Being a mother of a small boy, this Friday Funny from our friend Kim gives me an idea of what I have to look forward to. Your prayers would be appreciated!
Happy Weekend Everyone!
For Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
The following came from an anonymous Mother in Austin, Texas:
“Things I’ve learned from my boys (honest and not kidding)”:
1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3.) A 3-year old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.
5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh oh”, it’s already too late.
8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke—lots of it.
9.) A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
10.) Certain Lego’s will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12.) Super glue is forever.
13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.
14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15.) VCR’s do not eject “PB & J” sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20.) The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time.
Gone are the days of spontaneous dinners out, midnight walks around the block, and sleeping in. For Mike and me, these are the days of dinners in, midnight feedings, and a lot less sleep. As many of you know, little Caly burst into our world this past February. And while our daughter has brought us more joy than we ever imagined, she has also changed our lives. As a new mom, I have been baptized into the demands of motherhood.
For all of us, there can be a tendency to become consumed with being a mom. We can easily forget that our first relational priority, according to Scripture, must be our husbands. They must always be first in our heart and our care.
How is this possible with a newborn? Granted, this can be difficult to pull off if we are rushing to hold our baby at his or her first whimper and feeding our baby whenever he or she cries. This is where the advice my mom’s first pediatrician gave to her is so helpful: “Your baby should adapt to you and not you to your baby.”
Enter “Schedule!” This little practice has made a huge difference as I have navigated the uncharted waters of marriage plus kiddo. Placing Caly on a schedule has provided a measure of predictability, even though she is an unpredictable baby. I generally know how our day will play out with naptimes and mealtimes. This allows me to plan specific times for Mike and me to be together. We have been able to resume our weekly date night, because I know how long I can be away from her. When Mike comes home from work in the evening, he knows that Caly has a scheduled bedtime, which gives the two of us time to catch up from the day. Although motherhood has been my biggest life adjustment, a schedule has not only served my daughter, it’s helped me keep my husband first.
But once again, this schedule thing is just a suggestion.
“The children were always put into a regular method of living, in such things as they were capable of, from their birth.” Susanna Wesley
Mom pointed out yesterday that, “Order, routine, and structure serve the mom, the marriage, and the children.” I’m going to take the last part first. As I see it, a schedule serves our children in three ways:
1. Routine teaches self-control. Per Titus 1:8, Steve and I want our son to be self-controlled and disciplined. But he wasn’t born that way! We have to train him, and it’s not too early to start. By establishing a daily routine we are teaching him to do one thing for a pre-determined length of time. So, for example, Jack (who is three) is learning to sit at the table and color for twenty minutes until the timer goes off. He’s not ready to sit through his SAT’s yet, but by putting him on a schedule, we can teach him self-control and discipline in an age-appropriate manner.
2. Kids Love It! They won’t tell you, but did you know that your kids want you to put them on a schedule? As one author notes:
“Children need rules and consistency in their lives. In fact, they crave them. They’ll do all sorts of crazy, naughty, out-of-control things just to get their parents to enforce some rules to curb their behavior. More rules that define their behavior and boundaries will actually produce more freedom to grow and blossom. Rules make children feel safe. They give children a defined world. They spare children from having to make adult decisions because adults have made the proper decisions for them.”
From her childhood experience, Elisabeth Elliot concurs:
“The regularity of our schedule was one of the things we depended on, and though we did not know it at the time, it gave us great security…Our little world could be counted on to stay the way it was, safe, ‘structured,’ and pretty much the same every day” (Shaping of a Christian Family, p. 77)
My own experience with Jack backs this up. He absolutely loves his schedule! He regularly rehearses out loud with me the sequence of his routine. And although he doesn’t always comply perfectly, he is excited about “what’s next!”
3. Schedule facilitates effective discipline. That’s because the rules are clear—for mother and child. Kids know what you expect of them and when you expect it. So they also know when they’ve disobeyed and why they are being disciplined. Additionally, a regular routine can actually cut-down on (though certainly not eliminate!) discipline situations. When kids know what to anticipate, they are less likely to sinfully respond to change.
There’s a progression here. The more children learn self-control, the less they’ll disobey and require discipline, and the happier they—and mom—will be! But having made my simple case, please don’t forget: it’s just a suggestion!
Those of you who have read my book, Feminine Appeal, know that when I gave birth to my first baby (Nicole), I had no clue how to care for a child and no one close by to show me how. It wasn’t until my mom came from Florida to serve me after Kristin’s birth (fourteen months later), that I received my first bit of helpful advice. My mom watched me spend hours trying to bottle feed Nicole to sleep—on top of caring for a newborn. “You need to let that girl cry!” she told me. It worked and it changed my world.
I know there may be moms out there like me. You feel alone, unsure of what to do, and desperate for some advice. And while I’m no substitute for a mother, I want to come alongside you (as best I can via the internet!) and simply tell you—as one of our readers put it, “Here’s what worked for me.” And remember, it’s just a suggestion.
