Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh, Baby!

This past Friday I got the chance to have the Day of Beth. Remember on Sienfeld when George declares the Summer of George? It was kind of like that, but a whole lot shorter. Thanks to my parents, who volunteered to watch the kiddos for 24 hours, and the City of Terre Haute, who sent my husband to training in the burbs of Chicago for week, I was able to have a day of adventure all to myself. Most of it included a lot of coffee and reading and even a stop at the lakeshore on clear, warm September afternoon. But let's get real, people. What's a girl to do when she finds herself alone in a big city? A girl must shop.

A store very close to the hotel intrigued me. The name? Buy Buy Baby. No consumerism here at all, I thought. But since looking at cute baby clothes is always more fun than trying clothes on my post-partum body, I decided to see what lurked within this mega store devoted to a person's first year of life.

This place was like Babies R Us on steriods. If you can imagine an item for Baby, they had it in 8 sizes and 18 colors. I walked around in awe at humidifiers, biodegradable diaper sacks, and strollers as big as my first car. I must have looked a little overwhelmed. The young employee who couldn't possibly have a child of her own asked, "Can I help you find anything?"

"No," I replied. "Just.....looking." And look I did. Furniture sets, food processors, bouncers, play yards, and an entire wall devoted to bibs. As I made my way around the store, I started to get a little ticked off. Have these people even MET a baby? My baby pukes. My baby poops. With that in mind, I doubt my baby would fully appreciate the designer bedding costing nearly $300. I got a little madder. They are sorely misleading the poor innocent people who wander in here, all a-dither about preparing for their first child, I thought. Babies don't need these things! My babies did just fine without them. You don't have to protect your child from every germ with the shopping cart cover. You don't need boppies and swadlers. Good ol' pillows and blankets work just fine, thank you. I was in full rebellion now. How could they take something as precious as a baby and turn it into just another way to prove you're better than so-and-so because you "care" enough to buy your baby the "best?" Stuff will never replace loving parents who spend time with their kids! I started looking around for a soapbox....

Then I saw IT. It was the sweetest little sleeper in baby blue with the most adorable print. Little guitars and drum sets....with a matching little hat. He could be a little rocker just like his daddy. I almost melted on the spot. Then I ventured to turn the price tag over and.....YIKES! Way out of the budget for one little sleeper that he will grow out of in a few weeks. I sighed. I tried to think of a way to justify purchasing it. I wanted that sleeper. I LOVED that sleeper. I almost heard an audible voice. "You hypocrite."

And I was! Maybe the reason I was so fired up about all the stuff in that store wasn't because I was bent on saving others from the perils of consumerism at all. Could I have been a bit, dare I say, jealous? Did I covet those who didn't think twice about spending thousands of dollars on their little bundles of joy? After an honest look, it was a resounding yes to both questions. The truth is, I do want the best for my kids. All that stuff is downright adorable and much of it is usable, too. The catty side of me wants to be the mom with the cutest kids in the trendiest clothes that everyone envies. But the Jesus-follower side of me realizes all the baby stuff will someday be gone. The baby will grow up, and the spiritual truths he learns will be far more important that the sleepers he wears.

I wish I could say I walked out of the store with nothing but an attitude adjustment and a reminder from God about how good I really have it with three awesome kids. Or it would be really funny if I found a sleeper covered in Bible verses. In reality, I settled for a cute onsie that says "Mommy's little monster" on sale for $5.99, cuz he's my chunky monster baby and I still have the urge to spoil him just a tiny bit...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Stealing This From My Facebook Notes So It Looks Like I Write a Lot

From the Realms of Mommyhood....

Not Fun: Doodling on scrap paper for 20 minutes while waiting on the phone for your medical insurance company to offer you "customer service," only to learn that you owe more money than you thought...why is it you always owe more money than you thought?
Fun: Drawing with chalk on the sidewalk with your kids.

Not Fun: Getting puked on at least 7 times a day.
Fun: Seeing your baby's first real smile (shortly after the puke)!

