Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big D: Wonder Boy

When Derek was born at 8 pounds 10 ounces with man-hands and man-feet, I should have known that he would be something of a phenomenon.  Today, at 6 months old and 20 pounds, he's proven to be our wonder boy.  Almost everything about him is different than I've experienced with the other two.

First of all, he's by far the earliest teether of the 3.  He started around 3 months old and now he is going on his 7th chomper.  I will be feeding him a T-bone steak tomorrow.

When he's especially hungry and wants to nurse, he opens his mouth as wide as possible, shows me his fangs, does a crazy little head shake as if to go in for the kill, and latches on with his teeth before sucking.  The sound effects that come from his mouth make it seem like he is eating me alive.  During the nursing session, he lets out a few cleansing man-farts.  When he's done, I put him over my shoulder and he releases a beer-belly belch followed by a wet burp which leads to a stream of spit-up that runs down my back.  When I stand up, I look down and see that I've just sat in a puddle of breastmilk.  My pants are all wet.

Clothes are a bit of an issue.  He grows at a rate faster than my ability to find suitable clothes for him.  For a while, his onesies were off-the-shoulder with only 1 out of 3 buttons closed on his crotch.  I finally pulled out the 6-12 month size, so he's a bit more comfortable now.  No more off-the-shoulder or boatneck onesies, but they are V-neck from time to time.  And sometimes, they show off a bit of baby cleavage.

He doesn't crawl on his belly yet, but he's managed to get around for a few months now...on his back.  Think inchworm, but upside down.  He gets into a bridge pose balancing on just his head and feet like this:

Then he straightens out and bends again.  That's how he travels from one end of the rug to the other.  Here's a frontal view:

Bird's eye view:

Sometimes he'll do a one arm stabilizer:

Since he was born, he's made us wrestle him for everything.  From diaper changes to changing his clothes, he makes us pry his extremities open.  Sometimes he is so strong and I'm so tired that I just want to forfeit and let him win the arm wrestling competitions.  What makes diaper changes even more challenging is that he feels that he must squeeze his nether regions whenever his diaper is open.  He squeezes so hard that it looks like he's trying to make lemonade.  Needless to say, this gets a bit messy when I'm changing a poopy diaper.  Add to this his love of doing back bends.  I get sweaty at each diaper change.

Since he outgrew his infant carseat at birth, getting him in the car has been sort of an issue.  Due to his girth, it is quite uncomfortable for him.  Therefore, he likes to stay sitting upright.  I have to push him down with all my might or do a tug-of-war with the seatbelt adjustment strap to make him recline like he's supposed to.  Even then, I sometimes give up and he'll just ride across town sitting up.

Who does he inherit these traits from?  He seems to resemble someone else quite notorious:

O Derek, I love to wrestle you and shovel food in your mouth really fast.  I love having to pull my hair out of your grip of death.  I love how you almost bite our fingers off.  I love how you sweat like your sister and your father.   I love that now I know what it's  like to bathe a seal. I love how you giggle when I put you in your bed.  I love how you give us your generous smiles.  I love burying my face in your rolls.  I love that you are so happy and that you love being in our family.  I love that God created you in my womb and sent you to us even when I couldn't dare to even ask the Lord for another child.  I love that I'm so undeserving of you.  I love you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


This post is a week late, but I've been wanting to write about my mom.  I love her.  I miss her.

I think about my worst fear as a mom, and that's  seeing my children suffer.  Then I think about my mom and she is living out this fear.  Not only does her heart break for her grandson, but she's watching her own daughter suffer as I go through the valleys of special needs.

But she's my rock.  Ever since Marcus was diagnosed, she has never shown me any doubt in God's goodness, any anxiety about Marcus' health, or any worry about my well-being.  Although she may worry or be sad, she lays her tears at the feet of Jesus and shows me only the peace she receives from Him.  Whenever I am sapped of strength or hope, I am held up by the fact that she showers my life with her early morning prayers.  She prays for me even when I'm too weak to pray for myself.  She trusts unwaveringly in our loving Father and reminds me of how trustworthy He is.  What a gift she is to me and my family!

For Mother's Day, I didn't get to see my mom, but I spent the day as Mom to my kids and celebrated with them.  What my mom is to me, I want to be for them.

From my mom, I've learned that God is generous, kind, merciful, and in control.  I've learned that trials and conflicts and pain are God's gifts to bring us closer to Him.

