Monday, January 28, 2013

Fashionista!








All in the course of a Sunday.

You know what they usually call two-year-olds, don't you?  Well we've had our share of challenging moments lately, including hour long nap time tantrums, plenty of attitude and manipulation, and the occasional yet obligatory toddler hitting, kicking and biting.  But all in all, things seem to be moving in the right direction.  Maybe it's that Jason, Mandy (at daycare) and I are all trying to be consistent with discipline, or just that we're learning Adria and she's learning us.  But stressful days that at times leave me at my wits end not knowing WHAT is the right thing to do have melted into some of the most amazing, precious, and proudest moments I've experienced yet:

While driving home from church I got Adria's attention and told her, "Adria, Mommy is happy."  And she smiled and said, "me too, Mom.  I'm happy, too!"  (It also makes me laugh EVERY time she calls me "Mom.")

Back at the house and out of the blue, the little darling comes up to me, takes my face in her hands and turns it so she can kiss me on the cheek and says, "I love you, Mom." Makes my heart melt!!

Yesterday afternoon, while sitting on her potty (trying desperately to put off nap time and after having been reminded that potty time isn't play time, and that she would be getting back in the bed), Adria bowed her little head and prayed to God--"Dear God, bless me as I grow, that I can look at that book on the potty." (Naturally she got to look at the book after that!) Well then my sweet little smartie continued, head bowed and hands folded--"Dear God, bless me as I grow, that I don't have to get in my bed and go night night." Sweet smart Adria's first prayer! Not entirely sure what to think of it!! :)

And while driving home from church Community Group last night I was talking about the evening, saying how happy I was that a friend and her little one-year-old daughter had been there, and I guess I trailed off.  Adria said something that snapped me back to attention, and I asked her, "what did you just say?"  So she repeated it, "what are you thinking about, Mommy?"  I am not making that up.  What?!  Unbelieveable!  How sweet and intuitive is this little 27 month old angel??

I am in love with that girl and this life.  I am rich.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Story teller

Adria has begun telling me stories.  Here is the first one:


Adria:  Once upon a time, a little lady lived in a castle.  And there was a tiger who lived there too.  And he would bop everybody on their heads. 

Me: Oh no!  What happened next? 

Adria:  My doctor came, and he grabbed the tiger, and threw him away away, and he had to go stand in the corner. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Aha moments

1.  When Adria was born, I was so in awe.  She was perfectly made, and the miracle of our creator God was not lost on me.  I distinctly remember, holding that newborn, thinking that she was proof of God's existence, right there in my arms.  How else could she have gotten there?

2.  And of course I had known love before.  I loved my parents, and my family.  I had been in love a few times.  I loved my husband, and I loved God.  But in the days and months that followed Adria's birth, I experienced a new love, a greater, deeper love, than anything I could fathom.  The love I felt for my baby daughter was indescribable, and as close to unconditional as I expect we'll be able to experience on this earth.  I began to imagine what God's great love for me must be like.  "How great a love the father has lavished upon us that we should be called children of God.  And that is what we are!"  I honestly can't understand receiving the love that even my own parents have for me, much less the great depths of the love of God, but here I began to catch a glimpse. 

3.  I still marvel at those other-worldly realizations.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of either of them.  But in addition now, Adria has grown to the point that my job is not only nurturing, but disciplining, too.  I explained to her the other day, discipline means choosing to do the right thing.  I figure that definition is simple enough now, and will stay the same as she grows.  So my appeal is, choose to do the right thing!  The other day getting ready for naptime, the appeal was lay your head on your pillow!  For naptime, that was the right thing.  For her and my relationship, obeying was the right thing.  But she just wouldn't.  I found myself literally thinking, if you would just obey, I promise it will go well for you!  I will pour out my love and blessings on you.  I will snuggle you, and pet your hair, and sing, and tell you how lovely and safe you are.  You will get to relax and recharge.  You need a nap!  There is a reason I'm telling you to do this, and it is for your good!  A toddler sized fight ensued (which anyone with a toddler would know about the size of that fight), and I'm pretty sure that instead of receiving the blessing I had in mind for her, she received a punishment.  Or at least some unpleasantness! 

And my very own words rang in my head.  If you would just obey, I promise it will go well for you! I will pour out my love and blessings on you.  There is a reason I'm telling you to do this, and it is for your good!  It has been challenging personally to instruct Adria to choose the right things.  Because that means I must also choose the right things.  It has been enlightening to think of obedience to God's commands in the same context.  Jesus said, "if you love me, do as I command".  I'm starting to get it. 

4.  Finally, just this weekend I had occasion to learn yet another lesson myself.  Adria had a behavior problem that escalated quickly; in fact I think it got out of control before she realized what was happening.  We were playing, snuggling, tickling, something along those lines, and her little arms began to flail.  And then hit.  So I told her, uh oh, you're hitting and I don't think you mean to!  Let's get control and choose the right thing!  And she looked squarely at me and told me "shut up!"  Well, what do YOU think happened next?  I picked her up, toted her upstairs like a sack of potatos for a time out and gave her a pop on the hand.  "You're going into time out because you hit and said shut up to Mommy."