Not Fun: Trying on 18 shirts to find something that actually fits and looks professional yet casual for Preschool Parent Orientation Night and seeing that your hair is doing horrid things as well...
Fun: Having at least 3 people say how great you look so soon after the baby and having one (She may need new glasses, but bless her, God!) grandmother say you look 18!

Not Fun: Not getting a full night's sleep pretty much for as long as you can remember.
Fun: Watching your children sleep that sweet and peaceful sleep of little ones.

Not Fun: Lots o' stretch marks.
Fun: Knowing that your husband still calls you his pretty girl.

Not Fun: Taking 3 children under 5 into any store.
Fun: Stopping at DQ on the way home guilt free because you've already burned off the calories you will consume chasing children around the store.

Not Fun: Missing the people at work and the adult conversations you sometimes got to have there.
Fun: Talking to yourself any time you want and wearing gym short every day of the week if you so choose!

Not Fun: Poopy diapers.
Fun: Imagining heaven...a place without poop!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Accentuate the Positive

Hi kids!  I've been unofficially wannabe-blogging on social networking sites such as MyFace* and Spacebook* for a year and a half.  But now I have officially started a for real blog blog.  So for my first blog post I shall grace you with the reason I have entitled my blog, "That's Not Me Anymore."

First, I want to make it clear that it's not titled as such because I'm feeling slightly outside myself in any freakish or negative way.  I would hope that the posts to follow are positive and lift people up in some way.  Or at least give them a laugh at my antics while they breathe a silent prayer of, "Thank you, Jesus, that I am not THAT girl..."

So here's the story:
My husband and I were sitting in church last week and our pastor quoted a passage from Matthew chapter 6.  It's a passage about not worrying.  Maybe it's familiar to you.  If not, you should really check it out.  Basically, Jesus tells us that God takes care of things like birds and lilies, so he obviously will take care of our needs, too.  So, worrying is a huge waste of time.   Until recently, these verses have been the theme of my life.  It's no secret to those who know me that I like to think.  A lot.  And with this constant thinking and re-thinking about every situation in my life, I have been a classic worrier.  I have worried about relationships, work, family, finances....Oh, the worrying about finances!  So as soon as our pastor started his quote, Frank's knee-jerk reaction was to nudge me in a "Hey, listen up, you worrier, you," fashion with his, well....knee.  And usually when he does this, I sigh and worry about how much I worry and worry about whether or not I can ever stop worrying.  But not this time.  Because suddenly I realized that I haven't been worrying a lot lately.  Weird.  So in a very Christian manner, I gave my husband the death glare and stuck out my tongue at him.

Later in the car, Frank reached over to me.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to hurt your feelings about the worry thing.  After I did it, I realized that that's not you anymore."  His words kept playing in my head, "That's not you anymore.  That's not you anymore."  And I answered in amazement, "No.....that's NOT me anymore, is it?"  And for most of the rest of the way home, I marveled at the fact that God has been working and transforming me a lot in the past couple of years.  A transformation that my husband has taken notice of, and he is usually the one who sees my ugliest sides at their ugliest.  And then I sat and thought (See, I think a lot!) about how he had transformed as well.  The fact that he was sensitive enough to apologize for hurt feelings....Well, I just don't think that would have happened a few years ago.  

So I give all this to God in thankfulness for what He has done.  It is true what they say.  You can't change someone.  They can't even change themselves, despite what a lot of pop psychology  says these days.  Only God can do this miraculous changing that is so gentle and gradual that suddenly we stop and marvel in His work.  The only thing we can do is to stop trying so hard to change under our own power and cry, "God, I'm yours!  I want to change and be like you!  I'm waiting for directions!"  And then we must stop again to listen to what they are.  And then we must actually follow them, whether they make perfect sense or not.   I'm really good at trying my own thing and then crying, but I'm slowly learning to listen and follow.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away;  behold, all things have become new."  -2 Corinthians 5:17  

Doesn't that just say it all?

*Names changed to protect the innocent.  (Please I beg you, don't get hooked on these things.  It's a blackhole of no return!)