Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Josiah's gone to see Jesus

He was barely one pound. Baby Josiah lived for about 15 minutes but his story will never die in the lives he's touched. Since word first broke of the disturbing sonogram, the family, their friends and their friends have been praying for God to heal him. They rejoiced when someone discovered "Josiah," the name the mom had picked even before she knew the sex is translated - "Whom Jehovah heals." But Josiah died. "It wasn't quite like we wanted it to be, but he's healed now," the father told the pastor's wife, who happens to be a retired obstetrician. If she had been the doctor in this case - once the mother lost her mucus plug, started having contractions and labor pains, she would have prescribed a steroid shot to try to help Josiah's lungs form quicker in case of early delivery. Monday, doctors performed an emergency c-section once all the amniotic fluid had leaked out which left Josiah and his mom vulnerable to infection. But once outside the womb there wasn't a breathing tube small enough for his tiny throat. He got out one little cry before he died. But he has already spoken volumes for the faith of his family's church. For weeks, they have been praying and declaring Josiah would be born whole, healthy and of sound mind. Doctors have been telling the parents to abort. The mother fought back tears over the weekend as she retold the advice she'd gotten. This woman, after hearing the sonogram showed fused hands and feet and Spina Bifida, told her doctor she wasn't going to refuse God's gift just because it wasn't perfect. When a woman at the specialist's office said the second opinion was not covered, she asked wouldn't the mother be better off if she just terminated? It wasn't long after that she was fighting back labor and trying not to lose any more water. Even if doctors and their nurses had given up, the family and the friends did not. Some unbelievers might scoff at a God who chooses not to heal a baby or of people who pray for the impossible. But little Josiah's hands, feet and face were normal. So either the doctors were wrong about the formation of his extremities or God healed him. The parents know they did all they could do. Josiah did not die in vain, some good will come out of this, they said.
- Liz

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mom at home and school

How does being a teacher affect your kids?
RESA and others are holding teacher job fairs in the coming days and weeks and I thought: what if you work where your kid goes to school?
When I was in 9th grade, I went to school with two great friends whose mother taught social studies at our school. They were the top students in their classes. How much of it was the fact that mom was just a hall away? I don't know, because they both went on to excel in the medical field. But I imagine the emphasis on education must have been very high in their home.
So teachers - got kids? How do you separate school and home? OR do you?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When 1+1 doesn't equal 2

My newest parenting challenge is finding patience when helping my daughter with school work. Last week she brought home a math paper with more red X's than a needlepoint sampler. More subtraction problems were wrong than right. She's been taught to use a number line to add and subtract but I have to wonder whether she's using it incorrectly as most of the wrong answers were one digit off. It's been so frustrating because I know she has a good memory yet these math equations and her spelling words aren't sinking in. How do you learn those things without memorizing them? I once met a little Indian girl at a wedding who wanted me to remember her mother's cell phone number so we could arrange a play date. "Put it into your mind," she told me. If only it were as easy as that. It appears some things go in Faith's mind and right back out. She has a hard time concentrating on which problem we're working on let alone finding the correct answer. The teacher has advised us to use flash cards for 10 minutes each day. When flashing certain equations, Faith just says, "That's so hard." I remember having to write out long tables of 1+1 and 1+2 and memorizing my multiplication tables. I don't know how else to help her memorize these numbers. Does anyone have an advice for helping a youngster concentrate and learn?
- Liz

Friday, January 18, 2008

Looking to the future

High school seniors are deep into college application territory. So here's my question: what do you look for, as a parent, when your kids are looking at schools? Is cost the major factor? Are the programs offered your main concern? What about size of the school?
Drop me a comment, start a discussion. I know Middle Georgia parents are super aware of the importance of their kids' educations!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All better

It's amazing what a note to the teacher can do.
I wrote her about Daniel's concerns about bing called "stupid" and that he was coming up with excuses to not go to school. She had a chat with him that day.
"While I couldn't get Daniel to name the student who was calling him 'stupid,' I did tell him he is one of the smartest in my class," she wrote back.
And sure enough, he was all smiles when I picked him up that afternoon. "I'm smart, mama!" he crowed.
Yes, dear, I've been telling you that. But apparently, some things take on more meaning coming from a teacher.
God bless our teachers.

Friday, January 11, 2008

PDAs of a different sort

Before you had kids, you probably had a policy about Public Displays of Affection between you and your significant other. And I bet he knew where the line was, too.
But when it comes to babies, all our rules go flying out the window. We coo, snuggle, kissy-face and baby talk in public without thinking one bit about the impression we're making on others. Why is that?
Is there something about kids that makes even normally nondemonstrative people give hugs freely? Is there something about babies that makes even the best grammarians lose years of education? And here's the biggie: is it cute or just stomach-curdling to see a normally rational adult go ga-ga over a newborn?
For the record, I'm guilty big time of allowing PDAs with my kid that my husband would never get away with. He gets hugs and kisses on demand, although at 5 he's making fewer demands every day. He's allowed to crawl in my lap, or hang on my shoulder, or wrap his arms around me wherever we are. But I never used baby talk, and at four he was using words like "mistaken" properly. But that's another blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bullying worries

What's the difference between being bullied and just plain being picked on?
Daniel hasn't wanted to go back to school at all this week. "The other kids call me stupid" was what I got after weeding through the litany of "my head hurts, my stomach hurts, I don't feel good" complaints. So we had a discussion about those kids not being his friends and how his friends don't call him names, and he's doing so well in reading and writing, so why don't we give it a try just today?
But I don't know how to fix the base problem. My child used to love school. He loved his teacher, he loved learning. Now he only loves learning at home. We read together, he and his dad spend hours constructing elaborate Lego projects, and I have no problem getting him to write letters to grandma at home. He just doesn't want to go to school anymore. Help!

