Category: parenthood

A’ight, y’all – we’ve got some great advice happenin’ in the comments section and a grand total of, like, 3 votes in my totally unscientific polls. You guys!!! This is a serious plea for help! :-S Help a sistah out, get your little tuchus to the comments, and drop some wisdom on me. ….seriously…. help….

I did my first Blogger poll off to the right (for Kari, that’d be your other left….) and it looks like at least a few of you would like to hear from Chris once in awhile. I’ll see what I can do to get him blogging for a little of the male and/or medical perspective. The rest of you seem pretty happy with the status quo – more pictures! more writing! more pictures with writing! No problem. I have you covered.

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I am so incredibly frustrated. I didn’t get Jonas in for his 15-month Well Child Checkup before we left Nashville, thinking that I’d just get him in a little early for his 18-month WCC and it would even out. When we got here, I found a D.O. in Family Practice that’s pretty near to our house and called to see if she is accepting new patients. She is – but she won’t make your first appointment until she has all your medical records. So her receptionist or office manager or whoever sent me those HIPPAA forms to fill out and mail to our old doctors. I got the one for Jonas’ pediatrician in the mail asap…. and yesterday it was returned as “undeliverable as addressed”. Well, for Pete’s sake, I sent it to the address on their website! Monday morning I’ll call them and find out the proper address. Or maybe I can fax this to them, which would speed the process a bit. At any rate, I’m starting to worry that Jonas won’t get that 18 month WCC until he turns 2!

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New Poll starts today, and I’ll leave it up for a couple of weeks. Actually, there will be two versions: one for parents and one for non-parents. My current quandry and heartache has to do with Church Nursery. Most of you know that we didn’t take Jonas to the nursery when he was little. It was easy to wear him in a sling or carrier, let him nurse and snooze during our Sunday School and worship service, and that was that. Plus, my ideals for Attachment Parenting included not handing him off to strangers during his first year of life. Fast forward – when Jonas was about 14 months old, we started taking him to the nursery at Bellevue United Methodist in Nashville. While we were there, Chris and I never got involved in an adult Sunday School class. (I know, I know… terrible.) Anyway, so Jonas only had about 50 minutes in the nursery without us each week, and every single week it was like I was torturing him. He would burst into tears as soon as we

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Oprah revisited the ultimate mommy question on her show yesterday. “My Baby or My Job: Why Elizabeth Vargas Stepped Down.” I don’t think I’ve blogged about this here before (though I’ll look through my archives and check), so I want to do so now. I’ll give you a rundown of the show – especially a few of the comments that really struck a chord with me – and then share my thoughts on the subject.

I came into the show late – about the last half hour. Apparently in the first part of the show, Oprah interviewed Elizabeth Vargas about her choice to stay home with her newborn baby instead of staying in her high-profile job as anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight.

The part I saw dealt with the members of a discussion panel – if you visit the link above, it starts on screen “6 of 13.” I don’t have a transcript of the show, so I’ll just do my best from the notes I scribbled as I watched and the recap provided on the Oprah Show website.

First of all, my biases. My son was born in February of 2006, and I returned to work for nine weeks in March-May of 2006. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the fifteen months since then. Now then, on to the show.

Barbara, a working mother of three, said that

“If you don’t have something that is your own, then your kids become everything. And you need to make that separation about what you’re doing for your kids and what you’re doing for yourself.”

I can see her point, to a certain extent. It’s not healthy to sublimate your every thought, emotion, and need within the roles of housewife and mother. As an adult woman, you need to have time and space for yourself – time to affirm your intellect, to nourish your spirituality, to nurture your emotional self. However, I disagree that the only way to maintain your sense of self is to pursue employment outside the home.

Women who stay home make a powerful choice to do something “for their kids” and they often make sacrifices which make their choice possible. They also make the choice to find necessary “separation” in other avenues. You can enjoy adult conversation at church – a great, stimulating debate at a book group – a peaceful meditation during naptime – a “break” from the day to day doldrums at the spa – a creative outlet in a hobby, a class, or a blog (:-). For women who stay-at-home because they BELIEVE they are making the best choice for their children, Barbara’s comment rings empty and hollow – it’s a false argument in favor of working.

She went on to say that it’s

“more important… that you’re around when your kids are teenagers. You know, anybody can read your kid a book or cuddle your kid.”

One stay-at-home mom took exception to her remarks.

“I think that sometimes using phrases like that minimizes what being a stay-at-home

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Splenda. On one hand, it might be better for me than mass quantities of sugar in my coffee and tea… but on the other, I am consuming 6-8 packets of an artificial food every day. Yikes!

Caffeine. Hey, if I could beat this one, I’d eliminate my need for Splenda! I just really *heart* coffee. In all its forms. And I’m too Southern to give up sweet tea. And I adore Diet Coke. Now, Jonas has just started sleeping through the night – so I do envision a day in the near future when all the moving commotion is over, that I won’t *need* a java jolt to start my day. And I might actually break this habit before too long.

Online time when Jonas is awake. Occasionally, this starts out with the best of intentions – I “pop” online to check for an expected email, to balance the checkbook or pay a bill. But usually it’s for mindless “surfing.” Jonas is great at entertaining himself for short periods of time, but I really don’t like the example I’m setting by always going for “screen time” myself.

TV time when Jonas is awake. See above. Though he doesn’t pay much attention to my “boring, grown-up” programs, my ideal day would include no TV time for his little eyes, ears, and developing mind. I give in to my less-than-ideal on days when I’m tired – days when Chris works late and I need a *break* by 4 p.m. – days when Jonas doesn’t feel well and is especially clingy or cranky – days when it’s too hot to go outside – in other words, most days. And I’m not proud of that.

