Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Want to win something?

After reading my friend Sharon's blog I saw that 5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a 37" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV with help from Best Buy.

Are Nannies Really Necessary?

The other day I flicked on the TV, which is new to our home. Anyway, I was listening to some women interview a celebrity and they were "ooohing" and "ahhhing" the fact that he and his wife had no nanny for their 4 week-old baby. It was amazing to me that parenting, a very difficult yet rewarding vocation, is lifted up and praised when it is "fit in" to certain folks' lives, but questioned on other occasions when moms and dads actually have the audacity to stay home and form, mold, teach, instruct, love, and cuddle their kids. Hmmm. Double standards? I was having a conversation recently with my mom about preschool, and how one of the democratic presidential candidates, John Edwards, would like to lower the age for preschool entrance. That made me think: Where will both parents be? (At work); Where will kids be in between "preschool"? (Daycare or anywhere but with Mom and Dad); What is a parent's real objective for sending a child to preschool (Having taught preschool, I can say that what is most importantly established in those fundamental and critical early years are trust, self-awareness, interpersonal skills, all of which can be taught at home.) (I have yet to read it, but this looks like a good one: You're a Better Parent Than You Think.) After all of these thoughts, I came to the conclusion that many parents possibly do not want that time with their kids. They just may want to still keep a very independent schedule, apart from their own little children. In the end, is this really helping to create independent children? Now, who should be getting a pat on the back: parents that choose to make their children first, or parents that choose to squeeze their kids into their outside work schedule. Thoughts to ponder.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Time for Budding

As Maddy continues to teethe (she just got her 7th tooth a few days ago;it is her bottom molar, second from the back, and it broke the skin in the middle of the night), and as I continue to learn all about each tooth's approximate due date, I think back to the time when Maddy's little mouth endured many changes, which came on Holy Saturday night. After that experience, I wrote this short reflection a few days later:

Time for Rising and Budding

After having a baby and making the beautiful and dedicated decision to remain in our home so as to mold and teach our daughter, I get a taste on a daily basis of what motherhood is all about. It is a task that never ends. Motherhood is a job that lasts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is a journey of happiness to watch Madeleine grow, change, and respond to our voices. It is a permanent call to potential pain—agonies as she falls, cries, and begins to make choices: leaving our home later in life to attend university or to marry, and then make a family of her own. “Welcome to life,” I tell myself. What would life be without pain? Life without growth.

Pain and growth: what are they? Gums splitting to make way for brand-new baby teeth; this is growth, this is change. Maddy’s teeth are coming through, and, oh, what pain they caused on Holy Saturday night—the eve of Christ’s resurrection. Madeleine was in such pain. Her fever was 100.6, and her tiny nose was stopped up like a canal, flooded, and ready to burst. Poor baby. She was most comforted by being close, breastfeeding, lying next to me. I was happiest that way too, just knowing that she was receiving some relief. Why was I in pain? My gums weren’t splitting, but my heart was, as I watched Maddy suffer.

What did Christ feel during his anguish? What were the emotions of sympathetic bystanders—those who loved him? Jesus knew not only that he would suffer, experience torment, and die, but that he would soon rise. His suffering was bitter. His agony was unimaginable. His resurrection was glorious. In order to rise, he had to suffer. It was excruciating to watch, though. It is horrendous to know that through my own actions, I contributed to his torture. I also know that it is by my good choices, my positive actions, and my selfless vocation as a mom— watching my baby’s pains and tending to her needs— which will give rise to my physical, emotional, and spiritual headway. This is similar to the beauty of Christ’s Resurrection.

As I laid in bed, with a warm little body next to me, clock ticking in the wee hours of Easter morn, how could I not thank God for the marvelous mystery of his own child’s resurrection, the everlasting reassurance that although there will be pain, sorrow and distress will never prevail. For a little while there may be growing pains, tooth aches, and nights with little sleep, but they will never last forever. The hope of a new day looms on the horizon. Why? Because Christ already made the ultimate sacrifice. Maddy will endure her gums cutting for the baby teeth to bud, but after that, the pain will lessen. The fundamental changes have taken place. When her permanent teeth come in, the preliminary pain will have been paid. So too has Christ paved the way for us. He has loosened the shackles that bound us to sin. We have a new opportunity to live a pure life, to share in his glorious resurrection.

