Thank goodness for Grandma

I’m feeling like a lazy blogger today, and I didn’t even have a hard day today. My mom has been here since yesterday and it has been so so so nice to have an extra set of hands around. Peter is loving having someone to give him nearly undivided attention, and I got to sleep in for a few hours this morning after another night of waking almost every hour with Carolyn.

I have a feeling that tonight will be another rough night. I put her down an hour ago and she just woke up again. Last night she gave me a couple of two hour stretches, so we’ll see what tonight brings.

I think I’m going to take advantage of any available sleep moments and go ahead and head to bed. Goodnight! Wish me luck!

Realizing how I can relate to Christ

Often times as I read my scriptures, I find myself relating to various people within the pages. I can relate to Peter’s stumble of faith as he walks on the water with Christ. I can relate to Laman and Lemuel murmuring about their great afflictions and hardship in the wilderness. I can relate to Alma the Younger as his soul is filled with joy at the forgiveness of his sins. I can relate to the prophet Joseph Smith as he cries out for God to stretch forth his hand and relieve his suffering. 

As often as I relate to people in the scriptures, I really struggle to relate to Christ. 
I know that Christ can relate to me, and my suffering and hardship and pain, but it is really difficult for me to look at the perfect life He lived and feel like I can relate to Him. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to look at some aspect of His life, and feel liked I walked those same steps. Then tonight I was pondering again on prayer and faith and my mind drifted back to Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. 
He prays: “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

As I reflected on that prayer, “if it be possible” stood out to me like it hadn’t before. I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that Christ asked for His burden to be removed, for the cup to pass from Him. That it is not a sin to ask or to desire for a trial to be removed. But what else I realized tonight is that Christ was not sure what was absolutely required. He was not sure what all needed to be done. He was not sure what all His Father was requiring of Him.
I can relate to that! 
As I am sleep deprived and cranky, trying cook dinner while my baby crawls up crying and grabbing onto my leg, and my toddler is frantically yelling demands at me from across the room and I feel completely overwhelmed- all I want to know is if I have to go through this, or if maybe this time, Heavenly Father can help me out and lift some burdens. 
I ask Him because I’m not sure what He wants or needs me to go through. I’m not sure that I see the whole big picture that He can. I’m not sure whether or not this moment and this trial is critical. And neither was Christ. He was at the brink of the greatest act in history, His whole purpose here on Earth, and He wasn’t 100% sure if He really had to do it. 
Even Christ had to exercise faith, had to take a huge and terrifying step into the unknown, had to maintain some ignorance of the full requirements upon His shoulders. 
And that comforts me, because I can relate to that. 

Some things I am excited about

It turns out that the previous two nights of sleep was some sort of dirty trick, because Carolyn was back to waking up every hour last night. The good news is, I was only cranky for the first half of the day, the second half went much better. I was telling my mom the other day that I have been having a hard time lately, and being the awesome mom and grandma she is, she’s coming to visit tomorrow! Yay for moms, saving your toosh even after you’re all grown up!

Even though I haven’t been feeling as down the last couple of days, I’m pretty excited to have an extra hand with the kids ALL DAY LONG for a whole week!

The other thing that I am excited about is that General Conference is this weekend. I feel especially ready to be pumped full of goodness and direction. You see, the interesting thing about hard times is that they have a way of floating all of the things you need to work on up to the surface. So now I have a nice long list of questions I have or counsel that I am seeking, and that always makes conference just a little more wonderful.

Disconnecting the negative emotion from discipline

Today is the first day in a while that I feel like writing about something other than feeling like I’m falling apart. Maybe because today was the first day in a while that I didn’t feel like I was falling apart, and maybe that’s because my baby slept a five and a three hour chunk last night, after about a month of waking up every hour. Hallelujah indeed! It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for you.

I’ve been reading several parenting books lately, as I have been trying to figure out what “fits” as a style of parenting and discipline. I have yet to read a book that I agree with 100%, but the three that I have read, and successfully used ideas from each, have been Parenting with Love and Logic, How to Really Love Your Child, and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. All of them have some some ideas and suggestions that I have liked, but the piece of advice that has made the biggest change in my parenting came simply from a friend as we chatted during a play date.

I had been trying to reconcile a desire to better connect with Peter (Carolyn is a little too young for much disciplining), with the simultaneous desire to set and enforce firm boundaries and help him to be a generally well behaved child. I felt like every time I leaned “firm boundaries”, it seemed like he and I were locked in a battle of wills all day and upset with one another to boot. And I felt like every time I leaned “connecting with him” I ended up being too permissive and creating a different set of behavioral problems. As I was discussing this struggle with her, she told me how she has tried to disconnect the negative emotion from discipline.

This felt like one of those huge lightbulb moments. I realized that whenever I was leaning “firm boundaries”, I was often enforcing those boundaries with anger. You know, the whole “Time out! Go to your room! No!” stuff. The anger seems to give your discipline an extra “kick” because it’s scary, and requires less thoughtful boundaries because getting yelled at doubles as part of the punishment. That’s what wasn’t sitting right with me, and that’s what was causing so much friction and lack of progress between Peter and me.

Lately I have been enforcing limits, but doing so without the anger (you know, mostly…). If Peter doesn’t want to come with me to get into his pajamas for the night, I will very evenly say “do you want to come with me, or do you want me to carry you?”. If he doesn’t come, I say “It looks like you’re choosing for me to carry you” and I calmly pick him up and bring him (who is not so calm) in for PJ’s. After a day or so of that, he started deciding to come on his own.

When he rips a toy away from his sister, I calmly tell him not to take someone else’s toys and take him to time out. After his time out I sit down with him and calmly explain again why he had to come to time out, what he should not have done, and what a better behavior would be. I usually give him a hug as well, you know, for that whole “increase of love” thing.

It’s only been a couple of weeks of really working on this new effort, but I have loved that it preserves a much better spirit in our home, and I feel like I am both teaching and connecting with Peter. Two thumbs up for friends sharing their great wisdom.

Happy Easter!

What a blessing today was. Easter Sunday was rejuvenating for me. My heart felted pricked with love from my Heavenly Father, and pricked with hope and gratitude in and for the Atonement of Christ.

They were small pricks, but even small pricks remind you that letting yourself feel, can still feel good.