Thursday, April 4, 2013

the best parts of me.

sometimes i get so caught up in writing about something that i forget to write about the daily life constantly swirling around me.  i think i put undue pressure on myself to write everything up to a certain standard i've set for myself.

then i realize there is so much more than my own standards and i need to just let go a bit.

oh, these three.

i've been pushed to my limits lately in motherhood.  i've seen some of the ugliest parts of me come through the past few weeks and woah boy!  all that i thought i knew, i've had to scale back and readjust.  i'm usually not too hard on myself when it comes to how i work with my kids--i see they're shaping out to be some incredible little humans, and i know a part of that is because of all of the teaching that goes on around here.

but after i see the ugly inside, and cry a time or two about it, and apologize and push myself to do better, i feel renewed and determined instead of defeated.  so the ugly can be good, even when the molding part of it can feel draining sometimes.  because the ugly and molding is where i find grace.

caleb has matured lately in such a nice way.  suddenly he's less emotionally reactive, and can stay calm even when facing things he's opposed to.  i used to wish and wonder if this would ever happen.  he's always been intelligent and observant, but is also bursting at the seams with emotions.  this new mellow-ness has been such a nice change and has brought a friendship between the two of us that i am absolutely loving.

he's also growing up in the way that's brought some fun conversations....about body parts, and why they change, and what purpose they were made for.  we talked to him about the birds and the bees over a year ago, and have a lot of follow-up conversations. i love that we can explain it to him with simple clarity, no beating around the bush, and he takes it in stride.  i can see the wheels turning in his head, trying to make sense of it.

he's started baseball and it's been awesome to find a sport that comes naturally for him.  the kid can hit, and got a couple of homeruns on his first game.  granted, he's playing against other 5-7 year olds who are just learning how to pick up a ball with a mitt and throw it in the right direction, but still.  it's a great boost for his self-confidence and so fun to watch him play.  with other sports he's participated in there's a lot of running involved and he wears out quickly and struggles to keep up with his peers, so this is a great fit.

we had him tested for the possibility of starting growth hormones, with the thought that it may help his underdeveloped muscles catch up.  we researched pros and cons and were sitting on the fence about it,  so we just finally decided to see if it was even an option for him.  after meeting with the specialist who did an evaluation, blood tests and an x-ray, we learned that his growth is behind but not something to be concerned enough right now to pursue GHR.  we'll do follow-ups to make sure he doesn't fall further behind.  

it's nice he's turning more mellow, especially because leah has become the opposite.  her desire for a little control over her life has come into full swing and she and i have hit a rocky patch.  i do my best to pick our battles--holding the line only when i feel it's necessary,  trying to give more slack to her rope so she can feel she's the one at the reins.  i give her devoted and intentional one-on-one attention daily, to fill up her cup.

but you want to know what our biggest arguments are about?  no longer bedtime, which was so last year.  now it's going potty, of all things.  what i do know,  the girl likes to be in control of her bladder.  and she was, until she gave herself a bladder infection for having too much control, and holding for hours upon hours at a time.  so i explained that she needed to listen to her body and take care of it.  and if she wasn't, her body would tell her by getting sick.  but her 4 yr old self isn't making the connection yet, that her short-term control has long-term side effects that resulted in weeks of accidents and antibiotics.

just last week, i finally felt like i was figuring out how to work through this space of control tug-of-war and we reached a silent peace treaty.  i parented caleb so differently, but all of my techniques were failing miserably with leah.  caleb was great with being given choices, and choosing within them.  my approach with leah is so completely the opposite.  as much as i don't love getting firm with her from the beginning, when it comes to this one place, it's what works best.  loving but firm has become my motto and has helped me stay consistent and calm even when she is riled up.

other than that, the beauty inside this little girl continues to take my breath away.  she is so sweet, and full of compassion lately, when we have had to work through our tough times.  overall she's been more outwardly loving... i absolutely hold onto any hug, kiss, and "i love you" she sends my way.  we end each day with me giving her 4 different types of kisses, and i would love more than anything to bottle her up at this age and keep her this way forever.

and then there's june, who i seem to fall more in love with every day.  she is such a great communicator, picking up phrases and words that i've never worked with her on.  she is still so cuddly, and as independent as she is, she still loves to be wherever i am.

her tantrums have taken on a mind of their own and i have to force myself not to laugh while she's shrieking and catapulting her body on the floor when she doesn't get what she wants.  luckily she gets over it quickly, and can easily find happiness in other distractions.

she was sick the past few weeks, probably more sick than she's been in her little life, and i ended up sleeping on her floor with her for over a week.  those late nights killed me with exhaustion, but also held some of my most precious memories with this girl.  i would be falling asleep, when i would feel her soft, chubby little hand stroking my cheek.  i would open my eyes to see her staring at me, with the sweetest smile on her face.  then she would say "i yuv you" and give me a kiss.  i would sing her songs as she snuggled in with her blankies and found myself wanting to stay awake just to watch her eyes get heavy and finally close.

these three kids and their dad are the best part of me.  they fill my soul up with meaning, love and fulfillment in a way i could have never imagined.  and they are the daily reminders of the goodness of God in my life.

and now?

a little video with a dance-off, strader kid style.  along with a small groin-grab from caleb....where does he learn this stuff?


Nana said...

Such a sweet video and post. I'm sure you are doing so much better as a mom than I ever did. You are a wonderful, caring, and beautiful mother. What your children have will be a blessing in their lives. And yea for video cameras! What treasures you will always have! Even the "slight" croch grab! So funny!

Rachel Chick said...

Oh, man, I love your kids. You are right. They are such amazing little humans. So good and creative and compassionate and spunky. They are incredible - just like their mama and daddy. Sure do love you Staders.

ClancyPants said...

Here I am, staring at this comment box. I used to be an awesome comment-gal, just like I used to be an awesome blogger. I don't know what happened to me.

Do I comment just to comment? I was going to say something like, "Awww, such beautiful little beings." Which is all completely true and which I totally thought, especially with that supremely adorable picture of June in her fairy dress with the striped leggings...

But somehow, true as it is, it still feels as empty as my attempts at blogging. And so, in an effort to not feel like an empty comment, I blather on and on about who knows what, but at least you know some of my thoughts and it's not just a comment for the sake of a comment.

I love you.

(maybe it's the endless sorting of receipts that's making me so wacky. Or maybe it's just my deep and driving need to live from a place of authenticity and my pendulum is swinging hard and fast this way and that. I didn't mean to make this comment a blog post, but I think maybe it is.)

ClancyPants said...

Kira said...

Such cute kids!!! You'll have to keep me updated about the growth hormones. Both Dawson and Katelyn, (especially Dawson) have been suggested for the hormones. I haven't taken them to a specialist and have been debating whether to. Maybe it's just in the Steadman genes! You have an adorable family!!!

ohmylanta said...

I was just thinking about this today. Being a parent tends to make us more aware of our weaknesses. As you say...those "ugly" moments can catch us by surprise sometimes. Thank goodness children are so forgiving.

I really appreciated what you said about Leah. The last couple of years with my little Olivia have been blissful. She has always been my little sweetie pie. Lately, however, she seems to be half gremlin. I have been wondering what in the world happened. Your post reminded me that as kids start to grow up and be more independent, they exercise their rights differently. Maybe I just need to step back and think of a new strategy. :)

Thanks for the great update. Your kids are so darling!