Discipline for a Toddler

There is a very interesting chorus being chanted at my house.  It goes, “No no no no no no no!”  Sometimes it’s loud, sometimes it’s soft, sometimes it starts small and gets louder – Royce has really taken his chanting abilities to a new level.  It would be impressive, but mostly it’s an echo of what the little guy has been hearing.  Usually in response to something that will turn into a GIANT mess or hurt a little man – and clearly one “no” isn’t working for me – thus the multiple “no’s” in the chant!

Royce playing peaceably!

Royce is my good little boy and he does listen eventually, but lately we’ve seen him with some other kids his age, and I have been impressed at what I’ve seen in other kids, and slightly disappointed in how I’ve been with Royce.  It has me thinking I should rethink my discipline style.

I had a visit with my lovely neighbor Berit, her son Roy and daughter Vera.  Roy is 7 months older than Royce, and Vera will be 7 months older than our second son when he is born.  I was nervous about Royce with Roy – Royce is a bruiser and a bit aggressive and boisterous, and Roy is a sweet, shy boy with wonderful manners that he learned from his parents.

First thing Royce does after we are all settled in the yard?  Run up to cute 6-month-old Vera in her car seat and I think, oh no he’s going to smack her or poke her in the eye!  I geared up in usual fashion, “no, Royce, gently!”  He surprised me, he gently touched her tummy, and what did Berit do?  She said, “Good job Royce – you are being very gentle, and her body is a good place to touch.”  She told him other nice places to touch the baby would be her arms and legs as she demonstrated a gentle stroke, and then said, “but be careful of her face.”  It was SUCH a positive statement – it made Royce feel good and let him know well in advance what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

It made me think – rather than hollering “no no no no no” next time he proceeds to dump half a bottle of water on the table, perhaps I could give him a positive option – such as, “we don’t pour water on the table, but we could pour it in a cup!”  This kind of positive redirection will take a lot of practice on my part (and of course, my partner in crime, Marty!) and a lot of patience.  Neither is my strong suit, but I’m willing to work on it for both of my kiddos!

Seeing Roy with his baby sister, and how well he listened – and as always listened – to his mom impressed me, and I know that both he and Vera will grow into well adjusted, fair, like-able adults.  I hope that by refocusing my energy into positive re-direction, and less yelling of “NO” will help Royce turn into a child who listens well, feels good about himself, and learns that even if he can’t do certain things, there are always other options!

Royce’s Birth Story

August 23, 2010, Marty and I went to Parkview Allina OBGyn for the 39 week checkup for the routine measurement and prodding.  I mentioned I thought the baby had slowed in movement, so they hooked me up to the non-stress test monitor.  Rather than give a definitive answer, it perplexed the nurse and the doctor – who sent us to the hospital for further monitoring.  Baby’s heartbeat slowed during the braxton hicks tightening I was having, which made them nervous.  They then sent me to the perinatal screening unit to have an ultrasound to see if baby was ok.  Baby was completely fine – cord was wrapped around his neck, but he was healthy.  This meant the decision was up to me – they recommended induction, I could refuse if I wanted.  Bear in mind this particular August it had been 90 and muggy for so many days that I thought, yes, heck yes, let’s get this little boy on his way!

That afternoon, they started me on pitocin, and the antibiotics needed for the Group B strep, and then we waited.  We told our parents, siblings and friends we were inducing, baby here soon!  My sister came to the hospital to help with labor support, and we waited.  I hadn’t eaten since Sunday night – my plan had been to eat right after our 8 am doctor appointment, but as so often happens, things weren’t going as expected.

I wasn’t dilating – so I agreed to let them break my bag of waters.  It was done by an intern – who was lovely, but slow – and after that, every time they checked to see how far I had progressed, it caused IMMENSE pain.  At that point, I elected to have an epidural.  I had given up on moving, didn’t seem to be helping, and I was already hooked up to the machines for so many other things, why not one more thing?

Most of Tuesday was a blur due to the meds – I remember vividly getting to a 5 kind of quick, and then NOTHING.  My parents arrived later on Tuesday, anticipating seeing a baby – no luck there.  The latest changing of the guard was to a male Dr. Kopechy, who started talking C-section if we didn’t make more progress.  Little sleep, no food, 3am prayers that SOMETHING would move, and at that point he said we wouldn’t wait past 5 am if we’d made no progress.

5am came, I was still at 5, so they said it was important to go ahead with a c-section.  At this point I was too tired and hungry, suffering from serious heartburn to even care that this was the exact opposite of what I had wanted – I was ready to meet that baby.

Before panic could settle in, they turned up the epidural, and forced me to drink a noxious beverage to “Help keep me from vomiting” that actually later caused vomiting, prepped me, and hauled cookies to the OR.  Marty had been dressed in scrubs, and described the insanity of watching me be cut open, stretched wider by several hands on either side of the incision, and watching the baby emerge!

