  Oh, Isaac, you have no idea how much you've exercised my emotions in the past couple of days. 

You keep my heart fit.  We've got this. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moon rocks and other potential things...

The air is muggy, but warm.  Small swarms of bugs that float like clouds hover around above the moving water.  A couple of crickets are having a "sing off" not far from the rocky shore, while lightning bugs shine spotlights on their summer evening stage.  A trip to the river with my guys. 

Isaac is drawn to the water.  He always has been, and this, like most opposing forces, can be bad and good.  Good, because he is willing to adventure a bit more than the average child.  Bad, because, well...where there's adventure, one would hope there would be a healthy amount of fear...but Isaac usually has none.

As we skim the ground for skipping stones, I watch my sons hard at work.  Ethan, like his Dad, is slow and methodical--calculating each rock for it's diameter, perhaps forming a ratio between mass and velocity for maximum skipability.  Then, there's Isaac.  Oh, Isaac.  No care goes into the stone of choice--except that it must be heavier than it appears, dirtier than most, and completely buried beneath smaller, less superior, stones.  (AKA, a boulder)

I watch my 4 1/2 year old hoist his back into lifting a rock like a Norwegian on an ESPN Strongman competition.  Cheeks puff out, muscles flex, and knees bow as he hauls it to the edge of the water.

He launches it.  2 inches in front of him, barely making it into the water and hardly clearing his flip flopped toes.

"Whoa!"  Is all I hear him say.

He keeps up this rigorous routine until he has literally altered the flow of the river by the massive amounts of earth he has moved.  This boy doesn't let anything stop him.

This is why I love him so.

This boy sees a big rock, hidden beneath dirt, thought too big and clumsy to skip...and he digs it up, and sends it for the ride of it's life.  He doesn't see the difference between possible and impossible.  He is the literal, physical definition of potential. 

"Mommy, look!"  I maneuver over to him, and he holds out a fist.  "I found the moon!"

Keep it up, Booder, and you'll have the world in your hand too. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I never thought I would loose sleep over Isaac starting something like Vacation Bible School.  But I have.

Sunday night, I woke up three times, and each time, my eyelids would flip open like pop can tops.  I would think about how he would do in the large auditorium with screaming, excited children...and flash back to just last year when the noise was impossible for him to take when we would drop Ethan off with his teammates.  Don't worry, Christa...he'll be fine...he's come a long way...

But have I?

The wonderful people at Parkside Church who run this amazing program for kids did everything possible to help Isaac adjust.  When I registered the boys, and indicated Isaac's delays, they called me and personally asked what they could do to help him with transitions.  (I can't tell you how wonderful that made me feel...just to hear someone ask what they can do for Isaac...it's like my brain can take a huge sigh of relief).  "Would Isaac do better with a special helper?"  I could feel my eye brows furrow at the term "special helper," but after thinking for a moment, I said, "You know what, it would probably help give him a point of reference when he does get overwhelmed." 

This special helper's name, I was told, is Logan.

When Isaac and Logan met, they couldn't have been more opposite.  Logan is a tall, glasses wearing, sweet tempered and soft spoken young high school freshman.  At first, I thought the match wouldn't work.  How would this mild mannered kid keep Isaac focused?  Turns out, they were a perfect fit. 

This was the second full day of VBS for the kids, and Isaac has Logan as a buddy.  They run errands together, just to help Isaac get refocused for a team activity or a longer sit-down-and-focus time.  Logan talked to Isaac like every other child, and without being loud or obnoxious, he has gained Isaac's trust with softness and kindness.  He didn't mind that Isaac's normal tone of voice is louder than most--he spoke with an even level sound and it helped Isaac reign himself in.   I even watched as Isaac played with Logan in the classroom (okay, I snuck a peek or two) while the other kids ran and conversed...Isaac was content for time alone with his big new friend.  I made a mental note of this:  Isaac will need one trustworthy, soft-spoken, kind and gentle best friend as opposed to lots and lots of acquaintances like his big brother, Ethan.  This is how Isaac will thrive in a big world.

Thanks, Logan, for being an example of friendship to Isaac, and for giving me just one view of how Isaac will thrive in the years to come.