Having raised four children (one, twelve years after I thought I was through!), having talked to many other moms—both young and experienced, and having advised my own daughters with their small children, I’ve come to the following conclusion: order, routine, and structure serve the mom, the marriage, and the children.
Now please—if words like “order” and “structure” make you want to shut down the computer and go for a walk in the park, I understand. Or, for some of you, it might bring to mind a certain person or a certain method that was rigid, inflexible and made life miserable. That’s not what this is about!
And please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that there is only one right way to parent. And I am not insisting there is one schedule that fits all babies. And I am not a medical expert, and I know there are unique situations in which conventional wisdom does not apply. I’m also not presenting anything new or novel. “Older women” for centuries—from Susanna Wesley to Catherine Beecher to Elisabeth Elliot—have passed this practical wisdom down to all of us (we’ll pass it on to you over the next few days).
As we examine more closely the advantages of scheduling for you and your family, I pray you’ll benefit in some small way. But whether you take my advice or not, I sincerely hope you feel my care. And most of all, I hope you know the Father’s pleasure in your motherly sacrifice.
Epidural vs. Natural Child Birth. College vs. No College. Breast-feeding vs. Bottle Feeding. Courtship vs. Dating. Child Immunizations vs. Homeopathic Medicine. Home Schooling vs. Private or Public Schooling. Birth Control vs. No Birth Control. Organic Food vs. Processed Food.
Have an opinion, anyone?
If you’re a woman and you’re alive, at least one of these words probably triggered a visceral response. You instinctively reached into your mental files for the appropriate legal brief, fully prepared to argue for the prosecution or the defense.
Mention a topic such as this and—cue the super-hero music please—we morph into “Super-Lawyer-Woman,” ready to save the world from the risks of formula or the perils of public school or the dangers of processed food. All in a days work.
And we tend to travel in packs. Wherever we are or wherever we go in life, we find these kindred spirits—women who feel as strongly about our cause as we do—and we become fast friends. Pity the poor woman whose opinion differs from ours, or worse yet, hasn’t formed an opinion. She doesn’t stand a chance against “Super-Lawyer-Women.”
But as comical as this image may be, it really isn’t funny.
Because it’s all too true. We as women are inclined to adopt a pet issue and express our opinion far too forcefully, sending other women running for cover. I’m sure I’m guilty, even more than I realize.
As D.A. Carson observes:
“So many Christians today identify themselves with some ‘single issue’ (a concept drawn from politics) other than the cross, other than the gospel. It is not that they deny the gospel. If pressed, they will emphatically endorse it. But their point of self-identification, the focus of their minds and hearts, what occupies their interest and energy is something else” (The Cross and Christian Ministry, p. 63).
The fact is that all of the aforementioned topics fall into a category Scripture labels “disputable matters” (Romans 14:1, NIV): an issue that is not central to our faith or a prerequisite for fellowship in the gospel. And this entire chapter of Romans insists that we are not to “pass judgment” on these kind of matters, or, as the ESV puts it, “quarrel over opinions.” Rather, we are to “welcome” or “accept” one another (v. 1), and pursue “what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (v. 19). Why? Because the person who disagrees with us is, “one for whom Christ died” (v. 15).
Here at girltalk we are going to start a little series on a “disputable matter.” We are going to discuss the benefits of scheduling for infants and toddlers. We’re calling it, “RoutineTalk.”
And we want to set the tone for this conversation right up front. What we have to say, it’s just a suggestion. It’s merely a collection of thoughts, drawn from our personal experience and that of others. It’s a recommendation, intended to serve moms with young children. And we fully expect that some will have a different opinion. That’s OK! Because the gospel is what we’re passionate about, what draws us together, and not a particular mothering practice.
For in the kingdom of God there shouldn’t be the Whole Foods clique and the McDonalds crowd or the La Leche playgroup and the Enfamil playgroup, or the homeschooling moms versus the public-school moms.
There should just be the church. United by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Putting your baby on a schedule. It’s just a suggestion.
This article by Russell Moore brought tears to my eyes as I contemplated the incredible life-changing effects of adoption. Over the years, I have had the privilege of watching many families from our church adopt children from the United States and abroad. It has been a joy to see these children—once in orphanages or foster care—placed in families where they are loved, cared for, and most importantly where they hear the gospel. One happens to be my babysitter who was born 13 year ago today—Happy Birthday Amanda!
So, may “Moore Than a Birthday” encourage all of you who have adopted or who are in the process of adopting. For the rest of us, well, it might just put that desire in our hearts.
Hey everyone! A reader recently sent us these little stories entitled “Hope to make you smile.” They caused more than a smile, we laughed our way through each one. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did. See ya Monday!
Janelle For Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin
LITTLE JOHNNY ASKED HIS GRANDMA! HOW OLD SHE WAS. GRANDMA ANSWERED, “39 AND HOLDING.” JOHNNY THOUGHT FOR A MOMENT, AND THEN SAID, “AND HOW OLD WOULD YOU BE IF YOU LET GO?”