Oh, the wailing that ensued, but after a minute, she still wasn't ready to settle down and get out.  Another moment passed, and then she was ready to come to me.  I picked her up in my arms and sat in the rocking chair with her and told her that I loved her and wasn't mad at her, and that everything was alright.  As soon as she was ready to change her behavior, I was ready to receive her back, and in fact, nothing could ever change my love for her, and I wanted to be with her.  We rocked and settled down, and then moved on with the rest of our day, happy as could be and without further incident. 

But for me it served as a lesson on forgiveness, too.  I want to accept forgiveness the way Adria accepted mine.  She turned from her bad behavior and our relationship was restored.  Just.  Like.  That.  So often I'll wrestle with regret and self loathing before I finally let myself off the hook, but it would break my heart if Adria wallowed when my forgiveness was already offered.  Learn the lesson--yes.  Be shaped and changed by it--yes.  But turn from the sin and joyfully accept the fullness of forgiveness, just. Like. That.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Highlights of the "in betweens"

I was talking to a friend just this morning; some days it's enough to just survive.  We'll thrive tomorrow.  The only problem with that is that there IS so much life and joy in today.  Even the todays I just only survive.  No doubt life hasn't looked the way I've wanted it to in the past few months.  Heck, in the past year and a half.  But this life, even today, is beautiful.  So I think I'm somewhere in between surviving and thriving.  I believe in the good.  And I am regaining myself and creating the life I want more with each passing week. 

But that being said, here are some of the highlights of these last few "in betweens":

Adria continues to amaze me with her abilities.  Oh, her beauty too, of course, but mostly with her abilities.  And her joy of life.  She likes to "swim to duckie's house" in the bathtub, where she lays out on her tummy and floats around with her favorite 8 bath duckies, but only after donning her imaginary bathing suits.  Varied colors and styles each night. 

She loves to have tea parties.  She has at least 4 tea sets presently, and is a great hostess.  Sometimes she'll serve me pretend coffee or wine instead of tea.  Where do you think she got that from??

She is obsessed with Disney Princesses.  Obsessed.  In a perfectly healthy way that I may or may not encourage.  I WILL say that my brother and sister in law bought her EVERY Playskool Little People princess out there.  So I'm not the only one encouraging it.  Cinderella is her favorite.  Of course it's really the only movie I show her.  It happens to be my favorite too.  (Besides, some of those movies are SCARY!) 

But her favorite movie is what she calls "the funny movie!"  A dear friend of mine sent me a copy of "Despicable Me", and Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the minions have quickly become dear to her little heart.  In fact she told me last night, "I love those girls."

It seems like she is finally settling into her big girl bed.  (Yes we did make that switch in May.  Yes I know that was 7 months ago.)  But she is staying in bed and sleeping through the night most nights, and she understands that I'll be going to bed in my room, and is generally accepting of the situation.

Did I mention potty training?  (I realize we've been working on that for 6 months too, but there's been a lot going on!)  Oh, but she's doing so well.  She's even staying dry at naptime, and helping her friend Avery at school to potty train!

She loves people.  She could make a big list of them.  Avery is definitely on the list.  And her teacher.  And Mommy and Daddy.  And cousin Brayden, and Gamma and Poppy, and....

She loves me.  She gives hugs and kisses.  Backs up to sit in my lap.  Still wants me to hold her and pick her up.  And snuggle her.  And hide under the covers with her.  Oh, she is such a joy.

She sings!  Loudly!  Sometimes songs I know, sometimes the cry of her own heart.  And. I. Love. It!

She's beginning to develop an imagination, and it's incredible to watch her play.  She loves her bunny above everything, and I'm certain she and Bunny will get themselves into all kinds of adventures. 

Christmas was almost overwhelming; she did get 5 BATCHES of presents!  But we had the most delightful New Year's together.  We counted down to bedtime by popping a balloon every hour for 5 hours prior with streamers, noise makers, confetti, beads and glittery horns, topped off by glow bracelets for bedtime. 

She loves books.  And can sing the whole alphabet song.  (Although she sometimes gets on a roll and passes right by H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P.)  And she can recognize a few letters, the most prominent being her "A".  And she can count to 20 (although she often forgets about 6, 14 and 15)!

AND, instead of just wildly coloring across a whole page, she'll color squiggles where she wants them to be--so flowers are pink, and kitties are a blue, etc.  AND, she can draw a happy face!  (Granted it's usually on my hand, but I still think it's pretty cool!) 

And to top it off, I'm getting the house in shape, decor-wise.  (A marginally unhealthy Pinterest obsession is helping with all things domestic.)  Don't get me wrong; it's still a mess, and the laundry still exists in piles.  But, I have curtains behind my bed, and my walls are changing colors!

There are hard times, and I often fall into bed exhausted.  I'm having to learn how to discipline Adria, and there's plenty for us to work through together.  She is 2 now, after all!  She has developed quite a little attitude: "go away", and "don't talk, mommy" are her 2 favorites.  She has got a strong will, and can throw an awesome tantrum.  We have a ways to go.  We have a lifetime to go.  But we belong together.  And the best days are yet to come.