Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Learning to nurture.

Yes, I know!  I missed Family First Friday last week!  Wait until I tell you the story of what happened!  But not today.  I have other thoughts:

So the crazy food allergies and not sleeping continues at our house.  It has been pretty crazy and some nights we have had as little as 3 hours of sleep, which may be expected if you have a newborn, but when the child is 2 and 1/2???!!
check out this awesome photo from Karen Larsen!  See how she did it on her website:

Most nights look like this:  Spike goes to bed sometime between 8 and 8:30.  He sleeps until 11:30-12:00 a.m.  Then he wakes up crying, sometimes screaming because he cannot breath, or his feet itch, or he just cannot sleep.  Because his medication for breathing makes him grouchy, and he is having allergic reactions, and he is tired, he is completely unreasonable and simply screams because we cannot understand what it is that he wants or needs.  It is a guessing game to help him and the more times we guess the wrong thing, the more upset and angry he becomes.  Finally, by some miracle and divine help, we figure out something that will work and he then settles down back to sleep.  This process usually takes about an hour.  Sometimes he sleeps the rest of the night, but usually, he is up again in about 2 hours and we repeat the same cycle.


Usually, as I am holding him and trying to converse with him about what I can do to help him, he is yelling and screaming, "No Mommy!  No!"  My dear husband who is in the room the entire time, (Oh side note, Spike has been sleeping in our room for the past 2 weeks with Sun because we have a house guest.) will finally tell Spike, "Quit yelling at your mother or you are going to have pepper on your tongue."  Sometimes that threat works, other times it doesn't and then my sweetheart gives Spike pepper and the screaming increases.

You see, Spike is ultra-sensitive to other people's emotions.  He can tell if you are angry at him by just a look or the tone in your voice.  If you are frustrated with him for any reason, just or unjust, it hurts his little feelings and he is mortally wounded, until reparations are made to the relationship.  It really is unusual for such a little person to be so aware of relationships.  But it is who my little man is.  Thus you can see how dramatic and exhausting it would be to try and reason with an emotionally aware, sleep deprived, two-year-old having an allergic reaction, night after night, after night (going on 10 nights now but who is counting?).

We have had a little bit of a break through in that my prayers have been "Help me to know what to do to help him (first breath and then) not scratch his feet so bad that they are bleeding."  The first was to increase his breathing medication and to move the air purifier to my bedroom, and quit giving him almond milk, which we did and it has helped.  The second was to use aloe-vera for his little feet and put socks on him in the middle of the night.  His feet are improving, slowly.  But he is still itching and scratching and he is not cooperative when I put that stuff on his feet.

Two nights ago, while I was rubbing the inside of the plant on his feet and he was screaming, my husband instead of threatening to give Spike pepper for screaming, told Spike that if he would quit crying, Drew would let Spike play one round of  'Angry Birds' on the I-pad.  Spike loves 'Angry Birds'!  He asks to play that game every day when Drew gets home.  It is a treat!  Spike immediately perked up and said, 'yes, Dad, I play angry birds.'  And he did, one game, and then he settled down to sleep!

This is so much more in line with the way I think Heavenly Father operates!!!  Yes, there are consequences for bad behavior.  There are consequences for disobedience, but they are not arbitrary consequences.  They are usually very logical---have more than one sexual partner, risk getting sexual diseases.  Smoke?  Have black lungs, risk cancer, and lose your ability to breath.  Simple.  But be obedient and have blessings.  Do something really difficult and make sacrifices?  Serious blessings to follow.  The problem is most of us want to define what those blessings for obedience look like.  I am paying my tithing, so I want to have enough money to do all of the things I want to do.  That is just not how it works.

We do not seem to always understand the scripture, 'My ways are not thy ways, nor my thoughts thy thoughts.'  Heavenly Father gives us amazing blessings but they are things like wisdom, faith, testimony, peace, happiness.  Sometimes they are temporal, especially when we need them.  They are not usually money, new cars, fame, fancy houses, or winning the lottery.

If we are thinking that there are no real blessings for obedience to our Heavenly Father's wishes and commandments, then we probably are just not recognizing them.  We may need to pray for help to see what they are.  Sometimes you can just look around at the people near you and see from their choices some of the blessings you enjoy.  This isn't to compare and contrast, but we are sometimes close enough to others to see some of the obvious, negative consequences for their choices.  And if we are close to them, sometimes they will share the blessings of testimony with us they have received from their obedience.

Back to Spike, Spike.  Like most of us, he responds better to rewards for positive behavior than consequences for not stopping bad behavior.  In disciplining our children, try to offer positive blessings for positive behavior.  If it is a big change and you are asking for big behavior, compensate your child accordingly.  It doesn't have to be with something monetary.  Our children get to stay up late on a particular night or watch a special movie, or spend the entire day driving.  It really just depends upon what your child needs and wants.  Some of them may be perfectly happy spending the day with you and just hanging out doing something fun.

Anyway these are my thoughts today as we try to catch up on sleep and house cleaning :-)  Have a great day!!

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