What God Moments?

Here is what I wrote in my journal on Wednesday:

Harper is on day five of the flu. We've cleaned up vomit and laundered its victims more times than I can count. I've never seen her so sick. The week opened with days worth of plans and obligations but now my iCal sits empty. I can't let go of the worry that consumes me as I watch her suffer. Not to mention my own exhaustion. It's pushing me to the brink. My faith is flailing. I haven't left the house since I don't know when. I want to see the God moments in all of this but my head is foggy and my anxieties are high. All I see are demons.

It's now Friday, and while Fridays usually don't mean much considering each day spills into the next, I am thankful for Friday. My daughter is healthy, my family is healthy, and a gorgeous weekend is ahead of us.

In retrospect, God was here this past week, His Presence all around us. He protected my sweet son, my precious husband, and even me from the ugly virus that I know satan wanted us to suffer. God healed my daughter and returned her spunk. He showered us with support from kind friends and my always selfless family. And most importantly, He humbled me. He brought me to a place where I could only depend on Him for each waking minute. My body was zombified. My mind drunk with sleep-deprivation. I was a basket-case but God had mercy on me.

As I reread what I wrote on Wednesday, I realize it was a bit dramatic. Harper only had the flu, after all. But you couldn't have told me that in the moment. And strangely, I'm thankful that it was so hard for me. It took me to a place that I needed to go, a place of desperate intimacy with the God who pulled me out of the pit. And He gave me an even greater appreciation for His gifts - my beautiful and healthy children.

Had I not taken this journey, I might have responded differently today when my daughter threw a royal fit - flailing her body to the ground, face slammed into the dirt, remnants of asphalt jammed into her forehead. Normally I might have wanted to give up. How do you console a little girl who is acting possessed? But giving up didn't even cross my mind. My daughter was healthy enough to act completely awful, and that same grace God showed me this week overcame me as I loved my daughter through her utter tantrum.

My precious daughter, sicker than sick.

Thank you, Jesus! She's back.

God moments are always there. But you must open your eyes to see.

James 1:2-4

Non-Maternal Instincts

I originally posted this in November, 2008. Though the post begins by addressing the holiday season, I thought it was the perfect post for this uneventful-week-in-February as both my children have RSV.

Blegh humbug.

Nonmaternal Instinct

Get out your kleenex (and if you're like me, it's probably tucked in your sleeve).

'Tis the season for over-liquoring the eggnog, singing nonsensical carols, making out underneath the mistletoe, sitting on old guys' laps in the middle of the mall, re-gifting bubble bath and perfume, and surviving the snottiest nose in the animal kingdom - my son's.

It seems that when any normal person catches a cold the worst of it is evidenced by a rudolph-colored sniffer, half-flaked away because it's been kleenexed raw. But when my son catches a cold, it appears as if Mount Vesuvius erupted all over his face.

It starts with his nose. His baby schnoz is filled with flourescent-colored boogies partially hanging out of his putrid-yellow encrusted nostrils. From there, two long streams of thick snot run from his nose onto his lip at just the right spot for a good lick-up (and lick-up he does - Eww!). Occasionally he rubs his nose causing the yellow, green and brown medley to be smeared across his upper lip and cheeks and chin. From afar he looks like he should be starring in a gruesome horror flick - Watch out for Baby Loogie and A Nightmare on Plegm Street.

And because the runny, snotty mess usually lasts an entire week (if we're lucky), his tiny button nose (now hidden beneath a week's worth of crusty phlegm) begins to collect dust, dirt, and other substances usually only found inside a vacuum bag. No joke - just yesterday I yanked a couple of dog hairs that were embedded in the snot scab attached to my son's snout.

And because our little germ magnet can't figure out how to make his coughing and hacking effective, nothing ever actually comes up. Rather he lives in a permanent state of raspy breathing making him sound like a mini Darth Vader.

And this all comes just months after all the pediatricians and specialists and researchers and media got together and banned the crap out of cold medicine of any sort for children big and small. So my dear little snot bucket is left to drown in his own goo. Poor kid. He's startin' to make the dog on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation seem healthy (coincidentally, I think that dog's name is Snots).

Dear God who so generously gave us each a sniffer for breathing and sniffing and picking,

Please give my son his health back (thus giving me my sanity back). He didn't do anything to deserve this. If anything, it was might fault. I probably didn't wash my hands enough or sanitize his toys enough or keep him living in a bubble long enough. My precious little baby simply wants to breath again without having to draw oxygen from the coral reef barrier surrounding his air passage.

And as you work on clearing up his itsy bitsy honker (How do you do it? A snot-sucking vacuum? A boogie-blowing power washer? I'd love to know your secret as my son's snotty nose is one for the record books), I'll finish another load of laundry full of clothes, both mine and his, that have fallen victim to my son's snot rockets when no kleenex was in reach (hence why I now always keep one tucked in my sleeve).

