Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Do It Now Update #2

In typical resolution fashion, I have started slipping this month. "It must be June at least," I think, "I've been working on this for so long. No? Only Feburary!?" I have started piling instead of putting away in my closet, have pushed cleaning the bathrooms from every Friday to... undisclosed lengths of time, and my husband has done more than his fair share of the dishes. It's time for a little tough love.

Happy Leap Year!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eating, or Not, Part II

I was browsing through some developmental milestone websites today and stumbled across this:

"The 2-year-old will eat barely enough to keep a bird alive. Appetite is finicky and will vary from meal to meal and day to day. The child is not doing much growing at this stage so he or she does not need much food to survive. Your child will only gain three or four pounds during this year. Do not expect three good meals a day." from Kids Growth

What a relief! Only 3-4 pounds for the year... I think we can manage that. But the "not doing much growing?" We went to the doctor today for the sniffles and he's around 93 cm tall (her chart seems to overestimate somehow, she actually said 94 cm), two more than last month. His weight is up slightly from 27 months at 11.8 kg. But our doctor is happy and just in case, I'm going to take him to a well-child check up while we're in the States.

Now to start brainstorming "how to keep a two year old happily quiet and still for 5 hours on an airplane."

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Matthew 12

15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're Off!

After a giant fiasco with visa things and ticket problems, it's finally happening. Dear hubby, Raccoon and I will be flying to see family in a few weeks. I am excited and terrified all at the same time. A five hour flight, then a two hour, then a one hour with my little munchkin is, how shall I say it... a challenge. But it will be worth it to see family, some of whom I have not seen in 5-10 years. Funerals are hard, but hopefully this one will bring our family together again, at least for a day. So I am travelling after all, although it's not exactly rushing in.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Internet Information

Perhaps an odd way to start off Lent, but it's some things I need to say. After my previous post (Nothing on the Internet Goes Away), I scared myself a bit. I couldn't think of anything meaningful to write for awhile, because somehow everything became worrisome. I am not savvy enough to keep my blog anonymous, especially if I eventually share it with friends. So I was challenged to re-evaluate the purpose of my blog and what I want to write about. I do love blogging and find it very therapeutic. *Laugh at myself*

Related to this, I have decided to move Raccoon's early learning stuff to another place, something private for now and maybe public later. Mostly this is so I can keep it all together and record all the infinite details that I love but no one else is interested in, as well as to protect Raccoon's privacy. I am also not going to post many pictures of him online. He is a huge part of my life, but I will probably write more of myself and less of him in the future. What I write may seem trivial now, but who knows if he wants his struggles and triumphs recorded for the world to see? It is something I will be keeping in mind.

I also went back and deleted some links that I'd put in, deciding that I really want to keep most of my content original and not just copy quotes from other people just to have a post for the day. Maybe they wouldn't appreciate me borrowing their words, who knows. Because of all these conflicting thoughts, I was at-risk of boring even myself with my blog. I was censoring everything and feeling glum, but hopefully these decisions will help me to feel freer about sharing some of the meaningful things in my life. After re-organizing things a bit, I feel excited again and look forward to writing often during this new season.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Grandmother's Love

I found out yesterday that my grandmother passed away. She was my favorite, the one I called Grammie. She had the most amazing house, and she knew how to make my brother and my visit's special (donuts for breakfast, way to go Grammie!). She also taught me to cross-stitch and Canasta, things I would like to pick up again at some point ...when Raccoon goes off to college maybe. Her health steadily declined over time, and the Grammie at the end was a different woman than the Grammie of my childhood, but I still loved her dearly. I spent some time with her in 2010, and she got to meet my son, which was so important to me.

As I've mentioned, I was thinking of a trip in March... which is still on the table for the memorial service perhaps. I am thankful that eight years ago, I recorded some video of her and my Grampie, just doing everyday things like chatting and crossword puzzles. By some miracle, I knew exactly where it was today, when I wanted the comfort of her voice (she use to call me sweetheart) and to "see" her one more time. I miss you, Grammie, and can't wait to see you again someday. I will keep an eye on Grampie for you, as much as I can from far away.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Which Wolf Will Win?

For me, there is something magical about the quiet night hours. I have long been a night owl, so I may homeschool Raccoon just so I don't have to get up early for the soon-to-come next 13 years. Ha ha. But as I was lying next to Raccoon, waiting for him to fall asleep, I got to thinking. It had been a bleh day, one of those where I just never really got going. But then all of a sudden, when the house quieted down, my mind switched on and I had all of these thoughts. One of them relates to a story. I'm not sure where I heard it the first time, but it's an Indian legend.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I think part of my current discontent with my life is because of the beast I am feeding. As a Christian, I think of it as the worldly wolf and the faithful wolf. If Raccoon's addicted to the TV, then I am equally as guilty of spending too much time on the computer. Some of the times, I could perhaps read a book, but often Raccoon wants me at least partially involved, and I dislike being interrupted when I'm reading. The computer screen is perfect, a little glance here and there to distract me while we play. The things I am looking at (other blogs, news or my e-mail), are not bad things, but they are for the most part devoid of Christ. I could pull up the Bible online, but I confess that it's not as riveting to me as these other things that have no eternal value. Sigh.