I felt a ton of pressure – it made me feel ill, but didn’t hurt.  They liberated the baby, and while Marty could see it all, I was stuck behind the curtain, and nobody would show me my baby!  I was beyond angry – not even a peek?  I understand he was having issues because of the cord around his neck and all that labor, non-movement and eventual ripping from my tummy, but it felt completely unfair.  My baby didn’t come out the way he was supposed to, so I couldn’t even hold him once he had been born – and I had to demand he be shown to me – because when I tried to move the curtain, it was shoved back by someone in the OR.  Once I got to look at him for a second or two, he was whisked away in my husbands arms, met his Aunt Tracie and got his first bath.  I however, had to be stitched back up, puke a bunch from the anesthesia and that horrible beverage, and recover a bit before I could see my own baby again.

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Baby boy in Mom’s arms on his birth day!

An hour or two later, they brought him back to me, and we attempted to nurse him – which was insane when you are that high on pain meds from major surgery – it was not successful and the nurse wasn’t super helpful.  They took him back because I was so drowsy, and I threw up again.

After that, I was in my hospital room, feeling happy on pain meds, and finally able to hold my precious baby Royce.  The meds were very strong those first hours, and nursing never really got more successful.  The nursing staff was nervous about leaving the baby with me because I kept dozing off due to pain meds – but I managed to keep him with me as much as possible.

I was deliriously happy to have my baby with me, nervous about feeding him the way I had planned to, and just ready to go home from the hospital.  Royce was here, healthy and beautiful, and I would have plenty of time to sort out how I felt about the birth going the way it had after I adjusted to the new baby.

This was two years ago, and I still feel so blessed that he was as healthy as he was, and even though he never nursed successfully, we pumped milk and he drank it like a frat boy guzzles beer, and grew like a weed!  Today he is running around like a little person, talking – more and more understandable every day, working on using the potty, and since the beginning, momma’s good sleeper!

Now I’m waiting for his little brother to show up – not as hot, but definitely having just as many braxton hicks – and I pray that his birth story is less eventful, he is just as healthy as his big brother, and that we have a smooth transition into a family of four.  Motherhood is full of blessings and difficulties, but the blessings FAR outweigh the pain of any difficulties.

Discussions with the Academic

Weird confession – I have always had an easier time falling into pop culture than more academic interests.  I’m quite capable of studious living, but  I’ve forever preferred a sitcom to a book, a movie to the presidential debate, and as of late, Facebook and Twitter rather than in depth research.

My son copying his mother by being on technology…

There could be reasons – sometimes really in depth topics cause me to get mush brain – not that I don’t find them interesting or exciting – but recently I’ve been told I should be tested for ADD – no surprise to me and many of my teachers – and the length of this sentence shows you that focusing for long terms of time on something can be tricky for me.

I am interested in very academic things – Theology, Science, Politics, Psychology, Star Trek, and I love to talk about them!  However, I’m not armed with a lot of research or capability to formulate arguments for those who are TRUE academics.  This had never been a problem for me – until I decided to finally follow my call into the ministry.

People in Seminary are for the most part, academics.  It’s grad school – totally makes sense.  They don’t want a “quippy comedic” answer for serious arguments, and it has gotten me into trouble lately.  Extreme frustration has arisen in conversations with friends, classmates – strangers!  While I know what I mean, I can’t get it out in a way that makes sense to someone in the upper echelon of thought – and for someone who has always been able to express herself well, this is a very humbling feeling.

It can only get more pressuring when people in a context start quizzing me on biblical knowledge, candidacy committees ask me to articulate my theology, not to mention situations that have yet to present themselves.

My resolution?  To turn off my tv and use my free time for research.  To find ways to cope with my short-lived attention span and work through it in order to retain more information and practice formulating thoughts that can be directed not only at pop-culture fanatics (my peeps!) but academics that speak a different language.

I smell the new baby

When Royce was born, there were certain smells that came with it – some not so pleasant, and some of them that would be awful if it didn’t mean you had a new baby with you.

One of those smells is milk – I have been receiving formula samples and I can smell the milk – formula, breast milk, all of it – I’m not sure if they are really smell-able or if my senses are ultra hyped in anticipation of the new baby!

ImageOf course, the big difference this time is the big brother we have hanging out with us – how will he react to his new brother – and will I be able to keep myself from losing it while taking care of both a new baby and my rambunctious toddler?  I’m sure there will be moments I think I’m going to lose my mind – but I have faith that the good Lord will help me through those (Hopefully brief) times of angst and remind me how wonderful both boys are.

I’m trying to plan what work and fall class schedule will look like with two children that would need to be in daycare to do those sorts of things – with a student as one of the adults who should be earning, we are always tight budget wise – so I feel compelled to work.  But I also feel compelled to take a full course load this fall…and to take care of my children to the best of my abilities without letting a care-giver do all the work.  Is quite the conundrum and I’m praying daily for clarity when making these decisions.

Thursday is the last day of my internship this summer – I’m sad to say goodbye to my first official church job, but am glad there will be some time to work ahead on homework for the fall.  This summer has flown by – full of blessings and excitement, and as sad as I am to see it coming to a close, I’m so excited for the arrival of our new family member and the excitement all our upcoming events promise to bring.

I hope everyone is rounding out their summer feeling like it was a wonderful and worthwhile one, and I’m looking forward to hearing how my friends and loved ones have been spending their time!!