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Giving Linda Blair a run for her money.

Have you seen The Exorcist? You know, the Linda Blair movie about a young girl possessed by some freaky demons (I suppose all demons are freaky), and in the most memorable scene her head does a 360 degree turn and she curses terrible profanities (I guess all profanities are terrible) and she pukes up nasty green stuff.

Well, we experienced that here just last week. In real time. In real life. With real people, not cute child actors like Linda Blair.

You see, the stomach flu trampled its way into this house, and as it hit each member of my family, it became progressively worse.

It started with me. I swore it was only food poisoning that I blamed on clearance mushrooms (yes, there is such a thing, and I buy such things). And then my husband started vomiting (though nauseous, I never threw up), and again, I blamed clearance mushrooms. But when my baby boy started puking EVERYWHERE, I realized it wasn't the clearance mushrooms after all (My son snubbed the clearance mushrooms. He's a total food snob).

But let me tell you, watching a little one vomit is like watching a scene from The Exorcist. Minus the 360 degree head turn and terrible profanities. And my son's vomit was slightly pink, not green. But other than that, my son gave Linda Blair a run for her money.

I am SO thankful it is behind us. I am SO thankful that Harper never got it. I am SO ready for cold and flu season to be over.

Exorcisms just ain't my thang.

The blessings of . . . mastitis?!

Warning: Dad, if you are reading this, Stop Now. I know that you would like to believe that we ordered an infant from a cabbage patch, and a stork conveniently delivered a baby girl to our home nine months later, and with a sprinkling of water and a dose of sunshine, she thrived and grew and blossomed into a delightful garden flower. But let me remind you of the time we saw the equine students artificially inseminate a horse or the many times we witnessed the cows in the milking parlor on your aunt's farm. Because the conception, survival, and nurturing of your grandchildren involves most of the same principles also witnessed in the animal kingdom. And that includes the crusty, dried-up leftover umbilical cord that took weeks to part from Harper's darling navel. It's still oozing, by the way. You've been warned.

Breast-feeding. I know, I know, it's a beautiful thing. I, the proud milk-bearing mother of my sweet gift from God, have the honor and privilege of bonding with my daughter in a unique way. I, sore-chested and well-endowed, am the sole provider for my baby girl's health and crucial weight gain. I, crack-nippled and oh-so-saggy, am chained to my daughter's cry or an obnoxious breast-pumping device every 2-3 hours around the clock. And as if all that wasn't glamorous enough, the exhausting efforts of my upper-half ultimately led to a terror that left me bedridden and downright ugly for most of a week.


It sounds like the title of a cult horror flick, doesn't it?

But this is real life horror, y'all. Mastitis takes precious bonding between mother and child and turns it into a painful, aching, infected, and downright dreadful experience.

But thanks to the magic of forty green capsules and the grace of the good Lord, my mastitis was blasted from my body in a week's time. Thank you, Jesus!

But guess what? And you won't believe what I am about to say. The mastitis turned out to be a blessing.

Yes, I said a blessing. In all seriousness, I learned a lot about nursing because of the infection. You see, I was required to nurse through the mastitis, and in an effort to rid my body of the infection for good, I revisited my grad school days and hopped on the research train. I read and read and read about nursing, latching, milk supply, and anything else related to da boob. Forget La Leche League, I am a breast-feeding extraordinaire!

Now there is no guarantee that the mastitis will never return, but I now have a much better idea of how to prevent it. And if I suspect that I am getting a blocked duct, I have an arsenal of weapons for nipping it in the bud before it gets worse.

And because my dad is a dad and wants to remedy all my problems, even those that have nothing to do with carburetors or accelerator pumps, he did offer me some help through all this. (It's important to note that my Dad has an extensive background in agricultural sciences.) But because he would never speak to me directly about issues concerning my upper-half, he called my mom and had her deliver the following information. First he assured me that cows often get mastitis. Then he went on to say that farmers often treat the cows with a warm compress and medication (medication that he even offered to get for me, implying that I could take cow pills?)

Thanks, Dad. That really helped. As if I didn't already feel like a first-rate dairy cow. Now I might as well sprout udders and wait, what's that?


Non-Maternal Instincts

Originally posted in December, 2008

Nonmaternal Instinct

It only gets worse.

I didn't think that it was possible to toss my maternal instincts aside any farther, but apparently, I was wrong.

No, my son isn't becoming an absolute terror. Yes, he's nearly nine months old which means he's mobile and getting into everything, but surprisingly, I think it's cute (as long as he's not pulling my I-just-spent-an-hour-organizing-these-piles-of-bills-and-mail off of the coffee table. And why would I pile important papers in my son's reach on the coffee table? Because I'm the mom, and I can do whatever I want).