Monday, January 07, 2008

A sonogram's sobering stillness

My eyes didn't want to blink fearing I'd miss the expected movement on the screen. But there was none to see. When you are pregnant, bleeding can be an ominous sign. So once I got to the doctor's office, he quickly ordered a sonogram. Unlike my first procedure there was no anticipation of joy. Dread had a grip on me as I bellied up to the machine. Scheduled sonograms are often eagerly anticipated. Expectant moms and dads can drag in grandmothers, siblings and friends to view the baby bouncing around in the womb. But during my first miscarriage those sound waves showed me something I didn't want to see. I think doctor's call it a non-viable pregnancy. I call it heartbreak. All the hopes of a giving birth to a healthy child were stuck on that screen. Although my experiences came about nine years ago, a dear friend is reeling from the images formed by sound waves bouncing off the baby boy growing inside her. His hands and feet are fused, spina bifida is present and doctors suspect brain abnormalities. She has no plans to terminate the pregnancy. "Why should I refuse God's gift just because it isn't perfect," is her attitude. Instead, she and her husband are joining forces with family and friends in prayer. Believing in miracles, they are determined to pray for baby Josiah for at least 21 straight days. They know God works all things for good for those who love and serve Him and are called according to his purpose. They are not willing for this child to perish for lack of faith.
- Liz

Friday, January 04, 2008

More movie magic

Although Faith never once asked for it, a portable DVD player has become one of her favorite Christmas presents. When my brother asked if she had one, I was thrilled they were planning to give her one. No more whining about riding in my car without drop-down screens! In advance of the gift, I made sure she was getting plenty of new DVDs. Much of our holiday vacation has been spent in scintillating cinematic escapades. On New Year's Eve, I set Faith up in her bedroom with her player and a couple of favorite flicks. In the meantime, I curled up with a book - a luxury usually only reserved for vacation on the beach. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've even read on vacation since I've been a mommy. We also took an afternoon to catch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" at the theater. I've been a fan of those critters since childhood. I was amazed once again that in the preview was another throw-back from my early days - Speed Racer is coming to the big screen and the animation sequences look awesome. Add that to Curious George, Nancy Drew (why isn't that on video yet?) and Underdog for the most recent examples of Hollywood remakes. It's nice to feel like a kid again.
- Liz

Party Time's Over

Daniel and I were both happy he went back to school this morning. We had a little discussion about the things I expect his teacher will ask: "What did you do over the break?" And I reminded him he could color pictures of teh movies we went to see, the trains he spent literally days playing with, the friends he went to visit. I'd be willing to lay down money, though, that he'll come home with another picture of Thomas or Gordon the big blue tank engine. Oh well, at least I know what I'm looking at.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Restitutions

My New Year's resolution is usually the same: Get everybody healthy, by God.
Because by this time in the season I'm sick of being sick. LAst year, it was major surgery. This year, it's pneumonia. And every year, poor Daniel walks around sniffling and coughing any time he's in contact with other kids. It's like we have signs on our forheads: "Weak Immune Systems - Germs take up residence here."
But it's not a bad idea to make this your New Year's resolution: Take everybody to the doctor for an annual checkup. That means dads, too. Because while mom will put her doctor's visit off while she gets everyone else squared away, at least she'll go. Research shows dad just won't bother. But as most families' primary breadwinner, dad can no more afford to be hit with a surprise illness or disease than the rest of the family. So that's my take on the whole New Year's resolution gig.
But Tigger has a different view - and a different vocabulary. During one of Daniel's movie-watching sprees this week, I listened to Tigger explain "New Year's restitutions" to Pooh. And I thought: That's not a bad idea. So I'm also going to seek out someone to whom I was not nice, or whom I failed in this past year, and make a restitution. I may not make up for the hurt I did, but I plan to try.

Thanks a lot

It was just a month ago that I was having trouble encouraging Faith to show her appreciation and gratitude when she receives a present. What a difference some creative thinking makes. For Christmas, Faith received a box of thank you notes and some other make-your-own stationery. Before I knew it, she was asking me how to write "thank you for the gift" and writing out her notes. At a friend's house the other night, she started writing the note before she opened a gift. "Thank you for the _____" was on the card until she opened, then she filled in "book." Before we left, Faith had hidden her note on our friend's doorstep. Now that she goes back to school tomorrow, we need to set aside some time today to write a few more notes. Of course, now it seems like work so I might have to get creative again. One of my best incentives is my own personal story. One year my brother and I failed to send notes to my father's cousins and we were cut-off from gifts from that point out. It's a hard lesson, but one that will certainly resonate with my 7-year-old.
- Liz

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2008. Did you know there is no cleaning allowed on New Year's? It follows suit from my daughter's rationale that there is no cleaning on Christmas which she loudly proclaimed when my husband prompted her to pick up her messes before company came Christmas morning. My husband says there is no such "no cleaning" rule, which drew tears from a sleep-deprived holiday warrior known as my 7-year-old daughter. She detests the thought of cleaning and teared up again today when her dad suggested she spend the day organizing and putting things away. I tried to stress to her that straightening up is a daily routine not to be dreaded. I, too, have been blissfully out of my routine for weeks now. I apologize for running off into festivity fairyland without much of a mention or note on the blog. Blogging is something I do when I've finished my chores. During Christmastime, the chores never seem to end until well after the 25th has passed. On this, the 8th Day of Christmas, I'm ahead of the game and had a few minutes before starting on Black-eyed pea and Collard preparation.
I want to wish you and yours a very happy 2008!
- Liz