Yelling. Okay, this one isn’t too bad. I don’t yell at Jonas, ever. I don’t yell on a daily basis or anything. But I’ve been fighting this battle for as long as I can remember (just ask my mom or dad or brother!) – even as a kid, my vocal volume just goes up and UP and UP when I get upset or excited. Now that I have a little one of my own, I’m more aware that I want to set a better example of other ways to communicate my feelings. At least this habit is one that I see *some* improvement on.

*with sincere apologies to Chicago for the misuse of their lovely song title!

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Receptive language is when we are learning to listen to & understand the language around us. When babies are born, they are fascinated by the sounds around them. When babies and toddlers start to demonstrate that they know the names (labels) for objects and people around them, we know that they are making receptive language progress. Other milestones in receptive language development include pointing to familiar objects, responding to simple questions or requests (“Bring me the ball” or “Want more juice?”), and anticipating the endings of simple games like peek-a-boo or “This Little Piggy.”

Expressive language is when we are learning to speak and use language to express ourselves. Babies use cries, body language, and facial expression to communicate with their parents in the beginning, and soon they begin to babble. Other parts of expressive language are motions or gestures (pointing to an item that he wants, raising his arms to be picked up) and vocalizations other than crying to get attention. First words usually appear around the end of the child’s first year, and around the end of the second year most toddlers start to form two-word sentences (“More milk!” “Ball go!”)

At his speech & language evaluation last month, Jonas was mildly delayed in both of these language development areas. He’s about one month behind in expressive language (which means, in his case, that though he is an avid babbler and definitely uses gestures to get our attention and make his needs known) and about two months behind in receptive language (which means that he could not indicate to the SLP that he recognized, or understood, some of the labeling words she used (ie, “Show me the bear”) or the requests she made).

So, how does sign language fit into the life of a hearing child? And what about a hearing child with language delays? I know that some people are wondering if using sign language with Jonas has contributed to his language delay, or if teaching him sign will inhibit his acquisition of spoken language.

Let’s take a quick look at the research. The National Institutes of Health funded a half-million dollar research project to study children who had followed the “Baby Sign” program compared to children from the same communities without exposure to sign language. The children were given standard language measures at 11, 15, 19, 24, 30, and 36 months. In addition, as many children as could be relocated at age 8 were assessed again with a standard intelligence test measure. This type of study (a longitudinal study, that follows the same cohort of subjects over time) is the gold standard in educational research. At 24 months old, the Baby Signs® babies were on average talking more like 27 or 28 month olds both in terms of vocabulary size and sentence length and construction. At 3 years of age, the children who had used sign language were at nearly a 4 year old level. And the final test measure of 8 year olds found that those

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We didn’t think we’d become Floridians. We spent four years there, but we always proudly claimed our status as true Southerners – we are from Georgia! Where we have seasons, but not extreme ones. Where we only need one coast, and we grow real crops, and hurricanes don’t really ruin an entire school year. Apparently, though, living in FLA sort of seeps into the bones. Slowly. Insidiously. Subtly – but it’s there.

I figured it out when I woke up yesterday morning. It was 47 degrees outside – beautiful, clear sky, crisp air. The weather man forecast a high of 56 degrees, with some clouds and scattered showers in the afternoon/evening. Do you know what I did?

I turned on the heater.

Now, in my legitimate defense, it really was cold on the floor – where my little baby spends most of his time, on his hands and knees and tummy. I don’t want him to be too cold and uncomfortable. But seriously? I find myself kind of funny. Today, I think it started out in the 50s and is going to hit 64…. I’m wearing my fleece pullover. HA!

P.S. I’m definitely not a total Floridian, though. Jonas has a buddy, 5 weeks older, whose mom grew up in South Florida. The last time we walked at the park, when the temp was about 55, she had him in a hat and mittens! 😛

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When a lifelong Southern Baptist girl joins the United Methodist Church, you can bet your bottom dollar that she spends a lot of time in research and prayer on the matter of baptism. If you’ve been curious…

What do United Methodists believe about baptism?

“Understanding the practice as an authentic expression of how God works in our lives, The United Methodist Church strongly advocates the baptism of infants within the faith community: “Because the redeeming love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, extends to all persons and because Jesus explicitly included the children in his kingdom, the pastor of each charge shall earnestly exhort all Christian parents or guardians to present their children to the Lord in Baptism at an early age” (1992 Book of Discipline, par. 221)” (para. 226 in the 2004 Book of Discipline).

While baptism is understood primarily as a means of God’s grace toward the child, By Water and the Spirit also states: “If a parent or sponsor (godparent) cannot or will not nurture the child in the faith, then baptism is to be postponed until Christian nurture is available.”

Baptism is, among other things, incorporation into the body of Christ. The questions asked in the baptism of infants are asked not of the parents and sponsors to answer on behalf of the infant, but on behalf of themselves. Those who cannot or will not answer these questions affirmatively for themselves in good faith are not yet ready to support another in a journey toward discipleship to Jesus Christ, and so are not able to enter the covenant relationship entailed in baptism.

In infant baptism, God claims the child with divine grace. Clearly the child can do nothing to save himself or herself, but is totally dependent on God’s grace, as we all are — whatever our age. In believer’s baptism, the person being baptized is publicly professing her or his own decision to accept Christ. Believer’s baptism is an ordinance, not a sacrament. United Methodists baptize people of all ages who have not previously received the sacrament. Even when the people being baptized are believing adults and are ready to profess their faith, our emphasis is upon the gracious action of God rather than upon the individual’s decision.

Source: http://archives.umc.org

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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