Monday, November 28, 2011

The Odd Little Things

Raccoon does not like getting his fingernails cut (along with baths, crowds, loud noises, and what he calls "scary people"). He finally managed to communicate recently that it's the sound the clippers make that he doesn't like, and he commented in surprise, "No hurt?"

One of the phrases he learned quickly was "no touching," like if he didn't want a hug, or for me to touch him while he was nursing. He's not totally against cuddling if he's tired, but if he's on the go, it's more like he's trying to say "do not get in my way!"

The blog, In Particular, reminds me in many ways of Raccoon. When we can ride quietly somewhere in the car for 30 min, I breathe a sigh of relief. When we can go out in public, spend more than an hour away from home, or get through a meal at a restaurant, I thank the Lord for these moments of grace. But I still feel like I'm holding my breath, wondering if something will go wrong.

My two favorite quotes from In Particular:

"A wise friend told me to fight the urge to define what Henry won't do, wouldn't want, or can't handle. He'll let you know, he said. Let him show you what's possible."

"Lately, being Henry's mom is like listening to a violinist on the streets of Venice. I know the pigeons are dirty and occasionally I think the whole city is crumbling into the sea, but can you even believe this moment? I'm guessing this kid is going to have his heart broken a thousand times in large and small ways. Here's to hoping all those pieces get gathered up to refract light into something beautiful."

Raccoon, you are amazing, and your life is powerful already. Anything is possible and you are beautiful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teaching Children

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.

And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then]

you shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (Amplified Bible)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


"My mom reminds me what is possible, what is important, and what I need to do to give my son the world's best opportunities." Quote from a blog called In Particular.

As you can probably tell if you've read much of my blog, I love quotes. I think I got this from my mom, who also likes to collect bits and pieces from her extensive reading. Although my husband and I don't really celebrate Thanksgiving (we live outside the U.S.), it is good to appreciate what I have. I am grateful for many things, but reading this quote reminded me of how thankful I am to have a supportive mom.

Raccoon is actually my fourth child, although I no longer have the first three. My first daughter was born in 2005, came to us in 2006, and died in 2007. She had severe special needs, and my mom was with me through all the doctor visits, therapies, and the eventual despair when we realized she wouldn't be getting better. My next two daughters were in foster care with us for a year and a half before they were adopted. Raccoon is my first biological son, but not my first child. And my mom has been there through it all, encouraging me and helping me to go just a little bit further each time. And I am so very thankful for that. Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Let it be known to you all… that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole… Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10,11)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Trust Your Instincts

One of my favorite pieces of advice from a college professor was, "If it's not working, stop doing it."

Albert Einstein said: "One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one's greatest efforts."

"Any parent knows the doubt monster and those of us charting an unconventional path know him even better," from the blog Diapers to Driver's Ed.

Trust myself with the things I think Raccoon needs: multi-age friend time and more resilience.

5/13 Edited to add - Raccoon's residence has improved a hundredfold, as shown by our recent move. I am so proud of him. These are still my prayers for him.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I just wanted to mention a great post about Advent, with lots more good ideas in the comments. When I was 5 years old or so, my family didn't have much money for Christmas. To make December more special, my very creative mom decided to give my brother and I something little every day, starting on the 1st until the 24th. She continued this tradition all the way through college for both of us, eventually adding our spouses as well. It didn't matter how little the gifts were, soon I was the envy of all my friends. "Something every day until Christmas, wow!" I just thought my mom was great, I had no idea we were relatively poor. My mom called the December presents "Advent" and other things were added to our family tradition as the years passed - old serial stories from the newspaper, readings about Christmas and Christ, along with periodic candle lightings and special church services.

Raccoon is 2 this year and I just realized when I read the above post that I'd better get busy if I want to start our own Advent traditions this year!

P.S. One of my prayers this last month is that I will be bold in sharing Jesus and my faith in Him, and that I will be able to share His love with Raccoon this year as we enter the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Raccoon has decided this week that he no longer wants to take a nap. He is two years and 1 month old. When I did foster care, even my 5 year old took a nap. So I'm thinking, "No more afternoon nap?! You've got to be kidding me!?" but I repented when he fell asleep at 7 pm instead of his usual 10-11 pm.

We also have some visitors coming in about 10 days, so I'm just going to take this time to see what our napless days look like before I try to figure out how this is all going to work.

Edited to add: Thankfully, he was just getting his molars and did eventually go back to taking a nap. Phew! 

Edited to add: He officially gave up his afternoon nap at 3 years, five months, just one month after his baby sister was born. That one month had several blissful, shared naps.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Raccoon only sticks to any schedule for about 3 weeks, and when he was younger he had no schedule at all. Even with his sleeping we go through cycles - late mornings, naps and nights, or moderate hours, or really early rising and sleeping times. It seems like I just get settled in and figure how to live with whatever schedule we're on when he suddenly switches to something totally different. At first I thought he'd never settle down, but now that I know that we'll eventually cycle through, it's somewhat easier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Good Reminder

I've not read the book, but I like this quote (found here) and some of Kohn's ideas about parenting; it's a good reminder to focus on the future in the midst of the needy NOW.

“In short, with each of the thousand-and-one problems that present themselves in family life, our choice is between controlling and teaching, between creating an atmosphere of distrust and one of trust, between setting an example of power and helping children to learn responsibility, between quick-fix parenting and the kind that’s focused on long-term goals.”
—-Alfie Kohn, in Unconditional Parenting

Some of Kohn's ideas on how to shift focus as parents (number #2 is a theme that keeps popping up in my life, maybe God is trying to get through to me!):

  1. Reconsider your requests.
  2. Put the relationship first.
  3. Understand the child’s perspective.
  4. Be authentic.
  5. Talk less, ask more.
  6. Attribute to children the best possible motives consistent with the facts. (a quote from Nel Noddin)
  7. Try to say “yes” when you can.
  8. Don’t be rigid.
  9. Give kids more say about the stuff that matters (and even the stuff that doesn’t).
  10. Love them unconditionally (and I would add, in a way that makes the child feel loved, The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell is an enlightening read).