I can sleep peacefully tonight. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

White Meatballs!

I'm not a risk taker.  I believe this is why God blessed me with boys.  I am forced to think outside of my box, and, lately, challenge myself to try more than ever to Carpe Diem.

Today was haircut day.  My boys love going because the place has cool cars to sit in, movies and games to watch and play, and best of all? A free skeeball and free throw machine, train table, and Legos (just to name a few) when they're done!  We make a morning of it.  I tend to Isaac as he struggles with the sound and feel of the "ticklers" (this is the fun name we've given to the hair clippers, hoping it will help ease his sensory issues).  He's a champ, only getting figgity at the end.  This boy deserves a treat, I tell him!

I decide to take the boys to Dunkin Donuts.  I haven't had my coffee yet, and a coupon in my purse for a free one determines this to be the place.  We never have donuts.  They are a rarity.  So, when we walk into the shop, the smell of fried bread covered with sugar hits our noses like a tidal wave of deliciousness.  Isaac curiously eyes up the place...

Ethan opts for jelly filled, and Isaac, still unsure says, "I don't like it."  As a mom...this is my dilemma.  How do I consciously ENCOURAGE my child to eat a donut?  Thinking out of the box...it's about trying something new, and for Isaac, it's a life lesson learned.  So...I continue pushing the donut.  He goes to sit at the table and I decide for him.  3 Munchin donuts rolled in powdered sugar will do the trick.  I'm sure of it.

As we sit to partake, Isaac eyes up the bag with his treat inside.  Ethan devours his jelly filled edible pillow of delight, and Isaac...well, this one holds the donut hole in his hand and loudly proclaims:  "I LOVE WHITE MEATBALLS, MOM!"

Ethan and I burst out laughing and watch in both horror and pleasure as Isaac takes a savory bite...and another...and is wiping feverishly at the powdered sugar coating his little lips with delight...he wants another one, Mommy.

I can't always say we'll go to Dunkin Donuts more often.  Because it wasn't about the "white meatballs."  It was about trying something new.  Enjoying a change.  Savoring the moment.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

oh goodness gracious...

We all have our phrases.  You know, the "mommy phrase" you unconsciously say when things go off...mine is:  "Oh goodness gracious..."  (Yes, I know, it doesn't sound AT ALL ominous, but trust me, it is.)  And yesterday was a phrase day...

Isaac was unusually restless.  He's a busy body to begin with, but I'm not sure it was the box of Skittles he had at a friend's birthday party the night before,a late night coupled with no nap, perhaps my forgetting to give him his vitamins the past 2 days...who knows what the equation was...it was a hot mess.  He and I were both hot messes. 

He couldn't focus or play with one thing for more than 5 minutes.  He was making repetitive noises constantly, and stimming more than usual. He had accidents in his shorts all day, until I ran out of different ways to explain why going potty in our pants isn't acceptable.  His eye contact was nill to zip.  I found myself counting down the minutes until bed time...goodness gracious....

There it was. The phrase that came to mind the most when I was feeling out of sorts, and watching my son separate from his usual self.  And I had to think about what I was really saying...what it really meant. 

Gracious.  Grace.  Goodness.  All of the above...

God was trying to speak to me, and I wasn't listening. 

I decided to take Isaac out to the store with me.  He usually does very well there, and it actually gives him a chance to do tasks with me and accomplish something.  He wouldn't stop making spitting sounds.  There we were, strolling the aisles of the grocery store, and I whispered to myself as I watched Isaac flap his hands and shake his head..."goodness...gracious...please...." 

My prayer.  My phrase.  Daily.

Of course, the day was difficult.  There will always be those days.  The wonderful thing is grace doesn't have a calendar, it isn't picky or choosy about when and where it can soothe the soul--remind a person that it's alright if you can't do it alone.  My God's grace is sufficient for me.  He is my El Shaddai, my All Sufficient One.  And in my day with Isaac, I was reminded of His name and His grace.  His goodness.  My need for Him at all times.

Isaac is a gift to me.  A trying, frustrating, beautiful, miraculous gift that I open each day and see more of God's Holy Spirit pour through...if only I will listen. 

       His goodness and grace speak loud and clear.