No, my son actually has nothing to do with the complete downward spiral of my sweet and cheery disposition (if only my husband posted comments to this blog; he would most definitely assure you that my disposition is most always sweet and cherry {cough-cough-ahem}).

So why am I going from, "ah, that's my sweet little boy," to, "#@%#*&# just leave me alone!" in 3-2-1? You haven't guessed yet? I'm pregnant.

Yes, it's the little dime-sized creature living deep inside my lady parts that is driving me to locking myself in the bathroom - for months.

As my most adorable growing baby boy hits milestone after milestone (Did he just sit himself up? Wowsers! Is that another tooth? Yowzers! Could that be "da-da?" Woot!), the mere bean of a being that is only going to make me fat (don't even get me started) wrecks havoc in my lower abdomen causing me to react quite unusually (Oh, great, he's sitting up? Better build a cage. Oh, dang-it, another tooth? I've had enough of this drool bucket! Oh, cute, "da-da"? Who birthed this child? And all I'm hearing is the name of the person who doesn't have the first clue what it's like to be nauseous and fat and bloated and BLAH!)

So just when I thought I'd turned a corner (Christmas is only days away! I should be full of good cheer and well wishes), I learn that my body is yet again being taken over for the sake of another so-called blessing. Bah-humbug.

Dear Lord who only asked one thing of Eve (DON'T EAT THE APPLE!),

I would really like to speak to her, if I may, "Girlfriend, what were you thinking? Because of your stupid fall-into-temptation, us uterus-bearing wo-men are stuck feeling like absolute crap! One stinkin' apple? Was it worth it? Was it the best-dang-tastin' apple you've ever bitten into? Because I'd kill to enjoy a bite of anything right now without having to make a run for the bathroom. Instead of enjoying the vibrant life cruisin' around my living room, I'm spending my days teaching him to hold back my hair as I hug onto oval-shaped porcelain. Thanks a lot."

But Lord, honestly, I am thankful to have another baby growing inside of me. I'm trying my darndest to remember to be grateful in all things. But would you forgive me if just this time I gave thanks only after I flush my lunch down the toilet, because it is in those few moments that I actually feel human again, at least until the next wave of I-think-I'm-gonna-blow hits.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Originally published in December, 2008

Nonmaternal Instinct

Cherries, cats, or penicillin?

Thursday night, as I was lifting my son, I noticed a blemish under his shirt. Not thinking much of it, I lifted up my son's shirt, and HOLY CROW! What is this? What in God's name is going on here?

My son's usually smooth and pale-peach belly was covered in dots! He was spotted! My baby boy's spots were bright pink, round, and most importantly, there were hundreds of them!

I rolled up his pant legs, and spots! I scrunched up his sleeves, and spots! I pulled down the neck of his shirt - spots! Spots! Spots! Everywhere!

They were overtaking him. And I had no idea why.

Fever - nope. Was he itchy - nada. Respiratory symptoms – nothin’. Just stinkin' dots everywhere.

So naturally I freaked out. And then I checked his temp again (no fever). So I freaked out some more.

And amidst all the freakin’ out, I managed to narrow down the causes of the mystery dots to three things: cherries, cats, and penicillin.

He had cherries for the first time on Thursday. He pet a cat for the first time on Thursday. And just a couple days prior to Thursday, he was on a penicillin-laced antibiotic.

But after speaking with everyone and their mother (and my mother, and my husband’s mother), I (we) decided that the most likely cause of the mystery spots was the antibiotic.

But, crap. That’s scary, right? Because after the hives comes shortness of breath and then comes wheezing and then comes anaphylactic shock and then, AHHHH! This is scary stuff.

Not to mention my son’s belly looks like a fourteen-year-old boy’s face during wrestling season. Minus the pus. Thank God there’s no pus.

But he’s spotted. Very spotted. And I want my smooth, pale peach baby back.

Dear Lord of all things pure,

HELP! My baby boy is covered in spots! Have you seen him? It’s bad, no? And please don’t tell me it’s not, because I don’t want to turn into one of those moms who freaks out about the littlest thing and all her friends roll their eyes because, “oh, here she goes again, freakin’ out because the baby sneezed.” Too late, you say? Darn.

But this is worth freakin’ out about. Did you ever find Baby Jesus covered in spots? Can you ask Mary? What did she do? Because her baby was perfect. I mean, my baby is perfect. But her baby was perfect-perfect. So was she freakin’?

The nice lady at the pharmacy recommended an oatmeal bath to soothe my baby's spotted skin, but I’m leaning toward holy water – got some you can sprinkle across his belly? Thanks, that’d be great.

Oh, and before I forget. Thanks for holding off on the pus. Which reminds me, is it to early to start praying that my son never comes home with any of that?