Another Monday Mish-Mash: Groundhogs, Mormon Stuff, & Co-Sleeping

First, let’s just get it out of the way:

IMG_1108 Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  I can’t take it.  I can’t take EXTRA winter.  I may just have to slit my wrists long-ways.

Maybe were he not so under-employed these days, Mr. Fill would have been amenable to emerging in the front yard, which has a nice big shadow from the house, rather than the backyard which is bathed in morning light and peed-on snow (the dogs, people, not the husband and kids, and certainly not me).  But Mr. Fill was being all crotchety and hell-bent on maintaining his groundhoged integrity.

“It’s ^&*#&#@ sunny everywhere out there!” he said.  “I’m not going to hide the *#&#!*@ truth behind some artificially manufactured &$*%!@ shadow!”

He is so lovely that way.  Talk about raining on my parade (or my mental health).

Now for the Mormon Monday portion of today’s mish mash:

I have been asked to speak in church this coming Sunday.  They were sure to point out that I would be the first speaker this time, not the last, necessitating that stay within my 10 minute time limit, so I’m not sure if they appreciated my 30-minute clean up talk the last time or were irritated by it.  Generally they appreciate clean up speakers who can fill time as needed because that saves them from having to improvise, but maybe these guys like to improvise for the last 20 minutes of church.  Who knows?

Anyway, I’ve been asked to speak for 10 minutes about the importance of love at home.  I pretty much have it all written in my head already, but I’m curious to hear from you, my non-LDS readers.  If you were asked to talk about the importance of love at home, what would you say?  Clog my comments, I don’t mind.

Okay, so not actually very Mormon-Mondayish since I’m asking for your thoughts rather than sharing some with you.  Maybe I’ll post the talk after I’ve actually put it down on paper.

Now for Something Completely Different

I keep thinking I’m going to unsubscribe from the adoption Yahoo groups, but I haven’t.  I don’t know why.  I mean, I skim through the daily digests, I never comment on any of them, and I generally find them either boring or contentious, yet I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe.  I guess it is because they have been helpful in the past and I don’t want to miss out in case something pertinent or helpful comes up again in the future.

So, bottom line, I just skim and delete and move on with my day.

But recently?  Recently there has been a discussion about co-sleeping.  I haven’t read the entire thread, but I’ve read enough to once again be amazed at how quick people are to be critical of something with which they have no personal experience.

As a mother of five, I have co-slept with some of my children and not with others.  I have watched and listened and tried to be in tune with each of their needs, as well as my own needs, and made the decision based on that.  The children who did co-sleep with us were out of our bed by the time they were two years old, or sooner.

To cart blanche say that co-sleeping leads to kids being in their parents’ bed for the next five years, or next ten years, or whatever, is to give advice based on faulty logic.  If one person has co-slept and their child is still in their bed eight years later, that does not mean every child will be.

And?  Quite frankly, co-sleeping does not cause older children to regularly sleep in their parents’ bed.  Spineless parenting or the desire to have that older child in your bed do.

When babies are babies they don’t understand much about the world around them and we, even as parents, can’t explain it to them.  They don’t have the skills necessary to understand what we are saying.  So if one of my babies needs the extra comfort of being in bed with me, I let them sleep in bed with me.  But by the time they are two?  All of my kids have had a pretty good mastery of the English language (at least on a receptive level) by the time they were two, so I could say, “Sorry, I know you want to be in my bed, but you don’t need to be in my bed any more.  I will still be here, and I will get you out of your bed in the morning.  You will be fine here in your bed.”

Do they like hearing that?  Are they “ready” to hear that?  No.  But they are “ready enough.”

Are any of us ever “ready” for the life lessons that bring growth?  No, not really.  They are usually painful and something we want to avoid no matter how old we are.  But when they come, we are generally “ready enough” to somehow get through them.

I am not saying everyone should co-sleep.  I don’t believe that is the case, nor do I care what you or the next mom decides to do.  I do, however, take umbrage at the idea that, just because one mother can’t get her school-aged child out of her bed, all co-sleeping families are setting themselves up for that type of situation.

If you want your kid in bed that long, fine.  More power to you, I guess.

If you think your baby would be better off sleeping in your bed now but you are worried about him/her still being there a decade from now?  Grow a pair and be the parent.  If it is best for your baby now, and you want to co-sleep now, do it now.  But in a year or two or three?  When you know the child doesn’t need to be there, and can understand what you are saying to him/her, even if s/he doesn’t like what s/he is hearing?   Be the parent.  Tell the child the way it is going to be and then make. it. be. that. way.  It really isn’t that difficult.