Maddy’s tooth is ready to burst forth. Pop. Explode. One-by-one each tooth comes in. Sometimes with excruciating force; other times, they poke through at a slower pace. Each one, however, makes way for change. And what is change? Change is leaving one’s old lifestyle, one’s former ways—an old existence—for something, we hope, is better, holier, and more beautiful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Madgey, You're Our Everything

I have deemed this my song for Maddy and we have danced to it quite a bit. You can listen to what Maddy and I are dancing to at our home and look at the lyrics below:


You're a falling star, you're the get away car.
You're the line in the sand when I go too far.
You're the swimming pool, on an August day.
And you're the perfect thing to say.

And you play it coy, but it's kinda cute.
Ah, when you smile at me you know exactly what you do.
Baby don't pretend, that you don't know it's true.
Cause you can see it when I look at you.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, you make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

You're a carousel, you're a wishing well,
And you light me up, when you ring my bell.
You're a mystery, you're from outer space,
You're every minute of my everyday.

And I can't believe, uh that I'm your man,
And I get to kiss you baby just because I can.
Whatever comes our way, ah we'll see it through,
And you know that's what our love can do.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, you make me sing
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

So, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
So, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, you make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.
You're every song, and I sing along.
'Cause you're my everything.
Yeah, yeah

So, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
So, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Little Sponges

At such an early age, even in utero, babies are attracted to their parents' voices. They recognize tones, words, even stories told while they grow inside. Babies are sponges; they learn so fast and grow so quickly. To some people this may seem scary, to others, this is phenomenal. Some parents get worried about curbing their and their friends' language when their children are around. Why? I suppose that they do not want their kids to pick up bad habits, words, etc. To me, though, I see babies and kids as little catalysts that keep us on track. Instead of seeing babies as little patrol cops, I see them as little angels that help us on the straight path. If it's not good for them, it most likely isn't the best for us either (I am not talking about age-appropriate material: educational topics, hearing/seeing news material, which is sometimes violent, but just good vs. bad). The other day I was ending a conversation with someone on the phone, and I said the usual "B-bye." Lo(w) and behold, a little voice echoed below, "B-byyyyye." Maddy hears everything and mimics so much. She did it again this morning, but this time resounded my "Hi, Dad," to Caleb. If all of us are supposed to become like little children, who echo their parents' behaviors, who should we be following on a daily basis? Have we become like little children in echoing our Father's behavior?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mimi Time

My Mom was out here this past week for Maddy's 1st birthday, and we had a very enjoyable time together. Some days filled with chilling, others setting up the apartment, ironing, organizing, doing laundry, but overall, just enjoying our time together. Maddy loved her time with Mimi as she played peek-a-boo and greeted Mimi in the mornings. She loved going into the room in the mornings to give Mimi a wake-up hello. I loved having Mom out here and realized once again that no matter how old one gets, having your Mom or Dad present eases worry, stress, and pain. I wasn't feeling good one day, and Mom was there to be "mom." I don't think one ever outgrows the feeling of comfort that a mom brings. Having both of my parents in my life makes me appreciative to God for allowing me to know them better, love them more, and take advantage of the moments I have with them. I hope that everyone who has a parent or parents is able to enjoy them or at least get to know them more and never let a moment go by without thanking them for giving you life. Thank you, Mom, for coming to visit. We love you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl!

July 17, 2007One year has passed, and I thank God for the stage we are at, remember with joy the day you were born, and soak up every moment with you, hoping that I will never take for granted your life--a total gift to Daddy and me. We love you so, so much. You will have our constant prayers, love, support, and ears to listen. You are our treasure, our little princess, our snuggle bum.. Thank you for loving us back, for giving us the best, big squeezes, and "crunchy" kisses. You are our sweet pea. Maddy, we remember, like yesterday, the day you were born. Dad was retelling the story last night of your birth. I immediately thought of Dad's experience of going to grab lunch after your 1:25pm (Beijing time) birth. He grabbed some Chinese food, and there were a couple of girls at a salon trying to promote their shop and invite Dad to get a haircut. He wanted to yell from the top of his lungs that he didn't have time for that; he is a DAD; we just gave birth to a BABY! I remember hearing the doctor say, "You will have a baby on this next push. With that dose of encouragement, I felt like I could win an Olympic race, because I was determined to see you; you came right after that. I was so thrilled that you were in this world that I had forgotten that we had kept your boyishness or girlishness a secret, and then it clicked, and I said, "What did we have??" Dad said, "A girl!" You are that girlie, and we love you. Happy first birthday, little world traveler. You have done so much in your one year, and for some reason, I think there is a lot more to come. We are excited to take this journey with you.