A Humbling Reminder

Today I went to my OB in order to obtain the results of my nuchal translucency test. And yes, I did have to Google that in order to get the correct spelling.

I've got to admit, I was nervous. This prenatal screening was taken to see if there were any chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, including Down Syndrome or any major congential heart problems.

We're 15 weeks along. I'm feeling a lot better, I'm eating well and have a pretty good amount of energy... well, you know, compared to the first trimester. But with the exception of a few flutters I thought I felt this past week and my growing baby bump, how am I supposed to know if everything is healthy? How am I supposed to know if everything is happening according to the "plan"? How do I know if the baby is getting everything he/she needs? I really don't.

On my way to the doctor, I was thinking about how I might handle the results to this test.

What if?

You know what I'm talking about. It's that sudden realization where you have to conceed the fact that ultimately, you are NOT in control. You have little say in how this little one came to be, grows and matures into the little person God designed them to be. And whether God meant for them to be a child with Down Syndrome or with a heart problem, whether it's a boy, or a girl, you've got to be okay with that.

Well, my OB said that our chances of this baby having Down Syndrome were slim to none and everything looks beautiful. We're looking forward to (hopefully) finding out the sex on November 3rd! I was thrilled. My dreams of Baby Sauer #3 growing into a healthy, gifted and productive man/woman seemed to be coming true. But I still had to catch myself. God is still in control. God has the final say. God knows what we can handle and what we need most.

It was another moment of motherhood where I felt extremely humble. Grateful. Small. God is allowing me to carry this little one for Him. It is His child. He is the Master Designer, the Creator, the Mastermind behind this beautiful being. And my job is to simply trust Him to complete the work He started.

Thank you, God, for entrusting this little one to my care. We have already been so blessed by this new life.


One on One

Another post written by my co-author, my dad. Thanks for never hesitating to spend time with us, Dad.

When our kids were younger, it was rare that Donna and I would be away from home with only one child at a time. However, when we were able to take one at a time, we noticed that the child became more attentive and compliant. Once we discovered how well each child responded, we began to look for opportunities to ask each one to come along with us when we went out.

Don’t get me wrong. These weren’t elaborate trips to the zoo or Chuck E. Cheese’s. These were quick trips to pick up a car at the repair shop, the grocery store or any other routine trip that needed to be made. We spent time talking with them about things that interested them and would often buy a treat for them to enjoy on the way home (usually Anderson’s Custard because that’s what I liked).

We found this to be one way to deal with sibling rivalry as well. When their bickering would get to a fever pitch, we physically separated them; either in different rooms or I would take one in the car somewhere; anywhere. When it got to this point, we were desperate. But, the personal attention usually calmed the storm. Maybe that’s what they needed all along.


Adventures in Sleeping. Or not.

Ooh, the adventures of parenting toddlers. Just when you think you know what you're doing... BAMB... something happens to remind you how little you really know.

Sleeping - or rather, going to sleep - has been our biggest issue lately.

It didn't used to be. Well, you know, after we finally figured out a plan that worked in getting them to finally start sleeping through the night. We had to adjust our plan when the boys were sick, when we had a family getogether, when we transitioned from two naps to just one, but overall, things have been going really really well.

A month ago, however, things changed. It was as if the boys just discovered that their partner in crime was only five feet from their crib and they had a license to entertain them. They'd jump, throw out their blankets, do somersaults, stand on their hand, make crazy noises, scream, yell to each other... it was insane. "What did I do wrong?" I wondered. Perhaps the change came because of our move into the new apartment. But this began more than a month after. Were they sensing me to be too soft? Probably. It was around this same time that we learned we were pregnant and so I had been increasingly exhausted. I just didn't have the energy to follow through on much of anything. I was just trying to maintain status quo!

My husband and I talked relentlessly about what we should do. We tried various tactics, but were only met with short success. Should we just concede defeat? Separate them into two bedrooms and let them cry themselves to sleep? We did have an additional bedroom in our new apartment, but we wanted to make that into the nursery. What should we do? This mommy needed sleep (and my boys were monsters without theirs as well!)

We knew a lot of this was developmental. The boys have been trying to assert their independence in other areas of their life - perhaps this was just an extension of that. So my husband decided to talk to the boys. They're only two and a half, you say, how much would they even understand? True, I wouldn't have thought this technique to be as effective as it turned out to be. But as we were reading books as part of our regular nightly routine, Andy told the boys what was coming next. "We're going to read books, sing some songs, pray, and then we're going to bed. When you're in your crib, there is no jumping." He repeated this same concept a few times during our routine and then again as we were walking them to their cribs. "No jumping," Ben repeated. Hmm, they understood.

That night, the jumping seemed to have stopped. They still would yell each other's name, say, "Mommy, where are yewww?" and make noises, but no more jumping. This seemed to make sense: my boys always have liked to know what was coming. They want to know the expectations (even if they choose not to follow them.) They're not a fan of surprises.

Andy continued doing this same thing for the next few nights until the jumping stopped completely. Then we noticed they were doing a crazy amount of somersaults and standing on their heads. So last night, he added something else to our bedtime routine. "When you go into your cribs, there's..." (Boys interrupted to say, "No jumping.") "Yes, that's right. No jumping. And there are no somersaults."

I've been repeating this same technique at naptime, too, trying to stay consistent. And they've been responding! Today when I put them down, Jack said, "No dumping. No saw-salts. Mommy 'appy!" (Translation: "No jumping. No somersaults. Mommy happy!") Yeah, I'd say they're getting the message.

Last night was wonderful. Tonight was wonderful. Both nights, they layed down without a problem and didn't make any noises. It took us a while to get here, but I'd say progress is happening!!

Throughout the past two and a half years, I've learned that there's nothing more humbling than attempting to raise your own children. No other job in the world reminds you just how much (and how little) control you have over certain things in life. We've had our share of successes and our share of failures, all of which have been humbling. But we're learning. And I believe we're getting better. At least until the next kid comes and reminds us how little we know!

I should also mention that the boys decided against a nap this afternoon. Don't think we're 100% fixed. But I'm going to blame this afternoon on two dirty diapers and a mommy who was more interested in editing and uploading photos than going in to see why they were both still awake. Ya see? Humbling. But still, we're moving in the right direction!