LIFE AFTER DEATH:
“DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH?” THE BOSS ASKED ONE OF HIS EMPLOYEES.
“YES, SIR,” THE NEW EMPLOYEE REPLIED. “WELL, THEN, THAT MAKES EVERYTHING JUST FINE,” THE BOSS WENT ON. “AFTER YOU LEFT EARLY YESTERDAY TO GO TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S FUNERAL, SHE STOPPED IN TO SEE YOU!
CHILDREN’S SERMON: ONE EASTER SUNDAY MORNING AS THE MINISTER WAS PREACHING THE CHILDREN’S SERMON, HE REACHED INTO HIS BAG OF PROPS AND PULLED OUT AN EGG. HE POINTED AT THE EGG AND ASKED THE CHILDREN, “WHAT’S IN HERE?” “I KNOW!” A LITTLE BOY EXCLAIMED. “PANTYHOSE!”
SUPPORT A FAMILY:
THE PROSPECTIVE FATHER-IN-LAW ASKED, “YOUNG MAN, CAN YOU SUPPORT A FAMILY?” THE SURPRISED GROOM-TO-BE REPLIED, “WELL, NO. I WAS JUST PLANNING TO SUPPORT YOUR DAUGHTER. THE REST OF YOU WILL HAVE TO FEND FOR YOURSELVES.”
FIRST TIME USHERS:
A LITTLE BOY IN CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME WATCHED AS THE USHERS PASSED AROUND THE OFFERING PLATES. WHEN THEY CAME NEAR HIS PEW, THE BOY SAID LOUDLY, “DON’T PAY FOR ME DADDY. I’M UNDER FIVE.”
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER ASKED, “NOW, JOHNNY, TELL ME, DO YOU SAY PRAYERS BEFORE EATING?” “NO SIR,” HE REPLIED, “WE DON’T HAVE TO, MY MOM IS A GOOD COOK!”
THE WATER PISTOL:
WHEN MY THREE-YEAR-OLD SON OPENED THE BIRTHDAY GIFT FROM HIS GRANDMOTHER, HE DISCOVERED A WATER PISTOL.. HE SQUEALED WITH DELIGHT AND HEADED FOR THE NEAREST SINK. I WAS NOT SO PLEASED. I TURNED TO MOM AND SAID, “I’M SURPRISED AT YOU. DON’T YOU REMEMBER HOW WE USED TO DRIVE YOU CRAZY WITH WATER GUNS?” MOM SMILED AND THEN REPLIED….. “I REMEMBER.”
This “show yourself a man” series would not be complete without the reminder that training our sons must be rooted in the gospel. Here are a few sweet truths we must always remember and never forget:
Let’s not forget that because of the gospel we encourage our sons “to show himself a man.”
Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27
Let’s not forget that by the power of the gospel moms can faithfully teach and sons can humbly learn how to cultivate masculinity.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
Let’s not forget that through the gospel we can receive forgiveness whenever mom and son sin in the process of training and growth in godly masculinity (and sin, we will!).
[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians :13-14
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. Psalm 130:3-4
So Moms (and everyone else reading this), because we have a tendency to forget the gospel, let us begin each day preaching the gospel to our souls. This will produce happy moms who are filled with hope for their sons. And this will make all the difference as we train our sons to be godly men.
Below are three adjectives and their definitions from an on-line dictionary:
- Passive – tending not to participate actively and usually letting others make decisions
- Uncommunicative – not willing to say much or tending not to say much
- Indifferent – showing no care or concern for, or interest in, somebody or something.
Why did I choose to look up the meaning of these 3 adjectives?
If you can unscramble the following phrase you will figure out why: heT amle otulopnpai.
Did you get it? Okay. Okay. I do not want you wasting forty-five minutes trying to decipher this code – you have much more important things you should be doing – so I will just tell you. Here it is: The male population.
Now before anyone thinks we are men-bashers here at girltalk, let me explain. I am referring to a stereotypical description of the male population. A comparable list of adjectives could just as easily be drawn up for the female population. Can anyone say: manipulative, nagging, busybodies?
Women are not better than men. Neither do all men fit the stereotypical mold. I know many men whose lives, by God’s grace, defy these adjectives. They lead. They serve. They care. My husband is one of these men!
CJ and I desire to raise a son who also defies this stereotypical description of men. We want him to be an example of godly masculinity by the grace of God. That’s why we are challenging him to lead where appropriate.
Here are a few directives we give our son:
- Be the first to pray in group settings.
- Be the first to take an interest in others.
- Be the first to lead in conversation.
- Be the first to stop a conversation that is not edifying.
- Be the first to offer to serve others.
With this list, we come to the end of Chad’s “Show Yourself a Man” Plan. However, there is one more essential responsibility I have as his mom. You can read about it in the next post.
…to my sweet family for making my birthday (yesterday) so meaningful and memorable and to the many of you who emailed birthday greetings and kind encouragement. I was deeply moved!