I do enjoy prayer, especially keeping up a conversation with Jesus throughout the day. But lately I've just been going through the motions and find that long periods have gone by when I haven't prayed at all. How can I feed the right beast, so that in the end I don't get eaten. That is one of the things I am wondering about tonight. Lent starts tomorrow and my computer/internet fast as well. What will I substitute in it's place? Will I just find something else to keep me busy until night falls and I switch it all on again?

To be continued...

Monday, February 20, 2012


As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. Seneca
From a commencement speech at Harvard by J.K. Rowling.

Raccoon loves to pretend play with me and his four other faithful friends - Fina (a large girl puppet), Mr. Bear (a stuffed animal), Andy (a boy cabbage patch doll), and Buzz Lightyear. He tells me what he wants each one to say, but for some reason, he wants me to say it and not him. But lately, I have seen the seeds of imagination growing and he is beginning to make his toys talk when he's by himself. He's also started doing a running dialogue during the rare moments when he plays alone. It is amazingly wonderful and a little heartbreaking all at the same time. He's growing up. He won't always need me to be a central figure in his imaginary world.

I have been living in toddler world for a very long time and it's hard for me to imagine that Raccoon is eventually not going to be a toddler anymore. There will be a day in the future when I can sleep through the night, when he will be able to go to the bathroom by himself, and when he will spend most of his day away from me. I want some of these things, but at the same time, his father and I are his whole world right now, and that is a special place to be.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mirror Time

As I've mentioned before, Raccoon has been intense since the moment he was born, so leisure time for myself has been unheard of until just recently. I finally broke down a few weeks ago and told my husband I needed some "me time" or I was going to burn out completely. I love Raccoon and I would not exchange my stay-at-home role for anything, but that does not mean that I am indestructable.

Anyway, as a result of that, I found myself sitting in a small beauty salon, getting a hair cut. It seemed so odd to be doing nothing but staring at myself in the mirror for almost an hour (I like the cut but she was very slooooow.)  I'm turning thirty this year and I don't think I've really studied my face in the mirror since adolescence. For the last two years especially, a quick glance to make sure I don't have anything embarrassing on my face is about all the mirror time I've had. The first thing I thought as I looked at myself was, "I look old, who is this person?!" Wish it'd been deeper than that, but there it is.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Juanita the Weasel

I loved the weasel. Dear hubby wanted to know why I was laughing so hard but he didn't get it, so I think this post was more of an inside joke. But a screaming weasel in an apron is something I think every female can relate to on some level. Maybe with a personalized caption though. The original poster (click at your own risk) put "The Souffle is Ruined!" (with a swear word) so DH definitely did not think that was at all funny, but with my history of failed efforts at domesticity, I thought it was. Chuckle. Sigh. I think I'm going to print her off and take her to my next playgroup so we can all suggest captions. If I get some good ones, I'll let you know.

Below, Juanita the Weasel sums up all my fears about the possibility of a second child. More intensity, sleeplessness and food issues? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mud Puddles

Today we took Raccoon to a large park near our house and let him run through mud puddles to his heart's content. It's been raining so much and kind of dismal, but after an early shower this morning, the sun came out. And it's Carnaval after all, right?

It was one of those perfect moments, watching him run through the puddles with my husband chasing after him. Their laughter was a beautiful thing. I even brought the camera, hoping to catch some of the magic, but as soon as Raccoon saw it, he said, "No pictures, Mama!" and ran away. Wait a minute, I thought that wasn't supposed to start until adolescence! We still had a great time and even if I don't have his big grin recorded on camera, it's etched in my heart.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ketchup & Rice

We have officially graduated from the mayo phase into the ketchup one. This is complicated because Raccoon also struggles with acid reflux and food allergies (dairy, corn, soy, food coloring, etc). But I often trade getting him to eat for not sleeping at night. Pretty much everything I used to think about children and nutrition I am willing to throw out the window, as long as Raccoon eats something... anything.

Over at the SPD blogger network, there was a post called "Signs You Have a Kid with Eating Issues." I had to laugh, because that is my life. Sometimes I think, "Maybe Raccoon would eat ____ if I was a gourmet cook..." because I am not even a good cook. My food experiments go awry, 100% of the time.

Raccoon's main problem is consistency. Something he loves one day he will not touch the next, for inexplicable reason. Most of the time he's just not interested in whatever it is I am offering. If the food is not just right (temperature, taste, simplicity, color), Raccoon won't touch it, no matter how hungry he is. Often a good food day will be followed by several bad ones.