Our society has been T. Barry Brazalton-ized.  Remember the Pampers commercials he used to do?  “Let it be your child’s decision!” or whatever it was he used to say.  The commercial was for a new XXXXXL sized diapers, so it was really beneficial for the Pampers people to have us all believe that it’s okay for five-year-olds to still be running around in diapers while they try to “decide” they are “ready.”

You know what?  Potty training, like other growth experiences, is often something the child is “ready enough” to do, but won’t want to do.  We do it anyway.  Had I let some of my kids “decide” when they were “ready” they would still be in diapers.  Let’s face it, is is much more convenient for a child to just wet his/her pants than it is to stop what s/he is doing and run to the bathroom. 

There is a difference, of course, between signs of “readiness” and a kid deciding s/he is “ready.”  Signs of readiness indicate a child is ready to learn the art of being potty-trained, whether they want to or not.  A child deciding s/he is ready means you don’t make them learn until they want to learn, which, quite frankly, is insane.  The same applies to co-sleeping.  There are signs of readiness, which does not mean a child thinks s/he is actually ready to leave the parental bed.  But, just like the mother bird, we push them out of the nest anyway.  That is how they learn to fly, or sleep on their own.

So, to sum up, please don’t take co-sleeping advice from people who know someone who know someone who know someone who has a 15-year-old kid still sleeping in their bed all because they co-slept when the child was a baby.

Do what you feel is best for you and your baby now.  And?  While you’re at it?  Grow a spine for later.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt hates Phullabaloney Fill.

Mormon Monday: And Attitude of Gratitude

This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.

A favorite hymn always lifts our spirits, kindles our faith, and inspires our thoughts:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. …

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 241.)

Well could we reflect upon our lives as individuals. We will soon discover much to prompt our personal gratitude.

First, there is gratitude for our mothers.

Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to take us by the hand and introduce us to birth—even to mortal life—deserves our undying gratitude. One writer summed up our love for mother when he declared, “God could not be everywhere, and so He gave us mothers.”

Thomas S. Monson, “An Attitude of Gratitude,” Ensign, May 1992, 54

I’m trying to focus on gratitude today.  Tomorrow we are supposed to have a blizzard, so I’ll whine then.  Okay?

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Mormon Monday and a Merry Christmas

Since today is Christmas Eve and I am very (happily) busy, and it is Christmas Eve (I think I already mentioned that?) I’m just going to give you a link with some instructions, should you be interested.  If not, I’ll like you anyway.

One of our family Christmas Eve traditions is to listen to the CD of Walter Cronkite narrating the story One Silent Night.  We also have the book, so we follow along.  It is a profoundly touching World War I Christmas story and not only is it narrated by Walter Cronkite, but the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides music to go along with it.  I can’t listen to it, or watch it, without being moved to tears.

And guess what?  If you don’t have the book and the accompanying CD?  You can watch it on the internet!  So, here is the link: http://www.byutv.org/

Now for the instructions:

When you go to that link, click on the Tune In Now button on the left side of the screen.  Once it takes you where you need to go, you will see two options: Windows Media Player and Move Networks.  Choose Move Networks (for the simple reason that it is like internet tivo and you can choose programs that have been on earlier in the day or on days before).  It will want to download something onto your computer which doesn’t take long and will not give you a virus, put you on a mailing list, or make 19-year-olds in suits come knocking on your door to share a message.  Once you are ready to rock and roll with Move Networks (ha!  I typed Newtworks accidentally) you will see a menu on the right side of the screen.  You can choose what day’s programming you want to view and you can grab the little arrow button and drag it up and down to scroll through everything and choose what you want.  How cool is that?

Now here are my viewing recommendations for Christmas Eve Mormon Monday:

1.  If you want something more doctrinal that will give you a good LDS perspective on Christmas then look for the program called First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  The first presidency consists of the the Prophet, or president of the church (kind of like the Pope, but in a normal suit) and his two counselors (like assistant Popes, if you will).

2.  If you don’t want anything particularly doctrinal from an LDS standpoint but want a really touching Christmas story with a famous broadcaster backed up by the legendary MoTab, look for One Silent Night.  I believe it isn’t on until 9:30 mountain time 11:30 eastern time) today, but you can probably find it on yesterday’s programming or the day before’s.  Really, it is good.  It is worth the half hour.  Trust me.

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christmas, and happy holidays to those who celebrate other holidays.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says Merry Christmas!