She never sat me down to teach me these things, she just showed them to me through her life.  I pray my children will one day see the same in mine.

Thankful Thursday - Perspectives

Today, I'm thankful for things that I haven't been thankful for before.  They may be things I usually complain about and will probably complain about again, but tonight, God's given me a different perspective.

1. I'm thankful for bodily functions.

Marcus' speech is exploding right now and we've noticed that he's got quite the potty mouth.

M: Knock-knock
A: Who's there?
M: Banana
A:  Banana who?
M:  Banana wants poo-poo.
(Eruption of high-pitched giggles.)

And who would have thought that potty training would increase his vocabulary?

One day, looking in the toilet after doing #2, he said, " Eeew, stinky.  So much poo-poo.  HuMONgous!!!"

But besides the potty mouth, he's also a big question-asker now.  We are loving all the  What, Where, and How questions.  My favorite was when our little neighbor friend stopped by yesterday and without any prompting from us, Marcus said, "Hi Reese!  How are you?"  Mike and I just looked at each other and smiled and melted.

2. I'm thankful for a messy house.

I was proud of myself this week for folding the laundry and piling them up on the stair banister like this:

It was a huge accomplishment because they're usually piled into laundry baskets downstairs and Mike and I have to treasure hunt for clothes every morning.

Before I had kids, I had delusional thoughts that I would always keep my house clean even after having  children.  My kids would be able to eat off the floor because it would be spotless, and I'd pass a white glove test any day of the week because I'd be dusting very often.  The kids would pull out one toy at a time and put it back after choosing another one and they would demurely nibble on their snacks at the dining table and wipe sticky hands on napkins to avoid crumbs and fingerprints.  There would be no messy piles of junk laying around, and I would finish all my chores according to schedule so that strangers could stop by at any time of day and see an orderly home.  Was I on drugs?!

But seeing that my house in real life fails to meet the expectations of my fantasy life, makes me realize that my capacity is limited and my life is full.  There are diapers to change, meals to prepare, a husband to talk with, a baby to hold, a kindergartner who needs help with homework, and a 3  year-old who loves to spoon in the afternoon.  I'll take that over a clean house any day.

3. I'm thankful that I don't have a garage.

Believe me, I complain about this one every time I lug the 3 kids and backpacks and groceries on the 32 mile journey from the car to my front door.  Most of the time, the baby's crying from hunger or a missed nap, I'm impatient with the kids, sweating, and wearing an ugly scowl on my face that looks just like the whining in my heart.  But God helped me realize that we are still living in our 2-bedroom condo neighborhood for some good reason.  And maybe the daily trek to and from the car is actually good for Marcus.  That's 64 extra miles of walking per day for him that he would otherwise not have if we had a garage.  And maybe that's why he's starting to gain more endurance walking and able to take a few small steps independently now.

Check out the first couple seconds in this clip.  Kind of cool, huh?

4. I'm thankful for an anxious heart.

What?  Yes, I'm thankful that I was anxious for the past week or so.  Whenever we have an ophthalmology appointment coming up for Marcus, I get anxious that we will be hearing the news we most dread; that he is beginning to lose his vision.  Due to various circumstances, I was more anxious than usual about an appointment this week.  But what a sweet time it was to lay my burdens down at the feet of Jesus, search His promises, pray with my husband, and be comforted by Him.

The doctor told us that Marcus' vision remains stable and that he is tracking even better now than before.  This news was a relief to hear, but in a greater way, what encouraged me was the fact that the Lord continues to bring me near through situations like these.  He doesn't seem to let me wander too far off before He draws me in again to remind me that nothing will separate us from His love.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day By Day

After Marcus was diagnosed in 2007, I didn't know how life could go on as normal.  How we could continue to live our daily lives and smile through it was a mystery to me.

But indeed, life continued on and we're still going strong with "normal".

Maybe even better than normal.

And as our kids carry on with their typical kid activities, I find the normal things they do seem peculiarly more special to me.

Sometimes I wonder if they sense the perpetual heaviness in our hearts.  Perhaps they do, perhaps they don't.  In either case, they seem like they're doing alright.

And although I can lose myself in spirals of Mommy Guilt for not doing this or that for them, I know in my heart that they are blessed beyond measure.  For the Lord holds them and their parents in His giant, safe, powerful, loving hands.

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