So this is my appeal to the powers that be. Can ketchup and rice count as a major food group please, or at least a healthy meal?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thinking About Lent

My internet accidentally got disconnected for a week, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I am back on tonight, but as I checked my favorite sites, I realized that I didn't really miss that much. Lent is coming up and I try to give up something each year, to remind myself of all that Jesus sacrificed by coming to earth and dying for us. This year I am thinking about only using the internet/computer when it's dark outside, sort of like fasting during the day. My goal is to have more time for reflection and to be more focused on Raccoon. I started today since I knew the internet would be hooked up around 4 pm. I have been using my computer this week, so leaving it off today was nice. We played more and did some things we haven't done in a while. We also watched a lot less TV. Hooray for us!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mysterious Creatures in the World

It's easy to think that humans know everything about our world and who shares it with us, but even now in 2012, there are still surprises. Whale sharks? Who knew!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tired Today

I feel like all the exhaustion from the last 3 years of not sleeping has caught up with me all at once. And it's only Monday. Raccoon is getting his top molars, the last two thank goodness; I don't think I would survive any more. Weeks of sleeplessness, not eating, extreme crankiness, then, just about when I'm ready to check into the loony farm, the new white pointies put in an appearance.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of TV watching today. But I know that Raccoon and I will have other good days, so I'm not stressing about all the things left undone today. "Respect the day's energy" is a quote I've found helpful for when I'm feeling run-down. But I do need to make sure I don't stay in this place, so I'm off to plan some fun things for tomorrow.

I'm still thinking, hoping, of travelling in March, but not sure if Raccoon and I can do two months without dear hubby and live to tell the tale.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Least of These

Matthew 25
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Saturday, February 4, 2012

French Parenting

The article, "Why French Parents Are Superior" by Pamela Druckerman had some interesting points.

"They assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this. "For me, the evenings are for the parents," one Parisian mother told me. "My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it's adult time.""

Due to the nature of my parents’ jobs, my family spent a lot of time at social gatherings, at other people’s houses, and in the car. My brother's and my behavior was constantly on display, so we were under a lot of pressure to “play by ourselves and not bother the grown-ups” (mentioned as a virtue in the article). I was often bored out of my mind, but oh yes, I was well-behaved.

"American parents want their kids to be patient, of course. We encourage our kids to share, to wait their turn, to set the table and to practice the piano. But patience isn't a skill that we hone quite as assiduously as French parents do. We tend to view whether kids are good at waiting as a matter of temperament. In our view, parents either luck out and get a child who waits well or they don't.”

Because of my childhood, I have chosen to focus more on my son and what he wants/tolerates versus what would be convenient for me. Just how much patience should I be training him to have, and at what cost? I don’t want to crush his spirit with excessive demands, but it would be nice to be able to sit through a church service every now and then. Even though I probably would have been considered very patient as a child, I am not good at delayed gratification as an adult, which I think is an equally necessary skill.

I overheard someone say that it's easy to sell parenting books to Americans because we're so insecure about how we raise our children. I'd have to agree that I often question if I'm making the right choices, or if we're spoiling Raccoon too much. It's funny because it seems like we would parent him like our firstborn (which he technically is), but actually we're parenting him more as our fourth child. This means hands off unless we absolutey have to step in since our first three wore us out. I was super strict with #2 and #3, but definitely choose fewer battles with Raccoon... Maybe I just need to move to France. Ha ha.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Trampoline Fun

Raccoon now gets to play with several of the older neighborhood kids because they come over to jump on the trampoline. It's created a friendlier atmosphere on our small side street, which I think we are all enjoying. It's nice to be neighborly. We've lived here six years, the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my life. I never had a next-door friend, so I hope that Raccoon will.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nothing on the Internet Goes Away

I was talking with some parents online about the importance of discretion when writing about your children on the internet. I have heard it referred to elsewhere as limiting their "digital footprint" (disclaimer: I'm not endorsing the site). For this reason, I have chosen not to use my son's name or post any pictures on this blog, although I certainly understand people who do. I spent some time yesterday cancelling some old accounts and searching on google to see just how much of my information is available out there. If you do put pictures on your blog, here are the instructions for how to disable right click copying to make them more secure.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Raccoon did amazing at his Gymboree class today. The theme was grocery shopping and he was very interested in the story, Llama Llama gets Mad at Mama. At the end during the routines, he started to lose interest, so I offered him a choice between doing the activity or going to the bathroom for a break. He choose the activities and did well. Then at the end for the song I gave him a piece of gum and he danced happily, staying on the mat. With a little extra pretending and a treat, I was so proud of how well he did.

I also want to mention that the other morning he slept in to 10 am. Bliss.

To top off a wonderful day, we barely watched any TV and Raccoon ate really well. Happy sigh.